More Railroad Record Club Rarities

Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern car 100. This car is featured on Railroad Record Club LP #2. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.”

No one person has been more responsible for preserving the historic artifacts connected with William A. Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club than our good friend Kenneth Gear. A while back, Ken acquired many of the original RRC tape recordings, some of which were never issued.

I have referred before to the RRC output being the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak, and thanks to Ken, we are beginning to see what the rest of the RRC archive consisted of. While we had already issued some “new” RRC recordings, taken from discs found in the Steventon archive, we have something even more exciting to announce today– newly uncovered audio recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban, the fabled North Shore Line, unheard for perhaps as much as 60 years.

These recordings have been digitized from original RRC tapes that Ken purchased, and are now available for the first time on compact disc. More details about that will be found at the end of this post.

Because we feel it is important for Ken to get back at least some of the substantial investment he has made, in order to preserve these and other historic materials, we are paying Ken a royalty of $5 for each disc sold. Our humble offerings are already reasonably priced, and we don’t make much money from them. On top of that, the Trolley Dodger has, to date, operated at a loss for every year. Our original losses were in excess of $10k per year. This was reduced to $6k in 2017, and we recently did our taxes and are pleased to report that we cut the loss to just $1400 in 2018.

Our goal with this enterprise is historic preservation and education, to provide an archive where people can get, and exchange information about electric railways. In some ways it is the modern equivalent of what my friend Ray DeGroote calls the “intelligence network” of railfans, which has been around since the 1930s or even earlier, just updated for the Internet age.

It used to be that you had to know somebody to be part of this intelligence network, and information was passed from one person to another. Now, it is accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it, via the world wide web.

With that in mind, our goal has always been to break even, in order to make the Trolley Dodger a self-sustaining enterprise.

But we have to give credit where credit is due. Without Kenneth Gear’s personal sacrifices, it’s possible that these materials would have been lost forever, and would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere. You never would even have known they existed.

That’s why I hope you will help support Ken’s gallant efforts by purchasing a copy of this new CD offering.

Because we are not entirely mercenary, Ken is also sharing dozens of classic railfan photos which he purchased as part of the Railroad Record Club archive. Presumably, all or nearly all of these were taken by the late William A. Steventon (1921-1993) himself, as many reflect the areas he lived, worked, and traveled to in his career.

A few of these we already published, but most of these appear here for the first time.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Altoona and Logan Valley car 74. Don’s Rail Photos: “74 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1930.”

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

The same picture cropped.

The same picture cropped.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Illinois Terminal car 285. Don’s rail Photos: “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1024 and as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and got new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.”

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A builder's photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

A builder’s photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

Illinois Terminal 1201 at Peoria. Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64. Howard Pletcher adds, “Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64 is at the Fort Wayne passenger terminal.”

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad car #375. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

The same picture, restored.

The same picture, restored.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corp View across the Broadway bridge, showing double truck car in distance, August 18, 1940. (But what city is this?) Mike Peters writes: “he ISC city car is in Fort Wayne, a block away from the south end of the Broadway line. The bridge carries Bluffton Road and the ISC interurban to Bluffton over the Saint Marys River. A good map of the Ft. Wayne system can be found in “Fort Wayne’s Trolleys” (George Bradley). ISC did provide service in several smaller cities, but these lines did not survive the 1930’s.”

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #94. Don’s Rail Photos: “90 thru 99 were built by Cummings in 1930 as Northern Indiana Ry 350 thru 359. In 1935, they were returned to Cummings, who rebuilt them and sold them to the IRR. They were retired in 1940.”

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth's at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth’s at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date-- March 31, 1936.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date– March 31, 1936.

Jeff Wien: “TMER&T, route 13: Clybourn Downtown Milwaukee.”
.

No information.

No information.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

No information (photo restored).

No information (photo restored).

No information (unrestored photo).

No information (unrestored photo).

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Unidentified car and person. Mike Peters: “The photo of 817 and employee would also be Fort Wayne. After passenger operations ceased, this motor was retained for switching the Spy Run power plant and several nearby industries. The roster in “Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Trolleys” (CERA #122) shows the 817 as being retired in 1952.”

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

Recent Finds

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 - Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 – Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

North Shore Line 254

North Shore Line 254 “at freight station on “L”structure near Loop – January 27, 1962.”

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an “L” station in the early 1950s.

CTA 7216, a St. Louis Car Company PCC, is northbound on Route 36 – Broadway in the 1950s. Jeff Wien: “Cars laying over on 119th at Morgan.”

CTA 4362, a Pullman PCC, on Route 8 – Halsted, most likely in the late 1940s. Jeff Wien adds, “Rt. 8 car has just pulled off of Broadway onto Waveland to head south on Halsted to 79th Street loop. Photo ca 1951 when Halsted was operated with PCCs, most Pullmans.”

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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Milwaukee Rapid Transit

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

With construction well underway on the new Milwaukee streetcar, and Milwaukee Transit Day (October 7th) fast approaching at the Illinois Railway Museum, this seems like an opportune time for guest contributor Larry Sakar to share more of his research with us.

Larry is the author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? We thank him for his generosity in sharing these pictures and information with our readers.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, all copies of Chicago Trolleys that were purchased during the pre-order have been mailed. Yesterday was the official release date for the book, and it is now in stock and autographed copies are available for immediate shipment. We hope that you will enjoy this new work (more information at the end of this post).

Larry Sakar writes:

The Trolley Dodger is getting a lot of notice. A friend of mine who does not have a computer has heard about it, most likely from Bill Shapotkin or Andre Kristopans. When something is well done, people notice, so I’m not surprised.

I promised you some pictures of the former TM station in Kenosha at 8th Ave. & 55th St. These 2 photos were taken by Ray DeGroote in September 1963 probably just days before the building was torn down. The passageway beneath the portico was where TM interurbans pulled in. They then curved to the right in the photo, on their way back to Milwaukee crossed Sheridan Rd. on the long elevated trestle, and then came parallel to the C&NW RR’s mainline between Chicago & Milwaukee. From around 1952 or ’53 to the end in Sept.’63 the former waiting room was a pizza restaurant – Vena’s Pizzeria.

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

When Speedrail acquired the 6-60 series curved side lightweight cars from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in October 1949, they were shipped to Milwaukee via the Nickel Plate Road (CMSTP&STL) to Chicago, where the NKP flat cars were interchanged with the Milwaukee Road. The MILW brought them to The Transport Co.’s. Cold Spring shops where they were unloaded and given a thorough inspection. First to arrive was car 65 on 10-6-49. Shaker Heights had painted it in an experimental green and yellow paint scheme to improve visibility at grade crossings. Sometime between 10-7-49 and 10-23-49 someone repainted the front end of car 65 in an obvious effort to emulate the “Liberty Bell Limited” design on the LVT 1000 series high speed cars. No one knows who did it or when. First we see 65 coming down the Michigan St. hill eastbound on the shakedown runs over both the Waukesha & Hales Corners lines on 10-7-49. In the second shot, note that the front has been repainted white with the quasi-LVT design and air horns placed where they are on an LVT 1000 series car. The second shot is in the 25th St. curve next to the tanks of the Milwaukee Gas Light Co. Today I-94 the East-West Freeway occupies the r.o.w.

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

I believe car 60 was the last to arrive from Shaker Heights. First we see it on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 crossing Brookdale Dr. In 2016 my friend and colleague Chris Barney took these 2 photos of Brookdale Dr. as it looks today.

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Lots of absolutely fantastic material in this collection I just inherited. Look at these 2 documents. Without saying a word, there’s a very clear picture of the way things were being run at Speedrail in April of 1950! Owing $8000+ to TMER&T was definitely not the way to go!

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Talk about valuable information, in this collection I just inherited was a list, no actually there were 2 lists. A railfan but not too likely the friend who gave me the collection walked down the scrap line out at the Waukesha gravel pit on March 1, 1952 and again two weeks later March 16, 1952. He wrote down the number of every car in the scrap line. This info is valuable because a year earlier the trustee sold 13 of the TM 1100 series heavy interurban cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Co. in Milwaukee. Obviously, Speedrail was desperate for money so why not sell off what was no longer being used? $2,000 (approximate figure) went to pay for the transformation of LVT 1102 into Milwaukee Rapid Transit 66, the so-called, “last hope car.”

Notice, I did not say Speedrail 66. Legally, it was still The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company but when Bruno V. Bitker took over as the court-appointed trustee, he ordered the Speedrail name painted out on the curved-side lightweight (60 series) car as well as removed from all timetables and tickets. He made it very clear that the Speedrail name immediately brought to mind the 9-2-50 fatal accident. That is also one of the reasons Jay Maeder was dismissed. From then on everything just said “Rapid Transit 234 W. Everett St.”

You may notice, by the way, that when I write the Speedrail corporate name I always capitalize “THE.” Maeder insisted on it because “The” in TMER&L was always capitalized and anything TM did was what he wanted to do as well. There is no better evidence of that than the first Speedrail timetable dated `10-16-49 which said “TM Speedrail”. Here are the covers of Speedrail’s very first and very last timetables, and for the Waukesha Transit Lines bus which replaced it, a fact you’ll notice they made sure to put on their timetable. Waukesha Transit Lines eventually became Wisconsin Coach Lines. They are still in business but are now part of the Coach USA system.

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

Here are the pictures I took at both the TM and North Shore stations on 4-5-72. I mentioned in a previous post that for many years after the TM M-R-K – Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha was abandoned in 1947 the freight tracks used by Motor Transport Co. were still embedded in pavement. Here they are on 4-5-72.

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

The next 2 photos at the TM Kenosha station site show the point where the long elevated bridge over Sheridan Rd. began. The large building to the left was the Barr Furniture Co. which has since been torn down. The very last photo I just scanned shows the sign created by Kenosha radio broadcaster Lou Rugani to commemorate where TM’s Kenosha station used to stand at 8th Ave. & 55th St. Just one problem with the sign. The Don Ross photo on the sign shows the Racine, not the Kenosha station.

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

From the TM station I walked out to the North Shore Line’s Kenosha station which is on 22nd Ave & 63rd St. if I recall correctly. I knew it was still standing but I didn’t expect it to be behind a stockade fence. I do not know why it was fenced off on 3 sides.

The first photo shows the northbound platform looking northeast. You can see the fence. The track area had been paved with asphalt but other than that the station appeared unchanged in the 9 years since abandonment.

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

I then snapped a series of 3 pictures of the southbound platform starting at it’s north end, then the middle of it and last the south end of that southbound platform. All of that changed some years later when the station became a restaurant. They added a banquet room to the north end of the station which ruined its historic Arthur U. Gerber appearance. Then they extended the restaurant over the track area and removed the southbound platform entirely.

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

The last NSL picture shows the abandoned NSL r.o.w. just north of Ryan Rd. I had just taken the picture when I noticed a large building in the distance. It turned out to be the Carrollville substation.

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Here is something I think you will enjoy. This picture appeared in a much smaller version in the Speedrail book. This is a much larger, more detailed print. These seats were installed by Shaker Heights when they acquired the curved side cars from Inter City Rapid Transit in 1940. They had purchased some of the very first Cincinnati curved side lightweights built from Kentucky Traction & Terminal but never placed them in service because their small motors made them unable to maintain the speed necessary for the 2 SHRT lines. They were kept on a storage track at Shaker’s Kingsbury Run shops and used for spare parts when the ICT cars arrived. That included these seats.

Interior SR 63

Interior SR 63

But there was one exception. Car 64 had green plush seats according to several people I spoke to who rode these cars on Speedrail. The Speedrail riders did not like these cars. They were glad Jay Maeder had saved the Waukesha line from the impending abandonment being sought by Northland-Greyhound but they wanted the TM 1100’s to remain in service.

Maeder became quite angry when he found out the Waukesha riders were complaining about the 60 series cars and he ran this ad in the Waukesha Freeman. Somebody should have told him you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You never start off a communication with, “We all know…” Yes, he knew, and the railfans knew, but the average everyday rider thought these were new cars when they first saw them. One look at the interiors told them otherwise.

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

To give you an example of just how much the 60’s were disliked, the late Len Garver told me that one day he and his friend Jerry Fisher were riding a 60-series car to Waukesha. A lady getting off the car near Waukesha East Limits turned to the motorman and said, “Do all of these cars ride this way? I feel like I’ve just ridden over Niagara Falls in a barrel!”

Much of it had to do with car weight and height of the car above the rail. This photo from the collection of Herb Danneman illustrated the problem. Note the height of car 1138 at left with car 60 at right. This photo was taken on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 and is at 46th St.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

Two of these pictures are ones I sent previously, but they were not the best quality. Two are ones you might never have seen before. One is pretty dramatic. Lew Martin took a picture as car 39 was rolling down the embankment of the r.o.w. after the 9-2-50 wreck. The other is of 1192 as it looked after the accident. Note how badly the front end was caved in. The photo was taken at the Waukesha Gravel pit. The car was towed out there once the investigation of the crash had been completed.

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

The one picture of the Speedrail crash that I did have showed the wreck before the cars were rolled off the right-of-way. How long was it before the tracks were cleared? A few hours, perhaps?

I don’t recall any of the newspapers giving specifics as to how long it took to clear the wreck, much less to cut apart what was left of car 39 and all of car 40. I believe one account did say the tracks had been cleared by late afternoon which to me means about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. The biggest problem they had was trying to get the cars separated. Trip #5, the last one of the day with duplex 1184-85 hooked up to 1193, the rear car of the heavy duplex, attempted to pull them apart but couldn’t. A heavy duty National Guard wrecker was then brought in and it was able to do it. Ironic, isn’t it that when Hyman-Michaels was scrapping the cars at the gravel pit in 1952 they used 1184-85 as their office car. It’s the one with the sign saying attached to its front that said “No Trespassing. Property of Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speed Rail Co.”  Someone recently asked me why they separated the Speedrail name into two words. I guess only Hyman-Michaels Co. would have known.

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

I know they were serious about prosecuting anyone caught trespassing on the property. Al Buetschle, whom I mentioned in a recent post as the person who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978 went out to the gravel pit soon after scrapping began. He tried to get close enough to where the scrappers were working so he could get some good pictures. He tried hiding in the brush and weeds close to the tracks and they caught him. He was warned that if they ever caught him again he would be turned over to the Waukesha County Sheriff. After that, he discovered that walking up the C&NW RR tracks west from Springdale Rd. which were adjacent to the gravel pit was the “safe” way to gain entry without detection. The other was by going out there on Sundays. The scrappers did not work on Sundays and the place was pretty much deserted. It was on one of these “hunts” that he “saved” the roll sign from Car 66 as well as an Ohio Brass trolley retriever. The problem with the retriever was that it was rather cumbersome. He did not drive a car in 1952 so he had to take the replacement for Speedrail “Waukesha Transit Lines” bus to and from. He was afraid if the bus driver saw it he would report him so he hid the retriever under a log. Regrettably, it wasn’t there the next time he came back. When he moved to California in 1961 the roll sign found its way to someone else and from him to the person who owns it today. I have a color slide of it taken at a train show where it was on display back in the ’80’s or ’90’s.

