From the Collections of Bill Shapotkin

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left)."

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left).”

Today, we feature more classic photos of buses, trolleys, and trains, courtesy of Bill Shapotkin, long a friend of this blog. Mr. Shapotkin should be well-known to many of you from his longtime activities as a transit historian, author, and the many informative programs he has given over the years.

Today’s sampling from the Shapotkin Collection includes some rare pictures of Chicago & North Western RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), which were self-propelled and ran in Chicago area commuter train service for a short period of time in the 1950s. They replaced steam-powered trains and were in turn replaced by the familiar push-pull diesel bi-levels still in use today.

In addition, there are several pictures of Grand Central Station, a Chicago landmark in use between 1890 and 1969, which was torn down in 1971. We have some interesting correspondence, plus some new images of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have done our part to make these old images look as good as they possibly can. The C&NW RDC pictures were all shot around 1956 on early Ektachrome film, whose dyes turned out to be unstable and quickly shifted to red. (Technically, the red layer was relatively stable, while the green and blue layers faded.)

It used to be some people thought these sorts of images were only suitable for use as black-and-whites. But with modern technology, it is possible, to some extent, to bring back the original colors. This was easier to do on some than others, but the results look much better than you might expect. If you have ever seen one of these early red Ektachromes, you will know what I mean. Modern films are much more stable and resistant to dye fading.

I would be remiss without mentioning Bill has been involved for many years with the annual Hoosier Traction meet, which takes place in September:

It is that time of year again — the 35th annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet is being held Fri-Sat, Sept 7-8 in Indianapolis, IN. The meet includes two full days of interesting presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as our “Exhibition Room” of vendors — with everything from transfers to track charts available. Book now and you can join us for just $25.00 ($40.00 at the door). We recommend that once you book hotel accommodations as early as possible, as there is an event scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that same weekend. By calling the number of the Waterfront Inn (where our event is being held), by mentioning that you are with the Hoosier Traction Meet, you should be able to register at our group rate.

For those of you would are unable to attend both days, we have a special “Saturday Only” rate of just $15.00 ($25.00 at the door). As many of our Friday presentations are repeated on Saturday, you will be able to partake of a wide variety of subjects and presenters.

We hope you are able to join us for what many consider to be THE electric railway gathering in the country…see you there!

Thanking you in advance,

Bill Shapotkin

The Milwaukee Road's Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St."

The Milwaukee Road’s Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St.”

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

Minneapolis & St. Louis "doodlebug" GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, " Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don't know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it's likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name 'Montgomery' (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel."

Minneapolis & St. Louis “doodlebug” GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, ” Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don’t know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it’s likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name ‘Montgomery’ (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel.”

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don't know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don’t know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P's coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P’s coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side "L", we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side “L”, we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 -- protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK's Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 — protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK’s Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west."

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west.”

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: "This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E."

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: “This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E.”

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, "The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle."

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.”

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side "L" mainline. Note supports at left - that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side “L” mainline. Note supports at left – that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street "L" station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street “L” station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

My Metra title slide... nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

My Metra title slide… nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Recent Site Additions

This picture was added to our recent post The Magic of Jack Bejna (August 4, 2018):

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.

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 Streetcar Tracks Exposed

Exposed streetcar tracks are a rare sight in Chicago nowadays. We recently took some pictures of some on Western Avenue under a viaduct just north of 18th Street, in the northbound lane.

-David Sadowski

While we were in the neighborhood, we took this picture of an inbound CTA Orange Line train on Archer:

Recent Finds

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don's Rail Photos adds, "4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916." This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916.” This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

We recently acquired this World War II-era brochure promoting the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban’s services as a way to get around in spite of wartime gasoline rationing and tire shortages:

Here is an article about the new Chicago Subway, from the May 1943 issue of Trains magazine. (For information about our new book Building Chicago’s Subways, see the end of this post).

Recent Correspondence

Mark Batterson
writes:

We recently purchased the Navy Yard Car Barn, built in 1891 by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. It was one of four streetcar barns in DC. We’d like to celebrate the history of streetcars in our buildout of the space. I know you’ve got some amazing images in your collection. Is there a way to purchase some of those? We’re also trying to purchase an old DC streetcar. Thought I’d ask if you know where we might be able to find one?

Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Thanks for writing.

FYI, there is a web page that lists the current whereabouts (as of 2014) of all surviving DC trolley cars:

http://www.bera.org/cgi-bin/pnaerc-query.pl?sel_allown=DC+Transit&match_target=&Tech=Yes&pagelen=200

After the DC system quit in 1963, some PCC cars were shipped overseas and others were heavily modified for use in the Tandy Subway operation, which no longer exists. The bulk of remaining equipment is in museums.

Unfortunately, there were a few DC streetcars that were preserved at first, but were later destroyed. These include the Silver Sightseer PCC and pre-PCC car 1053.

We can offer prints from some of the images on this site, but not others… only the ones we own the rights to. We specialize in the Chicago area, and as a result, do not have that many DC images. But perhaps some of our readers can point you in the right direction for those. (If anyone reads this and can help, write to me and I can put you in touch with Mr. Batterson.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Rapid Transit Company Door Controls

A picture appeared in our last post The Magic of Jack Bejna that has stirred up some correspondence:

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."

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.”

Recently, Jim Huffman commented:

Photo #365? 3-car train of CTA 4000s standing at the 38th St station. I differ with your explanation of the conductors door work.
1. When the CTA took over they made all the doors on the 4000s one-man operated, allowing for trains with odd number of cars . Thus, 8-cars, 4-cars, 3-cars, 1-car= only 1-conductor per train.
2. Way prior to that, the CRT used a conductor between each two cars, doing the doors as you described. 8-cars=8-conductors, etc.
3. But later, prior to the CTA, the CRT re-wired (air?) the 4000s so that a conductor between every two cars could operate all the doors on two cars. 8-cars=4-conductors etc.
4. On multi conductor trains, there was only one signal used and that was by the front conductor, not by the other conductors. Nor were there differing sounds or number of bells or buzzers! The front conductor monitored the rear conductors doors, when all were closed, then he would signal the Motorman. There usually was not much of any delay, the reason for less men was to lower labor costs, not to speed up the train.
This is from my memory & further info from conductors back then.

We replied:

You are referring to the explanation of how door controls worked on the 4000s, given by one of our readers (M. E.) in the caption for the photo called proofs365.jpg.

We had previously reproduced a CTA training brochure dated March 1950 in our post Reader Showcase, 12-11-17. By this time, the 4000s had been retrofitted into semi-permanent married pairs, so a three-car train, as shown in the June 1949 picture, no longer would have been possible.

The 1950 training brochure does mention using a buzzer to notify the next train man in one direction.

This is how Graham Garfield’s excellent web site describes the retrofit:

After the CTA ordered the first set of 6000s (6001-6200), they set about retrofitting the 4000s to make them operate more safely, economically and basically more like the forthcoming 6000s. By the time the 6000s started rolling in, the changes had been pretty much completed. In this overhaul, the 4000s were given multiple unit door control, standardized to use battery voltage for control, the trolley feed on Evanston cars was tied together so only one pole per pair was needed, and they were paired up into “semi-permanently coupled pairs” (as opposed to the “married-pairs” of the 6000s), usually in consecutive numerical order. Additionally, the destination signs (which were all still hand-operated) were changed to display either the route names (i.e. “Ravenswood” or “Lake A”) or both terminals (i.e. “Howard – Jackson Park B”) so they wouldn’t have to be changed for the reverse trip. The number of signs per car was reduced from four to two, not counting the destination board on the front. All this allowed a two-man crew to staff a train of any length.

This does not of course explain door operation prior to 1950, and I promised to do further research, by contacting Andre Kristopans.

PS- in addition to this, in a previous comment on this post, Andre Kristopans wrote, “On CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.”

So, I asked Andre to explain. Here’s what he wrote:

Wood cars very simple – man between each two cars as doors were completely local control. End doors of train were not used. Steel cars more complicated. Originally same as woods – man between each two cars. Remember steels and woods were mixed. In 1940’s changed so man could control doors at both ends of cars on either side of him, so conductor between 1and 2, guards between 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8 only. Then in 1950’s full trainlined doors. Initially one conductor for 2 or 4 car trains, working between last 2 cars, on 6 or 8 car trains conductor between cars 3 and 4, guard between last two. Guard eliminated late 50’s, conductor in sane (same?) position now controls all doors.

Thanks for the info. On the woods and early 4000s, how did the guards and conductor signal each other?

They had signal bells. First rear guard pulled the cord that rang the gong at forward end of that car. Then that guard pulled the rope by his position to signal the next guard up. When the conductor got the signal and pulled his rope, the gong by the motorman rang and he released and started up.

Yes the 4000’s evolved. Originally basically operationally identical to woods. Circa 1943 before subway, converted from line voltage control to battery control. Now they were no longer able to train with woods. Around same time changed to door control at each end controlling doors at both ends. In 1950’s full mudc, paired with permanent headlights and permanent markers (over a period of a decade or so!). Shore Line’s Baldies book shows how this happened over time if you compare photos. Large door controls early for single door control, small door controls for entire car control, then no door controls on paired sets.

This is something that has not been looked into much, but a 1970’s 4000 was VERY different from a 1930’s 4000!

Our thanks to Andre and everyone else who contributed to this post. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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)

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

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

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

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More Buses, Trolleys, and Trains

This amazing photo is from a glass plate negative we recently purchased, and shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar RPO (railway post office) unpowered trailer car. CUT existed between 1899 and 1908, which helps date the photo. This car may previously have been a cable car trailer, before being pressed into mail service.

This amazing photo is from a glass plate negative we recently purchased, and shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar RPO (railway post office) unpowered trailer car. CUT existed between 1899 and 1908, which helps date the photo. This car may previously have been a cable car trailer, before being pressed into mail service.

Instead of trains, planes, and automobiles, today we have a generous helping of classic bus, trolley, and train images courtesy of noted transit historian William Shapotkin. We thank Bill very much for sharing these with our readers. Even if you are not a huge fan of buses per se, and some electric traction fans aren’t, you still may appreciate seeing some of these locations, which offer views that you typically don’t see here on this blog. Many are contemporary to other streetcar pictures we have run, and show what types of equipment the CTA was running along with the “L” cars and streetcars that we often feature.

On the other hand, if you do like rubber-tired vehicles, then “hop on the bus, Gus!” And even if you don’t, chances are there are still plenty of railed vehicles here to keep you happy.

-David Sadowski

Please note: All photos in this section are from the collections of William Shapotkin.

This photo shows an old wooden Met car on the CTA's Kenwood shuttle in the 1950s. The view looks east from the Indiana Avenue station. The south side main line continues off to the right. Service on the Kenwood branch ended in 1957.

