Loose Ends, Part One

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago's "L" system.

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago’s “L” system.

With this, and our next post, we are tying up some loose ends, so to speak. We have collected a great number of images over the last five years, and haven’t always had an opportunity to finish working on them and present them to you here. Just the caption writing alone takes a long time, and there is often research involved.

This is in addition to our usual work in scanning, cropping, straightening, color correction, spot removal, etc., which also takes a considerable effort. There are times when the images pile up, and there are various things that need to be done to them. We recently got around to some of those things.

We hope you enjoy the results, and if you have any questions or comments about these images, be sure to drop us a line. Be sure to refer to each image by its identifying file name. You can generally see what that is by moving your mouse over the image itself.

We also thank our various contributors to today’s post, Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive, Craig Berndt, and Bill Shapotkin, who have generously shared images from their collections.

I would also be remiss if I failed to note that July 15th was Ray DeGroote’s 90th birthday. Ray is a longtime friend and mentor. He is the dean of Chicago railfans, and has traveled all over, taking unforgettable pictures, sharing his wisdom and experience with others, for a lot longer than most of us have been alive. We wish him all the best.

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner "Valley Forge" at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner “Valley Forge” at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don's Rail Photos notes: "318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321." This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.” This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago "L" workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago “L” workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

Our resident south side expert M.E. writes:

You might be correct that this is the 61st St. yard on the Jackson Park line. I didn’t ride that line very much, because I lived along the Englewood line, so I can’t be sure. If it is 61st St., the view looks southeast.

In the 61st St. yard, I recall the long diagonal track in your picture. I also remember this track seemed to cleave the yard into two parts, such that the trains stored in the northern part would first have to move to the southern part, then onto the diagonal track to reach the mainline. That was rather clumsy.

I tried to recollect the big building in the background on the right. Or maybe there are more than one building. Either way, I think the building(s) could have been low-income project buildings that showed up on the South Side in the 1950s. The building(s) in this picture would be located south of 63rd and west of South Park Way (now King Drive).

The most convincing reason this might be 61st St. yard is, believe it or not, the way the switch is set in the lower right. That switch is set for mainline operation, in particular the northbound track. With this in mind, everything else in this picture falls into place correctly.

UPDATE: After writing all the above, I consulted my Central Electric Railfans Association (CERA) bulletin 115, dated June 1976, which covers the L system between 1947 and 1976. In the back of that book are numerous trackage layouts, including — yes — the 61st St. yard. And that trackage looks exactly like what is in your picture.

You might wonder where the connection between the southbound mainline track and the yard is. According to CERA 115, it is right where the camera is. It is a switch from southbound to northbound mainline track. In fact, you can see part of that switch precisely where your trolleydodger label (watermark) starts.

Thanks for figuring that out.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenwood branch of the "L" as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met "L", as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here-- Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenwood branch of the “L” as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met “L”, as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here– Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

M.E. writes:
I learned from this picture that the Kenwood stub at Indiana Ave. had room for three cars. I thought it was just two. I guess I never saw a third (idle) car sitting in that space, because the presence of an idle car meant the passengers had to walk farther to connect between Kenwood and mainline trains. (And if Kenwood passengers wanted to connect to southbound mainline trains, they also had to use the overhead bridge between the two mainline platforms.)

I also learned from CERA 115 that the Stock Yards line did have its own yard, east of the Halsted St. station, but that was way back in 1913. No wonder I never saw it.

There is some speculation that the Stock Yards yard from 1913 was never actually used.

Regarding three cars in the Kenwood stub, it’s possible that a portion of the rear car went past the platform, and they didn’t open the rear door, as was the practice at other stations, where the trains ended up being longer than the platforms. (This could also be done with the front door on the head car in other places, but not here.)

M.E. again:

More about your Kenwood stub picture:

Judging by the space between the two cars at the left, I’d have to say the leftmost car was not connected to the other two, and was in fact sitting idle. And, as you mentioned, perhaps the rightmost car isn’t fully next to the platform.

