Trick or Treat

Milwaukee Electric 948, as seen from the rear of car 900, on July 16, 1952. Darrick Vormann adds, "Great shot, looks like #10 turning off of 68th St. headed to West Allis." Larry Sakar: "Photo aaa756 showing the Wells-West Allis westbound streetcar completing the turn from southbound S. 68th Street onto the continuation of the private r.o.w. was also part of Phase III (in Milwaukee Rapid Transit construction in the late 1920s). The 68th Street Rapid Transit station would have been to the left of the streetcar atop the r.o.w. Where the streetcar is seen is today part of the 68th St. off ramp from eastbound I-94, the East-West Freeway. Look slightly left in the background and you can see a bit of the large abutment that carried the two bridges of the Rapid Transit line over S. 68th St. To the left of it, streetcars came down or climbed up a ramp on the embankment to or from the p.r.o.w. This was a favorite place for pranksters. They would soap or oil the track climbing up to the top of the embankment and then hide nearby and get their kicks watching the streetcar try to climb on the soaped or oiled rails."

Milwaukee Electric 948, as seen from the rear of car 900, on July 16, 1952. Darrick Vormann adds, “Great shot, looks like #10 turning off of 68th St. headed to West Allis.” Larry Sakar: “Photo aaa756 showing the Wells-West Allis westbound streetcar completing the turn from southbound S. 68th Street onto the continuation of the private r.o.w. was also part of Phase III (in Milwaukee Rapid Transit construction in the late 1920s). The 68th Street Rapid Transit station would have been to the left of the streetcar atop the r.o.w. Where the streetcar is seen is today part of the 68th St. off ramp from eastbound I-94, the East-West Freeway. Look slightly left in the background and you can see a bit of the large abutment that carried the two bridges of the Rapid Transit line over S. 68th St. To the left of it, streetcars came down or climbed up a ramp on the embankment to or from the p.r.o.w. This was a favorite place for pranksters. They would soap or oil the track climbing up to the top of the embankment and then hide nearby and get their kicks watching the streetcar try to climb on the soaped or oiled rails.”

As this is Halloween, we have lots of treats for you, and hopefully, not too many tricks. Our latest batch of classic traction pictures also features lots of trains in fall colors, both here in Chicago, and in Milwaukee.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 519 members.

Recent Finds

Chicago & West Towns car 161. The slide says this is in Brookfield.

Chicago & West Towns car 161. The slide says this is in Brookfield.

Chicago & West Towns 156. The slide says this is in Brookfield, but it looks like it could be on Woodside in Riverside.

Chicago & West Towns 156. The slide says this is in Brookfield, but it looks like it could be on Woodside in Riverside.

The caption on this slide mount says, "Dad, David, Bev and Mom entering the El on November 23, 1962." The location is the at 242-Van Cortlandt Park on the IRT Broadway Line in the Bronx. The station is still there.

The caption on this slide mount says, “Dad, David, Bev and Mom entering the El on November 23, 1962.” The location is the at 242-Van Cortlandt Park on the IRT Broadway Line in the Bronx. The station is still there.

Pittsburgh Railways 1693 on the Fineview line in September 1965.

Pittsburgh Railways 1693 on the Fineview line in September 1965.

A North Shore Line train at North Chicago Junction on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment.

A North Shore Line train at North Chicago Junction on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment.

The Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton on June 14, 1960, nearly three years after passenger service ended, and a year after the last freight train ran.

The Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton on June 14, 1960, nearly three years after passenger service ended, and a year after the last freight train ran.

The CA&E station at Lakewood on June 14, 1960. The line had been abandoned, but was still largely intact, yet could not be saved.

The CA&E station at Lakewood on June 14, 1960. The line had been abandoned, but was still largely intact, yet could not be saved.

One of the two former North Shore Line Electroliners, just after it had been delivered to the Red Arrow's Philadelphia & Western line at the 69th Street terminal. The slide was processed in January 1964, but by then, the two trainsets had been repainted and reconfigured into Liberty Liners and were put into service on the 13-mile line to Norristown. So this was taken a few months earlier. Notice the North Shore Line emblem on the front of the train has been removed.

One of the two former North Shore Line Electroliners, just after it had been delivered to the Red Arrow’s Philadelphia & Western line at the 69th Street terminal. The slide was processed in January 1964, but by then, the two trainsets had been repainted and reconfigured into Liberty Liners and were put into service on the 13-mile line to Norristown. So this was taken a few months earlier. Notice the North Shore Line emblem on the front of the train has been removed.

