Faded Love

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

I was going through my things the other day, and came across some images that were given to me a few years ago by the late John Marton. It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for two-and-a-half years now.

Anyhow, mostly these are rare color images showing experimental paint schemes tried out by the Chicago Surface Lines on six of their prewar PCCs in late 1945 and early 1946. This helped CSL determine the eventual colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange) used on the 600 postwar PPCCs that were put into service starting in September 1946.

Unfortunately, these images were not of sufficient quality to merit inclusion in Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. There are reasons for that.

The pictures were originally taken by John Marton’s uncle. Somehow, John ended up with color prints that had a textured finish. I assume these were made from color negatives. The prints were later damaged in a basement flood. Eventually, John had slides made from the prints.

Although not of the greatest quality, these photos do have historical importance as possibly the only surviving color still pictures taken of the cars in these experimental colors. Fortunately, the late Bill Hoffman took color films, and these are included in the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD that comes with each copy of B-146.

Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Tram Collection includes highly detailed, very accurate scale models of nearly all the various paint schemes and door configurations for the Chicago PCCs (I say nearly all, since there was one postwar car (4132) that had a unique roof treatment and has not so far been modeled. We have a color photo of that car in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Three from October 7, 2015.)

Canadian railfan John F. Bromley owns all six models of the experimental PCCs, and generously provided us with pictures for use in B-146.

Here are reference pictures of models showing the various colors that Chicago PCCs, both prewar and postwar, were decorated in. That should provide you with a frame of reference for the Marton photos that follow.

We present those in tribute to John Marton, a good man who is unfortunately gone, but is certainly not forgotten by those who knew him.

-David Sadowski

PS- These faded old color photos remind me of a song by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys:

Faded Love

As I look at the letters that you wrote to me
It’s you that I am thinking of
As I read the lines that to me were so sweet
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love

As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had
As I watch the mating of the dove
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love


CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines "tiger stripes," 1945.

Chicago Surface Lines “tiger stripes,” 1945.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL "tiger stripes" car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL “tiger stripes” car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA "tiger stripes" car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA “tiger stripes” car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

There's not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that's 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

There’s not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that’s 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA prewar car in "tiger stripes" on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: "The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there."

A CTA prewar car in “tiger stripes” on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: “The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there.”

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That's 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in "tiger stripes." (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That’s 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in “tiger stripes.” (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 - Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 – Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)


Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans writes:

Sending you two files which were originally researched by George Chaisson in the early 1990’s, one detailing 6000 assignments thru 6/58 and the other 4000 assignments 1949 thru 1958. Put them on your blog.

Thanks very much. I am sure our readers will appreciate having the information.


Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series "L" car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series “L” car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 4067-4455 History 1949-58:

