Spring Forward

CTA 6151 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953 running on Route 8. The bridge 6151 is on spanned the Congress Expressway construction site. The highway was not yet open, and service continued on the Halsted "L" station at rear (with two tracks instead of the original four) until June 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6151 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953 running on Route 8. The bridge 6151 is on spanned the Congress Expressway construction site. The highway was not yet open, and service continued on the Halsted “L” station at rear (with two tracks instead of the original four) until June 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Spring is here again, at least sort of, since we are expecting snow today here in Chicago. It’s been some time since our last post, but we have been busy collecting more streetcar and interurban pictures for your enjoyment. Plus, there are important contributions from some of our readers, for which we are thankful.

Each year, we turn our clocks forward one hour in the spring. But many of us wish we could simply turn back the clock instead, although hindsight is always 20/20 and we should always keep our eyes on the future.

But regardless, let’s “spring forward” with some great traction images from days gone by! We also have a few bonus images for our bus and diesel fans as well.

-David Sadowski

PS- We are gratified that despite not having a new post for two months, our readers have continued to support us. In fact, we are still very much on track to show a 15% increase in page views this year.

Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 on the Southern Iowa Railway on October 13, 1963. Don's Rail Photos: "100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned." This slide has "Q transfer" noted on it-- not sure what that means. (James J. Buckley Photo)

Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 on the Southern Iowa Railway on October 13, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.” This slide has “Q transfer” noted on it– not sure what that means. (James J. Buckley Photo)

The new and the old. CTA 5007 and 2269 at Rosemont on August 26, 2010. The 2200s have since been retired. (Bruce Nelson Photo)

The new and the old. CTA 5007 and 2269 at Rosemont on August 26, 2010. The 2200s have since been retired. (Bruce Nelson Photo)

An Oshawa steeple cab with a Philadelphia & Reading coach at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

An Oshawa steeple cab with a Philadelphia & Reading coach at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

An Oshawa steeple cab at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

An Oshawa steeple cab at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Montreal observation car #4 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Montreal observation car #4 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Connecticut Company Birney car 3001 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Connecticut Company Birney car 3001 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Illinois Terminal double-ended PCC 451 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Illinois Terminal double-ended PCC 451 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

New Orleans #836 and Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

New Orleans #836 and Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 at Branford on May 30, 1964. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 at Branford on May 30, 1964. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)

Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)

You would be forgiven for thinking this December 18, 1955 photo shows CTA Pullman 144. But this was actually the excursion where car 144 was promised, but 225 was substituted in its place-- renumbered with the help of a few pieces of oilcloth. Here, the fantrip car is seen at Broadway and Devon.

You would be forgiven for thinking this December 18, 1955 photo shows CTA Pullman 144. But this was actually the excursion where car 144 was promised, but 225 was substituted in its place– renumbered with the help of a few pieces of oilcloth. Here, the fantrip car is seen at Broadway and Devon.

CTA PCC 7138, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at the State Street loop near 84th on February 11, 1950. This location is now occupied by the Dan Ryan expressway.

CTA PCC 7138, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at the State Street loop near 84th on February 11, 1950. This location is now occupied by the Dan Ryan expressway.

CTA PCC 7070 at the Clark and Howard loop on July 4, 1954.

CTA PCC 7070 at the Clark and Howard loop on July 4, 1954.

Philadelphia & Western (aka Red Arrow) Bullet car 202 at Norristown in 1949. Behind 202, you can see the ramp leading down to street level, used by Lehigh Valley Transit's Liberty Bell route trains. (S. Bogen Photo)

Philadelphia & Western (aka Red Arrow) Bullet car 202 at Norristown in 1949. Behind 202, you can see the ramp leading down to street level, used by Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell route trains. (S. Bogen Photo)

By May 1961, when this photo was taken in Norristown, Liberty Bell Limited trains had been gone for nearly a decade. As you can see at left, the ramp leading down to ground level was removed and blocked off with an advertising sign.

By May 1961, when this photo was taken in Norristown, Liberty Bell Limited trains had been gone for nearly a decade. As you can see at left, the ramp leading down to ground level was removed and blocked off with an advertising sign.

Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner car 3 at Gay and High Streets in West Chester on June 6, 1954, at the end of trolley service on this route. The longest Red Arrow line was mainly a single-track side-of-the-road operation, which had to give way for the widening of West Chester Pike. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner car 3 at Gay and High Streets in West Chester on June 6, 1954, at the end of trolley service on this route. The longest Red Arrow line was mainly a single-track side-of-the-road operation, which had to give way for the widening of West Chester Pike. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) car 78 at Larchmont Station on West Chester Pike at Media Line Road, Newtown Township, PA on May 9, 1954. Photographer Edward S. Miller noted that he later operated this car at the Arden trolley museum.

Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) car 78 at Larchmont Station on West Chester Pike at Media Line Road, Newtown Township, PA on May 9, 1954. Photographer Edward S. Miller noted that he later operated this car at the Arden trolley museum.

Philadelphia Suburban double-end car 19, which looked like a PCC but does not technically qualify as one, since it had standard interurban trucks and motors. It is captured on May 9, 1954 at Broomall Station on West Chester Pike at Sproul Road in Marple Township, PA. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban double-end car 19, which looked like a PCC but does not technically qualify as one, since it had standard interurban trucks and motors. It is captured on May 9, 1954 at Broomall Station on West Chester Pike at Sproul Road in Marple Township, PA. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

A pair of Bullet cars running in multiple units on the Red Arrow Norristown High Speed Line on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

A pair of Bullet cars running in multiple units on the Red Arrow Norristown High Speed Line on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 11 at the end of the line on the short Ardmore branch on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 11 at the end of the line on the short Ardmore branch on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 13, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on the Media line on September 9, 1958. Garrett Patterson says the location is "Drexelbrook, inbound." (Clark Frazier Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 13, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on the Media line on September 9, 1958. Garrett Patterson says the location is “Drexelbrook, inbound.” (Clark Frazier Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban double-ended car 15, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, is seen at Gay and High Streets in West Chester, at the end of the long West Chester trolley line.

Philadelphia Suburban double-ended car 15, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, is seen at Gay and High Streets in West Chester, at the end of the long West Chester trolley line.

To see many more Philadelphia pictures like the ones above,take a look at our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016).

Fairmount Park Transit closed car #1 on May 19, 1935.

Fairmount Park Transit closed car #1 on May 19, 1935.

Fairmount Park Transit open car 18 at the car barn.

Fairmount Park Transit open car 18 at the car barn.

For more pictures like the two above, check out our previous post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017).

CTA one-man car 1743 (signed for Route 21 - Cermak, but the photographer has written "Lake Street") entering Kedzie Station at 5th Avenue and Jackson Boulevard on July 21, 1952. This picture looks to have been taken at about the same time as another, which shows a PCC car, on page 102 of my book Chicago Trolleys. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA one-man car 1743 (signed for Route 21 – Cermak, but the photographer has written “Lake Street”) entering Kedzie Station at 5th Avenue and Jackson Boulevard on July 21, 1952. This picture looks to have been taken at about the same time as another, which shows a PCC car, on page 102 of my book Chicago Trolleys. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways "Peter Witt" car 173 is shown at the Broad Ripple loop on June 6, 1951. Broad Ripple Village is an Indy neighborhood that was once an independent municipality. It was annexed into Indianapolis in 1922. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 173 is shown at the Broad Ripple loop on June 6, 1951. Broad Ripple Village is an Indy neighborhood that was once an independent municipality. It was annexed into Indianapolis in 1922. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL "Matchbox" 1169 at Damen and Taylor on June 2, 1945. Don's Rail Photos says, "1169 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4698. It was renumbered 1169 in 1913 and became CSL 1169 in 1914. It was retired on September 16, 1944." Not sure about the discrepancy in dates, but some renumbering of these cars did take place.

CSL “Matchbox” 1169 at Damen and Taylor on June 2, 1945. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1169 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4698. It was renumbered 1169 in 1913 and became CSL 1169 in 1914. It was retired on September 16, 1944.” Not sure about the discrepancy in dates, but some renumbering of these cars did take place.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 401 and 431 are crossing the DesPlaines River westbound on August 29, 1953, about a half mile west of the DesPlaines Avenue station. This is now the site of I-290. The CA&E tracks and bridge were moved north of the highway in 1959 but were never used by the interurban, which was subsequently abandoned. In this section, the CA&E ran parallel to Harrison Street, which has also been taken up by the highway. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 401 and 431 are crossing the DesPlaines River westbound on August 29, 1953, about a half mile west of the DesPlaines Avenue station. This is now the site of I-290. The CA&E tracks and bridge were moved north of the highway in 1959 but were never used by the interurban, which was subsequently abandoned. In this section, the CA&E ran parallel to Harrison Street, which has also been taken up by the highway. (Robert Selle Photo)

Three CTA arch-roof cars awaiting scrapping on May 16, 1954: two-man 6141, one-man cars 6167 and 3128 at South Shops. This was just two weeks before the end of all red car service in Chicago, and was also the date of a fantrip that ran on all the lines that were about to be "bustituted." (Robert Selle Photo)

Three CTA arch-roof cars awaiting scrapping on May 16, 1954: two-man 6141, one-man cars 6167 and 3128 at South Shops. This was just two weeks before the end of all red car service in Chicago, and was also the date of a fantrip that ran on all the lines that were about to be “bustituted.” (Robert Selle Photo)

Images From the Wien-Criss Archive

Our thanks to Jeffrey L. Wien for sharing these classic pictures with our readers.

A three-car train of Boston MTA PCCs, running on Commonwealth Avenue east of Summit Avenue on May 31, 1961. (Clark Frazier Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A three-car train of Boston MTA PCCs, running on Commonwealth Avenue east of Summit Avenue on May 31, 1961. (Clark Frazier Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The Chicago Great Western Railway merged with the Chicago & North Western in 1968, and most of its trackage was thereafter abandoned. But on February 21, 1965, we see CGW freight #91, running westbound on Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks, parallel to I-290 just west of Lombard in suburban Oak Park, Illinois. The motive power consisted of 104A, 105B, 106C, 116F, 1100, 112C, and 177. At right, you can see the secondary entrance to the CTA's Congress rapid transit line at Lombard. The main entrance at Austin Boulevard is two blocks east of there. The CGW split off from the B&OCT in Forest Park a few miles west of here, and then ran parallel to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban through Bellwood. (James J. Buckley Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The Chicago Great Western Railway merged with the Chicago & North Western in 1968, and most of its trackage was thereafter abandoned. But on February 21, 1965, we see CGW freight #91, running westbound on Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks, parallel to I-290 just west of Lombard in suburban Oak Park, Illinois. The motive power consisted of 104A, 105B, 106C, 116F, 1100, 112C, and 177. At right, you can see the secondary entrance to the CTA’s Congress rapid transit line at Lombard. The main entrance at Austin Boulevard is two blocks east of there. The CGW split off from the B&OCT in Forest Park a few miles west of here, and then ran parallel to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban through Bellwood. (James J. Buckley Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Kansas City Public Service PCCs 712 and 796 at the 48th and Harrison yard on October 16, 1956. PCCs last ran in Kansas City in 1957, but streetcars returned to Kansas City in 2016. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Kansas City Public Service PCCs 712 and 796 at the 48th and Harrison yard on October 16, 1956. PCCs last ran in Kansas City in 1957, but streetcars returned to Kansas City in 2016. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee city car 360 on Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan, Illinois. This picture could not have been taken after 1947. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee city car 360 on Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan, Illinois. This picture could not have been taken after 1947. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 529, as seen from the Ashland station on the Lake Street "L", on May 7, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 529, as seen from the Ashland station on the Lake Street “L”, on May 7, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1725 is operating as a one-man shuttle car on the Madison-Fifth branch line on Route 20 on February 15, 1953. The car is heading southwest on Fifth Avenue approaching Harrison Street and Pulaski Avenue, which was the end of the line near the adjacent Garfield Park "L" station. I thought at first that the date might actually have been 1954, but subsequent research shows the 1953 date to be correct (see correspondence with Tony Waller below). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1725 is operating as a one-man shuttle car on the Madison-Fifth branch line on Route 20 on February 15, 1953. The car is heading southwest on Fifth Avenue approaching Harrison Street and Pulaski Avenue, which was the end of the line near the adjacent Garfield Park “L” station. I thought at first that the date might actually have been 1954, but subsequent research shows the 1953 date to be correct (see correspondence with Tony Waller below). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at 70th and Ashland (69th Street Station) on May 23, 1953. The sign above the streetcar bays is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at 70th and Ashland (69th Street Station) on May 23, 1953. The sign above the streetcar bays is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines 4118, built by Pullman, heads southbound on Clark at Wacker on June 13, 1947. We ran a version of this picture before, in our post More Chicago PCC Photos - Part Six (November 30, 2015), but this one is better, as it is a scan from the original medium format negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines 4118, built by Pullman, heads southbound on Clark at Wacker on June 13, 1947. We ran a version of this picture before, in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Six (November 30, 2015), but this one is better, as it is a scan from the original medium format negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 230 is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the bridge over the Chicago River on May 18, 1954. This was less than two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 230 is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the bridge over the Chicago River on May 18, 1954. This was less than two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In this November 4, 1952 view, CTA 593 is on Clark Street, heading south to the Limits car barn, while car 562 is on Southport, the north end of the Ashland route. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In this November 4, 1952 view, CTA 593 is on Clark Street, heading south to the Limits car barn, while car 562 is on Southport, the north end of the Ashland route. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 7, 1952, CTA 452 is at the north end of Route #9 - Ashland, on Southport just north of Irving Park Road. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 7, 1952, CTA 452 is at the north end of Route #9 – Ashland, on Southport just north of Irving Park Road. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans' Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the "new" East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans’ Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the “new” East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On July 13, 1955, a 700-series North Shore Line car is being converted into a Silverliner, while flanked by cars 419 and 746 at the Highwood Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On July 13, 1955, a 700-series North Shore Line car is being converted into a Silverliner, while flanked by cars 419 and 746 at the Highwood Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Clark in December 1951. Note the outdoor scale at left. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA one-man car 6171 is at Lawrence and Clark in December 1951. Note the outdoor scale at left. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA one-man car 1784 is heading southwest on Ogden (Route 58) at Van Buren and Honore. To the right, buildings are being cleared away for the Congress Expressway. To the north, you can see a Wieboldt's department store, which was located on Adams between Ogden and Ashland. The "L" to the rear is the Met branch leading to Logan Suare, already out of service for several months when this picture was taken in August 1951. The Garfield Park "L" would have been directly behind the photographer, smack dab in the middle of what became the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA one-man car 1784 is heading southwest on Ogden (Route 58) at Van Buren and Honore. To the right, buildings are being cleared away for the Congress Expressway. To the north, you can see a Wieboldt’s department store, which was located on Adams between Ogden and Ashland. The “L” to the rear is the Met branch leading to Logan Suare, already out of service for several months when this picture was taken in August 1951. The Garfield Park “L” would have been directly behind the photographer, smack dab in the middle of what became the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullmans 546 and 553 cross near a safety island at 71st and Ashland on June 29, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullmans 546 and 553 cross near a safety island at 71st and Ashland on June 29, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In this amazing June 22, 1953 view of the junction at Tower 18, on Chicago's Loop "L" at Lake and Wells, we see CTA Evanston Express and Garfield Park trains, with a North Shore Line train in the background. Until 1969, both Loop tracks ran in the same direction, so the two cars are heading towards the photographer, while the North Shore Line train is going away. The photographer was standing on the Randolph and Wells platform. That station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In this amazing June 22, 1953 view of the junction at Tower 18, on Chicago’s Loop “L” at Lake and Wells, we see CTA Evanston Express and Garfield Park trains, with a North Shore Line train in the background. Until 1969, both Loop tracks ran in the same direction, so the two cars are heading towards the photographer, while the North Shore Line train is going away. The photographer was standing on the Randolph and Wells platform. That station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA "L" train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA “L” train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 643 is westbound at North and Halsted on August 14, 1948. That section of "L" at the rear, part of a section known as the "triple curve," is still there today, and is used by Brown and Purple Line trains. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 643 is westbound at North and Halsted on August 14, 1948. That section of “L” at the rear, part of a section known as the “triple curve,” is still there today, and is used by Brown and Purple Line trains. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Clark Street PCC 4361 and Broadway PCC 7175 meet at Clark, Broadway, and Diversey on November 8, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Clark Street PCC 4361 and Broadway PCC 7175 meet at Clark, Broadway, and Diversey on November 8, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 558, turning onto Ashland from Irving Park Road on May 19, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 558, turning onto Ashland from Irving Park Road on May 19, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA one-man car 3276 on Route 50 - Damen at about 2300 North. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA one-man car 3276 on Route 50 – Damen at about 2300 North. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 926 is a Lincoln-Peterson car at Division and Clark in June 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 926 is a Lincoln-Peterson car at Division and Clark in June 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 58 is running as a "tripper" on Broadway-State on May 18, 1954. Here, we see it southbound on State Street, crossing the Chicago River over the bridge that was put into service in 1949. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 58 is running as a “tripper” on Broadway-State on May 18, 1954. Here, we see it southbound on State Street, crossing the Chicago River over the bridge that was put into service in 1949. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 575 is southbound on Paulina near Washington Boulevard, running on Route 9 - Ashland on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 575 is southbound on Paulina near Washington Boulevard, running on Route 9 – Ashland on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A green and cream "L" car passes a green and cream trolley. CTA 4327 is at the front of a Lake Street "L" train, running at ground level under trolley wire at Pine Street, while CTA 3141 prepares to turn and cross the tracks, heading to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A green and cream “L” car passes a green and cream trolley. CTA 4327 is at the front of a Lake Street “L” train, running at ground level under trolley wire at Pine Street, while CTA 3141 prepares to turn and cross the tracks, heading to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Trolley scrapping: except for a few stragglers, nearly all red cars were scrapped by the CTA after being taken out of regular service on May 30, 1954. On November 6, 1954, we see Big Pullmans 248 and 585 at right, and one of the cars at left is 604 in this scene at South Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Trolley scrapping: except for a few stragglers, nearly all red cars were scrapped by the CTA after being taken out of regular service on May 30, 1954. On November 6, 1954, we see Big Pullmans 248 and 585 at right, and one of the cars at left is 604 in this scene at South Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The late Robert Selle, a very gifted photographer, took his own picture inside CTA streetcar 3217 at 69th Street Station on July 12, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The late Robert Selle, a very gifted photographer, took his own picture inside CTA streetcar 3217 at 69th Street Station on July 12, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Bob Selle took a "fast shot" of CTA 681 just inside the gates at Limits Station on June 28, 1952. Limits was located at 2650 North Clark Street, which was the city limits in the late 1800s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Bob Selle took a “fast shot” of CTA 681 just inside the gates at Limits Station on June 28, 1952. Limits was located at 2650 North Clark Street, which was the city limits in the late 1800s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

