Back in Boston

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This summer marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston, which quickly became one of my favorite cities. I came there as a 12-year-old, to attend my uncle Robert’s wedding along with my mother.

I was astonished to find that Boston still had PCC streetcars, of a type very similar to those Chicago had retired nearly a decade earlier. While my relatives were out making merry, I went off to ride all the various lines.

I have returned to Boston numerous times since then. Recently, I spent a few days there to help my uncle celebrate his 87th birthday.

While PCCs are long gone from the MBTA Green Line, a few still soldier on between Ashmont and Mattapan. This “high-speed trolley” has been running in an old railroad right-of-way since the 1920s, on private right-of-way with just a couple of grade crossings. Along with the MBTA’s Riverside line, which began service in 1959, it is considered a forerunner of modern light rail.

Although I did not have time to do as much railfanning as I might have hoped, here are some pictures from that trip.

-David Sadowski

PS- We expect to receive our shipment of Chicago Trolleys books by September 22nd, which should allow us to ship all copies that have been pre-ordered by the release date on the 25th. More information is at the end of this post.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Red Line subway.

The Red Line subway.

It's incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don's Rail Photos, "3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service." Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

It’s incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service.” Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

3087 at Mattapan.

3087 at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

3087 at Ashmont.

3087 at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

This "cigar store Indian" princess graces the store's entry way.

This “cigar store Indian” princess graces the store’s entry way.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

Currently, the Green Line's northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

Currently, the Green Line’s northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

These "Type 7" LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

These “Type 7” LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route "B," which goes to Boston College.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route “B,” which goes to Boston College.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route "C", which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned "A" as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route “C”, which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned “A” as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston's Green Line, but that's not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston’s Green Line, but that’s not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

It's been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

It’s been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot "Green Monster" wall in left field.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot “Green Monster” wall in left field.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line "E" branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line “E” branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

Horsecars in Roxbury

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as "circa 1910," but must have been taken many years before that.

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as “circa 1910,” but must have been taken many years before that.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

While researching when the above photograph could have been taken, I learned quite a bit about the early history of public transit in Boston. Roxbury was once its own municipality, but was annexed into Boston in 1868.

Before horse-drawn streetcars, there was the “Omnibus.” This was a large passenger coach, similar to a stagecoach, that ran on a fixed route between Boston and Roxbury, and offered frequent service (hourly, in some places). This ran from 1832 until 1856.

Streetcars offered some advantages, as they ran on tracks laid in city streets, which were frequently unpaved in this era and could be turned to a muddy mess when it rained. Often pedestrians would walk along the middle of the tracks.

One source says horse cars “began at Boylston Market to Norfolk House in Eliot Square, (and a) second line met at Tremont House, traveled over the neck to Norfolk House and then via Center Street over Hogs Bridge to West Roxbury.”

The Metropolitan Railroad Co. continued to operate horsecars until 1886, when it was bought out by the West End Street Railway Co. Thus, the dates when this photo could have been taken are probably between 1856 and 1886.

West End sought to improve service and reduce costs. After looking into the feasibility of building cable car lines, the railroad became aware of a new invention, electric streetcars. After examining Frank J. Sprague’s pioneering operation in Richmond, Virginia, the West End introduced electric streetcars to Boston in 1889.

I was unable to find a definitive date when horsecars stopped running in Boston. The various dates I did find were 1891, 1895, and 1900. But the latter seems unlikely.

During construction of the open-cut MBTA Orange Line in the 1980s, which replaced an elevated, the former site of a Metropolitan R. R. horsecar barn was excavated, and thousands of artifacts recovered. You can read a full report here, in someone’s masters thesis.

Interestingly, the First Church of Roxbury building, which dates to about 1804, is still there, although the steeple had to be replaced after it was damaged by rough weather in 1954.

Norfolk House was built in 1853 and is also still standing. The four-and-a-half story building has now been converted to condos.

-David Sadowski

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: "The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums."

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: “The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums.”

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

Recent Finds

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation's capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation’s capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel's Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel's Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel’s Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel’s Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962."

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.”

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That's the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That’s the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park "L" in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park “L” in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

A wooden Met car on the CTA's Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

A wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

Quincy Station Landmarking Recommendation Approved by Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is very pleased to announce that the final recommendation for landmarking the Quincy Elevated Station at 220 S. Wells Street was recently approved at the September 7, 2017 meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Opened for service on October 3, 1897, the Quincy Elevated Station has served generations of Chicagoans and visitors to the City, and remains the best example of an original Loop “‘L’ Station.

More information here.

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

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

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

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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Recent Finds, Part 2

CTA pre-war PCCs 4016 and 4050 at Western and 79th, southern terminal of route 49. This picture was taken seconds after a similar one on page 363 of CERA Bulletin 146. That picture is dated May 1956 and is attributed to William C. Janssen.