07/49 4001-4455 on NS (North-South)
08/52 4251-4262 move NS to LS (Logan Square)
4299-4328 move NS to RV (Ravenswood)
10/52 4001-4051 move NS to LS
4052-4066 move NS to LK (Lake) (trailers off NS)
4261-4298 move NS to LS
4299-4301 move RV to LS
4302-4328 move RV to LK (1st 4000’s on Lake)
4329-4340 move NS to LK
12/52 4037-4051 move LS to NS
4052-4066 move LK to NS (trailers off LK, return to NS)
4302-4322 move LK to LS
4341-4370 move NS to LK
02/53 4101-4136 move NS to LS, coupled to 4001-4036
4137-4166 coupled to 4037-4066 on NS
04/53 4011/4111, 4044/4144 destroyed in fire at Logan Square (note 4044/4144 were NS cars)
05/53 4371-4455 (NS assigned) used on EV (Evanston) on weekends
03/54 4026-4028 move LS to NS
4099-4100 move NS to LS
4126-4136 move LS to NS
4299-4322 move LS to LK
4355-4370 move LK to NS
04/54 4126-4131 move NS to LS
4293-4298 move LS to LK
4335-4336 move NS to LK
05/54 4026-4028 move NS to LK
4037-4039 move NS to LK
4337-4360 move NS to LK
Status 5/22/54:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4025 LS
4026-4028 LK
4029-4036 LS
4037-4039 LK
4040-4043 NS
4044 retired
4045-4066 NS
4067-4098 NS
4099-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4131 LS
4132-4143 NS
4144 retired
4145-4250 NS
4251-4292 LS
4293-4360 LK
4361-4455 NS (also EV Sat-Sun)
07/54 4066 r# 4044 on NS
4040-4047 move NS to LK
4361-4402 move NS to LK
10/54 4048-4057 move NS to LK
4403-4448 move NS to LK
4455 move NS to LK
01/55 4067-4098 move NS to DP (Douglas Park) (1st 4000’s on DP)
05/55 4019-4025 move LS to LK
4029-4036 move LS to LK
4046-4057 move LK to DP
4067-4098 move DP to LS
4125-4131 move LS to DP
4132-4143 move NS to DP
4145-4194 move NS to DP
4283-4292 move LS to LK
4433-4448 move LK to GP (Garfield park) (1st 4000’s on GP)
4455 move LK to GP
Status 05/55:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4018 LS
4019-4045 LK
4046-4057 DP
4058-4065 NS
4066 r# 4044
4067-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4124 LS
4125-4143 DP
4144 retired
4145-4194 DP
4195-4250 NS
4251-4282 LS
4283-4432 LK
4433-4448 GP
4449-4454 NS (EV Sat-Sun)
4455 GP
07/55 4058-4065 move NS to GP (trailers off NS)
4195-4250 move NS to GP
4449-4454 move NS to GP (4000’s off NS)
4045 move LK to DP
4121-4124 move LS to DP
08/55 4005 off LS for motorization
09/55 4019 move LK to LS
4045 move DP to LK
4055-4058 move GP to DP
4186-4208 move GP to DP
4433-4455 move GP to DP
11/55 4455 move DP to LS
4005 return to service LS as 4456
4121-4126 move DP to LS
02/57 4046-4047 move DP to LK
4048-4049 move DP to LS
4058 move DP to GP
4127-4143 move DP to RV
4195-4208 move DP to GP
4433-4454 move DP to GP
05/57 4060-4065 move GP to RV
4127-4143 move RV to DP
4179-4194 move DP to RV
4195-4220 move GP to RV
06/57 4067-4088 move LS to RV
4127-4143 move DP to LS
4221-4242 move GP to RV
08/57 4058-4059 move GP to RV
4119-4142 move LS to DP
4172-4178 move DP to RV
4243-4250 move GP to RV
4433-4454 move GP to LS
09/57 4119-4142 move LS to DP
4145-4149 move LS to DP
4251-4282 move LS to EV (1st 4000’s assigned to EV)
12/57 4001-4004 move LS to EV
4006 move LS to EV
4050-4057 move DP to RV
4150-4171 move DP to LS
4172-4178 move RV to LS
4433-4455 move LS to EV
(note 4456 recoupled to 4143)
06/58 4007, 4107 retired off LS (fire)
4003-4004 retired off EV
4028-4029, 4032-4033, 4039 retired off LK
4065 retired off RV
06/22/58 status:
4001-4002 EV
4006 EV
4008-4010 LS to WNW (West-Northwest)
4012-4019 LS to WNW
4020-4027 LK
4030-4031 LK
4034-4038 LK
4040-4047 LK
4048-4049 LS to WNW
4050-4064 RV
4067-4088 RV
4089-4106 LS to WNW
4108-4110 LS to WNW
4112-4143 LS to WNW
4145-4178 LS to WNW
4179-4250 RV
4251-4282 EV
4283-4432 LK
4433-4455 EV
4456 LS to WNW


Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series "L" cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series “L” cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 6000s 1950-1958:

08-12/50 6001-6084 new to LS (Logan Square)
12/50-03/51 6085-6130 new to RV (Ravenswood)
09-12/51 6131-6200 new to RV
6085-6090 move RV to LS
6091-6110 move RV to DP (Douglas Park)
07/52 6047-6048 move LS to RV
6085-6086 move DP to LS
6131-6134, 6141-6142 move RV to DP
08/52 6069-6086 move LS to RV
6087-6128, 6131-6134, 6141-6142 move DP to RV
10/52 6001-6068 move LS to NS (North-South)
6069-6146 move RV to NS (all 6000’s off LS, DP)
3/54 6201-6228 new to GP (Garfield Park) (1st on route)
03-07/54 6229-6350 new to NS
6201-6228 move GP to NS
6111-6146 move NS to GP
6091-6110, 6177-6200 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
12/54-04/55 6351-6450 new to NS
6041-6090 move NS to DP
6177-6200 move DP to RV
05-07/55 6451-6470 new to NS
6041-6110 move DP to NS
6111-6112 move GP to NS
6127-6130 off GP for modifications
6145-6146 move GP to DP
6147-6168 move RV to DP
07/55 6113-6126, 6131-6144 move GP to NS (6000’s off GP)
09/55 6145-6168 move DP to NS (6000’s off DP)
11/55 6127-6130 reinstated on EV (Evanston) as high-speed cars
03/56 6123-6126 move NS to EV, poles installed
06/56 6159-6168 move NS to RV
10/56-04/57 6471-6550 new to NS
6001-6034 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
04-06/57 6551-6600 new to NS
6035-6066 move NS to GP (6000’s return to GP)
07/57-04/58 6601-6670 new to NS
6067-6092 move NS to GP
6093-6122 move NS to DP
6123-6130 move EV to NS
6131-6144 move NS to DP
06/58 6145-6152 move NS to DP
6153-6158 move NS to RV
6511-6522 move NS to GP
6/22/58 6001-6034 DP to WNW (West-Northwest)
6035-6092 GP to WNW
6093-6122 DP to WNW
6123-6130 on NS
6131-6152 DP to WNW
6153-6200 on RV
6201-6510 on NS
6511-6522 GP to WNW
6523-6670 on NS