In this September 5, 1953 view, looking west from the CTA Racine Avenue station on the old Metroplitan main line, we see the Throop Street Shops at right. A CA&E train is approaching us, heading toward the Loop. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In this September 5, 1953 view, looking west from the CTA Racine Avenue station on the old Metroplitan main line, we see the Throop Street Shops at right. A CA&E train is approaching us, heading toward the Loop. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A 6-car CTA Ravenswood "A" train, made up of 200 and 300-series "L" cars, approaches Clark and Lake on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A 6-car CTA Ravenswood “A” train, made up of 200 and 300-series “L” cars, approaches Clark and Lake on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A two-car CTA train of railroad-roof cars is on the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston line on November 29, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A two-car CTA train of railroad-roof cars is on the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston line on November 29, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A view of the first 6400-series CTA "L" cars head into Chicago on a North Shore Line freight train on February 19, 1955. The location is just south of the Highmoor, Illinois station. Some of the parts used on these cars were recyycled from scrapped CTA PCCs that had less than 10 years' service. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A view of the first 6400-series CTA “L” cars head into Chicago on a North Shore Line freight train on February 19, 1955. The location is just south of the Highmoor, Illinois station. Some of the parts used on these cars were recyycled from scrapped CTA PCCs that had less than 10 years’ service. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman PCC 4063 is turning from Madison Street onto Franklin on its way into the Loop, running on Route 20 - Madison. In this September 16, 1953 view, car 4063 appears to have suffered some front-end damage that has gone unrepaired. This is probably due to the CTA's desire to scrap these cars within the next year or so. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman PCC 4063 is turning from Madison Street onto Franklin on its way into the Loop, running on Route 20 – Madison. In this September 16, 1953 view, car 4063 appears to have suffered some front-end damage that has gone unrepaired. This is probably due to the CTA’s desire to scrap these cars within the next year or so. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4081, heading south on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, proceeds slowly through a work zone at Clark and Van Buren on July 17, 1954. For more pictures of this, see our previous post Track Work @Clark & Van Buren, 1954 (February 1, 2015). This negative was apparently sold by an "RJA" at one point, which may mean the photo was taken by railfan Richard J. Anderson. This track work was related to the conversion of Clark and Dearborn into one-way streets downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4081, heading south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, proceeds slowly through a work zone at Clark and Van Buren on July 17, 1954. For more pictures of this, see our previous post Track Work @Clark & Van Buren, 1954 (February 1, 2015). This negative was apparently sold by an “RJA” at one point, which may mean the photo was taken by railfan Richard J. Anderson. This track work was related to the conversion of Clark and Dearborn into one-way streets downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

Again, our tanks to Bill for sharing these with us.

CTA PCCs 7182 and 4380 (or is it 4390?) are turning from Wentworth onto Vincennes at 73rd Street on Route 22. From the looks of the automobiles, this picture may have been taken in 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCCs 7182 and 4380 (or is it 4390?) are turning from Wentworth onto Vincennes at 73rd Street on Route 22. From the looks of the automobiles, this picture may have been taken in 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL/CTA 6213 at 93rd and Exchange Avenue. The slide said the cross street was Anthony, but as Tony Waller points out, "The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL/CTA 6213 at 93rd and Exchange Avenue. The slide said the cross street was Anthony, but as Tony Waller points out, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5130, signed for 31st and Lake Park. Bill Shapotkin says this car "is at Archer/Pitney. The view looks N-N/W on Pitney. The car has just changed ends and will take the crossover to head east." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5130, signed for 31st and Lake Park. Bill Shapotkin says this car “is at Archer/Pitney. The view looks N-N/W on Pitney. The car has just changed ends and will take the crossover to head east.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5083 is signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin say this location "is E/B in 31st, the car has just x/o South Park (now King Dr). The church on the S/E corner is still-standing and either is or has just undergone renovation." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5083 is signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin say this location “is E/B in 31st, the car has just x/o South Park (now King Dr). The church on the S/E corner is still-standing and either is or has just undergone renovation.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says this location "is W/B at Wallace (note address of 556 on building at left and car tracks in Wallace). View looks E-N/E." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says this location “is W/B at Wallace (note address of 556 on building at left and car tracks in Wallace). View looks E-N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6199 is signed for Route 87A. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6199 is signed for Route 87A. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This close-up from the previous image, although not very sharp, does show that this car is a Frazer, a product of the Kaiser-Frazer company, If I had to guess, I would say it's a 1947 model, possibly a Frazer Manhattan. Most of the styling on this car is attributed to "Dutch" Darrin. Kaiser-Frazer was an independent automaker between 1946 and 1954, started by aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser.

This close-up from the previous image, although not very sharp, does show that this car is a Frazer, a product of the Kaiser-Frazer company, If I had to guess, I would say it’s a 1947 model, possibly a Frazer Manhattan. Most of the styling on this car is attributed to “Dutch” Darrin. Kaiser-Frazer was an independent automaker between 1946 and 1954, started by aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser.

CTA one-man car 3224 is at 92nd and Baltimore. That's a bus trailing behind. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 3224 is at 92nd and Baltimore. That’s a bus trailing behind. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman 144, possibly on a late 1950s fantrip. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman 144, possibly on a late 1950s fantrip. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 3219 is at 87th and Escanaba in May 1950, at the end of the line for Route 87A. The operator is changing ends. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 3219 is at 87th and Escanaba in May 1950, at the end of the line for Route 87A. The operator is changing ends. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 3220 is at 67th and Oglesby in June 1952, on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 3220 is at 67th and Oglesby in June 1952, on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6153. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6153. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 7191 is at 81st and Wallace on Route - Clark-Wentworth. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, William Shapotkin collection)

CTA 7191 is at 81st and Wallace on Route – Clark-Wentworth. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, William Shapotkin collection)

CTA Pullman 459 is at Ashland and 27th Street on Route 9 in February 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman 459 is at Ashland and 27th Street on Route 9 in February 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. Michael D. Franklin adds, "This picture shows 6181 heading south on Larrabee St between Crosby St and Kingsbury Street. Building with 'Adams Mfg. Co.' is still standing at 907 N. Larrabee Ave." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5154, signed for Piney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says, "This car is at East end-of-line in 26th east of Lake Park Ave -- note IC catenary in background. View looks N/E." (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5154, signed for Piney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says, “This car is at East end-of-line in 26th east of Lake Park Ave — note IC catenary in background. View looks N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 5278 at 79th and Western in March 1948 on Route 79. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 5278 at 79th and Western in March 1948 on Route 79. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 6224 is at 92nd and Commercial in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 6224 is at 92nd and Commercial in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 6272 is at 89th and Buffalo on Route 93 in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA one-man car 6272 is at 89th and Buffalo on Route 93 in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL one-man car 6213 is at 89th and Avenue O in October 1946, on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL one-man car 6213 is at 89th and Avenue O in October 1946, on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6209 is at 94th on July 2, 1949, running on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6209 is at 94th on July 2, 1949, running on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman 677 is at Pulaski and Bryn Mawr in 1949 on Route 53. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman 677 is at Pulaski and Bryn Mawr in 1949 on Route 53. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Bill Shapotkin writes:

All the pix of a ‘GM&O” passenger train are of the southbound “Plug,” the Chicago-Joliet suburban train. Even after the ICG merger, the train continued to operate with GM&O equipment — and indeed, the loco (do not recall if it was 880-B or not), even got a new GM&O logo stenciled onto its nose. Bi-level equipment arrived (I believe) circa 1977-79, when a second “Plug” was added to the schedule.

A Gulf, Mobile & Ohio passenger train near Chicago's Loop. This slide was process in August 1972, right around the time that the GM&O was merged into the Illinois Central. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A Gulf, Mobile & Ohio passenger train near Chicago’s Loop. This slide was process in August 1972, right around the time that the GM&O was merged into the Illinois Central. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A GM&O diesel in August 1972, near some Penn Central motive power. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A GM&O diesel in August 1972, near some Penn Central motive power. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A diesel loco, still in GM&O colors, on August 15, 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A diesel loco, still in GM&O colors, on August 15, 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A GM&O loco heads up a passenger train in August 1975 and prepares to pass an Amtrak train. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A GM&O loco heads up a passenger train in August 1975 and prepares to pass an Amtrak train. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A Chicago & North Western commuter train near Chicago's Loop in August 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A Chicago & North Western commuter train near Chicago’s Loop in August 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A Chicago & North Western commuter train in Maywood on August 4, 1969. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A Chicago & North Western commuter train in Maywood on August 4, 1969. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA "Fishbowl" bus 1253 at Jefferson Park on June 25, 1978, running on Route 81. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA “Fishbowl” bus 1253 at Jefferson Park on June 25, 1978, running on Route 81. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA "Fishbowl" 1178 leaving Jefferson Park on Route 81 on March 10, 1980. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA “Fishbowl” 1178 leaving Jefferson Park on Route 81 on March 10, 1980. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 6286 is turning from Clark onto Southport in April 2008. This is the north end for Route 9 - Ashland. (John J. Le Beau Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 6286 is turning from Clark onto Southport in April 2008. This is the north end for Route 9 – Ashland. (John J. Le Beau Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 4718 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on September 30, 2016. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 4718 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on September 30, 2016. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5612 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on April 26, 2017. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5612 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on April 26, 2017. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5180 at the Bayshore loop on February 20, 2012, running the Green Line to Mitchell Airport. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5180 at the Bayshore loop on February 20, 2012, running the Green Line to Mitchell Airport. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5174 at the 60th and Vliet loop on May 27, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5174 at the 60th and Vliet loop on May 27, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5129 at 35th and Silver Spring on June 9, 2012, running Route 19. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5129 at 35th and Silver Spring on June 9, 2012, running Route 19. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5162 at the 60th and Vliet loop on February 19, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5162 at the 60th and Vliet loop on February 19, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5137 at the 60th and Vliet loop on March 5, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County Transit System 5137 at the 60th and Vliet loop on March 5, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Railroad Record Club News

From Kenneth Gear:

I just found an interesting RRC document on line. It is a list of all RRC records available at the time of RRC 12 the DM&IR record’s release. I found it on a British vinyl record website but the copy of RRC 12 it came with was already sold. Unfortunately the scan is low res and there wasn’t much I could do to fix it. I color corrected it and sharpened the image. It is readable and contains a little bit of info about the club membership.

Recent Correspondence

Barry Shanoff writes:

I haven’t seen any updates in a while. I hope all is well.

Thanks for writing.

I worked 15 out of 16 days in a row last month as an election judge, and that pretty much wore me out for a while. After that, it took me a couple weeks to get back up to speed.

Meanwhile, I have also been working hard on my next book, now scheduled for publication on October 1st. It’s close to being finished. I am also collecting material for what I hope will be next year’s book.

I have also been collecting lots of new images for the blog (see this post!).  There’s a major article coming soon by Larry Sakar about Milwaukee streetcars, plus lots of images that other people have shared with me, in addition to ones I have purchased.

