Recent Finds, 10-14-2017

You would be forgiven if you think this is CTA red Pullman 144 heading north on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood. But it is actually car 225 with its number hidden by a piece of red oilcloth. This was a fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt in 1955. He had promised the fans that car 144 would be used. Car 225 was built in 1908 and was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957. I previously wrote a post about this fantrip in 2013.

You would be forgiven if you think this is CTA red Pullman 144 heading north on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. But it is actually car 225 with its number hidden by a piece of red oilcloth. This was a fantrip organized by the late Maury Klebolt in 1955. He had promised the fans that car 144 would be used. Car 225 was built in 1908 and was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957. I previously wrote a post about this fantrip in 2013.

This close-up of the previous picture shows how the "144" is on an oilcloth patch over the actual number 225.

This close-up of the previous picture shows how the “144” is on an oilcloth patch over the actual number 225.

Today, we are featuring many rare transit photographs that we recently collected. Most are from the Chicagoland area, but some are from Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

What they all have in common is I think they are interesting. I hope that you will agree.

October 17 is the 74th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s first subway. We have included a few subway pictures to help commemorate that historic event.

-David Sadowski

PS- I will be making a personal appearance at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at The Museums at Lisle Station Park in Lisle, IL. This presentation is for my new book Chicago Trolleys, from Arcadia Publishing. You can purchase an autographed copy via our Online Store. We look forward to seeing you there.

Recent Finds

This is a very unusual picture. At first, I thought it might show the ramp at Sacramento on the Garfield Park "L", where the line descended to temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. Then, I noticed that this is single track. This makes it the loop at the west end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue, as it was configured in 1953 to allow the CA&E (not seen here) to pass underneath. There are lots of pictures showing this ramp taken from the ground. But to take this picture, the photographer either had to be in another railcar, or was standing on the walkway. At left, you can see the Altenhiem building, described in the next picture. The DesPlaines Avenue yard was reconfigured again in 1959 and this ramp was eliminated. We previously posted another picture of this crossover here.

This is a very unusual picture. At first, I thought it might show the ramp at Sacramento on the Garfield Park “L”, where the line descended to temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. Then, I noticed that this is single track. This makes it the loop at the west end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue, as it was configured in 1953 to allow the CA&E (not seen here) to pass underneath. There are lots of pictures showing this ramp taken from the ground. But to take this picture, the photographer either had to be in another railcar, or was standing on the walkway. At left, you can see the Altenhiem building, described in the next picture. The DesPlaines Avenue yard was reconfigured again in 1959 and this ramp was eliminated. We previously posted another picture of this crossover here.

Altenhiem, described here as an "old people's home," is still in business today.

Altenhiem, described here as an “old people’s home,” is still in business today.

Once CA&E trains were cut back to Forest Park in September 1953, joint timetables were issued for the benefit of passengers who wanted to continue to the Loop. These schedules were changed several times over the nearly four years before the CA&E abandoned passenger service. This is the 14th, and perhaps last such timetable. Over time, I assume there were fewer CA&E trains as ridership was declining. We previously posted timetable #7 here.

Once CA&E trains were cut back to Forest Park in September 1953, joint timetables were issued for the benefit of passengers who wanted to continue to the Loop. These schedules were changed several times over the nearly four years before the CA&E abandoned passenger service. This is the 14th, and perhaps last such timetable. Over time, I assume there were fewer CA&E trains as ridership was declining. We previously posted timetable #7 here.

WORK ON CHICAGO'S SUBWAY STARTED Chicago, Ill.: Above photo shows crowd on North State Street at Chicago Avenue during ceremonies marking the start of work on the new subway, which will run under State Street. Mayor Edward Kelly and Secy. of the Interior Harold Ickes used pneumatic spades to start the project. (Acme Press Photo, December 17, 1938)

WORK ON CHICAGO’S SUBWAY STARTED
Chicago, Ill.: Above photo shows crowd on North State Street at Chicago Avenue during ceremonies marking the start of work on the new subway, which will run under State Street. Mayor Edward Kelly and Secy. of the Interior Harold Ickes used pneumatic spades to start the project. (Acme Press Photo, December 17, 1938)

STREET CARS CRASH IN TUNNEL; 7 INJURED Chicago - Its brakes failing to hold as it attempted up-grade run in Chicago street car tunnel, trolley at left slid backward down incline, crashed into front end of following car. Seven passengers were taken to hospital, 100 others shaken up. (Acme Press Photo, November 6, 1941)

STREET CARS CRASH IN TUNNEL; 7 INJURED
Chicago – Its brakes failing to hold as it attempted up-grade run in Chicago street car tunnel, trolley at left slid backward down incline, crashed into front end of following car. Seven passengers were taken to hospital, 100 others shaken up. (Acme Press Photo, November 6, 1941)

AT LAST -- THE CHICAGO SUBWAY All-steel cars from the elevated lines enter the tubes on the north side near Armitage and Sheffield Avenues, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Loop. Overhead is the existing elevated structure still used by local trains. Hard rubber plates have been placed between the ties and the steel rails to cushion the subway ride. (Acme Press Photo, October 21, 1943)

AT LAST — THE CHICAGO SUBWAY
All-steel cars from the elevated lines enter the tubes on the north side near Armitage and Sheffield Avenues, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Loop. Overhead is the existing elevated structure still used by local trains. Hard rubber plates have been placed between the ties and the steel rails to cushion the subway ride. (Acme Press Photo, October 21, 1943)

NO AN ART GALLERY--BUT PART OF MOSCOW'S SUBWAY LINE Moscow, Russia-- Beautiful inverted bowls throw light to the paneled ceiling of this archway part of the lighting system of the Sokolniki station of Moscow's new subway. Indirect light is used in many parts of the system. The subway, thrown open to the public amidst scenes of great jubilation, is called the "Metro." All Moscow went joy riding on opening day. (Acme Press Photo, May 17, 1935) What interested me about his photo was how the general configuration looks a lot like the Chicago subway, which was built a few years later. Is it possible that the design was influenced by Moscow's?

NO AN ART GALLERY–BUT PART OF MOSCOW’S SUBWAY LINE
Moscow, Russia– Beautiful inverted bowls throw light to the paneled ceiling of this archway part of the lighting system of the Sokolniki station of Moscow’s new subway. Indirect light is used in many parts of the system. The subway, thrown open to the public amidst scenes of great jubilation, is called the “Metro.” All Moscow went joy riding on opening day. (Acme Press Photo, May 17, 1935) What interested me about his photo was how the general configuration looks a lot like the Chicago subway, which was built a few years later. Is it possible that the design was influenced by Moscow’s?

The interior of DC Transit car 766, during an October 8, 1961 fantrip just a few months before Washington's streetcar system was abandoned. This car is now preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum as Capital Traction Company 27 (its original umber). We have an excellent CD featuring audio recordings of 766 in operation in Washington, DC in our Online Store.

The interior of DC Transit car 766, during an October 8, 1961 fantrip just a few months before Washington’s streetcar system was abandoned. This car is now preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum as Capital Traction Company 27 (its original umber). We have an excellent CD featuring audio recordings of 766 in operation in Washington, DC in our Online Store.

This picture was taken on the Wells leg of Chicago's Loop on April 16, 1926. If this is Quincy and Wells, the scaffolding at left may be related to work being done on the nearby Wells Street Terminal, which started at this time. The terminal got a new facade and was expanded, reopening on August 27, 1927.

This picture was taken on the Wells leg of Chicago’s Loop on April 16, 1926. If this is Quincy and Wells, the scaffolding at left may be related to work being done on the nearby Wells Street Terminal, which started at this time. The terminal got a new facade and was expanded, reopening on August 27, 1927.

This picture shows the old Wells Street bridge, carrying the "L" across the Chicago River as it heads north-south in the early 1900s.

This picture shows the old Wells Street bridge, carrying the “L” across the Chicago River as it heads north-south in the early 1900s.

This is Racine Avenue on the Metropolitan "L" main line. The autos below the "L" would suggest this picture was taken in the 1940s.

This is Racine Avenue on the Metropolitan “L” main line. The autos below the “L” would suggest this picture was taken in the 1940s.

"L" trains at the north State Street subway portal, probably in the 1940s.

“L” trains at the north State Street subway portal, probably in the 1940s.

The view looking north from the Howard "L" station. We ran a very similar picture to this in a previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016), where George Trapp suggested in was taken in the late 1920s or 1930s. This photo is dated December 17, 1930.

The view looking north from the Howard “L” station. We ran a very similar picture to this in a previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016), where George Trapp suggested in was taken in the late 1920s or 1930s. This photo is dated December 17, 1930.

Michael Franklin has identified this picture as showing the Armour station on the Stock Yards branch. He notes, "(the) clue was a station on one side but not one on the other." See below for another view of the same station.

Michael Franklin has identified this picture as showing the Armour station on the Stock Yards branch. He notes, “(the) clue was a station on one side but not one on the other.” See below for another view of the same station.

The above image is from Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, and looks to the northeast. The original www.chicago-l.org caption reads:

Looking north on September 28, 1957, ex-Metropolitan Elevated car 2906 has left Armour station (seen at right) and it about to rejoin the Stock Yards main line to head east to its terminal at Indiana. The Sock Yards branch is only a week away from abandonment at this time. (Photo from the IRM Collection, courtesy of Peter Vesic)

This picture was taken on the Evanston branch of the "L", and the wooden "L" car is signed "Howard Only," which suggests this was taken during the CTA era. Previously, all Evanston trains continued south into the city. The nearby curve would indicate that this picture was taken just north of Howard, and may show the viaduct where the line crossed Chicago Avenue, which is a continuation of Clark Street.

This picture was taken on the Evanston branch of the “L”, and the wooden “L” car is signed “Howard Only,” which suggests this was taken during the CTA era. Previously, all Evanston trains continued south into the city. The nearby curve would indicate that this picture was taken just north of Howard, and may show the viaduct where the line crossed Chicago Avenue, which is a continuation of Clark Street.

This picture is identified as showing Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, and probably dates to the early 1900s.

This picture is identified as showing Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, and probably dates to the early 1900s.

Here, we have a westbound train of wooden Met cars at Laramie on the old Garfield Park line. This was replaced by the Congress line in 1958.

Here, we have a westbound train of wooden Met cars at Laramie on the old Garfield Park line. This was replaced by the Congress line in 1958.

Chicago Surface Lines 2779 at Cicero and Montrose in 1934. This was the north end of the Cicero Avenue line. This car is part of a series known as "Robertson Rebuilds," and was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1903. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines 2779 at Cicero and Montrose in 1934. This was the north end of the Cicero Avenue line. This car is part of a series known as “Robertson Rebuilds,” and was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1903. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 970 on Waveland between Broadway and Halsted in 1936. This was the north end of the Halsted line. 970 was part of a series known as the "little" Pullmans, since they were slightly shorter than cars 101-750. It was built in 1910. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 970 on Waveland between Broadway and Halsted in 1936. This was the north end of the Halsted line. 970 was part of a series known as the “little” Pullmans, since they were slightly shorter than cars 101-750. It was built in 1910. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL experimental pre-PCC car 7001 is shown heading south on Clark Street at North Avenue, across the street from the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum). This picture was probably taken in the 1930s. 7001 went into service in 1934 and was repainted in 1941 before being retired around 1944. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL experimental pre-PCC car 7001 is shown heading south on Clark Street at North Avenue, across the street from the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum). This picture was probably taken in the 1930s. 7001 went into service in 1934 and was repainted in 1941 before being retired around 1944. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The view looking east at Lake Street and Ridgeland, when the Lake Street "L" ran on the ground. Many years ago, the Rapid Transit Company put advertisements on the steps leading into such ground-level stations. The "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture may be circa 1930.

The view looking east at Lake Street and Ridgeland, when the Lake Street “L” ran on the ground. Many years ago, the Rapid Transit Company put advertisements on the steps leading into such ground-level stations. The “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture may be circa 1930.

The north end of the Merchandise Mart "L" station. This has since been rebuilt and the curved area of the platform has been eliminated.

The north end of the Merchandise Mart “L” station. This has since been rebuilt and the curved area of the platform has been eliminated.

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new "L" structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new “L” structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

Oakton Street in Skokie on December 11, 1931. The tracks with overhead wire were used by the North Shore Line and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company's Niles Center branch. Both were running on the NSL's Skokie Valley Route, built in 1925. The other set of tracks belong to the Chicago & North Western and were used for freight.

Oakton Street in Skokie on December 11, 1931. The tracks with overhead wire were used by the North Shore Line and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company’s Niles Center branch. Both were running on the NSL’s Skokie Valley Route, built in 1925. The other set of tracks belong to the Chicago & North Western and were used for freight.

CSL 2601 was a Robertson Rebuild car built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. In this wintry scene, it is signed for the 111th Street route, presumably in the 1940s. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2601 was a Robertson Rebuild car built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. In this wintry scene, it is signed for the 111th Street route, presumably in the 1940s. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here is an unusual view. This shows the ramp taking the Garfield Park "L" down to grade level between Cicero Avenue and Laramie. It must be an early picture, since the area around the "L" seems largely unbuilt. The Laramie Yard would be to the right just out of view. This "L" was torn down shortly after the CTA opened the Congress line in 1958.

