A Colorful Harvest

CTA PCC 7213 is at the Clark-Arthur Loop in 1957, ready to head back south on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. The loop is still used by CTA buses, but the flowers have long since been replaced by asphalt. In the early morning hours of June 21, 1958, 7213 became the last Chicago streetcar to operate. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA PCC 7213 is at the Clark-Arthur Loop in 1957, ready to head back south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. The loop is still used by CTA buses, but the flowers have long since been replaced by asphalt. In the early morning hours of June 21, 1958, 7213 became the last Chicago streetcar to operate. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

Fall has arrived again, and with the season, the days grow shorter and the leaves turn all sorts of beautiful colors. It should only be fitting that this post should include lots of colorful shots of classic electric trains from all over the country. These are supplanted with some excellent black and white scenes.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,465 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

Our Next Book Project

FYI, we are hard at work researching our next book about the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban. Although we already have thousands of images, we start out on these book projects with some of what we need, and then have to find the rest. Some have generously shared their images with us, and some we have to pay real money for. In case you would like to help contribute to this effort, either by sharing images or making a donation, we would like to hear from you. All contributors will be mentioned in the book, which will be dedicated to the memory of the late Robert D. Heinlein. The most difficult images to find are always the earliest ones. You can contact me via messenger, at thetrolleydodger@gmail.com or via my blog. I thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert D. Heinlein took this picture of CTA Met "L" car 2804 at the Laramie Avenue Yards on September 20, 1956. These wooden cars had been in use for 50 years on the various Met lines (Garfield Park, Douglas Park, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square), but were being phased out as more and more of the new 6000-series cars were delivered. The last wooden "L" car ran in regular service in November 1957 on the Kenwood line.

Robert D. Heinlein took this picture of CTA Met “L” car 2804 at the Laramie Avenue Yards on September 20, 1956. These wooden cars had been in use for 50 years on the various Met lines (Garfield Park, Douglas Park, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square), but were being phased out as more and more of the new 6000-series cars were delivered. The last wooden “L” car ran in regular service in November 1957 on the Kenwood line.

This picture was taken by Robert D. Heinlein on September 29, 1956, looking east from Asbury Avenue in Evanston. North Shore Line coach 738 is at the head of a westbound train. In the distance, you can see the former Ridge Avenue "L" station, which was used by Niles Center trains from 1925 to 1948. The station was later rented out to a business, but has long since been removed. CTA Yellow Line trains run here now. You can see why this was a favorite spot for photographers, but it was difficult to get a good shot here, due to the slow film speeds of the time (Kodachrome was ISO 10). Even with the lens wide open, shutter speeds were too slow to stop the motion of a train moving at speed. So the erstwhile shutterbug had no choice but to push the button while the train was still some distance away.

This picture was taken by Robert D. Heinlein on September 29, 1956, looking east from Asbury Avenue in Evanston. North Shore Line coach 738 is at the head of a westbound train. In the distance, you can see the former Ridge Avenue “L” station, which was used by Niles Center trains from 1925 to 1948. The station was later rented out to a business, but has long since been removed. CTA Yellow Line trains run here now. You can see why this was a favorite spot for photographers, but it was difficult to get a good shot here, due to the slow film speeds of the time (Kodachrome was ISO 10). Even with the lens wide open, shutter speeds were too slow to stop the motion of a train moving at speed. So the erstwhile shutterbug had no choice but to push the button while the train was still some distance away.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 307 at the Wheaton Yards in June 1961, after the abandonment. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "307 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906, It was modernized in July 1939." It was not saved.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 307 at the Wheaton Yards in June 1961, after the abandonment. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “307 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906, It was modernized in July 1939.” It was not saved.

Pictures of South Side "L" cars on the center express track seem to be fairly rare, but here is one such train at 18th Street, looking north. The CTA stopped using the express track in 1949, when North-South service was revamped, with the closure of several stations, and A/B "skip stop" service was introduced. Not sure if this train is in service, or is just being stored here. I asked our resident south side expert M. E. about this photo, and here's what he has to say: "This photo is a mystery. You might think these L cars are being stored on the middle track. You might also think they are in service. Which is it? Notice the white flags at both ends of the front porch. I think white flags indicate an extra section of a particular run. At least that was true about steam and diesel engines. But I would have to think the L used the same white flag system. I would think there would be a destination placard hanging somewhere on the front of the first car. I see no such thing in the picture. So which route would this train be on? Maybe, just maybe, it was a Shopper's Special, which ran express between the Loop and Indiana Ave. If it is a Shopper's Special, where is the destination placard? There would be no need for that placard if the train was running northbound. Then maybe the white flags indicate the end, rather than the beginning, of a train. Or, because it has three cars, maybe it was an Englewood-bound train. I say this because a third car (either south- or northbound) would have been the Normal Park L car that was attached/detached from mainline Englewood service at 63rd and Harvard. (But, again, no destination placard!) Whichever route it was on, this train was slapped together with different kinds of cars. The second and third cars are 4000-series from the 1920s, which had no porch. So this is a mixed consist. Mainline north/south trains were the Rapid Transit Company's pride and joy. They would not have sullied those trains with mixed consists. But if this train was simply being stored there, the question is why? Perhaps it was put there to be used later in the day starting in the Loop, then heading south. Maybe, once in use, it would display a destination placard. If indeed the train was to be used later starting in the Loop, this middle track at 18th St. would likely have been the storage track closest to the Loop. Yes, there were three tracks through the Roosevelt L station, but those tracks were used to store North Shore cars between runs. There is a train in the background as well. I believe it is also sitting on the middle track, which would make it a North Shore train in storage. Another question is, when was this photo taken? As you mentioned, after September 1949, with the advent of skip-stop service, no trains used the middle track. Also, looking at the trackage north of 18th St., I don't see a ramp down into the State St. subway. The subway opened in 1943, and the ramp would have been constructed earlier than that, so this photo was probably taken no later than around 1940. In conclusion: This train is a mystery."

Pictures of South Side “L” cars on the center express track seem to be fairly rare, but here is one such train at 18th Street, looking north. The CTA stopped using the express track in 1949, when North-South service was revamped, with the closure of several stations, and A/B “skip stop” service was introduced. Not sure if this train is in service, or is just being stored here. I asked our resident south side expert M. E. about this photo, and here’s what he has to say: “This photo is a mystery.
You might think these L cars are being stored on the middle track. You might also think they are in service. Which is it?
Notice the white flags at both ends of the front porch. I think white flags indicate an extra section of a particular run. At least that was true about steam and diesel engines. But I would have to think the L used the same white flag system.
I would think there would be a destination placard hanging somewhere on the front of the first car. I see no such thing in the picture.
So which route would this train be on? Maybe, just maybe, it was a Shopper’s Special, which ran express between the Loop and Indiana Ave. If it is a Shopper’s Special, where is the destination placard? There would be no need for that placard if the train was running northbound. Then maybe the white flags indicate the end, rather than the beginning, of a train.
Or, because it has three cars, maybe it was an Englewood-bound train. I say this because a third car (either south- or northbound) would have been the Normal Park L car that was attached/detached from mainline Englewood service at 63rd and Harvard. (But, again, no destination placard!)
Whichever route it was on, this train was slapped together with different kinds of cars. The second and third cars are 4000-series from the 1920s, which had no porch. So this is a mixed consist. Mainline north/south trains were the Rapid Transit Company’s pride and joy. They would not have sullied those trains with mixed consists.
But if this train was simply being stored there, the question is why? Perhaps it was put there to be used later in the day starting in the Loop, then heading south. Maybe, once in use, it would display a destination placard.
If indeed the train was to be used later starting in the Loop, this middle track at 18th St. would likely have been the
storage track closest to the Loop. Yes, there were three tracks through the Roosevelt L station, but those tracks were used to store North Shore cars between runs.
There is a train in the background as well. I believe it is also sitting on the middle track, which would make it a North Shore train in storage.
Another question is, when was this photo taken? As you mentioned, after September 1949, with the advent of skip-stop service, no trains used the middle track. Also, looking at the trackage north of 18th St., I don’t see a ramp down into the State St. subway. The subway opened in 1943, and the ramp would have been constructed earlier than that, so this photo was probably taken no later than around 1940.
In conclusion: This train is a mystery.”

Under normal circumstances, Chicago Rapid Transit trains did not go down city streets like streetcars, but during World War II, they were sometimes used for troop movements on the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee. Here is a four-car train of 4000-series cars on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Under normal circumstances, Chicago Rapid Transit trains did not go down city streets like streetcars, but during World War II, they were sometimes used for troop movements on the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee. Here is a four-car train of 4000-series cars on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Long before the CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), there was the Niles Center "L" branch. It ran to Dempster Street in Skokie from 1925 to 1948, but as the area was just starting to be developed, there wasn't much ridership.

Long before the CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), there was the Niles Center “L” branch. It ran to Dempster Street in Skokie from 1925 to 1948, but as the area was just starting to be developed, there wasn’t much ridership.

"Saturday afternoon, January 30, 1954: Stub end of Normal Park "L' (on 69th Street, east of Halsted), taken shortly after closing of branch." Until the CTA Dan Ryan line opened in 1969, this was the farthest south the "L" went. Now the Red Line will be extended to 130th Street. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

“Saturday afternoon, January 30, 1954: Stub end of Normal Park “L’ (on 69th Street, east of Halsted), taken shortly after closing of branch.” Until the CTA Dan Ryan line opened in 1969, this was the farthest south the “L” went. Now the Red Line will be extended to 130th Street. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

We are looking west from the North Shore Line station in Libertyville in January 1963, the month of the abandonment.

We are looking west from the North Shore Line station in Libertyville in January 1963, the month of the abandonment.

A 1926 view of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin's Wheaton Yard.

A 1926 view of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin’s Wheaton Yard.

An early postcard view of the Aurora Elgin and Chicago (predecessor of the CA&E) yard in Wheaton. This may be from the World War I era as there only seem to be wood cars present.

An early postcard view of the Aurora Elgin and Chicago (predecessor of the CA&E) yard in Wheaton. This may be from the World War I era as there only seem to be wood cars present.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 453 in its original paint scheme, which was somewhat different than how it looked later on. In particular, lettering was done in Futura, a modern font, as the ten cars 451-460 were the most modern CA&E ever had. Delivered in late 1945, this was 18 years after their previous new car order. 453 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is being restored to this classic look. The car behind it is 451, which IRM also has.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 453 in its original paint scheme, which was somewhat different than how it looked later on. In particular, lettering was done in Futura, a modern font, as the ten cars 451-460 were the most modern CA&E ever had. Delivered in late 1945, this was 18 years after their previous new car order. 453 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is being restored to this classic look. The car behind it is 451, which IRM also has.

Two views of Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 10, both likely from the same Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip, circa 1939 or so. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped."

Two views of Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 10, both likely from the same Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip, circa 1939 or so. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped.”

The late Charles L. Tauscher took this picture of CTA red Pullman 144 on one of those latter day Chicago streetcar fantrips. I am not sure of the location, but the film was processed in June 1958, which would imply this is South Shops at 77th and Vincennes (and the car on the right has a 1958 Illinois license plate). By that time, there was just one streetcar line left-- Wentworth on the south side. 144 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The late Charles L. Tauscher took this picture of CTA red Pullman 144 on one of those latter day Chicago streetcar fantrips. I am not sure of the location, but the film was processed in June 1958, which would imply this is South Shops at 77th and Vincennes (and the car on the right has a 1958 Illinois license plate). By that time, there was just one streetcar line left– Wentworth on the south side. 144 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "Aurora Elgin and Fox River Electric 303 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, (order) #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 303 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW (Columbia Park and Southwestern, aka Trolleyville USA) as 303. It was sold to Northern Ohio Railway Museum in 2009." Here, we see it in Cleveland (Shaker Heights Rapid Transit) on October 23, 1954.

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “Aurora Elgin and Fox River Electric 303 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, (order) #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 303 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW (Columbia Park and Southwestern, aka Trolleyville USA) as 303. It was sold to Northern Ohio Railway Museum in 2009.” Here, we see it in Cleveland (Shaker Heights Rapid Transit) on October 23, 1954.

This is certainly a view of the Stock Yards "L" that I have not seen before. Robert D. Heinlein took this picture on September 28, 1957, not long before the branch was abandoned. Note the unique single-track operation here, unlike anything else on the system. CTA wood car #2906 is at the Armour station, which the photographer noted was located at Racine Avenue (1200 W.) and 43rd Street. The Union Stock Yards was already in an irreversible decline by this point, and would close for good in 1971. The "L" ran in a loop through the yards and back to the main line station at 40th and Indiana Avenue. It always operated as a shuttle, except possibly when there was a major event at the International Amphitheater. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, "Your last sentence says "It always operated as a shuttle, except possibly when there was a major event at the International Amphitheater." I respectfully disagree about the "major event" part. At 40th and Indiana, the Stock Yards L approached Indiana Ave. from the west. Mainline trains from downtown also approached Indiana Ave. from the west. The Stock Yards and mainline tracks ran parallel. Switches that connected the Stock Yards line and the mainline were also west of the Indiana Ave. station. Any mainline train from downtown, if it were to offer direct service to the International Amphitheater, would have to change direction, negotiate the switches, and head west on the Stock Yards line. I think this would have been a clumsy if not dangerous practice -- perhaps requiring a motorman at each end of the mainline train -- and it would have delayed L traffic on both the mainline and Stock Yards line. Ergo, I can't imagine a direct connection from downtown to the Stock Yards line. But if a mainline train came into Indiana from the south, such a "transfer" would have been possible. A mainline train would first stop at Indiana, then proceed to the switches and move to the Stock Yards line, probably with minimal disruption to both lines. Still, it would not have been worth doing, because of much less L patronage from the south versus from downtown. A Stock Yards shuttle train usually had only one car, but for special events at the International Amphitheater, the Rapid Transit Company ran two-car trains, sometimes using the newer 4000-series cars for more capacity."

This is certainly a view of the Stock Yards “L” that I have not seen before. Robert D. Heinlein took this picture on September 28, 1957, not long before the branch was abandoned. Note the unique single-track operation here, unlike anything else on the system. CTA wood car #2906 is at the Armour station, which the photographer noted was located at Racine Avenue (1200 W.) and 43rd Street. The Union Stock Yards was already in an irreversible decline by this point, and would close for good in 1971. The “L” ran in a loop through the yards and back to the main line station at 40th and Indiana Avenue. It always operated as a shuttle, except possibly when there was a major event at the International Amphitheater. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, “Your last sentence says “It always operated as a shuttle, except possibly when there was a major event at the International Amphitheater.” I respectfully disagree about the “major event” part. At 40th and Indiana, the Stock Yards L approached Indiana Ave. from the west. Mainline trains from downtown also approached Indiana Ave. from the west. The Stock Yards and mainline tracks ran parallel. Switches that connected the Stock Yards line and the mainline were also west of the Indiana Ave. station. Any mainline train from downtown, if it were to offer direct service to the International Amphitheater, would have to change direction, negotiate the switches, and head west on the Stock Yards line. I think this would have been a clumsy if not dangerous practice — perhaps requiring a motorman at each end of the mainline train — and it would have delayed L traffic on both the mainline and Stock Yards line. Ergo, I can’t imagine a direct connection from downtown to the Stock Yards line. But if a mainline train came into Indiana from the south, such a “transfer” would have been possible. A mainline train would first stop at Indiana, then proceed to the switches and move to the Stock Yards line, probably with minimal disruption to both lines. Still, it would not have been worth doing, because of much less L patronage from the south versus from downtown. A Stock Yards shuttle train usually had only one car, but for special events at the International Amphitheater, the Rapid Transit Company ran two-car trains, sometimes using the newer 4000-series cars for more capacity.”