This photo shows an old wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in the 1950s. The view looks east from the Indiana Avenue station. The south side main line continues off to the right. Service on the Kenwood branch ended in 1957.

This image, showing CTA bus 3676 on Route 82A, was not identified, but it clearly shows the Logan Square "L" terminal with connecting bus transfer area in the early 1960s.

This image, showing CTA bus 3676 on Route 82A, was not identified, but it clearly shows the Logan Square “L” terminal with connecting bus transfer area in the early 1960s.

CTA buses at the Western and 79th loop.

CTA buses at the Western and 79th loop.

The old South Shore Line station in Gary, Indiana in July 1984. (Paul Johnsen Photo)

The old South Shore Line station in Gary, Indiana in July 1984. (Paul Johnsen Photo)

CTA Route 59 bus 5610 is at 59th and State on April 26, 1972.

CTA Route 59 bus 5610 is at 59th and State on April 26, 1972.

CTA trolley bus 9392 is at the Montrose and Narragansett loop in 1965. This loop has since been removed.

CTA trolley bus 9392 is at the Montrose and Narragansett loop in 1965. This loop has since been removed.

A Metra train stops at the Mont Clare station on the former Milwaukee Road West Line on April 13, 1999. The original station at this location was demolished in 1964, and my father and I sifted through the rubble. We found several tickets, some dating back to the 1880s, which we donated to a local historical society. As far as I know, these are still on display at the Elmwood Park Public Library.

A Metra train stops at the Mont Clare station on the former Milwaukee Road West Line on April 13, 1999. The original station at this location was demolished in 1964, and my father and I sifted through the rubble. We found several tickets, some dating back to the 1880s, which we donated to a local historical society. As far as I know, these are still on display at the Elmwood Park Public Library.

Chicao, IL: looking south on Holden Court (under teh south side "L") toward grade-separated crossing with the St. Charles Air Line from 15th Street in March 2000. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Chicao, IL: looking south on Holden Court (under the south side “L”) toward grade-separated crossing with the St. Charles Air Line from 15th Street in March 2000. (William Shapotkin Photo)

The Roosevelt Road streetcar extension, crossing the Illinois Central on its way back from the Field Museum and Soldier Field. The date is unknown, but service ended in 1953.

The Roosevelt Road streetcar extension, crossing the Illinois Central on its way back from the Field Museum and Soldier Field. The date is unknown, but service ended in 1953.

CTA 518 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. Streetcar service on Halsted ended three months later. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 518 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. Streetcar service on Halsted ended three months later. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 652 and 678 pass each other at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 652 and 678 pass each other at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 6148 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CTA 6148 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum in July 1963.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum in July 1963.

A Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight train at National Street in Elgin. The style of Kodachrome slide mount dates this picture to between 1955 and 1959. (Although passenger service ended in 1957, freight continued for nearly two more years.)

A Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight train at National Street in Elgin. The style of Kodachrome slide mount dates this picture to between 1955 and 1959. (Although passenger service ended in 1957, freight continued for nearly two more years.)

CSL 5130. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This is an E/B 31st car, having just crossing under the South Side 'L'. View looks west (from Wabash)." We ran another picture of 5130 on the same route on our previous post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5130. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is an E/B 31st car, having just crossing under the South Side ‘L’. View looks west (from Wabash).” We ran another picture of 5130 on the same route on our previous post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5154. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This is a W/B 31st car at State St (South Side "L" in background). View looks east." Again, we previously ran another picture of this same car on the same route in our post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CSL 5154. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is a W/B 31st car at State St (South Side “L” in background). View looks east.” Again, we previously ran another picture of this same car on the same route in our post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).

CTA bus 2566 is at 119th and Western, running on Route 49A.

CTA bus 2566 is at 119th and Western, running on Route 49A.

CTA bus 5723 is at the Western and 79th loop, probably in the 1960s.

CTA bus 5723 is at the Western and 79th loop, probably in the 1960s.

CTA bus 6541 is at the Western and 79th loop in 1953. Meanwhile, a postwar PCC (built by the St. Louis Car Co.) goes around the loop. Streetcar service on Western ended in June 1956. Jeff Wien writes, "The caption states that it is 1953 in this photo. I would guess 1948 not long after the loop opened. There is virtually no landscaping anywhere and the sidewalks look like they were recently laid. Later pictures of this loop showed green grass and bushes which was typical of CTA loops until they decided to asphalt over everything (ie: Clark-Arthur loop)." Andre Kristopans: "Bus 6541 at 79th/Western is definitely soon after loop opened. After 79th was converted, this spot is where 79th buses loaded, and 49A’s loaded about three bus lengths back, on the left side of the driveway (see 2578 shot following for new location)."

CTA bus 6541 is at the Western and 79th loop in 1953. Meanwhile, a postwar PCC (built by the St. Louis Car Co.) goes around the loop. Streetcar service on Western ended in June 1956. Jeff Wien writes, “The caption states that it is 1953 in this photo. I would guess 1948 not long after the loop opened. There is virtually no landscaping anywhere and the sidewalks look like they were recently laid. Later pictures of this loop showed green grass and bushes which was typical of CTA loops until they decided to asphalt over everything (ie: Clark-Arthur loop).” Andre Kristopans: “Bus 6541 at 79th/Western is definitely soon after loop opened. After 79th was converted, this spot is where 79th buses loaded, and 49A’s loaded about three bus lengths back, on the left side of the driveway (see 2578 shot following for new location).”

CTA bus 2578, running on Route 49A, is at the Western and 79th loop. When PCCs were introduced to Western Avenue in 1948, buses were substituted on the north and south ends of the line, which were spun off into extensions of Route 49. New loops were built, this being the one on the south end of the line.

CTA bus 2578, running on Route 49A, is at the Western and 79th loop. When PCCs were introduced to Western Avenue in 1948, buses were substituted on the north and south ends of the line, which were spun off into extensions of Route 49. New loops were built, this being the one on the south end of the line.

CTA bus 5066 is turning north from Leland onto Western, running Route 49B in 1958. Here, riders could change to the Ravenswood "L", today's Brown Line. The station has since been rebuilt. Jeff Wien adds, "I believe that the photo of CTA 5066 at Western & Leland was taken in 1956 rather than 1958 as stated in the caption. Route 49 was converted to motor bus in June 1956. The photo shows the streetcar tracks still exposed as well as the overhead wires in place. I would imagine that the wires would have been removed by 1958, and I seem to recall that the City paved Western Avenue not long after the streetcars were removed. The City built the obnoxious overpass at Western and Belmont shortly after the streetcars were removed in 1956."

CTA bus 5066 is turning north from Leland onto Western, running Route 49B in 1958. Here, riders could change to the Ravenswood “L”, today’s Brown Line. The station has since been rebuilt. Jeff Wien adds, “I believe that the photo of CTA 5066 at Western & Leland was taken in 1956 rather than 1958 as stated in the caption. Route 49 was converted to motor bus in June 1956. The photo shows the streetcar tracks still exposed as well as the overhead wires in place. I would imagine that the wires would have been removed by 1958, and I seem to recall that the City paved Western Avenue not long after the streetcars were removed. The City built the obnoxious overpass at Western and Belmont shortly after the streetcars were removed in 1956.”

Passengers board CTA bus 5470 at the Western and Berwyn loop on Chicago's north side. Route 49B was the northern extension of the Western line.

Passengers board CTA bus 5470 at the Western and Berwyn loop on Chicago’s north side. Route 49B was the northern extension of the Western line.

CTA bus 3528 is on Route 54B (South Cicero) on Cicero at 26th, circa the late 1950s.

CTA bus 3528 is on Route 54B (South Cicero) on Cicero at 26th, circa the late 1950s.

CTA bus 2543 is heading east on 103rd Street at Longwood Drive on Route 103 (103rd-106th Streets) in the late 1950s. The building directly behind the bus is now occupied by a Starbucks. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, "Not showing in this picture (because of the trees) is Chicago's only castle, on the northwest corner of 103rd and Longwood. (Longwood is at the bottom of the "hill". Did you know: The land atop the "hill" is geologically called Blue Island? It begins north of 87th St. where the Dan Ryan's Woods toboggan slide was.)" On the other hand, Stu Slaymaker says, "The shot of ACF-Brill bus that is labeled, 103rd and Longwood, was actually taken at 111th and Longwood. My old neighborhood. Out of the picture behind the photographer, is the R. I. Suburban Line Morgan Park-111th station. The used car lot on the right corner, was a Texaco station in the 1960s. The trees are so lush, you can't see the Walker Branch Library, at the top of the hill."

CTA bus 2543 is heading east on 103rd Street at Longwood Drive on Route 103 (103rd-106th Streets) in the late 1950s. The building directly behind the bus is now occupied by a Starbucks. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, “Not showing in this picture (because of the trees) is Chicago’s only castle, on the northwest corner of 103rd and Longwood. (Longwood is at the bottom of the “hill”. Did you know: The land atop the “hill” is geologically called Blue Island? It begins north of 87th St. where the Dan Ryan’s Woods toboggan slide was.)” On the other hand, Stu Slaymaker says, “The shot of ACF-Brill bus that is labeled, 103rd and Longwood, was actually taken at 111th and Longwood. My old neighborhood. Out of the picture behind the photographer, is the R. I. Suburban Line Morgan Park-111th station. The used car lot on the right corner, was a Texaco station in the 1960s. The trees are so lush, you can’t see the Walker Branch Library, at the top of the hill.”

CTA 3449 is on Route 31 (31st Street). Not sure which cross street the streetcar is on.

CTA 3449 is on Route 31 (31st Street). Not sure which cross street the streetcar is on.

CSL 3425 is on Route 31 (31st Street) at Pitney Court. However, the date provided (1946) must be wrong, since this line was not converted to bus until February 29, 1948. (Thanks to Daniel Joseph for pointing that out.)

CSL 3425 is on Route 31 (31st Street) at Pitney Court. However, the date provided (1946) must be wrong, since this line was not converted to bus until February 29, 1948. (Thanks to Daniel Joseph for pointing that out.)

CTA 5493 is heading south from the Western and Berwyn loop, on Route 49B (North Western). This picture was taken after streetcar service ended in 1956, as the tracks appear to already be paved over and overhead wires removed.

CTA 5493 is heading south from the Western and Berwyn loop, on Route 49B (North Western). This picture was taken after streetcar service ended in 1956, as the tracks appear to already be paved over and overhead wires removed.

On August 9, 1953 CTA bus 5306 heads west on Route 6 - Van Buren Street at Racine, next to new temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage that went into service the following month. at right, you can see the existing "L" structure, which was torn down the following year.

