This January 1960 view, looking northeast, shows the temporary Central Avenue side platform station during construction of the Congress expressway. The CTA Congress median line had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue in June 1958, but farther west, used a series of temporary ground level alignments while highway work continue. The temporary station here was in use from October 1959 until October 1960, when the permanent center platform station opened. You can see a stairway for the new platform, built into the concrete wall of the Central Avenue underpass. The side platforms allowed for simultaneous construction of the new station. The expressway originally ended at Laramie Avenue (5200 W.), but was extended to Central (5600 W. ) in early 1960, and finally opened to Oak Park, Forest Park, and Maywood in October 1960. Newly delivered single car unit 22 heads up this westbound Congress-Milwaukee “A” train. East of here, the tracks curve off to go into the Lotus Tunnel, taking the line into the expressway median. Ultimately, this station did not develop much ridership, and closed in 1973, although it is still extant. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
I was thinking about the expression “living on borrowed time” recently. I guess all of us are doing that, in a sense, but it occurred to me that when we look at old photographs, they can transport us back into the past. It’s almost as if by looking at them, we can borrow back some of the past.
Here are lots of photos that do just that. We also have some pictures from our recent trip to the East Troy Railroad Museum in Wisconsin. This was our first chance to see North Shore Line car 761 since it was restored by the museum.
I can’t say enough good things about the museum and its volunteers. We were treated to a tour of the barn where 761 and several other cars are stored. Even better, we ran into the Heinlein family who just happened to be there that day.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. And thanks for lending us some of your time.
Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.
Work on our North Shore Line book is ongoing. Donations are needed in order to bring this to a successful conclusion. You will find donation links at the top and bottom of each post. We thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
New York Central loco 5287, a 4-6-4, heads south at Roosevelt Road on August 24, 1954. (David R. Sweetland Photo)
I recently purchased this “real photo postcard,” and the seller said this was the Harvard station on the Englewood branch of the “L”. However, closer inspection of the photo shows that this is actually the Princeton station, which opened in 1905, and closed in 1949 as part of the CTA’s restructuring of north-south service.
Electroliner 803-804 at Red Arrow’s 69th Street Shops on November 10, 1963, shortly after arriving from Chicago. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
Liberty Liner “Valley Forge,” formerly North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802, being put into service on Red Arrow’s Norristown line on January 26, 1964. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
SEPTA Liberty Liner “Valley Forge” crosses the Schuylkill River in September 1976, near the end of service on the Red Arrow line to Norristown. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
Liberty Liner “Valley Forge,” formerly North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802, just after delivery to the Illinois Railway Museum on May 9, 1982. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
Liberty Liner “Valley Forge,” aka Electroliner 801-802, at the Illinois Railway Museum on October 2, 1982. (Jeffrey L. Wien Photo)
North Shore Line wood car 134 is on a siding, and may be possibly be in New Trier school tripper service on the Shore Line Route, before the late 1930s Winnetka Grade Separation project. Don’s Rail Photos: “134 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1907 as C&ME 134. It was rebuilt in 1914 retired in 1948. In 1936, the CA&E leased 11 surplus cars from the CNS&M. These cars were modified for service by raising the coupler height, installing electric heat instead of the coal-fired hot water heaters, modifying the control, and adding jumper receptacles and other minor fittings to allow them to train with the other CA&E cars. Since these were 50 mile per hour cars, and the CA&E cars were 60 MPH cars, they were soon operated only in trains of their own kind rather than mixed in with other cars. In 1945 they were returned to the North Shore where they operated briefly. They were purchased in 1946 and last ran in regular service in September, 1953.”
CTA gate car 390. Don’s Rail Photos: “390 was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1905 as SSRT 390. It became CERy 390 in 1913 and became CRT 390 in 1923. It was retired on June 20, 1957.” Andre Kristopans: “390 I think is at North/Halsted. At first thought Sedgwick, but background does not match.”
On March 29, 1943, the first official Chicago Rapid Transit Company train heads into the north portal of the new State Street Subway, then still under construction. Only one track was in service, and the south portal was still being built. Test rides were being given to servicemen and war bond buyers. The official opening was on October 17th.