So although there hasn’t been a post in a while, a lot of work, as always, has been going on behind the scenes.

Charlie Vlk writes:

In case you haven’t come across this site the Indiana Historical Society has photos of 4200s being built and North Shore and South Shore items.

http://images.indianahistory.org/cdm/search/collection/p16797coll21/searchterm/chicago/order/title

There is an excellent film of a North Shore Line wreck filmed on February 24, 1930 at https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A48292

PS- Still looking for photos of the Douglas Park CB&Q / El stations.

Thanks very much for sharing these links!

Thomas Kruse writes, regarding our previous post A Shoebox Full of Dreams (September 21, 2017)

A caregiver for my father sent this to me. My father is the Marvin C. Kruse you cited. A few corrections. My dad just celebrated his 96th birthday a few weeks ago, alive and well. Also he never said he was POW.

I LOVE what you have done with his photos that my brother sold. This is a real benefit for all. Very good memories; Dad enjoyed this blog, too.

Looks like some of the information I dug up applied to a different Marvin C. Kruse. We have corrected the post, thanks. Glad he likes it.

Jack Bejna writes:

Another great post! The time you spend in preparation of these posts has to be enormous and just want you to know that your efforts are appreciated!

More CA&E images to come!

Tony Waller writes:

While I commend you for keeping up the great work, I believe I detected some errors in your photos. In the photo of the Fifth Avenue shuttle’s one-man red car that you said must be 1954 and not the cited 1953. It could well have been 1953. When streetcars were replaced by weekend/holiday buses on Route 20 Madison and Madison/Fifth in March 1952, buses ran on the Fifth Avenue branch only on Saturdays (through to the Loop). One-man red cars instituted the shuttle service on Fifth Avenue on Sundays and major holidays. Following complete bus substitution on the main line of Madison in December 1953, the one-man red car shuttle provided all service (seven days per week) on Fifth Avenue until February 1954 when the branch was discontinued without replacement.

The photo of the IC electric suburban train does not appear to me to be at Halsted (West Pullman) station on the Blue Island branch. I can’t say where it is, however.

The photo of the two wooden “railroad roof” Chicago Rapid Transit cars are not on the Central St., Evanston elevation; but are on the bridge over the nearby North Shore Channel waterway.

The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.

But as I said above, keep up your great work!

Thanks for the corrections. I did already fix the caption for the IC picture, which was the result of the neg envelopes getting switched between two negs. Not sure whether Bob Selle did this, but in any event I purchased one neg and Jeff Wien the other. Once we swap neg envelopes, order will be restored in the universe.

The www.chicagorailfan.com web site gives May 11, 1952 as the date when buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends for Route 20, but did not say anything about the Madison-Fifth branch line still being operated with trolleys as a shuttle until December 13, 1953.  Admittedly, some of this minutiae does get a bit confusing.

However, this is all clarified on page 284 of Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History (Third Edition), where author Alan R. Lind notes:

“CTA substituted buses for the Madison main line cars on weekends only starting May 11, 1952… (regarding the Madison-Fifth branch) On May 11, 1952 it remained a two-man car route on weekdays to downtown, but became a bus route to downtown on Saturdays only, and a one-man shuttle car route on Sundays only.”

One reason Madison-Fifth was eventually discontinued without bus replacement was the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. It was decided to simply truncate Fifth Avenue at the highway and no bridge was built crossing it. Other cutbacks to that street have followed, to the point where today it is perhaps a vestige of what it once was.

The other thing that cinches it is the calendar. February 15, 1953 was a Sunday, when shuttle cars would have been running, while the following year the 15th was a Monday.  Since Bob Selle marked on his neg envelope that this was a Sunday, the 1953 date must be correct after all.

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:

Missed you, wondered where you went. Glad you’re back.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/image616.jpg
Your caption says “signed for route 1 – Cermak.” Cermak was — and still is — route 21, as is displayed on the streetcar’s front sign.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/image742.jpg
The reason the original year given was 1953 is simple — everyone forgets to adjust for a new year until a few months into the new year. I’m sure you have written checks with the prior year’s date.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/image691.jpg
Behind the streetcar you see the tracks and the trolley wires curving to the left. Also, this streetcar is crossing a railroad. Also, the sign indicates the car is westbound to 95th and State. All of this tells me this is the area west of Stony Island Ave. where the 93rd/95th streetcar wiggled through several streets, heading west and south, before crossing the railroad seen in the picture. I also think the person in the front left window of the streetcar is its conductor. When the streetcar approached the railroad crossing, it stopped. The conductor had to get out of the streetcar, walk up to the railroad track, look both ways for trains, and then signal to the motorman if it was okay to cross the railroad tracks. The conductor probably re-boarded the streetcar at the front. He could stay there a while because the next streetcar stop was a fair distance west. By the way, this crossing required a two-man crew, which otherwise would have been only one man because of relatively light patronage on that line. The customers on this particular run were most likely steelworkers heading home.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/image688.jpg
I wondered why there was a Gulf, Mobile and Ohio passenger train in 1972, because most passenger railroads yielded to Amtrak in April 1971 (the only exceptions being the Rock Island, Southern, and Rio Grande). So I guessed this picture has to depict a commuter train. I looked up “GM&O commuter train” in Google, and sure enough, it was GM&O’s only commuter train of the day, called the Plug.

The “2” key on my computer keyboard has been malfunctioning recently, which explains why I typed 1 instead of 21.

Additional research seems to show the 1953 date is correct for image742. See my correspondence with Tony Waller, which I have posted to the main body of the post.

I will post your other corrections later today, thanks! Always great to hear from you.

George Trapp writes:

Great to see your latest post. I do have one small correction on one photo and a couple of observations on another.

The June 22, 1953 view of Tower 18 on the Loop Elevated: The train approaching on the left is an Evanston Express not a Ravenswood. The lead car is a former Northwestern Elevated 1000 series gate car, note left hand cab and trolley poles. The Ravenswood used former South Side gate cars that had been used on the Wilson-Kenwood locals at this time in addition to new 6000’s.. Also, run #509 is an Evanston run number, Ravenswood’s were in the 400’s. Train behind is a Ravenswood at Merchandise Mart with 6131-6200 series cars.

Photo of Air-Door Pullman #528 on State Street bridge running as a Broadway-State tripper on May 18, 1954. Interesting because some of these cars were retained for emergencies after Ashland was converted to bus in Feb., 1954. In your CERA bulletin 146, there’s a photo of a line of them at Devon next to PCC #7195. By May 1954 the Post War PCC fleet was down to 347 cars. One other thing is the former Chicago Motor Coach 1001-1008 series Mack C-50 on the Wabash bridge. Unusual because they were not GM’s CMC’s usual supplier. They were probably purchased at GM’s encouragement because of anti-trust pressure GM was feeling. CMC reverted back to GM for 50 more TDH5103’s delivered four months after the Macks.

It’s great to hear from you; thanks for writing.

Ravenswood was what Bob Selle, the photographer, wrote on his negative envelope, so I went with that. But as we know, no one is infallible, and sometimes what’s written on a neg, slide, or print can turn out to be wrong.

Mr. Selle was a stickler for details, often putting down the day of the week and even the time of day when his pictures were taken, so for him, it’s a rare mistake. I will correct the caption, thanks.

We have written about the last few red cars before, the ones that were kept after May 30, 1954 for emergency use. I am pretty sure we were able to determine which cars they were, and how many.

Adam Platt writes:

Thanks again for the wonderful posts. They keep me up way too late some nights.

You’re welcome!

Wally Weart writes:

A home run, really one of the best so far.

Thanks!!

Glad you like this post.  Again, special thanks to Jeff Wien and Bill Shapotkin for their contributions.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Recent Finds, 10-14-2017

You would be forgiven if you think this is CTA red Pullman 144 heading north on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood. But it is actually car 225 with its number hidden by a piece of red oilcloth. This was a fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt in 1955. He had promised the fans that car 144 would be used. Car 225 was built in 1908 and was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957. I previously wrote a post about this fantrip in 2013.

You would be forgiven if you think this is CTA red Pullman 144 heading north on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. But it is actually car 225 with its number hidden by a piece of red oilcloth. This was a fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt in 1955. He had promised the fans that car 144 would be used. Car 225 was built in 1908 and was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957. I previously wrote a post about this fantrip in 2013.

This close-up of the previous picture shows how the "144" is on an oilcloth patch over the actual number 225.

This close-up of the previous picture shows how the “144” is on an oilcloth patch over the actual number 225.

Today, we are featuring many rare transit photographs that we recently collected. Most are from the Chicagoland area, but some are from Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

What they all have in common is I think they are interesting. I hope that you will agree.

October 17 is the 74th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s first subway. We have included a few subway pictures to help commemorate that historic event.

-David Sadowski

PS- I will be making a personal appearance at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at The Museums at Lisle Station Park in Lisle, IL. This presentation is for my new book Chicago Trolleys, from Arcadia Publishing. You can purchase an autographed copy via our Online Store. We look forward to seeing you there.

Recent Finds

This is a very unusual picture. At first, I thought it might show the ramp at Sacramento on the Garfield Park "L", where the line descended to temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. Then, I noticed that this is single track. This makes it the loop at the west end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue, as it was configured in 1953 to allow the CA&E (not seen here) to pass underneath. There are lots of pictures showing this ramp taken from the ground. But to take this picture, the photographer either had to be in another railcar, or was standing on the walkway. At left, you can see the Altenhiem building, described in the next picture. The DesPlaines Avenue yard was reconfigured again in 1959 and this ramp was eliminated. We previously posted another picture of this crossover here.

This is a very unusual picture. At first, I thought it might show the ramp at Sacramento on the Garfield Park “L”, where the line descended to temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. Then, I noticed that this is single track. This makes it the loop at the west end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue, as it was configured in 1953 to allow the CA&E (not seen here) to pass underneath. There are lots of pictures showing this ramp taken from the ground. But to take this picture, the photographer either had to be in another railcar, or was standing on the walkway. At left, you can see the Altenhiem building, described in the next picture. The DesPlaines Avenue yard was reconfigured again in 1959 and this ramp was eliminated. We previously posted another picture of this crossover here.

Altenhiem, described here as an "old people's home," is still in business today.

Altenhiem, described here as an “old people’s home,” is still in business today.

Once CA&E trains were cut back to Forest Park in September 1953, joint timetables were issued for the benefit of passengers who wanted to continue to the Loop. These schedules were changed several times over the nearly four years before the CA&E abandoned passenger service. This is the 14th, and perhaps last such timetable. Over time, I assume there were fewer CA&E trains as ridership was declining. We previously posted timetable #7 here.

Once CA&E trains were cut back to Forest Park in September 1953, joint timetables were issued for the benefit of passengers who wanted to continue to the Loop. These schedules were changed several times over the nearly four years before the CA&E abandoned passenger service. This is the 14th, and perhaps last such timetable. Over time, I assume there were fewer CA&E trains as ridership was declining. We previously posted timetable #7 here.

WORK ON CHICAGO'S SUBWAY STARTED Chicago, Ill.: Above photo shows crowd on North State Street at Chicago Avenue during ceremonies marking the start of work on the new subway, which will run under State Street. Mayor Edward Kelly and Secy. of the Interior Harold Ickes used pneumatic spades to start the project. (Acme Press Photo, December 17, 1938)

WORK ON CHICAGO’S SUBWAY STARTED
Chicago, Ill.: Above photo shows crowd on North State Street at Chicago Avenue during ceremonies marking the start of work on the new subway, which will run under State Street. Mayor Edward Kelly and Secy. of the Interior Harold Ickes used pneumatic spades to start the project. (Acme Press Photo, December 17, 1938)

STREET CARS CRASH IN TUNNEL; 7 INJURED Chicago - Its brakes failing to hold as it attempted up-grade run in Chicago street car tunnel, trolley at left slid backward down incline, crashed into front end of following car. Seven passengers were taken to hospital, 100 others shaken up. (Acme Press Photo, November 6, 1941)

STREET CARS CRASH IN TUNNEL; 7 INJURED
Chicago – Its brakes failing to hold as it attempted up-grade run in Chicago street car tunnel, trolley at left slid backward down incline, crashed into front end of following car. Seven passengers were taken to hospital, 100 others shaken up. (Acme Press Photo, November 6, 1941)

AT LAST -- THE CHICAGO SUBWAY All-steel cars from the elevated lines enter the tubes on the north side near Armitage and Sheffield Avenues, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Loop. Overhead is the existing elevated structure still used by local trains. Hard rubber plates have been placed between the ties and the steel rails to cushion the subway ride. (Acme Press Photo, October 21, 1943)

AT LAST — THE CHICAGO SUBWAY
All-steel cars from the elevated lines enter the tubes on the north side near Armitage and Sheffield Avenues, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Loop. Overhead is the existing elevated structure still used by local trains. Hard rubber plates have been placed between the ties and the steel rails to cushion the subway ride. (Acme Press Photo, October 21, 1943)

NO AN ART GALLERY--BUT PART OF MOSCOW'S SUBWAY LINE Moscow, Russia-- Beautiful inverted bowls throw light to the paneled ceiling of this archway part of the lighting system of the Sokolniki station of Moscow's new subway. Indirect light is used in many parts of the system. The subway, thrown open to the public amidst scenes of great jubilation, is called the "Metro." All Moscow went joy riding on opening day. (Acme Press Photo, May 17, 1935) What interested me about his photo was how the general configuration looks a lot like the Chicago subway, which was built a few years later. Is it possible that the design was influenced by Moscow's?

NO AN ART GALLERY–BUT PART OF MOSCOW’S SUBWAY LINE
Moscow, Russia– Beautiful inverted bowls throw light to the paneled ceiling of this archway part of the lighting system of the Sokolniki station of Moscow’s new subway. Indirect light is used in many parts of the system. The subway, thrown open to the public amidst scenes of great jubilation, is called the “Metro.” All Moscow went joy riding on opening day. (Acme Press Photo, May 17, 1935) What interested me about his photo was how the general configuration looks a lot like the Chicago subway, which was built a few years later. Is it possible that the design was influenced by Moscow’s?

The interior of DC Transit car 766, during an October 8, 1961 fantrip just a few months before Washington's streetcar system was abandoned. This car is now preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum as Capital Traction Company 27 (its original umber). We have an excellent CD featuring audio recordings of 766 in operation in Washington, DC in our Online Store.

The interior of DC Transit car 766, during an October 8, 1961 fantrip just a few months before Washington’s streetcar system was abandoned. This car is now preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum as Capital Traction Company 27 (its original umber). We have an excellent CD featuring audio recordings of 766 in operation in Washington, DC in our Online Store.

This picture was taken on the Wells leg of Chicago's Loop on April 16, 1926. If this is Quincy and Wells, the scaffolding at left may be related to work being done on the nearby Wells Street Terminal, which started at this time. The terminal got a new facade and was expanded, reopening on August 27, 1927.