CTA PCC 4391 is northbound on Wentworth Avenue at 40th Street in June 1958, the last month of service. That's the old Stockyards "L", which had been abandoned the previous year and would soon be removed. Everything to the right here has now been replaced by the Dan Ryan expressway. Car 4391 was the only postwar PCC saved, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA PCC 4391 is northbound on Wentworth Avenue at 40th Street in June 1958, the last month of service. That’s the old Stockyards “L”, which had been abandoned the previous year and would soon be removed. Everything to the right here has now been replaced by the Dan Ryan expressway. Car 4391 was the only postwar PCC saved, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

A group of sailors boards a northbound North Shore Line train at Adams and Wabash on the Loop "L" on September 4, 1961.

A group of sailors boards a northbound North Shore Line train at Adams and Wabash on the Loop “L” on September 4, 1961.

And here's the view looking the other way, as North Shore Line Silverliner 761 enters the Milwaukee Terminal at 6th and Clybourn. This negative was undated, but from the automobiles, I would say this is circa 1957.

And here’s the view looking the other way, as North Shore Line Silverliner 761 enters the Milwaukee Terminal at 6th and Clybourn. This negative was undated, but from the automobiles, I would say this is circa 1957.

"Electroliner at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, entering station from street with policeman directing traffic, June 18, 1962."

“Electroliner at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, entering station from street with policeman directing traffic, June 18, 1962.”

I realize this is not the greatest picture, but it does show the CTA Forest Park Terminal as it looked on June 27, 1958. We are looking north, as the Abell-Howe company was located at 7747 W. Van Buren Street. The yard was being rebuilt at the time, in conjunction with construction of the Congress expressway nearby (now the Eisenhower). This work carried over into the following year. Six days before this picture was taken, the new Congress rapid transit line had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue in the highway median. West of there, there were temporary tracks. The new alignment went into use in 1960. This slide was shot on Anscochrome film, which was cheaper and inferior to Kodachrome. In the close-up, you can see how grainy it is, making it look similar to an Impressionist painting. The difference is that Kodachrome was basically black-and-white film, where the colors were added in the development process, while Anscochrome, Ektachrome, and Fujichrome have the colors built into the film.

I realize this is not the greatest picture, but it does show the CTA Forest Park Terminal as it looked on June 27, 1958. We are looking north, as the Abell-Howe company was located at 7747 W. Van Buren Street. The yard was being rebuilt at the time, in conjunction with construction of the Congress expressway nearby (now the Eisenhower). This work carried over into the following year. Six days before this picture was taken, the new Congress rapid transit line had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue in the highway median. West of there, there were temporary tracks. The new alignment went into use in 1960. This slide was shot on Anscochrome film, which was cheaper and inferior to Kodachrome. In the close-up, you can see how grainy it is, making it look similar to an Impressionist painting. The difference is that Kodachrome was basically black-and-white film, where the colors were added in the development process, while Anscochrome, Ektachrome, and Fujichrome have the colors built into the film.

North Shore Line 761 is at the head of a three-car train of Silverliners in North Chicago. (G. Millen Photo) This was scanned from one of those early Ektachrome slides that has faded to red. This time, we were able to restore the colors pretty well.

North Shore Line 761 is at the head of a three-car train of Silverliners in North Chicago. (G. Millen Photo) This was scanned from one of those early Ektachrome slides that has faded to red. This time, we were able to restore the colors pretty well.

I recently received this real photo postcard and did some restoration work on it. I would say it dates to around 1907, as there are areas on both the front and back where people can write messages. 1907 was the first year when the post office allowed messages on the backs. There is a document visible in the picture from the Metropolitan West Side Elevated in Chicago. Given the presence of railroad lanterns, this is likely a behind the scenes view of one of the early "L" companies, which began service in 1895.

I recently received this real photo postcard and did some restoration work on it. I would say it dates to around 1907, as there are areas on both the front and back where people can write messages. 1907 was the first year when the post office allowed messages on the backs. There is a document visible in the picture from the Metropolitan West Side Elevated in Chicago. Given the presence of railroad lanterns, this is likely a behind the scenes view of one of the early “L” companies, which began service in 1895.

Here is a classic red border Kodachrome view of a Chicago and North Western steam-powered "scoot" circa 1955, just leaving North Western station in downtown Chicago. E class 658 was built in 1922. The 4-6-2's original number was 1658. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The photo was taken in Chicago at Clinton St Tower -- where the West Line (Galena Division) splits from the North (Milwaukee Division) and Northwest (Wisconsin Division) Lines. The train at right is an outbound Northwest Line Train. The train at left MAY be backing into Northwestern Station (hard to tell). View looks E-S/E. Photo taken pre-Oct 1956 (when steam last operated on the C&NW)."

Here is a classic red border Kodachrome view of a Chicago and North Western steam-powered “scoot” circa 1955, just leaving North Western station in downtown Chicago. E class 658 was built in 1922. The 4-6-2’s original number was 1658. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The photo was taken in Chicago at Clinton St Tower — where the West Line (Galena Division) splits from the North (Milwaukee Division) and Northwest (Wisconsin Division) Lines. The train at right is an outbound Northwest Line Train. The train at left MAY be backing into Northwestern Station (hard to tell). View looks E-S/E. Photo taken pre-Oct 1956 (when steam last operated on the C&NW).”

Here is a classic April 1968 view of PTSC Red Arrow Lines Rail Bus #409. The Rail Bus was an attempt by Merritt H. Taylor Jr., head of the privately owned Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) to create a vehicle that could operate via railroad tracks and ordinary streets. There were two such buses adapted in the 1967-68 experiment. 409 was standard gauge and 410 was Pennsylvania wide gauge. 409 operated on the Norristown High-Speed Line. Ultimately, the experiment was not successful, and Red Arrow was sold to a public agency (SEPTA) in 1970. (F. I. Goldsmith, Jr. Photo)

Here is a classic April 1968 view of PTSC Red Arrow Lines Rail Bus #409. The Rail Bus was an attempt by Merritt H. Taylor Jr., head of the privately owned Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) to create a vehicle that could operate via railroad tracks and ordinary streets. There were two such buses adapted in the 1967-68 experiment. 409 was standard gauge and 410 was Pennsylvania wide gauge. 409 operated on the Norristown High-Speed Line. Ultimately, the experiment was not successful, and Red Arrow was sold to a public agency (SEPTA) in 1970. (F. I. Goldsmith, Jr. Photo)

NYCTA Rapid Transit Lo-V #5466 Location: New York City (Near Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island Terminal) Date: November 14, 1965 Photographer: Unknown Here is a classic view of a New York City Lo-V subway train, operated by the New York City Transit Authority. The landmark Brooklyn Union gas holder is also visible in the picture. The occasion seems to be a farewell fantrip for the Lo-Vs. These cars were built by American Car & Foundry in 1924 for the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit Company). From the Wikipedia: "Low-V" is short for "Low Voltage", which refers to the cars' form of propulsion control. Earlier Composite and "High-V" (High Voltage) equipment that ran on the IRT had utilized a 600 volt DC circuit that ran directly through the motorman's master controller to control the car's propulsion. The 600 volts was also trainlined through the whole train by the use of high voltage jumper cables, which had to be run between cars. However, the Low-V equipment used battery voltage (32 volts) in the motor control circuit to move high voltage (600 volts) contacts underneath the car, which would control the car's propulsion. Likewise, it would no longer be necessary to use 600 volt jumpers between cars. This tremendously improved the safety of the equipment for both train crews and shop personnel alike. Today's operator, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, has retained a set of Lo-Vs, which are used for special occasions, such as opening day at Yankee Stadium. Car 5466 is now at the Branford Electric Railway Association in Connecticut.

NYCTA Rapid Transit Lo-V #5466
Location: New York City (Near Stillwell Avenue, Coney Island Terminal)
Date: November 14, 1965
Photographer: Unknown
Here is a classic view of a New York City Lo-V subway train, operated by the New York City Transit Authority. The landmark Brooklyn Union gas holder is also visible in the picture. The occasion seems to be a farewell fantrip for the Lo-Vs. These cars were built by American Car & Foundry in 1924 for the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit Company).
From the Wikipedia:
“Low-V” is short for “Low Voltage”, which refers to the cars’ form of propulsion control. Earlier Composite and “High-V” (High Voltage) equipment that ran on the IRT had utilized a 600 volt DC circuit that ran directly through the motorman’s master controller to control the car’s propulsion. The 600 volts was also trainlined through the whole train by the use of high voltage jumper cables, which had to be run between cars. However, the Low-V equipment used battery voltage (32 volts) in the motor control circuit to move high voltage (600 volts) contacts underneath the car, which would control the car’s propulsion. Likewise, it would no longer be necessary to use 600 volt jumpers between cars. This tremendously improved the safety of the equipment for both train crews and shop personnel alike.
Today’s operator, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, has retained a set of Lo-Vs, which are used for special occasions, such as opening day at Yankee Stadium. Car 5466 is now at the Branford Electric Railway Association in Connecticut.

New Orleans streetcars have a long history, going back to 1835, when horsecars were first put into service. The St. Charles line has operated continuously since then, except for a period after Hurricane Katrina. The streetcars pictured here (972 and 836) were built in the 1920s by the Perley A. Thomas company. This picture was taken on June 7, 1960 by noted railfan photographer Clark Frazier.

New Orleans streetcars have a long history, going back to 1835, when horsecars were first put into service. The St. Charles line has operated continuously since then, except for a period after Hurricane Katrina. The streetcars pictured here (972 and 836) were built in the 1920s by the Perley A. Thomas company. This picture was taken on June 7, 1960 by noted railfan photographer Clark Frazier.

Subject: Boston Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority PCC Streetcar #3173 Location: Boston, MA Date: January 22, 1978 Photographer: Clark Frazier Boston PCC 3173 was built in 1945 by Pullman-Standard. The MBTA still operates a few PCCs on the Ashmont-Mattapan line. A blizzard paralyzed Boston in January 1978, and this picture shows a trolley stranded in the snow. It looks like the operator is having lunch.

Subject: Boston Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority PCC Streetcar #3173
Location: Boston, MA
Date: January 22, 1978
Photographer: Clark Frazier
Boston PCC 3173 was built in 1945 by Pullman-Standard. The MBTA still operates a few PCCs on the Ashmont-Mattapan line.
A blizzard paralyzed Boston in January 1978, and this picture shows a trolley stranded in the snow. It looks like the operator is having lunch.

Subject: SF Muni Cable Car #521 Location: San Francisco, CA Date: 1956 Photographer: Clark Frazier This is an excellent vintage picture of San Francisco's famous cable cars.

Subject: SF Muni Cable Car #521
Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: 1956
Photographer: Clark Frazier
This is an excellent vintage picture of San Francisco’s famous cable cars.

Subject: SF Muni Magic Carpet #1003 Location: San Francisco, CA Date: June 13, 1960 Photographer: Clark Frazier San Francisco's "Magic Carpets" 1001-1005 were double-ended streetcars, similar to PCCs but with somewhat different components, built in 1939 for the Municipal Railway. They were used in service until 1959. #1003, seen here, was the only survivor and it went to the Western Railway Museum, where it is today. Here it is shown prepared for the move.

Subject: SF Muni Magic Carpet #1003
Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: June 13, 1960
Photographer: Clark Frazier
San Francisco’s “Magic Carpets” 1001-1005 were double-ended streetcars, similar to PCCs but with somewhat different components, built in 1939 for the Municipal Railway. They were used in service until 1959. #1003, seen here, was the only survivor and it went to the Western Railway Museum, where it is today. Here it is shown prepared for the move.

Subject: CTA State of the Art Car on the Skokie Swift Location: Chicago, Illinois Date: February 1, 1975 Photographer: George J. Adler From the Wikipedia: The State-of-the-Art Car (SOAC) was a heavy rail mass transit demonstrator vehicle produced for the United States Department of Transportation's Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the 1970s. It was intended to demonstrate the latest technologies to operating agencies and the riding public, and serve to promote existing and proposed transit lines. A single married pair was produced by the St. Louis Car Company in 1972. It operated in intermittent revenue service on six rapid transit systems in five United States cities between May 1974 and January 1977. Since 1989, the two cars have been on display at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. This is a classic view of the SOAC on the Chicago Transit Authority's Skokie Swift (aka Yellow Line). This was the only line it could be used on due to clearance issues, as it was wider than regular "L" cars.Subject: CTA State of the Art Car on the Skokie Swift
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: February 1, 1975
Photographer: George J. Adler
From the Wikipedia:

The State-of-the-Art Car (SOAC) was a heavy rail mass transit demonstrator vehicle produced for the United States Department of Transportation’s Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the 1970s. It was intended to demonstrate the latest technologies to operating agencies and the riding public, and serve to promote existing and proposed transit lines. A single married pair was produced by the St. Louis Car Company in 1972. It operated in intermittent revenue service on six rapid transit systems in five United States cities between May 1974 and January 1977. Since 1989, the two cars have been on display at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

This is a classic view of the SOAC on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Skokie Swift (aka Yellow Line). This was the only line it could be used on due to clearance issues, as it was wider than regular “L” cars.

Subject: The Milwaukee Road Location: Pacific Northwest Photographer: Unknown Date: August 1971 (processing date) In the early 1900s, the Milwaukee Road electrified over 600 miles of freight trackage in the northwestern United States. Use of electric locos ended in 1974. This was a very picturesque, if not a profitable, operation. Large parts of it were eventually abandoned. M. E. adds, "Your caption mentions freight trackage. Passenger trains used this line too, particularly the flagship Olympian Hiawatha. The electric locomotives in the picture were called Little Joes (after Joseph Stalin) because they were originally intended to go to Russia, but the U.S. government negated the shipment. The Chicago, South Shore and South Bend also had some Little Joes. By the way, the Milwaukee Road used electric locos to go through tunnels safely. There was a second section of electrified trackage in Washington State as well."

Subject: The Milwaukee Road
Location: Pacific Northwest
Photographer: Unknown
Date: August 1971 (processing date)
In the early 1900s, the Milwaukee Road electrified over 600 miles of freight trackage in the northwestern United States. Use of electric locos ended in 1974. This was a very picturesque, if not a profitable, operation. Large parts of it were eventually abandoned. M. E. adds, “Your caption mentions freight trackage. Passenger trains used this line too, particularly the flagship Olympian Hiawatha. The electric locomotives in the picture were called Little Joes (after Joseph Stalin) because they were originally intended to go to Russia, but the U.S. government negated the shipment. The Chicago, South Shore and South Bend also had some Little Joes. By the way, the Milwaukee Road used electric locos to go through tunnels safely. There was a second section of electrified trackage in Washington State as well.”

Subject: The Milwaukee Road E45 B-C-A Location: Pacific Northwest Photographer: Unknown Date: October 2, 1971

Subject: The Milwaukee Road E45 B-C-A
Location: Pacific Northwest
Photographer: Unknown
Date: October 2, 1971

Subject: The Milwaukee Road E74 Location: Three Forks, Montana (West end of yard) Photographer: Bruce Black Date: September 4, 1973

Subject: The Milwaukee Road E74
Location: Three Forks, Montana (West end of yard)
Photographer: Bruce Black
Date: September 4, 1973

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus 526 Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Route 18 @ 92nd and Lapham) Date: 1960s Photographer: Unknown Milwaukee operated trolley buses from 1936 until 1965. These were also known locally as trackless trolleys. This picture was taken in the 1960s. #526 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus 526
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Route 18 @ 92nd and Lapham)
Date: 1960s
Photographer: Unknown
Milwaukee operated trolley buses from 1936 until 1965. These were also known locally as trackless trolleys. This picture was taken in the 1960s. #526 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus #351 Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Date: 1960s Photographer: Unknown #351 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1947.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus #351
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date: 1960s
Photographer: Unknown
#351 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1947.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus 526 Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Date: 1960s Photographer: Unknown #526 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus 526
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date: 1960s
Photographer: Unknown
#526 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus #521 Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Date: 1960s Photographer: Unknown #521 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Trolley Bus #521
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date: 1960s
Photographer: Unknown
#521 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1946-47 for the Indianapolis system. It was sold to Milwaukee in 1957, which helps date the picture.

Subject: Chicago CTA Flxible Bus #3122 Location: Chicago, Illinois (Route 29 on State Street at Van Buren Street) Date: August 16, 1978 Photographer: Unknown CTA Flxible Bus 3122 was built in 1965. Here it is shown during construction of the ill-fated State Street Mall, which opened in 1979. The mall has since been removed.