CTA pre-war PCCs 4016 and 4050 at Western and 79th, southern terminal of route 49. This picture was taken seconds after a similar one on page 363 of CERA Bulletin 146. That picture is dated May 1956 and is attributed to William C. Janssen.

The CTA terminal at Western and 79th today.

The CTA terminal at Western and 79th today.

Here are more classic traction photos we recently acquired. While many are from Chicago, our trip this time takes us all around the country, and even across our northern border.

As always, if you have interesting tidbits of information to add, you can either post a Comment here, or drop us a line directly aat:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Don’t forget, if you click on each picture with your mouse, you can bring up a larger version in your browser, and zoom in on that one too for closer inspection.

Thanks.

-David Sadowski


Chicago Area

When I got this slide, it was identified as being a station on the Garfield Park "L". However, I did some further research, and it is actually the old Austin Boulevard stop on the Douglas Park line. The house and apartment buildings in the background are still there. The Douglas branch was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952 and the former right-of-way is now used for parking. Locals still call it the "L" Strip.

When I got this slide, it was identified as being a station on the Garfield Park “L”. However, I did some further research, and it is actually the old Austin Boulevard stop on the Douglas Park line. The house and apartment buildings in the background are still there. The Douglas branch was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952 and the former right-of-way is now used for parking. Locals still call it the “L” Strip.

The same view today.

The same view today.

CTA 2163-2164, then brand new, in the 54th Avenue Yard, west end of the Douglas Park "L" (now the Pink Line) in 1964. The roadway at left is where the line continued before it was cut back in 1952. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CTA 2163-2164, then brand new, in the 54th Avenue Yard, west end of the Douglas Park “L” (now the Pink Line) in 1964. The roadway at left is where the line continued before it was cut back in 1952. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 - Western on July 14, 1953. The photographer was up on the Logan Square "L" platform. The people at right are waiting for a southbound car at a safety island. In the distance, we see what was then the Bloomingdale freight spur of the Milwaukee Road, but is now part of the 606 Trail. Jim Huffman adds, "Photo #525. “CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 – Western on July 14, 1953”, I feel is incorrect. 1. There is a 1955 Chevrolet on the left, precludes 1953. 2. 1-Man, Pre-War PCC were assigned in June 1955 (as well as 1-Man Post-Wars), prior to that Western used 2-Man Post-War PCCs only. Went Bus in June 1956. 3. People standing on the safety island are waiting at the end for the front door boarding of an 1-man car. Prior to 1-Man cars, they waited at the other end for the rear doors. 4. Although there is no proof, the 55 Chev looks somewhat used, I would say this is a 1956 photo."

CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 – Western on July 14, 1953. The photographer was up on the Logan Square “L” platform. The people at right are waiting for a southbound car at a safety island. In the distance, we see what was then the Bloomingdale freight spur of the Milwaukee Road, but is now part of the 606 Trail. Jim Huffman adds, “Photo #525. “CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 – Western on July 14, 1953”, I feel is incorrect.
1. There is a 1955 Chevrolet on the left, precludes 1953.
2. 1-Man, Pre-War PCC were assigned in June 1955 (as well as 1-Man Post-Wars), prior to that Western used 2-Man Post-War PCCs only. Went Bus in June 1956.
3. People standing on the safety island are waiting at the end for the front door boarding of an 1-man car. Prior to 1-Man cars, they waited at the other end for the rear doors.
4. Although there is no proof, the 55 Chev looks somewhat used, I would say this is a 1956 photo.”

CSL single-truck mail car H2, apparently still operational, is shown years after streetcar RPO (Railway Post Office) service ended in 1915. It was scrapped on October 2, 1942. From the looks of the autos in the background, this picture may date to the 1920s.

CSL single-truck mail car H2, apparently still operational, is shown years after streetcar RPO (Railway Post Office) service ended in 1915. It was scrapped on October 2, 1942. From the looks of the autos in the background, this picture may date to the 1920s.

CTA red Pullman 225 is shown here on a mid-1950s fantrip at the 77th Street Shops. The big man at front is Maurice Klebolt (1930-1988), who organized many such trips for the Illini Railroad Club. He later moved to San Francisco and helped start the historic trolley festival there. Car 225 is preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA red Pullman 225 is shown here on a mid-1950s fantrip at the 77th Street Shops. The big man at front is Maurice Klebolt (1930-1988), who organized many such trips for the Illini Railroad Club. He later moved to San Francisco and helped start the historic trolley festival there. Car 225 is preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

On this fantrip, Maury is calling the shots. Looks like he's wearing a tie with various railroad insignias.

On this fantrip, Maury is calling the shots. Looks like he’s wearing a tie with various railroad insignias.

Car 225 under makeshift cover at Seashore (Kennebunkport, Maine) in the late 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Car 225 under makeshift cover at Seashore (Kennebunkport, Maine) in the late 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CSL 2601 is shown running on the last day of streetcar service on route 111 (111th Street), September 22, 1945. As for the exact location, Andre Kristopans says this is "probably just west of Indiana Av., looks like the school campus in background that is between King and Indiana to this day."

