Recent Finds and New Releases

A colorized view of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal waiting room, circa 1909.

A colorized view of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal waiting room, circa 1909.

Besides our usual crop of classic traction photos, this time we also have exciting news about two new products related to the Railroad Record Club. Our good friend Ken Gear has been hard at work on collecting all things related to the late William Steventon’s railroad audio recordings and releases.

The result is a new book on disc, A Guide To the Railroad Record Club (see article below). This was quite a project and labor of love on Ken’s part!

Kenneth Gear‘s doggedness and determination resulted in his tracking down and purchasing the surviving RRC master tapes a few years back, and he has been hard at work having them digitized, at considerable personal expense, so that you and many others can enjoy them with today’s technology. We have already released a few RRC Rarities CDs from Ken’s collection.

When Ken heard the digitized version of RRC LP #08, Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, recorded by the late Elwin Purington, he was surprised to find the original tapes were more than twice the length of the 10″ LP. The resulting LP had been considerably edited down to the limited space available, 15 minutes per side.

The scenes were the same, but each was greatly shortened. Now, on compact disc, it is possible to present the full length recordings of this classic LP, which was one of Steventon’s best sellers and an all-around favorite, for the very first time.

Even better, a considerable part of the proceeds of these releases, both available through our Online Store or through the links below, will go to defray some of the thousands of dollars Ken has spent in trying to preserve this history for future generations. Chances are, without his efforts, the Steventon Railroad Record Club collection of tapes and other artifacts would have ended up in a dumpster by now, for lack of interest on anyone’s part in saving them.

For this, Ken deserves the thanks of anyone who enjoys hearing these historic recordings.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 643 members.

Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for all things related to the Railroad Record Club, and other railroad audio recordings. Again, it is a private group.

Auction for Jim Martin’s North Shore Line Sign

Jim Martin is a great guy, and you may have seen some of the North Shore Line videos he has posted to YouTube, taken from his original color 8mm movies. He recently contacted us, as he wants to sell an original porcelain-on-metal North Shore Line sign he purchased from legendary Chicago bookseller Owen Davies in 1962.  (You can read more about Owen Davies here.)

This must have been from a Shore Line Route station, since the North Shore Line was still in operation at that time. You can find out more about this eBay auction here. Although we are running the auction and providing our “good offices,” 100% of the proceeds will go to Jim.

It ends at 9:02 PM Central Time on Friday, December 17th. Good luck with your bids.

Now Available – A Guide to the Railroad Record Club E-Book:

Price: $19.99

$10 from the sale of each RRC E-Book will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

As many Trolley Dodger readers are aware David and I have been trying to preserve the legacy of William Steventon’s Railroad Record Club. To that end we have collected all the released LPs and reissued them on CDs. We have posted many RRC traction photographs in this blog, put together a history of the club and gathered biographical information about William Steventon and his recording associates.

We uncovered some interesting information about the techniques and equipment used to make field recordings in the pre-digital age and the process of producing the LPs. I acquired the William Steventon estate and discovered a veritable treasure trove of unreleased audio, master tapes, original artwork commissioned for the album jackets, test pressings, movie films and numerous artifacts from all phases of the record making procedure from field tape to released LP.

Despite all that we accomplished we still had one very important question to answer. Now that we had all this material, how do we make it available to everyone who would be interested.

Much audio has been donated to museums and historical societies and CDs are offered for sale in the online store. The history of the club and the story of my efforts to buy the estate have appeared in this blog, but still, that didn’t seem to be enough. We wanted to do more. This wonderful historical material deserves more.

David finally hit on the perfect idea, he suggested that I write an eBook. This format would allow us to present not only a more detailed history of the club and an updated account of my purchase of the estate, but it could also include audio files, photo scans and movie files. Virtually all the Railroad Record Club archive could be gathered into one place!

I began to put the eBook together over a year ago. I rewrote the RRC history that appeared in this blog adding a lot of newly discovered data. Next, I revised my account of the estate purchase and wrote and entirely new chapter detailing the preservation efforts and the cost it entailed. I made lists of every single object acquired and made notes on condition. I spent many days photographing every item including scores of record jackets, labels, pressing plates and test pressings from the many editions of each LP. Countless hours were spent scanning documents, personal letters, magazine ads and articles. Photographs from the collection needed scanning and retouching. All this had to be cataloged and organized and information from many different sources had to be interpreted and fit into the timeline of RRC milestones. A lot of time and effort went into making the Railroad Record Club archive available on a convenient and inexpensive data disc electronic book.

In addition to all of the above, I have compiled what I think is an invaluable resource for RRC enthusiasts. The eBook has a compendium section that contains details about every released record. Each LP’s entry has all the accumulated information we have so far been able to discover about a particular record. Details such as the original release date, reissue date, differences in the various edition jackets and liner notes, master tape specifics and recording dates are listed. There are photo scans of each of the LP’s jackets, labels, test pressings, print blocks, master tapes, pressing plates and artwork. An “Additional Information” section is included for each record detailing any interesting facts we uncovered about the recordist, railroad equipment or notable incidents occurring during the field recording. Best of all each record’s entry has bonus audio tracks that may include unreleased recordings, audio salvaged from ancient homemade records, radio programs and/or railroad sounds from tapes that were in Steventon’s personal collection. Here are a two sample photos of record labels and the “data sheet” entry for Record Number SP-6.

RAILROAD RECORD CLUB

COMPENDIUM

DATA SHEET

RECORD NUMBER: SP-6

TITLE: THE MILWAUKEE ROAD

Box Cab Locomotives On The Coast Division

RELEASED ON 12 INCH DISC ONLY

NRP MATRIX CODE: NR 15567

YEAR OF FIRST PRESSING: 1983

JACKET ILLUSTRATION NOTES:

1st edition jacket has a drawing of CMSt.P&P box cab locomotive No. 10500 by Marshall (Pat) McMahon.  Caption under drawing reads “No. 10500, later E-25 on Houser Way Renton, WA in the 1930’s. Drawn from a photo by James A. Turner in the warren W. Wing collection.”