The interior of Milwaukee streetcar 918 on September 5, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The interior of Milwaukee streetcar 918 on September 5, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee County Stadium on October 6, 1957, during Game 4 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. The Braves came from behind to win the game 7-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, via what we now call a "walk off" home run by Eddie Mathews. Warren Spahn was the winning pitcher, and the Braves went on to win the series, four games to three. The same two teams faced off in the 1958 series, which was won by the Yankees in seven games. Attendance at this game was 45,804 and the park was still served by streetcars in 1957 (but not the following year). (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee County Stadium on October 6, 1957, during Game 4 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. The Braves came from behind to win the game 7-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, via what we now call a “walk off” home run by Eddie Mathews. Warren Spahn was the winning pitcher, and the Braves went on to win the series, four games to three. The same two teams faced off in the 1958 series, which was won by the Yankees in seven games. Attendance at this game was 45,804 and the park was still served by streetcars in 1957 (but not the following year). (William C. Hoffman Photo)

According to the slide mount, this shows an expansion joint in the streetcar tracks near County Stadium in Milwaukee, where several streetcars are parked during the fourth game of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees on October 6, 1957. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar adds: "Great picture aaa732 of streetcars on the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut. The cut was started in 1926 as part of Phase III of the Rapid Transit Line construction project officially known as the "Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project." This phase was completed in late 1928, and construction on Phase IV The City of Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 8th & Hibernia Streets and 40th Street was started. It would take until 9-22-30 for it to be completed. As you know, Phase V, the subway to the Public Service Building had some preliminary work done but was never completed. Looking at the photo of the spur, I feel that the spur was a bit more to the south then when the Rapid Transit was running. The eastbound Rapid Transit track would have been next to the fence to the left but there doesn't look like there was enough room for a fourth track in this photo. The cut still exists but it is so overgrown with weeds and brush that it is barely recognizable. I have a photo taken by Mr. Dan Lee of the Milwaukee Public library Humanities Dept. in 2016 which I'll send you and you'll see what I mean about it being overgrown."

According to the slide mount, this shows an expansion joint in the streetcar tracks near County Stadium in Milwaukee, where several streetcars are parked during the fourth game of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees on October 6, 1957. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar adds: “Great picture aaa732 of streetcars on the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut. The cut was started in 1926 as part of Phase III of the Rapid Transit Line construction project officially known as the “Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project.” This phase was completed in late 1928, and construction on Phase IV The City of Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 8th & Hibernia Streets and 40th Street was started. It would take until 9-22-30 for it to be completed. As you know, Phase V, the subway to the Public Service Building had some preliminary work done but was never completed. Looking at the photo of the spur, I feel that the spur was a bit more to the south then when the Rapid Transit was running. The eastbound Rapid Transit track would have been next to the fence to the left but there doesn’t look like there was enough room for a fourth track in this photo. The cut still exists but it is so overgrown with weeds and brush that it is barely recognizable. I have a photo taken by Mr. Dan Lee of the Milwaukee Public library Humanities Dept. in 2016 which I’ll send you and you’ll see what I mean about it being overgrown.”

A Milwaukee trolley bus is on National Avenue on May 30, 1963. We are looking north on 6th Street, where North Shore Line interurban trains had run until January 21, 1963. The last Milwaukee trolley bus operated in 1965. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A Milwaukee trolley bus is on National Avenue on May 30, 1963. We are looking north on 6th Street, where North Shore Line interurban trains had run until January 21, 1963. The last Milwaukee trolley bus operated in 1965. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

"Streetliner" bus 886 at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, WI on September 22, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

“Streetliner” bus 886 at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, WI on September 22, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The art glass window of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad at Fowler and Plankinton in Milwaukee on May 30, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The art glass window of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad at Fowler and Plankinton in Milwaukee on May 30, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On December 4, 1949, Milwaukee Electric car 1121 was operated on the North Shore Line for a fantrip. Here it is at the Oklahoma stop on an embankment in Milwaukee, WI. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On December 4, 1949, Milwaukee Electric car 1121 was operated on the North Shore Line for a fantrip. Here it is at the Oklahoma stop on an embankment in Milwaukee, WI.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail car 66 at West Junction on June 14, 1951, not long before the entire interurban line was abandoned.

Speedrail car 66 at West Junction on June 14, 1951, not long before the entire interurban line was abandoned.

Speedrail car 66 in Milwaukee on June 14, 1951.  Larry Sakar adds, "car 66 is westbound about to cross the 8th Street bridge. Once across it will go down the ramp to the start of the private right of way."

Speedrail car 66 in Milwaukee on June 14, 1951. Larry Sakar adds, “car 66 is westbound about to cross the 8th Street bridge. Once across it will go down the ramp to the start of the private right of way.”

Speedrail car 66 at the Hales Corners loop on June 14, 1951. Larry Sakar: "It's hard to distinguish in this photo of car 66 rounding Hales Corners Hillcrest loop but in the right side background was the Hales Corners Speedway where they held car races well into the 70's and '80's. Today a Menards occupies the site of the HC loop."