Subject: Chicago CTA Flxible Bus #3122
Location: Chicago, Illinois (Route 29 on State Street at Van Buren Street)
Date: August 16, 1978
Photographer: Unknown
CTA Flxible Bus 3122 was built in 1965. Here it is shown during construction of the ill-fated State Street Mall, which opened in 1979. The mall has since been removed.

Subject: PTC Peter Witt #8490 Location: Philadelphia (Route 55 - Willow Grove) Date: September 15, 1957 Photographer: Unknown Here is a classic view of a Philadelphia Transportation Company Peter Witt car. Philadelphia had 535 Peter Witt streetcars in all, built by Brill between 1923 and 1926. They were all retired from regular service by the end of 1957.

Subject: PTC Peter Witt #8490
Location: Philadelphia (Route 55 – Willow Grove)
Date: September 15, 1957
Photographer: Unknown
Here is a classic view of a Philadelphia Transportation Company Peter Witt car. Philadelphia had 535 Peter Witt streetcars in all, built by Brill between 1923 and 1926. They were all retired from regular service by the end of 1957.

In November 1966 (processing date), CTA trolley bus 9551 is at the west end of the line for Route 73 - Armitage (at Latrobe). Glenn Anderson and Richard Kunz are among the group of people boarding the bus. Since the last Armitage trolley bus ran on October 15, 1966, that might be the occasion and would help date the slide.

In November 1966 (processing date), CTA trolley bus 9551 is at the west end of the line for Route 73 – Armitage (at Latrobe). Glenn Anderson and Richard Kunz are among the group of people boarding the bus. Since the last Armitage trolley bus ran on October 15, 1966, that might be the occasion and would help date the slide.

Subject: Shaker Heights Rapid Transit ex-Toronto PCC 4663 Location: Cleveland, Ohio Date: January 21, 1979 Photographer: Unknown Greater Cleveland RTA 4663 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1946, for the Cleveland Transit System as #4233. It was sold to Toronto in 1952. In 1978 the RTA, short on cars prior to delivery of its new LRVs, repurchased this car and several others and operated them on the Shaker Heights line for a short time. The body of 4663 has been on a farm since 1982.

Subject: Shaker Heights Rapid Transit ex-Toronto PCC 4663
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Date: January 21, 1979
Photographer: Unknown
Greater Cleveland RTA 4663 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1946, for the Cleveland Transit System as #4233. It was sold to Toronto in 1952. In 1978 the RTA, short on cars prior to delivery of its new LRVs, repurchased this car and several others and operated them on the Shaker Heights line for a short time. The body of 4663 has been on a farm since 1982.

Subject: SF Muni XT40 Trolley Bus #5761 Location: San Francisco, California (Route 1 - California, at Sacramento and Fillmore) Date: June 7, 2019 Photographer: Peter Ehrlich SF Muni XT40 Trolley Bus 5761 was built by New Flyer circa 2017-2019.

Subject: SF Muni XT40 Trolley Bus #5761
Location: San Francisco, California (Route 1 – California, at Sacramento and Fillmore)
Date: June 7, 2019
Photographer: Peter Ehrlich
SF Muni XT40 Trolley Bus 5761 was built by New Flyer circa 2017-2019.

Subject: GM&O Diesel Loco #100 Location: St. Louis, Missouri Date: September 1970 Photographer: Kutta Here is a classic view of a Gulf Mobile and Ohio diesel train in the months prior to the Amtrak takeover. From Railroad Pictures Archives: "Built in May 1946 (c/n 3218) on EMD Order E660 as Alton 100, it became GM&O 100 in 1947 and was sold for scrap in March 1975."

Subject: GM&O Diesel Loco #100
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Date: September 1970
Photographer: Kutta
Here is a classic view of a Gulf Mobile and Ohio diesel train in the months prior to the Amtrak takeover.
From Railroad Pictures Archives:
“Built in May 1946 (c/n 3218) on EMD Order E660 as Alton 100, it became GM&O 100 in 1947 and was sold for scrap in March 1975.”

Subject: Metra #52 Diesel Loco Location: Chicago, Illinois Date: June 1977 Photographer: Joseph R. Quinn Here is a classic view of a Metra commuter train in Chicago, having just left Union Station. You can see a Chicago "L" train in the background.

Subject: Metra #52 Diesel Loco
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Date: June 1977
Photographer: Joseph R. Quinn
Here is a classic view of a Metra commuter train in Chicago, having just left Union Station. You can see a Chicago “L” train in the background.

Subject: Boston MBTA Snowplow Streetcar #5138 Location: Boston, MA Date: January 22, 1978 Photographer: Clark Frazier Boston MBTA Snowplow streetcar 5138 started out as a Type 3 car, built in 1908 by the St. Louis Car Company. It was retired in 2009 and is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. A blizzard paralyzed Boston in January 1978, and this picture shows a snowplow trolley. It appears only one track was in service.

Subject: Boston MBTA Snowplow Streetcar #5138
Location: Boston, MA
Date: January 22, 1978
Photographer: Clark Frazier
Boston MBTA Snowplow streetcar 5138 started out as a Type 3 car, built in 1908 by the St. Louis Car Company. It was retired in 2009 and is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. A blizzard paralyzed Boston in January 1978, and this picture shows a snowplow trolley. It appears only one track was in service.

Here is a “before and after” view of the Twin Peaks Tunnel entrance in San Francisco, with the two views taken 25 years apart:

Subject: SF Muni Iron Monster Streetcar #184 (and PCC 1024) Location: San Francisco, CA (at the entrance to the Twin Peaks Tunnel) Date: June 22, 1954 Photographer: J. W. Vigrass Muni bought 125 of these cars from the long-vanished Jewett Car Co. in Ohio and put them to work hauling passengers to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. The cars were big - 47 feet long - and heavy - 24 tons each - and famously slow. They were painted battleship gray at first and then green and cream. San Franciscans called them "Iron Monsters." They were all retired by 1958. A few were saved by museums and by the Municipal Railway.

Subject: SF Muni Iron Monster Streetcar #184 (and PCC 1024)
Location: San Francisco, CA (at the entrance to the Twin Peaks Tunnel)
Date: June 22, 1954
Photographer: J. W. Vigrass
Muni bought 125 of these cars from the long-vanished Jewett Car Co. in Ohio and put them to work hauling passengers to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. The cars were big – 47 feet long – and heavy – 24 tons each – and famously slow. They were painted battleship gray at first and then green and cream. San Franciscans called them “Iron Monsters.” They were all retired by 1958. A few were saved by museums and by the Municipal Railway.

Subject: SF Muni PCC #1168 Location: San Francisco, CA (West Portal, Twin Peaks Tunnel) Date: December 7, 1979 Photographer: Clark Frazier Muni PCC #1168 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1945 for St. Louis Public Service as car 1779. It came to San Francisco in 1961.

Subject: SF Muni PCC #1168
Location: San Francisco, CA (West Portal, Twin Peaks Tunnel)
Date: December 7, 1979
Photographer: Clark Frazier
Muni PCC #1168 was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1945 for St. Louis Public Service as car 1779. It came to San Francisco in 1961.

Subject: Southern Pacific SP #4449 Location: Port Costa, California Date: June1984 (processing date) Photographer: Greg Stadter Here is an excellent original Kodachrome slide of a classic steam engine in action. From the Wikipedia: Southern Pacific 4449, also known as the Daylight, is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad's "GS-4" class of 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotives and one of only two GS-class locomotives surviving, the other being "GS-6" 4460 at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. GS is an abbreviation of "General Service" or "Golden State," a nickname for California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service). The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio for the Southern Pacific in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange "Daylight" paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. No. 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1956 and put into storage. In 1958, the Southern Pacific donated the locomotive to the City of Portland, Oregon. The City then put the locomotive on static display near Oaks Amusement Park, where it remained until 1974. After this, No. 4449 was then restored to operation for use in the American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States as part of the nation's 1976 Bicentennial celebration. The locomotive has operated in excursion service since 1984. The locomotive's operations are now based at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon where it is maintained by a non-profit group of volunteers named "The Friends of SP 4449". In 1983, a poll of Trains magazine readers selected 4449 as being the most popular locomotive in the United States... In 1984, 4449 pulled an all-Daylight-painted train from Portland via Los Angeles to New Orleans, Louisiana and back, to publicize the World's Fair, with UP 8444 there too. The 7,477-mile (12,033 km) round trip was the longest steam train excursion in the history of the United States. However, this trip was not flawless. On June 11, No. 4449 was approaching Del Rio, Texas, still on its way to New Orleans, when the retention plate that holds the draw-bar pin in place somehow disconnected and fell in between the ties, allowing the tender and the entire consist to uncouple, while the locomotive accelerated all by itself. Fortunately, Doyle noticed this after checking the rear-view mirror and quickly applied the brakes. The locomotive backed-up, the fallen parts were recovered, the connections were quickly repaired, and No. 4449 and its consist proceeded to run only slightly behind schedule.Subject: Southern Pacific SP #4449
Location: Port Costa, California
Date: June1984 (processing date)
Photographer: Greg Stadter
Here is an excellent original Kodachrome slide of a classic steam engine in action.
From the Wikipedia:

Southern Pacific 4449, also known as the Daylight, is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad’s “GS-4” class of 4-8-4 “Northern” type steam locomotives and one of only two GS-class locomotives surviving, the other being “GS-6” 4460 at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri. GS is an abbreviation of “General Service” or “Golden State,” a nickname for California (where the locomotive was operated in regular service).
The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio for the Southern Pacific in May 1941; it received the red-and-orange “Daylight” paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. No. 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1956 and put into storage. In 1958, the Southern Pacific donated the locomotive to the City of Portland, Oregon. The City then put the locomotive on static display near Oaks Amusement Park, where it remained until 1974.
After this, No. 4449 was then restored to operation for use in the American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States as part of the nation’s 1976 Bicentennial celebration. The locomotive has operated in excursion service since 1984.
The locomotive’s operations are now based at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon where it is maintained by a non-profit group of volunteers named “The Friends of SP 4449”. In 1983, a poll of Trains magazine readers selected 4449 as being the most popular locomotive in the United States…
In 1984, 4449 pulled an all-Daylight-painted train from Portland via Los Angeles to New Orleans, Louisiana and back, to publicize the World’s Fair, with UP 8444 there too. The 7,477-mile (12,033 km) round trip was the longest steam train excursion in the history of the United States. However, this trip was not flawless. On June 11, No. 4449 was approaching Del Rio, Texas, still on its way to New Orleans, when the retention plate that holds the draw-bar pin in place somehow disconnected and fell in between the ties, allowing the tender and the entire consist to uncouple, while the locomotive accelerated all by itself. Fortunately, Doyle noticed this after checking the rear-view mirror and quickly applied the brakes. The locomotive backed-up, the fallen parts were recovered, the connections were quickly repaired, and No. 4449 and its consist proceeded to run only slightly behind schedule.

 

Subject: Southern Pacific SP #4449 Location: Portland Union Station Date: April 26, 1981 Photographer: J. David Ingles

Subject: Southern Pacific SP #4449
Location: Portland Union Station
Date: April 26, 1981
Photographer: J. David Ingles

Subject: CTA Chicago "L" #4271-4272-1 Location: Chicago, Illinois (Wellington and Sheffield) Date: January 9, 1994 Photographer: Gregory J. Sommers CTA "L" car 1 was built in 1892 for the South Side Rapid Transit Company. Since this photo was taken, it was moved to the Chicago History Museum, where it is on display. CTA cars 4271 and 4272 were built in 1923 by the Cincinnati Car Company, and were the "state of the art" rapid transit cars of their time. They are part of the CTA Historical Fleet. M. E. adds, "Maybe THIS is the configuration of cars in the "mystery" photo at https://i0.wp.com/thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/aaf472a.jpg . And I appreciate Andris Kristopans' thought that this train was awaiting a deadhead trip to Old Congress to start a southbound mainline trip in the afternoon rush. But that would mean, on the way south, the porch car led the train. That baffles me if the train was an Englewood train, because the detachable Normal Park-destined car (an older porch car in the 1930s and 1940s) was always at the rear. Either I am wrong, or the Rapid Transit Company occasionally put a porch car in the front -- on an Englewood or Jackson Park train -- and I never knew that. Here's another thought: Maybe this picture was taken while the Rapid Transit Company was still getting new 4000-series cars, and at that time there were not enough 4000-series cars to form complete trains, so the porch car was still necessary. But the 4000-series cars arrived in the early 1920s. Could this photo be that old?"

Subject: CTA Chicago “L” #4271-4272-1
Location: Chicago, Illinois (Wellington and Sheffield)
Date: January 9, 1994
Photographer: Gregory J. Sommers
CTA “L” car 1 was built in 1892 for the South Side Rapid Transit Company. Since this photo was taken, it was moved to the Chicago History Museum, where it is on display. CTA cars 4271 and 4272 were built in 1923 by the Cincinnati Car Company, and were the “state of the art” rapid transit cars of their time. They are part of the CTA Historical Fleet. M. E. adds, “Maybe THIS is the configuration of cars in the “mystery” photo at https://i0.wp.com/thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/aaf472a.jpg . And I appreciate Andris Kristopans’ thought that this train was awaiting a deadhead trip to Old Congress to start a southbound mainline trip in the afternoon rush. But that would mean, on the way south, the porch car led the train. That baffles me if the train was an Englewood train, because the detachable Normal Park-destined car (an older porch car in the 1930s and 1940s) was always at the rear. Either I am wrong, or the Rapid Transit Company occasionally put a porch car in the front — on an Englewood or Jackson Park train — and I never knew that. Here’s another thought: Maybe this picture was taken while the Rapid Transit Company was still getting new 4000-series cars, and at that time there were not enough 4000-series cars to form complete trains, so the porch car was still necessary. But the 4000-series cars arrived in the early 1920s. Could this photo be that old?”

Subject: Pittsburgh PAT PCC Streetcar #1729 Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Route 42/38 - Mt. Lebanon-Beechview) Date: June 1982 (processing date) Photographer: Joseph P. Saitta Pittsburgh PCC 1729 was built by the St. Louis Car company in 1949. It was later rebuilt and renumbered to 4007. The Port Authority of Allegheny County took over Pittsburgh Railways in 1964. The last PCC ran in Pittsburgh in 1999. Over a period of years, Pittsburgh's extensive streetcar system morphed into the light rail of today.

Subject: Pittsburgh PAT PCC Streetcar #1729
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Route 42/38 – Mt. Lebanon-Beechview)
Date: June 1982 (processing date)
Photographer: Joseph P. Saitta
Pittsburgh PCC 1729 was built by the St. Louis Car company in 1949. It was later rebuilt and renumbered to 4007.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County took over Pittsburgh Railways in 1964. The last PCC ran in Pittsburgh in 1999. Over a period of years, Pittsburgh’s extensive streetcar system morphed into the light rail of today.

