A New Year- A New Beginning

2017 in Review

Another year has come and gone.  How quickly time flies.  For this blog, it was another successful year, with 118,985 page views from 34,503 visitors.  These numbers are more than 2015, but less than 2016.

We made fewer posts last during 2017, but they tended to be longer overall.  Some had more than 100 images, and there are over 100 in this post.  To date, we have posted over 30gb of classic images via this blog. It’s no coincidence that when I do Google searches on traction subjects, it seems like half the “hits” that come up are from The Trolley Dodger.

One of our goals has always been to provide a resource where people can find this type of information. I believe we have succeeded, and will continue to build on that success. There are some who think our hobby is on the decline, but I believe we have shown just the opposite.

Our average number of page views per post has continued to increase.  In 2015, it was 995 per post; in 2016, this increased to 1744, and in 2017 we reached 3718 page views per post.

2017 was also notable for the publication of our book Chicago Trolleys, which has been very well received.

While at this stage, it is impossible to know how many posts we will have this year, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of quality on whatever we do present.

Among our other recent posts, we are particularly proud of The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017), which included dozens of rare images, most from the original medium format negatives. It took us nearly three years to collect all this material, which probably represents a total cost of about $1000- and this was just one post.

As an example of how we have inspired additional research, I would point to our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016), which has gradually gotten longer and longer, thanks to additions from our ever-inquisitive readers.

In addition, as time goes on, we have more and more friends who share their material with our readers.  Today we feature the contributions of noted author Larry Sakar. The pictures are his, unless otherwise noted.

Happy New Year! May you and your family have health, wealth, and happiness in 2018.

-David Sadowski

PS- In about 30 day’s time, our annual bill to fund this site and its web domain comes due.  That comes to $400, or just over $1 per day.  If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

Early Trolley Museum Visits

Larry Sakar writes:

You’ve been posting a lot of photos of CA&E cars of late, which reminded me of a day 47 1/2 years ago when I went to a trolley museum for the very first time. For several years, I would see the ads for IRM in Trains, Railroad (before it became Railfan & Railroad) and Model Railroader and I wanted to go there. Asking my father would have been useless. He wouldn’t have taken me in a million years. Neither of my parents approved of my interest in trolleys.

Luckily I had met Bill Beaudot in 1967, when he was the librarian in charge of the Local History Room at the Central Library downtown. My regular visits to read and reread CERA B-97, “The Electric Railways of Wisconsin” got him wondering what that was all about. All the remaining CERA Bulletins and other traction books had been removed from circulation, and placed under lock and key in the Local History Room.

And so it was that on a warm Saturday afternoon in August of 1970, I went with Bill and his family to my first trolley museum. But it was not IRM, well not initially anyway. The first museum we visited was then called RELIC in South Elgin, IL. RELIC was an acronym for the Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Corp. Today we know it as the Fox River Trolley Museum.

CA&E wood car 20 was in operation that day, and we rode it from South Elgin to the end of the line at the I.C. bridge over the Fox River at Coleman. When they told the history of the line, I remembered that this was the line from which Speedrail cars 300 and 301 originated.

Of course, they spent 25 years in Cleveland operating on the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, but so what? It was still nice to see where those cars began their service lives. And sitting on a side track was a car I had heard and read about innumerable times: NSL Tavern Lounge 415. Some years later they sold the car to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

CA&E car 20 at the RELIC museum, August 1970.

CA&E car 20 at the RELIC museum, August 1970.

The interior of CA&E car 20 in August 1970.

The interior of CA&E car 20 in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

The Illinois Central interchange at Coleman with the ex-AE&FRE right-of-way, at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

The Illinois Central interchange at Coleman with the ex-AE&FRE right-of-way, at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

North Shore Line tavern-lounge car 415 at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

North Shore Line tavern-lounge car 415 at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

Leaving South Elgin and RELIC we headed for Union, Illinois and IRM. As we crossed the museum line and entered the grounds, I saw Milwaukee streetcar 972 with CSL 144 behind it loading at the station. Instantly, I felt like a kid again, when I would get excited as my grandfather drove my grandmother and me to the Harwood Avenue terminus of the No. 10 Wells Streetcar line in Wauwatosa.