Back has liner notes.

2nd edition jacket identical to 1st edition

SURVIVING MASTER TAPE(S):

None in the William Steventon estate.

DOCUMENT/PHOTO FOLDER CONTENTS:

(There may exist other editions and variations then those pictured)

1st edition jacket front and back

1st and 2nd edition labels

NRP test pressing labels side 1 and 2

Cassette card

McMahon CMSt.P&P box cab artwork

SOUND FOLDER CONTENTS:

Short excerpt from the unofficial sampler.

Elwin Purington CMSt.P&P box cab bonus track.

Sound folder notes:

Track 1:

In 1965 William Steventon ceased operating the Railroad Record Club as an actual “club.”

From then on all records were sold individually with no minimum to buy. He also stopped producing the sampler records at this time and no sampler records were made after the 8th year (1964).

To continue where Steventon left off an unofficial special pressings sampler has been made for this eBook.  Excerpts of approximately 3 minutes each have been added to the sounds folders of the special pressings records.

Track 2:

This track was recorded by and is narrated by Elwin Purington. The recordings were made at Black River Junction near Seattle, Washington in 1960. The audio was taken from a tape-recorded letter Purington made to Steventon in 1961. These are some of Purington’s earliest stereo recordings and are very realistic. The air horn on those box cab monsters might blow you right out of your chair!

The scene opens as a long train arrives at Black River Junction powered by a set of the old box cabs. Various switching maneuvers are made in the yard. Then the cars are taken north on the wye and a “flying switch” is made and the caboose is moved over to the head end of the locomotives. The caboose’s high pitched air whistle is heard as the train, caboose now leading, crosses a road. Now heading east the train does more switching work. With all local work completed the caboose is put back where it belongs and the train heads out on the south leg of the wye towards Tacoma.

Total: 15:44

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

On the jacket front this record is advertised as the 30th anniversary issue 1953-1983. Steventon always dated the beginning of the Railroad Record Club to 1953, the year he made his first railroad recordings.

With the exception for two tracks on side 1, this is the only RRC record recorded in true stereo.

This was the last all new Railroad Record Club release.

Steventon first heard these Milwaukee Road box cab recordings in 1961. It would be 22 years before the recordings were finally released on vinyl.

Elsewhere on the eBook are scans of traction photographs that were sold by the Railroad Record Club.

There is a movie file containing William Steventon’s railroad home movies with footage of the PRR, B&O, N&W and NY Central among others. Traction fans will certainly enjoy scenes of the Washington D. C. Capital Transit streetcars and freight operations. A few screenshots follow:

Every known Steventon recording date, location and subject railroad has been collected and organized into a list.

Record ideas that never came to be are discussed and some interesting facts about the records and the people that recorded them are revealed.

For instance:

William Steventon endured health problems from an early age and his father, an engineer on the New York Central, broke company rules by allowing young William in the cab with him for fear that the child may die without them having spent enough time together.

Record Number 9 was recorded by Thomas A. Hosick. He was co-inventor of the low-pollution, Eliptocline automotive steam vapor engine and was featured in a 1966 cover story in Popular Science magazine.

William Steventon had the assistance of an CNS&M train accident victim in securing permission to make recordings on board North Shore trains.

Record SP-6 was the last all new RRC record and the only one recorded in stereo.

Many other previously unknown facts about the 37-year history of the Railroad Record Club have been painstakingly collected and combined with rare audio and video, vintage ads, photographs, catalogs and much more. A more complete look at the Railroad Record Club would be impossible to produce.

Despite all the work and research that went into compiling this archive, profit and return on investment was not the driving force. Preservation was! It is our belief that the best way to ensure that the legacy of the RRC continues to educate and entertain for years to come is to get it into as many hands as possible. That is why we are offering this incredible amount of material for the low price of $19.99. Each part of this eBook is worth that price on its own. Hours of vintage railroad audio, two video programs and scores of traction photos are included for that one low price. The compendium will prove to be a much-used resource to anyone who is a Railroad Record Club devotee. Even if you have little interest in the RRC itself, the audio and video alone is an outstanding bargain. Please consider purchasing a copy and help David and I preserve the work that William Steventon and all his contributors worked so hard to create.

Kenneth Gear

Now Available:

RRC08D
Railroad Record Club #08 Deluxe Edition: Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, Recorded by Elwin Purington
The Complete Recording From the Original Master Tapes
Price: $15.99

Canadian National. Steaming giants pound high iron on mountain trails, rumble over trestles, hit torpedos and whistle for many road crossings. Mountain railroading with heavy power and lingering whistles! Includes locomotives 3566, 4301, 6013, 3560.

Total time – 72:57

$5 from the sale of RRC08D CD will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

A railfan takes his picture of Philadelphia Transportation Company 5205 on September 14, 1956.

A railfan takes his picture of Philadelphia Transportation Company 5205 on September 14, 1956.

CSL 2802 must have been a fan favorite, as it was used on fantrips both on June 12, 1940 and July 13, 1941. Chances are this trip might be the earlier one, if the Indianapolis sign was correct. Indianapolis Boulevard is in Hammond, on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line that stopped going into Indiana on June 9, 1940. Of course, fans often used to put all sorts of signs up during trips, even if they weren't going to those places.

CSL 2802 must have been a fan favorite, as it was used on fantrips both on June 12, 1940 and July 13, 1941. Chances are this trip might be the earlier one, if the Indianapolis sign was correct. Indianapolis Boulevard is in Hammond, on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line that stopped going into Indiana on June 9, 1940. Of course, fans often used to put all sorts of signs up during trips, even if they weren’t going to those places.

Brooklyn-Queens Transit 8258, a Peter Witt, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925. The trolley is on Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island.

