Photos by John Engleman

Amtrak GG1 entering B&P Tunnel, Baltimore. (John Engleman Photo)

Amtrak GG1 entering B&P Tunnel, Baltimore. (John Engleman Photo)

We have recently been assisting John Engleman, an excellent photographer, by scanning 35mm color negatives he took, mainly in the Baltimore area, between 1968 and 1974. These include intercity trains, spanning the era before and after the 1971 Amtrak takeover, and much else.

This is our third post with photos by Mr. Engleman. You will find the others in our previous posts Christmas in July (July 27, 2021) and Chasing Sanborn (Our 275th Post) (August 30, 2021).

All the comments on these photos are by Mr. Engleman. We may yet have more of these to share in future posts.

-David Sadowski

Photos by John Engleman

B&O west end of Mt. Clare "A" Yard, Baltimore under Jackson's Bridge. By this time I had become a B&O Engineer and could stop and take pictures wherever I liked providing it was safe. I was always fond of the F7s and having two consecutively numbered ones was rare. By the Engineer's door of the GP30 propped open though, I was running from that end.

B&O west end of Mt. Clare “A” Yard, Baltimore under Jackson’s Bridge. By this time I had become a B&O Engineer and could stop and take pictures wherever I liked providing it was safe. I was always fond of the F7s and having two consecutively numbered ones was rare. By the Engineer’s door of the GP30 propped open though, I was running from that end.

Amtrak E60 with standard NY-Washington Amfleet train coming into Odenton, Md.

Amtrak E60 with standard NY-Washington Amfleet train coming into Odenton, Md.

Metroliner Northbound at Odenton

Metroliner Northbound at Odenton

Texas International DC-9 crossing Amtrak on approach to BWI airport

Texas International DC-9 crossing Amtrak on approach to BWI airport

Fire tower of some BWI tower (I don't know which) on the glide path to BWI at Stoney Run

Fire tower of some BWI tower (I don’t know which) on the glide path to BWI at Stoney Run

Southbound Metroliner at Stoney Run Road crossing

Southbound Metroliner at Stoney Run Road crossing

Amtrak GG1 4905 at Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station

Amtrak GG1 4905 at Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Northbound Amfleet train with the GG1 that wasn't, #4939 at Odenton, Md. This engine is now at IRM with it's correct number, 4927.

Northbound Amfleet train with the GG1 that wasn’t, #4939 at Odenton, Md. This engine is now at IRM with it’s correct number, 4927.

Same train going away

Same train going away

Conrail Pope's Creek coal train waiting to leave CR's Bayview Yard, Baltimore

Conrail Pope’s Creek coal train waiting to leave CR’s Bayview Yard, Baltimore

B&O's Bayview fire track

B&O’s Bayview fire track

B&O's Bayview fire track

B&O’s Bayview fire track

B&O caboose disappearing into the infamous Howard Street tunnel, Baltimore

B&O caboose disappearing into the infamous Howard Street tunnel, Baltimore

GG1 popping out of B&P tunnel

GG1 popping out of B&P tunnel

The Silver Star leaving Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station heading into the B&P tunnel

The Silver Star leaving Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station heading into the B&P tunnel

Conrail E33s (Ex-New Haven, exx-Virginian locomotives) passing around Pennsylvania Station

Conrail E33s (Ex-New Haven, exx-Virginian locomotives) passing around Pennsylvania Station

Northern Central branch of Conrail (ex-Pennsy) passing Woodberry Station enroute to Harrisburg. This is now Baltimore's light rail line, and there is still a Woodberry station, although the handsome old one is no longer with us.

Northern Central branch of Conrail (ex-Pennsy) passing Woodberry Station enroute to Harrisburg. This is now Baltimore’s light rail line, and there is still a Woodberry station, although the handsome old one is no longer with us.

B&O freight trains at NA (North Avenue) tower on the Baltimore Belt Line

B&O freight trains at NA (North Avenue) tower on the Baltimore Belt Line

A view across two railroads looking at Baltimore Streetcar Museum's car 1164

A view across two railroads looking at Baltimore Streetcar Museum’s car 1164

Metroliner going into B&P tunnel

Metroliner going into B&P tunnel

Same Metroliner coming out of Pennsylvania Station

Same Metroliner coming out of Pennsylvania Station

Sperry Rail Service Mack PCC railbus in the coach yard at Pennsylvania Station. 623 also shows a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher

Sperry Rail Service Mack PCC railbus in the coach yard at Pennsylvania Station. 623 also shows a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher

At left, a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher.