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car 302, formerly of the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric, is inbound at Woodhill Road on September 6, 1951. Don’s Rail Photos: “302 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, #1308. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 302 and in 1954 it was sold to Gerald Brookins for the Columbia Park & Southwestern aka Trolleyville.” Sounds like it was scrapped there for parts.
North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at the Illinois Railway Museum in September 1972.
The conventional view of the North Shore Line station in Lake Forest.
A different view of the large North Shore Line station in Lake Forest that served the Shore Line Route. This can’t be later than 1916, as the railroad is identified by its previous name, the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric. The station survived the 1955 Shore Line abandonment, but was torn down around 1970.
I believe we are looking north at the Chicago and North Western commuter train station in Highland Park. If so, the North Shore Line’s tracks for the Shore Line Route would be at right in the adjacent street. Apparently the station footprint here did not allow for sufficient space to locate the NSL tracks on private right-of-way.
Another view of the C&NW Highland Park station, again looking north with the NSL Shore Line tracks in the street at right.
The entrance to Ravinia Park around 1915. It was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric to help generate more ridership.
This shows the wooden “L” ramp under construction for the CTA’s Garfield Park temporary trackage that ran east of here in Van Buren Street during construction of the Congress expressway. You can see where the temporary structure was going to turn and head south, to rejoin the existing Garfield Park “L” near Sacramento Boulevard. The new alignment was used starting in September 1953, so this is some time before then. (Henryk Shafer Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) cars 77 and 8 in Media, PA on April 25, 1954. Brilliner 8 is still in its original 1941 paint scheme. (Russell E. Jackson Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 83 on the West Chester line in 1954. Buses replaced trolleys on this long route the same year, as part of a highway widening project. Don’s Rail Photos: “83 was built by Brill Car Co in March 1932, #22980. It became SEPTA 83 in 1970 and sold to Middletown & Hummelstown in 1982.” The M&H actually purchased car 86 in 1982, which was found to have some damage. So car 83 was renumbered as 86 by SEPTA and sold to them that way. The original car 86 also went along and was scrapped for parts. M&H is a diesel-powered tourist operation and the Red Arrow car is in storage there.
Laurel Line (Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad) cars 38, 114, and 35. I assume this is in Scranton, PA. Interurban passenger service quit on December 31, 1952.
Laurel Line car 32.
Laurel Line car 32.
Laurel Line car 19 looks like it has seen better days.
Laurel Line car 35.
Laurel Line car 32.
Another view of Laurel Line car 19.
CTA single car units 41 and 42, equipped with trolley poles for use on the Evanston branch, are posed at Sedgwick on the Ravenswood line. The date may be June 26, 1960. Sunday fantrips were popular, when Ravenswood trains only went as far as Armitage, and the fans could have lengthy photo stops without interfering with regular service. North Shore Line trains were routed via the outer tracks at this time. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)
A CTA single car unit heads south just north of South Boulevard in Evanston on May 26, 1963.
A train of 4000s at Armitage.
4000s at Wellington.
6000s at Wellington.
CTA 2041 at Hamlin on the Lake Street “L”, signed as a “B” train, sometime between 1964 and 1969.
6000s at Wellington.
6000s at Wellington.
CTA single car unit #2 at the Skokie Swift terminal at Dempster, some time in the 1960s.
4000s at Wellington.
Brooklyn and Queens Transit PCC 1070 is at Park Circle on November 11, 1955, running on the 68-C 1 Ave line.
Brooklyn and Queens Transit PCC 1001 is at the Bristol Street loop on line 35 – Church on May 30, 1956. The auto at right is in the “bathtub” style that was briefly popular around 1950.
Brooklyn and Queens Transit PCC 1031 in May 30, 1956. This is a Church Avenue car entering the underpass at Ocean Parkway.
Chicago Surface Lines work car S-53 on October 21, 1940. Don’s Rail Photos: “S53, supply car, was built by Chicago Railways in 1909 as 10. It was renumbered S53 in 1913 and became CSL S53 in 1914. It was retired on November 25, 1949.”
