Lost and Found

A close-up of Columbia Park & Southwestern 306 on the "Mobile Home Route."

A close-up of Columbia Park & Southwestern 306 on the “Mobile Home Route.”

Today’s post ties a number of photos together under the heading “Lost and Found.” There are images from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, the North Shore Line, and various early preservation efforts. Two of the three great Chicago-area interurbans are lost to history.

Interestingly, among the “saved” equipment shown in these early photos, none of these cars is still at the same location where the pictures were taken. In the case of Milwaukee Electric car 882, it was still in use at a Wisconsin electric power plant as late as 1961, three years after the last Milwaukee streetcar ran on the streets. Yet, oddly enough, it does not appear to have been preserved.

While many of these early museum-type operations such as Trolleyville USA* are no longer with us, they should not be regarded as failures. They played a crucial role in saving many electric railcars from the dustbin of history, and provided a “bridge” to a welcome home in some of today’s more durable institutions.

So, while much of our transit history has been lost, thanks to a few dedicated individuals, not all of it was lost. And despite all the travails and convoluted ways that various cars were saved, there is still a rich history that survives to be found by future generations.

-David Sadowski

PS- Trolleyville USA in Olmstead Township, Ohio, which I visited in 1984, was part trolley museum, and part common carrier. It provided much-needed transportation between a trailer park and general store, both of which were owned by the late Gerald E. Brookins. It is thanks to him that many unique pieces of equipment were saved.

Let me take this opportunity to clear up a Trolleyville “factoid” that has circulated.

Cleveland was where Peter Witt developed his namesake streetcar design, but it is one of the ironies of history that none were saved. A solitary Cleveland Peter Witt car lasted until 1962 before it too was unfortunately scrapped.

Don’s Rail Photos reports, “4144 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in August 1929, (order) #951. It was retired in 1954 and sold to an individual in Lorain. It was lettered as Arlington Traction Co 4144.” Owner Norman Muller had the car in his yard with an organ installed inside.

Some have pondered why Gerald E. Brookins did not save the car. Some have speculated that he was tapped out after purchasing four of the curved-side CA&E cars or that Mrs. Brookins would not let him buy another car.

In 2014, author Blaine Hays told me the real story. He says Brookins had plenty of money and could easily have afforded to purchase the 4144. However, in general his interest in trolley cars was limited to purchasing ones that could be readily run on his short railroad. By 1962, the 4144 did not fit into this category and after having been changed around and stored outside for years, would have required a substantial amount of restoration work, in any case a lot more than Brookins wanted to do.

Thanks to Brookins, four of the ten Ca&E St. Louis-built cars from 1945 were saved. But of fate had turned a different way, all ten cars might have ended up in service on the Cleveland rapid on the airport extension. In the early 1960s, Cleveland transit officials were planning to build this extension “on the cheap,” using local funds. If they had, the CA&E cars would likely have provided the original rolling stock. As things turned out, the project got put off for a few years until Federal funds were available. It opened in 1968 with new equipment.

Ironically, at least one CA&E car (303) did eventually run on the Cleveland system. The Lake Shore Electric Railway was a short-lived successor to Trolleyville that planned to operate in Cleveland. Ultimately, the effort failed due to lack of funding, and the cars in the Brookins collection were sold at auction. Some ended up at the Illinois Railway Museum and the Fox River Trolley Museum, but I have seen pictures of the 303 running in Cleveland in the early 21st century with a pantograph installed.

Who’da thunk it?


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American Streetcar R.P.O.s

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (nearly 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CA&E 423 and 433 have just passed each other just west of the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue in October 1953. Concordia cemetery is to the left. This is now the site of I-290.

CA&E 423 and 433 have just passed each other just west of the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue in October 1953. Concordia cemetery is to the left. This is now the site of I-290.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E 18 was "built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955." Here it is at Wheaton on March 15, 1952.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E 18 was “built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955.” Here it is at Wheaton on March 15, 1952.

Curved-sided CA&E car 455, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, at Wheaton on July 7, 1954.

Curved-sided CA&E car 455, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, at Wheaton on July 7, 1954.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E merchandise express car 9 was "built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959." It is shown here at Wheaton in August 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E merchandise express car 9 was “built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.” It is shown here at Wheaton in August 1948.

CA&E 427 parked at Laramie Avenue in August 1948. It was built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927.