I’d have to agree with that, for another reason: I don’t know whether old wooden cars were ever upgraded to enable a single conductor (or maybe the motorman) to control all doors. If the old cars were not upgraded, then a three-car Kenwood train would need two conductors. The amount of business the Kenwood shuttle did would never justify two conductors. This fortifies my recollection that the Kenwood shuttle never ran with more than two cars, and ran most of the time with just one car.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted "L" station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 - Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street "L" trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground "loop" along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted “L” station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 – Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street “L” trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground “loop” along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs. Steve D. points out that the sign has Richard J. Daley on it as mayor, which means it can’t be prior to April 20, 1955.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the "L" crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the “L” crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the "L" was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the “L” was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park "L" crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the "L" right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park “L” crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the “L” right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park "L" train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park “L” train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park "L" in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park “L” in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood 'L' station at Montrose (today's CTA Brown Line)

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood ‘L’ station at Montrose (today’s CTA Brown Line)

From the Collections of Craig Berndt

Craig Berndt shared these really nice images, which he purchased from the estate of the late Ken Luttenbacher, who may be the photographer. All were taken on the north side, and many of these pictures were shot from the front of a train, looking out the window (which was most likely opened, since this was in the days before air conditioned rapid transit cars).

While we don’t see a lot of “L” cars, what we do see are some excellent shots of the rights-of-way on the Howard and Evanston lines (today’s Red and Purple Lines).

He adds:

I wrote a book about the Toledo & Chicago Interurban that operated the Ft. Wayne-Garrett-Kendallville-Waterloo line, part of which operated in freight service until May 1945. I made presentations about it at Hoosier Traction Meet a few years ago.

All the pictures in this section are from the Craig Berndt Collection.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

Loyola, looking north, in August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the 'L' until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the 'L' structure near Montrose.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the ‘L’ until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the ‘L’ structure near Montrose.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton "L" station.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton “L” station.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

The Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

From the Wien-Criss Archive

All the images in this section were taken by the late Charles L. Tauscher, and are shared by Jeff Wien, of the Wien-Criss Archive. These pictures show Kenosha buses, most on a fantrip held by the Omnibus Society of America. Bill Shapotkin notes, “OSA Fantrip 33 operated on July 9, 1967. The carrier was then known as Lake Shore Transit/Kenosha. Two different buses where used during the trip- #705 and 709.”

I recognize the former Kenosha North Shore Line station, four years after abandonment. The building still exists, but has been altered. It served as a restaurant for many years, and is now a day car center.

There are also two pictures taken in Racine, with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Johnson Wax Building in the background.

The large Pepsi bottlecap ad on the front of one bus reminds me of the streetcars in Johnstown, Pennsylvania that had these too, in pictures taken near the end of service there in 1960.

If anyone can help identify the other locations, that would be greatly appreciated. Again, please refer to each image by file name, thanks.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station.”

How this area looks today.

How this area looks today.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east.”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in ILLINOIS -- on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left)."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in ILLINOIS — on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left).”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!" On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!” On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

A contemporary view.

A contemporary view.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

We will round out today’s post with four excellent images shared by Bill Shapotkin. More will follow in our next post, Loose Ends, Part Two.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

Recent Correspondence

Barry S. writes:

With reference to your material on the launch of the Electroliner, I am passing along this contemporaneous promo /faux ticket. It’s about 30″ high. Due to my inept photo skills, it took three images to capture at least some details. Use and enjoy at your discretion. If any of your readers are interested, the item is for sale. It can be removed from its frame for easier/cheaper shipping.

I will make note of that, and if anyone wants to contact you, I will be sure to forward their info your way, thanks (using my ‘good offices,’ as opposed to my bad ones I guess).

Martin Baumann writes:

I recently discovered your very interesting website. In one post you said you are not sure what happened to Aurora Fox River and Elgin 305.

According to Cleveland’s Transit Vehicles: Equipment and Technology by James A. Toman and Blaine S. Hays it went to Cleveland with the rest of the batch and was retired in 1954 after its motors burned out during a blizzard at Thanksgiving.

That’s good to know, thanks!

Steve De Rose writes:

I am (still) Steve De Rose. If I did not previously mention this, I am also a member of the _American Breweriana Association_, which *just merged* with the East Coast Breweriana Association. Issue 226 of its journal arrived here very recently. John Warnik, of the sub-organization Chicagoland Breweriana Society has a fascinating story about the Yusay Brewery (formerly of 26th St. & Albany Ave). Yusay was one Chicago brewery which did a bunch of ads on transit vehicles. J. Warnik met someone who had seven medium-sized ads and he obtained them. Then came the questions of when these were used and where they appeared?