In those days you turned from Wauwatosa Ave. west to Harwood. You found yourself at the top of a very steep hill that dropped down into the Menomonee River Valley, and crossed the Milwaukee Road mainline at grade. And on the west side of those tracks sat the Harwood terminal and the No. 10 Wells streetcar line. A 100-car plus Milwaukee Road freight would cause a monumental traffic jam on both sides of the Harwood hill. In the ’80’s a bypass was built, and traffic no longer has access via the old route. Just as well. Both the streetcar and terminal are long gone.

Anyway, I did get to ride 972 and it felt like 1957-58 all over again. I even made sure to relive my childhood memory of streetcar rides with my grandmother by walking to the opposite end of 972 and sitting in the motorman’s seat. The only difference was I no longer needed someone to boost me up and hold me in the seat!

So here are scans of the prints from the pictures I took that day. I had a great shot of TM 972 speeding down the mainline, but I gave it away about 10 years ago, unfortunately.

While looking through some other pictures, I came across four pictures I took at IRM sometime in the 1980s or ’90s. Two are of my favorite car (after TM 972) Indiana RR 65 and 2 are of AE&FR 306 currently undergoing restoration. Car 65 was flying white flags and was not in regular service. It had been taken out for use in some movie.

I don’t remember much of the detail I heard, but it involved George Krambles in some way. That’s as much as I can recall. 306 was in the car barn parked next to IT 101. I did ride 65 on a member’s weekend once years ago. We reached the end of the line at the Kishwaukee River crossing. They threw whatever electric switches they had to in order to put control over to the back-up controller in the rear of the car, but it refused to budge. Our motorman had to radio for a car to come to our rescue. They sent down C&ME 354.

That was my first and to date only ride on that car. I’ve heard that 65 does not operate very often. While going thru a large group of my slides last Thursday that I had marked as “unidentified,” I found the interior photo I knew I’d taken of CRANDIC 111 at Rio Vista in 2000. I need to look thru the slides I have in my metal slide box #2 of 3. I’m sure I took at least one exterior of CRANDIC 111 that day.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

CSL 144 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

CSL 144 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

CSL 144 with TM 972 ahead, August 1970.

CSL 144 with TM 972 ahead, August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at speed on the IRM main line in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at speed on the IRM main line in August 1970.

The interior of Illinois Terminal 415 at IRM in August 1970.

The interior of Illinois Terminal 415 at IRM in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

A North Shore Line 700-series car at IRM in August 1970.

A North Shore Line 700-series car at IRM in August 1970.

Following the RELIC and IRM pix are a set of pictures taken on a PA Transit PCC in Pittsburgh in the winter of 1971-72. I did not take these pictures. My good friend Bill did, and gave them to me because he knew I liked PCCs.

Because I have never been to Pittsburgh, I am unable to tell the readers where these pictures were taken. PA Transit, for anyone not familiar with it, was the municipal agency that took over the Pittsburgh Railways Co. in 1967. PA stands for Port Authority, not Pennsylvania.

It has always struck me as unusual that streetcar service would be run by the Port Authority, but the Port Authority of Allegheny County was given the task of transit operations, odd though that may seem.

I can still remember the controversy in Railroad Magazine over how the Pittsburgh PCCs were painted in the late ’60s and perhaps early ’70s. Many were painted in three colors, each color being placed on one-third of the car. In keeping with the times one PCC was painted in this wild looking paint scheme and dubbed the “Psychedelic trolley.”

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

The interior of PA Transit 1727. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

The interior of PA Transit 1727. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

I’ll finish up with a few shots of the Illinois Central Electric (later METRA Electric) Highliners taken mostly as 115th St. Kensington station around 1975. I remember when I.C. first got them, and now they too are history.

-Larry

An ICG Highliner at Randolph Street in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at Randolph Street in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th in Kensington in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th in Kensington in 1975.

Looking north at the Kensington station, as a South Shore Line train approaches in 1975.

Looking north at the Kensington station, as a South Shore Line train approaches in 1975.

Looking north along the northbound track at Kensington station in 1975.

Looking north along the northbound track at Kensington station in 1975.

Looking south from the Kensington ICG station, with the tower to the left.

Looking south from the Kensington ICG station, with the tower to the left.

ICG Highliner interior.