This picture was taken on the Wells leg of Chicago’s Loop on April 16, 1926. If this is Quincy and Wells, the scaffolding at left may be related to work being done on the nearby Wells Street Terminal, which started at this time. The terminal got a new facade and was expanded, reopening on August 27, 1927.

This picture shows the old Wells Street bridge, carrying the "L" across the Chicago River as it heads north-south in the early 1900s.

This picture shows the old Wells Street bridge, carrying the “L” across the Chicago River as it heads north-south in the early 1900s.

This is Racine Avenue on the Metropolitan "L" main line. The autos below the "L" would suggest this picture was taken in the 1940s.

This is Racine Avenue on the Metropolitan “L” main line. The autos below the “L” would suggest this picture was taken in the 1940s.

"L" trains at the north State Street subway portal, probably in the 1940s.

“L” trains at the north State Street subway portal, probably in the 1940s.

The view looking north from the Howard "L" station. We ran a very similar picture to this in a previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016), where George Trapp suggested in was taken in the late 1920s or 1930s. This photo is dated December 17, 1930.

The view looking north from the Howard “L” station. We ran a very similar picture to this in a previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016), where George Trapp suggested in was taken in the late 1920s or 1930s. This photo is dated December 17, 1930.

Michael Franklin has identified this picture as showing the Armour station on the Stock Yards branch. He notes, "(the) clue was a station on one side but not one on the other." See below for another view of the same station.

Michael Franklin has identified this picture as showing the Armour station on the Stock Yards branch. He notes, “(the) clue was a station on one side but not one on the other.” See below for another view of the same station.

The above image is from Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, and looks to the northeast. The original www.chicago-l.org caption reads:

Looking north on September 28, 1957, ex-Metropolitan Elevated car 2906 has left Armour station (seen at right) and it about to rejoin the Stock Yards main line to head east to its terminal at Indiana. The Sock Yards branch is only a week away from abandonment at this time. (Photo from the IRM Collection, courtesy of Peter Vesic)

This picture was taken on the Evanston branch of the "L", and the wooden "L" car is signed "Howard Only," which suggests this was taken during the CTA era. Previously, all Evanston trains continued south into the city. The nearby curve would indicate that this picture was taken just north of Howard, and may show the viaduct where the line crossed Chicago Avenue, which is a continuation of Clark Street.

This picture was taken on the Evanston branch of the “L”, and the wooden “L” car is signed “Howard Only,” which suggests this was taken during the CTA era. Previously, all Evanston trains continued south into the city. The nearby curve would indicate that this picture was taken just north of Howard, and may show the viaduct where the line crossed Chicago Avenue, which is a continuation of Clark Street.

This picture is identified as showing Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, and probably dates to the early 1900s.

This picture is identified as showing Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, and probably dates to the early 1900s.

Here, we have a westbound train of wooden Met cars at Laramie on the old Garfield Park line. This was replaced by the Congress line in 1958.

Here, we have a westbound train of wooden Met cars at Laramie on the old Garfield Park line. This was replaced by the Congress line in 1958.

Chicago Surface Lines 2779 at Cicero and Montrose in 1934. This was the north end of the Cicero Avenue line. This car is part of a series known as "Robertson Rebuilds," and was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1903. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines 2779 at Cicero and Montrose in 1934. This was the north end of the Cicero Avenue line. This car is part of a series known as “Robertson Rebuilds,” and was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1903. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 970 on Waveland between Broadway and Halsted in 1936. This was the north end of the Halsted line. 970 was part of a series known as the "little" Pullmans, since they were slightly shorter than cars 101-750. It was built in 1910. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 970 on Waveland between Broadway and Halsted in 1936. This was the north end of the Halsted line. 970 was part of a series known as the “little” Pullmans, since they were slightly shorter than cars 101-750. It was built in 1910. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL experimental pre-PCC car 7001 is shown heading south on Clark Street at North Avenue, across the street from the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum). This picture was probably taken in the 1930s. 7001 went into service in 1934 and was repainted in 1941 before being retired around 1944. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL experimental pre-PCC car 7001 is shown heading south on Clark Street at North Avenue, across the street from the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum). This picture was probably taken in the 1930s. 7001 went into service in 1934 and was repainted in 1941 before being retired around 1944. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The view looking east at Lake Street and Ridgeland, when the Lake Street "L" ran on the ground. Many years ago, the Rapid Transit Company put advertisements on the steps leading into such ground-level stations. The "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture may be circa 1930.

The view looking east at Lake Street and Ridgeland, when the Lake Street “L” ran on the ground. Many years ago, the Rapid Transit Company put advertisements on the steps leading into such ground-level stations. The “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture may be circa 1930.

The north end of the Merchandise Mart "L" station. This has since been rebuilt and the curved area of the platform has been eliminated.

The north end of the Merchandise Mart “L” station. This has since been rebuilt and the curved area of the platform has been eliminated.

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new "L" structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new “L” structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

Oakton Street in Skokie on December 11, 1931. The tracks with overhead wire were used by the North Shore Line and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company's Niles Center branch. Both were running on the NSL's Skokie Valley Route, built in 1925. The other set of tracks belong to the Chicago & North Western and were used for freight.

Oakton Street in Skokie on December 11, 1931. The tracks with overhead wire were used by the North Shore Line and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company’s Niles Center branch. Both were running on the NSL’s Skokie Valley Route, built in 1925. The other set of tracks belong to the Chicago & North Western and were used for freight.

CSL 2601 was a Robertson Rebuild car built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. In this wintry scene, it is signed for the 111th Street route, presumably in the 1940s. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2601 was a Robertson Rebuild car built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. In this wintry scene, it is signed for the 111th Street route, presumably in the 1940s. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here is an unusual view. This shows the ramp taking the Garfield Park "L" down to grade level between Cicero Avenue and Laramie. It must be an early picture, since the area around the "L" seems largely unbuilt. The Laramie Yard would be to the right just out of view. This "L" was torn down shortly after the CTA opened the Congress line in 1958.

Here is an unusual view. This shows the ramp taking the Garfield Park “L” down to grade level between Cicero Avenue and Laramie. It must be an early picture, since the area around the “L” seems largely unbuilt. The Laramie Yard would be to the right just out of view. This “L” was torn down shortly after the CTA opened the Congress line in 1958.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side "L". Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side “L”. Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

Here. a wooden "L" car train descends the ramp near Laramie on the Lake Street "L". This must be an early photo, as it looks like Lake Street is unpaved. Streetcar service was extended west to Harlem Avenue here by the Cicero & Proviso in 1891. Chicago Railways took over the city portion in 1910. Service west of Austin Boulevard was provided by the West Towns Railways.

Here. a wooden “L” car train descends the ramp near Laramie on the Lake Street “L”. This must be an early photo, as it looks like Lake Street is unpaved. Streetcar service was extended west to Harlem Avenue here by the Cicero & Proviso in 1891. Chicago Railways took over the city portion in 1910. Service west of Austin Boulevard was provided by the West Towns Railways.

Wooden gate car 3105 and train in the Loop. This was originally built for the Lake Street "L". Don's Rail Photos says, "3103 thru 3118 were built by McGuire-Cummings in 1893 as LSERR 103 thru 118. In 1913 they were renumbered 3103 thru 3118 and became CRT 3103 thru 3118 in 1923."

Wooden gate car 3105 and train in the Loop. This was originally built for the Lake Street “L”. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3103 thru 3118 were built by McGuire-Cummings in 1893 as LSERR 103 thru 118. In 1913 they were renumbered 3103 thru 3118 and became CRT 3103 thru 3118 in 1923.”

The view looking west along the Douglas Park "L" at 49th Avenue in Cicero on February 4, 1944. The station we see in the background is 50th Avenue. After it closed in 1978, this station was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where it is used to board the museum's fleet of retired "L" cars.

The view looking west along the Douglas Park “L” at 49th Avenue in Cicero on February 4, 1944. The station we see in the background is 50th Avenue. After it closed in 1978, this station was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where it is used to board the museum’s fleet of retired “L” cars.

Here, we are looking south from Garfield (55th Street) on the South Side "L".

Here, we are looking south from Garfield (55th Street) on the South Side “L”.

61st Street on the South Side "L", looking north on November 13, 1944.

61st Street on the South Side “L”, looking north on November 13, 1944.

Photos of the old Humboldt Park "L" branch are quite rare. This photo looks west from Western Avenue on January 26, 1931. This branch closed in 1952, although portions of the structure remained into the early 1960s.

Photos of the old Humboldt Park “L” branch are quite rare. This photo looks west from Western Avenue on January 26, 1931. This branch closed in 1952, although portions of the structure remained into the early 1960s.

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop "L". The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, "The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side."

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop “L”. The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, “The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side.”

North Shore Line 156 and several others at Waukegan in December 1962. Since there are about a dozen cars visible, they are being stored on a siding which you will note is outside the area of the catenary. (George Niles, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line 156 and several others at Waukegan in December 1962. Since there are about a dozen cars visible, they are being stored on a siding which you will note is outside the area of the catenary. (George Niles, Jr. Photo)

This shows TMER&T 1121 running on a 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line at the Kenosha station. We ran a similar picture in our previous post Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015).

This shows TMER&T 1121 running on a 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line at the Kenosha station. We ran a similar picture in our previous post Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015).

Speedrail car 60 at the Waukesha Quarry, date unknown but circa 1949-51.

Speedrail car 60 at the Waukesha Quarry, date unknown but circa 1949-51.


Larry Sakar
writes:

The photo of Speedrail car 60 in your latest postings at the Waukesha Gravel pit was taken on 10-16-49. The occasion was the inaugural fan trip using a 60-series curved side car. It was sponsored by the short lived Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association and was run by Milwaukeean James P. Harper who authored CERA Bulletin 97, “The Electric Railways of Wisconsin” published in 1952.

At the start of the private right-of-way at 8th St., the motors on the rear truck began having problems. At Waukesha, the car pulled onto one of the 2 side tracks leading back into the gravel pit. George Krambles accessed the rear trucks via a panel in the floor and disconnected the motor leads to the troublesome rear trucks. From that point forward the car ran on only 2 motors for the remainder of the fan trip. Car 65 had been the car originally intended to do the trip, but it was down with mechanical problems of its own. This caused the trip to be postponed for a week and the substitution of car 60.

When the car pulled into gravel pit siding one of the fans on board remarked, “Wow, look at this. They’ve got it in the scrap line already!”.

In addition to George Krambles, Al Kalmbach was on the trip, as was well-known railfan and photographer Barney Neuberger. He can be seen siting in about the 4th row of the car on the left side wearing a pork pie hat.

I’ve attached a few items related to that fan trip including a photo of Jay Maeder walking alongside car 60. This was taken at the first photo stop which was 44th St. where Milwaukee County Stadium would be built starting a year later. Car 60 was doing a photo run-by by backing down the line. The fans formed a photo line facing the car.

Philadelphia Stories

Philadelphia Peter Witt 8534 in July 1996. Don's Rail Photos: "8534 was built by Brill Car in 1926, #22353." It is part of the Electric City Trolley Museum collection in Scranton, PA. Here, it is shown in Philadelphia, during the time it was leased to SEPTA for trolley tours.

Philadelphia Peter Witt 8534 in July 1996. Don’s Rail Photos: “8534 was built by Brill Car in 1926, #22353.” It is part of the Electric City Trolley Museum collection in Scranton, PA. Here, it is shown in Philadelphia, during the time it was leased to SEPTA for trolley tours.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 on a fantrip in August 1996. Apparently 8534 has broken down and is being towed.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 on a fantrip in August 1996. Apparently 8534 has broken down and is being towed.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 in August 1996.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 in August 1996.

Three generations of Philadelphia streetcars in May 1999.

Three generations of Philadelphia streetcars in May 1999.

2785 in November 2002.

2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002, with a commuter train nearby. Kenneth Achtert writes, "The shot of SEPTA #2785 with the commuter train that you presumed to be in Chestnut Hill is actually approaching 11th and Susquehanna,southbound, a cut-back location for which the car is signed in the picture. The commuter train would be inbound toward Center City."

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002, with a commuter train nearby. Kenneth Achtert writes, “The shot of SEPTA #2785 with the commuter train that you presumed to be in Chestnut Hill is actually approaching 11th and Susquehanna,southbound, a cut-back location for which the car is signed in the picture. The commuter train would be inbound toward Center City.”

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA PCC 2785 on the truncated route 23 in November 2002.

SEPTA PCC 2785 on the truncated route 23 in November 2002.

8534 in August 1996. Kenneth Achtert: "The view of #8534 being “manually switched” three photos later shows 8534 being coupled to its leader (2750) after apparently becoming disabled. Several of your other photos show the subsequent towing operation."

8534 in August 1996. Kenneth Achtert: “The view of #8534 being “manually switched” three photos later shows 8534 being coupled to its leader (2750) after apparently becoming disabled. Several of your other photos show the subsequent towing operation.”

The fantrip train is having trouble clearing this auto in August 1996.

The fantrip train is having trouble clearing this auto in August 1996.

Looks like an attempt was made to move the offending car out of the way. August 1996.

Looks like an attempt was made to move the offending car out of the way. August 1996.

Recent Correspondence

Kenneth Gear writes:

Look who is in the new HISTORIC RAIL & ROADS catalog!

Thanks!

In case you missed it, here is Kenneth Gear’s review of the book:

I just finished reading your book and I enjoyed it very much. Good, clear, concise, and informative writing.

I must compliment you on the choice and presentation of the photographs. It is obvious that you spent much time and effort to present these wonderful photos as perfectly restored as possible.

So many times the authors of books that are primarily “picture books” seem to have a complete disregard for the condition of the photos reproduced. I’ve often seen photos that are yellowed with age, water stained, ripped, folded, and scratched. Other times a book might contain photos that are not properly exposed, are crooked, out of focus, or the composition could have been easily corrected with a little cropping.

The photos in your book are absolutely fantastic! They are pristine, sharp, and have absolutely no blemishes at all. You also packed a lot of information into the captions as well. It’s a fine book and you should be proud, as I’m sure you are, to have your name on the cover.

Another reader writes:

Your book arrived and it is JUST AWESOME. I am completely taken by some of the imagery, and of course enjoy the way you seem to simplify historical writing. VERY nice work!! THANK YOU!!!

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The 63rd Street Rumble

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, none ran in regular service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, none ran in regular service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Recent Correspondence

Anthony Waller writes:

Re: The possible role played by the Sedans in the termination of Chicago streetcar operations

I was only seven when the Chicago streetcars quit, but I still have memories of riding them. Best of all was a 1957 excursion with my mother to Lincoln Park Zoo from 81st & Halsted. We came home via the 151 bus and the Rock Island commuter train, however.

While looking through the numerous Trolley Dodger photo sets, I came across one with several recently rebuilt and repainted Chicago “Sedan” cars sitting, apparently, at South Shops. Years ago I came across material whose source I can’t recall. It seemed to show that there was a battle within CTA between pro and anti-streetcar forces. I don’t know if you will have any of this material, but I’ll tell you here what I recall of it. I was reminded of it when I saw that photo of the Sedans rebuilt for one-man operations and painted Everglade green and cream.