On the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, Dennis McClendon asked:

Did Chicago Motor Coach—or, for that matter, CSL’s bus operations—ever use conductors or onboard collectors in addition to drivers?

Andre Kristopans:

CMC certainly did, on the open-top double-decks from 1917 until WW2, when the last were retired. There was no reasonable way to convert them to one-man as they were rear-entrance/exit. The 1930’s Double-deckers were one-man, with a front entrance. The rest of the CMC single-level fleet, from the early 20’s onward, were always one-man, as they were relatively small.

CSL never had two-man buses, as before CTA took over, CSL buses were really rather tiny by comparison to a streetcar, and were used strictly on what would be considered minor and feeder routes. However, in 1950 when the CTA ordered the 5000 Twins, there was some question whether two man buses would be needed to convert the remaining streetcar routes, as some were very heavy, and it was thought a one-man bus would suffer from excessive dwell time at stops loading and unloading, resulting in extremely slow schedules. However, as “luck” would have it, riding fell so dramatically in the early to mid 1950’s that by the time the heaviest main lines were being converted, buses were quite able to handle the loads on a reasonable schedule.

I replied:

I have seen a picture, taken in the 1950s, showing a CTA employee standing outside a trolley bus, taking fares and letting people in through the back door.

This was a practice that CTA also seems to have done, at least at first, at certain times and certain points along streetcar routes that had recently been converted to one-man.

Chances are the practice did not last too long, for the reasons you mention– surface ridership was in decline, and as a result, there was less crowding on the buses.

Andre again:

The last remnants of this lasted into the 1980’s. Last place I know of was at Belmont/Kimball L stating in the PM rush, mostly on WB Belmont buses. In the 1960’s there were a lot of loaders at L stations (and also at high schools). From what I gather, many of these guys were “medical cases”, drivers who could no longer drive buses for one reason or another, and they were given part-time work to help out with their work-related disability pensions. Towards the last years, there were also regular drivers doing this as overtime.

There is still a very minimal version of this to this day at one location that I know of – Belmont/Sheffield L station, where in the PM rush they send a guy with a portable Ventra reader to help load up westbounds, but as far as I know it is somebody from the office detailed to do this. On Cubs game days they also use this same portable reader at Cubs Park to help load westbound extras.

robyer2000 adds (on Chicagotransit):

CTA used to have collectors at choke points and major events, like the ball parks, to take fares and admit people using the rear doors. ‎ I saw it many times.


THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB & THE 60th ANNIVERSARY CD

By Kenneth Gear

I’ve been a fan of the Railroad Record Club albums ever since I played the first one. That was in the late 1970s when my Uncle, a huge PRR fan, loaned me his copy of RRC # 10. That record contained the sounds of Pennsylvania RR steam and I enjoyed it so much, that I wrote to Hawkins, Wisconsin to find out if I could buy my own copy. I could and did. I was in high school then and funds were rather scarce, and I was only able to buy a few more LPs before the Railroad Record Club ceased to exist.

Just a year or so ago, my interest in these recordings was rekindled. I began bidding on the RRC LPs on eBay, then sending them out to a sound lab to be converted to CD. The resulting CDs were disappointing because the sound lab employees had no idea what to do to improve these sounds, they were used to working with music, not the traction motor sounds of a CSS&SB MU car.
Enter Trolley Dodger Records!

When I found out that David Sadowski was releasing CDs of the old RRC albums I couldn’t wait to buy some. Not only was I now able to get many of the albums that I never bought on vinyl, but David made these recordings sound better than they ever had before! I sent him my entire RRC collection (and searched eBay for more) and he converted them to digital, improved the sound quality, and made those great recordings available again!