Subject: Philadelphia DRPA Bridge RT Car #1017 Location: Philadelphia (Fern Rock Yard) Date: April 1968 (processing date) Photographer: Gerald H. Landau Streamlined rapid transit cars such as this one were used in Philadelphia from 1936 until 1968, when this service was replaced by the PATCO Speedline. Car 1017 does not appear to still exist, although a small number of sister cars have been saved. From the Wikipedia: The Delaware River Bridge, now the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, was designed to accommodate both rail and road traffic. When it opened on July 1, 1926, it had two outboard structures beside the main roadway for rail and space for two streetcar tracks (never installed) on the main road deck. Construction of the rail line did not begin until 1932, and the Bridge Line opened on June 7, 1936. Relatively short, it only had four stations: 8th Street and Franklin Square in Philadelphia, and City Hall and Broadway in Camden. Connection was available to the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines at Broadway. In Philadelphia, the line joined the 1932-opened Broad-Ridge Spur just west of Franklin Square and shared its 8th Street/Market Street station. An underground tunnel continuing south following 8th Street then west following Locust Street to 18th Street, had been started in 1917 as part of plans for a Center City subway loop. The shell of this 8th–Locust Street subway was completed, but not outfitted for passenger service, in 1933. Beginning in June 1949, Bridge Line and Ridge Spur services were through-routed, providing one-seat service between Girard station and Camden. Construction on the 8th–Locust Street subway resumed in 1950. Bridge Line service was extended to 15–16th & Locust station, with intermediate stations at 12–13th & Locust station and 9–10th & Locust station, on February 14, 1953. This section is owned by the City of Philadelphia and leased by PATCO. Extension to Lindenwold Despite the extension, Bridge Line ridership was limited by high fares and not extending east of Camden. In January 1954, due to low ridership on the extension, off-peak service and Saturday again began operating between Girard and Camden, with a shuttle train operating between 8th and 16th stations. Sunday service was suspended west of 8th Street at that time due to minimal usage. By 1962, only 1,900 daily passengers boarded the line west of 8th Street. To facilitate the construction of extensions in Southern New Jersey, the states expanded the powers of the Delaware River Joint Commission (which owned the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the New Jersey portion of the Bridge Line), rechristening it as the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) in 1951. The agency commissioned Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall & MacDonald to study possible rapid transit services for South Jersey; Parsons, Brinckerhoff's final report recommended building a new tunnel under the Delaware and three lines in New Jersey. Route A would run to Moorestown, Route B to Kirkwood (now Lindenwold), and Route C to Woodbury Heights. A later study by Louis T. Klauder & Associates recommended using the Bridge Line instead to reach Philadelphia and suggested building Route B first, as it had the highest potential ridership. Over the weekend of August 23 to 27, 1968, the Ridge Spur was connected to a new upper-level terminal platform at 8th Street station to allow conversion of the Bridge Line into the "High-Speed Line". Bridge Line service was split into 16th Street–8th Street and 8th Street–Camden segments during the conversion, with a cross-platform transfer at 8th Street. Bridge Line service was suspended on December 29, 1968, for final conversion of the line. Service from Lindenwold station to Camden along former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines trackage began on January 4, 1969; full service into Center City Philadelphia over the bridge began on February 15, 1969. The Lindenwold extension cost $92 million.

Subject: Philadelphia DRPA Bridge RT Car #1017
Location: Philadelphia (Fern Rock Yard)
Date: April 1968 (processing date)
Photographer: Gerald H. Landau
Streamlined rapid transit cars such as this one were used in Philadelphia from 1936 until 1968, when this service was replaced by the PATCO Speedline. Car 1017 does not appear to still exist, although a small number of sister cars have been saved.
From the Wikipedia:

The Delaware River Bridge, now the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, was designed to accommodate both rail and road traffic. When it opened on July 1, 1926, it had two outboard structures beside the main roadway for rail and space for two streetcar tracks (never installed) on the main road deck. Construction of the rail line did not begin until 1932, and the Bridge Line opened on June 7, 1936. Relatively short, it only had four stations: 8th Street and Franklin Square in Philadelphia, and City Hall and Broadway in Camden. Connection was available to the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines at Broadway.
In Philadelphia, the line joined the 1932-opened Broad-Ridge Spur just west of Franklin Square and shared its 8th Street/Market Street station. An underground tunnel continuing south following 8th Street then west following Locust Street to 18th Street, had been started in 1917 as part of plans for a Center City subway loop. The shell of this 8th–Locust Street subway was completed, but not outfitted for passenger service, in 1933. Beginning in June 1949, Bridge Line and Ridge Spur services were through-routed, providing one-seat service between Girard station and Camden. Construction on the 8th–Locust Street subway resumed in 1950. Bridge Line service was extended to 15–16th & Locust station, with intermediate stations at 12–13th & Locust station and 9–10th & Locust station, on February 14, 1953. This section is owned by the City of Philadelphia and leased by PATCO.
Extension to Lindenwold
Despite the extension, Bridge Line ridership was limited by high fares and not extending east of Camden. In January 1954, due to low ridership on the extension, off-peak service and Saturday again began operating between Girard and Camden, with a shuttle train operating between 8th and 16th stations. Sunday service was suspended west of 8th Street at that time due to minimal usage. By 1962, only 1,900 daily passengers boarded the line west of 8th Street.
To facilitate the construction of extensions in Southern New Jersey, the states expanded the powers of the Delaware River Joint Commission (which owned the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the New Jersey portion of the Bridge Line), rechristening it as the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) in 1951. The agency commissioned Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall & MacDonald to study possible rapid transit services for South Jersey; Parsons, Brinckerhoff’s final report recommended building a new tunnel under the Delaware and three lines in New Jersey. Route A would run to Moorestown, Route B to Kirkwood (now Lindenwold), and Route C to Woodbury Heights. A later study by Louis T. Klauder & Associates recommended using the Bridge Line instead to reach Philadelphia and suggested building Route B first, as it had the highest potential ridership.
Over the weekend of August 23 to 27, 1968, the Ridge Spur was connected to a new upper-level terminal platform at 8th Street station to allow conversion of the Bridge Line into the “High-Speed Line”. Bridge Line service was split into 16th Street–8th Street and 8th Street–Camden segments during the conversion, with a cross-platform transfer at 8th Street. Bridge Line service was suspended on December 29, 1968, for final conversion of the line. Service from Lindenwold station to Camden along former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines trackage began on January 4, 1969; full service into Center City Philadelphia over the bridge began on February 15, 1969. The Lindenwold extension cost $92 million.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

The North Shore Line

FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now available for immediate shipment. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

From the back cover:

As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map.  Books will ship by USPS Media Mail.

Chapters:
01. Beginnings
02. The Milwaukee Division
03. The Shore Line Route
04. The Skokie Valley Route
05. The Mundelein Branch
06. On the “L”
07. City Streetcars
08. Trolley Freight
09. The Long Goodbye
10. The Legacy

Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

New Compact Disc Titles, Now Available:

HFIH
Hi-Fi Iron Horse
Price: $15.99

Hi-Fi Iron Horse is a unique collection of early steam recordings, made between 1949 and 1954. Portable tape recorders were not yet available when the earliest of these was made, but there was still another source for making high-quality audio– the optical sound track of motion picture film.

Featuring in-service steam of the Baltimore & Ohio, Bessemer & Lake Erie, Burlington, Canadian National, Delaware & Hudson, East Broad Top, Erie, Grand Trunk Western, Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain, Western Maryland, and Rutland Railway.

Total time – 50:49

TSOS
The Sound of Steam
Reading 2124

Price: $19.99

Three very rare, out of print North Jersey Recordings LPs, now digitally remastered on two CDs at a special price.

The Sound of Steam offers a comprehensive overview of the twilight days of steam railroading in North America, with sounds recorded between 1957 and 1964. Railroads featured include the Denver & Rio Grande Western, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railway, Gainesville Midland Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Railroad, Canadian National, Twin Seams Mining Company, Nickel Plate, Colorado & Southern, Norfolk & Western, Buffalo Creek & Gauley, Monadnock, Steamtown & Northern, Rockton & Rion Railway, and the National Railways of Mexico.

Reading 2124 features recordings made in 1959 and 1960 on a series of “Iron Horse Rambles,” excursion trips through eastern Pennsylvania.  The Reading Company had retained this class T-1 4-8-4 for emergency use after steam was retired on the railroad.  Seven years after the last Reading steam loco had hauled a passenger train, a series of 51 special excursion trips were held, ending in 1964.  These have since been revived, and the Rambles continue.

Total time – 69:54 (Disc 1) and 61:20 (Disc 2)

RWW-V103
Rods, Wheels, and Whistles
Voice of the 103

Price: $19.99

Two very rare, out of print North Jersey Recordings LPs, now digitally remastered on two CDs at a special price.

Rods, Wheels, and Whistles features the sounds of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Norfolk and Western Railway, recorded in the twilight years of steam. This LP was originally issued in 1958, but our version is taken from the revised and expanded edition, which includes additional recordings from 1959.

Voice of the 103 documents the former Sumter and Choctaw Railroad #103, a 2-6-2 locomotive built in 1925 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, after it was refurbished in 1962 to operate on the Middletown and New Jersey. This was an excursion service of the Empire State Railway Museum, which has since moved to a new location and no longer operates trains.  The 103 is now on static display.

Our collection is rounded out with three bonus tracks from the Strasbourg Railroad, when old number 31 ran excursion trains on the oldest short line railroad in the United States (chartered in June 1832), joining the Pennsylvania Dutch towns of Strasbourg and Paradise in the early 1960s.

Total time – 46:15 (RWW) and 49:26 (V103)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 309th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 1,024,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

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


Postcards From the Bridge

This real photo postcard image shows the four-track Metropolitan "L" bridge (actually two separate bridges, side by side), but it also shows a small experimental lifeboat moored at left. One author's research into the history of this boat is featured in this post, and also sheds some further light on when this photo was taken.

This real photo postcard image shows the four-track Metropolitan “L” bridge (actually two separate bridges, side by side), but it also shows a small experimental lifeboat moored at left. One author’s research into the history of this boat is featured in this post, and also sheds some further light on when this photo was taken.

From the start of the Trolley Dodger in 2015, I hoped this blog would become a resource for others, and I am pleased that this has happened. Sometimes these inquiries take strange and unexpected turns, and that is certainly the case regarding the early real photo postcard shown above. This interesting tangent of Chicago history is covered in detail further down in this post. Research can raise just as many questions as it answers, and that is definitely what happened here regarding the small experimental boat visible in the lower left-hand corner of this and other postcards of the Met bridge.

We also have a goodly number of excellent images for your perusal, from some of the great traction photographers.

We regret the passing on April 30th of Robert Heinlein, aged 84. He was one of the giants in his field, and our next post will be a tribute to him. Some of Mr. Heinlein’s photos are in my recent book The North Shore Line, and I am glad he was able to see the finished product. He spent his entire career sharing his knowledge and helping others, and he will be sorely missed. You can read his obituary here.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,162 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

I will be giving a program on my new North Shore Line book on 7:30 pm on Friday evening, May 19th, at Chicago Union Station for the Railroad & Shortlines Club of Chicago. There is no charge. Please do not arrive before 7:15 pm.

Chicago Union Station
Room 107A
500 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, Illinois

Please enter at 500 W. Jackson Boulevard, between Clinton and Canal. Call 312 725-0432 during the meeting for assistance.

We gave two presentations in April that were well attended and received. First, we spoke at the Libertyville Historical Society on the 17th. You can view that presentation here. To date, there have been about 3500 views.

On the 20th, we were at the History Center of lake Bluff and Lake Forest. You can view that presentation here.

Postcards From the Bridge

Sandy Cleary writes:

Good morning! I hope this finds you well 🙂

I’ve been lost on the site for a few weeks since finding it—it scratches an itch I also have—and I’m really grateful for the work that you’ve done in documenting a lot of pretty niche historical artifacts. I’m very curious about one in particular. It’s mentioned in this post here, above the text “I recently bought this real photo postcard, circa 1910.”

I’m pretty certain it comes from the summer of 1907. The boat docked in the lower left of that photo is an obscure lifeboat designed by Robert Brown, of Chicago; it was tied up to the Chicago Sanitary District dock in 1907 but Brown stopped paying docking fees in March, 1908 and it’s absent in another 1908 photo of the bridge. Debris on the loading dock to the northeast of the bridge matches debris visible in Detroit Publishing Co. photo 070152 (here at the LOC), which was taken at the same time as 070153 (LOC link); based on the SS Pueblo’s transit records that photo must’ve been taken on July 30th, 1907.

I’ve been working on writing up the history of Robert Brown’s boat, which features in some other Chicago lore a few years later, and for which the photographic so far consists of only three photos: the two Detroit Publishing Co. ones, and whoever took the picture used in the postcard you found. It was reused in numerous postcards (colorized with the title “Elevated R. R. Jackknife Bridge over Chicago River, Chicago”—you can find examples on eBay).

The one you posted, though, is by far the clearest. I was wondering if you could tell me anything about the postcard’s copyright or who might have printed it? I’ve never been able to find what the photographic source might’ve been. A clearer example, one which might make the text on the white sign north of the boat legible and make it easier to fix the exact date the photo was taken, would be invaluable but I’m not sure where to start looking.

(Also, the version you’ve found is evidently a different crop—the colorized version shows more of the western bank and the dock itself).

I appreciate your time—any pointers on anything more about that postcard or the photo that was responsible for it would be incredibly helpful. The work you did on restoring the one you found was already enough for me to conclude when the boat was actually tied up at Van Buren St., which I’d been despairing of finding possible.

Kind regards
Sandy

Thanks for writing. It’s remarkable how small details in such photographs can be of so much use to researchers today.

In the meantime, what a remarkable piece of scholarship you have achieved!

As you can see, the reverse side of the postcard doesn’t identify the maker. But perhaps it can still be identified by comparison with other postcards with the same printing, whose manufacturers are known to experts.

Would it be alright for me to share your original note with the readers of my blog (and accompanying Facebook group)? You never know what useful information others might have to share.

Sandy Cleary:

Absolutely, you can share with whomever! The information I have is unfortunately pretty limited. From my boat-focused point of view, what’s known is:

1. Chicagoan carpenter Robert Brown designed and built an odd-shaped lifeboat in 1905, which was photographed for a magazine in ~1905/1906
2. His company, the International Automatic Lifeboat Company, paid the Chicago Sanitary District a $5/mo docking fee for the Van Buren St. dock between October, 1906 and March, 1908
3. Hans Behm took three photos of the Metropolitan West Side railroad bridge on July 30th, two of which depict the boat.
4. It’s gone by a September, 1908 photo of the bridge taken, I think, by the Chicago Sanitary District (because the MWRD has posted this picture a few times)
5. The only other photo is the one from the postcard, which must’ve been taken between October, 1906 and March, 1908. The overall bridge configuration seems to be the same between the postcard and the 1907 photos, as does the debris seen on the loading dock on the northeast side of the bridge:

After that the boat disappears for a few years, until it was found sunk in the north draw of the Wells Street Bridge (just south of the Chicago & North Western depot there. Then it was shown for a few months as “The Foolkiller,” putatively the world’s first submarine, after which it disappears again and is now only really relevant for weird Chicago lore.

Fortunately a lot of the Chicago Sanitary District records are online, and I was able to get in touch with someone from Commonwealth Edison who also had some useful information, but I have to imagine a lot of the information from the L companies pre-merger is gone. It seems to me that there might have been some reason why people were taking pictures of the Met’s bridge around the same time, but I’m not sure what that might have been.

I know that there was pressure to have it removed because of how significantly it impacted the channel by ~1911 or so—tracing over old Sanborn maps from 1906 really drives home how dramatic that constriction was:

At the time the western span of the Jackson Blvd. bridge and the Metropolitan West Side crossed what Sanborn identifies as property belonging to the Pacific, Fort Wayne & Chicago, during its period when it was not part of the Penn, I think—I am not a train girl. The Met’s viaduct would’ve crossed over the PFW&C freight house, before that whole west bank became Chicago & North Western property again. In any case the bridge wasn’t actually torn down until 1961 (by that point, as I understand it, the CTA hadn’t been using it to carry rail traffic since 1958).

Thank you so much again for your time and for your help with this. How these photo postcards worked has been something of a mystery to me. Numerous different versions seem to have been made, and I just don’t know whether these were the same company, or different companies skirting copyright because Google Images wasn’t a thing at the time, or what. But the fact that there is such a high-quality photo, anywhere, is extremely heartening.

I suspect the postcard that I have was very short-lived in the marketplace, as this was a transition period between real photo postcards and printed ones. Even if some of the colorized versions may have used the same original negative as a starting point, the eventual results look more and more like drawings rather than photographs.