The first point was the fact that some of the original CTA bond money went for new equipment for CSL in lieu of cash. This was for the 600 PCC cars and the simultaneous order of new motor and trolley buses. The thought that was expressed in my long-forgotten source was that CSL personnel moving into positions at CTA (remember this was pre-McCarter) were convinced that there was a future for streetcars to such an extent that they were confident that the entire rapid transit system could be replaced by fast-accelerating PCCs. Hence, very little new equipment for the Chicago Rapid Transit company was purchased with the bond money (only the four experimental articulated trainsets). The pro-streetcar people were proposing the “Social Good” of getting rid of the noisy, unsightly, blight-inducing elevated structure. That view of elevated structure was commonly held at the time.

The second point is more indicative of a battle within the CTA bureaucracy between McCarter and the pro-streetcar personnel. The source had stated that in addition to pre-and post-war PCCs, the Peter Witt cars or ”Sedans” as they were called in Chicago, also would have remained in service at least somewhat longer than all the pre-1929 red streetcars. They were shifted from Clark-Wentworth and Madison to Cottage Grove-Pullman when the first batch of post-war PCCs arrived (In James Johnson’s CSL book, there is a photo of one on Cottage Grove/South Chicago.).

The Sedans had leather seats inside, and much faster acceleration than the older red streetcars. Their only difference from PCCs was their noisier operation. The caption for the map on page 38 of the CERA book is in error, as there was no plan to put PCCs on Cottage Grove at that time (1950). The Sedans were regarded by CTA at the time as modern streetcars, having two of the three characteristics of a modern streetcar.

This source stated that it was a battle over the Sedans that held the fate of of Chicago’s streetcars! The conversion of the pre-war PCCs (and a few post-war cars) to one-man operation was a step embraced by the pro-streetcar people to reduce operating costs. Eventually, all of the post-war PCCs would have been rebuilt, as part of the program proposed by the Deleuw Cather consultant study.

However, the Sedans were included in the program by the pro-streetcar elements. They were to be assigned to 63rd St., which was being operated by old red streetcars after the pre-war PCCs were taken off to be rebuilt for one-man service. Reportedly there were howls from the community, first by the return of the old red cars after several years of modern service, and then seeing their PCCs assigned to Cottage Grove.

The conversion work on the Sedans began after they were replaced on Cottage Grove by the pre-war PCCs in May 1952. The caption on the photo said that 25 were so completed. The rebuild program halted after 25 or so had been so altered (the hand of McCarter?). Meanwhile the howls from the community along 63rd St. continued. Finally, CTA proposed a meeting with the 63rd St. businessmen’s group where they could vote on alternatives. The meeting was held in October of 1952.

Two Sedans thoroughly rebuilt on the interior, set up for one man operation, with additional seats replacing the conductor’s position and two of the center doors, and painted in CTA’s new darker Everglade green and cream color scheme were used to gather up all the members of the businessmen’s group in a special charter move. One car started at the east end of the route (Stony Island Ave.) and one from the west (Narragansett Ave.); picking up the business owners and bringing them to a private banquet hall centrally located along 63rd St. (Western Ave. is the central point, but it may have been in the then-busy 63rd & Halsted shopping district.)

At the luncheon meeting, the businessmen were offered the alternative of rebuilt Sedans similar to what they had ridden, or buses. PCCs were off the table. The businessmen voted for buses. No doubt Walter McCarter trumpeted the vote as a victory for his point of view.

The result of that October 1952 meeting was felt within CTA immediately. Two post-war PCCs were sent to Pullman and St. Louis Car Co. respectively; to determine if they could be directly rebuilt into rapid transit cars. An internal staff study at CTA commenced about the future of Chicago streetcars. Released in January 1953, it stated that street congestion was hampering streetcar operations and that buses replace them all as fast as possible. The 1,000 bus order was placed with Flexible for propane buses, and the back-up plan to use parts salvaged from the post-war PCCs for building new rapid transit cars was developed.

As for the Sedans? The 25 rebuilt for one-man operation never ran a mile in revenue service. Amazingly, some of the non-rebuilt cars were taken out of their five-month storage and placed in service on 63rd St.; running alongside Red Pullmans and a few post-war PCCs diverted from Western Ave. after peak periods (with buses taking over on weekends and holidays). They were used there until full bus service on the route began in May, 1953.

Any thoughts?


Thank you for your very interesting and detailed query. I actually have a lot of thoughts, and will try to respond point-by-point. There are things you say that I agree with, some I disagree with, and others that cannot be proven definitively one way or the other.

The map you refer to in CERA B-146, in the “key,” states correctly that Cottage Grove did not get PCCs until 1952. We wanted to choose a date that would still show a lot of the red car lines, so we chose 1950 as being representative with that caveat. However, as it turns out, the map shown is accurate as of early December 1949 and not 1950. It is a color-coded version of one found in the 1949 CTA Annual Report.

A Note on Source Documents

I did some additional research to check the facts, in order to establish a timeline for events. I studied contemporary newspaper articles and Chicago Transit Board minutes, and then compared these to various photographs from the period.

Having been on some boards myself over the years, I realize that there is a lot that does not appear in such minutes. In general, board minutes cover resolutions, and, if there are dissenting voices, may or may not document some of the discussion.

In the case of the CTA, much went on behind the scenes. Boards, generally speaking, set the policy and direction that management puts into practice. Oftentimes, the board was considering motions in light of management recommendations that are not always detailed in these minutes.

In particular, there is a reference to a CTA Five Year Plan that most likely covered the years 1953 through 1957. It is implied that this was something developed by General Manager Walter J. McCarter. It would be very interesting and informative to read this document, but I have not found a source for it at the present time.

If there were disagreements, these were almost always worked out behind the scenes. Most votes by the Chicago Transit Board in this era were unanimous. Even the most contentious issues CTA dealt with at these board meetings were generally resolved by a unanimous vote, although some members offered reservations before doing so.

There are two such instances from the 1950s that come to mind. First, there was the very controversial and much criticized CTA purchase of the Chicago Motor Coach Company assets in October 1952. Then, there was the rather rushed decision to cut the Broadway-State streetcar line in half in 1955 and substitute buses for the southern portion.

Now, it may be that the change in Broadway-State was rushed through intentionally, in order to stifle potential opposition. Board Chairman Virgil Gunlock stated that the employee “pick” for the revised route had already been made. A City of Chicago spokesman said that they had not been given enough time to properly study the issue.

Since Gunlock estimated that as many as 5,000 riders would have to transfer daily as a result of the elimination of the through-route, some board members were uneasy about the change. In fact, some claimed not to know very much about the so-called “PCC Conversion Program” that made the change necessary.

In 1960, there was an even more contentious internal debate on the CTA board regarding the relative merits of propane buses versus diesel. This actually spilled out into the public, as board members took sides. Although the cost differences between these types of fuels were small, CTA ultimately decided to abandon propane, and began purchasing “New Look” GM diesel buses.

Purchase of Postwar Cars

The Chicago Transit Authority was created in 1945 by an act of the Illinois legislature, and passage of a referendum. Although the CTA did not purchase the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company until October 1, 1947, the fledgling Chicago Transit Board felt that it had been given a mandate to hit the ground running and make transit improvements immediately.

Therefore, the period from June 1945 through September 1947 can best be considered a transition period between private and public ownership. I have seen references to a CTA-CSL “joint operating committee,” and for all I know, there may have been one for CRT as well.

CSL management knew that a purchase was inevitable and thus cooperated with the CTA and the courts (they were under bankruptcy protection) to coordinate their efforts.

While the 600 postwar PCC streetcars were technically ordered by CSL, with judicial approval, it and other 1945-47 equipment purchases were “stage managed” by the CTA. Over the years, CSL had accumulated a large modernization fund, and the Chicago Transit Authority wanted to put it to use immediately. The CTA assured CSL that such purchases would have no effect on the buyout price ($75m) eventually paid. (In other words, the new cars were counted as assets for the purposes of the CTA buyout.)

In the mid-1950s, CTA board member Werner W, Schroeder, in his 12-chapter Metropolitan Transit Research Study, pointed out that the actual purchase price was far less than $75m, because it included $30m in cash (or the equivalent) that CSL had. It was some of this cash that was used to leverage the purchase of 600 postwar PCC streetcars that were delivered in 1946-48. (This cash amount had been reduced to about $25m by the October 1, 1947 takeover.)

Although the rapid transit system had needs of its own that were as great, or even greater than CSL’s, they were a financial basket case by 1945 and thus could not afford to buy large numbers of new all-steel rapid transit cars. As it was, four sets of articulated cars were ordered (the equivalent of about eight individual cars) at a cost of about $100,000.

While the PCC streetcar had been around for nearly a decade when the postwar order was made in November 1945, and specifications for the Chicago cars had been finalized in 1941 (and delayed by the defense buildup to WWII), the situation was different with regard to rapid transit cars.

By 1945, the only rapid transit cars that used PCC technology were the six sets of “Bluebird” compartment cars for the BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit), circa 1939-40. And while these were the “state of the art” for their time, once the BMT came under municipal ownership in 1940, the order was truncated and the cars were never utilized to their full potential on the New York system. They quickly became orphans.

Since there was no standardized PCC rapid transit car available, it is just as well that the Chicago order was limited to a small number of experimental cars. As it was, the CTA’s experience with these cars led to numerous improvements (including a change from articulated cars to “married pairs”) that were incorporated into the 6000s that were first ordered in 1948.

CTA Management

Various civic groups in Chicago had been pushing for a unified transit system since the World War I era. Although transit was provided by private companies, which by the 1920s included the Chicago Motor Coach Company, there was substantial involvement by the City of Chicago. The City and CSL jointly ran the Board of Supervising Engineers, Chicago Traction. During the 1930s the BoSE was very much involved in the development of the PCC streetcar.

The Chicago City Council passed a transit unification ordinance in 1930, and work nearly began on the State Street subway at this time, but this and other attempts to form a new private company (to be called the Chicago Local Transportation Co., and later the Chicago Transit Co.) were stillborn. Once it became clear that the Illinois Commerce Commission would not approve such an arrangement, since it did not make financial sense, the City decided that municipal ownership was the choice of last result in 1943.

Once the CTA became a reality in 1945, Philip Harrington, principal author of the 1937 “Green Book” plan to improve Chicago’s transportation system, became the first chairman. At first, the CTA was an offshoot of the city’s Department of Subways and Superhighways, and rented office space from them.

When the takeover finally did become a reality on October 1, 1947, the CTA had its own bureaucracy and management in place. It wasn’t simply a matter of using the existing CSL and CRT management.

As this was municipal ownership, the CTA’s interests were, in the beginning, pretty much the City of Chicago’s interests. The City Council was, for a time, micro-managing transit, voting on ordinances for things like converting a streetcar line to bus.

Things changed over time, with the CTA flexing its muscles and taking on more of an independent role. Eventually, local politicians found they could adopt a sort of “good cop, bad cop” stance towards the CTA, taking credit for themselves when things went right, and blaming the authority when things went wrong.

Mayor Martin H. Kennelly‘s response to the CTA’s impending purchase of the Chicago Motor Coach Company assets in 1952 is instructive. Privately, Kennelly is said to have supported the buyout. But he feared the GOP would try to use it against the Democrats in the upcoming elections, so he wrote a highly critical letter to the CTA just before the takeover became official, suggesting they were paying too much. Of course, the letter was widely reported in the newspapers, but came much too late to have any effect in stopping the sale.

The CTA hired Walter J. McCarter to be their first general manager on June 27, 1947, a few months prior to the operations takeover. He had been general manager of the Cleveland streetcar system when it became publicly owned in 1942. A 1947 Chicago Tribune article said he had been hired here because of his success in “rubberizing” the Cleveland system. In the same article. McCarter stated his opposition to any additional streetcar purchases.

This was at a time when only about 1/3rd of the 600-car order had been delivered.

Much of the CTA’s original Modernization Program originated years earlier. As far back as 1930, it anticipated buying 1000 new streetcars and 1000 new rapid transit cars. By the early 1940s, this amount was reduced to 800 streetcars, which is the number used in the 1947 CTA Modernization Plan. 600 cars were delivered in 1946-48 and an additional 200 were supposed to be purchased a few years later.

The same CTA 10-year plan, which covered the years 1946 through 1955, called for continual conversions of streetcar lines to bus, so that by 1955 only three PCC lines would still be operating. Presumably, even these were to be phased out eventually. For purposes of depreciation, the CTA assumed that streetcars had a 20-year useful life. Even without the PCC Conversion Program, this time would have been up by 1966-68.

The wholesale scrapping of PCCs speeded up the trolleys’ demise by about 8-10 years.  But many American cities have gotten way more than 20 years of life out of their PCCs, and some are still in daily use.

The CTA’s First Five Years

As I mentioned, the CTA’s Modernization Program had largely been developed some years before it was implemented. Meanwhile, due to the Great Depression and the war years, there was a lot of pent-up need for change in the system.

If not for these factors, it is likely that Chicago’s transition from streetcars to buses would have been more gradual than what did take place. But these types of changes were already occurring and had started as far back as 1930, when the Surface Lines established several successful new lines in Chicago’s northwest side using trolley buses.

At first, the CSL said these lines would eventually be converted to streetcars, but this never happened.

During the years 1947-52 the CTA attempted to put the Modernization Program into effect, and this included the 600 new PCC streetcars. However, with the end of the war, certain trends started to take place that would undermine their use here.

Surface system ridership declined as automakers began producing new cars in large quantities. The five-day workweek became standard, which reduced weekend ridership, as did increased automobile use.

The CTA was under a lot of pressure to increase wages, and fares doubled during the first five years, which further depressed ridership. One of the main ways that CTA tried to keep expenses down in this period was by reducing the number of employees.

This was largely done by replacing two-man streetcars with one-man buses. It is a process that was largely completed in 1954, when the last red streetcar ran. At that point, CTA estimated that there were no more such savings to be had– by then, some PCCs had already been converted to one-man, and the two-man cars were on the busiest lines, where they were still advantageous.

CTA estimated that it took 1.5 buses to replace each streetcar. The 600 postwar PCCs were eventually replaced by 900 buses, but as funds were tight, CTA ended up leasing 100 of these instead of outright purchase.

When a two-man streetcar was replaced by 1 1/2 buses, that was a labor savings, but when a one-man car was replaced by bus, that was a labor loss. In many cases, CTA could profitably replace streetcars with buses on the weekends, as they had surplus buses available then, and ridership was much reduced. The PCCs, with their higher capacity, were not needed as much.

The 1951 Consultant’s Report

In 1951, CTA retained the respected consulting firm of DeLeuw, Cather & Company to do a thorough review of the entire agency and its operations. Among their recommendations were the conversion of all PCC streetcars to one-man operation, and their indefinite retention.