Speedrail car 66 at the Hales Corners loop on June 14, 1951. Larry Sakar: “It’s hard to distinguish in this photo of car 66 rounding Hales Corners Hillcrest loop but in the right side background was the Hales Corners Speedway where they held car races well into the 70’s and ’80’s. Today a Menards occupies the site of the HC loop.”

Milwaukee Electric cars 979 and 914 on private right-of-way on the west side of Milwaukee on May 16, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Electric cars 979 and 914 on private right-of-way on the west side of Milwaukee on May 16, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Wisconsin Electric Power Company loco L-9 at the Lakeside power plant on June 12, 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Wisconsin Electric Power Company loco L-9 at the Lakeside power plant on June 12, 1955.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail articulated car 50 on Everett Street at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail articulated car 50 on Everett Street at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17, 1951.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail heavyweight cars 1193 and 1192 at the Milwaukee terminal on July 4, 1950. 1192 was wrecked less than two months later. The heavyweight cars were only used during rush hours. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail heavyweight cars 1193 and 1192 at the Milwaukee terminal on July 4, 1950.
1192 was wrecked less than two months later. The heavyweight cars were only used during rush hours. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The old interurban and rapid transit terminal at 2nd and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee on August 27, 1961. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar: "Great shot of the Public Service Building a decade after the Rapid Transit had been abandoned. I think you should say this is the southeast corner of N. 3rd & W. Michigan Streets. The caption gives the impression that it's 2nd Street. Greyhound would occupy the building for four more years before moving to its new terminal on the northeast corner of N. 7th & W. Michigan Streets in early February 1965. I don't know what's in there now. Greyhound moved to the new Intermodal station on the west end of the Amtrak station at 5th & St. Paul around 2006. Three years later Badger Coach which was directly across N. 7th Street. moved there in 2009. It is now the sole bus terminal in Milwaukee."

The old interurban and rapid transit terminal at 2nd and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee on August 27, 1961. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar: “Great shot of the Public Service Building a decade after the Rapid Transit had been abandoned. I think you should say this is the southeast corner of N. 3rd & W. Michigan Streets. The caption gives the impression that it’s 2nd Street. Greyhound would occupy the building for four more years before moving to its new terminal on the northeast corner of N. 7th & W. Michigan Streets in early February 1965. I don’t know what’s in there now. Greyhound moved to the new Intermodal station on the west end of the Amtrak station at 5th & St. Paul around 2006. Three years later Badger Coach which was directly across N. 7th Street. moved there in 2009. It is now the sole bus terminal in Milwaukee.”

Double-pole streetcar 801 is at the Fond Du Lac station in Milwaukee on May 4, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Double-pole streetcar 801 is at the Fond Du Lac station in Milwaukee on May 4, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 2, 1964, Milwaukee streetcar 978 is on static display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI. After moving around to several places after its 1958 retirement, car 978 is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 2, 1964, Milwaukee streetcar 978 is on static display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI. After moving around to several places after its 1958 retirement, car 978 is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view west along the old Milwaukee Electric right-of-way over the North Shore Line in south Milwaukee on September 9, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view west along the old Milwaukee Electric right-of-way over the North Shore Line in south Milwaukee on September 9, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail snow plow U-5 is at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17. 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail snow plow U-5 is at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17. 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Old heavyweight Milwaukee Electric steel car 1115, later operated under Speedrail, is shown at the Everett Street terminal in Milwaukee on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Old heavyweight Milwaukee Electric steel car 1115, later operated under Speedrail, is shown at the Everett Street terminal in Milwaukee on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 4, 1950, several Speedrail cars are shown at the Milwaukee terminal. Car 1192, at right, was involved in a head-on collision on September 2, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 4, 1950, several Speedrail cars are shown at the Milwaukee terminal. Car 1192, at right, was involved in a head-on collision on September 2, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Electric (aka Speedrail) car 1115 is at the Waukesha loop on July 16, 1950. Larry Sakar: "Car 1115 seen on the Waukesha loop on 7-16-50 was part two of a four-part fan trip. I do not know who sponsored it. The morning trip to Waukesha used lightweight duplex 31-32 to Waukesha. At Waukesha loop the fans boarded ex TM now Speedrail car 1115 for the return trip to Milwaukee. There are a number of pictures of it at West Junction, including that one I think I shared with you long ago where Speedrail VP of operations Ed Tennyson appears to be chewing out the conductor. The afternoon trip to Hales Corners Hillcrest loop used curved side car 65 to Hales Corners and ex AE&FR, ex SHRT 301 for the return to Milwaukee. While backing across the Honey Creek Parkway bridge for a photo run-by, the trolley pole came off the wire and struck the catenary arm, bending it like a pretzel. Those cars did not carry a spare pole. In fact, I'm not aware if TM or any of its successors ever did. They moved the front pole around and it got them back to the Public Service Building."