On August 9, 1953 CTA bus 5306 heads west on Route 6 – Van Buren Street at Racine, next to new temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage that went into service the following month. at right, you can see the existing “L” structure, which was torn down the following year.

CTA bus 5499 is at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, running on Route 17 - Westchester, which replaced the Westchester "L" in 1951.

CTA bus 5499 is at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, running on Route 17 – Westchester, which replaced the Westchester “L” in 1951.

CTA 2365 is operating on Route 58 - Ogden at 26th and Cicero Avenue in the late 1950s.

CTA 2365 is operating on Route 58 – Ogden at 26th and Cicero Avenue in the late 1950s.

CTA 6814 is on 115th Street at Michigan Avenue on Route 115 in the 1960s. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This view (correctly identified as 115th/Michigan) looks east."

CTA 6814 is on 115th Street at Michigan Avenue on Route 115 in the 1960s. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This view (correctly identified as 115th/Michigan) looks east.”

CTA 2718 and 2734 at 74th and Damen.

CTA 2718 and 2734 at 74th and Damen.

CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in Cicero, the end of the line for the Douglas Park "L" (now the Pink Line).

CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in
CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in Cicero, the end of the line for the Douglas Park “L” (now the Pink Line).

CTA 2603 at 119th and Western, the south end of Route 49A.

CTA 2603 at 119th and Western, the south end of Route 49A.

CTA 6532 at the Western and 79th loop, running on Route 79.

CTA 6532 at the Western and 79th loop, running on Route 79.

Chicago & West Towns 848 at the DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal on August 7, 1980. The second overpass, behind the bus, was for the Chicago Great Western freight line. That bridge and tracks have since been removed. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

Chicago & West Towns 848 at the DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal on August 7, 1980. The second overpass, behind the bus, was for the Chicago Great Western freight line. That bridge and tracks have since been removed. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

Westbound Rock Island train #113 at the 91st Street depot on April 5, 1970. Our resident south side epert M. E. adds, "The caption says this view is "at the 91st Street depot." Not quite. The view faces north. The train is curving from west (along 89th St.) to south. Notice the railroad crossing signals and gates in the background. That trackage joined with the CRI&P traffic to the east. On that trackage ran the B&O Capitol Limited on its way to Washington DC, as captured in https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/proofs288.jpg , although in that photo the Capitol Limited is inbound to Chicago."

Westbound Rock Island train #113 at the 91st Street depot on April 5, 1970. Our resident south side epert M. E. adds, “The caption says this view is “at the 91st Street depot.” Not quite. The view faces north. The train is curving from west (along 89th St.) to south. Notice the railroad crossing signals and gates in the background. That trackage joined with the CRI&P traffic to the east. On that trackage ran the B&O Capitol Limited on its way to Washington DC, as captured in https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/proofs288.jpg , although in that photo the Capitol Limited is inbound to Chicago.”

The interlocking levers at the 91st Street Rock Island Tower on July 3, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the 91st Street Rock Island Tower on July 3, 1969.

The lineup board at the Rock Island 91st Street Tower on July 3, 1969.

The lineup board at the Rock Island 91st Street Tower on July 3, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the Rock Island's 61st Street Tower on January 5, 1969.

The interlocking levers at the Rock Island’s 61st Street Tower on January 5, 1969.

Tower man Roy Bliss and Assistant Tower man Jack Poehron are flagging all trains by the burned-out Rock Island 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967. The wooden tower had opened in 1898.

Tower man Roy Bliss and Assistant Tower man Jack Poehron are flagging all trains by the burned-out Rock Island 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967. The wooden tower had opened in 1898.

Rock Island train #11 (with engine #621) passes the burned-out 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967, the day after the fire. 61st was the end of the four-track section running from LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago.

Rock Island train #11 (with engine #621) passes the burned-out 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967, the day after the fire. 61st was the end of the four-track section running from LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago.

Rock Island train #19, as seen from the 61st Street Tower.

Rock Island train #19, as seen from the 61st Street Tower.

Rock Island 61st Street Tower on December 8, 1968. (Looking north at movable point crossing- RI "in" (L), NYC "out" (R).

Rock Island 61st Street Tower on December 8, 1968. (Looking north at movable point crossing- RI “in” (L), NYC “out” (R).

The Rock Island 91st Street Tower on April 5, 1970.

The Rock Island 91st Street Tower on April 5, 1970.

The Rock Island's 91st Street Tower, where the railroad crossed the PRR "Panhandle" route, as it looked on August 17, 1974. As you can see, the tower has received a new coat of paint since the last picture.

The Rock Island’s 91st Street Tower, where the railroad crossed the PRR “Panhandle” route, as it looked on August 17, 1974. As you can see, the tower has received a new coat of paint since the last picture.

Baltimore & Ohio #5, the Capitol Limited, passing by the Beverly Junction Tower one hour and 50 minutes late, on April 5, 1970.

Baltimore & Ohio #5, the Capitol Limited, passing by the Beverly Junction Tower one hour and 50 minutes late, on April 5, 1970.

CTA bus 8829 is at Ashland and 95th in 1973. Daniel Joseph adds, "If the destination sign is reliable, I believe this bus is on the #45 Ashland Downtown and not on #9 Ashland."

CTA bus 8829 is at Ashland and 95th in 1973. Daniel Joseph adds, “If the destination sign is reliable, I believe this bus is on the #45 Ashland Downtown and not on #9 Ashland.”

CTA 2528 is at Ogden and Cermak on Route 58 on April 29, 1961. Bill Shapotkin adds, "Yes, this is indeed Cermak/Ogden -- the view looks west."

CTA 2528 is at Ogden and Cermak on Route 58 on April 29, 1961. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Yes, this is indeed Cermak/Ogden — the view looks west.”

CTA 5863 at the Ashland and 95th Street terminal, south end of Route 9, on June 20, 1973. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 5863 at the Ashland and 95th Street terminal, south end of Route 9, on June 20, 1973. (John Le Beau Photo)

Chicago & West Towns bus 777 at the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal on March 17, 1974. The terminal has since been redone. The two sets of stairs on DesPlaines Avenue appear to provide a way for pedestrians to cross a busy street where there are no stoplights. (John Le Beau Photo)

Chicago & West Towns bus 777 at the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal on March 17, 1974. The terminal has since been redone. The two sets of stairs on DesPlaines Avenue appear to provide a way for pedestrians to cross a busy street where there are no stoplights. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA "New Look" bus 9441, running on Route 17 - Westchester, is at the DesPlaines terminal on June 28, 1977. Since the previous picture was taken, the set of stairs on the west side of DesPlaines Avenue has been removed. Since the other stair still appears to be in use, it seems as though the CTA decided to extend the walkway to the platform area, so that commuters would not need to go up and down so many stairs.

CTA “New Look” bus 9441, running on Route 17 – Westchester, is at the DesPlaines terminal on June 28, 1977. Since the previous picture was taken, the set of stairs on the west side of DesPlaines Avenue has been removed. Since the other stair still appears to be in use, it seems as though the CTA decided to extend the walkway to the platform area, so that commuters would not need to go up and down so many stairs.

CTA 9461 is at Catalpa and Broadway, operating on Route 84 - Peterson on September 1, 1980. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 9461 is at Catalpa and Broadway, operating on Route 84 – Peterson on September 1, 1980. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 8417 is on Route 17 - Westchester in June 1971. (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 8417 is on Route 17 – Westchester in June 1971. (John Le Beau Photo)

PACE 6338 is heading south on Harlem Avenue on Route 305, having just gone under the CTA Green Line "L" in December 2012. (Mel Bernero Photo)

PACE 6338 is heading south on Harlem Avenue on Route 305, having just gone under the CTA Green Line “L” in December 2012. (Mel Bernero Photo)

PACE 6225 heads west on Route 309 - Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left, just out of view, is the former Marshall Field's store in Oak Park, a local landmark. It later housed a Border's bookstore, now also gone. This photo must have been taken a few years ago, as you would see some new tall buildings if you took the same picture today. Unable to move outward, Oak Park is moving "up." (John Le Beau Photo)

PACE 6225 heads west on Route 309 – Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left, just out of view, is the former Marshall Field’s store in Oak Park, a local landmark. It later housed a Border’s bookstore, now also gone. This photo must have been taken a few years ago, as you would see some new tall buildings if you took the same picture today. Unable to move outward, Oak Park is moving “up.” (John Le Beau Photo)

CTA 2527 is at 25th and Laramie in Cicero, the west end of Route 58 - Ogden. The date appears to be the late 1950s.

CTA 2527 is at 25th and Laramie in Cicero, the west end of Route 58 – Ogden. The date appears to be the late 1950s.

Chicago & West Towns buses 839 and 804 are laying over in the middle of the street at Cermak and 47th Street in January 1979. This is near the border between Cicero and Chicago, and also adjacent to the old Western Electric plant.

Chicago & West Towns buses 839 and 804 are laying over in the middle of the street at Cermak and 47th Street in January 1979. This is near the border between Cicero and Chicago, and also adjacent to the old Western Electric plant.

RTA bus 8107 at the West Towns bus garage in oak Park on April 12, 1981. (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 8107 at the West Towns bus garage in oak Park on April 12, 1981. (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA 8049 at the West Towns garage in Oak Park on May 28, 1978. This is now the site of a Pete's Fresh Market. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

RTA 8049 at the West Towns garage in Oak Park on May 28, 1978. This is now the site of a Pete’s Fresh Market. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

PACE bus 2092 is exiting from the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in April 1992. Where the bus is, was once the approximate location of Chicago Great Western freight tracks, which spanned DesPlaines Avenue via a bridge and then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks. That portion of the old CGW right-of-way between here and First Avenue has been paved, and provides a connection to the Prairie Path, which starts at First Avenue.

PACE bus 2092 is exiting from the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in April 1992. Where the bus is, was once the approximate location of Chicago Great Western freight tracks, which spanned DesPlaines Avenue via a bridge and then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks. That portion of the old CGW right-of-way between here and First Avenue has been paved, and provides a connection to the Prairie Path, which starts at First Avenue.