Brooklyn-Queens Transit 8258, a Peter Witt, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925. The trolley is on Stillwell Avenue at Coney Island.

The same location today, courtesy of Mark J. Wolodarsky.

The same location today, courtesy of Mark J. Wolodarsky.

Milwaukee Electric heavyweight cars 1129 and 1135, along with CTA trolley bus 9192, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, IL in August 1959. It is now at Union as bus 192, its original number.

Milwaukee Electric heavyweight cars 1129 and 1135, along with CTA trolley bus 9192, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, IL in August 1959. It is now at Union as bus 192, its original number.

Illinois Terminal combine 277 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1913. Here it is at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959.

Illinois Terminal combine 277 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1913. Here it is at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959.

Indiana Railroad car 65 at the IERM site in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: "65 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399. The lounge section was replaced by a baggage section. 65 was sold to the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Railway Museum, which was known as the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at that time. I put in many enjoyable hours working on that car prior to 1960 when I moved to Peoria." It appears this picture was taken when the car was being repainted from CRANDIC colors to its original IR colors.

Indiana Railroad car 65 at the IERM site in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: “65 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399. The lounge section was replaced by a baggage section. 65 was sold to the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Railway Museum, which was known as the Illinois Electric Railway Museum at that time. I put in many enjoyable hours working on that car prior to 1960 when I moved to Peoria.” It appears this picture was taken when the car was being repainted from CRANDIC colors to its original IR colors.

This, and the next two pictures, show former Milwaukee Electric work car M-15 at East Troy in August 1959. Don's Rail Photos: "M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989."

This, and the next two pictures, show former Milwaukee Electric work car M-15 at East Troy in August 1959. Don’s Rail Photos: “M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989.”

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: "354 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It became the last car on August 12, 1951. It was purchased by the president of the Chicago Hardware Foundry. It was painted into the green and red of CHF, but the motors were removed. The car was acquired by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (now IRM). Restoration began in 1958 (I put many hours on the car), and it is now in operation in Union. When I visited the car in 1989, it brought back many happy memories."

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at the IERM in North Chicago in August 1959. Don Ross: “354 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It became the last car on August 12, 1951. It was purchased by the president of the Chicago Hardware Foundry. It was painted into the green and red of CHF, but the motors were removed. The car was acquired by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (now IRM). Restoration began in 1958 (I put many hours on the car), and it is now in operation in Union. When I visited the car in 1989, it brought back many happy memories.”

A two-car Milwaukee Electric interurban train at an unknown location, bound for Milwaukee. (Ray Muller Photo)

A two-car Milwaukee Electric interurban train at an unknown location, bound for Milwaukee.
(Ray Muller Photo)

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee car 300. Don's Rail Photos: "300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940."

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee car 300. Don’s Rail Photos: “300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.”

CNS&M 300 in Highwood, IL, when it was the Central Electric Railfans' Association private car in 1941.

CNS&M 300 in Highwood, IL, when it was the Central Electric Railfans’ Association private car in 1941.

North Shore Line car 300 at an unknown location (somewhere along the Shore Line Route), possibly on the same 1941 fantrip as in the previous picture.

North Shore Line car 300 at an unknown location (somewhere along the Shore Line Route), possibly on the same 1941 fantrip as in the previous picture.

North Shore Line Birney car 336 in Milwaukee in 1946. The city streetcar franchise holder was the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the CNS&M, so that's how the cars were lettered.

North Shore Line Birney car 336 in Milwaukee in 1946. The city streetcar franchise holder was the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the CNS&M, so that’s how the cars were lettered.

North Shore Line Birney car 329, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee on June 21, 1947. (Bob McLeod Photo)

North Shore Line Birney car 329, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee on June 21, 1947. (Bob McLeod Photo)

North Shore Line city streetcar 360 in Waukegan, signed to go to the Naval Station.

North Shore Line city streetcar 360 in Waukegan, signed to go to the Naval Station.

North Shore Line wood car 200, probably near the end of its service life in the 1930s.

North Shore Line wood car 200, probably near the end of its service life in the 1930s.

North Shore Line combination car 81, built by American in 1910, was taken out of regular service in 1935, and retired in 1937. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

North Shore Line combination car 81, built by American in 1910, was taken out of regular service in 1935, and retired in 1937. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines 4008 is eastbound on Madison at Laramie on October 25, 1945, sporting "tiger stripes."

Chicago Surface Lines 4008 is eastbound on Madison at Laramie on October 25, 1945, sporting “tiger stripes.”

The Grand Rapids Railroad did not number their streetcars, giving them names instead. This is the "James W. Ransom," named after an early settler to this area. Buses were substituted for streetcars here in 1935. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

The Grand Rapids Railroad did not number their streetcars, giving them names instead. This is the “James W. Ransom,” named after an early settler to this area. Buses were substituted for streetcars here in 1935. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines car 2855, possibly circa 1942, when CSL looked into putting cars like these back into service, after they had been in storage for a decade. Ultimately, it was decided against doing this, and this class of cars ended its days in work service. Don's Rail Photos: "2855 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 341. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 841 in 1908. It was renumbered 2855 in 1913 and became CSL 2855 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA106 in 1948. It was retired on October 11, 1951." (Charles Able Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines car 2855, possibly circa 1942, when CSL looked into putting cars like these back into service, after they had been in storage for a decade. Ultimately, it was decided against doing this, and this class of cars ended its days in work service. Don’s Rail Photos: “2855 was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 341. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy 841 in 1908. It was renumbered 2855 in 1913 and became CSL 2855 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA106 in 1948. It was retired on October 11, 1951.” (Charles Able Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940. It ran in Wildwood, New Jersey. Streetcars were replaced by buses in this seacoast town in 1945.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940. It ran in Wildwood, New Jersey. Streetcars were replaced by buses in this seacoast town in 1945.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 21, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 35, circa 1940.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 35, circa 1940.