As to the sudden popularity of pictures of the Met “L” bridge, starting in 1907, this coincided with a major change in how people could write messages on postcards:

DIVIDED BACK PERIOD: 1907-1915

“In 1907, a major change on the address side of postcards occurred. This change was prompted by the Universal Postal Congress, the legislative body of the Universal Postal Union. The convention decreed that postal cards produced by governments of member nations could have messages on the left half of the address side, effective October 1, 1907. The Universal Postal Congress also decreed that after March 1, 1907, government-produced cards in the United States could bear messages on the address side.2 Congress passed an act on March 1, 1907, in compliance with the Union’s decree, allowing privately produced postcards to bear messages on the left half of the card’s back. The next day, the Postmaster-General issued Order No. 146, granting privileges to privately produced postcards that were already granted in international mail, including the allowance of message space. On June 13, 1907, the Postmaster-General issued Order No. 539, which allowed government-produced postcards to bear messages on the left half of the address side.3 These changes to the backs of postcards ushered in the Divided Back Period, which spans from 1907 until 1915. The Divided Back Period is also known as the “Golden Age of Postcards,” due to the vast popularity of postcards during this time period.”

“Another type of postcard that began to be produced and popularly used during the Divided Back period and through the White Border period is the “real photo” postcard. “Real photo” postcards were first produced using the Kodak “postcard camera.” The postcard camera could take a picture and then print a postcard-size negative of the picture, complete with a divided back and place for postage.”

Source: https://siarchives.si.edu/history/featured-topics/postcard/postcard-history

Sandy Cleary:

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard “real photo post card” as a term before I read your blog, and then noticed “RPPC” everywhere on eBay.

There are, as far as I can tell, three versions of this postcard. The first two are the colorized ones, which are labeled on the back as no. 171 of the Franklin Post Card Co.—of Germany, although ironically the earliest example I can find, postmarked August 17th, 1909, says “Made in Germany.” There were two distinct crops of that. The first (type A) is the widest crop, and it’s the one where the “E” in “Elevated” is written more like a backwards 3.

The second (type B) is one that the UIC Library gives copyright to Copelin Commercial Photographers in a black-and-white photographic form. This seems to be more common; the earliest postmark so far I’ve found is from September 13, 1910. Both of these two show up with postmarks as late as 1915. They went through different print runs, though; the back variously says:

* Aug. 17 1909: “No. 171. Made in Germany” (Type A)
* Sep. 13 1910: “No. 171.” (Type B)
* Aug 16, 1911: “No. 171” (Type B)
* Nov. 3 1911: “171” (Type B) (it’s possible the “No.” has been scratched off)
* Oct. 14 1912: “No. 171. Publ. by Franklin Post Card Co., Chicago, Ill. Made in Germany” (Type A)
* Aug. 13 1915: “No. 171. Publ. by Franklin Post Card Co., Chicago, Ill.” (Type B)

…As I write this up I realize this means that the widest version is rarer because it’s the German version. The design on the back, with the more ornate “Post Card” lettering, is identical to other postcards published by (for example) M. Weixelbaum, of Lima, and Provincetown Advocate and the Cardinell-Vincent Co. in addition to Franklin. I don’t understand why some postcards were made in Germany and some were not. Apparently the early 1900s was “postcard mania” in Germany, according to Deutsche Welle. I’d never heard of that before.

Anyway, the third one is the one you’ve found, which has different writing, and is also a much closer crop. Here are all three, superimposed:

What is a little puzzling to me is that the postcard you found is of such high quality that implies (to me) that a medium-format negative was accessible to whomever wound up creating all of the derivatives, which I wouldn’t have expected if it was being held in, say, the Franklin vault. But if it was a Franklin photo, the reverse doesn’t look like the reverse of any Franklin postcards. I tried image-searching for postcard backs looking for something similar, and turned up these from Vermont, which use the same language but a different font in “Post Card.”

Given your link, that creates the unfortunate possibility that what you have is, in fact, the only copy of that postcard, because it was created by someone who was interested in the bridge (or liked the composition), had access to the original, and printed it as a one-off postcard, which is why so far as I can tell it’s never appeared elsewhere. The title is odd—as you note, this isn’t the Northwestern, and the bridge seems to have been well-known as a Metropolitan West Side bridge to locals. Or perhaps it dates from the 20s or 30s, and whoever was writing it just guessed. I don’t know.

I’m also not sure if it’s significant (beyond “postcard mania”) that the early examples are German. There was a big German population in Chicago at the time, and the Germans apparently did like postcards. Germans also liked bridges; Scherzer was born in Illinois, but his parents were German immigrants. One of the earlier photos of the Met bridge (I think it might be the oldest) is from a German postcard:

Text says: “‘Folding’ Bridge over the Chicago River (bridge closed)”; handwriting says (I think): “Dear Dad: Sent you today (payday) $1.00 worth of 1 and 2-cent post stamps. Let me know if these arrived safely.”

It has occurred to me that I could poke around here in Berlin to see if there’s anything promising, but if memory serves most Chicagoan immigrants came from further north (Pomerania and such). Here in Berlin our train esoterica is only the “ghost stations” from the Cold War and that some of our subway stops are mildly radioactive because they used uranium oxide glazing in the tile.

Anyway! Thank you again for your time, and for the link to that Smithsonian article!

This is all very interesting to me, and should also interest my readers. Thanks very much for sharing these wonderful images.

In the early years of photography, negatives were usually large enough to be contact printed onto photo paper, without using an enlarger. The “chicken scratch” writing on my postcard could have been inked onto a glass plate, on top of the negative, or it may have been applied to the negative itself. The proportions of postcards are more rectangular than many of the standard film formats of the time, which may help explain the cropping.

While doing further research into this story, I came across a series of blog posts.

Is this something you wrote?

Sandy Cleary:

Yeah, that’s me 🙂

The “Foolkiller” was originally covered by Cecil Adams in the “Straight Dope” column of the Chicago alternative weekly Chicago Reader, and then later by podcaster Mark Chrisler of The Constant. It’s been stuck in my head for about fifteen years, so I’ve been trying to pull together as much as I can rather than leaving things on various email threads or chat discussions, in case any one else ever goes searching. It’s also been a good way to start organizing my thoughts on the matter (I don’t think many people read that blog).

That’s an interesting steer, re: the negatives. The UIC holding is described as a “photographic print” although I understand the MWRD (the Chicago water authority) apparently found a number of glass plates in their archives. The Library of Congress also (I think) has the original Hans Behm photos, which are described as glass 8×10 negatives (here’s one of them below). I need to read up on that era of photography, apparently.

(The Detroit Publishing Co. photos taken by Behm were also turned into colorized photo postcards, although they don’t seem to have been as popular, or at least most of the Met depictions are not those. There’s an early one that the Central Electric Railfans’ Association wrote up about ten years ago; that’s given a copyright date of 1907 but it must be earlier because the bridge doesn’t have the circular pilings that it would retain for most of its life and were in place by 1907; on the other hand, the Palmer Building is visible (leftmost skyscraper) and that was built sometime between 1903 and 1906).

FYI, I wrote that CERA blog post you refer to.

Sandy Cleary:

I’ve also seen your name on the Industrial History page about the bridge, come to think of it.

And this brings the story up to date. Ms. Cleary’s blog posts, linked above, shed additional light on the story of this experimental boat, which I can summarize as follows. This was one of several attempts at creating a safer lifeboat, to be carried on ships, and for rescues. A number of such ideas were patented in the late 1800s and early 1900s, all very speculative, of course.

The International Automatic Lifeboat Company prototype, designed by Robert Brown, was moored in the Chicago River for some period of time, and not always near the Metropolitan West Side “L” bridge. The US Navy studied the concept and decided it was not practical, as it would have been too difficult to get people into this boat during rescues. This most likely doomed its prospects.

At some point, the boat sank, and was later pulled out of the river, whereupon some enterprising persons displayed it as a supposed submarine, which it was not.

The postcard we have mistakenly identifies this as the Northwestern “L”. In actuality, it was the Metropolitan West side Elevated, but some of its trains did go to Chicago’s northwest side. The Northwestern “L” actually ran to the north side, despite the name.

I hope that further information may shed more light on this story in the future. In the meantime, here are some additional examples of postcards showing the Met “L” bridge.

-David Sadowski

Trackwork near the Met bridge was somewhat complex. Tracks to the right fanned out, leading to the Wells Street Terminal. The tracks at left connected to the Loop "L" via Van Buren Street. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

Trackwork near the Met bridge was somewhat complex. Tracks to the right fanned out, leading to the Wells Street Terminal. The tracks at left connected to the Loop “L” via Van Buren Street. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

We are looking west from the Wells Street Terminal towards the dual bridges over the Chicago River. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

We are looking west from the Wells Street Terminal towards the dual bridges over the Chicago River. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

This is the only photo I have seen that shows the interior of the Met bridge interlocking tower. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

This is the only photo I have seen that shows the interior of the Met bridge interlocking tower. (Robert Heinlein Collection)

A 1906 postcard, made at a time when messages could only go on the front of the card.

A 1906 postcard, made at a time when messages could only go on the front of the card.

The back of the 1906 card. Only the address was permitted here.

The back of the 1906 card. Only the address was permitted here.

A 1908 postcard.

A 1908 postcard.

By 1908, messages were allowed on the left side of the card back.

By 1908, messages were allowed on the left side of the card back.

A 1909 postcard, based on the 1907 photo.

A 1909 postcard, based on the 1907 photo.

The rear of the 1909 postcard.

The rear of the 1909 postcard.

A 1911 postcard, based on the 1907 photo.

A 1911 postcard, based on the 1907 photo.

The back of a 1911 postcard.

The back of a 1911 postcard.

A 1912 postcard.

A 1912 postcard.

The back side of a 1912 postcard.

The back side of a 1912 postcard.

A 1915 postcard, clearly based on the 1907 photo.

A 1915 postcard, clearly based on the 1907 photo.

The back side of a 1915 postcard.

The back side of a 1915 postcard.

A 1919 postcard.

A 1919 postcard.

The back side of a 1919 postcard.

The back side of a 1919 postcard.

A 1920 postcard.

A 1920 postcard.

And here are some later views of the bridge, from various angles:

A view of the Metropolitan "L" crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

A view of the Metropolitan “L” crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

Over the years, I have seen many poor quality duplicate slides with this view, looking to the northwest, with a Garfield Park "L" train crossing the Met bridge over the Chicago River, with Union Station in the background. However, this was scanned from an original red border Kodachrome slide, circa 1955-58. The name of the photographer is not known. This must be a Garfield train, and the results are stunning. Douglas cars were re-routed over the Lake Street "L" in 1954. Logan Square trains began running via the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway in 1951.

Over the years, I have seen many poor quality duplicate slides with this view, looking to the northwest, with a Garfield Park “L” train crossing the Met bridge over the Chicago River, with Union Station in the background. However, this was scanned from an original red border Kodachrome slide, circa 1955-58. The name of the photographer is not known. This must be a Garfield train, and the results are stunning. Douglas cars were re-routed over the Lake Street “L” in 1954. Logan Square trains began running via the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway in 1951.

CTA 2256 is part of a four-car Met train, turning from Market Street onto the double bridge over the Chicago River in March 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2256 is part of a four-car Met train, turning from Market Street onto the double bridge over the Chicago River in March 1951.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

This picture of the old Met bridge over the Chicago River is undated, but probably dates to circa 1952-55 based on the type of red border Kodachrome mount it is in. But it is certainly after the the other picture in this post, taken at much the same location, since the building at rear, or part of it, was in the process of being torn down. This was not related to expressway construction, since the "L" at this point was north of there. Once the Congress rapid transit line opened in 1958, this section of "L" was taken out of service and by the early 1960s it had been torn down.

This picture of the old Met bridge over the Chicago River is undated, but probably dates to circa 1952-55 based on the type of red border Kodachrome mount it is in. But it is certainly after the the other picture in this post, taken at much the same location, since the building at rear, or part of it, was in the process of being torn down. This was not related to expressway construction, since the “L” at this point was north of there. Once the Congress rapid transit line opened in 1958, this section of “L” was taken out of service and by the early 1960s it had been torn down.

Stylish Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, and has afforded an unparalleled view since its completion in 1933. In April 1987, when this picture was taken, the view included Muni streetcar 578, built in 1896. Although it resembles a cable car, it uses overhead wire. It is occasionally operated for special events and is the oldest streetcar in use in the country. In recent years wheelchair access was added.

Stylish Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, and has afforded an unparalleled view since its completion in 1933. In April 1987, when this picture was taken, the view included Muni streetcar 578, built in 1896. Although it resembles a cable car, it uses overhead wire. It is occasionally operated for special events and is the oldest streetcar in use in the country. In recent years wheelchair access was added.

A Milwaukee Road push-pull commuter train is at Rondout (an unincorporated area in Lake County, IL) on September 2, 1963. Bi-levels were introduced to the Milwaukee Road around 1961 and ridership was much lower than it is today, so often one car sufficed instead of seven or eight as you see today on Metra. The station here was removed around 1965 on what is now the Metra Milwaukee District North Line. I believe we are looking to the northwest, and that the overpass may be the former North Shore Line Mundelein branch, which had been abandoned on January 21, 1963. There was a tower located kitty-corner to the station, to the right and behind the photographer, which was last used in 2015. (William D. Volkmer Photo)

A Milwaukee Road push-pull commuter train is at Rondout (an unincorporated area in Lake County, IL) on September 2, 1963. Bi-levels were introduced to the Milwaukee Road around 1961 and ridership was much lower than it is today, so often one car sufficed instead of seven or eight as you see today on Metra. The station here was removed around 1965 on what is now the Metra Milwaukee District North Line. I believe we are looking to the northwest, and that the overpass may be the former North Shore Line Mundelein branch, which had been abandoned on January 21, 1963. There was a tower located kitty-corner to the station, to the right and behind the photographer, which was last used in 2015. (William D. Volkmer Photo)

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "410 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923, #2640. It was out of service in 1932. It was rebuilt on December 31, 1942, as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating." Here is how it looked in December 1958 at the Mundelein Terminal. (Russell D. Porter Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “410 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923, #2640. It was out of service in 1932. It was rebuilt on December 31, 1942, as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating.” Here is how it looked in December 1958 at the Mundelein Terminal. (Russell D. Porter Photo)

North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802 is on the CTA "L" in August 1962.

North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802 is on the CTA “L” in August 1962.

This is a nice overhead view of a four-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners on Chicago's "L" in August 1962.

This is a nice overhead view of a four-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners on Chicago’s “L” in August 1962.

North Shore Line cars 157, 169, and 175 are heading southbound on the Sixth Street Viaduct in Milwaukee on April 19, 1959.

North Shore Line cars 157, 169, and 175 are heading southbound on the Sixth Street Viaduct in Milwaukee on April 19, 1959.

There are not many color photos showing this prewar paint scheme, seen here on North Shore Line coach 739 at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 25, 1942.

There are not many color photos showing this prewar paint scheme, seen here on North Shore Line coach 739 at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 25, 1942.

North Shore Line coach 173 is at the Mundelein Terminal in November 1962, just two months before the end of service. Car 160, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, is at right on a storage track. (Walter Schopp Photo)

North Shore Line coach 173 is at the Mundelein Terminal in November 1962, just two months before the end of service. Car 160, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, is at right on a storage track. (Walter Schopp Photo)

After the North Shore Line abandonment, car 727 went to the Southern Iowa Railway. Here it is shown on June 14, 1964, next to Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Northern car 100. Within a few years, both cars ended up on the Iowa Terminal Railroad (now the Iowa Traction Railway), but unfortunately, car 100 was destroyed in a 1967 fire. 727 is still operable.

After the North Shore Line abandonment, car 727 went to the Southern Iowa Railway. Here it is shown on June 14, 1964, next to Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Northern car 100. Within a few years, both cars ended up on the Iowa Terminal Railroad (now the Iowa Traction Railway), but unfortunately, car 100 was destroyed in a 1967 fire. 727 is still operable.

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee #607 is at North Chicago Junction on November 16, 1941. "The 'Big Hook' operating as a loco, hauling a 12 car drag and caboose." The color is described as orange and black. (Vic Wagner Photo)

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee #607 is at North Chicago Junction on November 16, 1941. “The ‘Big Hook’ operating as a loco, hauling a 12 car drag and caboose.” The color is described as orange and black. (Vic Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line city streetcar 359, a 1920s product of the St. Louis Car Company, is shown at North Chicago Junction on March 2, 1941. This was the south end of the line for Waukegan streetcars. (Vic Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line city streetcar 359, a 1920s product of the St. Louis Car Company, is shown at North Chicago Junction on March 2, 1941. This was the south end of the line for Waukegan streetcars. (Vic Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 771 at the Milwaukee Terinal.