Here is an unusual view. This shows the ramp taking the Garfield Park “L” down to grade level between Cicero Avenue and Laramie. It must be an early picture, since the area around the “L” seems largely unbuilt. The Laramie Yard would be to the right just out of view. This “L” was torn down shortly after the CTA opened the Congress line in 1958.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side "L". Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side “L”. Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

Here. a wooden "L" car train descends the ramp near Laramie on the Lake Street "L". This must be an early photo, as it looks like Lake Street is unpaved. Streetcar service was extended west to Harlem Avenue here by the Cicero & Proviso in 1891. Chicago Railways took over the city portion in 1910. Service west of Austin Boulevard was provided by the West Towns Railways.

Here. a wooden “L” car train descends the ramp near Laramie on the Lake Street “L”. This must be an early photo, as it looks like Lake Street is unpaved. Streetcar service was extended west to Harlem Avenue here by the Cicero & Proviso in 1891. Chicago Railways took over the city portion in 1910. Service west of Austin Boulevard was provided by the West Towns Railways.

Wooden gate car 3105 and train in the Loop. This was originally built for the Lake Street "L". Don's Rail Photos says, "3103 thru 3118 were built by McGuire-Cummings in 1893 as LSERR 103 thru 118. In 1913 they were renumbered 3103 thru 3118 and became CRT 3103 thru 3118 in 1923."

Wooden gate car 3105 and train in the Loop. This was originally built for the Lake Street “L”. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3103 thru 3118 were built by McGuire-Cummings in 1893 as LSERR 103 thru 118. In 1913 they were renumbered 3103 thru 3118 and became CRT 3103 thru 3118 in 1923.”

The view looking west along the Douglas Park "L" at 49th Avenue in Cicero on February 4, 1944. The station we see in the background is 50th Avenue. After it closed in 1978, this station was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where it is used to board the museum's fleet of retired "L" cars.

The view looking west along the Douglas Park “L” at 49th Avenue in Cicero on February 4, 1944. The station we see in the background is 50th Avenue. After it closed in 1978, this station was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where it is used to board the museum’s fleet of retired “L” cars.

Here, we are looking south from Garfield (55th Street) on the South Side "L".

Here, we are looking south from Garfield (55th Street) on the South Side “L”.

61st Street on the South Side "L", looking north on November 13, 1944.

61st Street on the South Side “L”, looking north on November 13, 1944.

Photos of the old Humboldt Park "L" branch are quite rare. This photo looks west from Western Avenue on January 26, 1931. This branch closed in 1952, although portions of the structure remained into the early 1960s.

Photos of the old Humboldt Park “L” branch are quite rare. This photo looks west from Western Avenue on January 26, 1931. This branch closed in 1952, although portions of the structure remained into the early 1960s.

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop "L". The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, "The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side."

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop “L”. The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, “The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side.”

North Shore Line 156 and several others at Waukegan in December 1962. Since there are about a dozen cars visible, they are being stored on a siding which you will note is outside the area of the catenary. (George Niles, Jr. Photo)

North Shore Line 156 and several others at Waukegan in December 1962. Since there are about a dozen cars visible, they are being stored on a siding which you will note is outside the area of the catenary. (George Niles, Jr. Photo)

This shows TMER&T 1121 running on a 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line at the Kenosha station. We ran a similar picture in our previous post Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015).

This shows TMER&T 1121 running on a 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line at the Kenosha station. We ran a similar picture in our previous post Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015).

Speedrail car 60 at the Waukesha Quarry, date unknown but circa 1949-51.

Speedrail car 60 at the Waukesha Quarry, date unknown but circa 1949-51.


Larry Sakar
writes:

The photo of Speedrail car 60 in your latest postings at the Waukesha Gravel pit was taken on 10-16-49. The occasion was the inaugural fan trip using a 60-series curved side car. It was sponsored by the short lived Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association and was run by Milwaukeean James P. Harper who authored CERA Bulletin 97, “The Electric Railways of Wisconsin” published in 1952.

At the start of the private right-of-way at 8th St., the motors on the rear truck began having problems. At Waukesha, the car pulled onto one of the 2 side tracks leading back into the gravel pit. George Krambles accessed the rear trucks via a panel in the floor and disconnected the motor leads to the troublesome rear trucks. From that point forward the car ran on only 2 motors for the remainder of the fan trip. Car 65 had been the car originally intended to do the trip, but it was down with mechanical problems of its own. This caused the trip to be postponed for a week and the substitution of car 60.

When the car pulled into gravel pit siding one of the fans on board remarked, “Wow, look at this. They’ve got it in the scrap line already!”.

In addition to George Krambles, Al Kalmbach was on the trip, as was well-known railfan and photographer Barney Neuberger. He can be seen siting in about the 4th row of the car on the left side wearing a pork pie hat.

I’ve attached a few items related to that fan trip including a photo of Jay Maeder walking alongside car 60. This was taken at the first photo stop which was 44th St. where Milwaukee County Stadium would be built starting a year later. Car 60 was doing a photo run-by by backing down the line. The fans formed a photo line facing the car.

Philadelphia Stories

Philadelphia Peter Witt 8534 in July 1996. Don's Rail Photos: "8534 was built by Brill Car in 1926, #22353." It is part of the Electric City Trolley Museum collection in Scranton, PA. Here, it is shown in Philadelphia, during the time it was leased to SEPTA for trolley tours.

Philadelphia Peter Witt 8534 in July 1996. Don’s Rail Photos: “8534 was built by Brill Car in 1926, #22353.” It is part of the Electric City Trolley Museum collection in Scranton, PA. Here, it is shown in Philadelphia, during the time it was leased to SEPTA for trolley tours.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 on a fantrip in August 1996. Apparently 8534 has broken down and is being towed.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 on a fantrip in August 1996. Apparently 8534 has broken down and is being towed.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 in August 1996.

SEPTA 2750 and 8534 in August 1996.

Three generations of Philadelphia streetcars in May 1999.

Three generations of Philadelphia streetcars in May 1999.

2785 in November 2002.

2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002, with a commuter train nearby. Kenneth Achtert writes, "The shot of SEPTA #2785 with the commuter train that you presumed to be in Chestnut Hill is actually approaching 11th and Susquehanna,southbound, a cut-back location for which the car is signed in the picture. The commuter train would be inbound toward Center City."

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002, with a commuter train nearby. Kenneth Achtert writes, “The shot of SEPTA #2785 with the commuter train that you presumed to be in Chestnut Hill is actually approaching 11th and Susquehanna,southbound, a cut-back location for which the car is signed in the picture. The commuter train would be inbound toward Center City.”

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA 2785 in November 2002.

SEPTA PCC 2785 on the truncated route 23 in November 2002.

SEPTA PCC 2785 on the truncated route 23 in November 2002.

8534 in August 1996. Kenneth Achtert: "The view of #8534 being “manually switched” three photos later shows 8534 being coupled to its leader (2750) after apparently becoming disabled. Several of your other photos show the subsequent towing operation."

8534 in August 1996. Kenneth Achtert: “The view of #8534 being “manually switched” three photos later shows 8534 being coupled to its leader (2750) after apparently becoming disabled. Several of your other photos show the subsequent towing operation.”

The fantrip train is having trouble clearing this auto in August 1996.

The fantrip train is having trouble clearing this auto in August 1996.

Looks like an attempt was made to move the offending car out of the way. August 1996.

Looks like an attempt was made to move the offending car out of the way. August 1996.

Recent Correspondence

Kenneth Gear writes:

Look who is in the new HISTORIC RAIL & ROADS catalog!

Thanks!

In case you missed it, here is Kenneth Gear’s review of the book:

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

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

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

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

Another reader writes:

Your book arrived and it is JUST AWESOME. I am completely taken by some of the imagery, and of course enjoy the way you seem to simplify historical writing. VERY nice work!! THANK YOU!!!

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Recent Finds, 8-16-2017

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 sports a new paint job at Wheaton Yard in August 1959, two years after the end of passenger service. It sits forlornly while waiting for a buyer that never came. Fortunately, some other cars were saved.

We have been hard at work since our last post. Here are lots of great, classic pictures for your consideration.

In addition, we have new CD titles, which include about six hours of classic train audio. This means we have now digitized the complete Railroad Record Club collection and have made these long out-of-print recordings available to a new generation of fans. For each hour of CD audio, there is at least 10 hours of work involved. I hope that you will enjoy the results.

Our new book Chicago Trolleys is now 100% finished and has gone to press. There is also a set of 15 postcards available for a very reasonable price, using selected images from the book. The details are at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 - Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series "L" cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the "L" to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA one-man streetcar 3144 heads east on Route 16 – Lake Street somewhere between Laramie and Pine Street, while a two-car train of 400-series “L” cars runs at ground level parallel to the streetcar. The time must be near the end of red car service here, which was May 30, 1954, as that is a 1953 or 1954 Cadillac at left. The C&NW signal tower on the embankment is still there today, at about Pine Street, which is where streetcars crossed the “L” to run north of the embankment for a few blocks before terminating at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street "L" up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don't know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and "L" cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

CTA 1777 is on Lake Street heading east near Laramie, next to the ramp that once took the Lake Street “L” up to steel structure. A few of the older red trolleys were repainted in this color scheme by CTA, but I don’t know anyone who found this very attractive when compared to what it replaced. The total distance where streetcars and “L” cars ran side-by-side was only a few blocks.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

The same location today, at about 5450 West Lake Street.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street "L" in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s at the west end of the Lake Street “L” in Forest Park. This picture was probably taken circa 1961-62, since you can see that at right, work is already underway on expanding the embankment to create space for a rail yard. On October 28, 1962, the out end of Lake was relocated to the C&NW embankment at left.

Here, we see the Garfield Park "L" temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

Here, we see the Garfield Park “L” temporary tracks on Van Buren at Loomis, looking east on July 1, 1956. Construction on the adjacent Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) is pretty far along. This operation would continue until the opening of the Congress median line on June 22, 1958.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I'm not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

At left, we can see Chicago Pullman 225 under a makeshift shelter at the Seashore Trolley Museum. 225 went there in 1957, but offhand, I’m not sure when the UK double-decker tram made the trip across the Atlantic.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

A night shot from the National Tramway Museum in Crich (UK), which is home to more than 60 trams built between 1900 and 1950.

CTA's line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). According to Don's Rail Photos, "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, "By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration."

CTA’s line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). According to Don’s Rail Photos, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” (Photo by Bob Harris) Bob Harris adds, “By the way, the body of 606 is back in Illinois. When CLS&SB #73 comes out of the restoration shop, 606 goes in. We have the Cincinnati Car Company drawings. But since 606 was virtually destroyed in the November 26, 1977 fire, this will be more of a re-creation rather than a restoration.”

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

Here, we are looking south on State Street from Monroe in 1942. Construction of the State Street Subway is being finished up, with the construction of stairway entrances. New streetcar tracks have been set in concrete, while it looks like some street paving work is still going on. The famous Palmer House is at left. There are a few references to WWII visible, meaning this picture was taken after Pearl Harbor. The subway was put into regular service on October 17, 1943.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan "L", parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

This aerial view shows the old Main Chicago Post Office and the near west side in 1946, before work started on building the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower), which now runs right through the center of the building. That will give you an idea of just what a massive project this was. The old Metropolitan “L”, parts of which were displaced by the highway, has already curved off to the left, where it can be seen crossing the Union Station train sheds. Two side-by-side bridges carried the four tracks over the Chicago River. Then, tracks split, one part going to the Wells Street Terminal, the other continuing to a connection with the Loop structure at Wells and Van Buren. Now, the CTA Blue Line subway goes underneath the post office and river.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met "L" in greater detail. An eastbound two-car "L" train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

A close-up of the previous picture shows the Met “L” in greater detail. An eastbound two-car “L” train and a red CSL streetcar are visible.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield's excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

In this picture, it looks like the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower) has just opened, which would date the picture to November 1960. We are looking east near Oak Park Avenue. Many things are unfinished, and traffic is limited to two lanes in each direction (and already very crowded). According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, the new Oak Park station opened on March 19, 1960, and the station house was finished on March 27, 1961.

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee car 772 in 1959 at the barn lead to the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee..

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line car 158 is a northbound Waukegan Express on the Shore Line Route at North Chicago, July 4, 1949. This was the also date of an Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) fantrip. 158 was built by Brill in 1915.

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, "This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line."

North Shore Line city streetcar 356 in the 1940s. The consensus is this shows Waukegan, as there was no curve in Milwaukee that matches the buildings in this picture. Jerry Wiatrowski adds, “This is in Waukegan! The photographer is standing on the South side of Belvidere Street looking East/Northeast. The Westbound streetcar is turning off of Marion Street (now South Genesee Street) and will shortly turn right onto South Genesee Street as it travels North thru the center of downtown Waukegan. If I recall correctly, the “s-curve” this streetcar is on was known as “Merchants curve”. The sailors that can be seen in the windows of the car are going to downtown Waukegan from the Great Lakes Naval Base, the South end of the streetcar line.”