Now David has taken the next step and has recorded a brand new Railroad Record Club album, RRC # 37, a 60th anniversary tribute to William A. Steventon and his legacy of preserving the sounds of America’s railroading history.

This new CD was recorded at the Illinois Railway Museum, a place that I’m sure the late Mr. Steventon would have been be very fond of. The Railroad Record Club released many recordings of traction sounds over the years and the new CD pays tribute to that legacy. It contains the sounds of a large assortment of Chicago area trolleys and interurban cars including CTA single car units, CA&E wood and steel cars, a PCC (a favorite track of mine since I rode PCCs in revenue service on the Newark, NJ City subway) and many others. There are even a few cameo appearances from Frisco 2-10-0 #1630!

Some of the tracks on the CD contain a brief history of the cars being ridden as told by the conductor on the train. The inclusion of this bit of narration gives the listener a better appreciation of the equipment and puts a historical context to the sounds that follow.

Tracks 4, 5 & 6 on disc one of the CA&E steel cars making a main line run really invokes the “on train” recordings of the RRC interurban records! The sounds of these wonderful cars come through perfectly, so crisp and clear that you can almost feel the bounce and sway of the cars as they hit each rail joint. It’s not hard to imagine how it felt to ride on the “Roarin’ Elgin” albeit at a slower speed.

Another interesting nod to the original RRC recordings is track 7 of Commonwealth Edison electric locomotive # 4. Just as the train was leaving the station, a gusty wind began to blow and the resulting wind noise is plainly audible. This reminded me instantly of a favorite track on RRC # 10, the PRR album. Track 3 is of PRR # 4249 at Paxinos, PA on a windy day in 1954. Here, as on the PRR LP, the wind is as much a part of the “sound picture” as the locomotive on the train.

Track 9 is a great but much too short “on train” speed run of CTA single unit cars # 22 & 41.

Track 3 on disc 2 is a real treat! It’s another trip on the “Roarin’ Elgin”, this time on board the wood cars. Every little moan, creak, bang, & rattle of these 100 year old cars is splendidly recorded in digital audio. Also of note on this track is a “meet” between the train of CA&E “woods” and Frisco 2-10-0 # 1630. Heard here is the sound of a steam locomotive recorded from inside a transit car. Mr. Steventon did a very similar thing in May of 1954 when he recorded a NYC 4-8-2 in Cleveland, OH from a Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car. This track is on RRC # 20 NYC/C&IM.

Track 4 is also reminiscent of RRC recordings of the past. In this case, CSL red Pullman car 144 departs the depot. The gear noise is plainly heard but the best part is when the sound of the departing transit car mixes with the high pitched excited voices of young children, just as they did on RRC # 18. The first track on RRC # 18 has the sound of CNS&M car 754 at Racine, WI leaving the station to a chorus of children’s shouting.

Another fine recording of CSL car 144 is track 6. This is a complete trolley loop circuit and the gear nose couldn’t come through any clearer.

The last track, number 11, contains another mix of traction and steam. On RRC # 7 the last track is also a traction/steam mix but there IC # 2507, a 4-8-2, is at center stage while a IT interurban is heard in the background. On the new CD the roles are reversed and the traction is in the lead role and the steamer reduced to the background.

These CDs are great modern digital recordings of vintage railroad equipment with more than a little inspiration coming from those wonderful old Railroad Record Club recordings!

Another interesting comparison between the new CDs and the old RRC LPs. These new CDs contain as much audio as five of the original RRC LPs and costs $19.95. According to a 1966 Railroad Record Club catalog, 5 LPs would cost $21.00. What else can be bought today at lower than 1966 prices!


RRC37ARRC37B

RRC #37
Railroad Record Club
60th Anniversary Tribute
# of Discs – 2

Railroad Record Club #37:
We celebrate the Railroad Record Club with a 60th anniversary tribute containing all new audio of vintage streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses, and even a bit of steam, recorded in 2016 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Electric equipment featured includes CTA PCC 4391, CSL red Pullman 144, CSL “Matchbox” 1374, CTA “L” single car units 22 and 41, CTA trolley bus 9553, and the interurbans of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line). Steam sounds are provided by Frisco 1630. Recorded with the finest quality digital equipment of today, this is a fitting tribute to the late William Steventon and the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, with all the bells and whistles, dings, and gear sounds we could fit onto a pair of CDs. The material presented here is equivalent in length to about five of the original RRC LPs.

Total time:
Disc 1- 79:38
Disc 2- 79:55

Editor’s note: This title is no longer available for purchase.