Milwaukee Electric (aka Speedrail) car 1115 is at the Waukesha loop on July 16, 1950. Larry Sakar: “Car 1115 seen on the Waukesha loop on 7-16-50 was part two of a four-part fan trip. I do not know who sponsored it. The morning trip to Waukesha used lightweight duplex 31-32 to Waukesha. At Waukesha loop the fans boarded ex TM now Speedrail car 1115 for the return trip to Milwaukee. There are a number of pictures of it at West Junction, including that one I think I shared with you long ago where Speedrail VP of operations Ed Tennyson appears to be chewing out the conductor. The afternoon trip to Hales Corners Hillcrest loop used curved side car 65 to Hales Corners and ex AE&FR, ex SHRT 301 for the return to Milwaukee. While backing across the Honey Creek Parkway bridge for a photo run-by, the trolley pole came off the wire and struck the catenary arm, bending it like a pretzel. Those cars did not carry a spare pole. In fact, I’m not aware if TM or any of its successors ever did. They moved the front pole around and it got them back to the Public Service Building.”

On June 14, 1951, Speedrail car 66 is at the Waukesha loop. Refurbishing this curved-sided car, originally built by the Cincinnati Car Company and purchased used from Lehigh Valley Transit, was a last-ditch effort to save the line. Unfortunately, this car only ran in Milwaukee for a few weeks before the line quit. Larry Sakar: "The caption says that car 66 operated for "just a few weeks" before the end of Speedrail on 6-30-51. The 66 made its debut on a fan trip on the Waukesha line on March 31, 1951. It operated in regular service over both the Waukesha and Hales Corners lines through the very last day. I have a color print from a slide of it stopping at Waukesha East Limits on 6-30-51. It is credited to the late George Krambles."

On June 14, 1951, Speedrail car 66 is at the Waukesha loop. Refurbishing this curved-sided car, originally built by the Cincinnati Car Company and purchased used from Lehigh Valley Transit, was a last-ditch effort to save the line. Unfortunately, this car only ran in Milwaukee for a few weeks before the line quit. Larry Sakar: “The caption says that car 66 operated for “just a few weeks” before the end of Speedrail on 6-30-51. The 66 made its debut on a fan trip on the Waukesha line on March 31, 1951. It operated in regular service over both the Waukesha and Hales Corners lines through the very last day. I have a color print from a slide of it stopping at Waukesha East Limits on 6-30-51. It is credited to the late George Krambles.”

Speedrail car 1192, which was heavily damaged in a horrific head-on collision, as it appeared in September 1951.

Speedrail car 1192, which was heavily damaged in a horrific head-on collision, as it appeared in September 1951.

Speedrail car 62 leaves the Milwaukee terminal on June 14, 1951.

Speedrail car 62 leaves the Milwaukee terminal on June 14, 1951.

Milwaukee Electric 801 is on the Wells Street trestle on May 6, 1950.

Milwaukee Electric 801 is on the Wells Street trestle on May 6, 1950.

Milwaukee Electric car 801, equipped with two trolley poles, is at the Fond Du Lac barns on September 5, 1954.

Milwaukee Electric car 801, equipped with two trolley poles, is at the Fond Du Lac barns on September 5, 1954.

On May 22, 1955, Milwaukee Electric loco L10 and some hopper cars are on the #10 route. Larry Sakar: "This is not the Route 10 line. No freight service ever crossed the Wells Street viaduct which I'm guessing is what whoever wrote the caption thought this was. It is actually the Lakeside Belt Line crossing South 60th Street, a short distance north of where I live. Today, you'd never know it was there!"

On May 22, 1955, Milwaukee Electric loco L10 and some hopper cars are on the #10 route. Larry Sakar: “This is not the Route 10 line. No freight service ever crossed the Wells Street viaduct which I’m guessing is what whoever wrote the caption thought this was. It is actually the Lakeside Belt Line crossing South 60th Street, a short distance north of where I live. Today, you’d never know it was there!”

On May 16, 1953, Milwaukee Electric 921 is on the long trestle on the line to Wauwatosa.

On May 16, 1953, Milwaukee Electric 921 is on the long trestle on the line to Wauwatosa.

Milwaukee Electric 994 is on the Howell line in Milwaukee on August 12, 1955.

Milwaukee Electric 994 is on the Howell line in Milwaukee on August 12, 1955.

Milwaukee streetcar 962 is on the West Allis route on September 14, 1953.

Milwaukee streetcar 962 is on the West Allis route on September 14, 1953.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 407 at Green Valley in Lombard at Brewster Avenue.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 407 at Green Valley in Lombard at Brewster Avenue.

CA&E car 411 heads up a train in Wheaton.

CA&E car 411 heads up a train in Wheaton.