CA&E 427 parked at Laramie Avenue in August 1948. It was built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The same location today, where the North Shore Line curved to the right to head west on Greenleaf.

The same location today, where the North Shore Line curved to the right to head west on Greenleaf.

Once the North shore Line entered Greenleaf, the street widened. We are looking west.

Once the North shore Line entered Greenleaf, the street widened. We are looking west.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can tell us if this photo of car 158 was also taken along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can tell us if this photo of car 158 was also taken along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Don's Rail Photos says that North Shore Line caboose 1003 "was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired by IRM." There was some discussion recently on a Yahoo group concerning CNS&M cabooses. Someone was interested in making a model, and this nice side view should help determine the dimensions.

Don’s Rail Photos says that North Shore Line caboose 1003 “was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired by IRM.” There was some discussion recently on a Yahoo group concerning CNS&M cabooses. Someone was interested in making a model, and this nice side view should help determine the dimensions.

An Electroliner at speed near Carawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA's Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

An Electroliner at speed near Carawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

CNS&M Silverliner 738 heads up a four-car special train making a station stop at Northbrook during a snowstorm in February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M Silverliner 738 heads up a four-car special train making a station stop at Northbrook during a snowstorm in February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

Electroliner 804-803 at the CTA Roosevelt Road "L" station in Chicago on February 17, 1957.

Electroliner 804-803 at the CTA Roosevelt Road “L” station in Chicago on February 17, 1957.

CNS&M Electroliner 803-804 at Deerpath, Illinois, February 17, 1957. Could be the photographer boarded the train in the previous picture at Roosevelt road and got off here.

CNS&M Electroliner 803-804 at Deerpath, Illinois, February 17, 1957. Could be the photographer boarded the train in the previous picture at Roosevelt road and got off here.

Columbia Park and Southwestern 306, ex-Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric, ex-Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, at Gerald E. Brookins' Trolleyville USA in 1962. Electric operations appear to be underway already, or nearly so.

Columbia Park and Southwestern 306, ex-Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric, ex-Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, at Gerald E. Brookins’ Trolleyville USA in 1962. Electric operations appear to be underway already, or nearly so.

Don's Rail Photos says, "306 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 306 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW as 306. It was transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1984 where it is being restored as AE&FRECo 306."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “306 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 306 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW as 306. It was transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1984 where it is being restored as AE&FRECo 306.”

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CTA Red Pullman 144 and Milwaukee streetcar 972 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960.

CTA Red Pullman 144 and Milwaukee streetcar 972 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960.

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65 at IERM in February 1960.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65 at IERM in February 1960.

Don's Rail Photos says Milwaukee electric car 882 "was built by St Louis Car Co in 1920, (order) #1239. It was one manned in 1926 and rebuilt in 1954 with a plow on one end and a pilot on the other for use at the Lakeside Power Plant of WEPCo. It also had interurban headlights added. It ran until May 8, 1961." Unfortunately, it does not appear this car was saved.

Don’s Rail Photos says Milwaukee electric car 882 “was built by St Louis Car Co in 1920, (order) #1239. It was one manned in 1926 and rebuilt in 1954 with a plow on one end and a pilot on the other for use at the Lakeside Power Plant of WEPCo. It also had interurban headlights added. It ran until May 8, 1961.” Unfortunately, it does not appear this car was saved.

The two North Shore Line Electroliner sets had a second life for a while as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow line between Philadelphia and Norristown. Red Arrow President Merritt H. Taylor Jr. (1922-2010) was a closet railfan, and the pride he took in saving these fine streamlined cars is clearly evident in the picture on this 1964 timetable, when they were put into service. This was a morale booster for both the railroad and its riders after enduring a 34-day strike in 1963, the only one in its history.

The two North Shore Line Electroliner sets had a second life for a while as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow line between Philadelphia and Norristown. Red Arrow President Merritt H. Taylor Jr. (1922-2010) was a closet railfan, and the pride he took in saving these fine streamlined cars is clearly evident in the picture on this 1964 timetable, when they were put into service. This was a morale booster for both the railroad and its riders after enduring a 34-day strike in 1963, the only one in its history.

CNS&M 162 at the American Museum of Electricity in Schenectady, New York in 1968. Don's Rail Photos says, "162 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum."

CNS&M 162 at the American Museum of Electricity in Schenectady, New York in 1968. Don’s Rail Photos says, “162 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum.”