An ad for Dodge automobiles had Dodge’s 1953 slogan, “You’ve Got To Drive It To Believe It! 1953 Dodge”. This dated the signs to late 1952. He specifically focused on an ad for Yusay which illustrated its character ‘Local Boy’ at a banquet welcoming convention delegates to Chicago. As both the Democratic & Republican 1952 Presidential nomination conventions were held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, ‘Local Boy’ was seated between an elephant and a donkey on the dais. This more precisely identified the time frame. From your ‘Trolley Dodger’ weblog, he discerned a route 4 Cottage Grove streetcar, converted to one-man service (4056) with this ad in one of the outside slots near the front of the streetcar. He credits it to all three authors of *_Chicago Streetcar Pictorial, the PCC Car Era 1936-1958_*, including you. But the photograph he identifies and reproduces in this journal article is not the one on page 57 in the book. It looks like it is running southbound in downtown on Wabash between Wacker and Lake. (He shrewdly placed the top of the Yusay ad over the lower right corner of the photograph.)

What this informs us of is that 4056, converted to one-man service in May 1952, made many (if not all) of its runs on Cottage Grove. {Did Madison & Madison-Fifth CTA routes use one-man PCC Cars?}

Thanks for writing.

Looks like we have run two pictures of PCC 4056 with this ad, which probably dates both to the summer of 1952.

Madison and Madison-Fifth did not use one-man PCCs (and I do mean that literally, female bus operators weren’t hired until the 1970s). But after buses replaced streetcars on Madison in 1953, the branch on Fifth was operated briefly as a shuttle, using older red cars (1700-series) that were one-man.

Two-man cars, in any event, were required on any streetcar lines that crossed a railroad. The car would stop and the conductor would get out and look both ways before the car crossed the tracks.

CTA wanted to use one-man cars on 63rd Street, but first held two public hearings, and at one of them (the one on the west portion of the line), there was opposition to the plan, so the line was converted to buses instead. The one-man cars were used on Cottage Grove from 1952-55, and after that became a bus route, Western Avenue got them from 1955-56.

Another thing that CTA did was to substitute buses for PCCs on weekends. This had been a recommendation of a 1951 consultant report.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 - Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach's assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 – Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach’s assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

Screen Shot 03-16-16 at 06.58 PM.PNGScreen Shot 03-17-16 at 12.44 AM.PNG

RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32


The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
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.
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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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This is our 252nd 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 644,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Sweet Home Chicago

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 - Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 – Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

They say you can never go home again. But no matter how far we may wander from home, there is something, almost like an unseen force, that calls us back to the places we lived in, grew up in, or love the most. And while we often feature transit photos from other cities, Chicago remains our home and will always be our favorite. So today, we are featuring Chicago-area streetcars, rapid transit, interurbans, and buses.

We do have a couple examples of things that, improbably, did find their way home. First, a picture of a Chicago PCC streetcar that has come back “from Russia with love.” Second, prints and negatives of Chicago transit, taken in 1952, that have been reunited after who knows how many years.

We also have some recent photo finds of our own, including a news report from Miles Beitler on the new Pulse bus rapid transit operation in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, and more classic photos shared by Bill Shapotkin and Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive.  Finally, there is some correspondence with Andre Kristopans.

We thank all our contributors.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you have comments on individual photos, and I am sure you will, please refer to them by their image number, which you can find by hovering your mouse over the photo (for example, the picture at the top of this post is img882). That is more helpful to me than just saying something was the seventh photo down, etc. We always appreciate hearing from you if you have useful information to contribute regarding locations and other details. Thanks in advance.

We also should not let the opportunity pass to wish Raymond DeGroote, Jr. a happy belated 89th birthday. Ray is a world traveler, a raconteur, and the Dean of Chicago railfans.

Recent Finds

CSL "Matchbox" 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948... These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers." Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL “Matchbox” 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948… These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood "L" train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood “L” train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 - Halsted or 9 - Ashland in the early 1950s, you can't quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is "on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right."

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 – Halsted or 9 – Ashland in the early 1950s, you can’t quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is “on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right.”

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA's Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA’s Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden "L" cars).

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden “L” cars).

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1732, in red, heads southwest on Fifth Avenue at Harrison on July 5, 1953. Madison-Fifth was part of Route 20, but as of May 11, 1952, buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends– except for the Fifth Avenue branch, which used streetcars. That must be a Harrison bus in the background. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 - Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted "L" station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 – Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted “L” station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 - Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan "L" station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 – Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan “L” station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, "The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line."

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, “The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line.”

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans' Association. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940." (Robert Selle Photo)

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” (Robert Selle Photo)

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don's Rail Photos: "701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938." Don also notes, "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937."

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don’s Rail Photos: “701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938.”
Don also notes, “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937.”