CSL 2601 is shown running on the last day of streetcar service on route 111 (111th Street), September 22, 1945. As for the exact location, Andre Kristopans says this is “probably just west of Indiana Av., looks like the school campus in background that is between King and Indiana to this day.”

CSL 4033 passes the Garfield Park field house on Madison in 1938.

CSL 4033 passes the Garfield Park field house on Madison in 1938.

CSL Pullman 318 is heading west on Fullerton in the mid-1930s picture. At right, you can just make out the marquee of the old Liberty Theatre, which opened in 1911 and closed in 1951. The building is now a banquet hall. Will Rogers' name is on the marquee. The photo date is given as September 8, 1937 and I guess that is possible although Rogers died in August 1935.

CSL Pullman 318 is heading west on Fullerton in the mid-1930s picture. At right, you can just make out the marquee of the old Liberty Theatre, which opened in 1911 and closed in 1951. The building is now a banquet hall. Will Rogers’ name is on the marquee. The photo date is given as September 8, 1937 and I guess that is possible although Rogers died in August 1935.

The same area today.

The same area today.

The former Liberty Theatre at 3705 W. Fullerton.

The former Liberty Theatre at 3705 W. Fullerton.

CSL 7024 is westbound on Madison just west of the Chicago River in this September 8, 1937 view. The photo caption describes this as a "noiseless streetcar," with magnetic air brakes and rubber cushioned wheels.

CSL 7024 is westbound on Madison just west of the Chicago River in this September 8, 1937 view. The photo caption describes this as a “noiseless streetcar,” with magnetic air brakes and rubber cushioned wheels.

The view from 400 W. Madison today. We are looking to the southeast.

The view from 400 W. Madison today. We are looking to the southeast.

CTA 7093 is southbound on State Street near Lake, as a route 36 Broadway-State car. The film Scaramouche, playing at the State-Lake, was released on June 27, 1952, so that is the approximate date of this picture. Note a Chicago Motor Coach Company bus at left. The State-Lake opened in 1919 and closed in 1985. It was taken over by WLS-TV for use as a studio. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7093 is southbound on State Street near Lake, as a route 36 Broadway-State car. The film Scaramouche, playing at the State-Lake, was released on June 27, 1952, so that is the approximate date of this picture. Note a Chicago Motor Coach Company bus at left. The State-Lake opened in 1919 and closed in 1985. It was taken over by WLS-TV for use as a studio. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

State and Lake today.

State and Lake today.

CTA 7051 is northbound at State and Delaware as a route 36 Broadway-State car in the early 1950s. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7051 is northbound at State and Delaware as a route 36 Broadway-State car in the early 1950s. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

State and Delaware today, looking south.

State and Delaware today, looking south.

CTA 1784, on route 16, has just turned from eastbound Lake Street south on Dearborn, and is passing the Selwyn Theater. A poster advertises Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the play Bell, Book and Candle. They took over those parts on May 9, 1952, which is the approximate date of this picture. Bell, Book and Candle was later made into a movie in 1958, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Michael Todd eventually bought the Harris and Selwyn later in the 1950s and they were converted into movie theaters. The facades of those two buildings have been saved and are now part of the Goodman Theater complex. (Walter Hulsweder Photo)

CTA 1784, on route 16, has just turned from eastbound Lake Street south on Dearborn, and is passing the Selwyn Theater. A poster advertises Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the play Bell, Book and Candle. They took over those parts on May 9, 1952, which is the approximate date of this picture. Bell, Book and Candle was later made into a movie in 1958, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Michael Todd eventually bought the Harris and Selwyn later in the 1950s and they were converted into movie theaters. The facades of those two buildings have been saved and are now part of the Goodman Theater complex. (Walter Hulsweder Photo)

Dearborn and Lake today.

Dearborn and Lake today.

Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the 1952 off-Broadway version of Bell, Book and Candle.

Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the 1952 off-Broadway version of Bell, Book and Candle.

Bell, Book and Candle helped inspire the later TV series Bewitched.

Bell, Book and Candle helped inspire the later TV series Bewitched.

This undated photo shows the station (car house) at Cottage Grove and 38th. It is undated, but the newest car shown here was built in 1912. So a good guess would be sometime between 1912 and the early 1920s, when streetcars were painted red to make them more visible to motorists. Several cars can be identified in this picture. From left to right, I see 5368, 5357, 5364, 5378, 5707, 5802, 5782, 5743, 5759, 5736, 5386, 5706, and 5348. All are either Brill-American-Kuhlman cars, or Nearsides. Streetcars last ran out of Cottage Grove in 1955, after which the building was demolished.