North Shore Line Silverliner 771 at the Milwaukee Terinal.

A three car Chicago and Milwaukee Electric (predecessor of the North shore Line) express train, made up of woods including car 401, from an early colorized postcard. The location here may be Lake Forest. Don\s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "401 was built by Jewett Car in 1909 as parlor-buffet car. In 1917 it was converted to straight coach and retired in 1935. It was leased to Chicago Aurora & Elgin and renumbered 142 in 1936. It came back for a short time with the CA&E number in 1945 and sold to CA&E in 1946. It was retired in 1953."

A three car Chicago and Milwaukee Electric (predecessor of the North shore Line) express train, made up of woods including car 401, from an early colorized postcard. The location here may be Lake Forest. Dons Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “401 was built by Jewett Car in 1909 as parlor-buffet car. In 1917 it was converted to straight coach and retired in 1935. It was leased to Chicago Aurora & Elgin and renumbered 142 in 1936. It came back for a short time with the CA&E number in 1945 and sold to CA&E in 1946. It was retired in 1953.”

As the song goes, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot at the former site of the North shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal, seen here on August 24, 1966. The former switchman's shanty was the only thing carried over. (Richard H. Young Photo)

As the song goes, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot at the former site of the North shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal, seen here on August 24, 1966. The former switchman’s shanty was the only thing carried over. (Richard H. Young Photo)

On June 6, 1954, the National Railway Historical Society held a farewell fantrip on the Red Arrow interurban line to West Chester, PA. Here, the fantrip cars are stopped at the West Chester Water Works. Car 66 was built by Brill in 1926 and was declared surplus in 1970, after Red Arrow was taken over by SEPTA. It is now at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

On June 6, 1954, the National Railway Historical Society held a farewell fantrip on the Red Arrow interurban line to West Chester, PA. Here, the fantrip cars are stopped at the West Chester Water Works. Car 66 was built by Brill in 1926 and was declared surplus in 1970, after Red Arrow was taken over by SEPTA. It is now at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

Fairmount Park Transit car 10, built by Brill in 1896, as it appeared on April 6, 1946, not long before the line was abandoned. There are not many color photos of this operation. (David H. Cope Photo)

Fairmount Park Transit car 10, built by Brill in 1896, as it appeared on April 6, 1946, not long before the line was abandoned. There are not many color photos of this operation. (David H. Cope Photo)

Fairmount Park Transit was an interesting streetcar operation that ran from 1896 to 1946, all on the grounds of a public park in Philadelphia, completely separate from the rest of the local streetcar system. Here we see car #1.

Fairmount Park Transit was an interesting streetcar operation that ran from 1896 to 1946, all on the grounds of a public park in Philadelphia, completely separate from the rest of the local streetcar system. Here we see car #1.

This picture was taken on July 26, 1961 at the Red Arrow Lines (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) 69th Street Terminal. Amazingly, the sign still mentions the Lehigh Valley Transit interurban, which stopped operating in 1951, and which hadn't operated to this station since 1949.

This picture was taken on July 26, 1961 at the Red Arrow Lines (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) 69th Street Terminal. Amazingly, the sign still mentions the Lehigh Valley Transit interurban, which stopped operating in 1951, and which hadn’t operated to this station since 1949.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car is heading northbound at West Point in Pennsylvania on September 18, 1948. Rail service ended three years later. (James P. Shuman Photo)

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car is heading northbound at West Point in Pennsylvania on September 18, 1948. Rail service ended three years later. (James P. Shuman Photo)

CTA PCC 4382 appears to be turning east from Clark Street onto Division Street. Close examination of the slide shows the streetcar is signed for Route 36 - Broadway-Downtown. As Steve De Rose notes, the south portion of Broadway-State was "bustituted " on December 5, 1955, and the Blatz ad campaign on the side of the car dates this picture to 1956.

CTA PCC 4382 appears to be turning east from Clark Street onto Division Street. Close examination of the slide shows the streetcar is signed for Route 36 – Broadway-Downtown. As Steve De Rose notes, the south portion of Broadway-State was “bustituted ” on December 5, 1955, and the Blatz ad campaign on the side of the car dates this picture to 1956.

Chicago Surface Lines PCC 4125 and red car 1403 are at 73rd Street and Vincennes Avenue in March 1947, as the newest and oldest streetcars in the CSL fleet. (Vic Wagner Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines PCC 4125 and red car 1403 are at 73rd Street and Vincennes Avenue in March 1947, as the newest and oldest streetcars in the CSL fleet. (Vic Wagner Photo)

The Union Stock Yards, as seen from the "L", probably circa 1908 when this branch line opened. From a real photo postcard.

The Union Stock Yards, as seen from the “L”, probably circa 1908 when this branch line opened. From a real photo postcard.

CTA 4409 is at the head of a two-car fantrip train at Francisco on the Ravenswood "L" on November 25, 1973. This was at the end of regular service for the 4000-series cars, built in the early 1920s. (Arthur H. Peterson Photo)

CTA 4409 is at the head of a two-car fantrip train at Francisco on the Ravenswood “L” on November 25, 1973. This was at the end of regular service for the 4000-series cars, built in the early 1920s. (Arthur H. Peterson Photo)

A view looking north at the CTA Linden Avenue "L" yard in Wilmette in June 1966 shows where the North Shore Line's Shore Line Route tracks branched off at right and continued north. After service ended in 1955, the CTA incorporated some of this trackage into its storage yard, which has since been reconfigured.

A view looking north at the CTA Linden Avenue “L” yard in Wilmette in June 1966 shows where the North Shore Line’s Shore Line Route tracks branched off at right and continued north. After service ended in 1955, the CTA incorporated some of this trackage into its storage yard, which has since been reconfigured.

This duplicate slide was described as showing the CTA Douglas Park "L" at Kenton Avenue in May 1952. That may be the correct date, but I believe it actually shows an eastbound Garfield Park train between Laramie and Central Avenue. West of here, the "L" turned to run parallel to the B&OCT. The area at left is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today, and this is approximately the location of the Lotus tunnel.

This duplicate slide was described as showing the CTA Douglas Park “L” at Kenton Avenue in May 1952. That may be the correct date, but I believe it actually shows an eastbound Garfield Park train between Laramie and Central Avenue. West of here, the “L” turned to run parallel to the B&OCT. The area at left is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today, and this is approximately the location of the Lotus tunnel.

CTA 2102 is at the tail end of a Lake-Dan Ryan train in April 1975, turning the sharp corner from Wabash to Lake. After the horrific crash here two years later, where some "L" cars fell off the structure, additional steel was added to help prevent a future reoccurrence.

CTA 2102 is at the tail end of a Lake-Dan Ryan train in April 1975, turning the sharp corner from Wabash to Lake. After the horrific crash here two years later, where some “L” cars fell off the structure, additional steel was added to help prevent a future reoccurrence.

Passengers are boarding an eastbound South Shore Line train, headed by car 107, at Michigan City, IN in May 1959. Now, the line is being double-tracked at this location, and the street turned into a private right-of-way. The facade of the old station is going to become part of a new redevelopment here. From left to right, the several cars visible include an early 50s Chevy, a '59 Chevy, a '55 Oldsmobile, a late '50s Cadillac, a 1956 Buick, and a 1959 Ford.

Passengers are boarding an eastbound South Shore Line train, headed by car 107, at Michigan City, IN in May 1959. Now, the line is being double-tracked at this location, and the street turned into a private right-of-way. The facade of the old station is going to become part of a new redevelopment here. From left to right, the several cars visible include an early 50s Chevy, a ’59 Chevy, a ’55 Oldsmobile, a late ’50s Cadillac, a 1956 Buick, and a 1959 Ford.

A South Shore Line train, with car 101 at the helm, is at the East Chicago station on February 8, 1953. In 1956 the street trackage here was replaced by a new bypass route, running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road. (James P. Shuman Photo)

A South Shore Line train, with car 101 at the helm, is at the East Chicago station on February 8, 1953. In 1956 the street trackage here was replaced by a new bypass route, running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road. (James P. Shuman Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 404 at Forest Park, circa 1955-57. We are looking north. After interurban service was cut back to here in 1953, the CA&E had a track for midday car storage, seen at left.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 404 at Forest Park, circa 1955-57. We are looking north. After interurban service was cut back to here in 1953, the CA&E had a track for midday car storage, seen at left.

The final fantrip on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin took place on a wintry December 7, 1958, about six months prior to the complete abandonment of the interurban, which had stopped operating passenger service on July 3, 1957. I am not sure of this location in Chicago's western suburbs, although the sign at right would suggest it is at one of several Main Streets in the area. Wood cars 319 and 320 were used. By this time, automatic gates had been removed, and the train had to be flagged at each such crossing. Jason Learakos: "Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The photo is facing east across Main Street from the station there." Mike Franklin says we are "looking SE at Main St., Glen Ellyn."

The final fantrip on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin took place on a wintry December 7, 1958, about six months prior to the complete abandonment of the interurban, which had stopped operating passenger service on July 3, 1957. I am not sure of this location in Chicago’s western suburbs, although the sign at right would suggest it is at one of several Main Streets in the area. Wood cars 319 and 320 were used. By this time, automatic gates had been removed, and the train had to be flagged at each such crossing. Jason Learakos: “Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The photo is facing east across Main Street from the station there.” Mike Franklin says we are “looking SE at Main St., Glen Ellyn.”

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car #20, built in 1902, ran for 55 years on that interurban before heading to the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it remains. Here it is in October 1970, when this operation was still known as "RELIC." These are former tracks of the Aurora, Elgin, and Fox River Electric, which was affiliated with the CA&E.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car #20, built in 1902, ran for 55 years on that interurban before heading to the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it remains. Here it is in October 1970, when this operation was still known as “RELIC.” These are former tracks of the Aurora, Elgin, and Fox River Electric, which was affiliated with the CA&E.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 409, the only Pullman saved from the fleet, is shown operating at "Trolleyville USA" in Olmstead Falls, OH on August 28, 1965. It is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 409, the only Pullman saved from the fleet, is shown operating at “Trolleyville USA” in Olmstead Falls, OH on August 28, 1965. It is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 20 at "RELIC" in South Elgin in August 1968.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 20 at “RELIC” in South Elgin in August 1968.

Chicago's Central Station opened in 1893 to serve trains to the World's Columbian Exposition site. Trains of the Illinois Central and the "Big Four" (the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, which after 1906 was affiliated with the New York Central) used this station, which was adjacent to the tracks (electrified in 1926) now used by the Metra Electric and South Shore Line. After Amtrak took over intercity passenger train operations in 1971, they consolidated service to Union Station the following year, and Central Station closed. Demolition began on June 3, 1974, which is right around when this photo was taken.

Chicago’s Central Station opened in 1893 to serve trains to the World’s Columbian Exposition site. Trains of the Illinois Central and the “Big Four” (the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, which after 1906 was affiliated with the New York Central) used this station, which was adjacent to the tracks (electrified in 1926) now used by the Metra Electric and South Shore Line. After Amtrak took over intercity passenger train operations in 1971, they consolidated service to Union Station the following year, and Central Station closed. Demolition began on June 3, 1974, which is right around when this photo was taken.

Another photo of the soon to be demolished Central Station in June 1974.

Another photo of the soon to be demolished Central Station in June 1974.

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "65 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 230. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 230 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 65. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 65 where it originally operated with a modified Shaker Heights paint scheme. When repainted, the Speedrail logo was omitted. It was scrapped in 1952." Based on that, my best guess is this picture may date to near the end of service in 1951. The location is at Sixth and Michigan in Milwaukee, by the North Shore Line Terminal. Transport Company bus 930 is also visible.

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “65 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 230. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 230 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 65. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 65 where it originally operated with a modified Shaker Heights paint scheme. When repainted, the Speedrail logo was omitted. It was scrapped in 1952.” Based on that, my best guess is this picture may date to near the end of service in 1951. The location is at Sixth and Michigan in Milwaukee, by the North Shore Line Terminal. Transport Company bus 930 is also visible.

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952." Here it is seen during that brief period of operation in Waukesha. Larry Sakar: "aae249 is a photo I also have. The 66 is indeed laying over at the Waukesha loop/ Two questions remain to this day. 1. Was there any specific spot where the cars were supposed to stop? Seems to me I see photos of TM cars laying over parked in a variety of places on the loop. For instance that great single leading duplex shot which was the common lash-up during the WWII era is parked in a different spot than the 66. 2. I have never seen a photo of cars laying over on the Waukesha loop with passengers either boarding or waiting to board. I am inclined to think that passengers could not be carried the two blocks between the Waukesha station at Clinton Street & Broadway and the loop because when the line was cut back to Waukesha loop on 12-30-45 passenger service had been abandoned beyond downtown Waukesha. This is speculative on my part. I don't really know. Jay Maeder and the city of Waukesha tangled over the sale of the Waukesha loop. The city wanted to buy it from Speedrail to accommodate more cars. Maeder was willing to sell. Initially he asked something like $1100 until he saw the appraisal and quickly raised the asking price to $2500. The city accused him of trying to gouge him and refused to budge beyond $1500. Maeder said they were trying to cheat him and they were. When Hyman-Michaels had the property appraised the appraisal came in at $2200! Just where he planned to turn the cars around if he sold the loop I don't know. He publicly said there were "lots of places where Speedrail could turn the cars but I can't think of any!" In the end the city got it anyway and it became a parking lot until the 1980s. It is now the site of a very big Walgreens Drug Store. The Motor Transport Co. freight building was torn down shortly after Speedrail came to an end."

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.” Here it is seen during that brief period of operation in Waukesha. Larry Sakar: “aae249 is a photo I also have. The 66 is indeed laying over at the Waukesha loop/ Two questions remain to this day. 1. Was there any specific spot where the cars were supposed to stop? Seems to me I see photos of TM cars laying over parked in a variety of places on the loop. For instance that great single leading duplex shot which was the common lash-up during the WWII era is parked in a different spot than the 66. 2. I have never seen a photo of cars laying over on the Waukesha loop with passengers either boarding or waiting to board. I am inclined to think that passengers could not be carried the two blocks between the Waukesha station at Clinton Street & Broadway and the loop because when the line was cut back to Waukesha loop on 12-30-45 passenger service had been abandoned beyond downtown Waukesha. This is speculative on my part. I don’t really know. Jay Maeder and the city of Waukesha tangled over the sale of the Waukesha loop. The city wanted to buy it from Speedrail to accommodate more cars. Maeder was willing to sell. Initially he asked something like $1100 until he saw the appraisal and quickly raised the asking price to $2500. The city accused him of trying to gouge him and refused to budge beyond $1500. Maeder said they were trying to cheat him and they were. When Hyman-Michaels had the property appraised the appraisal came in at $2200! Just where he planned to turn the cars around if he sold the loop I don’t know. He publicly said there were “lots of places where Speedrail could turn the cars but I can’t think of any!” In the end the city got it anyway and it became a parking lot until the 1980s. It is now the site of a very big Walgreens Drug Store. The Motor Transport Co. freight building was torn down shortly after Speedrail came to an end.”

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "62 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 245. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 245 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 62. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 62 and was scrapped in 1952." This photo may have been taken in Waukesha and could date to just prior to the 1951 abandonment. Larry Sakar: "This is NOT toward the end of Speedrail. The lack of front stripes on the curved sider indicates that this is pre Summer 1950 when the two black stripes began to appear on the curved side cars. O'Brien photos took some great photos of the Waukesha loop including an aerial shot of it before it became the loop. They were located about a block or so east of the Waukesha station." Mike Franklin says we are "looking SE on Broadway from Clinton St, Waukesha, WI."