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

Randolph Street looking east in the late 1940s. The RKO Palace Theatre, located at 151 West Randolph, is now the Cadillac Palace.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA Pullman 106 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A view of the north side of CTA's South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

A view of the north side of CTA’s South Shops on September 10, 1952. In a previous post, we ran a picture of car 4001 taken on this trackage. That picture was taken in the 1930s, and by 1952 it appears one track had been taken out of service.

PS- Here is that photo of 4001, which we previously ran in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Four (10-12-2015):

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA's Evanston branch.

This picture was taken on September 9, 1952, looking north from the Main Street station on CTA’s Evanston branch.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the "L" without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

On September 9, 1952, a southbound North Shore Line train, running via the Shore Line Route, stops at Foster Street in Evanston. Here, NSL had its own platform to keep passengers from transferring to the “L” without paying another fare. The stairs descended to a free area. It was not necessary to have a similar platform for northbound riders, as North Shore Line conductors would check tickets on the train.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

A view from the 15th floor of the YMCA Hotel on Wabash Avenue on September 9, 1952.

Another view from the same location.

Another view from the same location.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

From the door configuration, you can tell that this prewar Chicago PCC has been converted to one-man operation. It is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in this blow-up of the previous image.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA work car L-203 and various PCCs parked behind South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CSL trailer being used as an office at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: "In pict662.jpg , your caption says "I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California." No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard."

Here, one-man car 3266 is on the south side (Route 67). The car is at Harvard, heading westbound, and I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California. On the other hand, our resident south side expert M. E. writes: “In pict662.jpg , your caption says “I believe the destination sign reads 79th and California.” No, it is 71st and California. Route 67 was known as 67th-69th-71st; abbreviated, just 69th, because that was the longest stretch. In fact, you might want to revise the caption to note that the photo is at 69th and Harvard.”

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

69th and Harvard today, looking east.

CTA 6193, a "169" or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 6193, a “169” or Broadway-State car, was built by Cummings in 1923. It was converted to one-man operation in 1949 and has suffered some damage in this September 10, 1952 view at South Shops.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: "In pict664.jpg, you say "on the west side of South Shops." No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That's because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo." We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the west side of South Shops, September 10, 1952. On the other hand, M. E. writes: “In pict664.jpg, you say “on the west side of South Shops.” No, this has to be the east side of South Shops. That’s because South Shops was on the east side of Vincennes, so its west side faced Vincennes. There is no Vincennes in this photo.” We were just going by the information written in the negative envelope that came with this image, which turns out to be incorrect. Gosh darn those out-of-town photographers!!

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA 4314 and 4304 on the east side of South Shops, September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 and postwar car 7038 at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

Two CTA freight locos at South Shops, September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA freight loco, possibly L-201, at South Shops on September 10, 1952.

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A CTA wood car at 42nd Place, end of the Kenwood branch, during the 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A two car train of singles just north of Main Street in Evanston. #27 is the lead car.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit under wire on the Evanston branch, just north of Main Street. This might be car 47.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A CTA single-car unit heads south from Isabella on the Evanston branch, sometime between 1961 and 1973.

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: "pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track. Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track. One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don't recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch. By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball)."

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: “pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track.
Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track.
One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don’t recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch.
By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball).”

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don's Rail Photos says, "509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949."

North Shore Line city streetcar 509 in August 1941. Don’s Rail Photos says, “509 was built by St Louis Car in 1909. It was rebuilt to one man and transferred to Waukegan on November 3, 1922. It was used as a waiting room at 10th Street, North Chicago, for a short time in 1947, until a new station could be built at the truncated north end of the Shore Line Route. It was sold for scrap in 1949.”

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

North Shore Line wood car 304, built by American Car in 1910, as it looked in June 1938. It became a sleet cutter in 1939 and was scrapped the following year.

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans' Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 19 at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938 during the very first fantrip of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. This car was built by Cummings in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 22 on May 10, 1940.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Gary Railways 21 in 1938, signed for 22nd Avenue. It was built by Cummings in 1927.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Northern Indiana Railways 216 in South Bend, Indiana on June 25, 1939. The occasion was Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip #9, which brought people here via the South Shore Line. This deck roof car was built by Kuhlman in 1923.

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Gary Railways 5, a 1925 Kuhlman product, is shown at Indiana Harbor on May 1, 1938, date of the very first Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Here, we see New Castle Electric Street Railway 352 in Grant Street at the Erie/B&O/P&LE station in New Castle, PA on August 24, 1941. This was a Birney car, a 1919 National product that, to these eyes, reminds me of the Osgood-Bradley Electromobiles of ten years later. All streetcar service in this area was discontinued on December 11, 1941. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City's final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a "mystery track" on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge. It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

The Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957, making it New York City’s final (to date) streetcar. Our new audio collection has a “mystery track” on it that may or may not be the Queensboro Bridge trolley. You be the judge.
It takes a serious railfan to distinguish an Osgood Bradley Electromobile, as we see here, from the very similar Brill Master Unit. Parts from sister car 601 are now being used to help the Electric City Trolley Museum Association restore Scranton Transit car 505.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill "Master Unit" built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill's idea behind the "Master Unit" was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

Indianapolis Railways 175 was a Brill “Master Unit” built in 1934. These were among the last cars built by Brill prior to the pre-PCCs. Brill’s idea behind the “Master Unit” was to create a standardized car, but as it turned out, no two orders placed were exactly alike.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

North Shore Line city streetcar 352 at Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee, June 1941.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) 13, a 1949 product of St. Louis Car Co., in side-of-the-road operation on West Chester Pike, June 2, 1954. Buses replaced trolleys a few days later to allow for the widening of this important thoroughfare.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

Here, Red Arrow 61 approaches the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, sometime in the 1930s. Car 61 was a Brill product from about 1927. Note the man wearing a straw hat, which is something people used to do on hot days.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don's Rail Photos says: "760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952." Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

North Shore Line car 760 in Milwaukee. Don’s Rail Photos says: “760 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1945 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on September 23, 1952.” Since photographer LaMar M. Kelley died on January 5, 1948 (see below), this picture cannot be later than that date.

We don't often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): "Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley's work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal." I object to the author's use of the word "crippled," which implies limitations in someone's life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley's photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

We don’t often know much about the people who took some of these historic photographs. But here is an obituary of LaMar M. Kelley appeared in the February 1948 issue of Central Headlight, an employee publication of the New York Central railroad. I also found this online (even though it gets the date wrong): “Lamar M. Kelly (d. 1947) of Elkhart IN worked as a helper at the sand house and coal pockets at Elkhart . He was crippled by polio and devoted most his time to rail photography. He traded negatives with Jerry Best who considered Kelley’s work to be of varied quality. Kelley died suddenly in a workplace accident in 1947. His negative collection was sold piecemeal.” I object to the author’s use of the word “crippled,” which implies limitations in someone’s life that are more than just physical disabilities. Personally, I think LaMar M. Kelley’s photography was quite good, and that he led a life of great accomplishment in his 50 short years.

"View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, "Save Your North Shore Line." Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

“View of two passenger interurban cars on side track for local southbound loading at Edison Court, Waukegan, Ill. Note sign on post, “Save Your North Shore Line.” Photo taken circa 1960 by Richard H. Young. Ultimately, these efforts failed, but the demise of the North Shore Line (and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin) helped spur the Federal Government into action to begin subsidizing transit across the country.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn't now need to build so much. An important lesson in life-- it is better to create than it is to destroy.

As new streetcar tracks are being laid in Milwaukee, it is important to know what we once had that was lost. Here, the North Shore Line terminal in downtown Milwaukee is being reduced to rubble in 1964, a year after passenger service ended. If only we could have found some way to keep what we had, we wouldn’t now need to build so much. An important lesson in life– it is better to create than it is to destroy.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s the latest. The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway ordered 5 cars to be built by the G C Kuhlman Car Company in 1909, numbered 311-315. The wood siding extended down to cover the previously exposed side sill channel, enhancing the look of these classic beauties.

The final wooden car order was placed with the Jewett Car Company in 1914 for six cars numbered 316-321. Car 318 was unique, with the sides being steel up to the belt line, the only wood car built this way. In the 1920s cars 319-321 were upgraded with more powerful motors and thereafter they were used together and/or with trailers.

I don’t know how you manage to put out an interesting, informative post every month, so thanks again for your website and all of the interesting stories within.

And we, in turn, really enjoy seeing these wonderful pictures that you have managed to make look better than ever, using all your skills and hard work.

Larry Sakar writes:

Hi Dave,

I just returned from my 6500 mile Amtrak trip to San Francisco, LA & Portland. I took the Hiawatha from Milwaukee to Chicago and connected to #5 the California Zephyr. Spent 2 days in SFO then took train 710 the San Joaquin to Bakersfield where they bus you to LA. The bus takes I-5 for most of the 100 mile trip to LA. As we got close to LA we were coming into Glendale and looking to my right I saw the abandoned PE r.o.w. where it crossed Fletcher Dr. There’s a picture that has been reproduced numerous times of a 3 car train of PCC’s crossing the bridge over Fletcher Dr. I thought the abandoned North Shore Line r.o.w. here in Milwaukee was high up but the PE r.o.w. is twice as high. The LA Downtown Hotel where I stayed was a block away from what used to be the Subway Terminal Bldg. at 4th & Hill.

When I was leaving the next day I rode the Red Cap’s motorized vehicle to the platform from the Metropolitan lounge. the lounge which is exclusively for 1st Class (sleeping car) passengers is on the second floor of LAUPT (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal). They travel down a ramp and in the process cross the light rail tracks. We had to stop at the crossing for the passage of a Gold Line train headed to Pasadena and Cucamonga. Bit by bit LA is rebuilding the PE at a cost of billions! So far lines to Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt. Light rail has become very big in LA.

Two days later on my way back to Portland Union Station my taxi was traveling eight alongside a Portland MAX light rail train. In SFO the F-Line streetcars to Fisherman’s Wharf were packed to the rafters. Articulated buses were operating in place of the JKLM & N light rail lines that run in the Market St. subway. The new cars that are replacing the present BREDA cars were being tested. Saw BART when the Zephyr stopped in Richmond, CA. I know they have new cars coming but they don’t appear to be there as yet. BART is experiencing a significant increase in crime on its lines. Same holds true for Portland. In fact the Portland city council voted to ban anyone convicted of a serious crime on any of its light rail lines, buses or the Portland streetcar for life.

Coming home from Portland on the Portland section of the Empire Builder we heard that the previous day’s train was hit at a crossing (don’t know where) by a water truck. The 24 year old driver smashed thru the crossing gates and slammed into the second Genesis engine destroying it, the baggage car and part of the Superliner crew car behind it. No one was injured, luckily. The cause of the accident was the truck driver texting on his cell phone and not paying attention to driving. He’ll have lots of time to text now as I’m sure he’ll be fired. He’ll lose his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and I’m sure the trucking company’s insurance carrier will be suing him for the damages they have to pay to Amtrak.

The day I was heading up the California coast from LA to Portland our train was held for almost an hour at LA for late connecting San Diego to LA (Pacific Surfliner) train 763 which is a guaranteed connection to #14. The train hit and killed some guy who was walking on the tracks north of San Diego and south of San Juan Capistrano.

It was a great trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for sharing!

FYI, Larry Sakar comments:

Hi Dave,

Fantastic posts! Those poor CA&E cars died a slow death rotting away in Wheaton yards until everything was finally scrapped in 1961.

I enjoyed the aerial shots of Canal St. station on the Metropolitan “L” (CTA). It’s not a station that seems to have been photographed a lot but there is a giant wall-sized shot of it on display in the Clinton St. CTA blue line subway station which replaced it. In the days of the “Met” there was a passageway from the south end of Union Station to the “L”. It’s still there and I understand it leads to the present day parking garage south of the station.

In the caption for that shot of the 2 car train of 4000’s on the Lake St. “L”, I don’t think the Lake St. “L” goes to Forest Park. The Green Line as it’s known today ends in Oak Park unless it’s been extended.

Looking at that North Shore Line city car photo I’d guess that is somewhere in Waukegan – Merchant’s curve perhaps? The only place in Milwaukee that had that kind of a curve was where the NSL went between 5th & 6th Sts. None of the buildings in this photo seem to match the ones that were along that curve. The curve was reconstructed after the NSL quit and is now the way you get on to southbound I-94 at Greenfield Ave. The factory building seen in so many of the photos of NSL trains on that curve still stands. Some sort of auto repair facility has been built in front of it. I just rode over that curve last Saturday in the taxi that was taking me home from the Milwaukee Intermodal station downtown. Here’s a Bob Genack photo I have showing that curve. Larry Sakar

Thanks… actually, the Lake Street “L” ground-level operation did cross Harlem Avenue into Forest Park, and there was actually a station there a short distance west which was technically the end of the line.  But few people got on there, the great majority using Marion Street instead.  The Harlem station on the embankment has entrances at Marion and on the west side of Harlem, and thus serves both Oak Park and Forest Park.