ICG Highliner interior.

An ICG Highliner at 115th Street in Kensington in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th Street in Kensington in 1975.

Sunny California

For all readers of The Trolley Dodger who are shivering in this arctic cold here’s a posting that will let you temporarily escape to a much warmer place; sunny California. During the 50s, 60s and 70s, California (except for San Francisco) shed its electric traction lines as fast as they could.

Much of this was due to a company called National City Lines. In city after city they bought up the rail lines (San Diego Electric Railway, Los Angeles Railway, Pacific Electric, Key System Transit), abandoned all rail service and replaced it with Mack or GM Buses running on Firestone Tires and probably burning diesel fuel supplied by Phillips Petroleum. And they didn’t limit their destructive efforts to just California.

Then came the 1980s, and slowly California began to wake up from its love affair with freeways. And it all started with the San Diego Trolley in 1981. So, it’s only appropriate that we begin our look at traction in the Golden State there.

The San Diego Trolley's original cars were built by Duewag of Dusseldorf, Germany with help from Siemens.

The San Diego Trolley’s original cars were built by Duewag of Dusseldorf, Germany with help from Siemens.

Originally, the San Diego Trolley line to the Mexican border started here.

Originally, the San Diego Trolley line to the Mexican border started here.

Self-service. Passengers entered the car by pressing the black button, seen to the lower right of the door.

Self-service. Passengers entered the car by pressing the black button, seen to the lower right of the door.

Trains bound for the Mexican border had a San Ysidro destination sign.

Trains bound for the Mexican border had a San Ysidro destination sign.

The interior of the beautifully restored ex-Santa Fe (now Amtrak) San Diego station.

The interior of the beautifully restored ex-Santa Fe (now Amtrak) San Diego station.

Look at that beautiful tile work, including the Santa Fe logo on the wall.

Look at that beautiful tile work, including the Santa Fe logo on the wall.

Interior of a Duewag car - spartan, but functional.

Interior of a Duewag car – spartan, but functional.

No controller, no brake handle - computerized push-button control.

No controller, no brake handle – computerized push-button control.

A typical stop on city streets.

A typical stop on city streets.

The maintenance facility on the line to San Ysidro.

The maintenance facility on the line to San Ysidro.

A modern-day Southern California car barn, San Diego style.

A modern-day Southern California car barn, San Diego style.

More of the maintenance facility.

More of the maintenance facility.

City College stop. Fare checkers board here.

City College stop. Fare checkers board here.

Amtrak Redondo engine maintenance facility.

Amtrak Redondo engine maintenance facility.

Arrival at San Diego. looking toward the rear of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking toward the rear of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking forward toward the front of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking forward toward the front of the train.

Curving southeast through an industrial area. Note signal at right.

Curving southeast through an industrial area. Note signal at right.

Curving southeast through an industrial area.

Curving southeast through an industrial area.

Leaving LAUPT, passing Mission Tower.

Leaving LAUPT, passing Mission Tower.

Now you know why the line was renamed the San Diego Surfliner.

Now you know why the line was renamed the San Diego Surfliner.

Oceanside, CA - quite literally.

Oceanside, CA – quite literally.

I can’t think of a city that so completely turned its back on electric rail transit and embraced freeways the way Los Angeles did except for Milwaukee.

In her 1969 Grammy Award winning song, composed by the magnificent team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Dionne Warwick asked the question, “Do you know the way to San Jose?” One of the lines in the song says, “LA is a great big freeway. Put a hundred down and buy a car.”

I can’t speak to “putting a hundred down to buy a car,” other than to say perhaps in 1969, but very unlikely in 2018! But I can attest to the sentiment that LA was and still is “a great big freeway.” There are two Amtrak routes between San Francisco and LA. The Coast Starlight is a long-distance train operating once daily between Seattle and LA. But like any long-distance train, it is often subject to delays. Even on time, arrival in LA is not until 9:00 pm.

The other San Francisco to LA train is a corridor train called the San Joaquin, operating between Jack London Square station in Oakland and Bakersfield. All Amtrak service between San Francisco and other cities arrives and departs from either Jack London Square station in Oakland or Emeryville station. Emeryville is a separate city, 12 miles north of Oakland.