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

We have a new TM/Speedrail mystery on our hands. This is a photo of a TM or Speedrail 1100 series car eastbound on the Waukesha line at Sunny Slope Rd. The date of the photo is unknown as is the photographer. My friend and colleague Chris Barney obtained this from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper. The car is headed east on the eastbound track but look at the car. It’s running backwards!

The "mystery photo." A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

#1 – The “mystery photo.” A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

The streamlined modern type building to the right was the J.G. Van Holten Vinegar works along the westbound track. TM had a siding into the plant and delivered a brine car at least once a month. That continued into the Speedrail era. There were 2 crossover tracks both west of the crossing which the grainy quality of the photo makes impossible to see. That was where the Speedrail accident of 2-8-50 took place.

I’d like to ask my fellow TM fans for any information as to why a car would be running backwards. The switch into the plant was from the westbound track so even if the car had been switching a car in or out there would be no reason for it to be running backwards on the eastbound track.

Chris’ and my friend, Herb Danneman came up with what may be the explanation. On 2-29-52 Hyman-Michaels, the scrapper who dismantled Speedrail moved all of the cars in storage in Milwaukee to the Waukesha gravel pit for scrapping. We know for a fact that the cars operated in trains of 2 or 3 cars. TM 1142 which had been Speedrail’s freight motor from 12/50 to the end of service hauled a number of out of service 1100’s to the gravel pit. The “scrap trains” were operated westbound on the eastbound track as demonstrated in this photo by George Gloff. This is car 66 being towed by car 63. 1100’s could not couple onto curved side cars because of the difference in floor heights. That might be what’s going on here. It might have been easier just to run backwards to Milwaukee than wyeing at the gravel pit if they still could. We tried enlarging the photo to 8x`10 to see if the person standing on the rear platform is wearing a uniform which he would if this was some sort of unusual TM or Speedrail move but it only made him a shadow. We can’t tell.

The photo of 66 being towed is at Calhoun Rd. Some present-day photos at Sunny Slope and one I took there in 1971 are also included. J.G. Van Holten moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1956 after a dispute with the then Town of New Berlin (now city). Seems the Van Holten company was disposing of its waste (they made both pickles and sauerkraut) in a retention pond west of the plant. That must have been a smell you’d never forget!

#2 - The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#2 – The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#3 - Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#3 – Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#4 - SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney's at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#4 – SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney’s at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#5 - Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney's bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#5 – Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney’s bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#6 - Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That's me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#6 – Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That’s me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#7 - Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#7 – Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#8 - Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#8 – Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#9 - Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#9 – Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#10 - Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

#10 – Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

Have you ever studied a picture and not noticed something obvious? I was thinking of the “mystery” photo I just sent you and that’s when it hit me. This can’t be any kind of normal passenger run. Because the car is running backwards on the eastbound track the entry door is on the wrong side. How would they board or discharge passengers? The left side of the 1100’s didn’t have any doors!

If this car was heading back to 25th St. to pick up more 1100’s for transport to the Waukesha Gravel pit, you’d want it to be backwards so you could couple to another set of cars. Then you’d be position correctly for the reverse trip to Waukesha. Running backwards like that there was absolutely no place to turn the car around except West Junction loop. They’d have run backwards to the switch that took cars from the Waukesha to the Hales Corners line which was a short distance north of the West Jct. station, then switched to the Hales Corners line where they’d now be facing south, gone around the loop and then you’d be facing north frontwards). They could not have gone all the way to the Public Service Building. First, there was no way to turn a car around there and second by Feb. 29 of 1952 the rails had tar put over them and the trolley wire had been removed from the trainshed.

I think Herb Danneman was right. This is 2-29-52 and that is car 1142.

-Larry Sakar

Postscript

Scott Greig (see Comments section below) was wondering if there was any sort of listing of which Speedrail cars went to the Waukesha Gravel Pit for scrapping. He is in luck. Among the many great documents I found in that collection Herb Danneman so generously gave me were 2 lists of cars that were in the scrap line and elsewhere on the Speedrail property on March 1, 1952 and March 16, 1952. The list was written in pencil and hard to read so I typed it up and scanned in both lists

Thanks Scott, Charles and Robert for the great comments and superb information.

-Larry

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA 6148, and "Odd 17" car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 6148, and “Odd 17” car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 - Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 – Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 - Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 – Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

New Washington and Wabash “L” Station

The new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash recently opened. It replaces two stations, at Madison and Randolph. Having one station instead of two speeds up service on the Loop. The Madison station was closed at the beginning of the project, while Randolph remained open until the new one was ready.

This new station is very attractive and seems designed well to handle large crowds. The old Randolph station was already being cut up for scrap when I took these pictures. Not sure what happened to the large CTA logo that was added when that station was renovated in 1954.

Washington and Wabash is conveniently located near Millennium Park, and also provides easy transfer to CTA buses heading east and west.

-David Sadowski

Charlie On the M.T.A.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

After purchasing a “Charlie Ticket” on our recent trip to Boston (see Back in Boston, September 15, 2017), that got us to thinking about the song that inspired it, generally known as Charlie On the M.T.A. We spent some time recently looking into the origins of this iconic song.

It all started in 1949, when the late Walter O’Brien ran for Mayor of Boston on the Progressive Party ticket. He had no money for advertising, but he did have some folksinging friends, who recorded several songs for his campaign, including The People’s Choice, The O’Brien Train, We Want Walter A. O’Brien, and The M.T.A. Song.

These had new lyrics set to old melodies that the folksingers, who included Bess Lomax Hawes, Al Katz, Sam Berman, Al Berman, and Jackie Steiner, were already familiar with. The M.T.A. song was set to the tune of The Ship That Never Returned, written in 1865 by Henry Clay Work.

The same song also inspired The Wreck of the Old 97.

Fare hikes were a reason to protest the newly formed M.T.A. The Massachusetts legislature had allowed the Boston Elevated Railway Company to absorb its competitors in 1922, creating a monopoly. When the company went bankrupt in 1947, the legislature bought the company, bailing out the shareholders, and formed the Massachusetts Transportation Authority (now called the MBTA).

As a result, a five cent surcharge was added to the existing ten cent fare. Since it was not easy to adapt existing fare collection equipment, riders had to pay an extra nickel when getting off the train– hence the theme of the song.

Bess Lomax Hawes, who had been in the Almanac Singers, picked the tune, while most of the new lyrics were written by Jackie Steiner. It was Hawes, however, who wrote the memorable verse about how Charlie’s wife brought him a sandwich every day and handed it to him through the window of the train as it rumbled by.

The newly recorded song made its debut on October 24, 1949. O’Brien hired a truck with a PA system and had it drive around the city, playing his campaign songs. Of these, M.T.A. was by far the most popular and enduring.

O’Brien got very few votes, but Charlie gained Boston immortality in the process.

Cut to 1955. Folksinger Richard “Specs” Simmons taught the song to Will Holt, who recorded his own version in 1957. This was on its way toward being a hit when his record company began getting complaints from the Boston area, accusing Holt of promoting a radical.

Not knowing the true origin of the song, Holt had no idea that Walter A. O’Brien was a real person.

An edited version was issued, but the damage was done. It was left to the Kingston Trio to record the best and by far most famous version of the song in 1959. They avoided controversy by changing the name of the mayoral candidate to the fictional George O’Brien.

Reportedly, when Will Holt recorded his version, he cut in Richard “Specs” Simmons for one-third of the publishing, which eventually provided him the cash to purchase a bar in San Francisco’s North Beach area, now known as Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe. He died at age 86 in October 2016.

Most other people involved with the song are no longer with us. Walter O’Brien has died. Bess Lomax Hawes, sister of Alan Lomax and daughter of John Lomax, passed away in 2009. However, Sam Berman, who sang lead on the original 1949 version, lives in Lexington and is in his early 90s. His brother Arnold, also in his 90s, may still be alive. Lyricist Jackie Steiner is also still with us.

You can listen to several versions of the song, including the 1949 original and Will Holt’s, here.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

A model of GM&O 1900.

A model of GM&O 1900.

Charles Harris of New Zealand writes:

In 1946 Ingalls Iron Works manufactured the one and only Ingalls 4-S diesel loco, tested on several railroads and then sold to GM&O. Used until 1966 and then scrapped. Used a Superior marine engine, with apparently a distinctive sound.

Do any of your recordings feature the Ingalls 4-S? and or film etc.


Kenneth Gear
replies:

I am unaware of any sound recordings of the Ingalls 4-S diesel locomotive. Since it was a one of a kind loco and surely sought out by fans, and considering it lasted to the mid-sixties, the possibility exists that someone recorded it. I’ll keep an eye (and ear) out for it, I would watch for DVDs of vintage GM&O Diesels, perhaps it was filmed at some point with a sound movie camera. If so, the footage and sound track may have ended up on a DVD release.

You might also contact the Meridian Railroad Museum in Meridian, Mississippi: 1805 Front Street, Meridian, MS 39301, phone: (601) 485-7245.

GM&O was one of the local railroads here and the staff there my know of something.

By the way, on the Yahoo Group RAILROAD RECORD FANCLUB I’ve conversed with a person named Doug Harris who also lives in New Zealand. Any relation?

Our New Book Chicago Trolleys— Now In Stock!

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 was released on September 25, 2017 by Arcadia Publishing. You can order an autographed copy through us (see below). Chicago Trolleys is also 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 230 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.

We appreciate your business!

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Praise for Chicago Trolleys

Kenneth Gear writes:

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

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

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

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

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

Selected images from Chicago Trolleys are now available 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.

Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 196th 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 324,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Larry Sakar, TM, and Speedrail

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952." It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952.” It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Today, we are featuring some recent correspondence with Larry Sakar, author of the 1991 book Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?. This has long been a collector’s item– try finding a copy at a reasonable price, and you will see what I mean.

Larry has continued his research in the 26 years since this book came out, and has a new book in the works. Larry is very outspoken, and doesn’t pull any punches. Perhaps that is because he knows his subject so well.

Meanwhile, this Wednesday, I sent off the corrected proofs of our own book Chicago Trolleys to the publisher. That means our part in it is now pretty much done, except perhaps for answering any questions that the proofreaders might have. Then it will go to press and the publication date is September 25.

If any of you have ever written a book, you may know that it is something akin to wrestling an alligator. However, now I believe I’ve got the alligator wrestled to the ground, and am very happy with the finished product. Chances are, you will be too.

-David Sadowski

Larry A. Sakar writes:

I just discovered your site and saw the 3 color photos of LVT 1100 & 1102 loaded onto flat cars for the trip to Milwaukee (Odds and Ends, May 5, 2017). The Feb., 1948 date is not correct. Speedrail did not exist in 1948. It began on 9/2/49 after Jay Maeder bought the Waukesha line from Northland Greyhound for $110!

I know because I’m Larry Sakar, author of “Speedrail Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?” published by Interurban Press in 1991.

Cars 1100 & 1102 were purchased sometime in late October by Jay Maeder who went to Allentown for the purpose of buying additional Cincinnati Curved side lightweight cars to go with the 6 purchased by Ed Tennyson, Speedrail’s VP of operations in Sept. 1949 from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit (cars 60-65). SHRT sold Tennyson the 6 cars for $500 each and he leased them back to Speedrail. The sale was supposed to be contingent on Mr. Maeder putting up the additional $2300 for spare parts. Whether or not he did I have never been able to find out.

Maeder paid $750 each for 1100 & 1102 which were supposedly the best 2 of the 4 cars (1100-1103). You are absolutely correct about the refurbishing of 1102 into MRT car 66 which premiered on 3/31/51 and served only for 3 months before Speedrail ended all operations on 6/30/51. As part of the rehabilitation it exchanged trucks with car 64 which was wrecked in the collision with e-TM 1121 serving as Speedrail’s freight motor. That happened just 3 days after the terrible and fatal accident on the NMRA fan trip of 9/2/50. The 3 man crew on 1121 finished switching the C&NW Ry. interchange just south of West Jct. early that day and were in a hurry to get home so they ignored the proper procedure for entering the mainline from the C&NW interchange and smacked into car 64 bashing in a significant portion of the front platform. They did not have to worry about getting home early after that. All 3 were terminated. But it caused Travelers Insurance to pull the plug on Speedrail’s liability insurance because of 2 serious accidents in 3 days and also because Maeder was 6 months behind in paying the premiums. He had used money set aside for insurance to buy Shaker Heights cars 300 & 301! As President and sole stockholder he could do what he wanted. The money was used to buy equipment and not for any personal purposes thus making it perfectly legal but also perfectly stupid!

To the best of my knowledge Maeder never intended to use car 1100 for spare parts. That only happened because it was dead on arrival in Milwaukee and would not run period. 1102 blew a motor on arrival and had to be sent to TMER&T’s Cold Spring shops for repair. Cold Spring was marking up costs by 100%! The small shops facility in the Public Service building terminal could not do major repairs.

I don’t know if you would be interested but I have just completed a new manuscript entitled, “The Complete History of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line from TMER&L to Speedrail.” There are 146 pages of text plus an additional 160 pages of photos and documents. Of these there are 37 pages of color photos.

The money to pay for refurbishing 1102 into 66 came from the sale of 14 surplus ex-TM 1100 series cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Company in Milwaukee. This all took place several months after Bruno V. Bitker the federal bankruptcy trustee dismissed Jay Maeder. The seats put in what became car 66 came from some of those 1100’s. It also switched trucks with the damaged car 64.

I think if Maeder had remained in charge he would never have sold those surplus 1100’s. He had a sentimental attachment to TM which he first discovered in 1926 when he attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin for his senior year of high school. Delafield was a stop on the Milwaukee-Watertown line.

Thanks and continue the great work. You have a fantastic website.

Thanks for writing, and also for all this wonderful information. As you are well aware I am sure, the information people write on slides, prints, negs, etc. is not always 100% accurate. I appreciate your corrections.