This 1968 photo presents a bit of a mystery. The only other North Shore car owned by the American Museum of Electricity was 710, sold along with the 162 to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971. But there are other cars shown in this line-up, and the partial number for this one looks like it's in the 750-series.

This 1968 photo presents a bit of a mystery. The only other North Shore car owned by the American Museum of Electricity was 710, sold along with the 162 to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971. But there are other cars shown in this line-up, and the partial number for this one looks like it’s in the 750-series.

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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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

Chicago Streetcars In Color

This must be car 3142, which was saved by ERHS and is now in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. In this September 10, 1959 scene, there are still a few PCCs left on the property at South Shops, including car 4400. (Clark Frazier Photo)

This must be car 3142, which was saved by ERHS and is now in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. In this September 10, 1959 scene, there are still a few PCCs left on the property at South Shops, including car 4400. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Following up on our earlier post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, here are nearly 40 more pictures in color.  Because they are in color, they naturally skew towards the last 10 years or so of service, leading up to that fateful morning on June 21, 1958, when the last Chicago streetcar ran:

We hope that you enjoy these glimpses of a bygone era. We have provided what information we have on the locations and circumstances. If you can help fill in some additional details, let us know.

-David Sadowski

Pullman PCC 4090 heads west on Monroe on route 20 - Madison.

Pullman PCC 4090 heads west on Monroe on route 20 – Madison.

Pullman PCC 4063, on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, meets red car 6118, signed for route 42 at Clark and Halsted.  Route 42 was an incorrect designation for this location, and the sign should read 8 instead.

Pullman PCC 4063, on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, meets red car 6118, signed for route 42 at Clark and Halsted. Route 42 was an incorrect designation for this location, and the sign should read 8 instead.

“Sedan” 6296 on route 4 – Cottage Grove. The Chicago Surface Lines built one-third of this 100-car order themselves in 1929, not an unusual practice at the time. Bob Lalich says we are “just south of 95th St. The Rock Island, C&WI and BRC elevation can be seen in the background.”

Red Pullman 322 at an unidentified location.

Red Pullman 322 at an unidentified location.

Unless my eyes are failing me, this looks like work car X-3 at South shops.

Unless my eyes are failing me, this looks like work car X-3 at South shops.

An older streetcar being used as a snow sweeper.

An older streetcar being used as a snow sweeper.

Car 3345 by the Illinois Central on route 4 - Cottage Grove.

Car 3345 by the Illinois Central on route 4 – Cottage Grove.

4019 on route 4 - Cottage Grove.

4019 on route 4 – Cottage Grove.

Red Pullman 697 on Roosevelt Road.

Red Pullman 697 on Roosevelt Road.

Car 7217, just prior to being scrapped, at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Car 7217, just prior to being scrapped, at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

This appears to be the temporary end of the line for route 73 - Armitage, as the bridge is out behind car 3297.

This appears to be the temporary end of the line for route 73 – Armitage, as the bridge is out behind car 3297.

Work car F-305 at South Shops on September 10, 1959. This was purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society and soon moved to their site in Downers Grove. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Work car F-305 at South Shops on September 10, 1959. This was purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society and soon moved to their site in Downers Grove. (Clark Frazier Photo)

An 8000-series trailer from the 1920s, being used as a storage shed.

An 8000-series trailer from the 1920s, being used as a storage shed.

Here, we are at about 4600 west 63rd street looking west. Car 4013, heading east, wears the CSL "tiger stripes" introduced in 1945. Bill Shapotkin adds, "That caption is correct. I might add that "is" at 4600 West and the tracks are those of the BRC. By the way, as an aside, if you ride the Rt #63 bus, the stop here is called out as "4600 West." No street name (which would otherwise be Kenton) is given."

Here, we are at about 4600 west 63rd street looking west. Car 4013, heading east, wears the CSL “tiger stripes” introduced in 1945. Bill Shapotkin adds, “That caption is correct. I might add that “is” at 4600 West and the tracks are those of the BRC. By the way, as an aside, if you ride the Rt #63 bus, the stop here is called out as “4600 West.” No street name (which would otherwise be Kenton) is given.”

Although car 4410 appears to be going uphill, this is Chicago and not Pittsburgh. It's the photographer who is tilted in this October 1956 view.