Chicago Transit Authority snow plow S-319 (ex-3146) at Skokie Shops in April 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “3146 was built by St. Louis Car in 1901 as Lake Street Elevated RR 146. It was renumbered 3146 in 1913 and became CRT 3146 in 1923.” Not sure when it was converted into a work car.
North Shore Line city streetcar 357 is in Waukegan in 1946, signed for the Naval Station. Streetcar service ended the following year. Don’s Rail Photos: “357 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired in 1948 and scrapped in 1950. The last city cars purchased new by the North Shore were cars 351 thru 360. They came from St. Louis Car in 1927 and 1928 and were designed to operate as one or two man cars. 351 thru 358 went to Milwaukee, and 359 and 360 went to Waukegan. In 1942, 353 thru 358 were sent to Waukegan for wartime service. It is said that 351 and 352 were also sent to Waukegan, but if so, their stay was short. In 1947, with the abandonment of the Waukegan lines, the entire group was sent to Milwaukee to replace the Birneys. They ran until abandonment on August 12, 1951.”
NSL loco 458 at the Pettibone Yard in North Chicago on July 16, 1960. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
A North Shore Line freight train, headed by loco 456, at North Chicago Junction on March 2, 1946. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
The North Shore Line headquarters in Highwood, IL. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
NSL Silverliner756 at Highwood on April 15, 1950. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
A three-car North Shore Line train on the “L”. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
NSL 411 at Highwood on June 12, 1949. Don’s Rail Photos: “411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. It was rebuilt on February 25, 1943 as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating, and was sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to the Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
A four-car NSL train on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on February 11, 1939. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
We have several pictures from this fantrip, which covered the Shore Line Route and then continued north to Milwaukee. I bought this, as I thought it might shed some light on the photo stops. But this “timetable” only gives the starting time of the trip. It does list points of interest, route mileage, safety rules, and has a complete roster of the equipment as of late 1954… including which 15 cars had already been converted to Silverliners by that time. (I think the total had reached 30 by 1963.)
Original 1920s artwork for four North Shore Line posters… in the collection of David A. Myers, who bought them when the railroad was going out of business in 1963.
The North Shore Line Mundelein Terminal in December 1962.
The same location today, looking east. The old terminal was located just to the right of that telephone pole. You can see where the old right-of-way was in that clearing at rear.
A North Shore Line train heads north at North Chicago Junction in June 1961. The tracks at left led to the old Shore Line Route. After the 1955 abandonment, one track was kept in service to connect with the headquarters at Highwood (and also for freight use). (William Shapotkin Collection)
The late William C. Hoffman took this picture of an Electroliner menu on November 12, 1962.
The East Troy Railroad Museum
Milwaukee streetcar 846 at East Troy. Don’s Rail Photos: “846 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1920, #1239. It was one-manned in 1925 and was donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum in 1958. After two floods it went to the Appleton Trolley Museum in 1983. It was found to be severely damaged and was finally restored in 1998. In October 2002, the ATM merged with the East Troy Electric Railroad Museum and 846 was the first car moved.”
South Shore Line car 24. Don’s Rail Photos: “24 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.” East Troy has turned it into a dining car.
South Shore Line car 33. Don’s Rail Photos: “33 was built by Standard Car in 1929, #P-3340. It was air-conditioned and sold to National Park Service in 1983.”
These stickers were applied to South Shore Line cars in the mid-1970s and became a rallying cry against abandonment.
South Shore Line car 9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by Pullman in 1926.”
South Shore Line car 13. Don’s Rail Photos: “13 was built by Pullman in 1926 and was rebuilt in 1946.”