CTA 1806 is on Route 84 - Peterson at Western Avenue on April 21, 1957. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 1806 is on Route 84 – Peterson at Western Avenue on April 21, 1957. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

This slide was labeled "Oak Park," but actually, it's on the border between Elmwood Park and River Grove. PACE bus 22550 is heading west on Grand Avenue, going over the long crossing of the Metra Milwaukee District West Line on route 319 on May 8, 1993. There has een much talk over the years of grade-separating these tracks, where some accidents have occurred, but so far nothing has come of it. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

This slide was labeled “Oak Park,” but actually, it’s on the border between Elmwood Park and River Grove. PACE bus 22550 is heading west on Grand Avenue, going over the long crossing of the Metra Milwaukee District West Line on route 319 on May 8, 1993. There has een much talk over the years of grade-separating these tracks, where some accidents have occurred, but so far nothing has come of it. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

RTA bus 496 is at the Brookfield Zoo on December 11, 1977. Andre Kristopans adds, "Bus 496 is on an OSA (Omnibus Society of America) charter. Note the “9” covered with tape." (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 496 is at the Brookfield Zoo on December 11, 1977. Andre Kristopans adds, “Bus 496 is on an OSA (Omnibus Society of America) charter. Note the “9” covered with tape.” (John Le Beau Photo)

RTA bus 8044 is at the old West Towns garage in Oak Park in March 1983.

RTA bus 8044 is at the old West Towns garage in Oak Park in March 1983.

CTA bus 4580 heads west on Harrison at Springfield on March 7, 1991.

CTA bus 4580 heads west on Harrison at Springfield on March 7, 1991.

CTA bus 1112 is at 115th and Perry in February 1983.

CTA bus 1112 is at 115th and Perry in February 1983.

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 702 is northbound at 119th and Western, probably around 1970. Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "South Suburban Safeway Lines went north on Western to 63rd, then east to Halsted, the heart of Englewood. Actually, east to Union, south to 63rd Place, and west to the L station at Halsted and 63rd Place, where it ended its northbound run. Southbound, it first took Halsted north to 63rd, then west to Western, etc. The other thing to notice in this picture is that Western Ave. was not as wide south of 119th. This is because the Chicago city limit is 119th, and south of that is Blue Island."

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 702 is northbound at 119th and Western, probably around 1970. Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “South Suburban Safeway Lines went north on Western to 63rd, then east to Halsted, the heart of Englewood. Actually, east to Union, south to 63rd Place, and west to the L station at Halsted and 63rd Place, where it ended its northbound run. Southbound, it first took Halsted north to 63rd, then west to Western, etc. The other thing to notice in this picture is that Western Ave. was not as wide south of 119th. This is because the Chicago city limit is 119th, and south of that is Blue Island.”

South Suburban Safeway Lines 714 on Western at 79th on October 4, 1975. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

South Suburban Safeway Lines 714 on Western at 79th on October 4, 1975. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 871, running on Route 49B North Western, is at the Western Avenue stop on the Ravenswood "L" in June 1973. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 871, running on Route 49B North Western, is at the Western Avenue stop on the Ravenswood “L” in June 1973. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)

CTA 5567 is on Western near 63rd Street on April 20, 1972 (Route 49). Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Notice Cupid Candies on one corner and Fannie May Candies across the street." Jeff Weiner adds, "CTA 5567 appears to be at Western and 62nd, as the City maintained a traffic signal there for the Sears store. Until a closed-loop system was installed, the 62nd signal operated fixed-time during store hours, and went on yellow-red flash when the store was closed. After it was modernized, the operation was semiactuated, with coordination to the other signals on Western. Until it was modernized, the median signals were on concrete “blockbuster” foundations, replaced with mast arm signals afterwards."

CTA 5567 is on Western near 63rd Street on April 20, 1972 (Route 49). Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Notice Cupid Candies on one corner and Fannie May Candies across the street.” Jeff Weiner adds, “CTA 5567 appears to be at Western and 62nd, as the City maintained a traffic signal there for the Sears store. Until a closed-loop system was installed, the 62nd signal operated fixed-time during store hours, and went on yellow-red flash when the store was closed. After it was modernized, the operation was semiactuated, with coordination to the other signals on Western. Until it was modernized, the median signals were on concrete “blockbuster” foundations, replaced with mast arm signals afterwards.”

CTA 5978 is at the Western and 79th loop on June 20, 1973. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 5978 is at the Western and 79th loop on June 20, 1973. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA Pullman 312 on Kedzie. Bill Shapotkin adds, "Car is working #52 -- Kedzie-California and is laying over in California at Roscoe. View looks north."

CTA Pullman 312 on Kedzie. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Car is working #52 — Kedzie-California and is laying over in California at Roscoe. View looks north.”

CTA Pullman 444 at Armitage and California in January 1950.

CTA Pullman 444 at Armitage and California in January 1950.

CTA one-man car 6184 at Lawrence and Luna in 1949.

CTA one-man car 6184 at Lawrence and Luna in 1949.

CTA 336, in June 1952, is on California Avenue at Augusta Boulevard.

CTA 336, in June 1952, is on California Avenue at Augusta Boulevard.

Chicago Surface Lines 474 is on Belmont at Clark in May 1947.

Chicago Surface Lines 474 is on Belmont at Clark in May 1947.

CSL 1644 is on Route 6 at Division and California in May 1942. The Divison and Van Buren car lines were through-routed starting in 1937.

CSL 1644 is on Route 6 at Division and California in May 1942. The Divison and Van Buren car lines were through-routed starting in 1937.

CTA 5574 at an unknown location. Jon Habermaas writes, "Photo appears to be on the Halsted route where the line is on private right of way along Vincennes Ave., paralleling the Rock Island mainline... in the background you can see the Washington Heights Rock Island depot and a cross buck along the Pennsy's Panhandle division, which crosses Vincennes Avenue and the Rock Island just south of 103rd Street. The car would be around 104th and Vincennes Ave." Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Mr. Habermaas's description is accurate. I will add that this private right of way started at 89th St., just south of the CRI&P Beverly branch viaduct, and ended around 107th St. where Vincennes veered farther west from the CRI&P main line. And more historically, this right-of-way originated for the Kankakee car, which had its barn at 88th and Vincennes and ran on Halsted as far north as Englewood." Andre Kristopans: "Car 5574 SB at 105th or so. You can just make out the 104th RI station in the back, and PRR crossbuck to the right in the distance." (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 5574 at an unknown location. Jon Habermaas writes, “Photo appears to be on the Halsted route where the line is on private right of way along Vincennes Ave., paralleling the Rock Island mainline… in the background you can see the Washington Heights Rock Island depot and a cross buck along the Pennsy’s Panhandle division, which crosses Vincennes Avenue and the Rock Island just south of 103rd Street. The car would be around 104th and Vincennes Ave.” Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Mr. Habermaas’s description is accurate. I will add that this private right of way started at 89th St., just south of the CRI&P Beverly branch viaduct, and ended around 107th St. where Vincennes veered farther west from the CRI&P main line. And more historically, this right-of-way originated for the Kankakee car, which had its barn at 88th and Vincennes and ran on Halsted as far north as Englewood.” Andre Kristopans: “Car 5574 SB at 105th or so. You can just make out the 104th RI station in the back, and PRR crossbuck to the right in the distance.” (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 1749, one of the few old streetcars repainted in green, is at Cermak and State in January 1954, running on Route 21. Note the steam engine in the background.

CTA 1749, one of the few old streetcars repainted in green, is at Cermak and State in January 1954, running on Route 21. Note the steam engine in the background.

CTA prewar PCC 4038 is eastbound on 63rd Street. PCCs ran on this line between 1948 and 1952. If the address on the building is any guide, this is probably 122 East 63rd Street.

CTA prewar PCC 4038 is eastbound on 63rd Street. PCCs ran on this line between 1948 and 1952. If the address on the building is any guide, this is probably 122 East 63rd Street.

Illinois Central Electric bi-level car 1514 at the Blue Island Yards on April 23, 1978.

Illinois Central Electric bi-level car 1514 at the Blue Island Yards on April 23, 1978.

CTA trolley bus 9553 is on its last run, a fan trip held on April 1, 1973. Here it is on Fullerton Avenue near the Milwaukee Road freight line. This was one week after trolley buses were taken out of service.

CTA trolley bus 9553 is on its last run, a fan trip held on April 1, 1973. Here it is on Fullerton Avenue near the Milwaukee Road freight line. This was one week after trolley buses were taken out of service.

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 535 at North and Cicero.

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 535 at North and Cicero.

Recent Site Addition

This photo was added to our previous post More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016):

BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.

BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.

Chicago Subway Lecture

Samuel D. Polonetzky makes a point during his presentation at the Chicago Maritime Museum on July 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Samuel D. Polonetzky makes a point during his presentation at the Chicago Maritime Museum on July 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

On July 25 2018, Samuel D. Polonetzky, P.E., B.Sc. gave a presentation before the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, of which he is a member. The topic was “Crossing of the Chicago River by the State Street Subway.” He showed actual motion pictures of the construction of the Subway in 1938-40.

Mr. Polonetzky is a Civil Engineer who served the City of Chicago, Department of Streets & Sanitation for thirty five years, rising from Engineer-In-Training to Acting Chief Engineer. During this tenure he acquired a deep knowledge of Chicago’s public rights-of-way and the underground infrastructure. He is also an active member of the Illinois Railway Museum at Union IL and a Life Member of the American Public Works Association.

The Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago meets in the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the Bridgeport Arts Center, 3400 S. Racine Av. Chicago Ill. 60609.

The film shown is called Streamlining Chicago (1940), and you can watch it here:

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)

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 216th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 425,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

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

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

Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Four

CSL 3167 on Broadway at Sheridan. The old Granada Theatre, one of Chicago's lost movie palaces, is visible at rear. It was located at 6427 North Sheridan Road. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp adds: "CSL #3167 is on Broadway between Rosemont and Devon-Sheridan, photo dates to around 1930. Note that car 3167 is the last car in a line of six 169 class cars as is the southbound Broadway car. These cars ran on Broadway and it's variants from 1923 until early 1948. Building at far right next to Kushler Chevrolet is the Rosemont Garage of the Chicago Motor Coach Company."

CSL 3167 on Broadway at Sheridan. The old Granada Theatre, one of Chicago’s lost movie palaces, is visible at rear. It was located at 6427 North Sheridan Road. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp adds: “CSL #3167 is on Broadway between Rosemont and Devon-Sheridan, photo dates to around 1930. Note that car 3167 is the last car in a line of six 169 class cars as is the southbound Broadway car. These cars ran on Broadway and it’s variants from 1923 until early 1948. Building at far right next to Kushler Chevrolet is the Rosemont Garage of the Chicago Motor Coach Company.”

Thanksgiving is a time to share the abundance of life with family and friends. During this past year, our readers have shared many things with us. In keeping with the holiday spirit, we present a “feast for the eyes.”

Thanks to the generosity of George Trapp, here is another abundant helping of classic Chicago Surface Lines streetcar photos from his collection. (To see additional photos he has already shared with us, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page. Several other posts should come up.)

Most of these pictures date to the “red car” era in Chicago, which began in the early 1920s and ended in 1954.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

FYI there will be additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space.