CTA 2891 is heading west, crossing First Avenue in suburban Maywood in November 1951. The Refiner's Pride gas station at rear was run by "Montana Charlie" Reid. He operated a chain of such stations in the western suburbs here. He also owned Montana Charlie's Chuck Wagon, a restaurant in Villa Park. Although Charlie himself is long gone (he died in the early 1980s), his name is still used on a flea market in Bolingbrook, Montana Charlie's Little America. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2891 is heading west, crossing First Avenue in suburban Maywood in November 1951. The Refiner’s Pride gas station at rear was run by “Montana Charlie” Reid. He operated a chain of such stations in the western suburbs here. He also owned Montana Charlie’s Chuck Wagon, a restaurant in Villa Park. Although Charlie himself is long gone (he died in the early 1980s), his name is still used on a flea market in Bolingbrook, Montana Charlie’s Little America. (Truman Hefner Photo)

The Refiner's Pride gas station on first Avenue in Maywood was part of a chain that included this location in Forest Park, and included a small convenience store. The Forest Park location is still in business as Refiners Citgo. (Forest Park Review Photo)

The Refiner’s Pride gas station on first Avenue in Maywood was part of a chain that included this location in Forest Park, and included a small convenience store. The Forest Park location is still in business as Refiners Citgo. (Forest Park Review Photo)

From the Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004: "As for the real Montana Charlie, he is described as an exciting character with a colorful, almost improbable background. Montana Charlie Reid "was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago but while in his early teens, during the previous turn of the century [19th to the 20th], he yearned to be a cowboy," Donahue says. "So he got on his horse and rode it all the way to Montana, where he got a job on a ranch. "He learned trick riding and became involved with traveling carnivals and circus acts. As he went through life, he tried his hand at various other things -- including chauffeuring an oil tycoon. When his employer died, he left his estate to Montana Charlie."

From the Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004: “As for the real Montana Charlie, he is described as an exciting character with a colorful, almost improbable background. Montana Charlie Reid “was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago but while in his early teens, during the previous turn of the century [19th to the 20th], he yearned to be a cowboy,” Donahue says. “So he got on his horse and rode it all the way to Montana, where he got a job on a ranch.
“He learned trick riding and became involved with traveling carnivals and circus acts. As he went through life, he tried his hand at various other things — including chauffeuring an oil tycoon. When his employer died, he left his estate to Montana Charlie.”

CTA 2920 at the ground level Harrison Street station on the Westchester route in May 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2920 at the ground level Harrison Street station on the Westchester route in May 1951.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2889 heads south into an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in March 1951, while passing several cars in storage nearby. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2889 heads south into an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in March 1951, while passing several cars in storage nearby.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2863 is at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester line in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2863 is at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester line in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2721 is eastbound, west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in April 1951. The gas holder at right was a longtime Forest Park landmark. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2721 is eastbound, west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in April 1951. The gas holder at right was a longtime Forest Park landmark. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2904 approaches the Roosevelt Road station in January 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2904 approaches the Roosevelt Road station in January 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2908 is eastbound, having crossed First Avenue in Maywood. The old Refiner's Pride gas station is in the background. The date given here (June 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2908 is eastbound, having crossed First Avenue in Maywood. The old Refiner’s Pride gas station is in the background. The date given here (June 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2823 is between First Avenue and DesPlaines Avenue, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. The date given (October 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2823 is between First Avenue and DesPlaines Avenue, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. The date given (October 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2922 crossing railroad tracks near DesPlaines Avenue. The date given is January 1952. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2922 crossing railroad tracks near DesPlaines Avenue. The date given is January 1952. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2859 and one additional car are southbound, having just stopped at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester route. The date given (March 1952) must be incorrect, as service on the Westchester "L" ended the previous December. Notice the two tracks went down to one here, for the rest of the line, which ended at Mannheim Road and 22nd Street. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2859 and one additional car are southbound, having just stopped at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester route. The date given (March 1952) must be incorrect, as service on the Westchester “L” ended the previous December. Notice the two tracks went down to one here, for the rest of the line, which ended at Mannheim Road and 22nd Street. (Truman Hefner Photo)

In April 1951, CTA 2731 heads south, about to cross Madison Street just west of Bellwood Avenue in suburban Bellwood. A black-and-white version of this picture appears in my book Chicago's Lost "L"s. Just north of here, the Westchester branch merged with the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line. As far as I know, the house at right is still there.

In April 1951, CTA 2731 heads south, about to cross Madison Street just west of Bellwood Avenue in suburban Bellwood. A black-and-white version of this picture appears in my book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. Just north of here, the Westchester branch merged with the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line. As far as I know, the house at right is still there.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2820 is on the CA&E main line in Bellwood in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2820 is on the CA&E main line in Bellwood in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2834 is westbound, just west of DesPlaines Avenue, in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2834 is westbound, just west of DesPlaines Avenue, in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2899 is at the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2899 is at the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2806 and another car are in an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2806 and another car are in an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2814 crosses Harrison Street in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2814 crosses Harrison Street in April 1951.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

This slide was definitely mislabeled. It was actually taken on the CA&E main line, just west of 25th Avenue. I believe the train is westbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This slide was definitely mislabeled. It was actually taken on the CA&E main line, just west of 25th Avenue. I believe the train is westbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2817 is just east of 25th Avenue, where the Chicago Great Western had a freight yard, on the CA&E main line. The train is eastbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2817 is just east of 25th Avenue, where the Chicago Great Western had a freight yard, on the CA&E main line. The train is eastbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

Did Not Win

We have to compete with other people to purchase slides, prints, and negatives. As funds are always limited, we do not always win these auctions. Here are some photos that we did not win, but are still worth another look.