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Pulse Bus Rapid Transit Celebration

Pace launched its Pulse bus rapid transit this week with the Pulse Milwaukee line which runs between Golf Mill in Niles and the Jefferson Park transit center in Chicago. Pace held a celebration event earlier today (August 15th) at Milwaukee and Touhy in Niles featuring speeches by various politicians, agency bureaucrats, and public transit advocates. A new Pulse bus was parked at the event and was available for public inspection, as well as a Pulse bus station with its passenger amenities.
Since you include bus photos on your blog, I have attached several photos of the event. Feel free to post any or all of them. The Pace website has detailed information about the Pulse service.
Ironically, Richmond (VA) has operated a bus rapid transit line for over a year which is very similar, and it’s also called “Pulse”. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if there is some connection between them. However, the Richmond line has dedicated bus-only lanes for part of its length, while our line runs in mixed traffic along Milwaukee Avenue.
-Miles Beitler

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the "L". That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a "Jersey bounce."

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the “L”. That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a “Jersey bounce.”

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park "L" the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park “L” the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail "on the fly."

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail “on the fly.”

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series "L" cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series “L” cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don's Rail Photos adds, "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

The following South Shore Line photos, again courtesy of William Shapotkin, are all dated October 1965 and are from a fantrip.

Here are some classic postcard views, again from the collections of William Shapotkin:

From Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive:

These pictures of the Illinois Terminal Railroad were taken on July 4, 1950:

Don's Rail Photos: "1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960.”

IT 270.

IT 270.

IT 273.

IT 273.

Don's Rail Photos: "276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos: “276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956.”

IT 281.

IT 281.

IT 284.

IT 284.

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."

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.”

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

Again from the Wien-Criss Archive, here are a series of photos taken at the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards, in August 1959 after the line had stopped running even freight service. Several cars were sold to museum interests and moved off the property in early 1962. Everything else was scrapped. It’s possible that these pictures may have been taken by the late Joseph Saitta of New York.

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

The following pictures, also from the Wien-Criss Archive, are not very sharp, but do show Chicago transit vehicles in September 1953 and May 1954. There are several shots of the temporary ground-level trackage used from 1953 to 1958 by the Garfield Park “L”, during construction of the Congress Expressway. Those pictures were taken at Van Buren and Western. Some of the PCC photos were snapped in the vicinity of Roosevelt Road, which is also where the Greyhound bus picture was probably taken.

Recent Correspondence

We recently asked Andre Kristopans about which Chicago streetcars, including PCCs, were converted to one-man operation in the CTA era.  Here’s what he reports:

In 1951, all 83 prewar PCCs to OMC on AFE S14000. At same time, 21 Sedans to OMC (3325,3347-3349,3351-3352,3354-3355,3357,3360-3363,3368,3372,3378-3379,6303,6305,6310,6319) on AFE S14001

However almost immediately 20 postwars 4052-4061,7035-7044 to OMC on S14011

155 older cars 1721-1785,3119-3178,6155-6198 to convertible OMC 1948 on S11381

Some additional info. Of the 169 cars in the three groups listed for one-manning, the following were already gone when the plan was announced:

6 under CSL 1945-47 1738,1754,1770,3133,3170,3176
8 under CTA 1948 1727,1763,3130,3150,3152,3155,3159,6197

169 minus above 14 leaves 155 for conversion in 1949

Me: Thanks… and none of the Peter Witts were used in one-man service, right?

Andre: Redone then scrapped replaced by postwars?

Me: Didn’t this have to do with the decision not to one-man 63rd Street? Or was it simply that mixing the Sedans with PCCs would have slowed things down?

Andre: Supposedly one of the aldermen along 63rd pitched a bitch about the sedans after he saw one. Thought they would be “unsafe”. Not sure on what grounds, suspect had to do with center door arrangement. But plan was dropped and sedans scrapped.

Me: Thanks!

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
[/caption]


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

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



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.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
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)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 236th 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 539,000 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.

75 Years of Chicago’s Subways

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Chicago’s first subway opened 75 years ago today, on October 17, 1943. To help commemorate this milestone in Chicago history, we wrote the book Building Chicago’s Subways, which is now available from us and wherever Arcadia Publishing books are sold. More information can be found at the end of this post, or via our Online Store.

Today, we are featuring over 100 images that were considered for use in our new book, but for various reasons did not make the cut. We hope you will enjoy them.

The story of Chicago’s subways is a long an convoluted one, beginning 150 years ago with the first transportation tunnels under the Chicago River, and continuing with the extensive system of freight tunnels built in the early 1900s downtown.