NOW AVAILABLE, DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON COMPACT DISC:

cover025gtcover

SEGT
Steam Echoes
Ghost Train
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Steam Echoes:
First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.

The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standing at trackside while it goes by, or stops and takes off again.

Railroads featured include Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Canadian National.

Ghost Train:
Ghost Train, first issued in 1962 and also long unavailable, is a Hi-Fi stereo sound panorama of haunting memories, highlighting the final days of steam railroading. Railroads featured include the Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, Nickel Plate Road, Union Pacific, and the Reading Company. A particular highlight is a special whistle recording, demonstrating the famous “Doppler Effect” in true stereophonic sound.

Total time – 79:45


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The CSL Sedans

CSL 3375 northbound on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1934. In fact, that's a 1934 Ford, possibly a V-8, at left. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3375 northbound on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1934. In fact, that’s a 1934 Ford, possibly a V-8, at left. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

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

Today we feature the 100 “Sedans” (aka Peter Witts) that ran in Chicago from 1929 to 1952.

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

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

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

The Peter Witts in Chicago

A Peter Witt streetcar (also known here as a “Sedan”), a very popular car type, was introduced in many North American cities around 1915 to 1930. Peter Witt himself (1869-1948) was a commissioner of the Cleveland Railway Company, and developed the design of these cars there.

The advantage of the Witts was to reduce dwell time at stops. Passengers boarded at the front of these two-man cars and exited at the center door after paying on their way out. Peter Witt received U. S. Patent 1,180,900 for this improvement in streetcar design.

Witt cars were popular in large cities like Cleveland and Toronto. They are still in use in Milan, Italy.

As Railroad Model Craftsman magazine noted:

The Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt cars were known locally as “Sedans” and were 49′ long. These 100 cars were numbered 3322-3381 and 6280-6319. They had three folding doors at the front and three sliding doors, separated by a window for the conductor’s station, at the center. The front-end dash was rounded.

The Chicago order was split between Cummings, Brill, and CSL as follows:

3322-3341, 6280-6293 – CSL (34 cars)

3342-3361, 6294-6306 – Brill (33 cars)

3362-3381, 6307-6319 – Cummings Car (33 cars)

I’m not sure whether all three batches had the same trucks and motors. A list of Brill work orders indicates theirs had Brill 76E2 trucks.

It wasn’t that unusual back then for transit operators to build some of their own cars. Starting in 1929, CSL was a very active participant in the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee, whose work developed the standardized PCC car, which soon dominated the industry.

The PCC patents were assigned to the Transit Research Corporation, whose stock was owned by the various transit operators who took part in the program. CSL apparently owned the largest amount of stock, which in turn was owned by the Chicago Transit Authority starting in 1947. Eventually Walter J. McCarter, first general manager of CTA, became the head of TRC, which I think has since been disbanded.

The Witts were speedy and attractive cars with leather seats, certainly the most modern things CSL had prior to the two experimental units and the PCCs. When considered with these, Chicago had a total of 785 modern cars.

The Sedans were mainly used on the busy Clark-Wentworth line. After the 83 prewar PCCs came on the scene in 1936-37, they also helped fill out schedules on Madison. After World War II, they eventually made their way to Cottage Grove before being retired in 1952.

They certainly could have been used longer than 23 years. Toronto had 350 Witts, built between 1921 and 1923, and the last of these was retired in 1965– more than 40 years of service.

To this day, Toronto still has one Peter Witt (#2766) on the property in operable condition, and it is brought out for special occasions.

Once the Chicago Transit Authority took over the surface and rapid transit lines in 1947, the mantra became, “get rid of all the old red streetcars.” And since the Witts were not PCCs, they got lumped into that category as well. Some were slated for conversion to one-man around 1951, but I am not certain whether any were operated in this way prior to retirement. I have seen photos showing how the door configuration on at least one car was so changed.

All 100 Sedans were scrapped in 1952. None were saved for museums, which is a real shame. Unfortunately, the Sedans were scrapped just before a museum movement started here. The Illinois Electric Railway Museum was founded in 1953, and their first purchase was Indiana Railroad car 65. The first Chicago streetcar acquired by the museum was red Pullman 144.

Likewise, the preservation efforts of the Electric Railway Historical Society did not begin until a few years later. Ultimately, ERHS saved several Chicago trolleys, all of which made their way to IRM in 1973. Additional cars were saved by CTA and made their way to IRM and the Fox River Trolley Museum in the mid-1980s.