Lehigh Valley Transit purchased four Cincinnati curved-side cars second-hand in 1938 for the Easton Limited interurban line. Unfortunately, these cars were underpowered, and not really up to the task of working this hilly route. They were sharp-looking cars as LVT renovated them, but could not maintain the schedules of the cars they replaced. So it is no great surprise that by the time Speedrail got two of them in 1949, they were in bad shape.

Larry replied:

Yes, I do know that incorrect info often turns up in both pics and books. My 1991 Speedrail book has errors but when I wrote it in 1988 it was based on the best information I had at the time. I never dreamed that after it came out I’d be contacted by Jay Maeder’s daughter Jane and would be the recipient of several boxes of documents her father left behind. She and her late brother Jay Jr. decided that I should have them as they would never do anything with them. Neither of them knew much about Speedrail other than that their father once “owned a railroad”.

That reminds me. I saw the discussion as to whether Jay Maeder ever lived in Texas. No he didn’t but his daughter Jane Maeder Walsh lives in Houston. And Jay Sr. is survived by a lot of grandchildren. I didn’t know Jay Jr. drew that cartoon but I’m not surprised. He was an authority on the Dick Tracy comic strip having authored two books on the subject. I only spoke to him one time while he was working for the New York Daily News and was writing a column called “Lounge Lizard” which reviewed NYC lounge acts. I’ve had a lot of contact with Jane.

I wanted to scream when I got the last shipment of documents in 2012. At the bottom of the box was a scrapbook – the kind with the brown pages like many of us had as kids where we glued things in with Muselix glue. That’s what I expected to see when I opened it but instead found blank pages. Then I looked again. What he did, David, was rip out newspaper clippings related to Speedrail. Then he’d rip out the date and using a nail like the ones you get with picture hooks, would attach it to the clipping. But instead of placing the clippings on the pages he literally shoved them into the spines of each page. Well, after 60 years as I’m sure you know the newsprint deteriorated and the dates fell off as the paper deteriorated. Newsprint is notorious for that. Consequently, I ended up with about 25 clippings where the event could have happened anytime in the 22 months Speedrail existed.

You’re 100% right that the 9-2-50 accident is still controversial. I would say that in terms of blame 80% goes to Maeder and 20% to Tennyson. The Maeder/Tennyson working relationship had been deteriorating ever since the fall of 1949 when Maeder bought the Local Rapid Transit line (Milwaukee-West Junction-Hales Corners) without ever bringing the matter before the Speedrail Board (such as it was). Tennyson was opposed. He told me that when he went to Cleveland on 9/12/49 and met with Maeder’s Cleveland Attorney, Frank Taplin, Taplin told him, “Ed, whatever you do do not let Jay buy that Local Rapid Transit line. He will lose his shirt!” Tennyson was there to buy the 6 Shaker Heights curved side cars. Anyway, according to what he told me, when he found out what Maeder had done he went to the third member of the board, Oliver A. Grootemaat Speedrail’s general counsel and secretary. He said Grootemaat told him, “Maeder owns all the stock. He can do whatever he wants.!”

As for 9-2-50 Tennyson told me Maeder had asked him to draw up a schedule and rules for the 5 NMRA fan trips which he did. On the morning of 9/2 he discovered the trains were running late and that’s when he called the so-called dispatcher, Joe Bellon at the Public Service Building to find out what was going on. It was then that he found out that Maeder and one of the senior motormen, Gerald Greer had spent the night before drawing up “anticipatory train orders” that required every train to call from every siding. Also, the rules were that photo stops were to be made southbound to Hales Corners only. And anyone who did not come when time was up for the photo stop would be left behind. When Maeder’s train got to Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners the fans asked for a photostop going back to Milwaukee. Maeder should have said “NO” but he went along with it. So Tennyson called Bellon and told him to go back to the original orders where trains were to operate by schedule and timetable and only call if they ran into trouble. Maeder had called from Hillcrest to report they’d be stopping for a photostop northbound but from that point on he wasn’t heard from again. In order to allow the regularly scheduled southbound Hales Corners pass Maeder pulled in to Greenwood Jct., a siding never used which was the connection to the Lakeside Belt Line. It was seldom if ever used and once the M-R-K (Milwaukee-Racine Kenosha Line) was abandoned in Dec. of 1947 it was useless.

As a result of the reversal of orders Equitz assumed Maeder would hold at Oklahoma Ave. for him to pass. Maeder, still operating under his revised orders expected the dispatcher would tell Equitz he’d cleared Maeder’s train all the way to West Jct. The end result was that 10 people were killed because two guys didn’t get along. I do think Maeder went thru a red signal. And I also feel he had no business running the train especially since it was discovered he was color blind. If he’d been familiar with the Nachod signals that should not have made a difference. The position of the lights would have shown if the signal was red or white. Maeder was too occupied by all of the railfans gathered around him and he didn’t give the signal more than a quick glance, something you could not do with Nachod signals.

Maeder made an idiot of himself at the Coroner’s inquest. When the DA asked him why his train was running late he objected. the DA asked why he objected to his train being labeled as late and he replied, “My train was an extra train. Extra trains cannot be late. They can only be behind schedule.” HUH?? What’s the difference? Isn’t being behind schedule being late? He also testified that he and the regular motorman George Wolter weren’t relying on the signals. “They were a help but we weren’t relying on them”, is what he testified. Yes, Maeder was exonerated in court but only because the law on 4th Degree Manslaughter required it to be a deliberate act. I seriously doubt if he would be as lucky today not to mention that he personally would face a ton of lawsuits. And though he was exonerated in court he could and did not fare as well in the one court he could do nothing about, the court of public opinion. Bitker clearly didn’t want him around anymore. Tennyson said Bitker banned Maeder from the property but I don’t know if that’s true.

The Rapid Transit book I’ve completed contains photos you’ve never seen before. One of my sources is John Schoenknecht the head of the Waukesha County Historical Society and he has supplied me with some really great photos.

I see Bill Shapotkin comments quite regularly. I’ve known Bill since 1986. Great guy!

This is all great stuff. Who is publishing your book? I see that Interurbans Press put out your Speedrail volume.

Larry:

Interurbans Press did put out the Speedrail book. They published one or two books after that and went out of business. Mac Sebree, the owner retired and sold the company to video producer PENTREX. PENTREX had no interest in selling or publishing books. They bought Interurban Press for one thing and one thing only – their videos. And even if they were still around I’d be extremely reluctant to deal with them again! At the time they accepted the book they had purchased PTJ Publications which was in Waukesha. PTJ as you may know was the original publisher of Passenger Train Journal.

 In 1988 home computers and the Internet did not exist. But since they had the office in Waukesha I begged and pleaded for them to do the book there even though the normally did all books in Glendale, CA. Mike Schaefer was part of PTJ Publications and he was the person I wanted to edit and layout the book. I pointed out that it would be much easier for all concerned should any problems arise. I couldn’t hop a plane to Glendale, CA.  just like that. I was working. But driving out to Waukesha would be no problem. What I didn’t know until later was that “bad blood” existed between Mike and this Paul Hammond who ran things in Glendale. Interurban Press interpreted my request as taking sides. I was trying to do what I felt would be best especially since I knew Mike knew the subject which the California people did not. Interurban Press refused.

The book was to have been published in 1989 but a tragedy at the Waukesha office delayed it by two years. A young staff member was engaged to be married. Something happened and the engagement was called off. He become despondent and went out to Butler and killed himself by stepping in front of an on-coming C&NW train. Horrible! Anyway they resumed work on it and things seemed to go well from there. I don’t know how it works today but back then you received 3 final drafts. The first two showed the space where the photos would be and the caption but not the actual photo. The final proof was called the blue line. So the blue line arrives in the mail and I absolutely exploded. What was supposed to be a photo of the 9-2-50 Speedrail wreck was a photo of the 8-24-49 Soldiers Home wreck. I probably didn’t even need long distance I was so angry. Their excuse: “Well, we just assumed that the wrecks were one and the same.” YOU ASSUMED?? So I had to quickly run out to Waukesha. They had the Milwaukee Journals for the day of and days after the 9-2-50 wreck. With the space already dedicated we had to choose that really bad picture that appears in the book. It was the only one that fit.

There were any number of other things that happened over those 2-3 years (1988-1991). I can’t tell you how many times they told me they “expected to take a loss” on the book and discouraging things like that. Loss nothing! It sold out all of the first printing in 18 months. I had thought about pitching it to Kalmbach but didn’t think I’d stand much of a chance being an unknown at the time. I was right. In 1999 a couple of years after the video, “Rapid Transit in Milwaukee From TMER&L to Speedrail” was put out by TMER&THS of which I was Secretary and Treasurer we decided to write a companion book to the video. Jack Gervais was co-authoring it with me. He was handling everything up to Speedrail and I was writing from Speedrail to the end. When we finished it in 2000 I tried pitching it to Kalmbach now that I had a book published. They turned it down. They were full of compliments about it being well written and all but felt it was too limited as a subject and would not sell the way a book on a more popular subject like the Milwaukee Road would. Gervais then contacted Larry Plachno. I did not want to deal with him as I’d heard a great deal of negative things about him from Bill Shapotkin. Well we did end up driving all the way to Polo, Illinois only to have Plachno open the binder, look at a few pages and go, “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk! I have a problem with you people already” HUH? “All this quoting. Don’t you know a good historian never quotes. He paraphrases.” I politely took the binder, shut it, said, “Thank you for your time, Mr. Plachno. That may be your philosophy for writing books but it isn’t mine!” In the intro to the new book I address that. I don’t believe in paraphrasing because that puts my interpretation on what was said. I quote and I let my readers decide how to interpret what was said. 

So in terms of a publisher I don’t have one and I’ve no idea of who I could give it to. I’m not looking to make money from this. The Maeder family designated me “Keeper of the Flame” where Speedrail is concerned. They entrusted what Jay left behind because they feel I would know best how to make use of it. I take that both as a compliment and a responsibility to preserve this history. That is my goal, here. Norm Carlson is a perfect example of someone who understands that. I have worked with him quite a few times and enjoyed it. He’s a professional and “First & Fastest” is the high quality publication it is because of his dedication. Browsing thru your site I see much the same thing, David. You obviously have a real feel for preserving this history and those are the type of people I like to work with. I really enjoy the Trolley Dodger site.

The Speedrail book was written as a way to promote TMER&THS Inc. I quit the group 14 years ago so this book has absolutely no connection to them or any other group. I am a member of Shore Line. Norm has been very gracious in publishing my articles. I’m also writing for “Landmark,” the publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society. My goal is to leave behind a historical record so that someday someone can come along and view this history. 

I saw your comment that maybe if things had been just a little different Speedrail might still be around today. Actually, David, sad to say, Speedrail was dead before it began. The following chapters from my book and  a page from a city of Milwaukee subcommittee in March, 1945 will show you what Milwaukee thought of the Rapid Transit. Once the city caught what I call “expressway fever” and they decided the Rapid Transit line west from downtown was the place for the East-West Freeway they stopped at nothing to get it. Maeder owned the track, overhead wire, cars and bridges but not the land on which those tracks sat. That remained Wisconsin Electric Power Co. property. Shaker Heights did not have that problem. Maeder wrongly assumed that Milwaukee would rally to support his efforts to save the Rapid Transit as happened in Shaker Heights. It was the Waukesha riders who rallied to support it. Milwaukee could’ve card less except for Mayor Zeidler, of course. More to follow soon.

The photo I sent you earlier today which shows a guy up on a stage addressing a crowd of people goes with the chapter”The First Public Pledge Meeting.” The date is 6-27-51. The place was Kuney’s dance hall in the Town of Calhoun. I think the man on stage is Edwin Knappe but am not sure. You’ll read about him and the Calhoun Farms Riders Group in the chapter about them. Kuney’s is still there today if you think I should put in a present day picture. There’s nothing special about it. Calhoun Farms was to the north and west of the Calhoun Road stop on the Waukesha line. There’s a historical marker which explains about it and the area of Calhoun which is east of Waukesha. It even mentions the Rapid Transit. I have pictures of that too.

One of the people you’ll see quoted in the Speedrail section fairly often is former Speedrail motorman Don Leistikow. I’d say that at least 50% of what I learned about Speedrail over the years came from Don. I’m attaching his famous “Skunk” story. I think you” get a laugh out of it. Don was quite a story teller. He passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 85 and is sorely missed.

While I never actually met Don L. Leistikow, I did correspond with him a bit, and I almost met him once.  I went out to East Troy onetime and took some pictures, and after I posted them to the web, someone identified him in one of the pictures.  What a nice man.

Larry:

NSL fans may be interested to know that after being vacant for the last 47 years the site of the North Shore’s Harrison St. shops at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave. (remember NSL called it “street” but Harrison is actually an avenue) is finally being redeveloped. Sadly, not for traction purposes. A private charter school whose name I can’t remember is building on the property all the way to where it dead-ends above the KK River and Cleveland Ave. and extending west on Harrison Ave. to the southeast corner of S. 6th St. It’s a huge, multi-story facility. Back in 2005 when I visited the site of the shops with Norm Carlson of the Shore Line interurban Historical Society and Walter Keevil of CERA I noticed that the city of Milwaukee had paved S. 5th St. from the point where the private right-of-way began on the south side of the street all the way to the fence and concrete barrier that mark where the NSL’s bridge over the river began. Let’s face it. Vacant lots do not generate property tax revenue. The dilapidated shops building stood until about 1970. I remember a Milwaukee Journal editorial cartoon and article in 1968 urging its demolition because it presented a bad image of Milwaukee to drivers coming in (northbound) on I-94 which sits below the east end of the property. The school is supposed to open for the fall 2018-2019 semester next year.

I’m sure most NSL fans don’t know this. After the 6th and Michigan station in downtown Milwaukee was razed in May or June of 1964 somebody came up with the ideas of building a tourist tower on the south end of the property at about the point where NSL trains entered and left the elevated platforms that were attached to the south end of the terminal. Here is an artists rendering of what it was going to look like from the Milwaukee Journal of 11-22-64. Of course it ever happened. What did happen was this. In the summer of 1965 the church whose denomination I have forgotten that was on the north side of Wisconsin Ave. between N. 10th & N. 11th Sts. was being forced to move. The entire block on both sides of the street was disappearing, literally. The I-43 freeway was and does cross beneath the “Avenue” at this point. So the church spent almost $2 million to buy the entire 4 square blocks where the NSL station had stood. That encompassed W. Michigan St. on the north. W. Clybourn St. on the south. N. 5th St. on the east and N. 6th St. on the west. The plan was to build the church and some sort of shopping area around it. I say the “plan” because that too never happened. I remember a wooden sign erected on the station site facing W. Michigan St. that said, “Future home of…” and it named the congregation. For the next 33 years the property sat vacant. Then in 1998 Time Insurance Co. which had been located on the corner of N. 5th St. and W. Wells St. downtown built their new corporate headquarters on the site. A check of the Milwaukee city directory shows the building there as of 1998. The Wells St. building was sold to make way for Milwaukee’s first downtown convention center which was called “MECCA – the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena.” It was judged as the boxiest and ugliest building ever built in Milwaukee and it too fell to the wrecking ball when the new, and very underused, downtown convention center was constructed along Wisconsin Ave. between N. 4th & N. 6th Sts. Why the church was never built and how Time Insurance acquired the property (sale, foreclosure??) is something I have been unable to find out. The congregation disappears from the Milwaukee city directory in 1966. Perhaps they moved to one of the suburbs or merged with another congregation. If any of the NSL fans know I’d be very interested in the details. Time Insurance has since been thru all kinds of mergers and the building now says Securant Insurance.