And yes, it is the Emeryville where the Key System had its shops.

Passengers going to San Francisco are bused across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge via Amtrak Thru-Way buses. In the golden age of rail passenger service, trains such as SP’s San Joaquin Daylight, the Lark and the Owl plied the tracks between San Francisco and LA. But when Amtrak took over in 1971 the SP and later UP which now owns the tracks forbade Amtrak trains to continue over the Tehachapi Mountains from Bakersfield to LA.

Therefore, passengers such as me boarded an LA bound Amtrak Thru-Way bus on August 7th at Bakersfield for the two-and-a-half hour ride down I5 and the Hollywood Freeway to LAUPT. This was not my first trip between Bakersfield and LA, so I knew what to expect the closer we got to LA. From the Magic Mountain Amusement park in Valencia to Glendale, where my bus was making a stop, I5 was a sea of cars in both directions.

As bad as that seemed, the Hwy 1012 Hollywood Freeway to downtown LA was even worse. It made rush hours on the Kennedy and Eisenhower look like child’s play! I kept asking myself, “How does anyone put up with this, on a daily basis?” And gas prices in California were at least $1.00 per gallon higher than here in the Midwest. In fact, I think it safe to say everything costs more out there!

So, what brought about this miraculous turnaround from asphalt and concrete to rail? I could tell you, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I took this photo from the Griffith Park Observatory which is perched some 1300+ feet above LA in the summer of 1980 just before the rail renaissance began. Note that orange cloud on the far horizon. That is smog and it coats LA like a blanket daily. It is unhealthy to say the least and extremely bad for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. I can only guess that one day, someone woke up and pondered, “How did we get ourselves into this mess?” That’s easily answered. You allowed National City Lines and Metropolitan Coach Lines to take over and destroy Los Angeles Railways and Pacific Electric the system that literally helped build southern California.

The last PE line from LA to Long Beach was abandoned by the LAMTA– an agency formed to save remaining rail transit in LA but which, because it was controlled by some of the same people who ran Metropolitan Coach Lines, did the exact opposite. That was in April1961, but luckily the right of way between LA and Long Beach was saved, as parts of it were used by Southern Pacific (of which PE was a part) for freight service.

So, it was only fitting that after an absence of almost 30 years, electric transit service between LA and Long Beach was reborn in the form of the new LA Metro Blue Line on July 14, 1990. And just two-and-a-half years after that, the new LA Metro Red Line subway between downtown and North Hollywood opened for service.

Ironically, the new subway was built just one block (in places) from the old PE Belmont Subway. (Note: Though often referred to as the Hollywood subway because PE trains headed there and to other locations in and near the San Fernando Valley such as Universal City and North Hollywood as well as Glendale and Burbank) operated thru it. But its official name was the Belmont subway, no relation to Belmont Avenue in Chicago.

LA from the Griffith Park Observatory in 1980.

LA from the Griffith Park Observatory in 1980.

The LA Red Line subway at the 7th Street/Union Station stop in 2001. The LA Red Line subway is used by passengers to reach the Blue Line to Long Beach. Long Beach trains end in their own subway a few blocks from the Staples Center (LA's version of the United Center). I believe these are Japanese Kawasaki-built cars.

The LA Red Line subway at the 7th Street/Union Station stop in 2001. The LA Red Line subway is used by passengers to reach the Blue Line to Long Beach. Long Beach trains end in their own subway a few blocks from the Staples Center (LA’s version of the United Center). I believe these are Japanese Kawasaki-built cars.

Long before BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) began service between Oakland and Fremont in 1972, there was the Key System. Started in 1903 by a man called “Borax” Smith, who became a millionaire mining Borax. If you’re around my age perhaps you remember the 19670’s TV show “Death Valley Days” hosted by actor Dale Robertson which was sponsored by 20 Nuke Team Borax.

The line got its name because, when viewed on a map, the 5 East Bay lines were designated by letters:
A: Downtown Oakland later extended to East Oakland on the tracks of the Interurban Electric Ry. an SP subsidiary which was abandoned in 1941
B: Lakeshore and Trestle Glen
C: Piedmont
D: Never used. Reserved for a line to Montclair alongside the Sacramento Northern Interurban which was never built
E:Claremont
F: Berkeley

They resembled the top part of a skeleton key, the straight bottom portion represented by the Key Pier, which jutted out into the Bay 1.3 miles from the Oakland shore. San Francisco-bound passengers transferred to Key System Ferry boats at the Key pier for the trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building at the foot of Market St.