At left, a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher.

Amtrak 4905 waiting as a 'protect' engine

Amtrak 4905 waiting as a ‘protect’ engine

Conrail hump power, SD9, #6912. Engine was permanently assigned to Bayview

Conrail hump power, SD9, #6912. Engine was permanently assigned to Bayview

Southbound Amtrak passenger and CR coal train at Bayview, Baltimore.

Southbound Amtrak passenger and CR coal train at Bayview, Baltimore.

View of new rail pile at Baltimore Streetcar Museum looking towards Penn Central

View of new rail pile at Baltimore Streetcar Museum looking towards Penn Central

Interior of BSM car 1164

Interior of BSM car 1164

Two B&O trains passing at NA Tower, Baltimore

Two B&O trains passing at NA Tower, Baltimore

B&O train heading into Howard Street tunnel at Mt. Royal Station

B&O train heading into Howard Street tunnel at Mt. Royal Station

Eastbound B&O at NA, with much missed caboose trailing

Eastbound B&O at NA, with much missed caboose trailing

PRR (PC) MP54s arriving in Baltimore, way prior to today's frequent MARC service

PRR (PC) MP54s arriving in Baltimore, way prior to today’s frequent MARC service

Seaboard Coast Line Florida train (probably Silver Star) at Virginia Avenue Tower, Washington DC

Seaboard Coast Line Florida train (probably Silver Star) at Virginia Avenue Tower, Washington DC

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent passing Virginia Avenue Tower

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent passing Virginia Avenue Tower

SP freight somewhere in Texas or Arizona from the Sunset Limited

SP freight somewhere in Texas or Arizona from the Sunset Limited

SP Sunset Limited, location ? Update: Ken Briers says the SP shots in the most recent batch look like San Antonio. Makes sense to me, as the train would have laid over here long enough for me to get off and take photos. Ken usually knows what he is talking about.

SP Sunset Limited, location ? Update: Ken Briers says the SP shots in the most recent batch look like San Antonio. Makes sense to me, as the train would have laid over here long enough for me to get off and take photos. Ken usually knows what he is talking about.

Penn Central RPO cars in Baltimore. PC still had one or two Baltimore-NY set out mail cars in the late '60s, of various lineage

Penn Central RPO cars in Baltimore. PC still had one or two Baltimore-NY set out mail cars in the late ’60s, of various lineage

Remnants of a C&O train at Virginia Avenue Tower, DC

Remnants of a C&O train at Virginia Avenue Tower, DC

More RPOs in Baltimore

More RPOs in Baltimore

C&O streamlined 490 "Chessie" engine just after arrival at B&O Museum, 1968.

C&O streamlined 490 “Chessie” engine just after arrival at B&O Museum, 1968.

Penn Central freight from Potomac Yard passing Virginia Avenue Tower

Penn Central freight from Potomac Yard passing Virginia Avenue Tower

More C&O at Va. Avenue

More C&O at Va. Avenue

More RPOs

More RPOs

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent from B&P Tower, Baltimore with two coast to coast Pullman cars

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent from B&P Tower, Baltimore with two coast to coast Pullman cars

SP Sunset Limited enroute westbound, location ?

SP Sunset Limited enroute westbound, location ?

More RPOs

More RPOs

More truncated C&O at Va. Avenue

More truncated C&O at Va. Avenue

From vestibule of Southern Crescent somewhere in the "south" (Georgia, Alabama, etc.). No other information remembered

From vestibule of Southern Crescent somewhere in the “south” (Georgia, Alabama, etc.). No other information remembered

More shots of C&O Chessie 490 at B&O Museum

More shots of C&O Chessie 490 at B&O Museum

SP westbound freight somewhere in Arizona from westbound Sunset Limited

SP westbound freight somewhere in Arizona from westbound Sunset Limited

Did Not Win

Try as we might, our resources for purchasing vintage images are limited. Here are two that are very much worth seeing, but still escaped our grasp:

FYI, this 35mm slide recently sold for $263.88. Pittsburgh Railways PCC Electric Streetcar #1470 Original Kodachrome Color Slide Processed by Kodak McKeesport, Pennsylvania 7 September 1959 Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer Bob Sherwood writes, "This photo was taken during a Photo Stop during the NRHS Convention trip. My Dad, W. G. Sherwood, is on the sidewalk to the right walking toward the cameraman."