An Early History of the Railroad Record Club

Kenneth Gear and I have some new theories about the early history of the Railroad Record Club. This is based on careful study of the new material featured in our recent post Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017).

One of the homemade 78 rpm records Ken recently bought was marked as having William A. Steventon‘s first recordings. These were dated March 24, 1953.

In a 1958 newspaper interview, Steventon said his wife had given him a tape recorder for Christmas in 1953. He probably meant to say 1952, and it took him a few months to get used to operating it.

Steventon always said that the club started in 1953. However, this seemed odd since he did not issue his first 10″ 33 1/3 rpm records until some years later. The 36 numbered discs came out at the rate of four per year from 1958 through 1966.

There was an Introductory Record, which was probably issued in 1957, and a few “special” releases, the most notable of which (SP-4) documents an entire 1962 trip of the South South Shore Line in real time on three 12″ discs as a box set. That was Steventon’s masterpiece.

In 1967, RCA Custom Records closed up shop, and it was not until some years later that Steventon began reissuing some of his recordings on 12″, using a different pressing plant in Nashville. But what was the Railroad Record Club doing from 1953 through 56?

Apparently, during those years, Steventon was distributing 78 rpm records made using a portable disc cutter. These had been available for home use starting in about 1929, and were often used to record things off the radio.

A few enterprising individuals like the late Jerry Newman took such machines to jazz clubs. This is how he made several recordings of Charlie Christian jamming at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem in 1941.

In similar fashion, a portable disc cutter was used to record Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in Fargo, North Dakota in 1940. You can read about that here.

While Steventon was using a tape recorder, made portable by being hooked up to an auto battery, tape was not yet an effective way to distribute recordings in 1953. Very few people had such machines.

But most people did have record players, and the standard format of the time was 78 rpm, which yielded at most five minutes per side on 10″ aluminum discs covered with acetate. “Long Playing” 33 1/3 rpm records were a new format, just beginning to gain popularity.

No doubt Steventon dated the RRC’s beginnings to 1953, since that is when he began making recordings, but it is alsolikely that is when he started distributing them. Using a homemade disc cutter meant the records were made in real time. As things gained in popularity, this would have taken up more and more of his time.

To distill much longer recordings to fit the five minute limit, Steventon spliced together all sorts of bits and pieces, and recorded brief introductions later, to tell listeners what they were about to hear.

Some of the homemade discs that Ken purchased have numbers on them. Others have stamped titles, which would indicate to me that Steventon was making them in quantity, and had rubber stamps made for the most popular titles.

These early records were distributed using a number sequence that is totally different than the later one adopted for the 10″ records issued in 1958 or later. Here is a partial list of these early releases:

01. Potomac Edison (aka Hagerstown & Frederick)
02. Shenandoah Central
03. Capital Transit
04. Johnstown Traction
05. Altoona & Logan Valley
06. Baltimore & Ohio
07. Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
08. Claude Mahoney Radio Program about NRHS fantrip (1953)
09. Pennsylvania Railroad
10. Nickel Plate Road
11. St. Louis Public Service
15. Baltimore Transit
16. Norfolk & Western
17. Western Maryland Railway
22. East Broad Top
24. Chicago & Illinois Midland

In this period (1953-55), Steventon was living in Washington, D.C., so many of his recordings were made in that area. He was originally from Mount Carmel, Illinois, which is near the Indiana border. That explains his Hoosier accent as heard on his introductions.

Over time, Steventon branched out, making recordings in other cities when he was on vacation. Regarding his traction recordings, he generally preferred to tape the older equipment, since these made all the right noises. It was more difficult to make successful recordings of PCC cars, since they were much quieter by design, but he did do some.

The success of these records surely inspired Steventon to have records made in quantity by a pressing plant, the RCA Custom Records Division. By 1957, the 33 1/3 rpm format had become the norm, and this permitted about 15 minutes per side on a 10″ record. The resulting disc could hold as much sound as three of the 78s, and weighed a lot less, saving on postage.

Eventually, Steventon began including detailed liner notes with his records, and largely abandoned the spoken introductions.

The 1958 newspaper article mentioned above said that Steventon had sold 1000 records in the previous year. Without his previous experience with homemade records, it is unlikely that Steventon would have records pressed commercially.

We have now cleaned up and digitized many of these early recordings, which are now available under the title Railroad Record Club Rarities. The Traction recordings fill two discs, and the Steam and Diesel tracks are on a single disc. More details are below.

Sometimes, in the absence of written records, or spoken introductions, it is only possible to identify certain recordings through a bit of detective work. As an example, on one recording, the only clues we have are Steventon’s brief mention of riding cars 80 and 83.

This narrows down considerably the list of possible locations. The most likely is the Philadelphia Suburban Transporation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines. Cars 80 and 83, which fortunately have survived, were 1932 Brill-built “Master Units.”

We know that Steventon made recordings of similar cars. On one of the Altoona discs, he even refers to an Osgood Bradley Electromobile at one point as a “Master Unit.”

Car 80 still runs to this day at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, PA., so there are YouTube recordings that I compared with this one. They sound very much the same.

Finally, the Steventon recording shows cars 80 and 83 running at speed, frequently blowing the horn, very much in interurban mode. The longest Red Arrow route, and the most interurban in character, was the West Chester line, which was largely side-of-the-road operation along West Chester Pike.

The final trolley trips on West Chester took place on June 6, 1954. We have written about this before– see Red Arrow in West Chester, September 13, 2016. Buses replaced trolleys so that West chester Pike could be widened.

The National Railway Historical Society held a fantrip after the last revenue runs were made. We know that Steventon participated in NRHS events, since one of the 78 rpm records he distributed features a radio program that discusses a 1953 NRHS excursion.

So, the most logical conclusion is that this rare recording was made by Steventon in 1953 or 1954, and documents the Red Arrow line to West Chester. This recording is included on Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction.

While we are happy to report that we have finally achieved our long-sought goal of digitizing the Railroad Record Club’s later output, it seems very likely there are still more of these early recordings waiting to be discovered.

-David Sadowski

Now Available on Compact Disc

RRC-RT
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
# of Discs – 2
Price: $19.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Traction!
These are rare recordings, which date to 1953-55 and predate the 10″ LPs later issued by the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. We have used the best available sources, and while some recordings sound excellent, others have some imperfections. But all are rare, rare, rare!

Includes Altoona & Logan Valley, Baltimore Transit, Capital Transit (Washington D.C.), Johnstown Traction, Pennsylvania GG-1s, Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Red Arrow, St. Louis Public Service, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, and South Shore Line Electric Freight.

Total time – 149:52


RRC-RSD
Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club Rarities – Steam and Diesel
These are rare recordings, made by William A. Steventon between 1953 and 1955, and include his earliest recordings. These predate the regular output of the Railroad Record Club. Many are previously unissued, and some are available here in a different (and longer) format than later releases, often including William A. Steventon’s spoken introductions. In general, audio quality is good, but some recordings have imperfections. However, the best available sources have been used, and you won’t find them anywhere else. Much of this material has not been heard in over 60 years.

Includes: Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & Illinois Midland, East Broad Top, Illinois Central, Nickel Plate road, Pennsylvania Railroad, Shenadoah Central, and even a 1953 radio broadcast by Claude Mahoney that discusses an NRHS fantrip.

Total time – 69:36


RRC #22 and 31
Buffalo Creek & Gauley
Sound Scrapbook – Steam!
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #22 and 31:

The Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad (BC&G) was a railroad chartered on April 1, 1904 and ran along Buffalo Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The original Buffalo Creek and Gauley ended service in 1965.

The BC&G was one of the last all-steam railroads, never operating a diesel locomotive to the day it shut down in 1965. Its primary purpose was to bring coal out of the mountains above Widen to an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Dundon. These recordings were made in 1960.

Sound Scrapbook – Steam! covers several different steam railroads, including Canadian National, National Railways of Mexico, McCloud River Railway, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Westside Lumber Company, Duluth Missabe & Iron Range, and Pickering Lumber Corp.

Total time – 62:43


RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

RRC #32, Sampler for Years 3 & 4, and Steam Whistles and Bells
This disc features the New York Central, recorded in 1954-55. It’s mainly steam, but with some diesel. In addition, the Railroad Record Club Sampler for years 3 and 4 includes selections from discs 9 through 16. Finally, we have included a very rare circa 1955 recording, Steam Whistles and Bells, which covers several properties across the country.

Total time – 72:07


Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler's across the street. These were "greasy spoon" chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler’s across the street. These were “greasy spoon” chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

Chicago PCC Station Assignments

Robert Dillon writes:

For the last several months I have been over and thoroughly enjoying CERA Bulletin 146 and your compendium “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”. It brings back a wealth of wonderful memories from my childhood growing up in Rogers Park. I was a frequent rider on the “Clark Street Car” and was immediately smitten with the post-war PCC from the day in 1947 that I first heard the gong and witnessed an otherwise unbelievably silent arrival and breathtaking appearance of a Howard bound PCC at Clark Street and Morse Avenue.

The trivia set forth on page 429 of Bulletin 146 indicates that 400 Pullman and St Louis post-war PCCs were assigned to the Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State routes for runs out of the Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes Carbarns. What I have not been able to find in any of the literature is how those 400 cars were allocated by post-war PCC manufacturer and/or by car number series to those stations. Were there an equal number of Pullmans and St. Louis PCCs at each of Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes? I would imagine that after 49 Western was equipped exclusively with St.Louis PCCs in 1948 the St.Louis PCCs would have predominated at Clark-Devon.

There are several other car assignment questions that arise from the PCC Trivia Page. Thus, during 1948 and 1949 when the 69th St. Carbarn was handling both Western Ave and 63rd St. PCC-assigned runs, it presumably stabled all 83 of the pre-war PCCs, but how many St. Louis post-war PCCs were also then housed at 69th Street?

It is indicated that by the end of 1948, there were a few PCC cars assigned to the Cottage Grove-38th Street Carbarn Were these pre-war or post-war PCCs (Pullman or St.Louis) and what routes were they used on?

Finally, I am aware there were a number of 8 Halsted runs out of Limits Carbarn. And, maybe some Broadway-State runs as well. That suggests there were Pullman and/or St.Louis PCCs stationed at Limits, at least during the earlier 1950s. If that is true, is there any info as to the number of Pullmans vs St. Louis PCCs at Limits?

I would be very grateful for any illumination you could provide on the questions set forth above. Or, if you could point me toward resources where I might be able to find answers that would be very much appreciated as well.

Thanks very much for all of your terrific efforts on the Chicago PCCs. I can’t begin to express how much enjoyment it has given me.

There are a few different ways we can approach these questions. First of all, it’s possible that CTA records indicating which cars were assigned to which stations (car barns) and routes may still exist and can provide the necessary information.

In the absence of that, a lot can be learned by studying photographs. This would be a statistical approach. It would take some time and effort, but a lot could be learned that way. I would have to create a spreadsheet and compile data from a large number of images.

Over time, the number of cars required for each individual route changed. In general, the numbers declined since there were substantial ridership losses during the first decade of the CTA era. Some of the brochures CTA distributed when routes were changed over from streetcars to buses give the numbers of PCCs that were in use at the time of the switch to buses.

When Madison first got PCCs in late 1936, the route needed about 100 cars as I recall. Since there were only 83 prewar PCCs made, some of the 1929 Sedans filled out the schedule. These were fast cars and could keep up with the PCCs.

By the time PCCs were taken off Madison in 1953, I doubt this many cars were needed.

This reduction in the number of cars on individual routes also helps explain why it was possible for CTA to use the postwar PCCs on more routes than the four that were originally planned. Between 1947 and 1958, ridership on the CTA’s surface system was nearly cut in half.

I would be interested to know what information our readers can share with us. Hopefully, some of our frequent contributors can weigh in on this subject, thanks.

M. E. writes:

Your latest blog update contains a question about the 38th St. car barn: Which streetcar lines were served by the PCCs kept there?

It seems to me the answer is easy: Only 4 Cottage Grove. This line received some pre-war PCC cars a few years before it was converted to bus. (I have seen photos of post-war PCCs on Cottage Grove, but that would have been short-lived.)

The other south side PCC lines used south side barns as follows:

36 Broadway-State, 22 Clark-Wentworth, 8 Halsted, and 42 Halsted-Archer-Clark (all post-war PCC lines) used the barn at 77th and Vincennes. Line 22 ran in front of the barn. Line 36 ran behind the barn a few blocks on State St., and likely used 79th St. west to Vincennes to reach the barn.. I believe Halsted cars used 79th St. east to Vincennes to reach the barn (although I am not certain).

63 63rd St. (pre-war PCC) and 49 Western (post-war PCC) used the barn at 69th and Ashland. 63rd St. cars used Ashland south to 69th to reach the barn.

When the 69th and Ashland barn closed, I’m pretty sure 63rd was no longer a streetcar line, and Western Ave. cars used 69th St. east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, southwest to 77th and Vincennes.