The Atlantic City and Shore (aka the "Shore Fast Line") ran between Atlantic City and Ocean City until 1948. Here, car 109 is in Atlantic City. It was built by the John Stephenson Company in 1906.

The Atlantic City and Shore (aka the “Shore Fast Line”) ran between Atlantic City and Ocean City until 1948. Here, car 109 is in Atlantic City. It was built by the John Stephenson Company in 1906.

LaMar M. Kelly (1897-1947) was an early, and noted, railfan photographer. He took this picture of Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco 3004 at the Wheaton Yard on August 6, 1939.

LaMar M. Kelly (1897-1947) was an early, and noted, railfan photographer. He took this picture of Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco 3004 at the Wheaton Yard on August 6, 1939.

LaMar Kelley's large 116-sized negative came in this old Kodak envelope. He took the photo in 1939, but the envelope could be even older than that.

LaMar Kelley’s large 116-sized negative came in this old Kodak envelope. He took the photo in 1939, but the envelope could be even older than that.

SEPTA 160, a Strafford car, is on the Norristown High-Speed Line at top, with an electric commuter rail train below. The bridge crossed the Schuylkill River. This photo was taken on September 6, 1978.

SEPTA 160, a Strafford car, is on the Norristown High-Speed Line at top, with an electric commuter rail train below. The bridge crossed the Schuylkill River. This photo was taken on September 6, 1978.

CSL 6285, called either a Peter Witt or a Sedan, is on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, possibly in the 1930s. Car 6285 was built by CSL in 1929.

CSL 6285, called either a Peter Witt or a Sedan, is on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, possibly in the 1930s. Car 6285 was built by CSL in 1929.

CSL 6208 in Hammond, Indiana in 1940, shortly before service on this line was cut back to the state line. Don's Rail Photos: "6208 (a Multiple Unit car) was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 6208 in Hammond, Indiana in 1940, shortly before service on this line was cut back to the state line. Don’s Rail Photos: “6208 (a Multiple Unit car) was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”

CSL 2615 (known as a Robertson Rebuild) crosses a bridge on 106th Street on June 21, 1941. We are looking west. Don's Rail Photos: "2615 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on December 4, 1945." (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 2615 (known as a Robertson Rebuild) crosses a bridge on 106th Street on June 21, 1941. We are looking west. Don’s Rail Photos: “2615 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on December 4, 1945.” (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

MBTA (Boston) 3344, an ex-Dallas double-ended PCC is at Milton Lower Mills on the Ashmont-Mattapan line on March 24, 1968.

MBTA (Boston) 3344, an ex-Dallas double-ended PCC is at Milton Lower Mills on the Ashmont-Mattapan line on March 24, 1968.

CTA 4000s and 2200s on the Loop "L" in 1973. looking west from Clark and Lake. The train at left is an Evanston Express, with Lake-Dan Ryan on the right.

CTA 4000s and 2200s on the Loop “L” in 1973. looking west from Clark and Lake. The train at left is an Evanston Express, with Lake-Dan Ryan on the right.

CTA red Pullman 863 is running northbound on Stony Island at 72nd, headed towards Navy Pier. A Kaiser-Frazer dealership is in the distance, and a truck dealer at right.

CTA red Pullman 863 is running northbound on Stony Island at 72nd, headed towards Navy Pier. A Kaiser-Frazer dealership is in the distance, and a truck dealer at right.

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

North Shore Line car 748 at Lake Bluff, IL on October 19, 1963, several months after abandonment of the line.

North Shore Line car 748 at Lake Bluff, IL on October 19, 1963, several months after abandonment of the line.

No information came with this one, which shows North Shore Line car 732 at, I presume, Highwood in perhaps the 1930s or 40s.

No information came with this one, which shows North Shore Line car 732 at, I presume, Highwood in perhaps the 1930s or 40s.

I recently won this auction for "an unsent Real Photo Postcard. It is titled Heyworth Grading Gang #5 Aug. '06. / C.M.E.R.R. (Horlicsville) (sic) Marshall Photo. CYKO Stamp Box on the reverse. Horlicksville was a place that takes its name from the Horlick family, which had the Horlick malted milk plant in the community. This town was located about two miles north of Racine Wisconsin and this photo would have been taken about the time they were building the Chicago Milwaukee Electric Railroad Line between Racine and Milwaukee."

I recently won this auction for “an unsent Real Photo Postcard. It is titled Heyworth Grading Gang #5 Aug. ’06. / C.M.E.R.R. (Horlicsville) (sic) Marshall Photo. CYKO Stamp Box on the reverse. Horlicksville was a place that takes its name from the Horlick family, which had the Horlick malted milk plant in the community. This town was located about two miles north of Racine Wisconsin and this photo would have been taken about the time they were building the Chicago Milwaukee Electric Railroad Line between Racine and Milwaukee.”

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

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Chasing Sanborn (Our 275th Post)

This 1953 view looks to the northwest and shows the old Canal Street station on the Metropolitan

This 1953 view looks to the northwest and shows the old Canal Street station on the Metropolitan “L”, which was near Union Station. They were connected by a walkway nicknamed “Frustration Walk,” since many people would miss their train in the time it took to make the journey. The “L” here closed in 1958 and was demolished soon after. (Jon R. Roma Collection)

This is our 275th Trolley Dodger blog post, so we thought we would make this one extra special for you.

Recently, Jon R. Roma sent us some Sanborn insurance maps that were made in 1906 and 1917, mainly to show sections of the old Garfield Park “L” in greater detail. This was in response to some of our previous posts, where we discussed just where it used to run, before it was replaced by the Congress rapid transit line in 1958.

Learning from history is a process, and as historians, we are continually reaching out to the past, studying the historical record, looking for clues that will inform us today and further our understanding. Photographs, of course, are invaluable, but so are the kind of detailed maps that were made for insurance purposes long ago. They detail pretty much every structure and many of the businesses that once existed.