In January 1939 Key System trains began using the newly constructed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Tracks were laid on the lower deck of the bridge which was reserved for trucks and buses. A newly constructed terminal at 1st & Mission Streets in San Francisco (initially called the “East Bay Terminal” and then the “Trans Bay Transit Terminal”) served as the station for Key System trains, as well as Sacramento Northern and Interurban Electric. The latter two systems both abandoned service in 1941. Key took over some on the former IER trackage in and around Berkeley.

In 1938 newly-built articulated trains replaced the original wood center-entrance cars. As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving, and such was the case with the new articulated trains. They were, in fact, a new body placed atop salvaged components from the original wood cars, which consisted of everything from trucks to controllers. Worse yet, the new bodies had a major design flaw. They lacked proper ventilation. They were not air conditioned and did not have openable windows. Cars ran on third rail between the Trans Bay Terminal and the Key Bridge Yards in Oakland which abutted the Oakland toll plaza.

The Bay Bridge, like the Golden Gate Bridge and every Transbay bridge in San Francisco, is a toll bridge operated by the California Toll Bridge Authority. Each of the companies running trains across the Bay Bridge were required to deed a certain number of cars to Toll Bridge Authority ownership. This would prove fortuitous as the cars now preserved at the Western Railway Museum in Suisun City, CA and the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Riverside, CA were ones deeded to the Toll Bridge Authority.

Key System 187 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 187 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

A Key System Transit train in the Trans Bay Terminal in 1953.

A Key System Transit train in the Trans Bay Terminal in 1953.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

The Trans Bay Transit Terminal at 1st and Mission in San Francisco, razed in 2011.

The Trans Bay Transit Terminal at 1st and Mission in San Francisco, razed in 2011.

In 1946, the Lundeberg management sold its interest in the Key System to National City lines. As was almost always the case with any rail lines acquired by NCL, the streetcar lines in and around Oakland, operated by Key subsidiary East Bay Transit Company, were converted to bus operation in 1948. Key trains operated until April 1958 when the last trains crossed the Bay Bridge for the final time. The State of California spent huge sums of money to remove the overhead wires and rails from the Bay Bridge and Trans Bay Terminal to accommodate Key System Transit’s new Mack and GM Buses.

In 1960 Key System was acquired by A.C. Transit which still operates buses across the Bay Bridge to East Bay points to this day. A.C. stands for the two counties who operate the bus line, Alameda and Contra Costa.

The Transbay Transit Terminal was razed in 2011 and is being replaced by a new facility a few blocks away on Folsom Street. Unfortunately, the new terminal, which had been due to be completed in 2017, has been stopped from completion by a lawsuit filed by the nearby Millennium Towers Condos Building. The 58-story building with luxury condos, selling for upwards of $3 million and home to celebrities such as Joe Montana, is sinking into its foundation at an alarming rate and is also tilting as a result.

Its developers blame the contractor building the new Trans Bay Terminal claiming he drained out too much of the ground water causing the Millennium building foundation to shift in the sands which anchor it. The contractor for the new Trans Bay Terminal has counter-sued claiming that the Millennium Tower’s builder should have anchored the building’s foundation in the bed rock 200 feet below. Until the issue is resolved, a temporary Transit Terminal is open at 200 Folsom Street.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority operates buses and one light rail line from Santa Teresa to Alum Rock in the San Mateo-San Jose area. It will connect with BART when the line is extended into San Mateo County. At least three major Silicon Valley companies will be served: Cisco Systems, eBay and Adobe.

The light rail line operates between Santa Teresa and Alum Rock. The car seen here, and its mates, were sold to the Sacramento RTD when VTA purchased new low-floor cars.

An VTA Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority LRV at Santa Teresa station in 2000.

An VTA Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority LRV at Santa Teresa station in 2000.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD service started between Watt I-80 and the Historic Folsom District on 3-12-87.Within the past year a branch to Consumes River College was opened. The maintenance facility for the Sacramento RTD is located in adjacent Roseville, north of Sacramento, a city located at the southern base of the Sierras. The four photos seen here were taken from Amtrak Train #5, the California Zephyr, on the way to Emeryville in 2004.