FYI, this 35mm slide recently sold for $263.88.
Pittsburgh Railways PCC Electric Streetcar #1470
Original Kodachrome Color Slide Processed by Kodak
McKeesport, Pennsylvania
7 September 1959
Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer
Bob Sherwood writes, “This photo was taken during a Photo Stop during the NRHS Convention trip. My Dad, W. G. Sherwood, is on the sidewalk to the right walking toward the cameraman.”

FYI, this original slide recently fetched $100.99 on eBay. Chicago Aurora & Elgin 456 and 314 in Wheaton, sometime around 1952-55. We are looking west.

FYI, this original slide recently fetched $100.99 on eBay. Chicago Aurora & Elgin 456 and 314 in Wheaton, sometime around 1952-55. We are looking west.

Recent Correspondence

Our resident south side expert M. E. writes:

My brother sent me this video teaser of Chicago streetcars in 1950.

A bit more than half takes place along Lawrence Ave. But the rest is on the far south side, my turf.

Right near the beginning, you see a streetcar crossing railroad tracks. This is at 111th and Hale. The view looks northeast. The train tracks are the Rock Island suburban line (which still runs). The streetcar is heading westbound on Monterey Ave., crossing the tracks, then continuing westbound on 111th St. Notice the awning on the drugstore on the corner. You’ll see it again soon.

Now go past all the north side stuff, and come to what is obviously a streetcar going up a hill. This view is a little more than a block west of the rail crossing view. It shows a streetcar climbing the 111th St. “hill”. The awning I mentioned in the rail crossing scene is noticeable in the distance in this view.

One of my neighbors at that time was a boy who attended Morgan Park Military Academy, a few blocks west of the “hill” on 111th St. He told me once that, during a rain, he and other boys soaped the streetcar tracks to watch the streetcars struggle to get up the hill. Nasty!

At the bottom of the hill is a traffic signal for Longwood Drive. Longwood Drive runs north and south along the bottom of the geological Blue Island, which is atop the hill. The road runs from 91st St. (just west of a Rock Island suburban line station) all the way to 119th St. (the city limit) and into the city of Blue Island. Along Longwood Dr. on the hilly side are many huge houses, some maybe even considered mansions. One of those houses is a Frank Lloyd Wright house, between 99th and 100th Sts. on Longwood.

After the hill scene are a few more shots taken at 111th and Hale, showing that a conductor has to get off the streetcar, walk to the railroad tracks, look both ways, then signal the motorman to cross the tracks. Many of the streetcar lines on the south side, even those that carried few passengers, required conductors because there were so many ground-level railroad crossings along those streetcar lines.

The final set of shots is taken at the west terminal of the streetcar line, at 111th and Sacramento. There, on both sides of 111th, you see cemeteries. The cemeteries are the reason the streetcar line was built that far out. Just outside the view to the left is the main line of the Grand Trunk railroad, which crosses 111th. This streetcar line was the Halsted/Vincennes/111th St. line, which at that time was route 8.

My brother also sent me this video.

It is a thorough presentation of the North Shore line in 1945, back when movies were rare and expensive.

One nice touch was the system map from Howard St. to just north of Waukegan. And the video nicely explained all the traffic patterns around North Chicago.

I couldn’t help but notice how busy the northbound trains were. The video shows lots of people waiting at stations to board the train. But consider: This video was shot just when World War II ended. Not many people had cars then.

Shore Line stations were much busier than Skokie Valley stations. It was sad that the CNS&M had to stop its Shore Line service in 1955. That was a very picturesque and interesting route. And, along the Skokie Valley route, there was no outdoor entertainment park at Ravinia at that time.

With all the shots of the Electroliners, it would be easy to think that there were a lot more than just two of them.

One observation: At every station there were signs indicating how far to Chicago and how far to Milwaukee. Along the Skokie Valley route, those signs were aligned properly — I mean, the Milwaukee distance was on the north side of the sign and the Chicago distance was on the south side of the sign. But along the Shore Line route, Chicago was north, Milwaukee was south. Tsk tsk.