As an example of what you can learn from these maps, consider the one below showing the layout of old West Side Park, where the Chicago Cubs played through the 1915 season.

A story has gone around in recent years, that supposedly the expression “from out of left field” originated at West Side Park. Cook County Hospital was just north of the park, and the story goes that mental patients there would yell things out during Cubs games, which gave birth to the expression, which has taken on a meaning of something completely unexpected.

Unfortunately, there is no record of “from out of left field” being used in print with this meaning prior to the 1940s, by which time the Cubs had been in Wrigley Field for 25 years. But if you look at the Sanborn map of West Side Park, there was apparently an open area just north of the grandstands, so the hospital would have been some further distance away. I am not sure how much of the field would have been visible from the hospital anyway, so after looking at the map, the story seems unlikely.

What is more likely is how the expression could have evolved just generally from baseball lore. Occasionally, the left fielder will make a throw all the way to home plate during a game. Such a throw, coming “from out of left field,” tends to be unexpected, and it may be that over time, it took on this other meaning colloquially.

In addition, we have more electric traction, steam, and diesel photos taken around 1970 by John Engleman, some recent new photo finds of our own, and correspondence with Larry Sakar.

I guess we will always be “chasing Sanborn,” and other things like it.

We are very grateful to all our contributors. Sanborn fire insurance maps provided courtesy of the Map Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you enjoy reading these posts, you might consider joining our Trolley Dodger Facebook Group as well. We currently have 429 members.

Sanborn Maps from 1917:

The area covered by this volume.

The area covered by this volume.

This includes the Met

This includes the Met “L” line heading to Humboldt Park and Logan Square. There was a station at Madison Street, opened in 1895, which is not delineated on this 1917 map. It closed in 1951. This section of “L” has since been rebuilt, and is now part of the CTA Pink Line.

The Met

The Met “L” branch leading to Humboldt Park and Logan Square made a bit of a jog near Ogden Avenue, an angle street. This is the section just north of Marshfield Junction.

This section of map shows the Garfield Park

This section of map shows the Garfield Park “L” and includes the station at Western Avenue, which was open from 1895 to 1953. When Western was widened in the 1930s, the front of the station was removed and a new Art Deco front replaced it. The same thing was done to three other “L” stations on Western. This station closed in September 1953, due to construction of the Congress Expressway, and we have featured pictures of its quick demolition in previous posts.

A close-up of the Western Avenue

A close-up of the Western Avenue “L” station. I suppose the area marked “iron” refers to the station canopy.

This map includes a section of the Garfield Park

This map includes a section of the Garfield Park “L”.

This map includes a section of the Garfield Park

This map includes a section of the Garfield Park “L”, including part of the station at Hoyne Avenue, which was open from 1895 to 1953. The area between Van Buren and Congress is now occupied by the Eisenhower expressway. The CTA Blue Line tracks are in approximately the same location as the former Garfield Park “L”, but in the depressed highway.

This map shows part of the Garfield Park

This map shows part of the Garfield Park “L”, including the station at Hoyne Avenue.

This includes the old Garfield Park

This includes the old Garfield Park “L”.

This includes the Garfield Park

This includes the Garfield Park “L”, including the station at Ogden Avenue, which was open between 1895 and 1953.

A close-up of the Garfield Park

A close-up of the Garfield Park “L” station at Ogden Avenue.

The map shows the section of the Met

The map shows the section of the Met “L” lines just west of Marshfield Junction, where all the various branch lines came together.

The Met

The Met “L” branches ran over a building that housed the Dreamland roller skating rink. When the Congress Expressway was built, a new section of “L” was built running north-south to connect the Douglas Park “L” to the tracks formerly used by the Humboldt Park and Logan Square lines prior to 1951. This became part of a new routing for Douglas that brought its trains to the Loop via the Lake Street “L”, where another new connection was built. This is the path that the CTA Pink Line follows today. Douglas trains were connected to the new Congress rapid transit line via a ramp that followed the old Douglas path starting in 1958.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This map shows Marshfield Junction on the Garfield Park

This map shows Marshfield Junction on the Garfield Park “L”, where all the Met lines came together.

A close-up of the Marshfield Junction track arrangement and station layout. Notice that the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E) had its own platform here. This station was in use from 1895 to 1954. From September 1953 to April 1954, it was only used by Douglas Park trains, as Garfield trains were re-routed to ground level tracks here in Van Buren Street.

A close-up of the Marshfield Junction track arrangement and station layout. Notice that the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E) had its own platform here. This station was in use from 1895 to 1954. From September 1953 to April 1954, it was only used by Douglas Park trains, as Garfield trains were re-routed to ground level tracks here in Van Buren Street.

This map includes the Laflin

This map includes the Laflin “L” station on the Garfield Park main line.

The Metropolitan

The Metropolitan “L” main line included a station at Laflin Avenue, which originally had two island platforms. Between 1896 and 1914, it was reconfigured with three platforms so the tracks did not have to make sharp curves around the ends of the platforms. This station was open from 1895 to 1951. Notice the complex track arrangement west of the station, which gave the Met maximum flexibility for routing their trains going downtown.

The Met

The Met “L” main line between Loomis and Laflin.

The Met

The Met “L” facilities shown here represent somewhat of a mystery. There is a general repair shop on Laflin, including maintenance of way, and “batteries” on Loomis.

When the Met

When the Met “L” was built in the 1890s, they had to generate their own electric power, which they did via this massive power plant between Loomis and Throop. This map indicates that by 1917, the facility was co-owned by what is now Commonwealth Edison.

A close-up of the previous map. Note the Met had a

A close-up of the previous map. Note the Met had a “store house” east of the 1894 power plant.

The Met's Throop Street Shops. The Met's

The Met’s Throop Street Shops. The Met’s “L” station at Racine is also shown.