In the summer of 1971 I went to the site of Ryan Tower on the abandoned NSL r.o.w. I didn’t drive back then so it meant to very lengthy bus rides from my home on Milwaukee’s northwest side. and a long walk up Ryan Rd. from the end of the Rt. 66 bus line. I knew I was at the right spot when I got to the crossing with the C&NW’s new line. And that was the only way I knew. The NSL was gone with nary a trace. I had to walk a block or so north before I came across the abandoned NSL r.o.w. As I continued north there much to my surprise was the NSL’s Carrollville substation still standing 8 years after the abandonment. I took this picture of it on 8-17-71 using a Polaroid camera I’d gotten for Christmas the previous year. My ANSCO 8-shot box camera took better pictures than that Polaroid! And then you always had the chore of having to spread this smelly fixer on the photo to keep it from curling up. So please forgive the quality of the pictures.

Larry’s Human Interest Stories

I’ll be glad to write this. There are four of them, all involving people who had they been where they had planned to be might not have lived another day.

What I have found in the 52 years I have been studying and researching the Rapid Transit and Speedrail is that fate and coincidence seem to play a major role. For example, take how I got to know Jane Maeder Walsh, Jay’s daughter. In 1991 when the Speedrail book came out she had a daughter who was a student at Carroll College (now University) in Waukesha. Jane was living in Atlanta at the time but decided to come to Waukesha for a visit. While there she decided to go to the Waukesha Public Library and see what she could find out about “the railroad that my father owned.” At first, all the librarian was able to find was a folder containing a few newspaper clippings from the Waukesha Freeman, Waukesha’s daily newspaper. Then she remembered that the library had just received a new book about Speedrail. She gave it to Jane to browse through there since she obviously would not be able to borrow it.

A short time later, on a Saturday morning my phone rang. The lady on the other end asked if I was the person who wrote the Speedrail book. I said I was. She said, “My name is Jane Walsh. I know that name doesn’t mean anything to you until I tell you my maiden name. It is Maeder and Jay Maeder was my father.” I kind of held my breath for a second thinking the next thing I’d hear was that she didn’t like the things Tennyson said about her father and she was going to sue me. Quite to the contrary she wanted to know where she could go to buy copies of the book. I put her in touch with one of the local hobby shops that I knew was carrying it and she bought half a dozen copies for her family. I didn’t hear from her for quite a while after that until the day she and her brother discovered a box of material relating to Speedrail, long forgotten, left behind by her father. She said that she and her brother had no interest in it and asked if I would want it? Are you kidding? Over the course of the next few years they found other boxes of things. She e-mailed Jay Jr. and asked if he wanted it. He replied, “Are we still in touch with that Sakar guy?” Jane said she had talked to me about it and I’d said I wanted it if her brother didn’t. Jay Jr. then replied, “Let’s face it… neither you nor I will ever make anything out of this stuff. I say, let’s make him keeper of the flame. Larry will know what to do with it.” That was a great honor that they had confidence that I could make use of the material.

We still keep in touch by e-mail from time to time. My friend and colleague Chris Barney and I paid to have copies made of that picture of her father walking alongside car 60 flagging it on the inaugural Speedrail fan trip of 10-16-49. We sent them to her and she was thrilled. It’s the only picture she has of her father with “his railroad.”

You might remember that on the 9-2-50 the motorman of the 1192-93 heavy duplex that collided with Maeder’s train (39-40) was LeRoy Equitz. In the fall of 1971, I got a job as a student library aide at the main library in downtown Milwaukee. One night I was sitting in the lunchroom on break with a brother and sister who also worked there. Terry, the brother struck up a conversation with me. “We hear you like trains.” I said, “Well yes. I do like trains but my main interest is streetcars and interurbans.” They had no clue as to what either of those were. Terry said, “Our uncle was a train engineer.” I said, Oh really, where?” He said, “Right here in Milwaukee.” I asked which railroad he worked for, thinking it had to be either the Milwaukee Road or the C&NW. Terry said neither one sounded like the one their uncle had mentioned. I asked when he worked as an engineer and he said, “In the ’50’s.” Then he continued. “Our uncle was involved in an accident and ended up losing a foot because of it.” Suddenly, my curiosity was on high, so to speak.” So I said, “This accident. Could it have been in 1950 itself?” Terry said, “Come to think of it, yes. He did say 1950.” So I continued, “And this accident, could it possibly have been on Labor Day weekend in 1950?” BINGO! He said that it was. That’s when I said, “Don’t tell me your uncle’s name. Let me guess it. Is it LeRoy Equitz?” The brother and sister sat there for a second in amazement. “Yes. How on earth did you know that?” Of course I explained about Speedrail and told them which newspaper and dates to look at if they wanted more information. As I recall, LeRoy was still living but he had moved away some years earlier. I don’t recall to where so I never had an opportunity to talk to him.

You ask yourself what were the odds that I’d end up working with the niece and nephew of LeRoy Equitz. And I have found that to be the case so often in this hobby. So call it fate, destiny, coincidence. There are times when you can’t help but feel this was meant to be.

Thanks for taking the time to write this and your other reminiscences. I’d like to share these with my readers.

Naturally, I won’t use any of the material you sent me from your upcoming book, but is there anything else that you would not want me to run in my blog?

Larry:

Please feel free to use any of the material I’ve sent you for the Trolley Dodger. Anything and everything I write is for the enjoyment and/or information of others. What’s the point of keeping what I’ve learned over the years to myself? That benefits no one!

I saw the piece in The Trolley Dodger on the late Maury Klebolt. From 1983 to 1987 I went out to SFO every September for the Historic Market Street streetcar festival. I used to see Maury at the Market and Duboce storage facility below the former San Francisco mint. He was very involved with that Market Street Railway group. I seem to recall that he acquired a couple of streetcars for them. I wasn’t acquainted with him but had stories about his fan trips from the late Jack Gervais who apparently knew him. Bill Shapotkin also told me some stories about him.

By the way I kind of chuckle every time I see a Joe L. Diaz photo of a CSL “Sedan”. My good friend Dave Stanley knew Joe very well, along with a number of other well-known Chicago fans like the late Bob Gibson. I met both Dave and Bill Shapotkin in 1986. Both Dave and Bill told me Joe would have a fit when someone called those cars “Sedans.” It would provoke an “Ooh, they weren’t called that” response. I knew him by sight but I didn’t actually know him as such. I remember seeing him at CERA meetings in the back of the room selling books. That was back in the days when CERA met at the old Midland Hotel. I believe that’s now called the Blackhawk Hotel. I was a CERA member in the ’90’s but didn’t keep up my membership. Going to meetings meant having to drive to either Kenosha and take METRA which also meant leaving the meeting early to catch the 9:00pm train back to Kenosha and then an 11:00pm one hour drive back to Milwaukee. I never cared for night driving. Then in 2009 I lost all of the sight in my left eye as a result of diabetic retinopathy, which I didn’t know I had until it was too late. Since then I have been advised not to drive at night or on the highway or expressway. I no longer have the necessary depth perception and bright light, especially headlights coming at me blind me. Amtrak experimented with a late night (first 11:00pm then changed to 10:30pm) train to Milwaukee but they never promoted it so the ridership never materialized. Now the last train to Milwaukee leaves Chicago at 8:45pm.

I knew a lot of really nice guys in Chicago all of whom I have not seen nor spoken with in at least 15 years. Bruce Moffat and Ray DeGroote are two who come to mind. I always called Ray the Rick Steeves of the traction world. In any Ray DeGroote program you could always count on a money lesson, a geography lesson and a culture lesson. When I was the program director for TMER&THS from 1989 to 1995, I used to refer to Ray as “our world traveler”. The last time I saw Bruce was on a CERA fan trip on METRA Electric in the ’90’s. Bill Shapotkin was the trip director. At the first photo stop GK wanted a photo with the other car host and myself. Bruce took the picture but to this day I’ve never seen it.

I haven’t seen all of the issues of The Trolley Dodger but here are some Milwaukee streetcar photos from my collection that I think readers might enjoy.

Every now and then you get a photo that really has you stumped trying to figure out where it was taken. That’s what happened with this photo given to me by Bob Genack. I saw the RT 35 Route sign and stupidly assumed this had to be somewhere on the 35th Street route. But what really threw me a curve was the “35th St.” sign in the destination sign box below the big roof Route sign. If this was a northbound car it should have said “Burleigh,” and if southbound “St. Paul”. After puzzling over it I looked it over with a magnifying glass to see if I could detect any business names. And there in the left background was the solution. This is a time exposure so it’s a “ghosted” image. But if you look closely you will see a TM heavy duplex. OK. Now I see what this was all about. This is a TM posed, company photo. The 943 isn’t on 35th St. It’s on Michigan Street. You can’t see it but the Public Service Building is just out of the right hand side of the picture. The duplex is inbound from Sheboygan on N. 3rd St. It will turn left onto Michigan St. go one block east and then turn right onto N. 2nd St. to enter the PSB terminal. Those aren’t passengers standing waiting for the streetcar. They are TM company employees posing for the picture. The 943 looks brand new so I’m thinking this was taken in about 1928 or 1929. OK TM, you fooled me.

Streetcar advertising was a frequent occurrence on TM. But unlike the buses of today where the advertising is put on mylar sheets and then attached to the bus with a heat gun, and it is simply peeled off when the time is up, in streetcar days the car was actually repainted. Here’s one of the all-time classic examples of a repainted Milwaukee streetcar that is from the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. days. M&STC bought TMER&T at the end of 1952 and took over operation of the system on Jan. 1, 1953. They continued to use “The Transport Company” as their shortened name. M&STC lasted until July, 1975 when Milwaukee finally municipalized its transit system when M&STC was purchased by Milwaukee County. That is when the present-day Milwaukee County Transit System was born. But the “Transport Company” name had become so ingrained in the minds of Milwaukeeans that many continued to call it “The Transport Company” for quite some time after the county took over. Now everyone refers to it as MCTS.

Anyway, in 1955, car 943 was chosen to be repainted with a “safety message” from the Milwaukee Safety Commission. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the car advertising safety was involved in an accident downtown at 4th and Wells Streets in a collision with a city garbage truck? I guess the car didn’t heed its own message! The close-up b&w shot was taken at the Farwell Ave. terminal where Rt. 10 streetcars and Rt. 21-North Ave. trolleybuses laid over. The trolley bus service on Rt. 21 North Ave. lasted until 1961 or 1962 when it was converted to diesel bus operation using the new 1500 series GM new look fishbowl buses M&STC had purchased for that purpose. A portion of Rt. 10 east of Jackson & Wells Sts. downtown was eventually abandoned and most of the route from Jackson & Wells Strees east covered by Rt. 30 Sherman Blvd. buses.

Next up are 2 beautiful color photos of 943 in its “safety commission” paint job taken by Don Ross (Don’s Rail Photos. In the close-up shot, the car is on a fan trip at S. 81st St. and W. Greenfield Ave. which was Route 18-National Ave. That line ended at S. 92nd St. & W. Lapham Ave. Before West Junction was rebuilt Rt. 10 cars ran all the way out there via the private right-of-way which continued all the way out there. Prior to the construction of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 1925 & 1930, interurbans also used that r.o.w. Today the r.o.w. is still there going west from 92nd & Lapham and is used by We Energies vehicles to get to West Jct. so that the power lines can be serviced. In the second, more distant photo 943 is crossing W. Wisconsin Ave. on the p.r.o.w. that paralleled N. 52nd St. from Wells to the entrance to the Calvary Cemetery cut, later the stop for Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953 to 1957. Streetcars were gone by the opening of the baseball season in 1958.

The TM 900-series streetcars were an updated version of the 800-series built in 1920. The earliest 900’s were identical to the 800’s in all respects except one. The center motorman’s window on an 800 is narrower than on a 900. Other than that there was little if any difference. But by the time the group of cars from 976 seen here at Cold Spring shops to 985 were built, the interiors now had leather seats vs. rattan for all previous cars, and this group of 10 was unique in that they had that sort of visor/sun shield over the center window. One car in this group survives today. Car 978 was saved by former Milwaukeean Al Buetschle on behalf of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. They wanted a streetcar for outdoor display in Hart Park which is just to the east of the Wauwatosa end of the No. 10 line at Harwood Ave. and State Streets. Al loved the cars with the front visor and that is why he chose the 978. The car is now the property of the East Troy Electric RR and is currently undergoing an extensive rehabilitation. There is a very involved history of how the car was acquired and what happened to it over the years which I wrote for a fan publication in 1998. Al now lives in Oakley, Ca. a city in Contra Costa, County 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

As I mentioned the 800’s had a narrower center window than the 900’s. You can see that in this photo of car 870 at the end of Rt. 40 at Kinnickinnic & St. Francis Aves. in St. Francis. The area doesn’t look much different today save for the absence of the streetcar. St. Francis is a suburb of Milwaukee on the southeast side.

Here’s a second shot of an 800 seen at the end of Rt. 11 at Howell & Howard Aves. probably in the 1950’s. Rt. 11 was converted to bus operation in 1956 and was Milwaukee’s second to last streetcar line.

At the start I mentioned “mystery” photos, and to close out here is one such example. I know where this is and I think this is probably in the 20’s or 30’s. What I can’t figure out is what a 600 series car (at least that’s what it looks like with that roof destination sign in the middle) is doing on Rt. 12 – 12th St. or why the destination sign says Center. Center is Center St. which was home to the Rt. 22 streetcar line. Rts. 21 & 22 were some of the earliest conversions from streetcar to trackless trolley. I question the destination because Rt. 12 cars usually operated all the way to 27th & Hopkins Streets. In the late 1920’s a transfer station was constructed here. It was a smaller version of the one at Farwell & North Aves. When Rt. 12 was converted to diesel bus operation the building was torn down and became a parking lot for the nearby A.O. Smith Corp. At last report the streetcar tracks are still in the pavement.