CTA 4453. Don’s Rail Photos: “4453 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1924, #2860. It was acquired by Indiana Transportation Museum in 1974 and sold to East Troy Electric Ry in 1995.” George Trapp adds: “Enjoyed your latest post, but have a correction on the build dates for CRT/CTA 4420 and 4453 at East Troy. This order #2860 for cars 4356-4455 was placed in December of 1924 but the cars were actually built in 1925, being delivered in late summer, August and September. Car #4422 was photographed on September 4, 1925 by Cincinnati Car. The only cars built in 1924 were 4351-4355, order #2715 ordered in 1923 by Chicago Elevated prior to merger of January, 1924 of Northwestern, Metropolitan and South Side into CRT. Bankrupt Chicago & Oak Park purchased at foreclosure later in January, 1924.”
Sheboygan Light, Power and Railway Company car 26. Don’s Rail Photos: “Sheboygan 26 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1908, #835. It was converted to one man operation. It later was used as a lake cabin for many years and was given full restoration to its original condition.” This car was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company locomotive L-9. Don’s Rail Photos: “L9 was built at Cold Spring in 1944. It became WEPCo L9 in 1963 and was acquired by WERHS in 1979. It became East Troy Electric Ry L9 in 1989.”
South Shore Line car 30. Don’s Rail Photos: “30 was built by Standard Car in 1929, #P-3340. It was air conditioned and sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway Museum in 1984. It was sold to East Troy Electric Ry in 1984. It was later rebuilt without the humps and renumbered 1130.”
South Shore Line car 25. Don’s Rail Photos: “25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.” East Troy has turned it into a dining car.
North Shore Line car 761 has recently been restored by East Troy and looks beautiful. Don’s Rail Photos: “761 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949 and rebuilt as a Silverliner in October 11, 1957.” It has had a number of owners since 1963 but came to East Troy from the Michigan Transit Museum in 2001.
Watch your step. The car could board on either high-level or low-level platforms.
761’s cab area.
This would have been the smoking compartment back in the day.
The museum is justifiably proud of their restoration work.
The ticket booth at East Troy.
Bob Heinlein and his brother at East Troy.
CTA 4420 at the Elegant Farmer store in Mukwonago. Don’s Rail Photos: “4420 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1924, #2860. It was acquired by Wisconsin Electric Historical Society on February 11, 1975, and sold to East Troy Electric Ry in 1988.” George Trapp adds: “Enjoyed your latest post, but have a correction on the build dates for CRT/CTA 4420 and 4453 at East Troy. This order #2860 for cars 4356-4455 was placed in December of 1924 but the cars were actually built in 1925, being delivered in late summer, August and September. Car #4422 was photographed on September 4, 1925 by Cincinnati Car. The only cars built in 1924 were 4351-4355, order #2715 ordered in 1923 by Chicago Elevated prior to merger of January, 1924 of Northwestern, Metropolitan and South Side into CRT. Bankrupt Chicago & Oak Park purchased at foreclosure later in January, 1924.”
We recently received these two photos from our good friend David Harrison:
CTA 3311 on June 19, 2006 charter, paying tribute to the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo, courtesy of David Harrison)
David Harrison in his CTA uniform, near Loomis, in a photo taken by his mother. I couldn’t quite make the processing date out on the slide– it was either December ’65 or ’66, although this picture was obviously taken at a different time of the year.
North Shore Line Mystery Photo
If anyone knows who took this picture, taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal, please let me know. I checked with the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, and it apparently was not taken by the late John E. Gruber, although it does look similar to his work.
Stan Griffith Audio Recordings of the North Shore Line
# of Discs – 1
The late Stanwood C. Griffith (1926-2013) was an interesting character who is probably best known for building the two-foot gauge Rock River Valley Traction, a miniature electric railway that is large enough to ride on. He began building it on private property in a mysterious wooded area somewhere near Rockford, IL around 1950. Work continues on it to this day, and there are several videos of it on YouTube.
We only recently found out that he recorded some North Shore Line audio. Even better, what he did record is different than the other known recordings by William A. Steventon and Brad Miller.
Mr. Griffith made the only known recordings of the Shore Line Route, which quit in 1955. Steventon didn’t record NSL until the following year, and the Miller recordings are circa 1960.
This recording has some occasional narration. At one point, Griffith notes that the trolley bus wires in Kenosha are gone. Trolley buses ran there until 1952, so this dates the recordings to circa 1952-55.