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “62 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 245. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 245 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 62. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 62 and was scrapped in 1952.” This photo may have been taken in Waukesha and could date to just prior to the 1951 abandonment. Larry Sakar: “This is NOT toward the end of Speedrail. The lack of front stripes on the curved sider indicates that this is pre Summer 1950 when the two black stripes began to appear on the curved side cars. O’Brien photos took some great photos of the Waukesha loop including an aerial shot of it before it became the loop. They were located about a block or so east of the Waukesha station.” Mike Franklin says we are “looking SE on Broadway from Clinton St, Waukesha, WI.”

Milwaukee Electric M15 at an undetermined location. Stephen Karlson writes, "M15 is under the train shed at East Troy that was later removed. That stretch of the right of way remains off limits to boarding passengers at the preservation railway as the ground is on the same plot of land as the house that was once the station. Thus the loading platform for the electric cars is by the substation."

Milwaukee Electric M15 at an undetermined location. Stephen Karlson writes, “M15 is under the train shed at East Troy that was later removed. That stretch of the right of way remains off limits to boarding passengers at the preservation railway as the ground is on the same plot of land as the house that was once the station. Thus the loading platform for the electric cars is by the substation.”

Milwaukee Electric 1112 at Waukesha, WI on March 15, 1947. (Vic Wagner Photo) Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "1112 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1926. It was one of three sold for scrap in January 1952, before the rest of the cars." Larry Sakar: "Fantastic shot of the typical Waukesha train during WWII. When first tried TM discovered that placing the single 1100 series car behind the duplex did not work. Because the door on a single 1100 was at the rear of the car and in the center of a duplex they quickly found that the door on the single 1100 did not reach the station platforms or designated loading zone. Thus, two stops had to be made. The solution was to place the single 1100 series car first. Trial and error I guess you'd say."

Milwaukee Electric 1112 at Waukesha, WI on March 15, 1947. (Vic Wagner Photo) Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “1112 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1926. It was one of three sold for scrap in January 1952, before the rest of the cars.” Larry Sakar: “Fantastic shot of the typical Waukesha train during WWII. When first tried TM discovered that placing the single 1100 series car behind the duplex did not work. Because the door on a single 1100 was at the rear of the car and in the center of a duplex they quickly found that the door on the single 1100 did not reach the station platforms or designated loading zone. Thus, two stops had to be made. The solution was to place the single 1100 series car first. Trial and error I guess you’d say.”

Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1106 is at Mukwonago, Wisconsin, on the line going out to East Troy. Passenger service was abandoned here in 1939, although freight service continued for decades. This is currently where the East Troy Railroad Museum operates. I've been told that this station was located near an interchange north of where the Elegant Farmer is now, and that the station itself was moved and turned into a residence, which still exists, although additions have been made to it.

Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1106 is at Mukwonago, Wisconsin, on the line going out to East Troy. Passenger service was abandoned here in 1939, although freight service continued for decades. This is currently where the East Troy Railroad Museum operates. I’ve been told that this station was located near an interchange north of where the Elegant Farmer is now, and that the station itself was moved and turned into a residence, which still exists, although additions have been made to it.

Milwaukee Electric 1105. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "The Milwaukee Northern Ry came under TM control in 1923 and was officially merged on April 30, 1928. Under TM management 4 of their cars were rebuilt in a fashion similar to the other TM rebuilt interurbans. After 1928, most of the cars were further rebuilt and renumbered to replace the original 1100s which had been renumbered when they were rebuilt. 1101 was to have been rebuilt from MN 20, but it became 1105 instead. Thus there was no 1101." It may originally have been built in 1907.

Milwaukee Electric 1105. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “The Milwaukee Northern Ry came under TM control in 1923 and was officially merged on April 30, 1928. Under TM management 4 of their cars were rebuilt in a fashion similar to the other TM rebuilt interurbans. After 1928, most of the cars were further rebuilt and renumbered to replace the original 1100s which had been renumbered when they were rebuilt. 1101 was to have been rebuilt from MN 20, but it became 1105 instead. Thus there was no 1101.” It may originally have been built in 1907.

Milwaukee Electric streetcar 641 on route 19. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "641 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928."

Milwaukee Electric streetcar 641 on route 19. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “641 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928.”

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail car 61 is at an undetermined location (Waukesha?) and looks rather worse for the wear, with unrepaired collision damage, probably just prior to the 1951 abandonment. Larry Sakar adds: "This is at the Waukesha station. Wilbur Lumber was directly across the street from the station. Note the cement safety island to the left of the car. It was there to facilitate loading so that passengers didn't have to stand in the street. All traffic passed to the photo left of that island. Today a bank occupies the site of Wilbur Lumber Co. I guess the Wilburs were a prominent Waukesha family from what my friend John Schoenknecht who is the editor of Landmark, the official publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society, told me. Oh, by the way what you see in the background of that shot of the car at Wilbur Lumber is the Madison Street hill which is still there. There was a Milwaukee Road crossing that isn't visible in the photo and once across it Broadway becomes Madison." Mike Franklin says this "is indeed Waukesha. Looking NW across Madison St from Clinton St."

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail car 61 is at an undetermined location (Waukesha?) and looks rather worse for the wear, with unrepaired collision damage, probably just prior to the 1951 abandonment. Larry Sakar adds: “This is at the Waukesha station. Wilbur Lumber was directly across the street from the station. Note the cement safety island to the left of the car. It was there to facilitate loading so that passengers didn’t have to stand in the street. All traffic passed to the photo left of that island. Today a bank occupies the site of Wilbur Lumber Co. I guess the Wilburs were a prominent Waukesha family from what my friend John Schoenknecht who is the editor of Landmark, the official publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society, told me. Oh, by the way what you see in the background of that shot of the car at Wilbur Lumber is the Madison Street hill which is still there. There was a Milwaukee Road crossing that isn’t visible in the photo and once across it Broadway becomes Madison.” Mike Franklin says this “is indeed Waukesha. Looking NW across Madison St from Clinton St.”

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail car 60. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "60 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3030, as Indianapolis & Southeastern Traction 260. It replaced the heavy-weight cars which became TMER&L 1180 series. In 1933 it was sold to Inter-City Rapid Transit as 260 and in 1941 it was sold to Shaker Heights Rapid Transit as 60. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 60 and was scrapped in 1952." Larry Sakar: "Car 60 is on the bridge over Brookdale Drive on the Hales Corners line on 10-16-49. This is the inaugural fan trip using car 60 that traveled over both lines. Both the bridge and embankment are gone. This is the location where the construction train used to take workers building the suburb of Greendale to and from cut off and went in a southeasterly direction thru what is now Root River Parkway. One of the dumbest things Jay Maeder ever said was that he "intended to restore passenger service to Greendale." There never was passenger service to Greendale. I'm about a mile or so north of Greendale. MCTS has a bus line (Rt. 76-76th St.) that serves Greendale. I've yet to see a single passenger on that part of the line. Greendale is wealth personified! By the way car 65 was supposed to have been used on the inaugural fan trip but it was on the "sick list". Another thing of interest regarding the 10-16-49 fan trip. Car 60 developed mechanical problems as soon as the car descended the "slide" onto the Rapid Transit line at 8th Street. At the Gravel Pit they put in to the siding. A fan with a vast knowledge of interurban cars opened the hatches in the floor and disconnected the motor leads on motors 3 and 4. Car 60 ran on two motors for the rest of that fan trip. The name of the knowledgeable railfan was George Krambles!! The late Lew Martin recalled that while stopped there a fan remarked, "The line has been in business for a little over a month and they have a car in the scrap line already!" Two other well known railfans were on that car. Barney Neuberger wearing his classic pork pie hat and one Mr. Albert C. Kalmbach, head of the publishing company that bore his name. Kalmbach was seated in the 4th row on the right side of car 60."

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail car 60. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “60 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3030, as Indianapolis & Southeastern Traction 260. It replaced the heavy-weight cars which became TMER&L 1180 series. In 1933 it was sold to Inter-City Rapid Transit as 260 and in 1941 it was sold to Shaker Heights Rapid Transit as 60. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 60 and was scrapped in 1952.” Larry Sakar: “Car 60 is on the bridge over Brookdale Drive on the Hales Corners line on 10-16-49. This is the inaugural fan trip using car 60 that traveled over both lines. Both the bridge and embankment are gone. This is the location where the construction train used to take workers building the suburb of Greendale to and from cut off and went in a southeasterly direction thru what is now Root River Parkway. One of the dumbest things Jay Maeder ever said was that he “intended to restore passenger service to Greendale.” There never was passenger service to Greendale. I’m about a mile or so north of Greendale. MCTS has a bus line (Rt. 76-76th St.) that serves Greendale. I’ve yet to see a single passenger on that part of the line. Greendale is wealth personified! By the way car 65 was supposed to have been used on the inaugural fan trip but it was on the “sick list”. Another thing of interest regarding the 10-16-49 fan trip. Car 60 developed mechanical problems as soon as the car descended the “slide” onto the Rapid Transit line at 8th Street. At the Gravel Pit they put in to the siding. A fan with a vast knowledge of interurban cars opened the hatches in the floor and disconnected the motor leads on motors 3 and 4. Car 60 ran on two motors for the rest of that fan trip. The name of the knowledgeable railfan was George Krambles!! The late Lew Martin recalled that while stopped there a fan remarked, “The line has been in business for a little over a month and they have a car in the scrap line already!” Two other well known railfans were on that car. Barney Neuberger wearing his classic pork pie hat and one Mr. Albert C. Kalmbach, head of the publishing company that bore his name. Kalmbach was seated in the 4th row on the right side of car 60.”

Milwaukee Electric freight motor and utility car M15. Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and (is) now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989."

Milwaukee Electric freight motor and utility car M15. Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “M15 was built at Cold Spring Shops in 1920 as a trailer, but it was motorized almost immediately. It was transferred to the isolated East Troy operation in 1939, and sold to the Municipality of East Troy in 1949. It is sold to WERHS in 1982 and (is) now preserved at the IRM (since) 1989.”

Don's Rail Photos (via Archive.org): "61 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 235. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 235 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 61. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 61 and was scrapped in 1952." Here 61 is at an undetermined location. Since it is still signed for Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail, this may be circa 1949-50. Larry Sakar: "The car is westbound on West Michigan Street at North 5th Street. The building in the background (whitish and prominent) was the Boston Store, a department store that at one time was owned by the same company that owned Carson's in Chicago- P.A. Bergner. The building is still there but the Boston Store is not. I believe it is now housing for seniors. Note the traffic policeman standing in the middle of the intersection. Believe it or not there were no stop and go lights on Michigan Street until Speedrail was gone. Every intersection had a traffic policeman. The late Doug Traxler said the one place you did not want to get stopped was at the top of the hill at 6th and Michigan because half of your car was hanging downhill and making that turn by the NSL station was no picnic. Motorman Don Leistikow concurred and offered this tale: "Yes, I remember that traffic officer. I was one of several motormen who discovered that he had a good day when he had cigars so I, like some of the other motormen, always made sure he had a box of cigars. Things always seemed to go better for him when he had a box of cigars!" Traxler remembered him shouting at him, "Pull it Up. Pull it way up," when he got stopped there one time." Mike Franklin says we are "looking east on Michigan St. from 5th St. in Milwaukee."

Don’s Rail Photos (via Archive.org): “61 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1928, #2985, as I&SE 235. In 1933 it was sold to ICRT as 235 and in 1941 it was sold to SHRT as 61. In 1949 it was sold to Ed Tennyson and leased as Speedrail 61 and was scrapped in 1952.” Here 61 is at an undetermined location. Since it is still signed for Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail, this may be circa 1949-50. Larry Sakar: “The car is westbound on West Michigan Street at North 5th Street. The building in the background (whitish and prominent) was the Boston Store, a department store that at one time was owned by the same company that owned Carson’s in Chicago- P.A. Bergner. The building is still there but the Boston Store is not. I believe it is now housing for seniors. Note the traffic policeman standing in the middle of the intersection. Believe it or not there were no stop and go lights on Michigan Street until Speedrail was gone. Every intersection had a traffic policeman. The late Doug Traxler said the one place you did not want to get stopped was at the top of the hill at 6th and Michigan because half of your car was hanging downhill and making that turn by the NSL station was no picnic. Motorman Don Leistikow concurred and offered this tale: “Yes, I remember that traffic officer. I was one of several motormen who discovered that he had a good day when he had cigars so I, like some of the other motormen, always made sure he had a box of cigars. Things always seemed to go better for him when he had a box of cigars!” Traxler remembered him shouting at him, “Pull it Up. Pull it way up,” when he got stopped there one time.” Mike Franklin says we are “looking east on Michigan St. from 5th St. in Milwaukee.”

Gary Railways car #1 at an undetermined location. William Shapotkin: "We are in downtown Valparaiso, IN. The car is laying over in Franklin St north of Main (now Lincolnway) taking its layover at the east end-of-line. View looks south. Building at right (N/W corner of intersection) is still standing today."

Gary Railways car #1 at an undetermined location. William Shapotkin: “We are in downtown Valparaiso, IN. The car is laying over in Franklin St north of Main (now Lincolnway) taking its layover at the east end-of-line. View looks south. Building at right (N/W corner of intersection) is still standing today.”

Gary Railways cars 16 and 19 on the May 1, 1938 fantrip which is considered the beginnings of the Central Electric Railfans' Association.

Gary Railways cars 16 and 19 on the May 1, 1938 fantrip which is considered the beginnings of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

Gary Railways line car #11 at the Garyton Loop. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Gary Railways line car #11 at the Garyton Loop. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A view of the right of way along the Gary Railways Indiana Harbor Division near Gary, IN by Edward Frank, Jr.

A view of the right of way along the Gary Railways Indiana Harbor Division near Gary, IN by Edward Frank, Jr.

A view of the right-of-way along the Gary Railways Hammond Division, near Hammond IN, by Edward Frank, Jr.

A view of the right-of-way along the Gary Railways Hammond Division, near Hammond IN, by Edward Frank, Jr.

A view of the Gary Railways right-of-way on the Indiana Harbor Division near Gary, IN by Edward Frank, Jr. Presumably that is his bicycle by the telephone pole. Rail service on the Indiana Harbor Division was abandoned in March 1939.

A view of the Gary Railways right-of-way on the Indiana Harbor Division near Gary, IN by Edward Frank, Jr. Presumably that is his bicycle by the telephone pole. Rail service on the Indiana Harbor Division was abandoned in March 1939.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

The North Shore Line

FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now available for immediate shipment. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

From the back cover:

As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map.  Books will ship by USPS Media Mail.

Chapters:
01. Beginnings
02. The Milwaukee Division
03. The Shore Line Route
04. The Skokie Valley Route
05. The Mundelein Branch
06. On the “L”
07. City Streetcars
08. Trolley Freight
09. The Long Goodbye
10. The Legacy

Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

New Compact Disc, Now Available:

CTA-1
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.

Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.

These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.

As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.

Total time – 74:38

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 298th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 980,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

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


Elevation

An eastbound six-car Lake Street "L" A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

An eastbound six-car Lake Street “L” A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

October 28, 2022 was the 60th anniversary of the elevation of the outer 2.5 miles of the Lake Street “L” (now the CTA Green Line). This was an important event in the history of suburban Oak Park and the Austin neighborhood in Chicago.

The steel Lake Street “L” structure, first opened in 1893, was only built as far west as Laramie Avenue (5200 W). Once the main “L” lines were built by the four original private companies, they extended service out to less populated areas at a greatly reduced cost by putting the tracks at ground level. The idea was to establish service, then wait until the surrounding area developed, and then elevate the tracks.

In some cases, this elevation never happened. To this day, portions of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown, Pink, Yellow, and Purple lines continue to run at ground level.

The Lake Street “L”‘s ground level extension opened in 1901. The Chicago and North Western’s tracks, which were adjacent to the “L”, were elevated circa 1909-1910, with extremely tight clearances the result. The ground level “L” operated much like a streetcar, using overhead wire instead of third rail, and used high-level platforms.

By the 1930s, the City of Chicago, under the influence of New York City, wanted to build subways to replace the Loop elevated. The subways that eventually were built (State Street, Milwaukee-Dearborn, and West Side) were very ambitious and costly projects which helped alleviate overcrowding on the Loop, but could not replace it outright.