Thanks so much for this and your other recent messages. You have given me plenty of material to work with here. I am sure our readers, especially those in the Milwaukee area, will love reading this.

Who knows, it might even help you find a publisher!

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.  The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

Book Review:

The Street Railways of Grand Rapids
By Carl Bajema and Tom Maas
Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association*
Hardcover with dust jacket, 304 pages

The authors present a fascinating and very thorough account of street railway service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, covering the years up to 1935, when the system was abandoned in favor of buses. There was quite a variety of service in the area, including horse cars, cable cars, steam dummies, streetcars of various types, and interurbans connecting to other cities such as Holland. The authors coverall these ably and thoroughly.

This book has just been issued in a very limited edition, and chances are it will not be reprinted once the first edition has sold out, which I am sure it will. CERA Bulletins have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and this book does not disappoint.

Having had a few discussions about this book with Mr. Bajema myself, when it was in its early stages, I can attest that it presented a considerable challenge. After all, Grand Rapids streetcar service ended in 1935, and anyone old enough to have ridden one, and remember it, would be close to 90 years old by now.

Color photography was still in its infancy in 1935. Fortunately, there are ways to add color to such a book, including color postcards, yellowed newspaper clippings, and maps. All these are present in abundance.

Another challenge is the lack of corporate records for the operator. And then, there is the matter of a roster, which is pretty much de rigueur for a book such as this.

Complicating matters, the Grand Rapids system used names for their cars instead of numbers, which makes it very difficult to put forward a complete roster.

The names of all such cars as of 1927 are given. Interestingly, though, the one Grand Rapids photo we have posted on this blog is not included in the book. It shows the F. W. Wurtzburg, named after a local department store. Since this photo probably dates to the 1930s, perhaps the name was applied after 1927.

This book should interest anyone who likes streetcars in general, or lives in Michigan in particular. It is available from the publisher. At 304 pages, it is also somewhat larger than the typical 224-page CERA length.

The general approach the authors have taken here could also be applied to other subjects of a similar vintage, such as the Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria, an Illinois interurban which quit in 1934.

It is somewhat ironic that Grand Rapids was at the forefront of innovation in the 1920s, but just a decade later, was also among the first cities of its size to completely replace streetcars with buses.  But there is a connection– the need to innovate was born out of necessity.

Read the book, and you’ll find out why.

-David Sadowski

The "F. W. Wurtzburg," built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

The “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

*Please note that The Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

Product Review

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

Tracing Light box Dbmier A4S USB Powered Light Pad Artcraft Tracing LED Light Board for Drawing, Tracing, Sketching, Animation Active Area 8.27″ X 12.20″

Here is a new product that should interest anyone who works with photographic negatives or transparencies. It is a modern version of a lightbox, using LED technology. It is powered by a USB cord that can connect to a computer. I expect you can get an adapter that will allow you to use AC power. Otherwise, you would be limited to using it in the vicinity of your computer.

In years past, there have been various lightboxes on the market. Some had conventional light bulbs, and others used florescent lighting. All were somewhat problematic and all were also bulkier than this ultra-thin model, which has three levels of brightness and puts out white light (which many of the older lightboxes did not).

The old type lightboxes also put out a lot of heat, which this one does not.  It’s a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem, but better late than never!

It is available for a very attractive price. I highly recommend it, and gain nothing financially if anyone does buy one. I only wish a product like this had been available 30 years ago.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

Bruce Fastow writes:

Perhaps you can guide me. I own a Johnson fare box similar to the one attached. Can you tell me how I can take the top off so I can clean out the hopper? My kids put paper in the unit.

 

Chances are, one of our readers knows the answer and can help, thanks.

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 221 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. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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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For Shipping Elsewhere:

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!

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street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 189th 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 305,000 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.

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Reader Mailbag, 6-25-2017

Outbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 460 in Aurora on May 19, 1957. Near the terminal, overhead wire was used instead of third rail. Passenger service only lasted another six weeks before abandonment.

Outbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 460 in Aurora on May 19, 1957. Near the terminal, overhead wire was used instead of third rail. Passenger service only lasted another six weeks before abandonment.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

The Trolley Dodger mailbag is overflowing this month. We also have some new photographic finds to share with you.

Along with our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, we are pleased to report there will also be a related item– a pack of 15 postcards, showing selected classic images from the book. This is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America series. More information below.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 428, an outbound Elgin Limited, passes over Union Station on the Met "L". Looks like this picture was taken from a passing car heading east.

CA&E 428, an outbound Elgin Limited, passes over Union Station on the Met “L”. Looks like this picture was taken from a passing car heading east.

Here, we see CA&E 425 at Glen Ellyn, a photo stop during an early Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Notice how everyone is dressed up for the occasion.

Here, we see CA&E 425 at Glen Ellyn, a photo stop during an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Notice how everyone is dressed up for the occasion.

CA&E 459 is at the tail end of a three-car outbound train at Oak Park Avenue on the Garfield "L". The building at right is still there, now fronting the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 459 is at the tail end of a three-car outbound train at Oak Park Avenue on the Garfield “L”. The building at right is still there, now fronting the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 424 at Harlem Avenue on the Garfield "L". Since this station was located on the west side of Harlem, it follows that this car is heading east. Fare control was on the inbound platform only. It, and Harlem Avenue, would be behind the photographer in this view. This area is now taken up by the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 424 at Harlem Avenue on the Garfield “L”. Since this station was located on the west side of Harlem, it follows that this car is heading east. Fare control was on the inbound platform only. It, and Harlem Avenue, would be behind the photographer in this view. This area is now taken up by the Eisenhower Expressway.

Here is a different angle than we are usually used to seeing of the CA&E Wheaton Yards. Cars 315 and 415, among others, are present. On the other hand, Jack Bejna writes: "The photo that you labled a different view of the Wheaton Yards is probably a view of the Laramie Yards taken from a different angle (looking northeast). The crossing is probably Lockwood Avenue and the view is generally toward the tower. Zoom in the image and under the short part of the gate you can see the top half of the tower. In addition, the dark building has 6 short windows and two long windows. The photo I've attached was labled Lockwood Yard and shows the same building as well as the top of a radio tower and a water tower in the background (you can see both in your recent photo)."

Here is a different angle than we are usually used to seeing of the CA&E Wheaton Yards. Cars 315 and 415, among others, are present. On the other hand, Jack Bejna writes: “The photo that you labled a different view of the Wheaton Yards is probably a view of the Laramie Yards taken from a different angle (looking northeast). The crossing is probably Lockwood Avenue and the view is generally toward the tower. Zoom in the image and under the short part of the gate you can see the top half of the tower. In addition, the dark building has 6 short windows and two long windows. The photo I’ve attached was labled Lockwood Yard and shows the same building as well as the top of a radio tower and a water tower in the background (you can see both in your recent photo).”

Here is the photo that Jack Bejna sent us:

Here is Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (better known as the Laurel Line) car 34 at the Scranton (PA) station on September 21, 1941. Don's Rail Photos says, "34 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1924. It was sold to John C Bauman in 1953 and scrapped in 1956." The question has been raised in the past, as to whether the Laurel Line fleet, retired in the early 1950s, could have been any use to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, which needed to replace their wood cars with steel. It would appear that these cars were too long for the CA&E and would have needed modification. However, such changes had been made in 1937-38 to eight ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis cars, which were renumbered into the 600 and 700-series. What was lacking in 1953, unfortunately, was the will to keep operating and investing money in a railroad that management thought was worth more dead than alive.

Here is Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (better known as the Laurel Line) car 34 at the Scranton (PA) station on September 21, 1941. Don’s Rail Photos says, “34 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1924. It was sold to John C Bauman in 1953 and scrapped in 1956.” The question has been raised in the past, as to whether the Laurel Line fleet, retired in the early 1950s, could have been any use to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, which needed to replace their wood cars with steel. It would appear that these cars were too long for the CA&E and would have needed modification. However, such changes had been made in 1937-38 to eight ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis cars, which were renumbered into the 600 and 700-series. What was lacking in 1953, unfortunately, was the will to keep operating and investing money in a railroad that management thought was worth more dead than alive.

South Shore Line freight loco 702 in Michigan City on September 5, 1966. It was originally built in 1930 by Alco-General Electric for the New York Central, and came to the South Shore Line in 1955. The 700-series locos were scrapped in 1976. (Photo by Leander)

South Shore Line freight loco 702 in Michigan City on September 5, 1966. It was originally built in 1930 by Alco-General Electric for the New York Central, and came to the South Shore Line in 1955. The 700-series locos were scrapped in 1976. (Photo by Leander)

We posted a New Orleans Public Service photo recently (see Points East, West, and South, May 17, 2017), and here is another. This 1940s shot shows car 438 on Canal Street, when it still had four tracks.

We posted a New Orleans Public Service photo recently (see Points East, West, and South, May 17, 2017), and here is another. This 1940s shot shows car 438 on Canal Street, when it still had four tracks.

Here, we see Lehigh Valley Transit car 1023 at Norristown on May 9, 1950. LVT interurban service to Philadelphia on the Liberty Bell route had been cut back to this point the previous year, and even this truncated version would only last about another year before abandonment. Riders would have changed trains to ride the Philadelphia & Western the rest of the way to the 69th Street Terminal. Through a great coincidence, the man at right has been identified as Ara Mesrobian, who is mentioned elsewhere in this post!

Here, we see Lehigh Valley Transit car 1023 at Norristown on May 9, 1950. LVT interurban service to Philadelphia on the Liberty Bell route had been cut back to this point the previous year, and even this truncated version would only last about another year before abandonment. Riders would have changed trains to ride the Philadelphia & Western the rest of the way to the 69th Street Terminal. Through a great coincidence, the man at right has been identified as Ara Mesrobian, who is mentioned elsewhere in this post!

North Shore Line car 300, during its days as the official club car of Central Electric Railfans' Association, in August 1941. At left is diner 414, which was out of service at the time. It was motorized and returned to service as a coach in 1942.

North Shore Line car 300, during its days as the official club car of Central Electric Railfans’ Association, in August 1941. At left is diner 414, which was out of service at the time. It was motorized and returned to service as a coach in 1942.

North Shore Line city streetcar 359 at Great Lakes. Don's Rail Photos: "359 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired in 1949 and scrapped in 1950."

North Shore Line city streetcar 359 at Great Lakes. Don’s Rail Photos: “359 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired in 1949 and scrapped in 1950.”

Recent Correspondence

Hagerstown & Frederick car 48 on June 24, 1939. Don's Rail Photos: "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W (Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry.), since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown." (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick car 48 on June 24, 1939. Don’s Rail Photos: “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W (Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry.), since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.” (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick combine 172 on September 24, 1939. Don's Rail Photos: "172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown." (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick combine 172 on September 24, 1939. Don’s Rail Photos: “172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown.” (Al Seibel Photo)

Kenneth Gear writes:

In that Railroad Record Club paper I scanned and sent to you last week there is a list of books Steventon was selling. One of them, “BLUE RIDGE TROLLEY The Hagerstown & Frederick Railway” By Herbert H. Harwood interested me. I searched online and found a copy for sale and purchased it (at a much higher price than the $10 Steventon was asking).

Many of the photos in the book were taken by Ara Mesrobian. This is the same photographer who took the photos of William Steventon along the H&F in January of 1954. These photos, as you know, were used in the article Steventon wrote for TRACTION & MODELS magazine. Since it is a certainty that Mesrobian and Steventon were together (with several others) while some of the recordings were being made that were included on RRC LP #6, the possibility exists that some of the photographs Ara Mesrobian made at the time may have been used in this book.

Using some clues from the RRC liner notes, the T&M article, and the photo captions in the book, I found a few photos that may very well have been taken at the same time as the sound recordings. I’ve scanned and attached two of them.

The first one shows car # 172 near Lewiston, MD. We know sound recordings were made here because of the T&M photo of Steventon at this location. The photo shows a snowless winter landscape that matches the T&M photo. The date of the photo is not given in the book, but this could be the visual of one of the cuts on side one.

The second photo’s caption does not give the car number but it appears to be car # 172 again. The date is not given but again the winter landscape and weather conditions are not unlike the photos in T&M.

There are a few more photos by Mesrobian in the book that could have been taken during the recording sessions but to me, these two are the most likely. Cars 171 & 172 were the only two H&F cars in operation at the time so all passenger car photos taken in this time frame would be of them.

Pinning down dates would be difficult too. The RRC #6 record label has the years 1953 -55 printed on it so we have this to work from. Steventon was in Washington DC in July of 1953 according to the liner notes of RRC 27. He was recording cars of the Capital Transit, and being that close to the H&F (and that far from Wisconsin) it’s possible he made H&F recordings on that trip. I could not find any photos in the book taken by Mesrobian that look like they may have been taken in midsummer.

Perhaps he did not accompany Steventon on that H&F trip, if indeed Steventon made one. We know he made H&F recordings on January 3, 1954 because the photos in T&M are dated. All passenger service on the H&F ended on February 20, 1954 (Steventon made his recordings just six weeks earlier) so anything recorded in 1955 had to be of the freight motors. Steventon wrote in the liner notes of RRC 6 that the in cab recordings of locomotive #12 were “made on a very cold day in January, with drifts of snow across the rails”. The T&M photos show no snow on the ground and the coat Steventon is wearing does not seem to be very heavy. Additionally he is hatless and not wearing gloves or a scarf. This indicates to me that in all likelihood it was not extremely cold that day. However, there may have been snow at higher elevations. Electric freight operations lasted, according to the book, until “early 1955”. So my guess would be the cab ride in # 12 took place in January of 1955, one year and a month after the end of passenger service.

All of this is just conjecture on my part but it seems reasonable and was a fun exercise.

Another interesting photo in the book is an interior shot of H&F car 172. This is one of the Railroad Record Club photos that you got on eBay! The photo was taken by Steventon himself and it’s a safe bet that he took it at the same time he made the on train recording, where he placed the microphone under the car’s floor, that is band 4 on side 1. Of note, Steventon’s name is spelled incorrectly in the photo credit. He is credited as William A. Stevenson! I’ve scanned and attached the page.

Anyway if you have an interest in the H&F I would recommend this book. There are many used copies available online.

Well that’s how I spent my afternoon today, it sure beat cutting the grass.