He also recorded North Shore Line street running in Milwaukee, which is also unique as far as I am aware. There are also recordings of Milwaukee streetcars on this CD.
Total time – 52:36
Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation
We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.
Our Latest Book, Now Available:
Chicago’s Lost “L”s
From the back cover:
Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s Images of America Author David Sadowski Edition illustrated Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021 ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007 Length 128 pages
Chapters: 01. The South Side “L” 02. The Lake Street “L” 03. The Metropolitan “L” 04. The Northwestern “L” 05. The Union Loop 06. Lost Equipment 07. Lost Interurbans 08. Lost Terminals 09. Lost… and Found
Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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Some of you have a device called a Magic Jack to make telephone calls using your home computer. But as many of our readers know, this blog also has a “Magic Jack” all of its own.
Today’s post features the work of Jack Bejna, whose pictures have been featured here many times previously. He loves finding old photographs and works his own brand of magic on them, making them look better using Photoshop.
We thank him for sharing these great images with our readers. The comments that follow, in this section, are Jack’s. Just to keep a hand in, we also have a few additional photos of our own that follow.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin at Laramie Avenue
Here are a few shots of the yard at Laramie Avenue. The first shows the yard looking east with the freight shed at the right, and at the left a CTA train heads west. The second shot features a CA&E train heading west (not sure but looks like a motorman in the front window). The third shot is at the freight house looking west. The tracks in the foreground were used to store CA&E trains when not needed, and many photographs of CA&E cars were taken at this location through the years. The fourth shot shows a CA&E freight at Flournoy Street heading west. In the background can be seen the mid-day storage tracks for CA&E cars.
CA&E Lockwood Yard at Laramie.
CA&E Laramie Yard overview.
CA&E Laramie Ave freight house.
CA&E 7 at Flournoy Street, Laramie Yard.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin Wheaton Yards
CA&E car 18 (Niles 1902), plus cars 44 and 423.
CA&E car 24 (Niles 1902).
CA&E car 26 (Niles 1902).
CA&E car 28 (Niles 1902).
CA&E Car 34 end view (Stephenson, 1902).
CA&E Car 34 (Stephenson, 1902).
CA&E Car 36 (Stephenson, 1902).
CA&E Car 48 (Stephenson, 1902).
CA&E Car 52 (Stephenson, 1902).
Detroit Jackson & Chicago
I believe that all of these pictures were taken in or near Jackson, Michigan. The Jackson depot is lettered Michigan United Railways in one picture, Michigan United Traction Comapny in another, and the cars are lettered Michigan Railway Lines, all as a result of several changes of ownership of the Detroit Jackson and Chicago lines. Also included is a map of downtown Jackson.
Jackson Interurban Station postcard.
Jackson Interurban Station.
Jackson, Michigan Traction Map.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 1.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 2.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 3.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 16.
Michigan Railway Lines – Cars 27 and 64.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 65.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 85.
Michigan Railway Lines – Car 647.
Detroit United Railway
Some years ago a friend of mine told me that her uncle had died and left a lot of railroadiana behind, and I could have a look and take anything I wanted. Most of the stuff was not worth anything but I did come across two small (4”x 6”) two ring binders that were full of Detroit United Railways and Michigan Interurban equipment photos. The DUR photos had in-depth tech specs on the photo back for the particular car pictured. The pre-printed tech spec info form was dated: Rep cost 10-1-1921. I believe these photos were part of an audit for an upcoming fare increase request. I therefore believe that the photos were taken circa 1921.
I kept the binders and several years ago I started scanning them and Photoshopping them when I had time to spare. The quality of the pictures (i.e., exposure, lighting, etc.) varies but there are a number that are fine following a lot of Photoshop work.
Most of the photos don’t include the location where the photo were taken, and, since I’m not familiar with Michigan towns and cities, I don’t have any idea where the pictures were taken, with some exceptions.
I hope that readers of your fine blog may help to identify locations of some of the photographs.