This undated photo shows the station (car house) at Cottage Grove and 38th. It is undated, but the newest car shown here was built in 1912. So a good guess would be sometime between 1912 and the early 1920s, when streetcars were painted red to make them more visible to motorists. Several cars can be identified in this picture. From left to right, I see 5368, 5357, 5364, 5378, 5707, 5802, 5782, 5743, 5759, 5736, 5386, 5706, and 5348. All are either Brill-American-Kuhlman cars, or Nearsides. Streetcars last ran out of Cottage Grove in 1955, after which the building was demolished.

A close-up of four unidentified men in the photo. Presumably, all worked out of the Cottage Grove station.

A close-up of four unidentified men in the photo. Presumably, all worked out of the Cottage Grove station.

It's April 23, 1939, and Chicago & West Towns cars 140 and 141 are operating on an early Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Car 141, the lone survivor of the fleet, is now restored to operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

It’s April 23, 1939, and Chicago & West Towns cars 140 and 141 are operating on an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Car 141, the lone survivor of the fleet, is now restored to operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.


New Site Additions

FYI, these Birney car pictures have been added to Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016):

Fort Collins Municipal Railway "Birney" car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)

Fort Collins Municipal Railway “Birney” car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)

Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.

FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.

FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)

FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)

Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)

Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)

This picture has been added to our post Badger Traction, 2016 (June 14, 2016):

In this mid-1950s view, Village of East Troy Railway freight motor M-15 is shown here in East Troy, Wisconsin, near the power station which now serves as the waiting room for the East Troy Electric Railroad museum operation. It was built by TMER&L in 1920 and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Walter Broschart Photo)

In this mid-1950s view, Village of East Troy Railway freight motor M-15 is shown here in East Troy, Wisconsin, near the power station which now serves as the waiting room for the East Troy Electric Railroad museum operation. It was built by TMER&L in 1920 and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Walter Broschart Photo)

We have added this one to The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016):

Montreal Tramways had four of these unique observation cars in their fleet, which were used for sightseeing tours. Here, car #3 is at St. Joseph's Shrine on August 14, 1948. All four cars have been preserved, and car 3 is now at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. A few years ago, I rode the very similar car #2 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.

Montreal Tramways had four of these unique observation cars in their fleet, which were used for sightseeing tours. Here, car #3 is at St. Joseph’s Shrine on August 14, 1948. All four cars have been preserved, and car 3 is now at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. A few years ago, I rode the very similar car #2 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.

These pictures have been added to Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.

The photo caption reads, "Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks." The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these "Bullet" cars were just a few years old.

The photo caption reads, “Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks.” The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these “Bullet” cars were just a few years old.

This picture was added to Chicago’s Pre-PCCs (May 5, 2015):

Baltimore Transit Company car 6105, shown here on route 15 - Ostend St., is one of the last modern streetcars built before PCCs took over the market. The sign on front says that September 7 will be the last day for 6 hour local rides. Perhaps that can help date the picture.

Baltimore Transit Company car 6105, shown here on route 15 – Ostend St., is one of the last modern streetcars built before PCCs took over the market. The sign on front says that September 7 will be the last day for 6 hour local rides. Perhaps that can help date the picture.


Bonus Pictures

The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (aka the Laurel Line) was a Scranton-area interurban powered by third rail, much as the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin was. Here, we see coach #37 in Scranton on September 9, 1950. The line quit at the end of 1952. There were no takers for these cars and all were scrapped. It has been suggested that perhaps CA&E might have benefited from buying some of these cars, although it does seem they were too long for tight turns on the Chicago "L". However, I do not know if this would have prevented them from running on the CA&E after the system was cut back to Forest Park. In any case, CA&E had previously reduced the length of other cars purchased from the Baltimore & Annapolis in 1938. What was missing in 1953, apparently, was a willingness to continue trying to operate.

The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (aka the Laurel Line) was a Scranton-area interurban powered by third rail, much as the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin was. Here, we see coach #37 in Scranton on September 9, 1950. The line quit at the end of 1952. There were no takers for these cars and all were scrapped. It has been suggested that perhaps CA&E might have benefited from buying some of these cars, although it does seem they were too long for tight turns on the Chicago “L”. However, I do not know if this would have prevented them from running on the CA&E after the system was cut back to Forest Park. In any case, CA&E had previously reduced the length of other cars purchased from the Baltimore & Annapolis in 1938. What was missing in 1953, apparently, was a willingness to continue trying to operate.

The Hagerstown & Frederick was a Maryland interurban in sparsely populated rural areas, a veritable real-life "Toonerville Trolley." Despite having practically no ridership, it subsisted on freight and somehow managed to survive into the mid-1950s. Here, we see freight motor #5 in Frederick, Maryland on April 11, 1954. (Gene Connelly Photo)

The Hagerstown & Frederick was a Maryland interurban in sparsely populated rural areas, a veritable real-life “Toonerville Trolley.” Despite having practically no ridership, it subsisted on freight and somehow managed to survive into the mid-1950s. Here, we see freight motor #5 in Frederick, Maryland on April 11, 1954. (Gene Connelly Photo)

In some sense, the Charles City Western in Iowa was comparable to the Hagerstown & Frederick, in that it had sparse ridership, yet managed to survive into the 1950s with freight. Here we see combine 50 in March 1937. Don's Rail Photos notes, "50 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It became Iowa Terminal 101 in December 1964. It was sent to Mount Pleasant and restored as CCW 50. It was then sent to Boone & Scenic Valley RR." Vintage audio of the Charles City Western in operation can be heard on Railroad Record Club disc #28, which is available on compact disc via our Online Store.