This is great detective work on your part.  I will run this in my next post.

Of course, there may have been charters using the passenger cars even after the end of passenger service.

I know someone, now close to 87 years old, who rode one of those late H&F trips.*

The book didn’t have any photos or make any mention of fan trips after the end of regular passenger service, but It can’t be ruled out. It must be remembered that the wires came down in early 1955 so that only left a window of about 12-14 months for any fan trips to have run. Also in the book’s equipment roster it lists both 171 & 172 as having been retired in 1954 but does not give any disposition info. I look for fan trip photos online.

 

As long as the cars were still on the property, they could have been used for fantrip service. As the last operating interurban on the east coast, chances are there would have been a demand for such trips.

I will see what I can find out.

One other fairly interesting thing I thought of today. I watched a documentary about the H&F on Youtube  (I can send the link if you wish), and in the closing credits there was a list of people whose photographs were used for the still frames in the film. One of the photographers listed was Steventon’s friend Bob Crockett. He may have been along on one or more of these recording trips. He also my be one of the people in the T&E photos too. There aren’t any of Crockett’s photos in the book however, and I can’t find any H&F photos of his online.
Also in the acknowledgments of the book Ara Mesrobian is listed and said to live in Washington. He being so close to the H&F I’m sure he made many trips to the property without Steventon.

 

I believe that in 1953 Steventon was working for the Federal government in Washington, D. C., so he wasn’t living in Wisconsin yet. I think he grew up in Illinois, actually.

Good point, I hadn’t thought of that. I just always associate him with being in Wisconsin. You are right about him growing up in Illinois. RRC LP #20 liner notes he says he was born and raised in Mt. Carmel. I didn’t know of his government work, at least I don’t recall having read about it.

 

Pretty sure it is mentioned in that newspaper article about Steventon that I posted some time ago.

I re-read the newspaper article and you are correct, it states he was working in Washington DC in 1953. I overlooked this fact and it may put a little different spin on some of my assumptions as to the dates of the recordings. He could have made the trip easily to the H&F on many occasions during the time he worked for the government, and we don’t know the years he worked in DC.
He was in Wisconsin, and apparently for some years, by the time of the newspaper piece was written in 1958. At any rate, we can be sure of the January 3, 1954 date because we have the T&M photos which are dated. As I said, it was just a fun way to fill a free afternoon and avoid doing yard chores.

 

Thanks!

Tracing the Hagerstown & Frederick:

Howard Sell Films of Hershey Transit and the Hagerstown & Frederick:

C&WT 127 and 104 in Maywood. The grade crossing at rear may be a clue as to the exact location. Don's Rail Photos notes: "104 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948." The 127 looks to be the older of the pair, built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: "The photo of C&WT cars 127 and 104 is in Maywood at 19th and Railroad Avenue looking north."

C&WT 127 and 104 in Maywood. The grade crossing at rear may be a clue as to the exact location. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “104 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” The 127 looks to be the older of the pair, built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: “The photo of C&WT cars 127 and 104 is in Maywood at 19th and Railroad Avenue looking north.”

Bill Shapotkin writes:

In your most recent post (which covers your Chicago Streetcar book), there is this photo (above). Indeed, the pic is in Maywood (just barely). We are looking N/B on 19th Ave from a point just north of St Charles Rd. The Grd Xing is the C&NW (its Melrose Park station is out-of-view to right). Busses of PACE RT #303 continue to operate in 19th, passing this location.

Thanks!

Lou Astrella writes:

I was wondering if you had a picture of the trolley barn/garage that used to be at Division & Oakley in Chicago IL many years ago. Thank you.

I don’t have such a picture at present, but will keep an eye out for one in the future. Probably the best place to look for pictures of the car barn would be in the CSL employee magazine (Surface Service), from around May 1947 when it closed. Unfortunately, I do not have either the May or June 1947 issue in my collection at present. Perhaps the CTA might, however.

Here’s a partial view of it:

Hopefully, our readers may have other pictures to share.

Jack Bejna writes:

I have enjoyed your recent posts as always, and I find myself checking often, hoping to find another of your posts waiting for me. Good work! Here are some images of the second order of CA&E cars, built by Niles in 1905. Car 205 had its motors removed in the late years. Car 209 was rebuilt in 1924 by the company shops from parlor-buffet car Carolyn. The original photo of car 207 was an in-train image that I decide to modify to show the end details better. I spent way too much time on this one but I think the end result looks much better than the original image.

Thanks, Jack, once again for all your incredible work in making these cars look better than ever. I am sure our readers appreciate it as well.

CA&E 201 at Laramie Yard.

CA&E 201 at Laramie Yard.

CA&E 203.

CA&E 203.

CA&E 205.

CA&E 205.

CA&E 207.

CA&E 207.

CA&E 209 at Wheaton Shops in 1924.

CA&E 209 at Wheaton Shops in 1924.

CTA PCC 4384 at Archer and Wentworth.

CTA PCC 4384 at Archer and Wentworth.

Warren Kostelny writes:

I would like to express my satisfaction with your book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era.**  It is really a great book to enjoy.

Thanks!

Are you planning to publish other books for the other cities that had PCC streetcars?

They say you should write what you know, and while I have learned a lot about Chicago’s PCCs over the years, this doesn’t necessarily carry over to other cities.  I will leave that to people who know those subject much better than I could.  I will always be a Chicagoan at heart.

Meanwhile, I have a new book coming out this September called Chicago Trolleys, via Arcadia Publishing (see below).  Chicago’s PCCs, and the experimental models that preceded them, are an important part of this tome.

I did find some discrepancies.  On page 15 PCC cars #7035-7114 is listed as 90 cars built and delivered.  If you add up the postwar PCCs it comes to 610 built.  It should be only 600 cars.

That is a typo and should say 80 cars.

On page 428, cars #7035-7114 is listed as 80 cars built and delivered.  When you add up postwar PCC cars built and delivered it is 600 cars.  Which is the correct number built?

600 cars– 310 by Pullman, and 290 from St. Louis Car Company.  No doubt the order was too much for either company to build in a timely fashion, so it was split.

Also on page 15, the 4 car lines were to get 182, 150, 171, and 75 PCC cars.  This only adds up to 578.   Where did the other 22 go so it totals 600 cars?

I would expect 22 cars were to be held in reserve to account for down time caused by accidents and mechanical issues. Having a total of 600 cars does not mean you have 600 cars available at all times.

On page 321, the picture is identified as July 1955.  The car is a 1956 Pontiac.  Next year’s new models usually came out in October, November, December.

Your point is well taken.  1955 and 1956 Pontiacs have the same basic body, but slightly different bumpers.  You are correct in noting that the picture shows a 1956 model.

I recall, as a kid, that new car models were introduced during September. So, in some cases, you could have a photo with a 1956 model car that was taken in 1955. This tradition began to fray when Ford introduced the Mustang in April 1964, as a “1964 1/2” model.

1956 license plates have white background and black numerals, which this car has.

You are correct.  Chances are this picture was taken shortly before the end of streetcar service on Western Avenue (June 1956).  In some cases, the information that comes with a photo turns out not to be completely accurate.  We do our best to catch such errors.  Good eye!

I used a similar strategy to help date the photo of the Third Avenue El in our recent post Badgered (June 12, 2017). There, New York used the same plate in 1955 and 1956, but in the latter year, there was a sticker in the upper right hand corner. That helped date the picture to 1955. The type of slide mount on this “red border Kodachrome” also indicated a date no earlier than 1955.

Other 1956 photos which show this are pages 355 bottom, 322 bottom, 319 top and bottom, 309 top and bottom, 195 bottom, and 351 top.

Yes, and in those cases, the photos are correctly identified as 1956.

1955 car plates had black backgrounds and light-colored numerals.  Pages 360 top, 334 top, 337 bottom, and 351 bottom.

And those photos are accurately listed as 1955.

It is a great book and hope there are more books to come on the PCC streetcars.

I’ll settle for partial credit regarding my new book, and hope it meets with your approval.  Meanwhile, I am working hard to ensure that minor errors do not creep into Chicago Trolleys.  Books such as this are full of complexities.  Since humans are not perfect, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the books they create aren’t perfect either.  But we do strive for perfection, naturally. To err is human; to forgive, divine!

A 1956 Pontiac.

A 1956 Pontiac.

The last #36 streetcar, February 16, 1957.

The last #36 streetcar, February 16, 1957.

Meanwhile, shortly after the PCC book was published, I received the following message from our resident South Side expert M. E.:

Yesterday I received B-146 and have been poring over it since then. B-146 is one heck of an achievement. I can only imagine how deteriorated the photos must have been. Your photo editor did a Herculean job restoring the photos.

The late Bradley Criss was an absolute master with Photoshop, a true magician. But instead of waving a magic wand, it took him endless hours of hard work, dedication, and attention to detail to make these pictures look as good as they do. My new book is dedicated to him.

I found a few booboos to tell you about:

(1) On page 38, the map you contend is from 1950. I knew the south side Surface Lines routes pretty well. Most of them are represented accurately in the map. But:

— Your own text, corroborated by Alan Lind’s book, says that streetcar service on Halsted south of 79th St. was eliminated in 1949. Therefore the route to 111th and Sacramento would have disappeared by 1950.

The map in question is correct as of early December 1949, and not 1950. We regret this error.

— Also, Lind’s book says the Halsted-Downtown route was the one that first ran to 111th and Sacramento. But by the late 1940s it was route 8. Lind’s book has a picture of a red streetcar on 111th St. with a destination sign showing route 8. From my personal experience, hanging around 63rd and Halsted as often as I did, I can state it really was route 8. Incidentally, I think the route 8 number itself was a rather late development. I remember destination signs on red streetcars that had no route numbers.

Route numbers were first used internally by CSL for accounting purposes, but gradually became public due to their use with the various Through Routes. So, for example, Lake-State was Through Route 16, and eventually the Lake route itself became 16.

— Also, that map shows route 8 between 79th and 81st Sts. The CTA may have retained trolley wire between 81st and 79th to connect routes 22 and 8/42, but there was no streetcar service south of 79th after 1949.

This map, produced by Dennis McClendon and Chicago Cartographics, is basically a color-coded version of one in a contemporary CTA Annual Report. Presumably their map showed wire between 79th and 81st since it was still there and available for car movements if needed, although not actually used as part of routes 8, 22, or 42.

(2) On page 211, the upper caption has the date October 1958.

That is, of course, a typo since the last car ran in June 1958. Possibly the correct date should be October 1957, based on the automobiles present.

(3) On page 381, the caption says the location is 63rd and Lowe. Not so. The view is facing west, and you can see the spire of the Southtown Theatre. The Southtown Theatre was at 63rd and Lowe, west of the railroad tracks. The true site of this photo is 63rd and Normal Parkway, which was 500 West. How do I know? In the photo is a sign for the 505 Grill. 505 is an address just west of Normal.

I wrote the caption for that photo, and mistakenly put down the cross street for the Southtown (Lowe) instead of the one for the photographer’s location (Normal).

The photo atop page 111 shows the 63rd Place short turn adjacent to the Halsted L station. For your information, the green and white bus belonged to the Suburban Transit System, based in Oak Lawn. Its route, starting at the L station, was north on Halsted to 63rd, west to Morgan St. (1000 west), south to 87th St., east to Vincennes (which at that point was about 900 west), south on Vincennes to 95th St., then west to any of several terminals along 95th St.

Also, there is a glimpse of a red and white bus in the distance. That one belonged to South Suburban Safeway Lines, which ran two routes into Englewood. One was the Harvey bus (currently route 349), which ran north on Halsted to 63rd, west to Western Ave., then south to Blue Island and Harvey. The other was the Chicago Heights/Crete bus (currently route 352), which turned south on Halsted and ran straight to the suburbs.

Thanks for all the great information!

The only other minor errors that I know about in B-146 involve some photos taken in the vicinity of Wrigley Field. These were mistakenly attributed to the late Charles Tauscher instead of Robert Heinlein. We regret this error, and thank Mr. Heinlein for taking such wonderful photographs.

It would be difficult to name a railfan book published within the last 50 years that did not have a few minor errors in it. This would include the legendary Lind book, which is rightfully considered the “gold standard” by which all other Chicago streetcar books should be judged.

I have seen the late Joe Saitta‘s personal copy of the CSL book, which included his own copious handwritten notes, for better or for worse, detailing what he regarded as corrections.  The handwriting was very difficult to read, but there were notations on nearly every page.

-David Sadowski

*Ray DeGroote writes:

Yes, I visited the H&F for a day at Thanksgiving time, 1952. I borrowed a camera from Tom Desnoyers since I did not have my own yet. I rode the line from Frederick, MD to Thurmond, about 20 miles, where the interurban connected with the Western Maryland RR. By that time they were down to just a few trips each day, and the rest of the system had been abandoned.

If there were any fan trips around that time, I did not hear about then. But it is possible either the Baltimore or Washington groups may have arranged something.

**Published in 2015 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association.  The Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with CERA.

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 221 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. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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 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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street-railwayreview1895-002

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More Color Restorations

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban car 460 at Trolleyville USA in July 1963. This was part of an order of 10 cars built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945-46. Brookins managed to save four of these cars.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban car 460 at Trolleyville USA in July 1963. This was part of an order of 10 cars built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945-46. Brookins managed to save four of these cars.

Time was, faded-out color slides, usually old Ektachromes from around 1956 that had turned red, were considered a “lost cause,” suitable only for converting to black-and-white. But today’s software and digital technology has made it possible to bring many of these old images back to life, with spectacular results.

However, we tackle an even more intractable problem today- Anscochrome, a “grade Z” cheaper alternative to Kodak film that appealed to thrifty photographers back in the 1950s and 60s. These images have not held up well over the years, exhibiting color shifts that are all over the place. In some cases, it may not be possible to make these pictures look 100% normal, even with all the tools in our digital toolbox.

We have also included some faded Ektachrome slides, and even one Kodachrome example. For many years, Kodachrome was the benchmark, the “gold standard” against which all other slide films had to be judged, in terms of dye stability and color accuracy.

By the 1990s, Fujichrome Velvia had caught up to Kodachrome in terms of sharpness, color, and resistance to fading. With the rise of digital photography, demand for Kodachrome slide film gradually declined, to the point where Kodak discontinued it, and the last roll was developed in 2010. It used a considerably more complicated and difficult developing process than other slide films.

Most pictures in today’s post were shot on Anscochrome in the early 1960s, at two early railway museum operations in Ohio, Trolleyville USA and the Ohio Railway Museum. Presumably, they were taken by the same unidentified photographer.