Andre Kristopans has a great answer:

Jan 1951:
Prewar – 75 69th, 8 Kedzie
St Louis 40 Limits, 50 69th, 199 Devon
Pullman 225 77th, 85 Kedzie

May 1953:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 66 77th, 41 69th, 160 Devon
Pullman 215 77th, 63 Kedzie, 31 Limits

March 1954:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 74 77th, 38 69th, 155 Devon
Pullman 87 77th

June 1957

4372-4411 77th
7136-7181 Devon
7182-7224 77th

Prior to 1957, assignment sheets only showed series by barn, not actual car numbers.

To get more specific than that, we would have to study photos to figure out where particular cars were assigned at various times. By 1957, all remaining cars in use were made by St. Louis Car Company in 1946-48.

Regarding 4391, the only postwar car saved, I know it spent time on Western Avenue before ending its days on Wentworth. According to the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, it was assigned to 69th station and later 77th. Therefore it was spared a lot of outdoor storage, which would have been the case at Devon.

There were various mechanical differences between the postwar Pullmans and the St. Louis cars. Some stations (car barns) were equipped to handle both types, and others were not.

These mechanical differences were spelled out in detail in a 24-page CTA troubleshooting manual for PCC operators. If anyone has a copy of this manual and can provide us with the information, we would very much appreciate it. This brochure was a greatly expanded version of one that CSL issued in 1946, which was only four pages.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

plazahotel

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley's, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley’s, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.


1920s Mystery Photos Redux

These two pictures appeared in The Rider’s Reader (January 31, 2016):

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is "State and Washington looking south." This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our readers have identified this as being "Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago." The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Miles Beitler writes:

I’m writing about two unidentified photos on your trolleydodger.com blog. The captions state that the photos appear to be of State Street in the loop in the 1920s or 1930s. One reader suggested that it was part of the 1926 Eucharistic Congress.

I don’t think it was the Eucharistic Congress (which I know was held that year in Mundelein) but I do think the year was 1926. All of the flags and patriotic decorations lead me to believe that it was the celebration of the United States sesquicentennial (150th birthday) which would have been July 4, 1926.

That’s an interesting suggestion, thanks. But one picture does show a large crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral. What would that have to do with the Fourth of July?

Miles replied:

The two photos might have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that both show patriotic decorations along State Street. I was referring to those decorations which I believe were there for the sesquicentennial.

The crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral could have been there for the Eucharistic Congress (although the Congress was held far away in Mundelein), or for a special Sesquicentennial Mass, or maybe even for the funeral of a prominent local politician or notorious gangster. But someone at Holy Name should be able to tell you.

Your blog also has a photo of a NSL Electroliner speeding through Skokie at “East Prairie Road circa 1960”, and a current photo of the CTA Yellow Line labeled “East Prairie Road looking east along the CTA Yellow Line today”. I believe the “today” photo is actually looking WEST; you can see the remnants of the Crawford Avenue station, as well as Crawford Avenue itself, one block to the west. As for the Electroliner photo, the eastbound and westbound mainline tracks are closer together near the CTA Skokie Shops than this photo indicates. So I think it might be just east of Kostner Avenue; there was a half-mile long siding along the westbound track which ended at that point, as well as a crossover between the two mainline tracks which is visible in the distance.

You may be correct about the North Shore Line picture. I will revise the caption accordingly.

The other two pictures appear to have been taken at one time and so I am inclined to think they relate to the same event, whatever it was.

Thanks.

Finally, Miles wrote:

I did some quick research and it seems clear that the photo of Holy Name Cathedral is indeed of the Eucharistic Congress procession. There was an outdoor mass at Soldier Field in addition to the larger one held in Mundelein. The photo of State and Washington Streets seems to depict similar decorations which may have been placed along the route to Soldier Field.

Thanks for your interesting blog and photos!

Well, thank you for all your help. As we have noted before, the information that comes with photos may or may not be correct. There were a couple of instances recently where the this info turned out not to be correct. This sometimes happened when the photographer was from out-of-town and thus was not as familiar with locations as one of the locals.

In the case of the North Shore Line photo, what’s written on the negative envelope actually matches what you say. I chose the opposite direction since I was unaware of the siding you mention. Now it all makes sense. However, further research has led me to think the photo was taken

Here is the photo in question, which originally appeared in Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA's Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

The True Colors of Chicago’s Postwar PCCs

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

On the Chicagotransit Yahoo group, Damin Keenan writes:

What recommendations would you have for matching CTA’s colors using model paints?

Specifically I need Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange and Mint Green and Alpine White.

Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange are famous among railfans as the original color scheme adopted by the Chicago Surface Lines for their 600 postwar PCC streetcars. Some of these paints were also used on cars and trucks in that era.

FYI, I found a 1950 truck paint called Swamp Holly Orange:

http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcodedisplay.cgi?color=Swamp%20Holly%20Orange

Ironically, this color was associated with the Yellow Freight Lines. According to the Wikipedia:

In 1929, A.J. Harrell enlisted the help of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company to improve highway safety by determining the vehicle color that would be the most visible on the nation’s highways. After the review was completed, it was determined that the color of the Swamp Holly Orange would be most visible from the greatest distance. Swamp Holly Orange became the color used on all company tractors.

There is also a commercially available enamel paint by that name:

https://www.imperialsupplies.com/item/0850700

However, to my eye these may look darker than what I recall seeing from photos. This was all in an era before the Pantone Matching System. Apparently, Swamp Holly Orange is Pantone 151.

You might try this for Mercury Green:

http://www.pfs-ware.com/WhitePapers/pdf/paintcodes.pdf

Croydon Cream is a color used on Harley-Davidson motorcycles:

http://www.harleydavidson-paint.com/croyden-cream.html

Mint Green and Alpine White shouldn’t bee too hard to find, but then again, there are many variables that determine how color will look, which include indoor viewing, outdoor viewing, how many coats there are, etc. plus how much sun and weathering the paint got prior to when pictures were taken.

Even in the old days, you will notice how touch-up paints did not always match the original. That was one factor that led CTA to switch to a darker green on the PCCs in the early 1950s.

Modern paints are also, most likely, made of somewhat different ingredients than the original paints were.

You might do just as well to try and “eyeball” the color based on good quality photographs. Even in the old days, I expect there were variations in these colors, as there were in such things as “Traction Orange.”

I recall hearing a story that there was a heated argument out at IRM between some people who were wrangling over what constituted Traction Orange. Finally, they consulted an old-timer who told them that it was simply whatever was on sale at the paint store at that particular time.

Some of these issues were discussed in a blog post I wrote a while back:

https://ceramembersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/any-color-you-like-transit-trivia-1/

Pay particular attention to the comments, thanks.

PS- Here are a few formulas for Swamp Holly Orange, from the October 1988 issue of Model Railroader:

Accu-Paint: 2 parts AP-72 D&RGW Yellow, 1 part AP-73 Chessie Yellow

Floquil: 3 parts D&RGW Yellow, 1 part Reefer Yelow

Polly S: 2 parts Reefer Yellow, 1 part Reefer Orange

Scalecoat: 1 part 15 Reefer Yellow, 1 part 39 D&RGW Old Yellow

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks! Especially if they have a streetcar RPO postmark (see below). You can reach us either by leaving a comment on this post, or at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CTA’s Yellow Line Returns

Oakton station is open for business again.

Oakton station is open for business again.

After a five month interruption, service on the Chicago Transit Authority’s five mile long Yellow Line resumed today (October 3Oth). Part of the 90-year old embankment had collapsed back in May, probably due to a nearby construction project.

To celebrate this, the CTA ran a ceremonial train at about 8:00 am, made up of new “L” cars 5713-5714, the final pair of 5000-series cars received. I did not get to see this train as I arrived in Skokie about an hour later. Various dignitaries, including the mayor of Skokie, were to be on it.

However, besides some 5000s, the CTA also ran a pair of 2400s on the Yellow Line for a while. Nearly 40 years old now, these are considered historic cars. A pair of them are already out at the Illinois Railway Museum.

When the 4000s were finally retired from service in 1973, they were about 50 years old. At the time, that seemed really old. Now 40 years is not too shabby either, but when you are of a certain age, having lived through the 1970s, it’s the nostalgia that seems a bit strange. It will get even worse, since 1990s nostalgia is just around the corner.

I had thought perhaps they would wait until after the AM rush hour to run the ceremonial train, but, as CTA’s Graham Garfield explained to me, there are only three sets of cars on the line then anyway, so it’s not like they would have got in the way of anything.

The weather, fortunately, was sunny all day, with temps in the mid-50s, so we got some good shots of what was going on.

We have written about the Yellow Line before. On February 3rd, our post Skokie Swift: The “True Gen” covered the origins of the line, and included several pictures of the CTA’s 1920s-era 4000-series “L” cars in operation there. We also featured some images of the old Niles Center line (predecessor of the Skokie Swift/Yellow Line) in our post More Chicago Rapid Transit Photos on September 21.

Photos of the Niles Center branch in action are somewhat rare, since it only operated for 23 years. By comparison, the North Shore Line used these tracks for about 38 years, and the Skokie Swift went into operation 51 years ago.

I have some history with this line, since my Dad and I rode it on the very first day of operation in April 1964. Back then, service was provided by high-speed versions of the CTA’s single car units in the 1-50 series, which were then less than five years old.

The emphasis was completely on speed. All intermediate stops that had been served by the old Niles Center branch were eliminated, and these cars could shake, rattle, and roll at speeds of at least 60 miles per hour. The total trip between Dempster and Howard only took about six minutes or so, at an average speed of at least 45 mph end to end.

I can assure you it was quite a thrilling ride!

In the years since, things have slowed down a bit, and one additional station has been added at Oakton. Still, the ride takes only about 8 and a half minutes, as you can see from the back window video we shot today. This will give you a good look at the 1200 feet of right-of-way that had to be redone. You can tell where it is, since the new fill is pure white, and there are CTA personnel walking around inspecting things.

Ordinarily, I would try to smooth out some of the shakiness in the video, but I think that leaving it this way does give you more of the exciting feel of riding the Yellow Line.

In the five months since service was disrupted, CTA has been offering replacement bus service. But to entice riders back, they are offering free rides for one week, and free parking in the Dempster lot for the rest of this year.

It is a smart strategy and appears to be working. The parking lot was already full by the time I got there.

Kudos to CTA for a job well done.

-David Sadowski


CERA Bulletin 146 Gets a Rave Review

Railfan and Raiload magazine reviews Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958 in their November issue. I am one of the co-authors of that book.

You can read their glowing review, filled with superlatives, here. This is reproduced with the permission of Railfan and Railroad.

Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Bulletin 146 is available from CERA and their dealers.


New Print Making Services

We’ve been getting requests to make prints available from some of the many great photographs we have posted to The Trolley Dodger. So, we have decided to offer 5″ x 7″ and 8.5″ x 11″ color and black-and-white prints to you at very reasonable prices. These are suitable for matting and framing.

One of our customers says that our work is “Simply stupendous!” We hope you will agree.

These are high resolution digital prints on glossy paper, made on a professional grade Epson model 1430 printer. Each print comes with descriptive information on the back, and will be shipped in the USA via First Class Mail. Shipping within the United States is included in these prices.

Prints will be made full-frame unless otherwise indicated, and may have white borders since most original images are not directly proportional to these print sizes. Prices for other sizes are available upon request. The largest size we can make is 13″ x 44″.

All prints will be shipped in manila envelopes with cardboard inserts to prevent them from being bent.

Many, but not all, the images posted to The Trolley Dodger are available. We can only make prints for those images that we either have rights to or are in the public domain. It is not our intention to deprive others of the profit from their copyrighted work. Let us know what you are interested in and we can discuss this.

Each image on our web site has a unique identifying number. If you hover your mouse over the image, you should be able to see this number. If you click on the image to bring up a larger version of it, that is the last part of the URL (like “misc783,” for example).

While the images we post to the Internet have a “watermark” on them, this will not appear on the prints we make for you, which also use higher resolution.

There is a shipping surcharge for orders sent outside the United States— $5 USD for Canada, and $10 USD elsewhere. There are payment buttons for these surcharges at the bottom of this page.

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8.5″ x 11″ Color or Black-and-White Prints
Price: $7.50 each


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Price: $3.75 each


We Thank Our Readers

Since this blog began just over nine months ago, we have had more than 85,000 page views from 25,000 individuals. We’ve just gone over 10,000 page views this month for the third time this year. We are well on our way to a total of over 100,000 page views by the end of this year.

We thank you for your support and encouragement.


P1060087

Northbound at Oakton.

Northbound at Oakton.

CTA has added extra signage to promote safety.

CTA has added extra signage to promote safety.

Southbound at Oakton.

Southbound at Oakton.

P1060091

2400s going into the turnback track at Dempster.

2400s going into the turnback track at Dempster.

CTA historic cars 2455-2456 ready to head south.

CTA historic cars 2455-2456 ready to head south.

P1060096

P1060097

P1060098

P1060099

2400s interior. This class of cars has been retired from service now.

2400s interior. This class of cars has been retired from service now.