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski


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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 99th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received 95,000 page views from nearly 28,000 individuals.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


CSL 2733, signed for 79th and Brandon. (Heier Industrial Photo) Chuck Amstein writes, "79th St. and just east of Emerald Ave., looking NW. The buildings to the left of #2733 are still there."

CSL 2733, signed for 79th and Brandon. (Heier Industrial Photo) Chuck Amstein writes, “79th St. and just east of Emerald Ave., looking NW. The buildings to the left of #2733 are still there.”

George Trapp: "CSL #6055 is on Route 17 in front of Kedzie Depot." (Heier Industrial Photo) Through route 17 was Kedzie and ran from 1911 to 1949.

George Trapp: “CSL #6055 is on Route 17 in front of Kedzie Depot.” (Heier Industrial Photo) Through route 17 was Kedzie and ran from 1911 to 1949.

George Trapp: "CSL #872 on Through Route 3, Lincoln-Indiana is on the North approach to the Wabash Avenue bridge. Note the Chicago Motor Coach 45-passenger GM bus on the Michigan Avenue Blvd. bridge." (Heier Industrial Photo)

George Trapp: “CSL #872 on Through Route 3, Lincoln-Indiana is on the North approach to the Wabash Avenue bridge. Note the Chicago Motor Coach 45-passenger GM bus on the Michigan Avenue Blvd. bridge.” (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL salt spreader AA102, formerly car #2851, retired on 8/10/1951 and scrapped in 1952. (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL salt spreader AA102, formerly car #2851, retired on 8/10/1951 and scrapped in 1952. (Heier Industrial Photo)

George Trapp: "CSL Brill #5349 is eastbound on 63rd Street near State judging from the address of Indian Trailer." (Heier Industrial Photo)

George Trapp: “CSL Brill #5349 is eastbound on 63rd Street near State judging from the address of Indian Trailer.” (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL 426, is on Armitage, signed to go downtown. Milwaukee Avenue cars also used these signs for North Western Station. (Heier Industrial Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #426 is on the Armitage-Downtown line, which was almost a branch of the Milwaukee Avenue line."

CSL 426, is on Armitage, signed to go downtown. Milwaukee Avenue cars also used these signs for North Western Station. (Heier Industrial Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #426 is on the Armitage-Downtown line, which was almost a branch of the Milwaukee Avenue line.”

CSL 3093, a one-man car, signed for Morgan and Pershing. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #3093 is on Erie at Ashland."

CSL 3093, a one-man car, signed for Morgan and Pershing. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #3093 is on Erie at Ashland.”

3093 again, this time signed for Erie and Ashland. Andre Kristopans: "3093 on Bridge is on the old Throop St bridge over the Sanitary & Ship Canal." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

3093 again, this time signed for Erie and Ashland. Andre Kristopans: “3093 on Bridge is on the old Throop St bridge over the Sanitary & Ship Canal.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

3093 turning at 21st. Note the late 1930s Packard at left. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

3093 turning at 21st. Note the late 1930s Packard at left. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Close-up of the Packard. The trim design on the side of the engine compartment makes this a 1938 model. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Close-up of the Packard. The trim design on the side of the engine compartment makes this a 1938 model. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans says, "2909/1419 on 87th are just west of Commercial Av, the east end of the route." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans says, “2909/1419 on 87th are just west of Commercial Av, the east end of the route.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: "2918 is at Pershing and Western – McKinley Park in background. Note side sign “35-PERSHING”. Most of time West Pershing was a shuttle between Western and Ashland, but rush hours cars ran thru via Ashland and 35th to Cottage Grove." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: “2918 is at Pershing and Western – McKinley Park in background. Note side sign “35-PERSHING”. Most of time West Pershing was a shuttle between Western and Ashland, but rush hours cars ran thru via Ashland and 35th to Cottage Grove.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 204 on Western Avenue. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 204 on Western Avenue. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL modernized small Pullman 804 on south Cicero Avenue, near Midway Airport (which may have been called Chicago Municipal Airport when this picture was taken). (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL modernized small Pullman 804 on south Cicero Avenue, near Midway Airport (which may have been called Chicago Municipal Airport when this picture was taken). (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL Big Pullman 204 signed for route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL Big Pullman 204 signed for route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 453 northbound on Clark. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 453 northbound on Clark. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 3041 on Montrose in winter. Jim Huffman writes, "Photo #936 shows two Montrose cars, waiting their time, about to go EB at Milwaukee Av. Note that the 1st car is a two-man car & the following car is a one-man car. On Lawrence Av after it went to one-man cars, on certain nights when the Aragon ballroom let out, two-man cars would be used at that time for the crowds." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) Streetcar service on Montrose ended on 7/29/46. The entire route was converted to trolley buses as of 4/19/48, which continued to 1973.

CSL 3041 on Montrose in winter. Jim Huffman writes, “Photo #936 shows two Montrose cars, waiting their time, about to go EB at Milwaukee Av. Note that the 1st car is a two-man car & the following car is a one-man car. On Lawrence Av after it went to one-man cars, on certain nights when the Aragon ballroom let out, two-man cars would be used at that time for the crowds.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) Streetcar service on Montrose ended on 7/29/46. The entire route was converted to trolley buses as of 4/19/48, which continued to 1973.

CSL 459 heading towards Soldier Field and the Field Museum of Natural History, crossing over the Illinois Central right-of-way. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 459 heading towards Soldier Field and the Field Museum of Natural History, crossing over the Illinois Central right-of-way. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: "3098 SB turning off Erie into Racine." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: “3098 SB turning off Erie into Racine.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

3096 signed for Morgan and Pershing, heads through some backyard private right-of-way. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

3096 signed for Morgan and Pershing, heads through some backyard private right-of-way. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 3295 has just gone under an "L" storage yard. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #3295 is on Montrose just west of North Side "L", (with the) south end of Wilson Avenue shop storage yard in background."

CSL 3295 has just gone under an “L” storage yard. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #3295 is on Montrose just west of North Side “L”, (with the) south end of Wilson Avenue shop storage yard in background.”

CSL 1784, in WWII garb supporting the Women's Army Corps on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. That's the Ridge Theatre at right. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1784, in WWII garb supporting the Women’s Army Corps on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. That’s the Ridge Theatre at right. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1776 in patriotic garb during World War II, on through route 1 (Cottage Grove-Broadway). (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1776 is on Broadway just south of Devon."

CSL 1776 in patriotic garb during World War II, on through route 1 (Cottage Grove-Broadway). (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1776 is on Broadway just south of Devon.”

George Trapp: "Photo of car 204 with new Twin Coach buses in background, it appears car is in process of being converted to a salt spreader, cars last assignment was on Western after PCC's bumped it from Clark-Wentworth." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) I'm not sure about a salt car, since 204 does not appear on the list of conversions we got from Andre Kristopans, which you can read here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/10/04/trolley-dodger-mailbag-10-4-2015-etc/ George Trapp adds, "It seems to be a mystery what the bracket on the side of car 204 is for nor the location, is it South Shops property? This car was extensively modernized after a fire in the early 1930's."

George Trapp: “Photo of car 204 with new Twin Coach buses in background, it appears car is in process of being converted to a salt spreader, cars last assignment was on Western after PCC’s bumped it from Clark-Wentworth.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) I’m not sure about a salt car, since 204 does not appear on the list of conversions we got from Andre Kristopans, which you can read here:
https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/10/04/trolley-dodger-mailbag-10-4-2015-etc/
George Trapp adds, “It seems to be a mystery what the bracket on the side of car 204 is for nor the location, is it South Shops property? This car was extensively modernized after a fire in the early 1930’s.”

CSL 2909, signed for Division and Grand. Since it is on an angle street, this may be Grand Avenue. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 2909, signed for Division and Grand. Since it is on an angle street, this may be Grand Avenue. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 2907, at the west end of the 87th Street route. Jon Habermaas writes: "The line ended east of the Rock Island viaduct, and there was no connection to the tracks on Vincennes. The car has changed ends and is ready for a new trip eastbound on 87th." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. adds, "The 87th St. streetcar line's west end was on the east side of the Rock Island main line. Therefore, the streetcar shown has ended its run on the westbound track, switched trolleys, and is ready to head back east. On the west side of the railroad viaduct is Vincennes Ave., on which is a Halsted-Vincennes car. Just to the east of this view on 87th St. is Halsted St."

CSL 2907, at the west end of the 87th Street route. Jon Habermaas writes: “The line ended east of the Rock Island viaduct, and there was no connection to the tracks on Vincennes. The car has changed ends and is ready for a new trip eastbound on 87th.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. adds, “The 87th St. streetcar line’s west end was on the east side of the Rock Island main line. Therefore, the streetcar shown has ended its run on the westbound track, switched trolleys, and is ready to head back east. On the west side of the railroad viaduct is Vincennes Ave., on which is a Halsted-Vincennes car. Just to the east of this view on 87th St. is Halsted St.”

CSL 2859 at Southport and Clark, the north terminus of route 9 - Ashland. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 2859 at Southport and Clark, the north terminus of route 9 – Ashland. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

George Trapp: "CSL #3168 is at Devon and Kedzie," signed for route 36 - Broadway-State. He continues, "photo taken after CTA takeover as evidenced by ad on 3168, probably just before Broadway-State cut back to Ravenswood Avenue. Notice all the open land in the area, CTA could have built a loop for PCC cars if they had wanted." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

George Trapp: “CSL #3168 is at Devon and Kedzie,” signed for route 36 – Broadway-State. He continues, “photo taken after CTA takeover as evidenced by
ad on 3168, probably just before Broadway-State cut back to Ravenswood Avenue. Notice all the open land in the area, CTA could have built a loop for PCC cars if they had wanted.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 230 crosses the old Milwaukee Road freight tracks near Wrigley Field. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 230 crosses the old Milwaukee Road freight tracks near Wrigley Field. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1759 on through route 1, Cottage Grove-Broadway. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1759 is on Devon approaching Kedzie."

CSL 1759 on through route 1, Cottage Grove-Broadway. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1759 is on Devon approaching Kedzie.”

CSL 5279, signed for Halsted and Waveland, north terminus of route 8. However, this looks more like Clark Street near Lincoln Park. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #5279 is on Route 42, which ran through to Halsted-Waveland via Clark and Halsted returning via Broadway and Clark until late 1947." (I assume the route was changed once PCCs began running on route 8 - Halsted.)

CSL 5279, signed for Halsted and Waveland, north terminus of route 8. However, this looks more like Clark Street near Lincoln Park. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #5279 is on Route 42, which ran through to Halsted-Waveland via Clark and Halsted returning via Broadway and Clark until late 1947.” (I assume the route was changed once PCCs began running on route 8 – Halsted.)