J. G. Brill was the preeminent American streetcar manufacturer before the PCC era. While they were involved in the development of the PCC, and built experimental car 7001 for Chicago in 1934, they made a fateful decision not to pay royalties on the PCC patents, and their attempts to compete with the PCC were largely a failure. Fewer than 50 “Brilliners” (their competing model) were built, the last in 1941.

Around 1930, Brill promoted another type of standardized car called a Master Unit. However, as built, I don’t believe any two orders of Master Units were exactly the same.

There is some dispute as to whether Baltimore’s Peter Witts also qualify as Master Units. However, what defines a Witt is the manner of fare collection, and not the overall style of the car or its mechanical equipment.

As the same magazine referenced above explains:

Peter Witt was the very efficient city clerk in the administration of Cleveland, OH mayor Tom Johnson in the 1900s. In 1912, subsequent mayor Newton Baker appointed him as Street Railway Commissioner. Witt became concerned with the inefficiencies of fare collection in streetcars. Many systems still relied on the old horse car era scheme of having the conductor squeeze through the crowded car to collect fares from newly boarded passengers. After 1905, many systems adopted the “pay-as-you-enter” (PAYE) car design, with the conductor stationed at a fixed location on the rear platform to collect fares as passengers boarded and moved forward to find seats in the car interior. On busy lines, this resulted in delays while enough new passengers paid their fares to allow the last waiting passenger to find room on the rear platform so the doors could be closed and the conductor could give a two-bell signal for the motorman to proceed.

Peter Witt’s innovation was the “pay-as-you-pass” fare collection system, using a front entrance and center exit streetcar configuration. The section of the car forward of the center doors had longitudinal “bowling alley” seats to allow abundant space for newly boarded standees. The conductor was stationed just ahead of the center exit doors, and collected fares while the car was in motion either as patrons prepared to exit the car, or as they moved aft to find more comfortable seating in the rear section of the car. This greatly expedited the loading process at busy stops, and improved efficiency. The first Cleveland cars modified to Witt’s design entered service in December 1914, and were an immediate success, resulting in orders for new cars built to this design in Cleveland and in many other cities. The Peter Witt type of car remained very popular until the advent of the PCC streetcar in the 1930’s. The standard PCC used the same proven front entrance-center exit configuration, and many two-man PCCs used the Peter Witt fare collection scheme.

Before the PCC, most streetcar systems ordered unique cars specified to meet local needs and traditions. While many cities used Peter Witt type streetcars, the cars were not of the same design from city to city…

In doing the research for this review, one question remains unanswered: were the Baltimore Peter Witts Master Units? The Seashore Trolley Museum website describes the Baltimore #6144 in their collection as a “Brill Master Unit Peter Witt”. In “PCC – The Car That Fought Back”, Carlson and Schneider describe the 90 Indianapolis cars as Master Units. The Brill Master Unit was intended to be a flexible design based on standardized components, including single or double-ended single or double truck cars. The Master Unit product line also included a double truck front entrance-center exit design shown in an artist’s illustration in a Brill advertisement in the February 9, 1929 Electric Railway Journal. On the other hand Debra Brill in her History of the J.G. Brill Company states that only 78 Master Units were constructed (20 for Lima Peru, 20 for Brazil, 20 for Lynchburg, 13 for Youngstown, 3 for Yakima, 1 for Louisville, and 1 single trucker for TARS in New York). Ms. Brill does not count the 32 similar cars for Wilmington ordered before the official introduction of the Master Unit, or the single car built for a cancelled Lynchburg order and used by Brill for testing. She recognizes that the TARS and Louisville cars were the only ones that fully conformed to Brill’s Master Unit design.

Likewise, the definition of what constitutes a PCC streetcar is also a bit fluid, as detailed by noted transit historian Dr. Harold E. Cox in this article.

Several models of the Chicago Peter Witts have been produced by various firms, including the excellent St. Petersburg Tram Collection.

Each year, the holiday season creates a warm and generous feeling towards other people, and this year is no exception. Now that we are truly at our “Witt’s End,” we hope that you will enjoy these photographic gifts in the spirit in which they are intended.

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski


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Updates

Our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store, has been updated with the addition of about 12 minutes of public domain color video showing Chicago PCCs in action. These films were mainly taken on route 36 – Broadway, with a date of October 9, 1956. However, some portions of the film may have been shot earlier, since there are a couple of prewar cars seen. These were last used on route 49 – Western on June 17, 1956.

This video portion can be viewed on any computer using media player software.

PS- Several additional photos have been added to our previous post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five (December 11th).