The Met's Throop Street Shops are at left, and the Racine

The Met’s Throop Street Shops are at left, and the Racine “L” station at right. Like Laflin and Halsted, it originally had two island platforms, and was reconfigured to the four side platforms you see here, in order to straighten out the tracks. This station was open from 1895 to 1954. It remained in use until Douglas Park “L” trains could be re-routed downtown via the Lake Street “L”.

The Met Main Line. From 1953-58, when the Garfield Park

The Met Main Line. From 1953-58, when the Garfield Park “L” ran on temporary trackage in part of Van Buren Street, it reconnected with the existing structure via a ramp near Aberdeen. The tracks you see here would have been at the very north end of the expressway footprint.

This section of the Met Main Line was not directly in the way of the Congress Expressway, although it was reduced from four tracks to two during the construction period. The two tracks to the south were removed. The

This section of the Met Main Line was not directly in the way of the Congress Expressway, although it was reduced from four tracks to two during the construction period. The two tracks to the south were removed. The “L” was very close to the highway at this point, though.

The Met Main Line. From 1953-58, the Garfield Park

The Met Main Line. From 1953-58, the Garfield Park “L” ran on ground-level trackage in Van Buren Street. Douglas Park trains used the old Met structure until April 1954.

The Met Main Line had four tracks in this area, which were reduced down to two during the period from 1953-58. The Halsted

The Met Main Line had four tracks in this area, which were reduced down to two during the period from 1953-58. The Halsted “L” station was open from 1895 to 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line opened in the adjacent expressway median. Many great photos were taken from the east end of the Halsted station, where you had a great view of a double curve.

Like Racine and Laflin, the Met's Halsted

Like Racine and Laflin, the Met’s Halsted “L” station originally had two island platforms, which meant there were sharp curves in the track at the ends of those platforms. This slowed down operations, so over a period of time leading up to 1914, those three stations were reconfigured. Halsted then had three platforms and the tracks were straightened. During the construction of the adjacent Congress Expressway in the mid-1950s, the two tracks to the south here were removed along with one of the three platforms. It was that close to the highway. However, the station itself remained in use by Garfield trains until the Congress line opened in 1958.

This map shows the Met's Douglas Park branch heading south, and includes the Polk Street

This map shows the Met’s Douglas Park branch heading south, and includes the Polk Street “L” station.

The Polk Street

The Polk Street “L” station on the Douglas Park branch opened in 1896 and remains in use today by the CTA Pink Line. It was rebuilt in 1983.

This is the second West Side Park, home of the Chicago National League Ballclub from 1893 through 1915. They were not officially called the Cubs until the 1907 season. Starting in 1916, the Cubs vacated West Side Park in favor of what had been Weegham Park, which had been home to the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League, now known as Wrigley Field. West Side Park was torn down in 1920. Home plate was located at the northwest corner, and it was 560 feet to center field, where there was a club house, somewhat in the manner of New York's Polo Grounds and other early stadiums. Oftentimes, in those years, if there was a large crowd, fans stood in part of the outfield, as there were no seats there.

This is the second West Side Park, home of the Chicago National League Ballclub from 1893 through 1915. They were not officially called the Cubs until the 1907 season. Starting in 1916, the Cubs vacated West Side Park in favor of what had been Weegham Park, which had been home to the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League, now known as Wrigley Field. West Side Park was torn down in 1920. Home plate was located at the northwest corner, and it was 560 feet to center field, where there was a club house, somewhat in the manner of New York’s Polo Grounds and other early stadiums. Oftentimes, in those years, if there was a large crowd, fans stood in part of the outfield, as there were no seats there.

The Met's Douglas Park

The Met’s Douglas Park “L” ran through this area, and is now the CTA Pink Line.

The Met's Douglas Park

The Met’s Douglas Park “L” branch and the Roosevelt Road (formerly 12th Street) station.

The Roosevelt Road (formerly 12th Street)

The Roosevelt Road (formerly 12th Street) “L” station on the Metropolitan’s Douglas Park branch opened in 1896 and closed in 1952. In December 1951, the CTA turned it into a “partial service” station, where there was no ticket agent. You could enter the station by placing a token into a turnstyle. This experiment was short-lived, and the station was closed in May 1952.

This shows the Douglas Park

This shows the Douglas Park “L”, today’s CTA Pink Line.

Sanborn Maps from 1906:

A key to the areas covered by this 1906 set of maps.

A key to the areas covered by this 1906 set of maps.

This map shows the Halsted station on the Lake Street

This map shows the Halsted station on the Lake Street “L”. It was open from 1893 until 1994. It closed during the two-year rehabilitation project for what is now the CTA Green Line and was eventually replaced by a new station at Morgan Street, which opened in 2012.

A close-up of the Halsted

A close-up of the Halsted “L” station on the Lake Street line.

The Lake Street

The Lake Street “L”.

The Lake Street “L”.

The Lake Street “L”.

The Lake Street

The Lake Street “L” station at Canal. The “L” crosses the Chicago River here, and in 1906, there was a swing bridge which was eventually replaced. Swing bridges were a hazard to navigation.

The Canal Street

The Canal Street “L” station on the Lake Street line opened in 1893 and was replaced by the Clinton station one block west in 1909.

The Lake Street

The Lake Street “L” station at Canal.

North is to the left on this map, which shows a curve on the old Metropolitan

North is to the left on this map, which shows a curve on the old Metropolitan “L” main line west of the Chicago River. This was part of a double curve east of Halsted Street.

The Met

The Met “L” Main Line.

The Met

The Met “L” Main Line near Clinton Street. Chicago renumbered many streets after this map was made in 1906. In 1911, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad built its headquarters at 547 W. Jackson, just to the north of the “L”. While the “L” here closed in 1958 and was removed soon after, that building remains and its shape was partially determined by the “L”. Note the Chicago Union Traction cable power house.