A year before the Key System abandoned rail service in April 1958, planning for some sort of new Transbay rail line was being contemplated. That became the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. This was a county-based, special-purpose district formed to construct and operate a rail transit system in the five counties that initially formed the district: The city and county of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo.

Though invited to participate, Santa Clara county declined to join until 2018 when BART will enter San Mateo County, with the extension to Milpitas and Berryessa. In 1962 San Mateo County supervisors voted to leave BART, claiming their voters would be paying taxes for riders primarily from Santa Clara County. San Mateo eventually formed its own transit agency called SAMTRANS. The departure of San Mateo County lead to the departure of Marin County as well.

Construction of BART began in 1964, but it would not be until 1972 that the first trains operating between Fremont and Oakland would begin service. Initially, there was a debate about how BART trains would cross the Bay. Would it be an above ground crossing or a subway tube? The decision was made to dig a trench in the floor of San Francisco Bay and construct a subway tube between San Francisco and Oakland. All other parts of the system would be elevated (parts of Oakland immediately after trains leave the Transbay tube), subway (through Berkeley) or private right-of-way, often in the median of existing expressways.

Author Harre Demoro frequently insisted, in his books, that BART was neither the modern day Key System or Sacramento Northern. I disagree. In my opinion it is both. It serves many of the same cities served by Key or SN, and even utilizes parts of the old SN right of way in Concord, Rockridge, and West Pittsburg.

When I visited the Western Railway Museum for the first time in 1996, I rode an interurban saved from a system I’d never heard of, called the Peninsular Railway. A Google search revealed that the line had run in the San Mateo/San Jose area now known as “Silicon Valley”. One of the stations served by the Peninsular Railway was Berryessa. In 2018 the new BART extension into San Mateo County will provide service to two new stations; Milpitas and Berryessa. The Peninsular Railway abandoned service in 1934. It has taken 84 years, but electric rail transit is back in Berryessa. Let’s go for a ride on BART.

-Larry

Along the right of way to Milbrae and the SFO International Airport.

Along the right of way to Milbrae and the SFO International Airport.

Another view of the BART Oakland yards.

Another view of the BART Oakland yards.

Approaching the station loading area.

Approaching the station loading area.

A BART C train, built by Alstom circa 1995.

A BART C train, built by Alstom circa 1995.

The BART SFO International Airport station in 2004.

The BART SFO International Airport station in 2004.

A BART train arriving at the SFO International Airport in 2004.

A BART train arriving at the SFO International Airport in 2004.

C car interior. Note the blue colors, versus brown for the Rohr-built cars.

C car interior. Note the blue colors, versus brown for the Rohr-built cars.

The BART Concord station, on the former Sacramento Northern right-of-way.

The BART Concord station, on the former Sacramento Northern right-of-way.

Concord station, close-up of BART train.

Concord station, close-up of BART train.

A BART C train at Civic Center station.

A BART C train at Civic Center station.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

Oakland Yards near the MacArthur station.

Oakland Yards near the MacArthur station.

The operator of a BART car signs in.

The operator of a BART car signs in.

The operator's cab in a BART car, all computer controlled, like San Diego.

The operator’s cab in a BART car, all computer controlled, like San Diego.

An original Rohr-built BART train at Balboa Park station.

An original Rohr-built BART train at Balboa Park station.

The people mover at the SFO International Airport.

The people mover at the SFO International Airport.

Pittsburg Bay Point station, the farthest east point on BART.

Pittsburg Bay Point station, the farthest east point on BART.

The BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway to the park and ride lot.

The BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway to the park and ride lot.

Reflections of a railfan taking a picture of the people mover at the SFO International Airport.

Reflections of a railfan taking a picture of the people mover at the SFO International Airport.

A view of the opposite end of the BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway.

A view of the opposite end of the BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway.

The rear of the same train at the Balboa Park station.

The rear of the same train at the Balboa Park station.