Thanks very much! The 1945 video was shot by the late Charles Keevil. His nephew Walter worked for the CTA for many years and he has also been active in various railfan organizations.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

Dr. Harold E. Cox – In Memoriam

Sad news… prolific author and historian Dr. Harold E. Cox has passed away, aged 90. He was the author of PCC Cars of North America (1963) and The Fairmount Park Trolley: A Unique Philadelphia Experiment (1970), among many others.

Former Wilkes U. history professor Harold Cox dead at 90

Post Script

M. E. adds:

Comment about your Engleman posting:

See
https://ggwash.org/view/2733/washingtons-rails-part-1-the-network
which contains a nice map at this link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/39017545@N02/3866497418/sizes/l/in/set-72157621837169293/ .
This article and map give you everything you ever wanted to know about the rail network in Washington DC. (The article also has a similar map of Baltimore.)

There is no electrification south of Washington DC Union Station, so through passenger trains had to switch between electric and diesel engines at the station.

But freight trains changed engines in Virginia. Pennsy electrification crossed the Potomac River into Virginia. Alongside US 1 through what is now Crystal City and south from there another few miles, there was a long freight yard called Potomac Yard. That is where the engine switch took place. Consequently, one could see GG1s in Potomac Yard.

I’ll bet not a whole lot of people know that GG1s ran south of the Potomac River
into Virginia.

Also, the Pennsylvania Railroad reached almost to Norfolk, in southeastern Virginia, via a route south from Wilmington, Delaware, through Delaware, eastern Maryland and the eastern shore of Virginia. If I remember correctly, the train cars were put on ferries to reach Norfolk. (Question: Which railroad’s engines handled the train cars at the Norfolk end?)

M E

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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

Santa Claus arrives by trolley at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, sometime in the 1970s. It probably wasn't July, though. (John Engleman Photo)

Santa Claus arrives by trolley at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, sometime in the 1970s. It probably wasn’t July, though. (John Engleman Photo)

It recently felt like Christmas in July, when I received a large batch of vintage 35mm color negatives taken by John Engleman of Maryland for scanning and sharing here. Even more fitting, Santa Claus actually does appear in some of the photos!

While we are based in Chicago, and most of our posts feature transit from this area, we do have many readers in other locales. This first installment of photos taken by Mr. Engleman is mainly from out east (Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia) and dates to the 1970s. In addition there are some diesel photos, including passenger trains, and I strongly suspect some are from before the Amtrak era. There are also a few pictures of Seattle trolley buses.

Mr. Engleman is an excellent photographer and I hope you will enjoy the photos he has so generously shared with us. My personal favorites are the ones that show car 6119, the 1930 Baltimore Peter Witt. This was the state of the art in streetcar design, prior to development of the PCC car.

I would like to thank City Lit Books in Logan Square for inviting me to appear at their shop last Saturday to give a presentation about my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. I would also like to thank everyone who attended and purchased a copy.

-David Sadowski

PS- If you enjoy reading these posts, you might consider joining our Trolley Dodger Facebook Group as well. We currently have 401 members.

Recent Finds

As my friend J. J. Sedelmaier pointed out, this photo of a North Shore Line Electroliner on the north side "L" must have been taken in the early part of 1941, as it shows the train's pilot in its original configuration, prior to being enlarged.

As my friend J. J. Sedelmaier pointed out, this photo of a North Shore Line Electroliner on the north side “L” must have been taken in the early part of 1941, as it shows the train’s pilot in its original configuration, prior to being enlarged.

Eric Bronsky writes: "I own the original Kodachromes of two of the North Shore photos that appeared in the blog earlier this week. A while back, I enhanced and sharpened the attached image in Photoshop. The photographer was William E. Robertson. I cannot confirm the year because the slide mount is neither dated nor captioned. If you post it, please credit William E. Robertson photo, Eric Bronsky Collection. The other original I have is the Shore Line Route view looking south along St. Johns Ave. in Highland Park. David, a belated thank you for the copy of your Chicago's Lost "L's book. It is absolutely fascinating. Many of these places and things were gone before I became aware of them."