Wrangling over what type of subways to build, where to build them, and how to pay for them, continued for 40 years and divided Chicagoans. Then, in 1938, the City of Chicago and the FDR Administration agreed on plans to build the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee Subways, which opened in 1943 and 1951.

In turn, this was all part of a larger plan which included Chicago’s first true expressway in Congress Street (now the I-290 Eisenhower). Construction for the highway began in 1949 and ultimately relocated the entire Garfield Park “L” into the Congress rapid transit line, also known as the West Side Subway.

Construction of Chicago’s first subways began in 1938, and the Congress line was not 100% complete until 1960, so this was a huge construction project that lasted for more than 20 years and transformed the city forever.

The story of how this came to be is detailed in my new book.

David Sadowski

PS- I salute those Chicagoans old enough to remember the opening of the Chicago Subway. Those first-day riders included Raymond DeGroote Jr., the dean of Chicago railfans, and my two uncles Robert and Raymond Wakefield, all still going strong at age 88.

A Review of Building Chicago’s Subways by Kenneth Gear

Readers of the Trolley Dodger will certainly enjoy reading David’s new book BUILDING CHICAGO’S SUBWAYS.

I’ve visited Chicago about a dozen times in my railfanning pursuits and my interests were always confined to the yards, mainlines, and junctions of the freight railroads. I was only vaguely aware that Chicago even had a subway system. After reading this book, my next trip to the windy city will definitely include a ride on the subway.

As David has done with his previous book CHICAGO TROLLEYS, he has taken a very complex subject, spanning many decades and personalities, and whittled it down to the essential facts. He then presents these facts in a clear, understandable, and entertaining manner. The photographs are all of excellent quality, properly exposed and in razor sharp focus. David is apparently very particular and extremely selective when it comes to the photos in his books. The photographs don’t only showcase the transit equipment and property, but also include many photos of the people involved with the story of the subways. He has also included scenes of Chicago’s neighborhoods, buildings, and streets that were affected by the subways.

These are historical photos that will be of interest to any Chicagoans who have an eye for the past. The book tells the interesting story of the subway’s part in hastening the demise of the Chicago Aurora, and Elgin and the impact subways had on the famous “L”. Also much insight is given on the building of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower Expressway). I was also very interested in the chapter about the freight tunnels under the city. I recently watched the 1950 movie UNION STATION with William Holden and the climax of the film takes place in those tunnels.

The photographic efforts and concise writing go a long way to making David’s Arcadia books among the best the publisher has to offer.

How Chicago Kept its Subway Plan on Track

I wrote to Ron Grossman at the Chicago Tribune several months ago, suggesting they do an article for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago subway. Here is that article.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago's downtown.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago’s downtown.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

A freight tunnel intersection.

A freight tunnel intersection.

Chicago's freight tunnels.

Chicago’s freight tunnels.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop "L", here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop “L”, here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago's first subways.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago’s first subways.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago's tube.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago’s tube.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago's subways were in turn influenced by New York's far more extensive system.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago’s subways were in turn influenced by New York’s far more extensive system.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York's system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York’s system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

Wooden "L" cars were also less safe in crashes.

Wooden “L” cars were also less safe in crashes.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

Chicago's subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

Chicago’s subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Early subway construction.

Early subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

Mining clay in the subway.

Mining clay in the subway.

Early "cut and cover" construction near a subway station.

Early “cut and cover” construction near a subway station.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway's crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway’s crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

Subway construction.

Subway construction.

The old Masonic Temple, world's tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

The old Masonic Temple, world’s tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the "L" used "on-sight" operation.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the “L” used “on-sight” operation.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

No tracks here yet.

No tracks here yet.

Subway riders downtown could get a "walking transfer," good for 15 minutes, to change to "L" trains above.

Subway riders downtown could get a “walking transfer,” good for 15 minutes, to change to “L” trains above.

In 1950, the first of the CTA's new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

In 1950, the first of the CTA’s new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the "L" were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan "L", soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the “L” were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan “L”, soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park "L" with the new Congress line.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park “L” with the new Congress line.

The old Met main line "L" crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of "L" was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

The old Met main line “L” crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of “L” was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

A crossover in the Congress median.

A crossover in the Congress median.

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of "bus rapid transit" line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of “bus rapid transit” line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the "West Side Subway" as it is below grade.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the “West Side Subway” as it is below grade.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year 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)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 222nd 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 452,000 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.