DUR Car 1026
DUR Car 1857
DUR Car 1939
DUR Car 2004
DUR Car 2046
DUR Car 2105
DUR Car 5200
DUR Car 5623
DUR Car 7001
DUR Car 7051
DUR Car 13
DUR Car 1861
DUR Car 7053.
DUR Car 7067.
DUR Car 7081.
DUR Car 7103.
DUR Car 7105.
DUR Car 7256.
DUR Car 7263.
DUR Car 7272.
DUR Car 7288.
DUR Car 7292.
DUR Car 7312.
CTA wooden “L” car 1024 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960. The original museum location was at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company, adjacent to the North Shore Line tracks. Some of the wooden “L” cars were operated under their own power to North Chicago. This car, originally built by Pullman in 1898 as Northwestern Elevated Railroad 24, has since been restored to its original condition at IRM in Union.
Illinois Terminal Railroad line car 1702, built by that operator in 1922, at North Chicago in February 1960.
Illinois Terminal car 101 at IERM in North Chicago in February 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “101 was built by American Car in 1917 as AG&StL 61. In 1926 the car became StL&ARy 61 and in 1930 it became IT 101. On March 9, 1956, it was sold to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum and is now at Union, IL.” This car ran between St. Louis and Alton.
Don’s Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) “213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 419 is eastbound west of DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park in November 1951. The gas holder, at right, was a local landmark for many years.
This photo appears to have been taken on Clark Street across from Lincoln Park during one of those late 1950s Chicago streetcar fantrips (possibly October 21, 1956). I thought this one was interesting, since the man at left may very well be noted railfan William C. Hoffman, whose films and slides are now part of the Wien-Criss Archive.
I realize this is not the greatest quality picture, but it does appear to show the late Bill Hoffman shooting film using a tripod to steady his camera.
Bill Hoffman and his sister Dorothy at their home at 6622 S. Maplewood Avenue in Chicago on December 26, 1981. Two nicer people, you will never meet. Both are sadly long gone. (Wien-Criss Archive)
More about the Hoffmans from Jeff Wien:
Dorothy and Bill were twins. They were born on May 15, 1910. Bill was 78 when he died (July 5, 1988) and Dorothy was 88 when she died. Dorothy died on May 10, 1999, five days short of her 89th birthday.
Dorothy was a wonderful person. Very generous in her donations to the Illinois Railway Museum in Bill’s memory. She funded the Hoffman Garage and other motor bus related projects. Dorothy donated over $800,000 to IRM, mostly motor bus related.
The Chicago Transit Authority, whose operating area covers most of Cook County, added the words “Metropolitan Transit” to its logo around 1958. This image was made from an original Kodalith originally in the collections of the late Robert Selle. My guess is he obtained it from the CTA back in the late 1950s. A Kodalith uses graphic arts film, and was likely made from the original logo artwork. Graphic arts film renders things in either black or white, and does not include gray tones as would conventional film. This image was not made by taking a picture of a logo on the side of a bus or “L” car. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Don’s Rail Photos says that North Shore Line car 231 “was built by Cincinnati in May 1924, #2720, as a merchandise despatch car. It was rebuilt as a plow in 1949.” That’s the configuration we see it in here. It does not appear to have been saved.
This interesting scene shows North Shore Line car 413 (and train) turning off street running on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, which uit in 1955. The building at right is still standing.
The same location today. We are looking east. North Shore Line cars turned into what is now the parking lot at left, before running north parallel to the Chicago & North Western tracks.
Lehigh Valley Transit 812 is shown running a special at Souderton PA on May 14, 1951. Service on the Liberty Bell interurban ended in September 1951, and unfortunately, this car was not saved.