Eric Bronsky writes: “I own the original Kodachromes of two of the North Shore photos that appeared in the blog earlier this week. A while back, I enhanced and sharpened the attached image in Photoshop. The photographer was William E. Robertson. I cannot confirm the year because the slide mount is neither dated nor captioned. If you post it, please credit William E. Robertson photo, Eric Bronsky Collection.
The other original I have is the Shore Line Route view looking south along St. Johns Ave. in Highland Park.
David, a belated thank you for the copy of your Chicago’s Lost “L’s book. It is absolutely fascinating. Many of these places and things were gone before I became aware of them.”

I recently bought this early real photo postcard, showing a Jackson Park "L" train crossing the Illinois Central when it still used steam (pre-1926). This is the second one of these I have, and interestingly, it has less cropping than the first version I had (which is in my new book Chicago's Lost "L"s). Why is this? Well, this is a real photo made from the original negative, and not something made on a printing press. So every time a batch of these were produced, someone had to position the negative, and there was the potential to do it differently each batch. You can almost make out the car numbers here... 17, 274, and maybe 250.  Don's Rail Photos: "17 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 17 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became CERy 17 in 1913 and retired on January 8, 1924." "274 was built by Jewett in 1905 as SSRT 274. It became CERy 274 in 1913 and became CRT 274 in 1924. It was retired on June 7, 1957." The South Side cars were not renumbered when the four "L" companies were consolidated.

I recently bought this early real photo postcard, showing a Jackson Park “L” train crossing the Illinois Central when it still used steam (pre-1926). This is the second one of these I have, and interestingly, it has less cropping than the first version I had (which is in my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s). Why is this? Well, this is a real photo made from the original negative, and not something made on a printing press. So every time a batch of these were produced, someone had to position the negative, and there was the potential to do it differently each batch. You can almost make out the car numbers here… 17, 274, and maybe 250. Don’s Rail Photos: “17 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 17 as a steam trailer. It was rebuilt as a MU motor car in 1898. It became CERy 17 in 1913 and retired on January 8, 1924.” “274 was built by Jewett in 1905 as SSRT 274. It became CERy 274 in 1913 and became CRT 274 in 1924. It was retired on June 7, 1957.” The South Side cars were not renumbered when the four “L” companies were consolidated.

The Photography of John Engleman:

Red Arrow Lines in Media PA

Red Arrow car 73 (built by Brill in 1926) is now preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. Their web site notes, “Car 73 was refurbished in 1972 by the transit authority (SEPTA) and the local business association as the centerpiece of a “Media Mall” promotion in that suburban community – the regular streetcar would turn back at the edge of town, and riders would transfer to 73 for the trip along State Street. After the novelty (and funding) wore off regular trolley service was resumed in Media and car 73 was retained for charter and work service until it was declared surplus by SEPTA and acquired by PTM in 1990.”

I think that is what we see here.

Philadelphia Streetcars

It is apparent that some sort of horsing around was going on with a PCC car on New Year’s Eve one year.

National Capital Trolley Museum (Silver Springs, MD)

Johnstown, PA was the smallest city to operate PCC streetcars in the classic era, and it ran streetcars until 1960. Johnstown Traction car 352, which appears in some of these pictures, was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925 and preserved for many years at the National Capital Trolley Museum. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in an accidental fire in 2003, along with some of the other trams seen here.

Baltimore Streetcar Museum

Seattle Trolley Buses

M. E. writes, "A group of old (but still employed) and retired Seattle trolley bus drivers and mechanics has for many years maintained and offered rides on three trolley buses from the 1930s and 1940s. I rode on a couple of those trips. They were outstanding bargains, about $5 for several hours of touring many Seattle neighborhoods. It was much fun to see heads turn when the old buses went by. The web site for this group is http://www.mehva.org . Sad to report that it appears they ran into insurance liability problems and had to cancel their excursions in 2020. Nothing yet thus far in 2021. Seattle also had acquired several old trams from Melbourne, Australia (which still has a huge tram network), and ran those trams for about a mile underneath the elevated Aurora Freeway through downtown. Alas, maybe 10+ years ago they stopped running this service. More recently, Seattle tore down the freeway."

M. E. writes, “A group of old (but still employed) and retired Seattle trolley bus drivers and mechanics has for many years maintained and offered rides on three trolley buses from the 1930s and 1940s. I rode on a couple of those trips. They were outstanding bargains, about $5 for several hours of touring many Seattle neighborhoods. It was much fun to see heads turn when the old buses went by. The web site for this group is http://www.mehva.org . Sad to report that it appears they ran into insurance liability problems and had to cancel their excursions in 2020. Nothing yet thus far in 2021.
Seattle also had acquired several old trams from Melbourne, Australia (which still has a huge tram network), and ran those trams for about a mile underneath the elevated Aurora Freeway through downtown. Alas, maybe 10+ years ago they stopped running this service. More recently, Seattle tore down the freeway.”