Here is a nice view of the Douglas Park yard at 54th Avenue in 1966, showing the old right-of-way that extended west of here until the line was cut back in 1952. The occasion was a fantrip.

Here is a nice view of the Douglas Park yard at 54th Avenue in 1966, showing the old right-of-way that extended west of here until the line was cut back in 1952. The occasion was a fantrip.

Here is an excellent early photo of the Met "L" station at Gunderson, courtesy of LeRoy Blommaert. Gunderson is a side street running north-south in Oak Park, located between East Avenue and Ridgeland. When the "L" came through here, it was a new development, and hence, got its own station. The East Avenue entrance to the Blue Line station at Oak Park Avenue is its nearest contemporary replacement.

Here is an excellent early photo of the Met “L” station at Gunderson, courtesy of LeRoy Blommaert. Gunderson is a side street running north-south in Oak Park, located between East Avenue and Ridgeland. When the “L” came through here, it was a new development, and hence, got its own station. The East Avenue entrance to the Blue Line station at Oak Park Avenue is its nearest contemporary replacement.

This real photo postcard recently sold for $60.99 on eBay. I did not win the auction. It shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar signed for Evanston. Not sure if this was before or after service terminated at the city limits, so it could actually have terminated in Evanston itself.

This real photo postcard recently sold for $60.99 on eBay. I did not win the auction. It shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar signed for Evanston. Not sure if this was before or after service terminated at the city limits, so it could actually have terminated in Evanston itself.

Here is a mystery photo for you. Where was this picture of North Shore Line car 420 taken? Zach E.: "The mystery photo of CNS&M 420 was taken at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine."

Here is a mystery photo for you. Where was this picture of North Shore Line car 420 taken? Zach E.: “The mystery photo of CNS&M 420 was taken at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.”

There have been only a few times when "L" trains fell off the structure... this derailment, which happened on December 7, 1966, is one of them, at the curve near 40th and Indiana. David Harrison: "Yes... there were two things important about this incident... the last cars of an 8-car SB derailed. The two cars stayed on the structure for three blocks, after being derailed.... before they finally left the structure. That shows how 'L' cars are rather safe thanks to their weigh and low center of gravity, plus guard rails and timber guards. CTA rules at that time did not require to motorman to check his train after an emergency stop. The motorman testified he didn't feel his train's performance was different. Perhaps two blocks of running was at a low speed because of the curve at Wabash/40th. CTA rules were changed after this incident." Caron Stewart adds, "Two people died in this accident. The train was going southbound during the morning rush. If it was going north towards downtown during this time the injuries most likely would have been higher."

There have been only a few times when “L” trains fell off the structure… this derailment, which happened on December 7, 1966, is one of them, at the curve near 40th and Indiana. David Harrison: “Yes… there were two things important about this incident… the last cars of an 8-car SB derailed. The two cars stayed on the structure for three blocks, after being derailed…. before they finally left the structure. That shows how ‘L’ cars are rather safe thanks to their weigh and low center of gravity, plus guard rails and timber guards. CTA rules at that time did not require to motorman to check his train after an emergency stop. The motorman testified he didn’t feel his train’s performance was different. Perhaps two blocks of running was at a low speed because of the curve at Wabash/40th. CTA rules were changed after this incident.” Caron Stewart adds, “Two people died in this accident. The train was going southbound during the morning rush. If it was going north towards downtown during this time the injuries most likely would have been higher.”

Another slide I did not win. This was one of those fantrips held on the CA&E after passenger service was abandoned. Unfortunately the photographer used "grade Z" film (probably Anscochrome). Chicago Aurora and Elgin Electric Interurban Coach #453 Original Color Slide Photographer Credit: Unknown Maywood, Illinois 26 October 1958

Another slide I did not win. This was one of those fantrips held on the CA&E after passenger service was abandoned. Unfortunately the photographer used “grade Z” film (probably Anscochrome).
Chicago Aurora and Elgin Electric Interurban Coach #453
Original Color Slide Photographer Credit: Unknown
Maywood, Illinois 26 October 1958

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

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CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been

The "Westchester-Maywood" route, from a 1948 CTA map.

The “Westchester-Maywood” route, from a 1948 CTA map.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

Today’s photo essay features pictures of the former Chicago Rapid Transit/Chicago Transit Authority Westchester branch, which ran from 1926 to 1951. You can find an excellent track map here.  (You can also read our follow-up post, showing what traces of the old line are still visible here.)