A Red Line train prepares to enter Howard station for its run south.

A Red Line train prepares to enter Howard station for its run south.

Howard Yard is a busy place, with lots of trains coming and going.

Howard Yard is a busy place, with lots of trains coming and going.

Two Yellow Line trains pass each other. Besides the 2400s, I saw 5519-5520 and 5521-5522 running.

Two Yellow Line trains pass each other. Besides the 2400s, I saw 5519-5520 and 5521-5522 running.

P1060104

2400s at Howard.

2400s at Howard.

A northbound Red Line train approaches Howard.

A northbound Red Line train approaches Howard.

A southbound Red Line train.

A southbound Red Line train.

A northbound Purple Line train approaches Howard. They used to be called the “Evanston Express.”

Yellow Line train 5521-5522 enters the pocket track south of Howard.

Yellow Line train 5521-5522 enters the pocket track south of Howard.

Comings and goings at Howard.

Comings and goings at Howard.

A Yellow Line train prepares to head north from the pocket, while a Purple Line train approaches.

A Yellow Line train prepares to head north from the pocket, while a Purple Line train approaches.

One of the last AM Purple Line Express trains enters the station. It will continue to Linden over the Evanston branch.

One of the last AM Purple Line Express trains enters the station. It will continue to Linden over the Evanston branch.

Our Yellow Line train is finally ready to head back to Skokie.

Our Yellow Line train is finally ready to head back to Skokie.

5000s at Dempster.

5000s at Dempster.

Going into the turnback track.

Going into the turnback track.

Stopping at the pedestrian crossing.

Stopping at the pedestrian crossing.

P1060119

5500s ready to head south from Dempster.

5500s ready to head south from Dempster.

Northbound at Main Street in Skokie.

Northbound at Main Street in Skokie.

A southbound train of 5000s approaches Kostner at speed, having just gone around the Oakton curve.

A southbound train of 5000s approaches Kostner at speed, having just gone around the Oakton curve.

A northbound train at Kostner.

A northbound train at Kostner.

From 1925 to 1948, Chicago Rapid Transit Company trains terminated at this arch, which supports high tension lines. The North Shore Line station was originally situated in front of the arch, with tracks on the sides. The track layout was reconfigured in 1964 for Skokie Swift service a year after the North Shore Line quit.

From 1925 to 1948, Chicago Rapid Transit Company trains terminated at this arch, which supports high tension lines. The North Shore Line station was originally situated in front of the arch, with tracks on the sides. The track layout was reconfigured in 1964 for Skokie Swift service a year after the North Shore Line quit.

The old Insull-era North Shore Line station has been moved to a slightly different location, but has been preserved.

The old Insull-era North Shore Line station has been moved to a slightly different location, but has been preserved.

A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part Two

CNS&M 163 at the head of a two-car train at Ravinia on the Shore Line Route, July 24, 1955, the last day of service. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

CNS&M 163 at the head of a two-car train at Ravinia on the Shore Line Route, July 24, 1955, the last day of service. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

This is the second of a two-part series on the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban that ran between Chicago and Milwaukee until January 21, 1963. (You will find the first installment here.)

Here are nearly two dozen classic North Shore Line images in glorious black-and-white, from some legendary railfan shutterbugs. We were lucky enough to track down the original negatives for all of today’s pictures, which even include a couple that measure 4×5 inches.

The late C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. (1918-2009) took the Shore Line photo (reproduced above) at Ravinia on the final day of service, July 24, 1955. He was employed by the South Shore Line, mainly as a motorman, from 1939 until he retired in 1983, following in his father’s footsteps. C. Edward Hedstrom Sr. worked there from 1921 to 1960, so their combined South Shore service covers 63 years. Chances are Mr. Hedstrom also took the other 1955 Shore Line photo we are featuring today, but it is not so marked.

Today’s photos show how much variety there once was in North Shore Line operations, including the Shore Line as well as the Skokie Valley Route, the branch line between Mundelein and Lake Bluff, city streetcars (including Birneys), freight locos as well as merchandise dispatch. It was quite an operation.

There is a trail now along much of the Shore Line Route, which has now been gone for 60 years. But the memories of this fine interurban railroad live on.

-David Sadowski

PS- If you enjoy seeing these great images, check out the fine offerings in our Online Store. The proceeds help support the original research that our readers like. We need your help and support to continue this work in the future, for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere.

A two-car (170-709) Chicago Express “at speed” (although most likely moving very slowly) at Greenleaf and Fifth Avenues in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Car 775 heads up a northbound Milwaukee Limited on South 5th Street at West Greenfield Avenue on October 31, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo, Super XX Film)
Joseph Hazinski adds, “One could board or exit a train at this intersection. I grew up near 6th and Greenfield and observed many a train pass this way. This was the location where I saw the last Southbound train depart Milwaukee on that cold night in January 1963. Someone was tolling the rear gong in the last car as it went by. It was too cold to cry.”

Coach 746 on 6th Street at Clybourn near the North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee on May 12, 1945. This car was equipped with small diaphragms for use next to diners. (Richard H. Young Photo, Verichrome Film)

Coach 746 on 6th Street at Clybourn near the North Shore Line terminal in Milwaukee on May 12, 1945. This car was equipped with small diaphragms for use next to diners. (Richard H. Young Photo, Verichrome Film)

Silverliner 758 at the CNS&M terminal at 6th and Michigan in Milwaukee, circa 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Silverliner 758 at the CNS&M terminal at 6th and Michigan in Milwaukee, circa 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Steeple cab loco 452 at Pettibone Yard, North Chicago Junction, during a snowstorm on February 13, 1960.

Steeple cab loco 452 at Pettibone Yard, North Chicago Junction, during a snowstorm on February 13, 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

One of the two Electroliners at North Chicago Junction nortbound approaching Junction station. This picture was taken no later than 1955, as the Shore Line route via Sheridan Road to Waukegan is still present.

One of the two Electroliners at North Chicago Junction nortbound approaching Junction station. This picture was taken no later than 1955, as the Shore Line route via Sheridan Road to Waukegan is still present.

Car 163 heads up a southbound two-car train at the North Shore Line's Wilmette station at East Railroad and Greenleaf Avenues on the Shore Line Route on October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo, Super XX Film)

Car 163 heads up a southbound two-car train at the North Shore Line’s Wilmette station at East Railroad and Greenleaf Avenues on the Shore Line Route on October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo, Super XX Film)

A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

A current view of where the North Shore Line station in downtown Wilmette was once located. We are at the corner of Wilmette Avenue and Poplar Drive, looking to the southeast. The station was located in what is now the parking lot of a strip mall. The storefronts at rear are on Greenleaf Avenue, where the CNS&M Shore Line Route turned east for some slow street running before connecting up with the CRT/CTA at Linden Avenue.

A current view of where the North Shore Line station in downtown Wilmette was once located. We are at the corner of Wilmette Avenue and Poplar Drive, looking to the southeast. The station was located in what is now the parking lot of a strip mall. The storefronts at rear are on Greenleaf Avenue, where the CNS&M Shore Line Route turned east for some slow street running before connecting up with the CRT/CTA at Linden Avenue.

The North Shore Line's Silverliners, when freshly painted and seen in bright sunlight, positively gleamed.

The North Shore Line’s Silverliners, when freshly painted and seen in bright sunlight, positively gleamed.

CNS&M line car 606 at Harrison Yard on October 12, 1961. Don's Rail Photos says, "606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum."

CNS&M line car 606 at Harrison Yard on October 12, 1961. Don’s Rail Photos says, “606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.”

Electric locos 454, 452, and 453 head up a southbound freight train that will soon switch off from the Skokie Valley to the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff in this June 3, 1960 scene. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Electric locos 454, 452, and 453 head up a southbound freight train that will soon switch off from the Skokie Valley to the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff in this June 3, 1960 scene. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 767 at Highwood on the Shore Line Route on April 29, 1940.

CNS&M 767 at Highwood on the Shore Line Route on April 29, 1940.

A southbound Chicago Limited, headed for the Skokie Valley Route, crosses the 6th Street bridge in Milwaukee. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

A southbound Chicago Limited, headed for the Skokie Valley Route, crosses the 6th Street bridge in Milwaukee. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Car 775 at the Milwaukee terminal on May 1, 1952. Note the sign at right, advertising “Blatz, Milwaukee’s Finest Beer.” (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Car 714 at the Harrison shops in Milwaukee in January 1950. This car, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1926, operates now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Car 714 at the Harrison shops in Milwaukee in January 1950. This car, built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1926, operates now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Cars 751 and 775 at Harrison shops on May 21, 1952. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Cars 751 and 775 at Harrison shops on May 21, 1952. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

North Shore Birney cars 332 and 334 at Harrison shops in 1948. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

North Shore Birney cars 332 and 334 at Harrison shops in 1948. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

A Birney “at speed” near the Harrison shops, probably in the late 1940s.

CNS&M 760 and a Birney streetcar at Harrison shops in Milwaukee. Looks like the 760 is being cleaned.

CNS&M 760 and a Birney streetcar at Harrison shops in Milwaukee. Looks like the 760 is being cleaned.

An Electroliner heads north on the 6th Street bridge on December 28, 1953. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

An Electroliner heads north on the 6th Street bridge on December 28, 1953. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Car 168 at Fort Sheridan on the Shore Line Route on July 24, 1955, the last day of service.

Car 168 at Fort Sheridan on the Shore Line Route on July 24, 1955, the last day of service.

North Shore city streetcar 360 at 5th and Harrison in Milwaukee on May 12, 1949.

North Shore city streetcar 360 at 5th and Harrison in Milwaukee on May 12, 1949.

Cars 757 and 168 at 5th and Harrison in Milwaukee on May 12, 1949. Car 757, built by Standard Steel Car Company in 1930, is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Cars 757 and 168 at 5th and Harrison in Milwaukee on May 12, 1949. Car 757, built by Standard Steel Car Company in 1930, is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Merchandise dispatch car 228 at Harrison Street, Milwaukee, on July 17, 1947. This car is now preserved at the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin.

Merchandise dispatch car 228 at Harrison Street, Milwaukee, on July 17, 1947. This car is now preserved at the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin.

Westbound car 179 at South Upton tower, approaching the crossing with the Chicago and North Western, on June 3, 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Westbound car 179 at South Upton tower, approaching the crossing with the Chicago and North Western, on June 3, 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 168 heads up a three-car Chicago Local on the Shore Line Route, stopping at Linden Avenue in Wilmette. The date is February 11, 1939 and we are looking north.

CNS&M 168 heads up a three-car Chicago Local on the Shore Line Route, stopping at Linden Avenue in Wilmette. The date is February 11, 1939 and we are looking north.

The same location today. Not sure if the building at left incorporates any of the old building seen in the 1939 picture.

The same location today. Not sure if the building at left incorporates any of the old building seen in the 1939 picture.

A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part One

Electroliner set 803-804 departs Kenosha in January 1963, shortly before the end of service.

Electroliner set 803-804 departs Kenosha in January 1963, shortly before the end of service.

Our very first post (January 21st) featured the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee railroad, and it is high time for another look at that storied interurban.

Last month was the 60th anniversary of the abandonment of the Shore Line portion of the North Shore Line system, but since we showcased the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in several posts last month, we did not have the opportunity to commemorate that. In the first of two posts, we offer a potpourri of classic North Shore Line scenes for your enjoyment.

CNS&M line car 606 at Kelly Siding on July 14, 1959. The colors on this slide have been digitally restored, after having been shifted to red. The original slide must have been one of the early Ektachromes or Agfachromes that turned out not to have stable dyes.

CNS&M line car 606 at Kelly Siding on July 14, 1959. The colors on this slide have been digitally restored, after having been shifted to red. The original slide must have been one of the early Ektachromes or Agfachromes that turned out not to have stable dyes.

CNS&M 159, 169, and 175 heading southbound from Milwaukee at the Racine Quarry siding on April 19, 1959. Fans today sometimes refer to these as "Greenliners."

CNS&M 159, 169, and 175 heading southbound from Milwaukee at the Racine Quarry siding on April 19, 1959. Fans today sometimes refer to these as “Greenliners.”

NSL 711 passing a CTA gate car at Jarvis looking south in the 1950s, headed for the Mundelein branch.

NSL 711 passing a CTA gate car at Jarvis looking south in the 1950s, headed for the Mundelein branch.

A snowy Skokie Valley Route photo run-by during a North Shore Line fantrip on February 21, 1960.

A snowy Skokie Valley Route photo run-by during a North Shore Line fantrip on February 21, 1960.

NSL 167 is at the tail end of a northbound two-car train approaching the CTA Sheridan Road station on July 6, 1955. This was a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route during its final weeks of service.

NSL 167 is at the tail end of a northbound two-car train approaching the CTA Sheridan Road station on July 6, 1955. This was a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route during its final weeks of service.

A single car NSL Chicago Limited crosses the Chicago River heading south on Chicago’s “L” system.

CNS&M 182 heads up an eastbound train at St. Mary's Road in the Thornbury Village subdivision (Glen Oaks,IL) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962.