CSL 3120 in the same location as the previous picture. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 3120 in the same location as the previous picture. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 209, westbound on route 72 - North Avenue, prepares to cross the north branch of the Chicago River near Goose Island. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 209, westbound on route 72 – North Avenue, prepares to cross the north branch of the Chicago River near Goose Island. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 117 has just left the Cermak loop near the lakefront, added for the 1933-34 World's Fair (A Century of Progress) (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 117 has just left the Cermak loop near the lakefront, added for the 1933-34 World’s Fair (A Century of Progress) (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 113 crosses the Milwaukee Road freight tracks that used to go by Wrigley Field. This was originally their main line. The large sign indicates a "through route," in this case 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 113 crosses the Milwaukee Road freight tracks that used to go by Wrigley Field. This was originally their main line. The large sign indicates a “through route,” in this case 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1775 during WWII, promoting the Navy, is signed for Broadway. At right there is one of those supervisor's shantys that used to dot the Chicago landscape. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1775 turning from Clark onto Devon."

CSL 1775 during WWII, promoting the Navy, is signed for Broadway. At right there is one of those supervisor’s shantys that used to dot the Chicago landscape. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1775 turning from Clark onto Devon.”

CSL 1775 again. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1775 again. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1775 on route 22, this time promoting the Merchant Marine. Folksinger Woody Guthrie was a member of the Merchant Marine during World War II. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1775 Merchant Marine is northbound on Clark at Devon."

CSL 1775 on route 22, this time promoting the Merchant Marine. Folksinger Woody Guthrie was a member of the Merchant Marine during World War II. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1775 Merchant Marine is northbound on Clark at Devon.”

CSL 1784 signed for Broadway-State during WWII, advertising the U. S. Maritime Service. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1784 is on Schreiber alongside Devon Depot."

CSL 1784 signed for Broadway-State during WWII, advertising the U. S. Maritime Service. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1784 is on Schreiber alongside Devon Depot.”

George Trapp: "CSL #3157 is at 77th Street Depot." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

George Trapp: “CSL #3157 is at 77th Street Depot.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 577 and 536 pass each other near downtown. Bill Shapotkin writes, "Believe this pic looks S-S/E on Milwaukee Ave from approx Des Plaines. The bridge x/o the joint MILW/PRR tracks." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 577 and 536 pass each other near downtown. Bill Shapotkin writes, “Believe this pic looks S-S/E on Milwaukee Ave from approx Des Plaines. The bridge x/o the joint MILW/PRR tracks.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 5012. The sign "Stock Yards Direct" may provide a clue as to which route this is. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. writes, "Magnifying the picture twice, the destination sign reads Racine - Downtown. Also, the side roller sign says Racine. Because of the Santa Fe in the background, and because the streetcar appears to be on a diagonal street, I think the streetcar is on Archer Ave. heading northeast. It will turn left (north) on either Clark St. or State St. to get downtown. As for the Stock Yards Direct sign, the Stock Yards are in the opposite direction. Heading southwest on Archer, the Racine car line went south on Wallace (600 West) to Root (4132 South), west to Halsted (800 West), south to 47th St., west to Racine (1200 West), south to 87th St. The Stock Yards were in the square mile bordered by Pershing, Halsted, 47th and Ashland, so the Racine car ran alongside the Stock Yards from Root and Halsted to 47th and Racine."

CSL 5012. The sign “Stock Yards Direct” may provide a clue as to which route this is. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. writes, “Magnifying the picture twice, the destination sign reads Racine – Downtown. Also, the side roller sign says Racine. Because of the Santa Fe in the background, and because the streetcar appears to be on a diagonal street, I think the streetcar is on Archer Ave. heading northeast. It will turn left (north) on either Clark St. or State St. to get downtown. As for the Stock Yards Direct sign, the Stock Yards are in the opposite direction. Heading southwest on Archer, the Racine car line went south on Wallace (600 West) to Root (4132 South), west to Halsted (800 West), south to 47th St., west to Racine (1200 West), south to 87th St. The Stock Yards were in the square mile bordered by Pershing, Halsted, 47th and Ashland, so the Racine car ran alongside the Stock Yards from Root and Halsted to 47th and Racine.”

CSL 3154 at the Clark-Arthur loop. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 3154 at the Clark-Arthur loop. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 1457, during its days as a salt spreader. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "CSL #1457 is in Devon Depot open South Yard, note Pullman PCC in 4300's alongside."

CSL 1457, during its days as a salt spreader. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “CSL #1457 is in Devon Depot open South Yard, note Pullman PCC in 4300’s alongside.”

CSL 3134, southbound on Broadway-State. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 3134, southbound on Broadway-State. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL modernized small Pullman 804 on south Cicero Avenue near Midway Airport. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL modernized small Pullman 804 on south Cicero Avenue near Midway Airport. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 5915. (Heier Industrial Photo) Patrick writes, "Photos 953, 952 and 947 are taken in front of the Eighth Street Theater http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource/2002?search_id=1&index=0 , which was home of the WLS National Barn dance as can be seen on the marquee in 947. The featured streetcars are southbound on Wabash. The taller building to the left still exists. The theater and the nearer tall building were demolished for exposition space for the Hilton (former Stevens) Hotel."

CSL 5915. (Heier Industrial Photo) Patrick writes, “Photos 953, 952 and 947 are taken in front of the Eighth Street Theater http://www.artic.edu/aic/resources/resource/2002?search_id=1&index=0 , which was home of the WLS National Barn dance as can be seen on the marquee in 947. The featured streetcars are southbound on Wabash. The taller building to the left still exists. The theater and the nearer tall building were demolished for exposition space for the Hilton (former Stevens) Hotel.”

CSL 5777. (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL 5777. (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL Sedan 3351. Note the marquee on the Eighth Street Theater at right, advertising the WLS National Barn Dance, which was broadcast "every Saturday." George Trapp: "(The) three shots on Wabash at Eighth were probably taken in Summer of 1947 when the Sedans were beginning to replace the Nearsides on Routes 4 and 5 after being bumped off of Route 22 by new PCC's." (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL Sedan 3351. Note the marquee on the Eighth Street Theater at right, advertising the WLS National Barn Dance, which was broadcast “every Saturday.” George Trapp: “(The) three shots on Wabash at Eighth were probably taken in Summer of 1947 when the Sedans were beginning to replace the Nearsides on Routes 4 and 5 after being bumped off of Route 22 by new PCC’s.” (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL 3100. If the sign at right is any indication, that is probably the South Side Park "L" at rear. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. thinks this streetcar is on the 18th Street line, which "started at Leavitt (2200 West) and Blue Island, went north on Leavitt to 18th St., then east to probably Michigan Ave." George Foelschow: "I believe 3100 is eastbound on 18th Street crossing South Clark Street. There was a Catholic church at 18th and Clark. The 18th St. line ended at State. Track on 18th east of State and Wabash turned south on Indiana and was used by Indiana and Cottage Grove cars."

CSL 3100. If the sign at right is any indication, that is probably the South Side Park “L” at rear. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) M. E. thinks this streetcar is on the 18th Street line, which “started at Leavitt (2200 West) and Blue Island, went north on Leavitt to 18th St., then east to probably Michigan Ave.”
George Foelschow: “I believe 3100 is eastbound on 18th Street crossing South Clark Street. There was a Catholic church at 18th and Clark. The 18th St. line ended at State. Track on 18th east of State and Wabash turned south on Indiana and was used by Indiana and Cottage Grove cars.”

Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Three

Bill Shapotkin writes: "This pic is on the Riverdale line. The location is JUST SOUTH of 130th St (the tracks on the embankment are the IC). View looks E-N/E." George Trapp: "CSL #2595 is on Riverdale line, side sign reads Michigan-Indiana." M. E. writes: "The first picture is on the Riverdale line, which ran south along the west side of the Illinois Central main line, then under the IC, then south to Riverdale." The car number looks like 2595, making this a "Robertson" car, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Robert Leffingwell writes: "(This) picture is most likely Indiana Ave between 130th and 134th where it ran on private right of way along side the IC tracks. (The tracks on 134th are still clearly visible to this day)." Andre Kristopans: "2595 is on 34-Riverdale (sign would say Michigan-Indiana) along the IC between 127th and 134th."

Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is on the Riverdale line. The location is JUST SOUTH of 130th St (the tracks on the embankment are the IC). View looks E-N/E.” George Trapp: “CSL #2595 is on Riverdale line, side sign reads Michigan-Indiana.” M. E. writes: “The first picture is on the Riverdale line, which ran south along the west side of the Illinois Central main line, then under the IC, then south to Riverdale.”
The car number looks like 2595, making this a “Robertson” car, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901.
Robert Leffingwell writes: “(This) picture is most likely Indiana Ave between 130th and 134th where it ran on private right of way along side the IC tracks. (The tracks on 134th are still clearly visible to this day).”
Andre Kristopans: “2595 is on 34-Riverdale (sign would say Michigan-Indiana) along the IC between 127th and 134th.”

Thanks to the generosity of George Trapp, here is another generous helping of classic Chicago Surface Lines streetcar photos from his collection. (To see additional photos he has already shared with us, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page. Several other posts should come up.)

Most of these pictures date to the “red car” era in Chicago, which began in the early 1920s and ended in 1954. Some are even older than that.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

FYI there will be several additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space.

-David Sadowski

PS- We’ve already received a lot of excellent comments on this post. I will incorporate them into the photo captions later this evening. We thank all our contributors.

M. E. writes:

More thoughts about CSL Photos part 3:

Using the map at http://chicagoinmaps.com/chicagostreetcars.html I make the assumption that the carbarn at 93rd and Drexel serviced all these east/west lines: 87th St., 93rd/95th St., 103rd St., 111th/115th St., 119th/Vincennes. All these lines likely used Cottage Grove to get to and from the carbarn.

Several of the pictures are of cars 3100 and 3113. The one captioned “CSL 3113, signed for 93rd and Drexel” seems to be in the carbarn at that location.

I think the one captioned “CSL 3100, signed for 103rd and Vincennes” was taken at 103rd and Michigan. The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, so the view must be looking east from Michigan. Notice the man standing in front of the Buy Now sign.

This could be the same man who “has just taken a picture” in the photo captioned “CSL 3100, probably on the south side …” In the distance in this picture is the Illinois Central main line paralleling Cottage Grove Ave. The IC right-of-way was above ground at that point.

Next, the picture captioned “CSL 3100 again, possibly getting ready to change ends”. The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, which is where this photo was taken, facing northeast.

Next, the picture captioned “CSL 3100, signed to go to 103rd and Vincennes”, was taken just east of the last one I mentioned.