Although car 4410 appears to be going uphill, this is Chicago and not Pittsburgh. It’s the photographer who is tilted in this October 1956 view.

A nice shot of 4388 pulling out of Limits on July 24, 1957.

A nice shot of 4388 pulling out of Limits on July 24, 1957.

7018 heading south on Wabash at Balbo in the early 1950s.

7018 heading south on Wabash at Balbo in the early 1950s.

Car 5105 in the Burnside yard.

Car 5105 in the Burnside yard.

Peter Witt car 6285, built in 1929, on Cottage Grove at 115th. Some called them “Sedans.”

Prewar PCC heads south on route 49 - Western on June 13, 1956, shortly before the line was converted to bus.

Prewar PCC heads south on route 49 – Western on June 13, 1956, shortly before the line was converted to bus.

It appears that car 4406is making a backup move in this October 21, 1956 photo. That may indicate we are at the south end of route 22, where there was a “wye” in traffic.

Car 585 on route 56 - Milwaukee near Downtown. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic of a Milwaukee Ave streetcar is at the Milwaukee Ave bridge over the MILW/PRR near Des Plaines St. Believe the view looks N/W. Note the long-standing MILW freight house on the right."

Car 585 on route 56 – Milwaukee near Downtown. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic of a Milwaukee Ave streetcar is at the Milwaukee Ave bridge over the MILW/PRR near Des Plaines St. Believe the view looks N/W. Note the long-standing MILW freight house on the right.”

PCC 7175 is southbound at Clark and Glenlake in this wintry scene.

PCC 7175 is southbound at Clark and Glenlake in this wintry scene.

Red Pullman 473, on the famous May 16, 1954 CERA fantrip, turns back at Lake and Austin.

Red Pullman 473, on the famous May 16, 1954 CERA fantrip, turns back at Lake and Austin.

Car 1780 runs under the Lake Street “L” at Karlov on route 16.

Car 3144, a sister of the 3142 preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum, runs parallel to the outer end of the Lake Street “L” where it ran on the ground prior to 1962. Streetcar service on route 16 ended in May 1954. A CTA 4000 is visible at rear. Both cars are using overhead wire.

Prewar PCC 4029 running parallel to the Illinois Central electric on the south end of route 4 (Cottage Grove).

Prewar PCC 4029 running parallel to the Illinois Central electric on the south end of route 4 (Cottage Grove).

Postwar PCC 4377 heads south on Clark in the mid-1950s. The Clark Theatre, the Bamboo Inn, and the Blue Note are visible on the next block.

Postwar PCC 4377 heads south on Clark in the mid-1950s. The Clark Theatre, the Bamboo Inn, and the Blue Note are visible on the next block.

7038 heads south at Western and 14th. A “Qunoset hut” is at left. This is a type of prefabricated building that was in wide use during and after WWII.

Prewar PCC 4029 is shown heading south on a section of Cottage Grove between 33rd and 35th that had already been sold by the city to developers and was already off-limits to car and truck traffic. CTA was given six-month extensions on streetcar service through this area before the route was bussed in June 1955.

Prewar PCC 4029 is shown heading south on a section of Cottage Grove between 33rd and 35th that had already been sold by the city to developers and was already off-limits to car and truck traffic. CTA was given six-month extensions on streetcar service through this area before the route was bussed in June 1955.

From the address on the Edward Don warehouse at rear, we can tell this picture of PCC 4115 was taken on Clark just north of Cermak.

From the address on the Edward Don warehouse at rear, we can tell this picture of PCC 4115 was taken on Clark just north of Cermak.

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 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 two-man car. Cottage Grove and Western only had pre-war PCCs in one man operation.”

It's not the best slide, and hard to make out, but the signs say car 4406 is chartered and it is signed for Devon and Ravenswood.

It’s not the best slide, and hard to make out, but the signs say car 4406 is chartered and it is signed for Devon and Ravenswood.

6148 at Halsted and Clark. The car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown.

6148 at Halsted and Clark. The car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system.

Car 3220 on the 67th Street line. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This picture is E/B in 67th St, having just x/o under the IC. View looks W-N/W."

Car 3220 on the 67th Street line. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This picture is E/B in 67th St, having just x/o under the IC. View looks W-N/W.”

Not a streetcar, but an old trolley bus being used as a shed at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Not a streetcar, but an old trolley bus being used as a shed at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)