On the other hand, the report argued against purchasing any additional electric vehicles, due to the high cost of electric power. According to documents associated with the 1952 CTA $23m bond sale, most of which went to purchase the Motor Coach, Commonwealth Edison had increased the cost of electricity by about 35% between 1948 and 1952.

During this same period, the CTA enthusiastically embraced propane as a very cheap fuel for buses. Many streetcar lines were replaced by propane buses, but their performance was poor and the buses were very much under-powered.

CTA ordered 349 trolley buses in 1951, the largest single order of its kind at the time, but those were the last such buses ordered. The trolley bus system began to be phased out starting in 1959 and the final such bus ran in 1973.

By October 1, 1951 CTA had purchased 551 propane buses, the largest fleet in the nation.

One-Man Conversions

In line with the 1951 consultant’s report, CTA began converting streetcars to one-man. The Chicago Transit Board authorized conversions of potentially all 683 PCCs and the 100 1929 Sedans in early 1952, although the actual numbers of cars converted was actually much less than this.

In early 1952, the CTA proposed converting both the Cottage Grove and 63rd Street car lines to one-man. The City of Chicago requested that public hearings be held. This is most likely due to the influence of 13th ward Alderman John E. Egan, whose territory covered a large part of route 63 (the entire portion west of Kedzie). He appears to have mobilized the business community against the conversion on the grounds that it would be ponderously slow and unsafe.

The Chicago Tribune reported on February 7 and 8 on community opposition to one-man PCCs on 63rd Street. In spite of this, CTA GM McCarter stated in the March 4th Trib that they still intended to convert both lines. He also said that about 110 cars would be needed, which works out to the 83 prewar PCCs and 25 of the 100 1929 Sedans. (Andre Kristopans has done some research, which you can read in the Comments section of this post, indicating this was the number of cars needed on Cottage Grove only.)

Similar opposition does not seem to have materialized along the Cottage Grove line. The public hearings were closed as of April 30, 1952, and the CTA board approved conversion of Cottage Grove the following day. No action was taken at the time regarding 63rd.

While I did not find any record of an October businessmen’s meeting with CTA, as described by Mr. Waller, there is nothing I found that would prevent such a meeting from having taken place. It’s very possible it did happen, as he described, and that local leaders were given the choice of one-man streetcars, or one-man buses. If so, they chose buses, perhaps Egan had feared that one operator would be hard pressed to handle fares, transfers, unruly passengers, and safely handle the very fast PCCs.

Another factor may have been the change in routing between Central and Narragansett that buses made possible.  The streetcars ran on private right-of-way for the westernmost mile of the route via 63rd Place, the next block south of 63rd Street.  The trolley line had been built at a time when the area was largely undeveloped, as numerous pictures show.

By 1952, development was underway, and once the bus began operating the following year, the route was shifted over to 63rd Street for this last mile, which would have been advantageous to local businesses.  63rd Place became a quiet residential street, which it remains today.

As it was, CTA took no further action until they had enough buses on hand to operate the replacement service. This was approved by the board on April 13, 1953 and went into effect on May 24th the same year.

By then it would seem that CTA was afraid of negative public reaction if the fast PCCs were replaced by slow propane buses. Therefore, it should perhaps be no surprise that PCCs were withdrawn months earlier and replaced by slower, much older red streetcars.

Although Mr. Waller says that some of these replacement cars were two-man Sedans, I was unable to find a picture showing any. All the pictures I have seen of this late trolley service show Pullmans. That does not mean, of course, that this did not happen.

In similar fashion, PCCs were later withdrawn from the busy Halsted line and replaced temporarily by older red cars before bus substitution went into effect on May 30, 1954. Likewise, red cars temporarily replaced PCCs on the Madison-Fifth portion of route 20 in December 1953 before that service was terminated the following year, a victim of expressway construction.

Effect of the Motor Coach Purchase

With the CTA’s controversial purchase of the Motor Coach lines, effective October 1, 1952, its first five years of operations came to an end. By then, the agency was awash in red ink and had to take drastic action to increase revenues and reduce expenses.

Buying out their only remaining competitor was seen as a necessary move, whatever the cost. Motor Coach was profitable, and its ridership was increasing, at a time when CTA’s was decreasing. It was natural that CTA would claim that CMC was siphoning off profits that should have been CTA’s. However, the privately owned Motor Coach balked at selling, and only agreed to it after getting CTA to substantially increase their offer.

As a result, the agency’s intended $20m bond issue was increased to $23m at the last minute.

The Motor Coach purchase was not popular with the general public, mainly because it meant an instant fare increase to CTA’s higher levels. That a public entity would put a profitable competitor out of business was also bothersome to many. Yet CTA had little choice, and previous transit unification plans had always anticipated including the Motor Coach along with CSL and CRT.

Perhaps because of this criticism, the CTA was very much in need of a public relations “coup,” one that would show the agency could achieve millions of dollars in future savings to atone for the CMC acquisition.

This is the climate in which the so-called PCC Conversion Program was hatched. In fact, the beginnings of this plan became the Chicago Transit Board’s first order of business after approving the Motor Coach purchase.

The February 1951 opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway had been very successful in speeding up service and increasing ridership. Meanwhile, even with modern, fast PCC equipment on the streets, CTA operations were hampered by traffic congestion that it could not control.

This brought about a “sea change” in the agency’s priorities. From this point forward, with their last remaining competitor out of the way, CTA devoted 70% of their investments towards the rapid transit system, which had only represented about 15-20% of overall system ridership in 1947.

The agency became convinced that the best way for transit and traffic to coexist was via low-cost rapid transit lines in the medians of the new expressways that were then being planned. The Congress line was already under construction, and such lines were eventually opened in the south and northwest side expressways in 1969-70, once Federal funding became possible.

Once CTA had made this change in priorities, the surface system was downgraded, relatively speaking, in the overall scheme of things. After all, it no longer had any competitors, and the public would have no choice but to accept whatever type of service that CTA would offer. This had been upheld by the courts when activists had protested the CTA’s abandonment of the Humboldt Park “L” branch. If the CTA wanted riders to use trolley buses on North Avenue instead of the “L”, they were within their rights and the courts did not want to interfere. If transit problems were really a concern, the voters had remedies through their elected representatives and the legislature.

Once the cost of electricity increased, and propane became a cheap alternative, PCC cars were no more attractive to CTA than the old red streetcars were. Their days were numbered, since CTA did not have any taxing power and had to live out of the farebox.

A noted transit historian once pointed out to me that in the 1950s, the CTA did everything possible “on the cheap.”

This is the context in which CTA Chairman Virgil Gunlock’s 1959 statement should be viewed, when he remarked on a radio program that the PCCs were the finest transit vehicles ever to operate on the city streets, but they “cost too much to operate.”

Unintended Consequences

While these were the motivations that led to CTA’s decision, starting in October 1952, to abandon streetcar service as soon as possible, there were unintended negative consequences that undermined any advantages that might have been realized as a result.

From a labor standpoint, CTA knew that it would not realize any additional savings by eliminating PCCs, once the last of the two-man red cars was retired in 1954. In fact, if a one-man car was replaced by a one-man bus, that was a net loss in labor cost, since it took 1.5 buses to provide the same capacity.

I have analyzed the Conversion Program in great detail in my E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. But whatever grandiose claims were originally made for the $20k or $25k in savings per car that was originally claimed, in all likelihood little if any money was ultimately saved.

Numerous problems came up almost immediately. Two PCCs were sent out for potential conversion to “L” cars in late 1952, but when only St. Louis Car Company wanted to continue with the project, it was no longer being done on a competitive bidding basis.

Soon, CTA found out that the bodies would have to be scrapped, since floor heights were different, and there would be costs of $3,000 per car to modify controller equipment. Over the life of the program, costs rose due to the need to refurbish parts that had received more use, so that by 1958, when the last such order was placed, CTA was receiving just about scrap value for each PCC turned in.

One of the main benefits of the program, from the CTA’s viewpoint, was to take the only partly depreciated cars off of the books, and this is spelled out in Chicago Transit Board documents of the period. Once it became obvious that this was no “magic bullet” with $20k or $25k in savings per car, the goal changed to selling each car to St. Louis Car Company for the estimated depreciated value, and allowing the additional costs of parts reuse and conversion to simply be added in turn to each new rapid transit car purchased.

Since the 570 cars involved were purchased on a non-competitive basis, with specifications written so that St. Louis Car Company would be the only bidder (each bidder on the new car order was required to also be the purchaser of used PCCs, whih only SLCC would do), there is no way to know just how much additional cost was buried in the price of each car, but it was substantial.

Another unintended consequence was that, by offering a lesser quality service on city streets, and paving over the streetcar tracks, CTA actually made the streets more inviting to cars and trucks, which created more traffic congestion in turn, thus reducing ridership even more.

In retrospect, CTA’s best bet might have been to continue using PCCs on the major lines, with all cars converted to one-man. Additional standard PCC cars were readily available in the 1950s in good condition from other cities.

This is the approach that Toronto took, and it has served them well. Meanwhile, Chicago’s non-standard PCCs, the largest and widest single-ended cars of their type, were prescient of the changes in streetcar technology since their 1958 demise.

They are now small in comparison to the Flexitys that are gradually being introduced to Toronto streets.

Meanwhile, in some ways Chicago’s surface system has never recovered from being downgraded in 1952 at the expense of the rapid transit system. “L” ridership continues to grow while bus ridership continues to shrink.

To this day, the years of greatest decline in Chicago’s surface transit system are from 1947 to 1958, when Chicago’s once mighty streetcar system was dismantled bit by bit.

If Chicago had kept its PCCs, proposals such as the “bus rapid transit”line planned for Ashland Avenue might not be necessary, as there would still be effective crosstown transit that does not operate in a hub and spoke pattern with the center city, but instead would have helped keep Chicago’s many neighborhoods strong and vibrant.

-David Sadowski

PS- To see more pictures of Chicago’s Peter Witts, see our previous post The CSL Sedans (December 24, 2015).

The entire 48-page prospectus for the CTA’s 1952 $23m bond issue, and much more, has been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store.


Correspondence

M. E. writes:

Observations about 63rd St. Rumble from someone who lived half a block from 63rd St.:

I don’t remember ever seeing a sedan car on 63rd St. The 63rd St. line migrated from red cars to the pre-war PCCs that came from Madison St. Although my memory isn’t precise, I believe there were still red cars during rush hour to augment the PCCs. All of this was two-man service. To my knowledge there were never any one-man cars on 63rd St. because it was a very busy line.

I do remember seeing lots of two-man sedans on the 4 Cottage Grove Ave. line. In 1952 the 63rd St. PCCs were moved to Cottage Grove as one-man cars. I’m unsure whether sedans augmented PCC rush-hour service on Cottage Grove. The CTA would not have mixed two-man and one-man cars on the same line, so any rush-hour sedans on Cottage Grove would have had to be one-man. Ergo, if one-man sedans were actually used someplace, it would have been on Cottage Grove.

When the pre-war PCCs moved from 63rd (two-man) to Cottage Grove (one-man), two-man red cars once again had to cover 63rd St. service. This lasted until 63rd was converted to a bus line in the spring of 1953. The one-man PCC service on Cottage Grove lasted until mid-1955, when the line was converted to bus.

I do not recall seeing post-war PCCs on 63rd St., although you have photos to prove it. Because the 69th and Ashland carbarn served both 63rd (pre-war PCCs) and Western (post-war PCCs), perhaps an occasional post-war PCC was sent to 63rd.


CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 3381, now in CTA green, near the south end of route 4 - Cottage Grove, circa 1952. We cannot tell whether it had yet been converted to one man operation. (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 3381, now in CTA green, near the south end of route 4 – Cottage Grove, circa 1952. We cannot tell whether it had yet been converted to one man operation. (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Prewar PCC 4016, circa 1951, may very well be the first of the one-man conversions. The rear door here is completely blocked off, but soon the City of Chicago insisted on the addition of a rear emergency exit door. This was only a year after the terrible accident where a PCC collided with a gas truck and 33 people were killed. Notice how the middle door (for exit only) has been narrowed to try and keep people from sneaking on without paying. The location is Kedzie Station (car house). (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

Prewar PCC 4016, circa 1951, may very well be the first of the one-man conversions. The rear door here is completely blocked off, but soon the City of Chicago insisted on the addition of a rear emergency exit door. This was only a year after the terrible accident where a PCC collided with a gas truck and 33 people were killed. Notice how the middle door (for exit only) has been narrowed to try and keep people from sneaking on without paying. The location is Kedzie Station (car house). (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

CTA 4029 lays over on 64th Street near Stony Island on March 10, 1952. This was the east end of route 63. The sign says "Enter at Font," but we don't know whether this prewar PCC had been converted to one-man operation yet. However, this picture was taken around the time CTA held public hearings about converting 63rd to one-man operation.

CTA 4029 lays over on 64th Street near Stony Island on March 10, 1952. This was the east end of route 63. The sign says “Enter at Font,” but we don’t know whether this prewar PCC had been converted to one-man operation yet. However, this picture was taken around the time CTA held public hearings about converting 63rd to one-man operation.

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, "In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove."

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, “In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove.”

CTA 4022, with some obvious front end damage, eastbound on the 63rd Street line. There is an ad on the side of the car promoting Hawthorne Race Course, which opened in 1891. One of our readers writes, "I believe that this car is laying over on the wye at 63rd and Central Park waiting to head east to Stony Island. The car was still two man at the time, but being in Everglade Green, I would date it as mid 1952 before the cars were sent to Cottage Grove after being converted to one-man operation." (R. Alexander Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 4022, with some obvious front end damage, eastbound on the 63rd Street line. There is an ad on the side of the car promoting Hawthorne Race Course, which opened in 1891. One of our readers writes, “I believe that this car is laying over on the wye at 63rd and Central Park waiting to head east to Stony Island. The car was still two man at the time, but being in Everglade Green, I would date it as mid 1952 before the cars were sent to Cottage Grove after being converted to one-man operation.” (R. Alexander Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 4031 on 63rd Street.

CTA 4031 on 63rd Street.

CTA 7016 on 63rd Place near Narragansett.

CTA 7016 on 63rd Place near Narragansett.

Postwar CTA 7269 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on November 23, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

Postwar CTA 7269 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on November 23, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

Prewar PCC 4027 at an unknown location. Likely possibilities are routes 4, 49, or 63. Tony Waller writes, "Image 243 is on 63rd St. Look at the pre-war PCC. It’s door arrangement is that of a two-man car. Cottage Grove and Western only had pre-war PCCs in one man operation."

Prewar PCC 4027 at an unknown location. Likely possibilities are routes 4, 49, or 63. Tony Waller writes, “Image 243 is on 63rd St. Look at the pre-war PCC. It’s door arrangement is that of a two-man car. Cottage Grove and Western only had pre-war PCCs in one man operation.”