The Met

The Met “L” station at Canal Street. A new Union Station was built nearby and opened in 1925. The “L” station had a direct enclosed walkway to it, which was used by thousands of people each day.

The Met

The Met “L” station at Canal Street opened in 1895 and was rebuilt after a fire in 1922. The platform configuration remained the same, but a new headhouse was built, designed by Arthur U. Gerber. This station closed in 1958 when the new Congress rapid transit line opened nearby, which connected to the Milwaukee-Dearborn-Congress Subway.

The Met

The Met “L” crossed the tracks leading to Union Station at an angle, and also crossed the Chicago River this way.

North is to the left on this map, which shows the Met

North is to the left on this map, which shows the Met “L” curving a bit towards the north, just east of the Halsted station. Once the buildings surrounding the “L” were cleared away in the early 1950s, for construction of what is now the Kennedy Expressway, this became a favorite site for photographers looking to the east from the “L” station.

Recent Finds

For a minute, I thought this might be Chicago, but apparently not. There was a streetcar #6093 in Chicago, but not until 1914 and the beginnings of the CSL era. That's not a CSL logo on the side of the car. And Route 9 here was Ashland, not something going to Exchange Depot, whatever that was. It might possibly be Philadelphia, as they had cars like these in a 6000-series (later converted to Peter Witts with the addition of a center door), and they were an early adopter of numbered routes. But there is also a strange logo on the side of the car that I do not recognize. Frank Hicks: "This is International Railway Company in Buffalo. It's part of a series of 200 Nearside cars built for them by Kuhlman in 1912, a follow-on to their original order for Nearside cars from Brill in 1911."

For a minute, I thought this might be Chicago, but apparently not. There was a streetcar #6093 in Chicago, but not until 1914 and the beginnings of the CSL era. That’s not a CSL logo on the side of the car. And Route 9 here was Ashland, not something going to Exchange Depot, whatever that was. It might possibly be Philadelphia, as they had cars like these in a 6000-series (later converted to Peter Witts with the addition of a center door), and they were an early adopter of numbered routes. But there is also a strange logo on the side of the car that I do not recognize. Frank Hicks: “This is International Railway Company in Buffalo. It’s part of a series of 200 Nearside cars built for them by Kuhlman in 1912, a follow-on to their original order for Nearside cars from Brill in 1911.”

A close-up of the unusual logo on the side of the car.

A close-up of the unusual logo on the side of the car.

An eastbound single-car Douglas Park train passes by the old Met

An eastbound single-car Douglas Park train passes by the old Met “L” powerhouse and shops at Throop Street, built in 1894. William C. Hoffman took this picture on October 29, 1950. Work was already underway clearing buildings for construction of the Congress Expressway, today’s I-290 (aka the Eisenhower). The discoloration of the brick was caused by some sort of chemical leaching process.

A close-up of the previous picture, showing the 1894 construction date for the massive Met power house. The

A close-up of the previous picture, showing the 1894 construction date for the massive Met power house. The “L” opened the following year. The blue line through the date is actually a scratch on the original slide.

The view looking northwest from Congress and Racine on May 14, 1950, showing the old Met

The view looking northwest from Congress and Racine on May 14, 1950, showing the old Met “L” power house, the Throop Street Shops, and a bit of the Racine station. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The old Marshfield

The old Marshfield “L” station, or at least, the CA&E platform at that station, circa 1951. The red Pullman streetcar is running on Route 9 – Ashland, but here, is on Paulina one block west of Ashland. Streetcars could not run on boulevards, and Ashland was a boulevard between Lake Street and Roosevelt Road. Hence the diversion. A sign advertises the late Carol Channing in the stage version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The curving tracks are for the Douglas Park branch. This is where all the various Met “L”s diverged from each other, heading to the west, south, and north from here.

This duplicate slide did not come with any information, but I am wondering if this was taken from the old Met "L" looking to the north, which would mean the streetcar is on Van Buren. The Van Buren line was converted to bus in 1951 and the Garfield Park "L" was re-routed via temporary ground level tracks on Van Buren starting in 1953. Since the buildings around the "L" have been cleared away, that is further evidence that this is the Congress Expressway construction area. Michael Franklin has now identified this as Van Buren and Marshfield.

This duplicate slide did not come with any information, but I am wondering if this was taken from the old Met “L” looking to the north, which would mean the streetcar is on Van Buren. The Van Buren line was converted to bus in 1951 and the Garfield Park “L” was re-routed via temporary ground level tracks on Van Buren starting in 1953. Since the buildings around the “L” have been cleared away, that is further evidence that this is the Congress Expressway construction area. Michael Franklin has identified now this as Van Buren and Marshfield.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 6025-6026 is ascending the ramp that brings the Ravenswood

CTA 6025-6026 is ascending the ramp that brings the Ravenswood “L” up from ground level between Rockwell and Western Avenue. The date is September 30, 1951.

This picture looks north towards Tower 18 on the Loop

This picture looks north towards Tower 18 on the Loop “L” at Lake and Wells. Since a Douglas Park train is making a turn here, it must have been taken between 1954 and 1958, when that line ran downtown via the Lake Street “L”. As the Loop was uni-directional then, running counterclockwise, the train is coming towards us.

This is the Deerpath Avenue station on the North Shore Line's Skokie Valley Route.

This is the Deerpath Avenue station on the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route.

This is Glencoe on the North Shore Line's Shore Line Route. The circular white sign would indicate this was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip, possibly just prior to the 1955 abandonment.

This is Glencoe on the North Shore Line’s Shore Line Route. The circular white sign would indicate this was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip, possibly just prior to the 1955 abandonment.