It’s always interesting to speculate on what “might have been,” especially in the case of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, whose trains ran from 1902 to 1957 in Chicago’s western suburbs. What could have been saved? What should have been saved?  And, what can we learn today?

As you may know, ultimately nothing was saved, except the portion between DesPlaines Avenue and Laramie, which was taken over by the CTA in the early 1950s. That operates today as the outer portion of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Forest Park branch of the Blue Line.

Speculation usually centers on whether the entire railroad could have been saved, bought by the State of Illinois, or at least, the portion to Wheaton. But in general, this section, the most viable part of the interurban, ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western‘s West Line, which continues to operate today under the aegis of Metra.

The State of Illinois made an offer to buy CA&E in 1956, and then backed out of the deal for various reasons. The only public entity that could have operated any portion of the railroad would have been the CTA, and yet their operating area was limited to most of Cook County.

Still, the CTA did some engineering studies.* In the short run, the idea was to put third rail shoes on some of the remaining PCC streetcars, and run a shuttle service between Forest Park and Wheaton. Just as with the CA&E operations between 1953-57, this would not have been a “one-seat ride” to the Loop.  (Some say these studies were made to demonstrate the impracticality of CTA actually doing it.)

In the long run, CTA would have ordered more new rapid transit cars, high speed versions of the single car units 1-50 that were built in 1960. These type of cars would also have been used if the CTA had been able to take over larger portions of the North Shore Line than the five miles that became the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) in 1964.

In retrospect, the opening of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway would have depressed ridership, so there is no way of knowing if such a CTA shuttle service would have been successful. But there was no way to pay for it, in the political context of the time, and therefore these plans were unrealized. But, if it had happened, most likely such a service would today be a treasured part of Chicagoland’s transit infrastructure.

But if we go back a little further in time, incredibly, there was rapid transit service operated by the CTA that ran to Mannheim and 22nd Street as late as 1951. This was the 5.6 mile long Westchester branch, a victim of budget cuts and expressway construction.

The Westchester branch was part of an ambitious mid-1920s Insull plan to create a high-speed CA&E bypass, similar to the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. However, there was less of a need for it, and by the time the Depression hit and Samuel Insull‘s empire collapsed, only 2.2 miles of it had been built off the CA&E main line, and local service was being provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

The Depression also put a stop to the pace of housing development in Bellwood and Westchester, as it had in Niles Center, where the CRT ran local service in a similar fashion. The “build it, and they will come” strategy was not unusual at the time, and had been successfully followed some years earlier when rapid transit service was extended to the Ravenswood neighborhood.

With the CRT in receivership, things remained “status quo” until the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over operations on October 1, 1947. In these heady early days, it was thought that modernization would reaped quick benefits, and there were efforts by the CTA to improve service to outlying areas, with the creation of extension bus lines and express buses.

Within a few years, however, there was nothing but red ink, and without taxing authority, the cash-strapped CTA had no choice but to cut unprofitable services wherever possible. The lightly-used Westchester branch was an obvious target for elimination, since CTA was a tenant, paying rent to the CA&E, who owned the tracks.

From CTA’s point of view, they saved money by eliminating rapid transit service west of DesPlaines Avenue, and tried to retain whatever ridership was there with replacement bus service, creating the #17 route, which continued to run for decades (and has now been completely replaced by parallel Pace suburban bus service, the #317).

Expressway construction was also a factor. The CA&E and CTA shared each other’s tracks, and compensated each other in turn. By the early 1950’s, these payments totaled about $250,000 per year and largely cancelled each other out. But a 2.5 mile section of the CTA’s Garfield Park/Met “L” would need to be relocated for five years, since it ran smack dab in the middle of where the Congress expressway would be built.

After nearly 50 years of joint operation on Chicago’s west side, coordinating the plethora of daily CTA and CA&E trains was difficult at best, and required near split-second timing. Schedules were complicated and there were various passing sidings, where expresses would be routed ahead of locals.

The CTA (and the City of Chicago’s) original idea for relocating Garfield service was for a wooden “L” structure along Van Buren Street. Presumably this grade separated service would have been fine with the CA&E, but the local alderman objected, and rather than face a lawsuit, which would have delayed the project, the City Council turned to Plan B– grade level rapid transit service, bisected by several cross streets.

This was originally promoted as a “street railway” service, which may be how they justified not using crossing gates. At first, it was thought that overhead wire could be used, but the Met cars did not have trolley poles, and this would have involved shifting around a lot of equipment. So, ultimately, the Van Buren Street temporary trackage used third rail without any more crossing protection than stop lights.

In 1951, CA&E management decided that this plan was unworkable for them, and would cause too many problems for efficient and safe operation. In a letter to their shareholders, CA&E proposed elimination of rail service on the interurban (presumably, freight service would continue), to be replaced by buses that would take riders from the western suburbs to the CTA Lake Street and Douglas Park “L”s.