CNS&M 182 heads up an eastbound train at St. Mary’s Road in the Thornbury Village subdivision (Glen Oaks,IL) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962.

A three-car North Shore Line train heads north on Chicago’s north side “L”, signed for Highwood on the Shore Line Route. Cliff Burnstein adds, “The train is passing Swift School, the only Chicago grade school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool (at the time, at least). The school is still there, approx. 5600 North Winthrop. I attended Swift 1949-1951 and remember well the distraction of passing “L” trains and the NSL. I was probably the only kid in class thus distracted.”

CNS&M Diner-Lounge car 415.

CNS&M Diner-Lounge car 415.

Limited/Special Train Consists

Kyle V. writes:

I am seeking your assistance in figuring this out, as you seem to be particularly knowledgeable in matters pertaining to Chicago interurban history, and your blog posts have been filled with helpful resources.

For a while now (and to no avail) I have been trying to determine what a typical consist would have been on one of the CNS&M Limited/Special trains (e.g. the Prairie State Limited, the Badger Special, Gold Coast Limited etc.) in the Insull years.

I am currently attempting to model one of these trains (though not any one in particular) in N scale, and I have so far acquired both a steel coach and a parlor-observation car (#420). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find any resource that would let me know what other coaches to acquire for this purpose.

Most photographs (that I have come across) featuring these trains focus primarily on the parlor-observation car, and are taken at such an angle that the numbers and window configurations of the other coaches cannot be determined with any accuracy. I have thus far been unable to find any sort of car assignment records from this era.

I come to you with this in the hopes that perhaps you are privy to some sort of documentation, photographic or otherwise, that could help me solve this issue once and for all (Or could perhaps point me in the direction where I could find this information myself).

Thank you.

We will do my best to help you out, thanks.  I posted your request to various online discussion groups, where people who might know the answer would read it.  Here are the responses:

Randy Stahl:

Two coaches from the 737-776 Pullman or Standard cars , followed by the 418 or 419 diner and on the tail end you can use your 420.

If you want to back date the train a few years use the 409, 414-416 diners and some coaches from the last order from Cincinnati along with Observation cars from the 410-413 group.

I don’t think the train length ever or rarely exceeded 4-5 cars on the name trains. I have seen pictures of North Shore trains with 6-7 cars and two diners but I don’t believe they were name trains.

I wanted to model these trains too, I couldn’t make up my mind which ones so I am modeling all of them!!

Scott Greig:

It’s been a long time since I looked at any of my CNS&M timetables, let alone any from the name train era…but I want to say that you would see a diner OR an obs car on a given name train, but not both. To a certain degree, that would be duplicating services, as both types of equipment had parlor and/or meal service.

Randy Stahl:

I assumed the diners were for the coach passengers on the named trains?

Seth Bramson:

I believe that the name trains in those days, pre-Electroliners (and maybe some even after the E-liners) carried a dining car.

Lynn Willer:

The North Shore used to be able to loop in Milwaukee so the parlor open end cars could turn easily. North Shore used to terminate further north until the new station was built.

Obviously pre-Electroliner. The Liner solved turning trains.

The Limiteds could have the usual coach cars, the diner and the Parlor.

Probably if you can find the CERA books on the North Shore you may have good info there.

Mitch Markovitz:

The parlors were deadheaded to Harrison to use the wye and be re-stocked.

There would only be coach passengers on a train with diners. I believe for a very short time the noon train, The Cream City, carried both a diner and a parlor.

After the work rule of one trainman per car was changed diners ran second out in a consist leaving the hind end free for making adds and cuts. The kitchen was generally placed facing the rear so the conductor who worked the head 2 cars would not have to continually pass through the corridor into the dining room.

After 1932 when full parlors were discontinued some of the diners had two rows of tables and chairs removed which were replaced by parlor chairs taken from the full parlors. Thus we see printed materials referring to “Parlor-Dining” service with the admonition, “Parlor chairs may be occupied for the service of meals. Patrons occupying chairs beyond the service will be charged the regular fixed rate for such service.”

That (a diner car and a parlor car) makes a nice looking train but I don’t think it’s prototypical. I note in another email that only one train for a very short time carried both.

Diners didn’t provide parlor accommodations until after ’32 when the full parlors were discontinued. Parlor meal service remains a mystery to me. I’ve never seen a photo of the kitchen or a menu. 1923 – 1930 was still in the prohibition era so all my imagination tells me is lemonade and a sandwich.

Parlors ran in non-meal time periods.

As for diners during the ’20s during breakfast departures, the lunch departures of 11am, noon, ans 1pm, and dinner time diners were in consists of non-name trains and I’m not sure they were mentioned in the timetables (CERA Bulletins.)

Joseph Hazinski:

If you look at the track diagrams, the observation cars could also be wyed downtown at 2nd and Wells St. on the streetcar line, a much shorter deadhead then Harrison Avenue. I don’t know if they were but it was possible. The first dinner-parlor cars operated from this location when the terminal was located there before the 6th and Michigan location was built. Also I think restocking took place at the 6th and Michigan terminal. Harrison Avenue shops did not seem to have a place for a commissary while there was food service in the downtown station.

Joe Stupar:

Employee timetable 23, from June 05, 1926, lists the train numbers of trains carrying dining and parlor cars. They are:

Dining cars: Daily; 901, 415, 905, 900, 414, and 906. Daily, except Sunday; 405, 413, 429, 412, 904, and 426.

Parlor Cars: 915, 903, 415, 421, 900, 902, 420, and 916.

The two trains that had both, 415 and 900, the 415 was the Cream City Special departing 63rd-Dorchester at 11:33am for Milwaukee via the Skokie Valley Route, arriving Milwaukee at 2:05 PM. The 900 was the Interstate Limited, departing Milwaukee at 7:15 AM and operating via Skokie Valley to 63-Dorchester, arriving 9:46.

These are the named trains listed in that timetable, with direction and departure time:
900 – Interstate Limited (SB) 7:15 AM (possible misprint, also labeled Badger Limited)
901 – Badger Limited (NB) 6:48 AM
902 – Eastern Limited (SB) 10:00 AM
903 – Eastern Limited (NB) 9:23 AM
414 – Cream City Special (SB) 12:00 Noon
415 – Cream City Special (NB) 11:33 AM
420 – Prairie State Special (SB) 3:00PM
421 – Prairie State Special (NB) 2:33PM
916 – Metropolitan (SB) 3:55 PM
905 – Interstate Limited (NB) 4:26 PM
904 – Illinois Limited (SB) 4:45 PM
906 – Badger Limited (SB) 5:15 PM

Hope this is helpful. Of course, I’m sure it changed from timetable to timetable.

Mitch Markovitz:

That diner and parlor consist didn’t last long. Hard to find in timetables. The thought of it fascinated me for many decades.

On the South Shore after the arrival of the short parlors, Diner + parlor consist existed on 3 round trips with the long parlors appearing only mid-morning and mid-afternoon. I’ve seen photos of the kitchen in a long South Shore parlor and it had a broiler arrangement similar to Pullman broiler buffet cars indicating some form of hot meal service.

I wasn’t there, and I can only report on histories I’ve read. Yes, physically you could tote a parlor with a motor on to the street, then shove the thing all the way in to the midst of downtown Milwaukee streetcar traffic, both NSL and Milwaukee Electric, cross over to the opposite main for the return to the depot, and then re-stock, clean and prepare for the return trip in an hour.

The prospect of that move in my mind as an operating railroader is questionable.

Joe Stupar:

It is also interesting that in 1923 there were no trains with both (dining cars and parlor cars). Timetable 18 lists:

Dining Cars: Daily; 901, 415, 905, 900, 414, 904. Monday only; 921. Saturday only; 417. Daily except Sun; 413, 427, 412, 426. Daily except Sat/Sun; 436.

Parlor Cars: 903, 421, 431, 902, 420, 430.

I have not scanned all of the timetables yet, it jumps from 23 to 52 which was in 1942. This does not tell much about the consist, but I would have to guess the cars other than dining or parlor cars would be however many motors they needed. Perhaps 3 or 4 given the publicity photos I have seen from the 1920s.

George Campbell:

In addition to handling of diners and observation cars in Milwaukee, before the new terminal how did the NSL handle empty incoming cars after passengers were unloaded?

Chuck (mr600v):

Although dining and/or parlor/observation cars sometimes were wyed at Harrison, it was much shorter and easier to wye them at 2nd and Wells.

After unloading, the last coach (motor car) and the parlor/ob could have been cut from the train, backed into the intersection, changed ends then proceeded to 2nd and Wells with the motor car leading. There it would likely pull south on 2nd, then back across Wells, then headed west on Wells again with the motor car leading.

At the station, the two cars could be backed into the station and additional cars added to the front to make up the next train out.

If they were wyed at Harrison, a motor car would have been added to the rear of the parlor/ob to pull it through the city, not push it.

Mitch Markovitz:

Do you have direct evidence that this was the way? I know in Campbell’s book he says he saw the cars taken to Harrison.

After service terminated at 6th and Michigan my opinion, and it’s merely my opinion that making a move with those cars into downtown traffic (streetcar, pedestrian, and other) along with trying to fit the move on Wells Street where the tracks were also used by Transport Company streetcars, along with presenting limited train equipment in the area where the old depot was would be questionable. The distance may be shorter to run up, but my opinion is that the safer. Most efficient route would be down to Harrison.

Before the new depot opened and the trains went to 2nd and Grand (Wisconsin I believe) there were no obs cars. There were the parlor diners.
My opinion, and it’s merely my opinion, is that the consist changed ends, crossed over and waited to depart.

I think we can consult some early timetables to see the times and frequencies.

It was that very short span in 1926 where there was a consist with both.

The brochure “A Trip on the North Shore Line” discusses a train with both and there’s an illustration showing the obs platform with a drum sign reading, “Cream City.”

Randy Stahl:

I based my consist info on that very article (business trip on the Cream City Special). I also know that in the old footage of the Eucharistic Congress they clearly show not only a parlor obs but the sharp viewer will also spot a 404-406 (I think) parlor diner made up as a full parlor car.

I think that there were plenty of instances and opportunity where the two were used together, granted perhaps not on a scheduled train.

I am thinking about the number of cars they had after 1928.

404, 405 and 406 were converted to coaches by Cincinnati in 1923 (734, 735 and 736).

407-408-409, 414-417, 418,419. I think some were stored in 1928 (maybe the 407 and 408), I don’t know how many were still in use by the time the 418, 419 and 420 were delivered in 1928 but it could be as many as seven diners.

410-413 and 420. So there were enough parlor obs and dining cars cars to cover at least 5 trains a day in both directions.

I spoke to George Campbell (years ago) and he was very certain the cars were towed to Harrison St. to be turned and serviced.

Lynn Willer:

That makes the best sense, to clean them up after every run, check the cars out, keep them hot and ready.

Milwaukee had lots of street trackage and the new depot existed then during the parlor years. NS had only recently exited the older terminal.
I found a timetable in the North Shore Memories book listing the parlor trains.

Mitch Markovitz:

The first parlor train of the day arrived in Milwaukee at 10am. The next parlor departure was at 3pm.

That’s a gap of 5 hours. So there was no rush to make a difficult move up to Wells Street.

We haven’t discussed the need to wash a limited train. The line, in competition with and in good operation wouldn’t receive passengers, let alone parlor passengers in a soiled car.

I’ve done a lot of research on the Eucharistic consist. The diners were very new 416 and 417. Indeed the car closest to the obs was stripped of tables and chairs and replaced by parlor chairs. The car was returned to its diner self right after the move. All cars on the train were brand new except the obs which I believe we determined was 413 as it had just been painted.

Lynn Willer:

I was just reading something of that, the tables removed from one end of the diner and chairs placed, parlor seating charged and food was served.

Some limiteds made zero stops between Milwaukee and Evanston.

Just a reminder, the Milwaukee station had pits to service. If you could loop the Parlors around in Milwaukee and spot them at the station that’s a possibility, not that they didn’t or wouldn’t, but when that might have been lost, they would have to run to Harrison.

But the Station may not have had heavy service tools if needed. Quick lubes possible tho. The main roster cars obviously could use it.

I don’t know of many steam road passenger stations having drop pits right at the station…

Mitch Markovitz:

All I’m saying as a former operating guy from the South Shore is that me, Mitch, would not run a 3 car consist into a busy area clogged with traffic and trolleys to turn equipment not needed for another 5 hours or so, only to leave it sit, unwashed, in the depot. That is only my opinion, not specific knowledge or a directive. It’s merely my opinion that a consist in limited train service in those highly competitive years would warrant more of a detailing sort of washing aside from washing the windows as the South Shore used to do at Randolph Street.

Wells Street on the CA&E had pits. Other than that I know of no other operation that had that at terminals.