Next, the picture captioned “CSL 3100 at the end of the 103rd Street line”, was taken from the same spot as the first one I cited.

All of these CSL 3100 shots at Vincennes must have been taken at the same time.

Finally, “CSL 3113. The sign at rear, advertising the Beverly Bakery” is at the same spot but a different car.

In this 1941 CSL map, which you can find in Chicago's PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, you can see how the 103rd route ended east of Vincennes and the Rock Island (although there was a single track connection with Vincennes).

In this 1941 CSL map, which you can find in Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, you can see how the 103rd route ended east of Vincennes and the Rock Island (although there was a single track connection with Vincennes).

Unrelated, but interesting: In the map, on the 93rd St. line, west of Stony Island, notice that the track goes almost back to 95th St. This was a prime viewing site for streetcars and trains. There was a busy north/south railroad, and an east/west railroad, that crossed just north of 95th St. The streetcar line ran along the north side of the east/west railroad. The streetcar line crossed the north/south railroad at grade. I do not remember whether there were crossing gates over the streetcar tracks. If not, then each streetcar would have required a two-man crew so the conductor could act as lookout before the motorman crossed the railroad track.

CSL streetcar service on route 103, subject of several pictures in this post, was replaced by buses on October 13, 1941. Chances are theses photos were taken shortly before that early abandonment.


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A map of the area around 103rd and Vincennes, as it looked in the 1940s when these streetcar pictures were taken. Vincennes is the angle street that runs parallel to the Rock Island, which heads to the southwest.

A map of the area around 103rd and Vincennes, as it looked in the 1940s when these streetcar pictures were taken. Vincennes is the angle street that runs parallel to the Rock Island, which heads to the southwest.

CSL 3100 at 103rd and Vincennes, the west end of this line. Bill Shapotkin writes, "The pic below, looking N-N/W (and a few feet west of the above photo) is indeed a car at the west end of (revenue) trackage. (a single track, normally not used in revenue service, did x/o the ROCK and connected with trackage on Vincennes Ave). I have a contemporary photo of a CTA bus at this same location. The building on the north side of the street remains standing (at least as of six months ago)." M. E. writes: "The last picture is likely at 103rd and Vincennes, on the east side of the Rock Island main line. I say this because it looks like the end of the line, where the streetcar tracks merge."

CSL 3100 at 103rd and Vincennes, the west end of this line. Bill Shapotkin writes, “The pic below, looking N-N/W (and a few feet west of the above photo) is indeed a car at the west end of (revenue) trackage. (a single track, normally not used in revenue service, did x/o the ROCK and connected with trackage on Vincennes Ave). I have a contemporary photo of a CTA bus at this same location. The building on the north side of the street remains standing (at least as of six months ago).”
M. E. writes: “The last picture is likely at 103rd and Vincennes, on the east side of the Rock Island main line. I say this because it looks like the end of the line, where the streetcar tracks merge.”

103rd and Vincennes today. We are looking west.

103rd and Vincennes today. We are looking west.

CSL 2006 in storage, apparently having last been used on one of the light far south side lines.

CSL 2006 in storage, apparently having last been used on one of the light far south side lines.

CSL 3100, signed to go to 103rd and Vincennes. According to M. E., this picture was taken just east of 103rd and Michigan. Chuck Amstein: "103rd and Eberhart Ave., looking NE. The building just to the right of #3100 is still there, and matches the one in the background in misc831."

CSL 3100, signed to go to 103rd and Vincennes. According to M. E., this picture was taken just east of 103rd and Michigan. Chuck Amstein: “103rd and Eberhart Ave., looking NE. The building just to the right of #3100 is still there, and matches the one in the background in misc831.”

103rd and Eberhart Avenue today. We are looking east.

103rd and Eberhart Avenue today. We are looking east.

CSL 3093 at Erie and Ashland, signed to go to Morgan and Pershing.

CSL 3093 at Erie and Ashland, signed to go to Morgan and Pershing.

CSL 2910 heading west (signed for Austin, the city limits) in the 1940s. George Trapp: "CSL 2910 is on West Division line, Destination reads Division-Austin, this type of car a regular on this route." From our comments section: "CSL 2910 is signed DIVISION-AUSTIN. Short line operated on Division between Grand and Austin until it was through routed by bus to California until it was further through routed to downtown." "CSL 2910 heading west (signed for Austin, the city limits) possibly Division / Austin … location is possibly on Division just east of Grand ave." Andre Kristopans: "2910 is most likely on West Division St, California to Austin, as it is a small one-man car." Mike Franklin: "CSL 2910 heading west and the two flats are located on the 5000 block of Division."

CSL 2910 heading west (signed for Austin, the city limits) in the 1940s. George Trapp: “CSL 2910 is on West Division line, Destination reads Division-Austin, this type of car a regular on this route.”
From our comments section: “CSL 2910 is signed DIVISION-AUSTIN. Short line operated on Division between Grand and Austin until it was through routed by bus to California until it was further through routed to downtown.” “CSL 2910 heading west (signed for Austin, the city limits) possibly Division / Austin … location is possibly on Division just east of Grand ave.”
Andre Kristopans: “2910 is most likely on West Division St, California to Austin, as it is a small one-man car.”
Mike Franklin: “CSL 2910 heading west and the two flats are located on the 5000 block of Division.”

The 5000 block on west Division street today.

The 5000 block on west Division street today.

Chicago City Railway 2503.

Chicago City Railway 2503.

CSL 2910, signed for Pershing. (Edward Frank, Jr. photo)

CSL 2910, signed for Pershing. (Edward Frank, Jr. photo)

CSL "Little" Pullman 810, built in 1910, on route 10. George Trapp: "CSL 810 is at Western-Howard."

CSL “Little” Pullman 810, built in 1910, on route 10. George Trapp: “CSL 810 is at Western-Howard.”

Andre Kristopans writes, "3236 looks like nb on Racine about to turn east into Armitage. Building to right is the Maud St wreck truck house, part of CUT’s North Shops complex, most of which was closed when West Shop opened in the teens."

Andre Kristopans writes, “3236 looks like nb on Racine about to turn east into Armitage. Building to right is the Maud St wreck truck house, part of CUT’s North Shops complex, most of which was closed when West Shop opened in the teens.”

Racine and Armitage today. We are looking north.

Racine and Armitage today. We are looking north.

CSL Birney 2901, also seen in another picture elsewhere in this post.

CSL Birney 2901, also seen in another picture elsewhere in this post.

George Trapp: "CSL Trailer 8050 is also at Devon Depot, Note new track in foreground, car is sandwiched between a Big Pullman and a 169 class car." The trailer was built in 1921.

George Trapp: “CSL Trailer 8050 is also at Devon Depot, Note new track in foreground, car is sandwiched between a Big Pullman and a 169 class car.” The trailer was built in 1921.

CSL 3298 on, I believe, route 73. If so, we are most likely at about 600 West Armitage. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3298 on, I believe, route 73. If so, we are most likely at about 600 West Armitage. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Chicago Union Traction 4776, signed for Van Buren. I believe this may have been renumbered as CSL 1247 later on. The sign advertises a ferry across Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids for $1.50.

Chicago Union Traction 4776, signed for Van Buren. I believe this may have been renumbered as CSL 1247 later on. The sign advertises a ferry across Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids for $1.50.

CSL trailer 8027, built by the Surface Lines in 1921 during a time when ridership was greatly increasing. Trailers were no longer needed in the 1930s due to the Depression, and while they were considered for use during World War II they ended up as storage sheds such as this one. According to George Trapp, this photo was taken at the Devon Depot. Andre Kristopans: "As for the trailers, all were sheds by 1930 or so. Some were fixed up to go back into service about 1942, but never did, and these were the ones scrapped in 1944-45."

CSL trailer 8027, built by the Surface Lines in 1921 during a time when ridership was greatly increasing. Trailers were no longer needed in the 1930s due to the Depression, and while they were considered for use during World War II they ended up as storage sheds such as this one. According to George Trapp, this photo was taken at the Devon Depot.
Andre Kristopans: “As for the trailers, all were sheds by 1930 or so. Some were fixed up to go back into service about 1942, but never did, and these were the ones scrapped in 1944-45.”

CSL 3100 again, possibly getting ready to change ends. M. E. writes: "The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, which is where this photo was taken, facing northeast."

CSL 3100 again, possibly getting ready to change ends. M. E. writes: “The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, which is where this photo was taken, facing northeast.”
Chuck Amstein: ” 103rd near Vincennes, just east of the Rock Island tracks, looking ENE. The building with the “MEATS” sign is still there.”

103rd just east of Vincennes today. Note the same building as in the previous picture.

103rd just east of Vincennes today. Note the same building as in the previous picture.

CSL 3100 on 103rd. Looks like the man at right has just taken a picture. Chuck Amstein writes: " 103rd St. just west of Vernon Ave., looking ENE. The 3-story apartment bldg. (approx. 10235 S. Vernon) and the building just to the right of #3100 in the distance, are still there."

CSL 3100 on 103rd. Looks like the man at right has just taken a picture.
Chuck Amstein writes: ” 103rd St. just west of Vernon Ave., looking ENE. The 3-story apartment bldg. (approx. 10235 S. Vernon) and the building just to the right of #3100 in the distance, are still there.”

The three-flat at 10235 S. Vernon today.

The three-flat at 10235 S. Vernon today.

CSL 3113, signed for 93rd and Drexel. M. E. writes: "The destination 93rd and Drexel (900 east) is a block east of Cottage Grove Ave. According to Wikipedia, "Burnside car barn at 93rd and Drexel is still basically intact." So Cottage Grove cars and 93rd/95th cars could be signed for 93rd and Drexel. (It) seems to be in the carbarn at that location."

CSL 3113, signed for 93rd and Drexel. M. E. writes: “The destination 93rd and Drexel (900 east) is a block east of Cottage Grove Ave. According to Wikipedia, “Burnside car barn at 93rd and Drexel is still basically intact.” So Cottage Grove cars and 93rd/95th cars could be signed for 93rd and Drexel. (It) seems to be in the carbarn at that location.”

CSL 3100, signed for 103rd and Vincennes. M. E. writes: "I think the one captioned "CSL 3100, signed for 103rd and Vincennes" was taken at 103rd and Michigan. The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, so the view must be looking east from Michigan. Notice the man standing in front of the Buy Now sign. This could be the same man who "has just taken a picture" (in another photo in this post). In the distance in this picture is the Illinois Central main line paralleling Cottage Grove Ave. The IC right-of-way was above ground at that point." Chuck Amstein writes: "103rd and Michigan, looking ESE. The house just to the right of #3100 is still there."