Fred J. Borchert

Fred J. Borchert (1889-1951), some of whose work appears on this blog, was an early railfan photographer in Chicago. His work predated other early fans such as Edward Frank, Jr. (1911-1992). There are Ed Frank pictures here from as early as 1934, but Borchert’s work goes back even further than that.

I haven’t been able to find much information on Borchert, but I do know that during WWI, he drove a taxicab, and later, worked for the US Post Office. Ed Frank must have acquired at least some of Borchert’s negatives after his death, since he made prints. If anyone can provide further information on either of these gentlemen, I would appreciate it. I did at least meet Ed Frank since he used to sell his black-and-white photos at CERA meetings many years ago.


CSL Sedan 6315 is southbound on Clark at Wells on January 21, 1945. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Sedan 6315 is southbound on Clark at Wells on January 21, 1945. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 6309 is southbound on Cottage Grove at Cermak on August 1, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 6309 is southbound on Cottage Grove at Cermak on August 1, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6307 and crew at the Clark-Devon loop. (Krambles-Peterson Archive) One of our readers writes, "Where was this photo taken? It says Clark-Devon Loop. That was the designation for the Clark-Arthur Loop, but this photo does not appear to be taken there. The reason that I say that is because of all of the tracks in the foreground. Too many to be Clark-Arthur Loop. My guess is that it really was taken at the back of the 77th Street Station (west end of the barn) because the tracks are set in paving blocks and appear to be curved for entering the bays of the barn. The street was called "Wentworth Avenue" even though it was not a dedicated street to the public."

CSL 6307 and crew at the Clark-Devon loop. (Krambles-Peterson Archive) One of our readers writes, “Where was this photo taken? It says Clark-Devon Loop. That was the designation for the Clark-Arthur Loop, but this photo does not appear to be taken there. The reason that I say that is because of all of the tracks in the foreground. Too many to be Clark-Arthur Loop. My guess is that it really was taken at the back of the 77th Street Station (west end of the barn) because the tracks are set in paving blocks and appear to be curved for entering the bays of the barn. The street was called “Wentworth Avenue” even though it was not a dedicated street to the public.”

CSL 6308 southbound on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6308 southbound on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 6297 at Vincennes and 78th.

CSL 6297 at Vincennes and 78th.

CSL 6296 on Vincennes at 79th. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6296 on Vincennes at 79th. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6295 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 6295 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 6301, southbound on Clark Street north of Randolph. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6301, southbound on Clark Street north of Randolph. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6307.

CSL 6307.

From the numbers on this photo, I'd say it shows one of the CSL Sedan frames at the J. G. Brill factory in 1929.

From the numbers on this photo, I’d say it shows one of the CSL Sedan frames at the J. G. Brill factory in 1929.

The interior of CSL 6294 as new, in a 1929 photo at the J. G. Brill plant. Brill built 33 of the 100 "Sedans," aka Peter Witts.

The interior of CSL 6294 as new, in a 1929 photo at the J. G. Brill plant. Brill built 33 of the 100 “Sedans,” aka Peter Witts.

Presumably another interior photo of 6294. These cars had leather seats. The "bucket" seats remind me a bit of those on Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65, built two years after this car.

Presumably another interior photo of 6294. These cars had leather seats. The “bucket” seats remind me a bit of those on Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65, built two years after this car.

CSL 6305 shiny and new at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

CSL 6305 shiny and new at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

As delivered, the 33 Sedans made for Chicago by J. G. Brill came with 76E2 trucks. However, that was job #22768, which does not match the number in this photo. The Brill list of work orders I consulted does not have a job #22770 on it.

As delivered, the 33 Sedans made for Chicago by J. G. Brill came with 76E2 trucks. However, that was job #22768, which does not match the number in this photo. The Brill list of work orders I consulted does not have a job #22770 on it.

CSL 6294, built for the Chicago City Railway, at the Brill plant in 1929. Surface Lines was an "umbrella" that presented a unified transit operator to the public, but it was actually made up of constituent companies. Of the 33 Brill Sedans, 20 were purchased by Chicago Railways and 13 by the Chicago City Railway. This balkanized arrangement continued until the Chicago Transit Authority took over in 1947.

CSL 6294, built for the Chicago City Railway, at the Brill plant in 1929. Surface Lines was an “umbrella” that presented a unified transit operator to the public, but it was actually made up of constituent companies. Of the 33 Brill Sedans, 20 were purchased by Chicago Railways and 13 by the Chicago City Railway. This balkanized arrangement continued until the Chicago Transit Authority took over in 1947.