The former operation is now history, after an aborted effort to re-establish it in Cleveland, while the latter has had its problems over the years. (As of this writing, the Ohio Railway Museum has not yet opened for the 2016 season, with an August 21 date scheduled.)

Trolleyville USA was a labor of love for the late Gerald E. Brookins, who owned a trailer park in Olmsted Township, Ohio. He built an operating trolley to bring people who lived in the trailer park to his general store. Starting around 1954, Mr. Brookins developed an extensive collection of equipment, and was responsible for saving many streetcars and interurbans from what would have been certain destruction.

While the Brookins concern no longer exists, much of its collection lives on in a variety of other places, such as the Illinois Railway Museum. (To see a list of equipment owned at various times by the Ohio Railway Museum, go here.)

In addition, there are a few interesting shots taken on other electric railways of the 1950s and 60s. I have only included a few of the “before” pictures, but except for the two shots from 1972, all of the originals looked just as bad as the samples shown.

These images will give you a good idea of what these two early museum operations were like in the 1960s. Recently, we learned that North Shore Line car 154 (a sister to the 160 at Union), built in 1915 and now 101 years old, has deteriorated so much in outdoor storage at the Ohio railway Museum that it is going to be scrapped.

Norfolk and Western steam engine 578, shown in operation below, last ran in 1978.

This makes the point that historic preservation will likely always be two steps forward and one step backward, in spite of everyone’s best efforts. However, there is also good news– Chicago “L” car 24, built in 1898, is far along in its restoration at IRM, and recently ran under its own power for the first time in more than 50 years.

In a few instances, we show the process of color restoration step-by-step. Of course, we can only work with what’s already there to begin with. There is a difference between color restoration such as this, and “colorizing” a black-and-white image. To see examples of colorized railfan images, you can check out Rick Foss‘ work on his Facebook page.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- This article is intended to be a brief introduction to the subject of color-correcting badly faded images. It’s been pointed out to me that several of these still have a definite color cast.

In most cases, I spent only a few minutes working on each one. Otherwise, this post would still be far off in the future. Sometimes it is necessary to work for hours on a single image to make it look “right,” if it can be made to look that way.

However, using the right tools, including Photoshop, even the worst of the images shown here is a definite improvement on its badly faded original. It’s remarkable that ANY of these pictures can be color-corrected, all things considered.

In some cases, you may get lucky, and it may take a few brief minutes to make your problem picture look 100% better.

Chances are, I will continue to work on these as time permits, and will post improved versions of some images in future.

As always, you can leave a Comment on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


Trolleyville USA (most pictures taken in July 1963):

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

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Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 36 at Trolleyville sometime in mid-1962. This car left Wheaton on April 14, 1962, and had already been repainted by January 1, 1963, so this picture must have been taken between those dates.

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 36 at Trolleyville sometime in mid-1962. This car left Wheaton on April 14, 1962, and had already been repainted by January 1, 1963, so this picture must have been taken between those dates.

This is CA&E car 36 after being repainted at Trolleyville sometime during 1962.

This is CA&E car 36 after being repainted at Trolleyville sometime during 1962.

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These last two pictures were taken a few years later, circa 1972:

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Ohio Railway Museum, circa 1965:

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Montreal and Southern Counties interurban (quit in 1956):

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Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line, including a CERA fantrip:

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The location of this photo has puzzled even some experts. However, one of our regular readers may have the answer: "I think that it is looking north on the old Shore Line route post abandonment say in 1957 or 1958 when brush had grown up on the right of way. I would say that the location is where the old Lake Bluff Shore Line station was located, you can see a part of the old platform on the left side of the photo. If you go to that location today, the North Shore bike path curves slightly just south of where the Mundelein-Lake Bluff shuttle used to pass under the CNW. One track of the Shore Line route was retained from North Chicago Jct to the Highwood Shops until the last day of service. That was how they got cars to the Highwood Shops to be serviced and painted. The train is on the remaining track that led south to Highwood."

The location of this photo has puzzled even some experts. However, one of our regular readers may have the answer: “I think that it is looking north on the old Shore Line route post abandonment say in 1957 or 1958 when brush had grown up on the right of way. I would say that the location is where the old Lake Bluff Shore Line station was located, you can see a part of the old platform on the left side of the photo. If you go to that location today, the North Shore bike path curves slightly just south of where the Mundelein-Lake Bluff shuttle used to pass under the CNW. One track of the Shore Line route was retained from North Chicago Jct to the Highwood Shops until the last day of service. That was how they got cars to the Highwood Shops to be serviced and painted. The train is on the remaining track that led south to Highwood.”

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South Shore Line/Illinois Central Electric:

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Red Ektachromes

Noted railfan Ray DeGroote recently celebrated his 86th birthday. In his honor, I have attempted to color-correct an Ektacrhome slide he shot in 1955.

The original Ektachrome had a film speed of 32, slow by today’s standards, but preferable to its contemporary, Kodachrome 10. Unfortunately, the dyes used in early Ektachrome were unstable. This problem was corrected by the early 1960s.

Ray DeGroote took this picture at the old CTA Garfield Park "L" Laramie stop on May 1, 1955. We are looking to the west. About 30 years later, he had a duplicate slide made for me. That's what I scanned. Chances are, the original slide looks even more red than this today.

Ray DeGroote took this picture at the old CTA Garfield Park “L” Laramie stop on May 1, 1955. We are looking to the west. About 30 years later, he had a duplicate slide made for me. That’s what I scanned. Chances are, the original slide looks even more red than this today.

First, I brought the image up in Photoshop, and let the program try to color-correct the image automatically. As you can see, it already looks better but still has a ways to go.

First, I brought the image up in Photoshop, and let the program try to color-correct the image automatically. As you can see, it already looks better but still has a ways to go.

Next, I added some yellow to remove an overall blue cast. But due to how the original color dyes had faded, the resulting image is lacking in color intensity. It looks "flat." Keep in mind that the amount of red had to be greatly reduced to match the intensity of the greens and blues, which were greatly diminished.

Next, I added some yellow to remove an overall blue cast. But due to how the original color dyes had faded, the resulting image is lacking in color intensity. It looks “flat.” Keep in mind that the amount of red had to be greatly reduced to match the intensity of the greens and blues, which were greatly diminished.

Here, I increased the overall color saturation and tweaked the color balance a bit. The picture looks better now, but we are not yet satisfied.

Here, I increased the overall color saturation and tweaked the color balance a bit. The picture looks better now, but we are not yet satisfied.

Finally, I boosted the color saturation again. This seems to me about the best result. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the top of the railcars are close to a neutral grey. While the platforms may be slightly red, they may have looked that way, and meanwhile the lighter parts of the CTA cars look slightly cyan. Since we do not want to add any more red back into the picture, this is where we stop and say we are done.

Finally, I boosted the color saturation again. This seems to me about the best result. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the top of the railcars are close to a neutral grey. While the platforms may be slightly red, they may have looked that way, and meanwhile the lighter parts of the CTA cars look slightly cyan. Since we do not want to add any more red back into the picture, this is where we stop and say we are done.

I also corrected a couple of Ektachrome slides from 1959 that have shifted to red. They show D.C. Transit car 766 in fantrip service. These are extreme cases, and it wasn’t possible to bring the color back to 100% normal for these two slides:

Don’s Rail Photos says:

766 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918 as Capital Traction Co 27. It was rebuilt in 1931 and became Capital Transit 766 in 1934. It is now at the National Capital Trolley Museum.

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Here’s a picture showing Pacific Electric 1543 and others in a yard in the Los Angeles area on August 11, 1959:

Here is the original faded slide.

Here is the original faded slide.

Here, we have applied the auto color function in Photoshop. It has taken us part of the way, but we are not done yet.

Here, we have applied the auto color function in Photoshop. It has taken us part of the way, but we are not done yet.

We have reduced the amount of red further, and increased color saturation a bit. The picture is starting to look better.

We have reduced the amount of red further, and increased color saturation a bit. The picture is starting to look better.

Finally, we boosted the contrast a bit to give the image some "snap." Now we are finished. The dirt is red, but that is probably how things looked, since the sky is blue, without any trace of red.

Finally, we boosted the contrast a bit to give the image some “snap.” Now we are finished. The dirt is red, but that is probably how things looked, since the sky is blue, without any trace of red.


Faded Kodachrome

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a faded Kodachrome slide. This 1939 photo of the Trylon and Perisphere at the New York World's Fair has shifted to magenta over the years. Apparently, the dyes in the earliest Kodachromes were nowhere near as stable as they soon became.

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a faded Kodachrome slide. This 1939 photo of the Trylon and Perisphere at the New York World’s Fair has shifted to magenta over the years. Apparently, the dyes in the earliest Kodachromes were nowhere near as stable as they soon became.

We have eliminated the magenta cast, but now there hardly seems to be any color at all. It's almost monochrome now.

We have eliminated the magenta cast, but now there hardly seems to be any color at all. It’s almost monochrome now.

Here, we have boosted color saturation and have added some yellow. Unfortunately, it looks like we have gone too far, since the sky is now beginning to turn yellow as well.

Here, we have boosted color saturation and have added some yellow. Unfortunately, it looks like we have gone too far, since the sky is now beginning to turn yellow as well.

Here, we have backed off a bit on color saturation and while there is still a bit of yellow in the sky, the image overall looks much better than it originally did.

Here, we have backed off a bit on color saturation and while there is still a bit of yellow in the sky, the image overall looks much better than it originally did.


Recent Correspondence

Spence Ziegler writes, regarding the Illinois Central Electric suburban service (now the Metra Electric):

Dates of all of the station closures, last run of the turnaround trains (Hyde Park, 72nd St., Burnside) and on what date the original Blue Island Coach yard closed and when the CJ/CR&I viaduct was removed. Any information would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

We will try to find answers to your questions, thanks.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 151st 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 185,000 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.

Remembering Newark’s PCCs

PCC 14 outbound at Orange St. Station on March 28, 2001.

PCC 14 outbound at Orange St. Station on March 28, 2001.

Today’s article is by guest contributor Kenneth Gear.  You’ve heard his name before, since Ken has generously loaned us many Railroad Record Club and other similar records from his collection, so that we could transfer them to audio CDs.  Thanks to Ken, we are well on our way towards our goal of making the entire RRC collection available once again.

But Ken is also an excellent photographer, with a particular fondness for the PCC cars that ran from 1954 to 2001 in the Newark City Subway.  I only rode the line once, in 1991, and you can see a picture I took here.  Last year, along with Ray DeGroote, I gave a program about the Newark and Rochester subways, which you can read about here.

You will also find an unofficial list there detailing where Newark’s PCCs ended up after they were retired.  Newark car 4 (ex-Twin Cities Rapid Transit 323) is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

All the Newark PCC photos in today’s post are by Kenneth Gear.

-David Sadowski


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    Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 105th 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 103,000 page views from nearly 30,000 individuals.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

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


CD Updates

The latest addition to our steam audio CDs (again, thanks to collector Kenneth Gear) features Hi-fi recordings made in late 1964, showcasing the last great days of Mexican steam:

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VALLE
Valle del Locomotora de Vapor (Valley of the Steam Locomotives)
Mexican Steam Railroading in Twilight, 1964
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

A decade after mainline steam railroading had largely disappeared from the United States, it was still going strong in the Queretaro Division of the National Railways of Mexico. These Hi-Fi stereo recordings were made in the summer and fall of 1964, just before diesels took the place of steam in some of the last North American holdouts. This two-LP set, originally issued on a long-defunct record label in the 1960s, fits on a single CD and is a remarkable document of a vanished era.

Total time – 75:12


Our Twilight of Steam title (again, made possible thanks to the generosity of Kenneth Gear) has been expanded to three CDs, and now covers four LPs in this series, with nearly three hours of audio:

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TOS-123
Twilight of Steam
# of Discs – 3
Price: $24.95

Record #TOS-123:
The long out-of-print, thrilling audio counterpart to the exciting and controversial 1963 book The Twilight of Steam Locomotives by Ron Ziel. (Book not included.)

This collection includes LPs 1 through 4 on three CDs.

Railroads covered include the Reader, Virginia Blue Ridge, Southern Pacific, Bevier & Southern, Mobile & Gulf, Kentucky & Tennessee, Magma Arizona, the Mississippian, Graham County Railroad, Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, Denver & Rio Grande, East Broad Top, Reading, Canadian Northern, the Strasburg, the Burlington, Buffalo Creek & Gauley, Grand Trunk Western, Alabama Central, Valle de Mexico, Rockton & Rion, Duluth Missabe & Iron Range, and Great Western. These were among the last steam locos in regular service on North American railroads, in recordings made between 1958 and 1966.

Total time – 171:17


Remembering Newark’s PCCs

Most of my trips on the Newark City Subway (excepting fan trips) were not railfan photography outings. I rode for the fun of riding a PCC car on an interesting route. I might ride on the spur of the moment because my Amtrak or NJ Transit train wasn’t due for an a while. Sometimes when I had a free day I took a NJT Raritan Valley Line train from Dunellen to Newark Penn, bought a coffee, and rode to Franklin Avenue and back.

I did on occasion make a photography day out of a trip on the subway.  In my opinion there were only a hand full of good photography locations on the entire 4.3 mile length of the line. I tended to shoot these same locations over and over but I wish I would have taken photos at more stations.  I went where I knew I’d get good photos and be reasonably safe.

The locations were Norfolk Street, the only station I photographed at that was below street level in the old Morris Canal bed. Still visible was sections of the ramp that carried the Route 23 Central Avenue line up to street level. Buses replaced trolleys in 1947.

Orange Street was the location I went to the most. It is at street level with plenty of room to move around and even take broadside views of the PCCs as they crossed Orange Street, the only grade crossing on the subway. According to the April 1999 issue of RAILPACE both Orange Street and Norfolk Street are “the stops which could pose the greatest safety concerns as the surrounding areas at these locations are blighted”. I never felt threatened at either place, in fact my interactions with locals were always pleasant and usually we chatted about the trolleys and how they will be missed.

My second most photographed location is Davenport Avenue . I always enjoyed spending time here. It is in a nicely kept neighborhood at the entrance of Branch Brook Park. Elevated photos could be taken from a pedestrian walkway and there was a conveniently located set of vintage signals that, like the PCCs they governed, were on borrowed time. Here in March of 2001 I photographed motor flat # 5223, the only time I saw this car out on the line. This work car was made from Public Service composite car # 2683 in 1954. The car was originally built in 1917! The only other railroad equipment of that age I saw in regular service were the steeple cab locomotives on the Iowa Traction. These electrics seem to be able to stand the test of time!