CTA 248 at 63rd and Ashland in May 1953, shortly before the end of streetcar service on route 63. Note the safety island.

CTA 248 at 63rd and Ashland in May 1953, shortly before the end of streetcar service on route 63. Note the safety island.

CTA Sedan (aka "Peter Witt") 6310 appears to have been converted to one-man in this view circa 1952 view at South Shops. However, it may not have been used in service this way before being scrapped. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA Sedan (aka “Peter Witt”) 6310 appears to have been converted to one-man in this view circa 1952 view at South Shops. However, it may not have been used in service this way before being scrapped. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4021, last survivor of its type, in dead storage at South Shops in the late 1950s. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA prewar PCC 4021, last survivor of its type, in dead storage at South Shops in the late 1950s. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Excerpts from Chicago Transit Board Meeting Minutes:

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Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Nine

We can be very thankful that enterprising photographers took great pictures like this one. Practically everything we see here is gone now. This picture shows the end of the Normal Park "L" on 69th Street between Parnell and Normal, at about 526 West. CSL 6226 and 6236 are running on the 67-69-71 route. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) As you can see, the Normal Park "L" was built with the intention of extending it south of 69th, but this did not happen. This short and lightly used branch was abandoned in 1954, and "L" service did not go south of 63rd again until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. This picture looks to have been taken sometime around 1940. Starting in 1949, CTA began to operate the Normal Park branch as a shuttle operation using one or two wood cars. Eventually, the intermediate stations were gutted and conductors collected fares at those stations on the train. By 1954, ridership was so slight that no replacement service was needed.

We can be very thankful that enterprising photographers took great pictures like this one. Practically everything we see here is gone now. This picture shows the end of the Normal Park “L” on 69th Street between Parnell and Normal, at about 526 West. CSL 6226 and 6236 are running on the 67-69-71 route. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) As you can see, the Normal Park “L” was built with the intention of extending it south of 69th, but this did not happen. This short and lightly used branch was abandoned in 1954, and “L” service did not go south of 63rd again until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. This picture looks to have been taken sometime around 1940. Starting in 1949, CTA began to operate the Normal Park branch as a shuttle operation using one or two wood cars. Eventually, the intermediate stations were gutted and conductors collected fares at those stations on the train. By 1954, ridership was so slight that no replacement service was needed.

Here's how 526 W. 69th Street looks today.

Here’s how 526 W. 69th Street looks today.

Here is another sampling of classic Chicago Surface Lines photos from the collections of George Trapp, who has generously shared them with us. If you would like to see other pictures in this series, please use the search window at the top of this page. Watch this space for more CSL pictures in the near future.

As always, if you know some useful tidbit of information about these images and would like to share them with us, you can either leave a comment on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- We hope you will join us in wishing Jeff Wien, co-author of CERA Bulletin 146, a happy 75th birthday.


Easter Parade in Toronto

Our previous post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-27-2016 showed pictures of Toronto Peter Witt car 2766 being readied for the Easter parade. Here are some videos showing five generations of Toronto streetcars in that parade:


Chicago or Philadelphia?

luzernedepot1913

This 1913 picture was recently sold on eBay, identified as being Chicago. Having our doubts, we asked the members of the Philadelphia Transit discussion group on Yahoo to weigh in with their opinions. Several people identified it as being the west apron of Luzerne Depot.

Michael T. Greene wrote:

It’s Luzerne Depot in Philadelphia. BTW, this isn’t the first time that I’ve seen a Philadelphia photo mislabeled as a Chicago photo. In 2003, there was a photo from the Bob Redden Archives that showed a touring London RT bus in what was billed as “Chicago”…until I noticed a Mack C-41-GT in a 1500-series, signed for a line lettered “C”. In addition, there were streetlights I never knew existed in Chicago, but did see use on Broad Street in Philadelphia. It turned out that the photo was Broad Street, between South Penn Square and Chestnut.

Doing further research, I determined that the photo was taken March 25, 1952, and the London bus was part of a nationwide tour to promote the UK as a tourist destination. Another photo was shown of the RT passing an old-ish building that looked suspiciously similar to Broad Street Station…it was Broad Street Station, taken the same day as the first photo. (We are talking the Bob Redden Archives, so either version of “taken” might apply here.) Now, if we had a skyline shot, we’d be able to determine awfully fast…most US cities have a “signature” tall building where you can tell what city a picture was taken.

Interestingly, since J. G. Brill was located in Philadelphia, many Chicago streetcars were built there, and today’s post includes a few pictures of CSL streetcars at the factory in Philly. Luzerne Depot was used from 1913 to 1997.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 131st post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 143,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty. Your financial contributions help make this possible and are greatly appreciated.


CSL Sedan 3342 is southbound on Clark just north of North Avenue, probably in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 3342 is southbound on Clark just north of North Avenue, probably in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3341 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. This was the day of a famous Surface Lines fantrip, instrumental in recruiting a lot of new members for Central Electric Railfans' Association, which was just getting on its feet. You can read more about that here (just disregard the error message that might come up). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3341 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. This was the day of a famous Surface Lines fantrip, instrumental in recruiting a lot of new members for Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was just getting on its feet. You can read more about that here (just disregard the error message that might come up). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The back end of CSL 3341 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The back end of CSL 3341 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Pullman 149 and Sedan 6280 at Devon Station (car barn) in the 1930s. 6280 was built by CSL in 1929. This building was built by the Chicago Union Traction Co. in 1900. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Pullman 149 and Sedan 6280 at Devon Station (car barn) in the 1930s. 6280 was built by CSL in 1929. This building was built by the Chicago Union Traction Co. in 1900. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3327 is southbound, most likely on route 22 Clark-Wentworth, in this 1930s scene. It's possible this may be north Clark Street just south of Birchwood, where there is a curve. That is just a few blocks south of Howard, which was the end of the line. There is a building at Clark and Howard that resembles the one at right. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3327 is southbound, most likely on route 22 Clark-Wentworth, in this 1930s scene. It’s possible this may be north Clark Street just south of Birchwood, where there is a curve. That is just a few blocks south of Howard, which was the end of the line. There is a building at Clark and Howard that resembles the one at right. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The building at Clark and Howard as it looks today. We are facing north.

The building at Clark and Howard as it looks today. We are facing north.

CSL Sedan 3323 is southbound on Clark at Sheffield. The rather odd building at right is still there. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 3323 is southbound on Clark at Sheffield. The rather odd building at right is still there. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Sheffield today.

Clark and Sheffield today.

A closer up view of that triangular-shaped building. In this photo, it is being renovated. These type of structures were often hamburger stands back in the 1930s.

A closer up view of that triangular-shaped building. In this photo, it is being renovated. These type of structures were often hamburger stands back in the 1930s.

CSL 3322 on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3322 on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3322, heading southbound on Clark at Lincoln. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3322, heading southbound on Clark at Lincoln. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Lincoln today.

Clark and Lincoln today.

CSL 3303 on the 59-61st Street route. Andre Kristopans: "3303 on 59/61 is just east of Western. These days CSX’s big intermodal terminal is overhead where the S2 is." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) 3303 was part of a series known as Multiple Unit cars. According to Don's Rail Photos, "These cars were built by CSL and have the same body style as the 1923 12-window cars, but were built with maximum traction trucks. A number were converted to one man operation as indicated by the white stripe on the ends. 3203 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932."

CSL 3303 on the 59-61st Street route. Andre Kristopans: “3303 on 59/61 is just east of Western. These days CSX’s big intermodal terminal is overhead where the S2 is.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) 3303 was part of a series known as Multiple Unit cars. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “These cars were built by CSL and have the same body style as the 1923 12-window cars, but were built with maximum traction trucks. A number were converted to one man operation as indicated by the white stripe on the ends. 3203 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932.”

59th Street just east of Western Avenue today.

59th Street just east of Western Avenue today.

CTA 3321 at Chicago's lakefront in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: "3321 is on 67th just west of Oglesby. LSD in background."

CTA 3321 at Chicago’s lakefront in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: “3321 is on 67th just west of Oglesby. LSD in background.”

CSL 32XX in a rather contrasty picture. Andre Kristopans: "The 3200 with unknown exact number is EB on Montrose at Lincoln. Welles Park in background."

CSL 32XX in a rather contrasty picture. Andre Kristopans: “The 3200 with unknown exact number is EB on Montrose at Lincoln. Welles Park in background.”

According to Andre Kristopans, CSL 3304 is "EB on Montrose at Elston."

According to Andre Kristopans, CSL 3304 is “EB on Montrose at Elston.”

CTA 6233 on the 67-69-71 route. May Motor Sales had two locations, and this one is 501 E. 69th Street. If so, this is where the Chicago Skyway runs today. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: "6233 is westbound, so indeed this is Keefe/Anthony/69th right were the Skyway now is."

CTA 6233 on the 67-69-71 route. May Motor Sales had two locations, and this one is 501 E. 69th Street. If so, this is where the Chicago Skyway runs today. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: “6233 is westbound, so indeed this is Keefe/Anthony/69th right were the Skyway now is.”

The same location today, where the Chicago Skyway now runs. We are looking east at about 501 W. 69th.

The same location today, where the Chicago Skyway now runs. We are looking east at about 501 W. 69th.

CSL 3311 in a McGuire-Cummings builder's photo, taken at Paris, Illinois. Don's Rail Photos says, "3311 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 3311 in a McGuire-Cummings builder’s photo, taken at Paris, Illinois. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3311 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”

Another builder's photo of CSL 3311.

Another builder’s photo of CSL 3311.

CSL 3306 is heading west on route 73 - Armitage, and is about ready to turn south on Racine. (Ed Frank, Jr. Photo) We ran a photo taken around the corner from here in our earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Three (November 21, 2015). Andre Kristopans adds, "note that north of Armitage Racine had southbound track only all the way from Webster – that had not seen any regular service since the teens but was retained for emergency use."

CSL 3306 is heading west on route 73 – Armitage, and is about ready to turn south on Racine. (Ed Frank, Jr. Photo) We ran a photo taken around the corner from here in our earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Three (November 21, 2015). Andre Kristopans adds, “note that north of Armitage Racine had southbound track only all the way from Webster – that had not seen any regular service since the teens but was retained for emergency use.”

CSL Multiple Unit cars 6272 and 6270, apparently being operated that way sometime between 1923, when they were built, and 1932, the date they were converted to one-man operation. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Multiple Unit cars 6272 and 6270, apparently being operated that way sometime between 1923, when they were built, and 1932, the date they were converted to one-man operation. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3320 and 3314 connected for multiple unit operation, most likely in the 1920s. The need for MU disappeared after the 1929 stock market crash. Andre Kristopans adds, "while they are signed for Grand, most likely they are at South Shops."

CSL 3320 and 3314 connected for multiple unit operation, most likely in the 1920s. The need for MU disappeared after the 1929 stock market crash. Andre Kristopans adds, “while they are signed for Grand, most likely they are at South Shops.”

I'm not sure why CSL 3288 is hanging over the edge in this photo, or what building is being constructed behind it. Andre Kristopans: "3288 was built by St Louis Car. It is obviously brand new, so it can be assumed to be at St. Louis’s plant. It would appear the plant is being expanded."

I’m not sure why CSL 3288 is hanging over the edge in this photo, or what building is being constructed behind it. Andre Kristopans: “3288 was built by St Louis Car. It is obviously brand new, so it can be assumed to be at St. Louis’s plant. It would appear the plant is being expanded.”

CSL 6247 at South Shops, signed for Halsted-Archer-Clark. This was another Multiple Unit type car. Don's Rail Photos says, "6247 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926, #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man service in 1948 and back to one man in 1949." (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

CSL 6247 at South Shops, signed for Halsted-Archer-Clark. This was another Multiple Unit type car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6247 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926, #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man service in 1948 and back to one man in 1949.” (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

Another CSL picture showing 6247 at South Shops.

Another CSL picture showing 6247 at South Shops.

The as-built interior of CSL 3279. Don's Rail Photos says, "3279 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926 #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man serive in 1948 and back as one man in 1949." (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

The as-built interior of CSL 3279. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3279 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926 #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man serive in 1948 and back as one man in 1949.” (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

Another 1926 builder's photo of 3279 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Philadelphia Collection)

Another 1926 builder’s photo of 3279 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Philadelphia Collection)

CSL 6222 at Clark and Chicago. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection) Another Multiple Unit type car, Don's Rail Photos says, "6222 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 6222 at Clark and Chicago. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection) Another Multiple Unit type car, Don’s Rail Photos says, “6222 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”

The CSL Sedans

CSL 3375 northbound on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1934. In fact, that's a 1934 Ford, possibly a V-8, at left. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3375 northbound on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1934. In fact, that’s a 1934 Ford, possibly a V-8, at left. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Thanks to the generosity of George Trapp, here is a Christmas Eve helping of classic Chicago Surface Lines streetcar photos from his wonderful collection. (To see additional photos he has already shared with us, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page. Several other posts will come up.)

Today we feature the 100 “Sedans” (aka Peter Witts) that ran in Chicago from 1929 to 1952.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

FYI there will be additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space.

The Peter Witts in Chicago

A Peter Witt streetcar (also known here as a “Sedan”), a very popular car type, was introduced in many North American cities around 1915 to 1930. Peter Witt himself (1869-1948) was a commissioner of the Cleveland Railway Company, and developed the design of these cars there.

The advantage of the Witts was to reduce dwell time at stops. Passengers boarded at the front of these two-man cars and exited at the center door after paying on their way out. Peter Witt received U. S. Patent 1,180,900 for this improvement in streetcar design.

Witt cars were popular in large cities like Cleveland and Toronto. They are still in use in Milan, Italy.

As Railroad Model Craftsman magazine noted:

The Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt cars were known locally as “Sedans” and were 49′ long. These 100 cars were numbered 3322-3381 and 6280-6319. They had three folding doors at the front and three sliding doors, separated by a window for the conductor’s station, at the center. The front-end dash was rounded.

The Chicago order was split between Cummings, Brill, and CSL as follows:

3322-3341, 6280-6293 – CSL (34 cars)

3342-3361, 6294-6306 – Brill (33 cars)

3362-3381, 6307-6319 – Cummings Car (33 cars)

I’m not sure whether all three batches had the same trucks and motors. A list of Brill work orders indicates theirs had Brill 76E2 trucks.

It wasn’t that unusual back then for transit operators to build some of their own cars. Starting in 1929, CSL was a very active participant in the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee, whose work developed the standardized PCC car, which soon dominated the industry.

The PCC patents were assigned to the Transit Research Corporation, whose stock was owned by the various transit operators who took part in the program. CSL apparently owned the largest amount of stock, which in turn was owned by the Chicago Transit Authority starting in 1947. Eventually Walter J. McCarter, first general manager of CTA, became the head of TRC, which I think has since been disbanded.

The Witts were speedy and attractive cars with leather seats, certainly the most modern things CSL had prior to the two experimental units and the PCCs. When considered with these, Chicago had a total of 785 modern cars.