Baltimore Transit Company “Peter Witt” car 6076 is on Route 8 on Fayette. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6051 thru 6100 were built by Cincinnati in 1930 and retired in 1955.” I thought of this since the body of a similar 1930s Peter Witt car from Indianapolis was being stored at the ill-fated Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville. Hopefully, it can be saved. (Walter Broschart Photo)
Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 at the Wheaton Yards on July 8, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” As part of this modernization, the car’s stained glass windows were covered up. Unfortunately, this car was not saved.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin 138 at Laramie Yards on May 17, 1948. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 was built by American Car Co in March 1910, #844, as C&ME 138. It was rebuilt in 1914 and no retired date.” Starting in 1936, the CA&E leased several wood cars from the North Shore Line, including this one. They were returned to the NSL in 1945 and operated there briefly before being purchased by CA&E the following year. These cars were no longer needed after the September 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park and were scrapped. I believe we are looking to the west. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)
This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station. Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don’t recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo. When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html . Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no “married pairs” of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings. Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.) And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant “proceed”. One ding meant “hold”. The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman’s compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station.”
The late photographer Robert Selle writes, “CTA one-man car 6180 turning north onto State Street from 43rd Street (43rd Street line), August 1, 1953.”
The Chicago Surface Lines decorated several of its streetcars for patriotic purposes during World War II, but here we see 1741 postwar on March 19, 1946, promoting the American Red Cross. I believe this southbound Broadway-State car is operating on Wabash just north of the Chicago River, as the new State Street bridge did not open until 1949.
Bob Selle: “CTA car 115 northbound on Kedzie Street line at 35th and Kedzie, July 23, 1953.” Daniel Joseph adds, “I do not believe this photo is at Kedzie & 35th Street. 35th Street never went to Kedzie and 36th Street had street car tracks.”
Philadelphia Transportation Company 2023 was one of only three “Brilliners” in its fleet. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘2023 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1939, #23763-006. It was scrapped in August 1956.” Presumably PTC did not purchase any additional Brilliners, as it considered them inferior in some ways to PCC cars. Here we see 2023 at an unknown location on July 23, 1950. Jeff Wien adds, “The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, predecessor to PTC, purchased three Brilliners (2021-2023) in 1939. Thus, PRT/PTC owned more than one Brilliner. Brilliner 2021-2023 3 Brill *1939 **1956 GE 1198G1 * Date Acquired **Date Retired They were unpopular with operators because they were not PCC cars and there were only 3 of them in the fleet. They looked like PCC cars to the naked eye, which the riding public probably assumed they were.”
California Street Cable RR car 41 is on Hyde Street at Union Street in San Francisco in 1947. (W. Sievert Photo)
Miles Beitler writes:
I have seen the attached photo in various sites on the internet. The photo shows a Lake Street train which apparently failed to stop at the Market Street terminal at Madison Street and ran through the bumper at the end of the line, derailing the first car which hangs over the edge of the structure. I thought the purpose of the bumper was to prevent a train from running beyond the end of the line, but it apparently didn’t work too well in this case.
The date would appear to be the late 1930s or 1940s (pre-CTA), but I have not found any information or newspaper articles describing what happened. I assume that means there were no deaths or injuries. It could even have been an empty train. Do you have any information about this?
I continue to enjoy your blog — keep it up!
I reached out to Andre Kristopans, who replied:
Not seeing the photo in question makes it harder, but this is what I can say. In wood car days, a wood car could take a pretty bad hit and survive to see service again. CRT was so broke that they were forced to fix anything that wasn’t totally destroyed as they could not afford to replace anything. That said, this is a possible list of candidates it the car in question was totaled:
3055 (trailer) 1929 1732 1944
Other early retirements are all shown as “fire”, so not likely. However, there were about a dozen cars that CTA retired in 1948 which were apparently in wrecked or burned condition before 10/1/47 but still on the books that were simply written off without any actual scrapping dates recorded. Lake St cars on this list were trailers trailers, so not likely.
As far as Market St service, it was thought that three AM trains circled the loop and then backed into Market St. This is not correct. Three trains left Austin at 656, 709, 727AM making all stops to Hamlin, then Oakley and all stops to Madison/Market and laid up. There might have been additional layups coming off the loop, however. Then they left between 507 and 613PM (6.5 to 12 min headway, so more than three trains) making all stops to Oakley, then Hamlin and all stops to Forest Park.