My other photo spot was the end of the line at Franklin Avenue Station.  Here was located that wonderful loop track. I really enjoyed the sight and sounds of the PCCs rounding that impossibly tight curve, screeching and clawing their way from being outbound to being inbound. The loop was built around 1940 because the PCCs being single ended, needed a means of changing direction. The loop is now gone, Franklin Avenue Station is now called Branch Brook Park Station and , of coarse, the PCCs are long gone.

On August 24th 2001 I rode the Newark City Subway for the last time. That was the last day of PCC car service. The cars had been running since 1954, but it sure seemed to me that they still had a lot more life left in them. NJ Transit, to their credit, did a nice job of giving these cars a grand send-off. Car # 6 was painted in the grey paint scheme of Public Service Coordinated Transport. It looked great in it’s new shiny paint on that warm sunny day. It was quite a nice gesture for NJT to completely repaint a piece of equipment that only had one more day of revenue service.

This wasn’t only the end of the PCC era this was, after all, August of 2001. We all know what would happen on the 11th of the following month and railfanning the subway, or any place other place would never be the same.

-Kenneth Gear

This batch is from the first time I rode the Newark subway. It is also the only time I photographed the PCCs before they were equipped with pantographs. The occasion was an Electric Railroad’s Association fan trip that ran on May 24, 1987. In the morning we rode a farewell to the PATH K class cars and after lunch we rode the subway and toured the shop at Penn Station. My tripod was accidently left at home so I got very few useable photos of the shop. Somehow I managed to get a fairly good shot of the snow sweeper.

PCC 10 makes a photo stop at Davenport Avenue Station.

PCC 10 makes a photo stop at Davenport Avenue Station.

PCC 10 at Franklin Avenue station in Branch Brook Park. PCC 10 was built by St. Louis car in 1946.

PCC 10 at Franklin Avenue station in Branch Brook Park. PCC 10 was built by St. Louis car in 1946.

No. 10 at Norfolk Street. This station is where the connection to the 23 Central Avenue Line once left the subway by means of ramps.

No. 10 at Norfolk Street. This station is where the connection to the 23 Central Avenue Line once left the subway by means of ramps.

PCC 11, still in the Transport of New Jersey Bicentennial colors, is stopped at the soon to be replaced Orange Street Station. Here the subway crosses over the ex-DL&W Morris & Essex Line and the bridge is in need of replacement. To accommodate this work the station was moved across Orange Street to it's present site.

PCC 11, still in the Transport of New Jersey Bicentennial colors, is stopped at the soon to be replaced Orange Street Station. Here the subway crosses over the ex-DL&W Morris & Essex Line and the bridge is in need of replacement. To accommodate this work the station was moved across Orange Street to it’s present site.

PCCs being readied for the NJ Transit "Disco Stripes" paint job.

PCCs being readied for the NJ Transit “Disco Stripes” paint job.

A going away shot of PCC 15 in TNJ colors, inbound, leaving Franklin Avenue.

A going away shot of PCC 15 in TNJ colors, inbound, leaving Franklin Avenue.

PCCs 10 & 11 on the Franklin Avenue loop.

PCCs 10 & 11 on the Franklin Avenue loop.

Cars 10 & 11 during a photo stop at the Franklin Avenue station.

Cars 10 & 11 during a photo stop at the Franklin Avenue station.

Snow sweeper #5246 in the shop area of Penn Station. Number 5426 was built by Russell in 1921. It was built for the Trenton & Mercer County, Trenton Transit as number 51.

Snow sweeper #5246 in the shop area of Penn Station. Number 5426 was built by Russell in 1921. It was built for the Trenton & Mercer County, Trenton Transit as number 51.

Here is the next bunch of photos. Again these are from a fan trip. This time the trip was run by The North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society. All photos taken on April 22, 2000:

NJ Transit PCC 1 makes a photo stop at Davenport Ave.

NJ Transit PCC 1 makes a photo stop at Davenport Ave.

A wider shot of PCC 1 at Davenport Avenue.

A wider shot of PCC 1 at Davenport Avenue.

This is one of my favorite PCC photos. It shows car 15 seen from inside car 1 near Franklin Street. Number 1 is inbound while 15 is, of coarse, outbound.

This is one of my favorite PCC photos. It shows car 15 seen from inside car 1 near Franklin Street. Number 1 is inbound while 15 is, of coarse, outbound.

PCC 23 is outbound at Franklin Avenue, it will soon go around the loop track and become inbound (to Penn Station). The construction work in preparation of the new LRV cars is in evidence along the right of way here.

PCC 23 is outbound at Franklin Avenue, it will soon go around the loop track and become inbound (to Penn Station). The construction work in preparation of the new LRV cars is in evidence along the right of way here.

NJT PCC all electric PCC 1 at Norfolk Street Station "chartered" for a fan trip.

NJT PCC all electric PCC 1 at Norfolk Street Station “chartered” for a fan trip.

Car 1 is again in front of the fan's cameras as it poses for even more photos at Franklin Avenue. We made several trips of the entire subway.

Car 1 is again in front of the fan’s cameras as it poses for even more photos at Franklin Avenue. We made several trips of the entire subway.

Cars 1 and 19 pass at Davenport Avenue.

Cars 1 and 19 pass at Davenport Avenue.

The famous art deco headlight wings on PCC 25.

The famous art deco headlight wings on PCC 25.

After taking tons of photos of car 1, we toured the Penn Station subway shop.
Photos in the next bunch are all April 22, 2000:

Operator's controls of PCC No. 1

Operator’s controls of PCC No. 1

The trolley operator in this photo appears to be all business. He was the person who ran car 1 during our fan trip. He was more likely to be smiling at the end of the day because we passed the hat around and he got a pretty nice tip!

The trolley operator in this photo appears to be all business. He was the person who ran car 1 during our fan trip. He was more likely to be smiling at the end of the day because we passed the hat around and he got a pretty nice tip!

Brand new line car # 5420 (diesel powered)

Brand new line car # 5420 (diesel powered)

PCC 1 at Newark Penn Station.

PCC 1 at Newark Penn Station.

PCC 21 in the shop under Penn Station.

PCC 21 in the shop under Penn Station.

PCC 16 in the shop.

PCC 16 in the shop.

A wide view of car 21 and the surrounding shop area.

A wide view of car 21 and the surrounding shop area.

Car 25 and friends in the shop.

Car 25 and friends in the shop.

No tobacco chewing here! The sign in the shop area of Penn Station spells it out quite clearly.

No tobacco chewing here! The sign in the shop area of Penn Station spells it out quite clearly.

Here is the next bunch. All photos were taken on March 28, 2001 at Davenport Avenue Station:

PCC 12 and motor flat 5223 meet at Davenport Avenue.

PCC 12 and motor flat 5223 meet at Davenport Avenue.

Inside car 24.

Inside car 24.

PCC 12 inbound at Davenport Avenue.

PCC 12 inbound at Davenport Avenue.

NJT motor flat 5223. Originally built in 1917 as Public Service Composite car 2683. It was converted to a motor flat work car in 1954.

NJT motor flat 5223. Originally built in 1917 as Public Service Composite car 2683. It was converted to a motor flat work car in 1954.

Car 20 outbound at Davenport Ave.

Car 20 outbound at Davenport Ave.

Car 23 arrives Davenport Ave.

Car 23 arrives Davenport Ave.

PCC 24 inbound and 14 outbound meet at Davenport Ave.

PCC 24 inbound and 14 outbound meet at Davenport Ave.

PCC 24 inbound and 14 outbound meet at Davenport Ave.

PCC 24 inbound and 14 outbound meet at Davenport Ave.

PCC 12 and motor flat 5223 meet at Davenport Avenue.

PCC 12 and motor flat 5223 meet at Davenport Avenue.

All photos taken at Orange Street on March 28, 2001:

Car 17 inbound, Interstate 280 overpass in background.

Car 17 inbound, Interstate 280 overpass in background.

Car 17 rear view as it makes the Orange Street station stop.

Car 17 rear view as it makes the Orange Street station stop.

Car 17 again, crossing the subway's only grade crossing-- Orange Street.

Car 17 again, crossing the subway’s only grade crossing– Orange Street.

PCC 20 outbound.

PCC 20 outbound.

PCC 23 approaching the Orange Street Station. Former Otis Elevator building in background.

PCC 23 approaching the Orange Street Station. Former Otis Elevator building in background.

Car 24 outbound, showing the entire Orange street Station.

Car 24 outbound, showing the entire Orange street Station.

PCC 28 inbound at Orange Street.

PCC 28 inbound at Orange Street.

Here is the last batch of the PCC car photos. These were all taken on the last day of PCC car service on August 24, 2001:

PCC 6 outbound making the stop at Orange Street.

PCC 6 outbound making the stop at Orange Street.

PCC 28 in a wide view of the Orange Street grade crossing.

PCC 28 in a wide view of the Orange Street grade crossing.

Car 28 'rounds the tight curve of the Franklin Avenue loop on the last day of service for both the car and the loop trackage.

Car 28 ’rounds the tight curve of the Franklin Avenue loop on the last day of service for both the car and the loop trackage.

PCC 19 outbound, Orange Street.

PCC 19 outbound, Orange Street.

PCC 17 amongst the construction work still going on at Franklin Avenue/Branch Brook Park Station.

PCC 17 amongst the construction work still going on at Franklin Avenue/Branch Brook Park Station.

PCC 17 at Franklin Avenue re-named Branch Brook Park at this point.

PCC 17 at Franklin Avenue re-named Branch Brook Park at this point.

PCC 6 head-on at Orange Street.

PCC 6 head-on at Orange Street.

PCC 6 again crossing Orange Street.

PCC 6 again crossing Orange Street.

PCC 4 inbound. (Editor's note: This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.)

PCC 4 inbound. (Editor’s note: This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.)

The star of the show PCC 6 in it's brand new retro Public Service paint job. Crossing Orange Street.

The star of the show PCC 6 in it’s brand new retro Public Service paint job. Crossing Orange Street.

My last ride. The last time I rode a PCC on the Newark City Subway was in this car, Number 19. inbound to Penn Station. It would all be over soon!

My last ride. The last time I rode a PCC on the Newark City Subway was in this car, Number 19. inbound to Penn Station. It would all be over soon!

PS- Here are some scans of Newark Subway related documents from my files.
These are all from NJ Transit except the newspaper article:

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Railfans, Their Cameras, and Camera Stores

The iconic facade of Central Camera, one of the last remaining old-style camera stores in the Midwest.

The iconic facade of Central Camera, one of the last remaining old-style camera stores in the Midwest.

Today we will explore the close relationship between railfans, their cameras, and their favorite camera stores. Nowadays, photography has truly become both easy and democratic, in the sense that most people now carry around with them a cell phone that is capable of taking surprisingly good pictures. You see the results immediately, so there is a very short learning curve. If your picture doesn’t come out as intended, you simply take another.

‘Twas not always thus.

Chances are most railfans became photographers out of sheer necessity. They were fascinated by railroads and wanted to study pictures of them, yet had no idea where to find such pictures. So, they bought a camera and went out and made every mistake imaginable.

They learned by doing, and over time, many railfans became excellent photographers, whose work is on a par with, and every bit as important, as any other shutterbug’s.

Pieritz Brothers office supply store in Oak Park, in business since 1895, has a sign in the window that says, “If you buy here, we will be here.” The same is true of camera stores, which were once commonplace but have now largely disappeared from the American scene.

Perhaps in the future everyone will order their goods online and have them delivered to their door by drone aircraft, but time was, if you needed to buy film, have film developed, buy a camera, or learn how to operate it, you went to your friendly neighborhood camera shop.

There was a time when cameras were not commodities, and people depended on the experience and expertise of the over-the-counter sales person, who would spend time going over the features and even critique their pictures.

In my own Chicago neighborhood, there was the Montclare Camera Company, on the same block as the Montclare Theatre. In the early 1960s, when I was in grade school, perhaps 25% of a camera store’s business involved home movies.

It was a common thing to joke about back then how your friends or relatives would invite you over to their place for an evening of really bad home movies of their latest vacation or someone’s backyard birthday party. You could only record about three minutes of film on an entire reel. For some reason, the market for home movies had largely dried up even before portable video camcorders became available.

In the early 20th century, enlargers were not commonplace. If you took your roll of film to the photofinisher, a camera shop or drug store, they would make contact prints of your black-and-white film that were the same size as the original negative. To yield a decent sized print, the film had to be very large as a result. Sometimes these large negatives can yield extremely sharp images today.

Many people would take these prints and put them into photo albums purchased at their local dime store, often using paper corners to adhere them to the black paper. By the 1930s, railfans began trading and selling photos to each other. In some cases, they put together elaborate dossiers about certain railroads, complete with original photos and clippings from newspapers and magazines. Others tried to compile complete sets of “roster shots” showing entire fleets of streetcars and interurbans.

Among these early railfans is the venerable Malcolm McCarter, last living survivor of the original 10 founding members of the Illinois Railway Museum. He has been selling railfan photographs for 76 years now and may very well still print them himself, from his vast collection of negatives. You will find his catalog online here.

There was so much to ride at one time, and yet those years must have been, in some sense, depressing. There was one abandonment after another, a nearly endless litany of bad news. We can be thankful for those early fans who were involved, in one way or another, in historic preservation, either through the fledgling railway museums, documenting things through photographs, or both.

Fortunately some of these same fans have lived long enough to see electric railways undergo a world-wide renaissance, with new systems and extensions cropping up all over. Their hard work in preserving this history has now been more than validated.

The changeover from black-and-white to color photography meant a change in approach. When shooting black-and-white, you can expose for the shadows and often retain the highlights, while the opposite is true with color slide film. An overexposed black-and-white negative may still be printable, but with reduced contrast. An overexposed slide will have washed out highlights.

Naturally, over the years, railfan photographers had their favorite camera stores. The biggest and best in Chicago were downtown.

Altman’s was legendary and was like a “Noah’s Ark” of camera stores, with two of every camera or lens imaginable– one to show and one to go. I am sure there are still many Chicagoans “of a certain age” who have fond memories of Shutan, Helix, Standard Photo, Lion Photo, Terminal Photo, and many others that are now gone by the wayside.

And of these, Central Camera on Wabash somehow remains, after 116 years in business. It has become part of history itself.

There is a photo of a prewar Chicago PCC streetcar, taken by the late Robert W. Gibson, on page 61 of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, with Central Camera in the background. The store is still in the same locati