In some sense, the Charles City Western in Iowa was comparable to the Hagerstown & Frederick, in that it had sparse ridership, yet managed to survive into the 1950s with freight. Here we see combine 50 in March 1937. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “50 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It became Iowa Terminal 101 in December 1964. It was sent to Mount Pleasant and restored as CCW 50. It was then sent to Boone & Scenic Valley RR.” Vintage audio of the Charles City Western in operation can be heard on Railroad Record Club disc #28, which is available on compact disc via our Online Store.

The Omaha & Council Bluffs Street Railway operated between Nebraska and Iowa. Here, car 814 is shown in Council Bluffs in September 1936, unloading passengers next to a natty-looking 1935 V8 Ford Sedan Delivery, advertising Old gold cigarettes. I assume this car was built by O&CB in 1908 and was rebuilt in 1932, possibly to convert it to one-man service. If so, riders would board at the rear and pay as they left through the front. Note the "people catcher" device at front.

The Omaha & Council Bluffs Street Railway operated between Nebraska and Iowa. Here, car 814 is shown in Council Bluffs in September 1936, unloading passengers next to a natty-looking 1935 V8 Ford Sedan Delivery, advertising Old gold cigarettes. I assume this car was built by O&CB in 1908 and was rebuilt in 1932, possibly to convert it to one-man service. If so, riders would board at the rear and pay as they left through the front. Note the “people catcher” device at front.


Recent Correspondence

Virginia Sammis writes:

I wrote you once before, and I was hoping you might be able to help me again. I am still trying to find CSL employee photos. I had a researcher in Chicago spend some hours looking at the CHM archives of the CSL newsletter and she did find Gustav Johnson’s brief obituary in there for 1946. But very few photos. Do you know of any other place I might find photos of employees of CSL?

(She had written some months ago, looking for information on Gustav Johnson, who emigrated to America around 1880, worked for the Chicago Surface Lines, and died in 1946.)

The employee newsletter would have been the best bet. However, I do know a genealogist, and I can ask her to see what she can find out.

In the CTA era, which started in October 1947, the newsletter ran more pictures of retirees, of which there were many. However, we are talking about several thousands of people working there at any one given time, so the odds of finding one person are not good.

If you know which routes, or which car houses (aka “stations”) he might have worked at, that would help.

I just got a picture (see elsewhere in this post) showing four guys standing outside the car barn at Cottage Grove and 38th, taken in the early 20th century, but have no way of knowing who the people in the picture are.

I will run your request in my blog, and see what other people might suggest.

Ms. Sammis replied:

This is what his obituary said:
“Gustave Johnsen, 84, motorman from Devon, died 11-22-46, after along illness. He had been with the company for 35 years.”

It was actually spelled Gustav Johnson. Does that mean that he would have reported to work every day at the Devon Station at 6454 N. Clark St/Devon St.? Also, can you confirm that a “motorman” was the engineer on the trolley and the “conductor” collected the fares?

Thank you for your help David. I am determined to find a photograph of Gustav SOMEWHERE!

Yes, that means he worked out of the Devon station, or car house. And yes, the motorman operated the streetcar, while the conductor collected the fares. We have run lots of pictures in previous posts showing streetcars at or near Devon station. You can find those by typing Devon into the search window at the top of this page.

Thanks.

-David Sadowski


Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:

Your latest post, Recent Finds Part 2, includes a photo of the carbarn at 38th and Cottage Grove. This photo obviates my wild guess that perhaps the photo ostensibly of the 69th and Ashland carbarn instead might have been the 38th & Cottage barn. (See our previous post Recent Finds, December 2, 2016.)

In the new photo, https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/dave511.jpg , the bay numbers under the Chicago City Railway logo are 7 and 6. In the previous photo, https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/dave4891.jpg , the bay number under the logo is 4.

This observation, together with the Campbell barn label (Campbell is nowhere near Cottage Grove), cements my opinion that you are correct saying the previous photo is of the 69th and Ashland carbarn.

None of which solves the mysteries of why there are so many 4 Cottage Grove cars at the 69th and Ashland barn, and how they got there from Cottage Grove.

It’s a mystery, alright… hopefully one we will eventually clear up, thanks!


Kenneth Gear writes:

Hi David. I’ve been falling behind on my reading lately and just today read the latest Trolley Dodger “Recent Finds 2”.

I was very interested in the photo of Hagerstown & Frederick Railway freight motor # 5.