CSL 3100, signed for 103rd and Vincennes. M. E. writes: “I think the one captioned “CSL 3100, signed for 103rd and Vincennes” was taken at 103rd and Michigan. The destination sign reads 103rd and Vincennes, so the view must be looking east from Michigan. Notice the man standing in front of the Buy Now sign.
This could be the same man who “has just taken a picture” (in another photo in this post). In the distance in this picture is the Illinois Central main line paralleling Cottage Grove Ave. The IC right-of-way was above ground at that point.”
Chuck Amstein writes: “103rd and Michigan, looking ESE. The house just to the right of #3100 is still there.”

While lightweight single-truck Birney cars were successful in many smaller cities and towns, such as Fort Collins, Colorado, they were not successful in Chicago. Here we see a rare shot of CSL 2901 at 71st and State in 1924.

While lightweight single-truck Birney cars were successful in many smaller cities and towns, such as Fort Collins, Colorado, they were not successful in Chicago. Here we see a rare shot of CSL 2901 at 71st and State in 1924.

An early Chicago City Railway streetcar at 75th Street and Manhattan Beach. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History, "Located near Windsor Bathing Beach, Manhattan Beach (later Rainbow Beach) was a popular spot for middle-class boys and girls to meet in the early decades of the twentieth century. Some religious leaders and conservative politicians opposed this and other private beaches, claiming that they encouraged sexual promiscuity and the consumption of alcohol among minors. Rainbow Beach was also reclaimed by the city and operated as a municipal beach in the 1920s. "

An early Chicago City Railway streetcar at 75th Street and Manhattan Beach. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History, “Located near Windsor Bathing Beach, Manhattan Beach (later Rainbow Beach) was a popular spot for middle-class boys and girls to meet in the early decades of the twentieth century. Some religious leaders and conservative politicians opposed this and other private beaches, claiming that they encouraged sexual promiscuity and the consumption of alcohol among minors. Rainbow Beach was also reclaimed by the city and operated as a municipal beach in the 1920s. “

CSL 2832 signed for a charter. From the autos, it would appear this picture was taken in the 1940s.

CSL 2832 signed for a charter. From the autos, it would appear this picture was taken in the 1940s.

CTA 1722 at Western and Howard on May 22, 1948. The northernmost portion of route 49 was bussed on August 1, 1948. At the same time, streetcar service was cut back to 79th on the south end, via a new loop there. George Trapp writes: "On Aug. 1, 1948 north terminal changed to Schreiber loop at Devon Depot also shared with Route 36 cars. Berwyn loop opened Dec. 12, 1948."

CTA 1722 at Western and Howard on May 22, 1948. The northernmost portion of route 49 was bussed on August 1, 1948. At the same time, streetcar service was cut back to 79th on the south end, via a new loop there.
George Trapp writes: “On Aug. 1, 1948 north terminal changed to Schreiber loop at Devon Depot also shared with Route 36 cars. Berwyn loop opened Dec. 12, 1948.”

CSL 1457 and 3193. The former car appears to be in work service. According to Don's Rail Photos, it was "rebuilt as salt car AA68 in 1948." George Trapp writes: "CSL #1457 and 3193 are in the South open yard of the Devon Depot, open area to left later used for additional storage tracks added in mid 1940's for PCC's which included an additional single track repair bay added to the south side of the existing building and a stand alone single track brick building along the south property line which housed an automatic car washer." Another reader: "Devon Station (Clark and Schreiber)." Andre Kristopans: "1457 was a salt car in the 30″s. When the 36 PCC’s came, many 13-1400’s were made into salters. Some went back to passenger service during WW2, rest were r# AA’s either by CSL after the war or CTA in 1948. "

CSL 1457 and 3193. The former car appears to be in work service. According to Don’s Rail Photos, it was “rebuilt as salt car AA68 in 1948.” George Trapp writes: “CSL #1457 and 3193 are in the South open yard of the Devon Depot, open area to left later used for additional storage tracks added in mid 1940’s for PCC’s which included an additional single track repair bay added to the south side of the existing building and a stand alone single track brick building along the south property line which housed an automatic car washer.”
Another reader: “Devon Station (Clark and Schreiber).”
Andre Kristopans: “1457 was a salt car in the 30″s. When the 36 PCC’s came, many 13-1400’s were made into salters. Some went back to passenger service during WW2, rest were r# AA’s either by CSL after the war or CTA in 1948. “

CSL 5659 at 95th, the south end of the #9 Ashland through-route. We previously posted some photos of this same location here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/03/20/chicago-streetcars-in-color-part-3/ George Foelschow: "According to Lind, this was a Crete single-end suburban car acquired from Chicago & Southern Traction Company. I would guess that the wide space denotes a smoking compartment in its first life."

CSL 5659 at 95th, the south end of the #9 Ashland through-route. We previously posted some photos of this same location here:
https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/03/20/chicago-streetcars-in-color-part-3/
George Foelschow: “According to Lind, this was a Crete single-end suburban car acquired from Chicago & Southern Traction Company. I would guess that the wide space denotes a smoking compartment in its first life.”

CSL 1210 on the Webster and Racine route, which was single track with one passing siding. There are several other pictures of this seldom photographed line in our previous post: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/16/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-two/

CSL 1210 on the Webster and Racine route, which was single track with one passing siding. There are several other pictures of this seldom photographed line in our previous post:
https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/16/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-two/

CSL 1531 on July 14, 1947. George Trapp writes: "CSL 1531 is at North end of Taylor-Sedgewick-Sheffield line at Sheffield and Clark a month before conversion to bus." Another reader writes: "Sheffield at Clark (looks the same today, no transit service on Sheffield anymore), was the Taylor-Sedgwick-Sheffield car line." (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

CSL 1531 on July 14, 1947. George Trapp writes: “CSL 1531 is at North end of Taylor-Sedgewick-Sheffield line at Sheffield and Clark a month before conversion to bus.” Another reader writes: “Sheffield at Clark (looks the same today, no transit service on Sheffield anymore), was the Taylor-Sedgwick-Sheffield car line.” (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

CSL 2721 signed for Cicero Avenue. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 2721 signed for Cicero Avenue. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3113. M. E. writes: "As for Beverly Bakery: On 103rd, south side, just west of Vincennes was a bus barn, then the Beverly Bank. So it's logical to assume that Beverly stretched east of Vincennes, at least as far as the bakery. However, the Rock Island commuter station at 103rd and Vincennes is called Washington Heights." Chuck Amstein: "103rd and just west of Elizabeth St., looking ENE. The 2 buildings just left of #3113 are still there. They can also be seen in the background in misc832. The track layout agrees with the CSL 1941 track map, conveniently included in “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”."

CSL 3113. M. E. writes: “As for Beverly Bakery: On 103rd, south side, just west of Vincennes was a bus barn, then the Beverly Bank. So it’s logical to assume that Beverly stretched east of Vincennes, at least as far as the bakery. However, the Rock Island commuter station at 103rd and Vincennes is called Washington Heights.”
Chuck Amstein: “103rd and just west of Elizabeth St., looking ENE. The 2 buildings just left of #3113 are still there. They can also be seen in the background in misc832. The track layout agrees with the CSL 1941 track map, conveniently included in “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”.”

103rd Street just west of Elizabeth, looking east, as it appears today. Note that the two buildings match the previous photo.

103rd Street just west of Elizabeth, looking east, as it appears today. Note that the two buildings match the previous photo.

CSL 2859 northbound on the Broadway-State route, preparing to cross the Chicago River. George Trapp: "CSL Car #2859, this car was the only modern steel car owned by the Calumet & South Chicago, it was a four motored two man car with a body constructed like an MU car with same trucks as 169 Class. Northbound on Broadway-State before old State Street bridge taken out of service during 1939." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 2859 northbound on the Broadway-State route, preparing to cross the Chicago River. George Trapp: “CSL Car #2859, this car was the only modern steel car owned by the Calumet & South Chicago, it was a four motored two man car with a body constructed like an MU car with same trucks as 169 Class. Northbound on Broadway-State before old State Street bridge taken out of service during 1939.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

1946 Chicago Expressway Plans

Capture68

Capture69

I ran across an interesting article detailing the plans for building what we know today as the Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways as they stood in 1946.  Construction of the Northwest expressway did not begin until the late 1950s, and the highway opened in 1960.  The Dan Ryan followed and opened in 1961-62.

The Tribune article from April 18, 1946 shows that the routes for both expressways were already pretty much determined, with a few exceptions.

The South (Dan Ryan) expressway is shown as being on the east side of the Rock Island railroad tracks until 39th street, and then continues south between Lafayette and State streets to approximately 99th, where it would connect with the Calumet expressway and the “Chicago-Detroit Super-highway.”

As built, the Ryan stays west of the Rock Island and does not run between Lafayette and State until it reaches Marquette (67th) heading south.  The article says there will not be an interchange at 63rd because the road would be elevated at that point (it is not).  The Chicago Skyway is not mentioned in the article, since it likely was planned later (it opened in 1958).

Virgil Gunlock, as head of the Chicago Department of Subways and Superhighways, had a lot to do with the expressway planning.  He later became Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, which runs the CTA.  He died in 1963 at age 57.

The two rapid transit lines that were eventually built in the Dan Ryan and Kennedy expressways (opened in 1969 and 1970) were not part of these plans until about 1955.  By that time, construction of the Congress (later Eisenhower) expressway was already well underway, with a rapid transit line in the median.

The Congress expressway is not mentioned in the article since planning for that had pretty much been completed prior to WWII.

Some portions of the expressways that the article says were to be built elevated were actually put into open cuts instead.  There is no mention of what we now call “Hubbard’s Cave” in the downtown area, but there is mention of a block-long tunnel between Ashland and Cortland.

The reversible lanes on the Kennedy were apparently something that did not enter into the design process until the 1950s.  I recall reading elsewhere that the reversibles ended up being shortened when the planners decided to add a rapid transit line to the highway.

Even in 1946, plans were for the highway to go past what we know today as O’Hare airport.  In the article, it is called Douglas Airport.  Prior to WWII, plans for the Northwest expressway stopped at the city limits.

The original idea for the Northwest expressway dated back to the 1920s. The original idea was for an elevated highway to run parallel to the Chicago and North Western railroad.

Even before WWII, there were plans for a South expressway that would parallel the Rock Island railroad.  It was thought that this sort of alignment would reduce the number of side streets that would have to be truncated because of the expressway.  The planners did not want to adversely affect local traffic on side streets.

As you can see, these highway plans were already very far along 9 years before Richard J. Daley became mayor.  In fact, they even predate the two terms of his predecessor, Martin Kennelly.  At the time this article was written, Edward Kelly was still in office.

-David Sadowski