This is the Franklin Avenue station on the NYCTA-BMT Myrtle Avenue elevated in Brooklyn on June 14, 1958, with trolley bus 3039 running on Route 48 - Lorimer Street. Trolley buses were replaced by diesels in 1960, and the Myrtle Avenue El was closed on October 4, 1969. It was the last place on the New York system that used wooden cars. this was nearly 12 years after they were last used in Chicago. The El here opened in 1885, but the station you see here is not the original, but a more modern (and cheaply built) replacement. NY decided that upgrading this El would be too costly, so they got rid of it without replacement. Note the cool 1950s two-toned cars.

This is the Franklin Avenue station on the NYCTA-BMT Myrtle Avenue elevated in Brooklyn on June 14, 1958, with trolley bus 3039 running on Route 48 – Lorimer Street. Trolley buses were replaced by diesels in 1960, and the Myrtle Avenue El was closed on October 4, 1969. It was the last place on the New York system that used wooden cars. this was nearly 12 years after they were last used in Chicago. The El here opened in 1885, but the station you see here is not the original, but a more modern (and cheaply built) replacement. NY decided that upgrading this El would be too costly, so they got rid of it without replacement. Note the cool 1950s two-toned cars.

This is a view of the same location today. The building at left replaced the one shown in the 1958 picture some time after 2013. The other three buildings appear to be the same, with modifications.

This is a view of the same location today. The building at left replaced the one shown in the 1958 picture some time after 2013. The other three buildings appear to be the same, with modifications.

The first photo shows the length of the ramp that connected the Lake Street

The first photo shows the length of the ramp that connected the Lake Street “L” to the ground level portion west of Laramie. The cross street is Long Avenue (5400 W.), which means the incline ramp was exactly two blocks long. A current view of the same location follows. Streetcars ran on Lake Street until May 30, 1954 when they were replaced by buses. For a few blocks, they ran parallel to the ground level “L”, which was also powered by overhead wire. We are looking east.

The Racine

The Racine “L” station on the Englewood branch on January 10, 1956.

This picture was taken on January 10, 1956, and shows the ground-level portion of the Lake Street

This picture was taken on January 10, 1956, and shows the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” in Oak Park, just east of the Marion Street station. It was relocated to the Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

This would seem to be a view of the Quincy and Wells

This would seem to be a view of the Quincy and Wells “L” station on the Loop on January 10,l 1956, looking north.

This is a view of the North Shore Line's Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee in the late 1950s, taken from an early Ektachrome slide that has unfortunately shifted to red. I did what I could to improve the color. Not sure which express motor car that is.

This is a view of the North Shore Line’s Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee in the late 1950s, taken from an early Ektachrome slide that has unfortunately shifted to red. I did what I could to improve the color. Not sure which express motor car that is.

A colorized view of the old Loop

A colorized view of the old Loop “L” station at State and Van Buren, sometime prior to the end of cable car service in 1906, looking north. There is a picture of this station in 1959 in my book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. It closed in 1973 and by 1975 nearly all of it had been removed, except for a short segment of the platform. A new station opened here in 1997 to serve the new Harold Washington Library.

This view, looking north from the old Loop

This view, looking north from the old Loop “L” station at State and Van Buren, dates to between 1952 and 1955. That seems to be prewar PCC 4051, painted in the new CTA colors, heading north. From 1955-56, the prewar cars ran on Western Avenue, but in this time frame, they were used on Route 4 – Cottage Grove.

Another slide I did not win... this one has a real small town feel. Johnstown Traction Electric Streetcar #356 Original Kodachrome Slide Processed by Kodak Oakhurst, Pennsylvania 27 July 1958 Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk adds:

Another slide I did not win… this one has a real small town feel. Johnstown Traction Electric Streetcar #356 Original Kodachrome Slide Processed by Kodak Oakhurst, Pennsylvania 27 July 1958 Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk adds: “356 is now at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, CT along with Johnstown 357.”

Here is a slide I did not win. It shows two interurban cars on the Iowa Terminal in August 1967. Waterloo & Cedar Falls Northern 100 had just been restored, but unfortunately was destroyed in a fire a few months later. The fate of the North Shore Line box express motor car is less clear. The number seems to be 34, and according to Don's Rail Photos this car should have been somewhere else in 1967, although it does say it too was destroyed by fire.

Here is a slide I did not win. It shows two interurban cars on the Iowa Terminal in August 1967. Waterloo & Cedar Falls Northern 100 had just been restored, but unfortunately was destroyed in a fire a few months later. The fate of the North Shore Line box express motor car is less clear. The number seems to be 31, which was also destroyed in the same fire.

The Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in the mid-1950s. The occasion was probably a Sunday fantrip on wooden

The Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in the mid-1950s. The occasion was probably a Sunday fantrip on wooden “L” cars. Since the Ravenswood only ran to Armitage on Sundays in those days (that was changed to Belmont after the North Shore Line quit), there were lots of opportunities to have leisurely photo stops, without interfering with regular service trains. There was also a much more lax attitude back then about having people near the 600 volt third rail.

Photos by John Engleman, Circa 1970

Work car M-454 in Pittsburgh. After it was taken out of regular service in the mid-1950s, it operated as a utility car for Pittsburgh Railways and was also used on some late 1960s fantrips. By 1973 it was sitting derelict on a siding and in sad shape, with its windows smashed, so I assume it has not survived. John Engleman: "The orange car is Pittsburgh Railways M454 on a fantrip somewhere on Pittsburgh's North Side." Larry Lovejoy adds: "Work car M454 on a fantrip in Pittsburgh in the early-1960s, inbound at the corner of California Avenue and Brighton Place. After it was taken out of regular passenger service in 1940, “highfloor” car 4115 it was converted into snowplow M454 by Pittsburgh Railways and was routinely used on fantrips during the 1960s. In derelict condition by the early 1970s, it was acquired by Pennsylvania Trolley Museum and scrapped for parts. M454 is survived by sister cars 4145 (nee snowplow M459) and tow-car M200 (nee snowplow M458, nee passenger car 4140), both in PTM’s collection."