Back in 2008 while chasing and photographing the Maryland Midland RR train UBHF from Union Bridge to Highfield, I was surprised to find H&F freight motor #5 displayed at the former site of the H&F Thurmont Station along Main Street.

It was apparently under going restoration at the time. The building in the background is a former H&F electric sub station. I’m not sure how this restoration has progressed in the ensuing years, but here is the photo I took back on March 9, 2008:

hagerstown-and-frederrick-rr-freight-motor-at-power-sub-station-thurmont-md-3-9-08

Thanks! Good to know this car was saved. Here’s what Don’s Rail Photos says: “5 was built by H&F in 1920. It was retired in 1955 and went to Shade Gap Electric Ry. It then was returned to home by H&F Ry Historical Society.”

About the line in general, Don Ross adds:

“It’s hard to describe the H&F since it seems to be more of a country trolley than an interurban line. Yet they did operate freight service and covered some 76 miles of line in western Maryland. It was the last passenger interurban east of Chicago. The H&F was a consolidation of several lines dating back to 1902. They joined together in 1913. Abandonments began in 1932. In 1938 the main line was cut so that there were two separate sections, one at Hagerstown, and the other at Frederick. The Hagerstown line finally quit in 1947, but the Frederick to Thurmont passenger service lasted until February 20, 1954. Freight service was later dieselized but lasted only until 1958.”

I checked and it looks like the car went from the Rockhill Trolley Museum to Thurmont in 2006. The car is now owned by the City and there are trucks under the body.

As for the Shade Gap name, here is how the Wikipedia explains it:

The museum operates what has been historically referred to as the Shade Gap Electric Railway to demonstrate the operable pieces in its collection. “Shade Gap” refers to the name of a branch of the East Broad Top Railroad, from whom the museum leases it property.

-David Sadowski


Charles Turek writes:

re: Recent Finds, Part 2 – image dave513.jpg

Having grown up at 27th & Harvey in Berwyn, IL, effective walking distance from Austin/Cermak in the 1950s, I can confirm the station is, indeed, Austin on the Douglas Park line. The distinctive chain gate, which was atypical for the line, was my first clue. I used to find this gate fascinating to watch and enjoyed hearing the pulleys (in the towers on each side of Austin) crank it up and down. This was a very busy area in those days and the chain gate was effective in stopping traffic in both lanes that would otherwise attempt to get past standard gates to make the signals at Cermak Road. Nonetheless, the gateman who holed up in the little house in front of the station was still necessary.

Love your web pages and visit them often.


Stained Glass from New York’s Third Avenue El

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FYI, to raise money to help fund the original research we do on this site, we are selling two unique artifacts— decorative stained glass, circa 1878, from stations on the old IRT Third Avenue El in New York, which was torn down in 1955. We purchased these several years ago from a noted New York collector.

You can check out our eBay auction here. This may be your only opportunity to own a true piece of history from that fabled line, which has yet to be replaced more than 60 years after it was abandoned.

Thanks.


New Book Project

We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 170th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 228,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

7001’s True Colors

We've been asked to help determine the authentic colors this rare model should be painted in.

We’ve been asked to help determine the authentic colors this rare model should be painted in.

An “O” scale streetcar model, probably dating to the 1950s, recently sold for $520 on eBay, even though it is unpainted and needs a motor, wheels, and a trolley pole.

That might seem like quite a lot of money, until you consider that this is an extremely rare brass model of the Chicago Surface Lines 1934 Brill pre-PCC car 7001. This model, made by Kidder, could be the only version that was ever made.

The famous St. Petersburg Tram Collection models are made of urethane, not brass, and so far, they have not issued a 7001 model, although they have made one for the 4001, the other experimental 1934 CSL car, made by Pullman-Standard. The actual 7001 itself, a one-off, was quite influential on the eventual body style chosen for the PCC car starting in 1936. Unfortunately, it was scrapped in 1959.

The eBay auction winner contacted us for help in determining what colors the 7001 was painted in, when first delivered to Chicago. This is not as easy a task as you might imagine.

The earliest color photo I have seen of 7001 dates to 1941, by which time the car had been repainted to match the 83 PCC cars delivered to CSL in 1936-37. There are several black and white pictures circulating, but while they tell us how light or dark various parts of the car were painted, they can’t help us figure out colors.

There may not actually be any color photos that show what the 7001 looked like before it was repainted.

There were no true color standards in 1934, such as today’s Pantone Matching System. Complicating matters further, in the 1930s not all black and white films were “panchromatic,” meaning they react the same to different colors. Some were still “orthochromatic” and had exaggerated sensitivity to certain colors.

Kodak did not introduce Kodachrome film until 1935, and it was rarely used to take 35mm slides before 1939.

There were some experimental color films shot during the 1933 season of A Century of Progress (early three-strip Technicolor), and we linked to some of those in an earlier post (February 20th).  7001 wasn’t delivered until 1934, and it was not there for the entire season in any case; during September it spent some time in Cleveland at a trade convention.