Sorry, I thought the photo would come across. At any rate, it does look like a trailer, and the number is 3053, although it desn’t appear to be wrecked, really.
The picture certainly does look like the 1940s, though.
Well, this explains a lot. 3053 lasted until 4/51, so it certainly survived. Also, it was not a control trailer, so the motorman was at the other end of the train, backing in, and overshot his stopping point.
Pittsburgh Mystery Photo
Jeff Wien recently obtained this photo processed in September 1965, but without any other information, noting, “The photo was taken after route 55 was converted to motor bus, so it is not route 55 streetcars that we see in the photo.”
Jeff contacted James B. Holland, who writes:
It is at the Flood Control Barrier (one can see track goes single immediately right of PCCs) on the 55 line and within ‘eye+sight’ of E. Pittsburgh, except for the curve in the road!!! It is worked by an extended 65-line: Lincoln Place (loop on 56) to Homestead Loop on 8th. The 65-line loop in Homestead (also shared by former 60-line shuttle to East Liberty) was just west of Rankin Bridge. The 55-line shared track with 65 thru Homestead on 8th between Amity and 60/65 Loop and beyond to Rankin Bridge which 55 crossed to East Pittsburgh. Thus, with demise of 55, the 65 was extended from Homestead to E. Pittsburgh for ‘some time.’ The 60/65 line loop in Homestead was used by the 55A, a rush Hour tripper To/From downtown Pittsburgh.
The Carlson PCC book Coast To Coast lists both 65 and 55 as ending on the same date, 5 September 1965. A note in the table (Pgs168-169) indicates: “ Hays to Pittsburgh (including 57) abandoned 04 Jul 1964 balance [worked by extended 65 abandoned] by PAT modernization on [09 Sep] 1965.” Thus It Seems the 65 line was extended for 1 year plus two months. Many are not aware of this. I have pictures distinctly signed 65 also distinctly working the 55.
With Glenwood Car House closed in 1961 and routes operated from South Hills, several years before PAT, and with Glenwood Bridge banned to trolleys, 65 line left South Hills and probably used Forbes and Braddock to Rankin Jct and ‘to extended route’ from there. (Interesting to note: 55 Owl terminal was Rankin Bridge, at least post-rebuild.)
I do not know if the extended 65 used the old dedicated loop in East Pittsburgh which was not quite in “downtown E. Pittsburgh”. The 65 line may have looped in E. Pittsburgh proper on Braddock to Electric, Linden, Beech and Braddock.
In case any of our readers have additional information, Jeff is still trying to find out the name of the steel mill shown in the photo. (Editor’s note: John Suhayda adds, “The Pittsburgh Mystery Photo shows the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River.”)
Richard Wilke writes:
What a wonderful website! Thank you for all the information I was able locate about the CA&E! I am looking for any photo of the last stop at Mannheim & 22nd Street on the Westchester branch. My uncle lived in Wheaton on Electric Avenue. He somehow acquired the station signage from that last stop, and I have yet to confirm that the sign that I now have, as being from that end of line stop! Is there someone in your organization that might be able to confirm its existence with a picture of said sign? It’s a 14″ x 7′, deep blue with white block lettering, reading, MANNHEIM-22nd. Would appreciate any information to find its true history!
I found a picture of that station on Graham Garfield’s excellent web site. It is dated 1951, which was when service ended, and although it is not very sharp, you can see two signs. The photo is credited to Bernard L. Stone:
I saw the photo of the sign that reads “MANNHEIM 22nd STREET” in the latest Dodger. I don’t think it’s authentic at all. The type is way too contemporary, and doesn’t match anything else the “L” did as far as signs. Including the photos with the two signs at the platform. The blue is way too light as well.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
Finally, Jack Bejna writes:
Thanks for the kind comments and the forum to share my photographic efforts with the interurban/streetcar community. It’s nice to know that someday when I’m gone my collection will have been shared with the electric railroad enthusiasts that remain.
There are more Detroit United Railway photos to be posted as well as photographs from the Michigan interurbans that vanished long ago so stay tuned to this great blog!
Pre-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)
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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!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
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