Diesel Trains

It’s hard to tell when some of these were taken, but I did spot a 1969 license plate on a vehicle in a couple of shots.

This photo was taken at one of the two terminals in Seattle. It is probably the King St. station, the one that is still operating. The white building in the background is the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1914. Although I don't know the situation today, several years ago the elevators in Smith Tower still had human operators in the cars. But all they did was push buttons for floors.

M. E. writes, “This photo was taken at one of the two terminals in Seattle. It is probably the King St. station, the one that is still operating. The white building in the background is the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1914. Although I don’t know the situation today, several years ago the elevators in Smith Tower still had human operators in the cars. But all they did was push buttons for floors.”

Again, I would like to thank John Engleman for sharing all these great classic photos with our readers. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

On July 16th, I was invited to appear on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

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1000 Words

1908chicagol

If a picture can be worth 1000 words, as the saying goes, then surely our lead image makes the grade. This is a vintage sepia-toned postcard of the Chicago “L” that recently sold on eBay for more than $125. The winning bid price is pretty far out of my league but clearly demonstrates how much value other people have put on it.

The date given is 1908 and while there are some guesses written on the back as to location, including Ellis or Lake Park, this is clearly an early view of the 63rd St. Lower Yard on the South Side “L”. When the Chicago’s first elevated railroad first opened in 1892, then powered by steam, it did not have a storage yard. Cars were stored on two tracks south of 39th, a rather inconvenient arrangement. Next came the elevated yard at 61st Street, starting in 1893.

According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site:

In 1905, concurrent with the South Side’s last expansion of their 39th Street power house, the company purchased a large tract of land on the south side of 63rd Street at Calumet Avenue, adjacent to the 61st Street Yard. A large car storage yard was built at surface level and plans were developed for the construction of a shop to handle heavy repairs at a later date. (One was never built.) The 63rd Street Yard also used over head trolley wire for power until 1913. The yard included an interchange track with the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad (later part of the New York Central System, still later a part of Conrail, now owned by CSX). This gave the South Side a second place to take coal deliveries. A number of cars were actually delivered via this spur (including 5000-series cars 5001 and 5002 from Pullman on Chicago’s South Side), as were supplies. The 63rd Yard was connected to the 61st Yard via a long ramp that connected to the elevated main line tracks just north of 63rd Street and descended across the street and down into the yard.

Through-routing of Northwestern and South Side trains began in November 1913 and as a result, some Northwestern Elevated cars were occasionally stored in the 61st/63rd Yards. Overhead trolley operation in the yards was discontinued at that time; apparently, the engineers had determined that the chances of a car getting stranded were not as great as they had feared. By this time, an additional car inspection shop had been built on the two most eastern tracks in the 61st Yard. Constructed of wood, it was long enough to accommodate two 8-car trains side by side, whereas the 61st Shops could only take a few cars on each track.

Although the date given for the postcard is 1908, there is no evidence in the picture of any overhead wire operation as you would expect to have seen between 1905 and 1913. Instead of a conventional trolley pole, they apparently used a pan trolley that was permanently kept in a raised position.

Another clue in the picture is the roller coaster at right. Perhaps this may be an important clue in nailing down when this picture could have been taken.

Although this is a postcard, it still may be a unique photograph. In the early 1900s, you could make prints on postcard paper. Since this postcard appears to have been made as a contact print and does not show any signs of cropping, it may be the only one of its kind.

The Lower 63rd Yard continues to serve a vital function for the Chicago Transit Authority 110 years after it was built, mainly for materials storage and loading purposes.

If any of our eagle-eyed readers can shed any light on this subject, we would appreciate it.

1908chicagol2

A 2014 view of the ramp leading down to CTA's 63rd Street Lower Yard. The Jackson Park branch of the "L" veers off to the east at this point.

A 2014 view of the ramp leading down to CTA’s 63rd Street Lower Yard. The Jackson Park branch of the “L” veers off to the east at this point.