My years of looking tells me, and again this is only what I gleaned from looking as no one has ever told me directly that after the full parlors were removed several of the diners (one of the 418-419 class or both) had the 4 tables at the vestibule end (2 2-tops and 2 4-tops) removed and replaced with parlor chairs. As the Volstead Act (prohibition) had been repealed the railroad was no free to serve booze. Alcohol was (and remains to be) very profitable. We see parlor car cash fare receipts that may be punched for incremental amounts indicating a revised seat charge plan instead of the flat 50 cent fare with the notation that if you sit in that chair longer than for a meal or beverages you have to pay the “regular fixed charge for such accommodations.” I have seen advertisements showing a female model having a
meal, served on a tray, sitting in a parlor seat, with chairs and tables behind her in what could only be a diner.

Public timetables listed “Parlor-dining car.” The arrangement seemed to be the base for converting 2 cars to “Tavern lounges.”

If you have the book “Route of the Electroliners” and you go to the equipment section under the 418-419 dining cars there’s a broadside photo. One can see in the location I mentioned the backs of several parlor chairs. Something I had always wondered about until I started looking deeper into the matter.

Randy Stahl:

I’m with Mitch , as a current railroad employee I would not want to do switching on city streets either. What a hassle that would be with single point switches and high potential for a high profile derailment and employee injury. Harrison Street is the safe course.

This is a VERY interesting conversation.

Charlie Pitts:

If the comment about washing the exterior of the train was valid, Harrison Street it is.

Randy Stahl:

I don’t believe the North Shore wheels worked well on TMER&L street track so I wouldn’t risk damage or derailment.

That brings up another issue. In CERA 112 it does talk about the North Shore’s display at the Wisconsin State fair and states that the wheels had some damage from this incompatible wheel rail interface. George Campbell also adds that Tony Bauer recalled it in George’s book “North Shore Line Memories”.

How did the somewhat well documented special trains to St. John’s military academy (with a diner) make it to Delafield without wheel damage? I believe this was before the rapid transit line so some TMER&L street running had to happen?

Joseph Hazinski:

It is my understanding that on that portion of Wells Street the track belonged to the North Shore as it was part of their city line which started before the interurban service started as by franchise they had to provide local city service for entry into Milwaukee. This was also true for the Milwaukee Northern which also had its own city service as well.

I suspect the issue with wheels was tread width with the North Shore using a “railroad” wheel and the TM which used a compromise wheel with a somewhat narrower tread.

Don Ross:

North Shore used a standard width wheel while TM were narrower. When we ran TM 1121 to Green Bay Junction it was the only car accepted.

There was a festival which included a race using pump cars between Milwaukee Road and North Western on Wisconsin Road. One of them had the flanges cut back and the race became a joke. I don’t remember which one but it was a toot.

In addition, North Shore wheels were different than standard wheels. North Shore wheels didn’t have a slant, instead they were even. They felt they would be smoother.

I don’t think the turned cars were done at 2nd but rather to Harrison. It was a lot easier and other services were there.

Mitch Markovitz:

We know that standard NSL equipment used that route until 1920. That of course would include the early steel cars. But this was before the NSL changed the wheel profiles that were the result of movies made of what has been described as “nosing,” or lateral motion (CERA bulletin.)

The tracks on Wells Street in question were the property of Chicago and Milwaukee (NSL.) But in order to make a wye move, and this is a question, wouldn’t part of the wye move be made on ME trackage, and disrupt their car service?

If I were a betting guy I’d bet the equipment was washed thoroughly, and they may have even given the brass railing a dab of polish.

Chuck (mr600v):

The trackage on Wells between 5th and 2nd was NSL (C&ME). TMER&L later got permission to use it, connecting to its own tracks on each end.

The wye was made using trackage on Wells west of 2nd, trackage on 2nd south of Wells (old station), and trackage on 2nd north of Wells. This would have been all NSL trackage.

Although turning the parlor/ob cars at 2nd and Wells would have meant several blocks of running through downtown traffic, it still would have been much quicker than running all the way to Harrison and back.

Mitch Markovitz:

If street traffic was clear I guess it would be. But the consist had to be washed and the first parlor arriving in Milwaukee showed up at 10am and didn’t have to go out until 3pm. So, again, what’s the rush?

Kyle V.:

Thank you to David and all of the list members who contributed information to the discussion.

I do believe I now have enough information to determine my consist, and I will upload images of the finished product at some point down the line.

Our thanks to the members of the North Shore Line Railroad Yahoo Group who contributed to this discussion. Hopefully this provides the requested information.

In 1940, car 415 was converted to a “tavern lounge.” June 4, 1949 was the last day of dining car service on the North Shore Line, except for the Electroliners. By October 1950, car 415 had been repainted as a “Silverliner,” and was used on the ‘substitute Liner’ when those cars were in the shop for regular service.

After CNS&M abandoned service on January 21, 1963, car 415 was sold to the Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Corporation, which was associated with what we now know as the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, Illinois. The car was then sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1977 where it remains today.

-David Sadowski

Chicago’s Prewar PCCs

CSL 4040 is eastbound at Madison and Laramie on October 23, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4040 is eastbound at Madison and Laramie on October 23, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

Continuing on from our recent article Chicago’s Pre-PCCs (May 5), by 1936 the Presidents’ Conference Committee, by then renamed the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee (ERPCC), had developed a streamlined modern streetcar.

Chicago was very much involved in this, and ordered 83 PCC cars in 1936.  These were built by St. Louis Car Co. and were numbered 4002-4051 (owned by Chicago Railways) and 7002-7034 (for Chicago City Railway).  The split numbering was due to the Chicago Surface Lines being a unified operating association made up of constituent companies.

To give you some background information on Chicago’s first batch of PCCs, here is an interesting article from the December 1936 issue of Armour Engineer and Alumnus. The Armour Institute is now the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Author Ralph H. Rice was Principal Assistant Engineer in charge of the work of the Board of Supervising Engineers, a partnership between the City of Chicago and the Chicago Surface Lines.

According to the Wikipedia page on the Chicago Surface Lines:

The Settlement Ordinance of 1907 imposed various operating requirements on two of the underlying companies, the Chicago City Railway Company and Chicago Railways, and established a new bureau, the Board of Supervising Engineers (Chicago Traction), a board of engineers and accountants with responsibilities for assuring compliance with the ordinances, and setting standards for equipment and construction.

It is important to note the role played by the City of Chicago, working in partnership with the Chicago Surface Lines through the Board of Supervising Engineers, in developing the specifications for Chicago’s prewar and postwar PCC streetcars.

The Chicago cars were unique in that they were longer and wider than the standard single-ended PCCs used in other cities.  They were designed for two-man operation, and had three sets of doors.

They were initially put into service on CSL route 20 – Madison, which was considered representative and offered a wide variety of operating conditions.  It ran downtown and through the neighborhoods to the city limits, and also had a branch line (Madison-Fifth).  Even so, the 83 PCCs put into service in 1936-37 were not enough to handle the entire schedule on Madison, which to some extent actually competed with the nearby Garfield Park “L” rapid transit line.

The prewar PCCs were popular with the riding public, and as a result, ridership increased, and the cars ran faster than those they replaced.  By 1939, the City of Chicago, anticipating transit unification of the Surface Lines with the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, developed a modernization plan that called for a total of 1000 modern streetcars.

Over many years, Chicago’s trolley riders paid into a modernization fund, and by the start of World War II, millions of dollars were available for purchasing new streetcars.  However, wartime shortages made this impossible until 1945.

In anticipation of placing new orders for postwar PCCs, CSL experimented with different paint schemes, door arrangements, and with forced-air ventilation, before deciding on the specifications of the 600 new cars delivered in 1946-48.  (We will delve further into the postwar cars in our next installment in this series.)

With the delivery of more PCCs, the original 83 cars were shifted to other lines, ultimately running on Cottage Grove, 63rd, and Western, before being retired after nearly 20 years of service in 1956.

Could they have lasted longer?  A 1951 CTA (successor to the CSL) consultant’s report stated that the cost of maintaining these cars was increasing.  By the standards of the time, the CTA considered streetcars to be fully depreciated after 20 years’ use.

Although the 83 cars from 1936 had seen a lot of use, there is no doubt they could have continued in service if not for the fact that the CTA wanted to phase out streetcars as soon as possible.  Similar considerations were at work when the 100 CSL Sedans (aka “Peter Witts”) were retired and scrapped in the early 1950s, after little more than two decades of service.

Other cities such as Toronto managed to keep their streetcars running for a lot longer than 20 years, under hard use.

The only other possible use that CTA had for the prewar cars in 1956 would have been to put them in use between Forest Park and Wheaton, as a “light rail” replacement for a portion of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban.  Unfortunately, no funding to operate such a service was forthcoming (see our article The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence”, February 18) and the CA&E was abandoned without replacement.  This plan, while stillborn, may have helped influence the Skokie Swift, which began service in 1964 over five miles of abandoned North Shore Line interurban trackage.

Only one of the 83 prewar cars has been preserved.  4021 is now on static display at the Illinois Railway Museum.  For many years, it was stored as part of the CTA’s Historical Collection, but the body was damaged when it was improperly handled while being moved from one location to another.  Since arriving at IRM in the mid-1980s the car has been repainted and made to look a lot more presentable  from the outside.

El Paso has put out a request for proposals to rebuild several prewar PCCs of about the same vintage as Chicago’s.  These have been stored in the desert for 40 years.

This may present a unique opportunity to help restore the last remaining prewar Chicago PCC.  Since it is likely that the El Paso cars will receive all new mechanical parts, it is hoped that some of the original parts, rather than simply being discarded, could be used to help bring CSL 4021 back to operating condition in the future.  Or, at least, that is my hope.

Meanwhile, I hope that you will enjoy seeing these classic pictures of Chicago’s prewar PCCs in action.

-David Sadowski

CSL 4002 and crew at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4002 and crew at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4005 at Fifth Avenue and Jackson Boulevard and Christiana in August, 1946. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4005 at Fifth Avenue and Jackson Boulevard and Christiana in August, 1946. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 4015 at Central Park and 63rd. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4015 at Central Park and 63rd. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

According to Bob Lalich, CTA 4013 is "under the Grand Trunk Western overpass at 63rd and Central Park." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

According to Bob Lalich, CTA 4013 is “under the Grand Trunk Western overpass at 63rd and Central Park.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4026 is eastbound at 115th and Cottage Grove on June 6, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

CTA 4026 is eastbound at 115th and Cottage Grove on June 6, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

CSL 4009, in "tiger stripes," at West Shops. These were meant to alert motorists that the streetcars were wider than they might think. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4009, in “tiger stripes,” at West Shops. These were meant to alert motorists that the streetcars were wider than they might think. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4022, with "handlebar mustache," at Madison and Austin on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1945. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4022, with “handlebar mustache,” at Madison and Austin on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1945. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4035, in experimental colors, at Madison and Austin on November 2, 1946.

CSL 4035, in experimental colors, at Madison and Austin on November 2, 1946.

CSL 4020, in experimental decor, at Madison and Austin. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4020, in experimental decor, at Madison and Austin. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4018, in experimental paint, at Kedzie Station (carhouse) on February 9, 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4018, in experimental paint, at Kedzie Station (carhouse) on February 9, 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4028 on the Madison-Fifth branch line, here at Fifth Avenue and Harrison, with a Harrison car at right. (Edward Frank Jr. Photo)

CSL 4028 on the Madison-Fifth branch line, here at Fifth Avenue and Harrison, with a Harrison car at right. (Edward Frank Jr. Photo)

CSL 4022 at Kedzie and Van Buren. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4022 at Kedzie and Van Buren. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4027, eastbound on Madison near Canal, on May 6, 1937. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 4027, eastbound on Madison near Canal, on May 6, 1937. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 4051 at Madison and Austin, sporting an experimental door arrangement . (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 4051 at Madison and Austin, sporting an experimental door arrangement . (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 7011 at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7011 at Madison and Austin on July 16, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7017 at Madison and Austin in 1938.

CSL 7017 at Madison and Austin in 1938.

CSL 4003 at Madison and Lavergne. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4003 at Madison and Lavergne. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4022 in experimental colors at Madison and Austin.

CSL 4022 in experimental colors at Madison and Austin.

CTA 4010 at 63rd and Central Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4010 at 63rd and Central Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Circa 1945, we see CSL 7026 fitted with experimental forced-air ventilation of the type used in some Boston PCCs. It was not used on the postwar Chicago cars.

Circa 1945, we see CSL 7026 fitted with experimental forced-air ventilation of the type used in some Boston PCCs. It was not used on the postwar Chicago cars.

CSL 4020 in experimental colors at Madison and Austin in February 1946. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors at Madison and Austin in February 1946. (James J. Buckley Photo)

CSL 4028 and 4010 pass at Madison and Hamlin in early 1937, shortly after entering service. We are at the west end of Garfield Park.

CSL 4028 and 4010 pass at Madison and Hamlin in early 1937, shortly after entering service. We are at the west end of Garfield Park.

CSL 4009 at West Shops. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4009 at West Shops. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4007 at Madison and Austin in 1939. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4007 at Madison and Austin in 1939. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7016 and a line truck at the Madison and Austin loop. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 7016 and a line truck at the Madison and Austin loop. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4008 eastbound on 63rd Street in 1947.

CSL 4008 eastbound on 63rd Street in 1947.