CTA, for their part, anticipating that CA&E would soon become a bus operator only, began planning for a bus-to-rail transfer point between CA&E and CTA. At first, it was thought this would take place at Central Avenue, a point just west of where CTA’s own rails ended. But by 1953, this transfer point was moved west to DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Meanwhile, existing bus operators in the western suburbs had successfully blocked CA&E’s plans to substitute bus service for rail. Therefore, they had no real alternative to cutting back rail service to DesPlaines Avenue. This is how service was operated from September 1953 to July 1957. By then, CA&E ridership had been decimated, adn the railroad successfully petitioned to “temporarily” abandon rail service.

The abandonment actually helped facilitate expressway construction near the DesPlaines River, since no temporary service would need to be built. The railroad, in a sense, was still “made whole,” since by 1959 new rails were put in place for a connection to the CTA DesPlaines terminal. These are plainly visible in an aerial view in the 1961 CTA Annual Report, but they were never used, and the CA&E did not resume regular passenger service, and was liquidated in 1961. Attempts to save the interurban were too little, too late, and the suburbs that would have benefited from continuing service refused to contribute with tax revenue.

Between 1948 and 1957, the CTA eliminated about 25% of the rapid transit system it had inherited from CRT. This was mainly by slashing lightly-used branch lines (Stockyards, Kenwood, Humboldt Park, Normal Park, Niles Center, and Westchester). At one point, the CTA even proposed turning over the Evanston branch to the North Shore Line, but this did not happen.

By 1964, it seems the CTA had changed its mind about branch lines, for in April of that year, the phenomenally successful Skokie Swift service began running between Dempster and Howard, over five miles of former CNS&M right-of-way. By this time, some federal funding was available through a pilot program. CTA had to buy half of the Swift trackage anyway, just to access Skokie Shops.

Here, the CTA used fast, frequent service and a large park-and-ride lot to attract riders. And although it scarcely seems possible that the Westchester branch could have been saved in 1951, it would really fill a need today.

Imagine a west side corollary to the Skokie Swift.

By the early 50s, Bellwood and Westchester were prime areas for the postwar housing boom. This is especially true since these areas would soon have access to an important new highway. Growth in Westchester was being held back, however, since the same developer that had owned much of the property since the 1920s wanted to build all the housing themselves, thereby limiting construction somewhat.

After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, the CA&E liquidated the property, and the proceeds were distributed to the shareholders, instead of being reinvested in the money-losing railroad. This was the first of CA&E’s large-scale liquidations, where various portions of the railroad were sold to benefit the stockholders.

Getting back to what “might have been,” imagine how well the CTA would be doing today, if it had built a large park-and-ride lot at Mannheim and 22nd Street in the 1950s and kept the Westchester branch. As the area boomed in the mid-1950s, this service would have had tremendous potential.

And while this did not come to pass, the need persists, and something like a replacement for the Westchester branch may still be in CTA’s future. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working on plans for expanding and improving I-290 in the western suburbs, as the Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2013:

State transportation officials presented a narrowed list of four proposals that they say will improve travel on the Eisenhower Expressway, all of which include adding a lane to the highway and also extending the CTA Blue Line.

The four proposals, all of which include widening the highway between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, extending the Blue Line to Mannheim and express bus service extending westward from Mannheim, were presented to a community task force. They will be further evaluated by state transportation officials as they study ways to make Interstate Highway 290 more efficient, said a manager of the project, Peter Harmet, bureau chief of programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So, what “might have been,” may still be yet. We shall see.

-David Sadowski

PS- Christopher J. Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories. I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

According to transit historian Art Peterson:

CTA prepared studies for operation of both the CA&E (from Wheaton to Desplaines Av.) and for the North Shore from the Loop to Waukegan.  The CA&E study was based on use of the pre-War PCCs; for the North Shore it would have been higher-performance rapid transit PCC cars and an A/B service pattern up the Skokie Valley.  Both went no place, for lack of suitable funding sources.  CTA was prepared to accommodate CA&E in the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway (the west side connection to that opened on June 22, 1958, by which time CA&E was freight only.)

Some knowledgeable sources reported that CTA retained a section of the Humboldt Park Branch after the “L” shuttle service quit running in the E50s, to use as a CA&E turnback/layup facility.  Humboldt Park was the “L” line that ran parallel and to the north of North Avenue, joining the Milwaukee Avenue “L” line at the North/Damen station.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner's Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner’s Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The "Refiner's Pride" gas station at left was part of a chain run by "Montana Charlie" Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park. An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie's Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The “Refiner’s Pride” gas station at left was part of a chain run by “Montana Charlie” Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park.  An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie’s Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

While I'm not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

While I’m not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

PS- You can read more about Acme Worm Bouncer here.  You can also see some additional pictures of the Westchester branch here.