Chris Barney writes:

HISTORIC BRIDGE DEMOLISHED

The last identifiable bridge from TM interurban operations in Milwaukee County fell to the wrecking ball November 9, 2017. The 1905 Milwaukee Light, Heat & Traction (MLH&T) spandrel-arch bridge over the Root River, near 98th & Layton, met its end after efforts to attain historic status and raising funds to preserve it failed. Robert Roesler, Greenfield Historical Society president, made a concerted effort in this regard and should be commended for it. A We Energies representative even arranged to donate the bridge structure to anyone willing to preserve it, but no one came forward.

The bridge last handled interurban traffic on June 30, 1951, when Speedrail Car 63 made its last inbound run from Hales Corners. Since then, it has weathered 66 years and had deteriorated to the point of being a danger to bicyclists and walkers traversing its span.

I spoke to a dog walker on December 12th who told me he has lived in the area his entire life and remembers when the Brookdale Bridge, which crossed Root River Parkway, was still standing. He lamented the demolition of the Root River span. “It reminded me of a simpler time when things were different – and better.”

February 9, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

February 9, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

December 12, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

December 12, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

Recent Finds

Here are a couple of our recent acquisitions, two classic views from the Philadelphia & Western, today’s SEPTA “Red Arrow” Norristown High-Speed Line:

Philadelphia & Western "Strafford" car 170, coming into a station circa 1938. Kenneth Achtert adds, "The photo of Philadelphia & Western 170 is arriving at Villanova station, outbound. This is the last station before the split where the Norristown line diverged from the Strafford line. The small platform between the two tracks was used to allow passengers from an inbound Norristown car to transfer directly to an outbound Strafford car without having to go up and over the overpass shown. This would also work from an inbound Strafford car to an outbound Norristown car. I don’t know how many passengers actually made such a trip, but I do remember seeing such transfers made." The last train ran on the Strafford Branch on March 23, 1956.

Philadelphia & Western “Strafford” car 170, coming into a station circa 1938. Kenneth Achtert adds, “The photo of Philadelphia & Western 170 is arriving at Villanova station, outbound. This is the last station before the split where the Norristown line diverged from the Strafford line. The small platform between the two tracks was used to allow passengers from an inbound Norristown car to transfer directly to an outbound Strafford car without having to go up and over the overpass shown. This would also work from an inbound Strafford car to an outbound Norristown car. I don’t know how many passengers actually made such a trip, but I do remember seeing such transfers made.” The last train ran on the Strafford Branch on March 23, 1956.

Philadelphia & Western "Bullet" car 200 at Conshohocken Road on October 12, 1938, "showing line country and streamlined car stopping at station."

Philadelphia & Western “Bullet” car 200 at Conshohocken Road on October 12, 1938, “showing line country and streamlined car stopping at station.”

W. C. Fields Filming Locations

John Bengston has a great blog, where he writes in great detail about the filming locations used in classic silent films by comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton.

We recently suggested he might look into the locations used in the chase sequence during the 1941 W. C. Fields film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. He took the ball and ran with it, and his findings will feature in two posts.

You can read the first installment here.

Here are a few screenshots of our own from that film, which show the Pacific Electric:

During the chase sequence of the picture, Fields' car passes by a new Pacific Electric double-end PCC car. Filming took place in July and August 1941. PE put the first of 30 such PCCs in service the previous November.

During the chase sequence of the picture, Fields’ car passes by a new Pacific Electric double-end PCC car. Filming took place in July and August 1941. PE put the first of 30 such PCCs in service the previous November.

The brand-new Hollywood Freeway shows up in the movie. This is the portion (Cahuenga Pass) where the Pacific Electric ran in the expressway median from 1940 to 1952.

The brand-new Hollywood Freeway shows up in the movie. This is the portion (Cahuenga Pass) where the Pacific Electric ran in the expressway median from 1940 to 1952.

Another section of the Pacific Electric visible in the film.

Another section of the Pacific Electric visible in the film.

We end this post on a hopeful note for 2018. Work on the Milwaukee streetcar project, now called “The Hop,” is ahead of schedule,and the first phase of the line is scheduled to open by year’s end:

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

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A Tale of Two Cities

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

Today, we feature color slides taken in Chicago and Philadelphia. Those are the “two cities” in our title, but we also make brief side trips to Los Angeles and Mexico City. Somehow, though A Tale of Four Cities just doesn’t have the same ring.