While there was a 1934 Brill trade ad, showing an artist’s rendering of 7001 in color, these aren’t the right colors– the body is too dark. Interestingly, the color scheme in the ad looks remarkably similar to the one CSL used on the 1936 PCCs.

Hoping to find a consensus, we reached out to Frank Hicks of the Hicks Car Works blog, author of an excellent article detailing the story behind both the 7001 and 4001. In that article, Mr. Hicks says that the 7001 was originally painted a light green.

We also consulted two expert modelers, who prefer to remain nameless. Here is what the experts have to say:

Frank Hicks:

Interesting question! This is my kind of conundrum. 🙂

I’d be happy to cite my source. “Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, Third Edition” by Alan Lind, 1986, page 121. To wit: “Everywhere it [7001] went, riders commented favorably on its sleek shape, set off to advantage with a paint scheme of aluminum and two shades of green with orange trim.” I’m not sure what the primary source for this account was, I’m afraid.

I’ve also seen photos of (the painted 7001) model and it has struck me as looking quite plausible, though I’ve never seen a color photo of either 4001 or 7001 in its original livery. I also haven’t seen the illustration you mention. The 4001 had a very simple livery consisting of only two colors while the 7001’s livery evidently featured five colors: roof, lower body, upper body, belt rail and striping. Judging from various photos of the 7001 that show the belt rail alternately as very dark or quite light, I’d guess the belt rail was orange and that we’re seeing – respectively – orthochromatic or panchromatic views. Photos I’ve seen also strongly suggest the roof and front visor were a metallic color, surely silver.

I decided to see if I could find a newspaper account of the 7001’s debut – and I did! I found two mentions within a few minutes of Googling. There’s an article on page 3 of the March 21, 1934 Tribune at http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/03/21/ which describes the car’s colors to be “silver and gray.” There’s another account in the July 9, 1934 issue on page 7 (http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/07/09/). This article focuses on the newly-delivered 4001 but includes the line “The new car was demonstrated to a party of engineers, car line officials, and newspapermen, beside the streamlined silver and green vehicle recently placed in operation.” Then just a few lines later it refers to the Brill car as “silver and gray.”

So, I don’t know. The 7001 may have been more of a green-grey than a bright Mercury green-like shade. It’s also possible that the 7001’s primary body color was grey, that Lind’s color description was correct but simply left out the gray color, and that the belt rail, striping, and secondary body color were some combination of two shades of green and orange. A third possibility I would forward is that the car was mainly green and that what we’re seeing is a transcription or typesetting error – swapping out the word “green” for the word “gray.” It may be a bit of a stretch but I’ve done my share of poring over old newspapers and accuracy is not a word I’d generally associate with newspaper articles! Either way I haven’t seen any contemporary evidence to support that flyer’s suggestion that the Brill car was, in common with the Pullman car, blue.

Modeler A:

The color is not Mercury Green but I don’t know the name of the shade. It is lighter than Mercury. Brill used the same shade on the first Brilliner delivered to the Atlantic City & Shore then owned by the PRR. That car had narrow gold stripes on it similar to the Raymond Loewy styling of the 1938 Broadway Limited trains. There are color renditions of the Brilliner in (that) shade of green in numerous trade journals of the time.

Modeler B:

As you may recall, Mercury Green seemed to be darker in some photos than in others. Perhaps the Mercury Green color had variations, some lighter and some darker. I recall hearing talk about what was Traction Orange, and the reply was whatever they could get that seemed close to Traction Orange! It was not an exact science so there were variations.

Having looked at Black & White movies of car 7001 in service as well as B&W photos, I can see how one could feel comfortable with a Mercury Green color on the lower body of the car. The paint was probably not called Mercury Green in those days, but it might have been very close in hue.

After I sent Mr. Hicks a copy of the 1934 trade ad, he wrote:

Thanks for forwarding these photos; interesting stuff! Did you say that Transit Journal illustration of the 7001 was from 1934? That’s pretty intriguing to me mainly because the color scheme is extremely similar to the prewar PCC cars, suggesting that perhaps the decision on what color those cars should be was made well before the cars themselves were even ordered. Or who knows, maybe someone at CSL just saw this illustration and thought it would look nice in real life. Neat! And Modeler A’s statement that the green on the 7001 was very similar to that on the Atlantic City demonstrator does make some sense; I wouldn’t be at all surprised. It also looks more toned-down than Mercury green so perhaps that’s where the disagreements in the newspaper over whether the car was grey or green came from.

I replied:

Yes, the Brill illustration was from 1934. By 1935 they were touting the Washington, D. C. pre-PCC cars.

Could be Brill worked up several different color schemes for 7001 and they just happened to pick this particular one for the advertisement, even though the car itself was painted differently.

I know that Brill had a styling department in this period, since they worked as consultants on the 1939-41 modernization program for Lehigh Valley Transit. (See photo below.)