The Sedans were mainly used on the busy Clark-Wentworth line. After the 83 prewar PCCs came on the scene in 1936-37, they also helped fill out schedules on Madison. After World War II, they eventually made their way to Cottage Grove before being retired in 1952.

They certainly could have been used longer than 23 years. Toronto had 350 Witts, built between 1921 and 1923, and the last of these was retired in 1965– more than 40 years of service.

To this day, Toronto still has one Peter Witt (#2766) on the property in operable condition, and it is brought out for special occasions.

Once the Chicago Transit Authority took over the surface and rapid transit lines in 1947, the mantra became, “get rid of all the old red streetcars.” And since the Witts were not PCCs, they got lumped into that category as well. Some were slated for conversion to one-man around 1951, but I am not certain whether any were operated in this way prior to retirement. I have seen photos showing how the door configuration on at least one car was so changed.

All 100 Sedans were scrapped in 1952. None were saved for museums, which is a real shame. Unfortunately, the Sedans were scrapped just before a museum movement started here. The Illinois Electric Railway Museum was founded in 1953, and their first purchase was Indiana Railroad car 65. The first Chicago streetcar acquired by the museum was red Pullman 144.

Likewise, the preservation efforts of the Electric Railway Historical Society did not begin until a few years later. Ultimately, ERHS saved several Chicago trolleys, all of which made their way to IRM in 1973. Additional cars were saved by CTA and made their way to IRM and the Fox River Trolley Museum in the mid-1980s.

J. G. Brill was the preeminent American streetcar manufacturer before the PCC era. While they were involved in the development of the PCC, and built experimental car 7001 for Chicago in 1934, they made a fateful decision not to pay royalties on the PCC patents, and their attempts to compete with the PCC were largely a failure. Fewer than 50 “Brilliners” (their competing model) were built, the last in 1941.

Around 1930, Brill promoted another type of standardized car called a Master Unit. However, as built, I don’t believe any two orders of Master Units were exactly the same.

There is some dispute as to whether Baltimore’s Peter Witts also qualify as Master Units. However, what defines a Witt is the manner of fare collection, and not the overall style of the car or its mechanical equipment.

As the same magazine referenced above explains:

Peter Witt was the very efficient city clerk in the administration of Cleveland, OH mayor Tom Johnson in the 1900s. In 1912, subsequent mayor Newton Baker appointed him as Street Railway Commissioner. Witt became concerned with the inefficiencies of fare collection in streetcars. Many systems still relied on the old horse car era scheme of having the conductor squeeze through the crowded car to collect fares from newly boarded passengers. After 1905, many systems adopted the “pay-as-you-enter” (PAYE) car design, with the conductor stationed at a fixed location on the rear platform to collect fares as passengers boarded and moved forward to find seats in the car interior. On busy lines, this resulted in delays while enough new passengers paid their fares to allow the last waiting passenger to find room on the rear platform so the doors could be closed and the conductor could give a two-bell signal for the motorman to proceed.

Peter Witt’s innovation was the “pay-as-you-pass” fare collection system, using a front entrance and center exit streetcar configuration. The section of the car forward of the center doors had longitudinal “bowling alley” seats to allow abundant space for newly boarded standees. The conductor was stationed just ahead of the center exit doors, and collected fares while the car was in motion either as patrons prepared to exit the car, or as they moved aft to find more comfortable seating in the rear section of the car. This greatly expedited the loading process at busy stops, and improved efficiency. The first Cleveland cars modified to Witt’s design entered service in December 1914, and were an immediate success, resulting in orders for new cars built to this design in Cleveland and in many other cities. The Peter Witt type of car remained very popular until the advent of the PCC streetcar in the 1930’s. The standard PCC used the same proven front entrance-center exit configuration, and many two-man PCCs used the Peter Witt fare collection scheme.

Before the PCC, most streetcar systems ordered unique cars specified to meet local needs and traditions. While many cities used Peter Witt type streetcars, the cars were not of the same design from city to city…

In doing the research for this review, one question remains unanswered: were the Baltimore Peter Witts Master Units? The Seashore Trolley Museum website describes the Baltimore #6144 in their collection as a “Brill Master Unit Peter Witt”. In “PCC – The Car That Fought Back”, Carlson and Schneider describe the 90 Indianapolis cars as Master Units. The Brill Master Unit was intended to be a flexible design based on standardized components, including single or double-ended single or double truck cars. The Master Unit product line also included a double truck front entrance-center exit design shown in an artist’s illustration in a Brill advertisement in the February 9, 1929 Electric Railway Journal. On the other hand Debra Brill in her History of the J.G. Brill Company states that only 78 Master Units were constructed (20 for Lima Peru, 20 for Brazil, 20 for Lynchburg, 13 for Youngstown, 3 for Yakima, 1 for Louisville, and 1 single trucker for TARS in New York). Ms. Brill does not count the 32 similar cars for Wilmington ordered before the official introduction of the Master Unit, or the single car built for a cancelled Lynchburg order and used by Brill for testing. She recognizes that the TARS and Louisville cars were the only ones that fully conformed to Brill’s Master Unit design.

Likewise, the definition of what constitutes a PCC streetcar is also a bit fluid, as detailed by noted transit historian Dr. Harold E. Cox in this article.

Several models of the Chicago Peter Witts have been produced by various firms, including the excellent St. Petersburg Tram Collection.

Each year, the holiday season creates a warm and generous feeling towards other people, and this year is no exception. Now that we are truly at our “Witt’s End,” we hope that you will enjoy these photographic gifts in the spirit in which they are intended.

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski


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    Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 106th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received 105,000 page views from 30,000 individuals.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

PS- As we approach our one-year anniversary next month, the deadline for renewing our premium WordPress account comes due in less than 30 days. This includes out domain name www.thetrolleydodger.com, much of the storage space we use for the thousands of files posted here, and helps keep this an ads-free experience for our readers. Your contributions towards this goal are greatly appreciated, in any amount.


Updates

Our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store, has been updated with the addition of about 12 minutes of public domain color video showing Chicago PCCs in action. These films were mainly taken on route 36 – Broadway, with a date of October 9, 1956. However, some portions of the film may have been shot earlier, since there are a couple of prewar cars seen. These were last used on route 49 – Western on June 17, 1956.

This video portion can be viewed on any computer using media player software.

PS- Several additional photos have been added to our previous post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five (December 11th).


Fred J. Borchert

Fred J. Borchert (1889-1951), some of whose work appears on this blog, was an early railfan photographer in Chicago. His work predated other early fans such as Edward Frank, Jr. (1911-1992). There are Ed Frank pictures here from as early as 1934, but Borchert’s work goes back even further than that.

I haven’t been able to find much information on Borchert, but I do know that during WWI, he drove a taxicab, and later, worked for the US Post Office. Ed Frank must have acquired at least some of Borchert’s negatives after his death, since he made prints. If anyone can provide further information on either of these gentlemen, I would appreciate it. I did at least meet Ed Frank since he used to sell his black-and-white photos at CERA meetings many years ago.


CSL Sedan 6315 is southbound on Clark at Wells on January 21, 1945. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Sedan 6315 is southbound on Clark at Wells on January 21, 1945. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 6309 is southbound on Cottage Grove at Cermak on August 1, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 6309 is southbound on Cottage Grove at Cermak on August 1, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6307 and crew at the Clark-Devon loop. (Krambles-Peterson Archive) One of our readers writes, "Where was this photo taken? It says Clark-Devon Loop. That was the designation for the Clark-Arthur Loop, but this photo does not appear to be taken there. The reason that I say that is because of all of the tracks in the foreground. Too many to be Clark-Arthur Loop. My guess is that it really was taken at the back of the 77th Street Station (west end of the barn) because the tracks are set in paving blocks and appear to be curved for entering the bays of the barn. The street was called "Wentworth Avenue" even though it was not a dedicated street to the public."

CSL 6307 and crew at the Clark-Devon loop. (Krambles-Peterson Archive) One of our readers writes, “Where was this photo taken? It says Clark-Devon Loop. That was the designation for the Clark-Arthur Loop, but this photo does not appear to be taken there. The reason that I say that is because of all of the tracks in the foreground. Too many to be Clark-Arthur Loop. My guess is that it really was taken at the back of the 77th Street Station (west end of the barn) because the tracks are set in paving blocks and appear to be curved for entering the bays of the barn. The street was called “Wentworth Avenue” even though it was not a dedicated street to the public.”

CSL 6308 southbound on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6308 southbound on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6297 at Vincennes and 78th.

CSL 6297 at Vincennes and 78th.

CSL 6296 on Vincennes at 79th. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6296 on Vincennes at 79th. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6295 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 6295 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 6301, southbound on Clark Street north of Randolph. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6301, southbound on Clark Street north of Randolph. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6307.

CSL 6307.

From the numbers on this photo, I'd say it shows one of the CSL Sedan frames at the J. G. Brill factory in 1929.

From the numbers on this photo, I’d say it shows one of the CSL Sedan frames at the J. G. Brill factory in 1929.

The interior of CSL 6294 as new, in a 1929 photo at the J. G. Brill plant. Brill built 33 of the 100 "Sedans," aka Peter Witts.

The interior of CSL 6294 as new, in a 1929 photo at the J. G. Brill plant. Brill built 33 of the 100 “Sedans,” aka Peter Witts.

Presumably another interior photo of 6294. These cars had leather seats. The "bucket" seats remind me a bit of those on Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65, built two years after this car.

Presumably another interior photo of 6294. These cars had leather seats. The “bucket” seats remind me a bit of those on Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65, built two years after this car.

CSL 6305 shiny and new at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

CSL 6305 shiny and new at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

As delivered, the 33 Sedans made for Chicago by J. G. Brill came with 76E2 trucks. However, that was job #22768, which does not match the number in this photo. The Brill list of work orders I consulted does not have a job #22770 on it.

As delivered, the 33 Sedans made for Chicago by J. G. Brill came with 76E2 trucks. However, that was job #22768, which does not match the number in this photo. The Brill list of work orders I consulted does not have a job #22770 on it.

CSL 6294, built for the Chicago City Railway, at the Brill plant in 1929. Surface Lines was an "umbrella" that presented a unified transit operator to the public, but it was actually made up of constituent companies. Of the 33 Brill Sedans, 20 were purchased by Chicago Railways and 13 by the Chicago City Railway. This balkanized arrangement continued until the Chicago Transit Authority took over in 1947.

CSL 6294, built for the Chicago City Railway, at the Brill plant in 1929. Surface Lines was an “umbrella” that presented a unified transit operator to the public, but it was actually made up of constituent companies. Of the 33 Brill Sedans, 20 were purchased by Chicago Railways and 13 by the Chicago City Railway. This balkanized arrangement continued until the Chicago Transit Authority took over in 1947.

CSL 6280 southbound at Clark and Southport. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6280 southbound at Clark and Southport. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3377 is southbound on Clark north of Huron in the 1936 scene. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3377 is southbound on Clark north of Huron in the 1936 scene. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A southbound Sedan has just passed CSL car 5250 on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1935. According to Don's Rail Photos, "1st 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, for CCRy as 5201 thru 5250, but it was shipped to United Railroads of San Francisco due to the earthquake. 2nd 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, to replace the orignal order. They were rebuilt in 1909 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars."

A southbound Sedan has just passed CSL car 5250 on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1935. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1st 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, for CCRy as 5201 thru 5250, but it was shipped to United Railroads of San Francisco due to the earthquake. 2nd 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, to replace the orignal order. They were rebuilt in 1909 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.”

CSL 3375 at Kedzie Station on February 14, 1946. Besides Clark-Wentworth, the Sedans helped fill out schedules on Madison, since the 83 prewar PCCs were not enough for the route, which probably needed about 100 cars at the time. The speedy Witts were able to keep up with the PCCs. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 3375 at Kedzie Station on February 14, 1946. Besides Clark-Wentworth, the Sedans helped fill out schedules on Madison, since the 83 prewar PCCs were not enough for the route, which probably needed about 100 cars at the time. The speedy Witts were able to keep up with the PCCs. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 3371. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3371. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Clark Street north of LaSalle circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward J. Frank Collection)

Clark Street north of LaSalle circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward J. Frank Collection)

CSL 5209 and 3367 pass on Clark just north of Madison in 1935. That is the famous Clark Theatre in the background, later made famous in the song "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 5209 and 3367 pass on Clark just north of Madison in 1935. That is the famous Clark Theatre in the background, later made famous in the song “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3365 in the "open air" portion of Devon car barn, which was damaged in a 1922 fire. They never did put a roof back on. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3365 in the “open air” portion of Devon car barn, which was damaged in a 1922 fire. They never did put a roof back on. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3367 on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3367 on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3356 at the Devon car barn (station). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3356 at the Devon car barn (station). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

One of our readers writes, "The reason that this is Wentworth & 65th rather than Devon and Ravenswood is for two reasons. The first is because the railroad viaduct in the background is at an angle as it passed over the street which was the Rock Island RR, probably looks the same today although now Metra. Also, the curb on the west side of the street is raised, whereas Devon is flat at Ravenswood with no raised curbs."

Here we have a real difference of opinion. On the back of this photo, it says that CSL 3354 is at Wentworth and 65th. We have another opinion that says it’s Devon and Ravenswood. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)
One of our readers writes, “The reason that this is Wentworth & 65th rather than Devon and Ravenswood is for two reasons. The first is because the railroad viaduct in the background is at an angle as it passed over the street which was the Rock Island RR, probably looks the same today although now Metra. Also, the curb on the west side of the street is raised, whereas Devon is flat at Ravenswood with no raised curbs.”

Wentworth and 65th today. As you can see, this matches the view in the previous picture.

Wentworth and 65th today. As you can see, this matches the view in the previous picture.

A southbound Sedan at Clark and Rogers. (George Krambles Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

A southbound Sedan at Clark and Rogers. (George Krambles Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3342 at the Clark-Arthur loop, looking east from the second floor of Devon Station. (Chicago Surface Lines Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) We posted a very similar (but not identical) photo here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/03/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-one/

CSL 3342 at the Clark-Arthur loop, looking east from the second floor of Devon Station. (Chicago Surface Lines Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) We posted a very similar (but not identical) photo here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/03/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-one/

CSL 3337 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3337 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3349 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 3349 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Looking north from Clark and Van Buren circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Looking north from Clark and Van Buren circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Bill Robb writes:

Toronto had 350 Peter Witt cars and 225 similar trailers. The motor cars had even numbers and the trailers had odd numbers.

Attached is a Ray F Corley TTC document on the Peter Witt design.

But Philadelphia had a larger fleet. Philadelphia also had 535 Peter Witt cars purchased in three orders during the 1920s, which were locally known as Eighty Hundreds. The last PTC 8000s ran in December 1957. More on the Philadelphia orders:

https://archive.org/stream/electricrailwayj612mcgrrich#page/433/mode/1up

https://archive.org/stream/electricrailwayj61mcgrrich#page/1073/mode/1up