City planners had ideas for putting portions of the Lake line into various subways, so portions of the elevated structure could be torn down. But once the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations in 1947, it was quickly determined that the outer portion of the line, the ground-level section, was the real difficulty.

There were 22 grade crossings in this section, all manually operated by a gateman 24 hours a day. In a similar situation, the City of Berwyn was uncooperative with the CTA’s plans to reduce the number of grade crossings and install automatic gates. As a result, service on the Douglas Park “L” was cut back from Oak Park Avenue (6800 W) to 54th Avenue (5400 W), where it remains today.

Faced with the possible truncation of the Lake Street “L” to Laramie Avenue, the Village of Oak Park took a different approach, working cooperatively with all the interested parties (the City of Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Chicago and North Western), and a plan came about that benefitted everyone.

The C&NW embankment had enough extra space on it to accommodate the CTA tracks, which permitted the Lake Street “L” to be elevated at last. Removing the tracks from the street eliminated all 22 grade crossings, reducing the CTA’s payroll.

“L” operations were speeded up, offering better service, and the North Western received new revenue from renting out the space. The railroad was allowed to close some lightly used commuter rail stations, ceding these customers to the CTA, which speeded up service for riders farther out.

Removing the ground-level tracks widened the street, reducing traffic congestion and increasing the amount of parking spaces available. It was a win-win for all.

Plans were finalized around 1958, but construction does not seem to have begun until 1961. Service was changed over to the embankment at 6:00pm on October 28, 1962 (see the newspaper article below).

I was seven years old when this transition took place, and rode the ground-level “L” many times. It was always a bit tense, as all 22 cross streets were blind crossings. Cars might come darting out from under a viaduct at the last second, and there were some collisions between “L” cars and autos.

The tight clearances also prevented the use of the CTA’s 6000-series “L” cars in the 1950s, as they had curved sides that stuck out farther than previous equipment. Once the line began running on the embankment, it was possible to use newer equipment, and the CTA assigned many of their new 2000-series rapid transit cars to the Lake line starting in 1964.

Now, the “L” has been running on the embankment for nearly the same length of time as the ground-level operation had. And practically every trace of that surface trackage and stations is long gone.

People who have grown up in the area since 1962 might not have any idea that the “L” ever ran anywhere but on the embankment, but this is an important part of Oak Park’s history, and it deserves to be remembered.

Fortunately, we recently collected various images showing both the construction work, and many taken on the very day of the ground-level operation, October 28, 1962. In addition to this, we have an excellent selection of other classic traction photos from around the country.

We are pleased to report that our latest book The North Shore Line is now 100% complete and has gone to press. The publication date is February 20, 2023, and we are now taking pre-orders. You will find more information about that at the end of this post (and our Online Store).

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,016 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet in Dayton, OH (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

The Lake Street “L” in Transition

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the "L" with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the “L” with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new "L" connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new “L” connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the "L" was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the “L” was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the "L" structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of "L" was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the “L” structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of “L” was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the "L" to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the “L” to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue "L" station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue “L” station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Third rail (here referred to as "trolley rail") was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street "L" as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the "L" onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Third rail (here referred to as “trolley rail”) was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street “L” as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the “L” onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Work on the CTA's new Congress "L" branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street "L". Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

Work on the CTA’s new Congress “L” branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street “L”. Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street "L" was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street “L” was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street "L" track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street “L” track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the "L" system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the “L” system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue "L" station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue “L” station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

Chicago's dedication ceremony for the new "L" alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

Chicago’s dedication ceremony for the new “L” alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

CTA "L" car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

CTA “L” car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard "L" station on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard “L” station on October 28, 1962.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old "L" had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old “L” had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

An eastbound Lake Street "A" train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

An eastbound Lake Street “A” train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue "L" station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue “L” station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see "L" cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see “L” cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the "L".

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the “L”.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

A closer view of the new and old "L" stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal "L" cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

A closer view of the new and old “L” stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal “L” cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don't recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street "L" ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don’t recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street “L” ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress "L" line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park "L". Note the very flimsy barrier separating the "L" and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park "L" to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago's Subways.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress “L” line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park “L”. Note the very flimsy barrier separating the “L” and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park “L” to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago’s Subways.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority's Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden "L" car ran in regular service in Chicago.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden “L” car ran in regular service in Chicago.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

The Logan Square “L” Terminal, right around the end of service in late January 1970. Service was extended on this line via the new Kimball Subway and a median line in the Kennedy Expressway. Service went only to Jefferson Park at first, but now continues all the way to O’Hare Airport.

Another view of the old Logan Square "L" station near the end of service.

Another view of the old Logan Square “L” station near the end of service.

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series "Hollywood" car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series “Hollywood” car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963." Here we see it prior to conversion.

Don’s Rail Photos: “(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963.” Here we see it prior to conversion.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the "substitute Liner" and for charters.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the “substitute Liner” and for charters.

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don's Rail Photos: "138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946." This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946.” This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938." This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos: “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938.” This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

A view of the Metropolitan "L" crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

A view of the Metropolitan “L” crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park "L" train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met "L" main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street "L". This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the "L" was in the way of the new highway.

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park “L” train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met “L” main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street “L”. This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the “L” was in the way of the new highway.

A four-car train of CTA 4000s is (I presume) near Howard in the 1950s. Miles Beitler adds, "Photo aad702a looks like a train of 4000s leaving Howard Street southbound on track 1. If I’m correct that that the overhead wire has been removed and the trolley poles on the 4000s are down, this must be after third rail was installed on track 1, which would date the photo to around 1964 or later."

A four-car train of CTA 4000s is (I presume) near Howard in the 1950s. Miles Beitler adds, “Photo aad702a looks like a train of 4000s leaving Howard Street southbound on track 1. If I’m correct that that the overhead wire has been removed and the trolley poles on the 4000s are down, this must be after third rail was installed on track 1, which would date the photo to around 1964 or later.”

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 69 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 69 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

A North Shore Line freight train is at the Rondout weigh station in January 1963.

A North Shore Line freight train is at the Rondout weigh station in January 1963.

North Shore Line combine 256 is at the front of a three-car train of "Greenliners" (a fan term) in a slide processed in June 1961.

North Shore Line combine 256 is at the front of a three-car train of “Greenliners” (a fan term) in a slide processed in June 1961.

The Ravinia Park Casino was built in 1904 and demolished in 1985. Ravinia Park was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee electric, which became the North Shore Line in 1916.

The Ravinia Park Casino was built in 1904 and demolished in 1985. Ravinia Park was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee electric, which became the North Shore Line in 1916.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 59 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 59 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

A Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco in Wheaton, where the lines diverged to go to either Aurora (shown here) or Elgin.

A Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco in Wheaton, where the lines diverged to go to either Aurora (shown here) or Elgin.

When I posted this circa 1954-55 Garfield Park "L" image to our Facebook group, it generated a lot of discussion as to whether or not this 4000-series "L" car was still in CRT brown paint. The CTA repainted these cars into green and cream starting around 1952. But after much consideration, my conclusion is that this is just a trick of the light, and the car is actually painted in the later CTA colors. It is in shadow and not in direct sunlight. By this time, all such cars should have been repainted and put into married pairs with various modifications (which are visible on this car). The car behind it, which is presumably its mate, is painted green and cream. We are at the east end of the Van Bure Street temporary trackage, which was used from 1953 to 1958. The photographer was apparently looking out the front end of a westbound train, and there was a ramp behind the photographer leading up to the old "L" structure heading to the Loop. The cross street here is Racine Avenue (1200 W).

When I posted this circa 1954-55 Garfield Park “L” image to our Facebook group, it generated a lot of discussion as to whether or not this 4000-series “L” car was still in CRT brown paint. The CTA repainted these cars into green and cream starting around 1952. But after much consideration, my conclusion is that this is just a trick of the light, and the car is actually painted in the later CTA colors. It is in shadow and not in direct sunlight. By this time, all such cars should have been repainted and put into married pairs with various modifications (which are visible on this car). The car behind it, which is presumably its mate, is painted green and cream. We are at the east end of the Van Bure Street temporary trackage, which was used from 1953 to 1958. The photographer was apparently looking out the front end of a westbound train, and there was a ramp behind the photographer leading up to the old “L” structure heading to the Loop. The cross street here is Racine Avenue (1200 W).

I assume this picture of Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt car 6311 was taken at Devon station. The date given with the negative was January 6, 1941 but this hardly seems likely, given the foliage and the open door. Perhaps month and date were reversed, and a date of June 1, 1941 is correct.

I assume this picture of Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt car 6311 was taken at Devon station. The date given with the negative was January 6, 1941 but this hardly seems likely, given the foliage and the open door. Perhaps month and date were reversed, and a date of June 1, 1941 is correct.

A view of the Indiana Railroad's Muncie Terminal on August 10, 1940. The photo is by WVK, although I don't know what those initials stand for.

A view of the Indiana Railroad’s Muncie Terminal on August 10, 1940. The photo is by WVK, although I don’t know what those initials stand for.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 78 in Indianapolis in the late 1930s.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 78 in Indianapolis in the late 1930s.

A night shot of the North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal in July 1962.

A night shot of the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal in July 1962.

North Shore Line car 748 is part of a two-car train near North Chicago Junction on September 4, 1961.

North Shore Line car 748 is part of a two-car train near North Chicago Junction on September 4, 1961.

This and the next picture shows a Aurora Elgin and Chicago (predecessor to the CA&E) monthly ticket book from June 1922.

This and the next picture shows a Aurora Elgin and Chicago (predecessor to the CA&E) monthly ticket book from June 1922.

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin used uncovered third rail in nearly all areas, including here, in Wheaton, where the Aurora and Elgin branches diverged. A small boy is playing in a nearby field, and people then were not terribly concerned with the danger posed by 600 volts of direct current. If the CA&E had survived, chances are additional protections would be in place.

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin used uncovered third rail in nearly all areas, including here, in Wheaton, where the Aurora and Elgin branches diverged. A small boy is playing in a nearby field, and people then were not terribly concerned with the danger posed by 600 volts of direct current. If the CA&E had survived, chances are additional protections would be in place.

North Shore Line wood car 132 and train at Ravinia Park in the early 1900s.

North Shore Line wood car 132 and train at Ravinia Park in the early 1900s.

Starting in the 1930s, enterprising railfans such as the late Barney Neuberger sold prints of streetcars and interurbans. The smallest such prints were what is now called wallet size, and the going rate was usually 10 cents. Mr. Neuberger had flyers and catalogs printed. There are thousands and thousands of such photos that still circulate, and enrich our knowledge of the past.

Starting in the 1930s, enterprising railfans such as the late Barney Neuberger sold prints of streetcars and interurbans. The smallest such prints were what is now called wallet size, and the going rate was usually 10 cents. Mr. Neuberger had flyers and catalogs printed. There are thousands and thousands of such photos that still circulate, and enrich our knowledge of the past.

CTA 2811 heads up a westbound Garfield Park "L" train of wood cars, circa 1953-54. The ramp connected to the temporary tracks on Van Buren Street/ We are near Sacramento Boulevard. For a time, these tracks crossed over the new Congress Expressway, which was built underneath it. Once the new Congress median line opened in 1958, this structure was removed.

CTA 2811 heads up a westbound Garfield Park “L” train of wood cars, circa 1953-54. The ramp connected to the temporary tracks on Van Buren Street/ We are near Sacramento Boulevard. For a time, these tracks crossed over the new Congress Expressway, which was built underneath it. Once the new Congress median line opened in 1958, this structure was removed.

A two-car Garfield Park "L" train, made up of 4000-series cars, heads west on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street on September 2, 1955. A portion of the Congress Expressway, then under construction, opened later that year.

A two-car Garfield Park “L” train, made up of 4000-series cars, heads west on temporary trackage in Van Buren Street on September 2, 1955. A portion of the Congress Expressway, then under construction, opened later that year.

A Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company Brill Master Unit is on West Chester Pike at Paoli Road in February 1945. (David H. Cope Photo)

A Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company Brill Master Unit is on West Chester Pike at Paoli Road in February 1945. (David H. Cope Photo)

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton, probably in the 1920s.

The Chicago Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton, probably in the 1920s.

CTA 6190-6189 is at Adams and Wabash on the Loop "L" in July 1954.

CTA 6190-6189 is at Adams and Wabash on the Loop “L” in July 1954.

A northbound CTA train of curved-door 6000s is on the South Side "L" just north of 35th Street in 1954. The middle track had been used for express trains until the CTA realigned north-south service in 1949.

A northbound CTA train of curved-door 6000s is on the South Side “L” just north of 35th Street in 1954. The middle track had been used for express trains until the CTA realigned north-south service in 1949.

This picture was taken from out of the front window of a Lake Street "L" train on July 17, 1954. We are near Garfield Park, and the 4000-series cars parked on the middle track are in mid-day storage. The middle track had been used by express trains prior to 1948, when the CTA inaugurated A/B "skip stop" service.

This picture was taken from out of the front window of a Lake Street “L” train on July 17, 1954. We are near Garfield Park, and the 4000-series cars parked on the middle track are in mid-day storage. The middle track had been used by express trains prior to 1948, when the CTA inaugurated A/B “skip stop” service.

CTA 6047-6048 are looping via a wooden structure at DesPlaines Avenue on July 14, 1954. This was necessary once Chicago Aurora and Elgin service was cut back to Forest Park, starting in September 1953. The direct connection between the two railroads was severed and this loop took CTA trains over the CA&E tracks. Once CA&E was allowed to discontinue passenger service in July 1957, the ramp was no longer necessary. The entire yard area was revamped in 1959 in conjunction with nearby expressway construction.

CTA 6047-6048 are looping via a wooden structure at DesPlaines Avenue on July 14, 1954. This was necessary once Chicago Aurora and Elgin service was cut back to Forest Park, starting in September 1953. The direct connection between the two railroads was severed and this loop took CTA trains over the CA&E tracks. Once CA&E was allowed to discontinue passenger service in July 1957, the ramp was no longer necessary. The entire yard area was revamped in 1959 in conjunction with nearby expressway construction.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) double-ended car 19 is outbound on West Chester Pike, headed for West Chester, in the early 1950s. Buses replaced trolleys on this line in 1954 so the road could be widened.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) double-ended car 19 is outbound on West Chester Pike, headed for West Chester, in the early 1950s. Buses replaced trolleys on this line in 1954 so the road could be widened.

Chicago and Illinois Valley (aka the Chicago Ottawa and Peoria, part of the Illinois Traction System) car 56 at Ottawa, Illinois. Don's Rail Photos: "In 1901, the Illinois Valley Traction was incorporated to build the first part of what later became the CO&P. Various other companies were involved in the construction until the CO&P consolidated them all by 1909. The CO&P became the Valley Division of Illinois Traction Inc. in 1923. In 1929, a new company, the Chicago & Illinois Valley, took over the Valley Division and operated it until abandonment on May 14, 1934. It was always considered a part of the Illinois Traction, and this can be seen in its rolling stock. 55 and 56 were built by St. Louis in 1903. 55 was retired in 1921. 56 was used in Peoria from 1920 thru 1927 when it was returned to the Valley. It was scrapped in 1934."

Chicago and Illinois Valley (aka the Chicago Ottawa and Peoria, part of the Illinois Traction System) car 56 at Ottawa, Illinois. Don’s Rail Photos: “In 1901, the Illinois Valley Traction was incorporated to build the first part of what later became the CO&P. Various other companies were involved in the construction until the CO&P consolidated them all by 1909. The CO&P became the Valley Division of Illinois Traction Inc. in 1923. In 1929, a new company, the Chicago & Illinois Valley, took over the Valley Division and operated it until abandonment on May 14, 1934. It was always considered a part of the Illinois Traction, and this can be seen in its rolling stock. 55 and 56 were built by St. Louis in 1903. 55 was retired in 1921. 56 was used in Peoria from 1920 thru 1927 when it was returned to the Valley. It was scrapped in 1934.”