So yes, the original color scheme for the 1936 Chicago PCCs, built by St. Louis Car Company, may have actually originated with Brill, who never actually built any PCC cars.

Modeler A added:

My enlightenment on the topic of color for the 7001 comes from Bob Gibson, Joe Diaz, Jim Konas, Fielding Kunecke, and Bob Konsbruck, all sadly now deceased. These fellows, all older than me, saw the car and rode it in service. Bob Gibson rode it every day, in blue, of course, on his way home from Austin High School. It ran as a PM school tripper on Madison Street, always with the same crew, familiar with the operating characteristics of the car, the hydraulic brakes, for example. Its unfortunate that we cannot get their testimony today but I can carry on their remarks. Joe Diaz, an avid follower of the Pennsylvania RR, included all things Pennsy in his historic trek and he identified the color as identical to the Brilliner demonstrator delivered to the PRR-Atlantic City & Shore. You can take it for what its worth or stay with whatever the news reporter felt like writing that day.

Me:

I would value eyewitness accounts such as you describe over the offhand remarks made in a newspaper article. The people who wrote those articles weren’t fans, while your sources were all sticklers for accuracy.

Modeler B adds:

I would say that the photo (of the Atlantic City Brilliner) showing the two tone green colors adds credence to the attractive rendition as seen on Modeler A’s model of 7001. Using the lighter color green below the belt rail and the darker color green for the thin lines that flow around the car body.

Say what you may, these color combinations are exactly what CSL used on the Post War PCCs. Mercury Green below the belt rail, Swamp holly Orange Belt Rail, and Cream colored roof. The colors were always separated by a dark green line of paint. Some people thought that the thin line was Black, but it is a very dark shade of green, not unlike the Green shown on the Atlantic City Brilliner.

In conclusion, we all now seem to agree that the 7001 was indeed first painted in colors like those shown on the model. In turn, this color scheme is remarkably similar to the classic combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange that Surface Lines picked for the 600 postwar PCCs.

Therefore, it is one of the ironies of history that J. G. Brill, who never made a single PCC streetcar, due to their refusal to pay royalties on the patents, appears to have played an important role, albeit indirect, in the process of developing the color schemes ultimately used on the entire Chicago PCC fleet– all 683 cars.

And, the more you look at it, that $520 winning bid for the 7001 model starts to look like a real bargain.

-David Sadowski

In this Brill trade ad, which appeared in a 1934 issue of Transit Journal, 7001 looks quite a lot like the PCCs Chicago got in 1936-- from the St. Louis Car Company. But it does not appear to have been painted in these colors in 1934. Interestingly, it was later repainted to look a lot more like this.

In this Brill trade ad, which appeared in a 1934 issue of Transit Journal, 7001 looks quite a lot like the PCCs Chicago got in 1936– from the St. Louis Car Company. But it does not appear to have been painted in these colors in 1934. Interestingly, it was later repainted to look a lot more like this.

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

CSL 7001 in World's Fair service in 1934. (George Kanary Collection)

CSL 7001 in World’s Fair service in 1934. (George Kanary Collection)

7001

This 1935 CSL brochure shows experimental pre-PCC car 7001 painted mainly in red, which it never was.

This 1935 CSL brochure shows experimental pre-PCC car 7001 painted mainly in red, which it never was.

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

A 1950s brass model of 7001.

A 1950s brass model of 7001.

To the best of our knowledge, this is how 7001 looked as delivered to the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934.

To the best of our knowledge, this is how 7001 looked as delivered to the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934.

According to Don's Rail Photos, "Atlantic City and Shore 6891 was built by Brill in July 1938, #23646. It was renumbered 6901 in 1940 and renumbered 201 in 1945. It was scrapped in 1956." The light green color on this car is said to be an exact match for how 7001 was originally painted. (General Electric Photo)

According to Don’s Rail Photos, “Atlantic City and Shore 6891 was built by Brill in July 1938, #23646. It was renumbered 6901 in 1940 and renumbered 201 in 1945. It was scrapped in 1956.” The light green color on this car is said to be an exact match for how 7001 was originally painted. (General Electric Photo)

Now perhaps we know the origins of the famous color combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange, used on 600 postwar Chicago PCC cars. (David Sadowski Photo)

Now perhaps we know the origins of the famous color combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange, used on 600 postwar Chicago PCC cars. (David Sadowski Photo)

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Brill stylists worked as consultants on the brilliant 1939-41 modernization of Lehigh Valley Transit’s fleet. Here, ex-Indiana Railroad car 55 is shown at Fairview Shops in Allentown, PA in May 1941, in the process of being converted for service on the Liberty Bell Limited. Notice how the “55” has been crossed out on the side of the car and replaced with “1030.” After the end of LVT interurban service in 1951, this car was sold to the Seashore Trolley Museum, where it remains today.

CSL 7001 as it looked after being repainted circa 1941.

CSL 7001 as it looked after being repainted circa 1941.