Come to think of it, some of these pictures were taken in Milwaukee and South Bend, so that’s even more cities.

Chicago’s transit system and Philadelphia’s have shared a few things in common over the years. After the North Shore Line quit in 1963, the two articulated Electroliners (see one in our lead picture) were bought by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, better known as the Red Arrow Lines. Rechristened Liberty Liners, they continued in service from 1964 until about 1976.

Dr. Thomas Conway, Jr., who helped modernize the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban in the 1920s, did the same with the Philadelphia & Western, which later became part of Red Arrow.

In the late 1980s, Red Arrow’s successor SEPTA purchased several pairs of used Chicago Transit Authority rapid transit cars (from the 6001-6200 series) to help keep service going, as their existing equipment (Bullets and Strafford cars) was really showing its age.

While the CA&E’s 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park helped speed its demise but a few years later, the P&W Norristown line, which survives today, has never had direct service to downtown Philly.

The CA&E’s 10 curved-sided cars, built in 1945, are often cited as the last “standard” interurbans built in this country. Depending on how you define the word standard, some double-ended cars built for Red Arrow by St. Louis Car Company (they also built the CA&E cars) in 1949 might take the prize instead. These closely resemble PCC cars but don’t qualify as “true” PCCs because they used standard trucks and motors.

The other contenders for last standard interurban are two series built for the Illinois Terminal in the late 1940s. Double-end PCCs were purchased for the St. Louis to Granite City line, and streamliners for longer inter-city use.

For that matter, Pittsburgh Railways used PCC cars (built in the late 1940s) on their interurban lines to Washington and Charleroi. These cars continued in service in Pittsburgh for many years after the last interurban ran in 1953.

Scanning these images was just a starting point. I put in many hours of work in Photoshop to remove imperfections and improve the color. As always, if you have location information you can give us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

We salute the many fine photographers, whose names are unfortunately not known to us, who took these exceptional pictures. It is important to give credit where credit is due, but in too many cases, when we receive a slide, negative, or print, there isn’t a name associated with it. We wish it were otherwise, but we are grateful that so many fine images have survived the decades in order to be shared with you. Our intentions are always to give these images, and the people who took them, the respect they deserve. When we have such information, we always give proper credit.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- You can see more great night shots in our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016).

Chicago Area

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: "NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes." George Trapp: " I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston "L" somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928."

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: “NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes.” George Trapp: ” I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston “L” somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928.”

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop "L". The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop “L”. The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park "L" in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park “L” in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street "L" on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street “L” on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 13th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 113th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park "L" trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park “L” trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park "L" cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park “L” cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden "L" car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden “L” car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E's suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E’s suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: "The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst."

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: “The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst.”

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met "L" just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met “L” just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can't quite make out the loco's number (400x).

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can’t quite make out the loco’s number (400x).

Philadelphia Area

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction."

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction.”

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: "Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station."

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: “Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station.”

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

SEPTA "Master Unit" 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: "The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track."

SEPTA “Master Unit” 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track.”

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front."

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front.”

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: "82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal."

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: “82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal.”

A "railfan seat" view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A “railfan seat” view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: "The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road."

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: “The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road.”

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I'm not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: "Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos."

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I’m not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: “Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos.”

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill "Master Unit" 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill “Master Unit” 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2" x 2", and these are 2.75" x 2.75". I don't know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn't exactly call these "super slides," since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2x2 mounts.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2″ x 2″, and these are 2.75″ x 2.75″. I don’t know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn’t exactly call these “super slides,” since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2×2 mounts.

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop."

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop.”

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined."

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined.”

A close-up of the previous scene.

A close-up of the previous scene.

Angel’s Flight (Los Angeles)

We have posted several pictures of Angel’s Flight before. To find those, type Angel’s Flight in the search window at the top of this page.

The view looking down the Angel's Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

The view looking down the Angel’s Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

A family rides the Angel's Flight funicular in Los Angeles' Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel's Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

A family rides the Angel’s Flight funicular in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel’s Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Mexico City

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico's last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico’s last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

2017 Hoosier Traction Meet

Bill Shapotkin writes:

On September 8th-9th, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 34th annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years.

Click here for a Prospectus.

Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

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