CSL 6280 southbound at Clark and Southport. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6280 southbound at Clark and Southport. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 111th, near the south end of route 4, on February 2, 1952. The landmark Hotel Florence is in the background, in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 3381 at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4, on April 2, 1952. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3377 is southbound on Clark north of Huron in the 1936 scene. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3377 is southbound on Clark north of Huron in the 1936 scene. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A southbound Sedan has just passed CSL car 5250 on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1935. According to Don's Rail Photos, "1st 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, for CCRy as 5201 thru 5250, but it was shipped to United Railroads of San Francisco due to the earthquake. 2nd 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, to replace the orignal order. They were rebuilt in 1909 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars."

A southbound Sedan has just passed CSL car 5250 on Clark just south of Wacker Drive in 1935. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1st 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, for CCRy as 5201 thru 5250, but it was shipped to United Railroads of San Francisco due to the earthquake. 2nd 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, #15365, to replace the orignal order. They were rebuilt in 1909 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.”

CSL 3375 at Kedzie Station on February 14, 1946. Besides Clark-Wentworth, the Sedans helped fill out schedules on Madison, since the 83 prewar PCCs were not enough for the route, which probably needed about 100 cars at the time. The speedy Witts were able to keep up with the PCCs. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 3375 at Kedzie Station on February 14, 1946. Besides Clark-Wentworth, the Sedans helped fill out schedules on Madison, since the 83 prewar PCCs were not enough for the route, which probably needed about 100 cars at the time. The speedy Witts were able to keep up with the PCCs. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CSL 3371. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3371. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Clark Street north of LaSalle circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward J. Frank Collection)

Clark Street north of LaSalle circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward J. Frank Collection)

CSL 5209 and 3367 pass on Clark just north of Madison in 1935. That is the famous Clark Theatre in the background, later made famous in the song "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 5209 and 3367 pass on Clark just north of Madison in 1935. That is the famous Clark Theatre in the background, later made famous in the song “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3365 in the "open air" portion of Devon car barn, which was damaged in a 1922 fire. They never did put a roof back on. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3365 in the “open air” portion of Devon car barn, which was damaged in a 1922 fire. They never did put a roof back on. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3367 on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3367 on Clark at Armitage. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3356 at the Devon car barn (station). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3356 at the Devon car barn (station). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

One of our readers writes, "The reason that this is Wentworth & 65th rather than Devon and Ravenswood is for two reasons. The first is because the railroad viaduct in the background is at an angle as it passed over the street which was the Rock Island RR, probably looks the same today although now Metra. Also, the curb on the west side of the street is raised, whereas Devon is flat at Ravenswood with no raised curbs."

Here we have a real difference of opinion. On the back of this photo, it says that CSL 3354 is at Wentworth and 65th. We have another opinion that says it’s Devon and Ravenswood. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)
One of our readers writes, “The reason that this is Wentworth & 65th rather than Devon and Ravenswood is for two reasons. The first is because the railroad viaduct in the background is at an angle as it passed over the street which was the Rock Island RR, probably looks the same today although now Metra. Also, the curb on the west side of the street is raised, whereas Devon is flat at Ravenswood with no raised curbs.”

Wentworth and 65th today. As you can see, this matches the view in the previous picture.

Wentworth and 65th today. As you can see, this matches the view in the previous picture.

A southbound Sedan at Clark and Rogers. (George Krambles Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

A southbound Sedan at Clark and Rogers. (George Krambles Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3342 at the Clark-Arthur loop, looking east from the second floor of Devon Station. (Chicago Surface Lines Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) We posted a very similar (but not identical) photo here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/03/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-one/

CSL 3342 at the Clark-Arthur loop, looking east from the second floor of Devon Station. (Chicago Surface Lines Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) We posted a very similar (but not identical) photo here: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/11/03/chicago-surface-lines-photos-part-one/

CSL 3337 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3337 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3349 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 3349 at Vincennes and 80th. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Looking north from Clark and Van Buren circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Looking north from Clark and Van Buren circa 1930. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Bill Robb writes:

Toronto had 350 Peter Witt cars and 225 similar trailers. The motor cars had even numbers and the trailers had odd numbers.

Attached is a Ray F Corley TTC document on the Peter Witt design.

But Philadelphia had a larger fleet. Philadelphia also had 535 Peter Witt cars purchased in three orders during the 1920s, which were locally known as Eighty Hundreds. The last PTC 8000s ran in December 1957. More on the Philadelphia orders:

https://archive.org/stream/electricrailwayj612mcgrrich#page/433/mode/1up

https://archive.org/stream/electricrailwayj61mcgrrich#page/1073/mode/1up