Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016

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

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

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

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

Chicago PCC Station Assignments

Robert Dillon writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M. E. writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andre Kristopans has a great answer:

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

May 1953:

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

March 1954:

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

June 1957

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

plazahotel

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

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


1920s Mystery Photos Redux

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

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

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

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

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

Miles Beitler writes:

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

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

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

Miles replied:

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks.

Finally, Miles wrote:

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

Thanks for your interesting blog and photos!

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

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

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

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

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

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

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

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

The True Colors of Chicago’s Postwar PCCs

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

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

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

On the Chicagotransit Yahoo group, Damin Keenan writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You might try this for Mercury Green:

Click to access paintcodes.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pay particular attention to the comments, thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


7001’s True Colors

We've been asked to help determine the authentic colors this rare model should be painted in.

We’ve been asked to help determine the authentic colors this rare model should be painted in.

An “O” scale streetcar model, probably dating to the 1950s, recently sold for $520 on eBay, even though it is unpainted and needs a motor, wheels, and a trolley pole.

That might seem like quite a lot of money, until you consider that this is an extremely rare brass model of the Chicago Surface Lines 1934 Brill pre-PCC car 7001. This model, made by Kidder, could be the only version that was ever made.

The famous St. Petersburg Tram Collection models are made of urethane, not brass, and so far, they have not issued a 7001 model, although they have made one for the 4001, the other experimental 1934 CSL car, made by Pullman-Standard. The actual 7001 itself, a one-off, was quite influential on the eventual body style chosen for the PCC car starting in 1936. Unfortunately, it was scrapped in 1959.

The eBay auction winner contacted us for help in determining what colors the 7001 was painted in, when first delivered to Chicago. This is not as easy a task as you might imagine.

The earliest color photo I have seen of 7001 dates to 1941, by which time the car had been repainted to match the 83 PCC cars delivered to CSL in 1936-37. There are several black and white pictures circulating, but while they tell us how light or dark various parts of the car were painted, they can’t help us figure out colors.

There may not actually be any color photos that show what the 7001 looked like before it was repainted.

There were no true color standards in 1934, such as today’s Pantone Matching System. Complicating matters further, in the 1930s not all black and white films were “panchromatic,” meaning they react the same to different colors. Some were still “orthochromatic” and had exaggerated sensitivity to certain colors.

Kodak did not introduce Kodachrome film until 1935, and it was rarely used to take 35mm slides before 1939.

There were some experimental color films shot during the 1933 season of A Century of Progress (early three-strip Technicolor), and we linked to some of those in an earlier post (February 20th).  7001 wasn’t delivered until 1934, and it was not there for the entire season in any case; during September it spent some time in Cleveland at a trade convention.

While there was a 1934 Brill trade ad, showing an artist’s rendering of 7001 in color, these aren’t the right colors– the body is too dark. Interestingly, the color scheme in the ad looks remarkably similar to the one CSL used on the 1936 PCCs.

Hoping to find a consensus, we reached out to Frank Hicks of the Hicks Car Works blog, author of an excellent article detailing the story behind both the 7001 and 4001. In that article, Mr. Hicks says that the 7001 was originally painted a light green.

We also consulted two expert modelers, who prefer to remain nameless. Here is what the experts have to say:

Frank Hicks:

Interesting question! This is my kind of conundrum. 🙂

I’d be happy to cite my source. “Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, Third Edition” by Alan Lind, 1986, page 121. To wit: “Everywhere it [7001] went, riders commented favorably on its sleek shape, set off to advantage with a paint scheme of aluminum and two shades of green with orange trim.” I’m not sure what the primary source for this account was, I’m afraid.

I’ve also seen photos of (the painted 7001) model and it has struck me as looking quite plausible, though I’ve never seen a color photo of either 4001 or 7001 in its original livery. I also haven’t seen the illustration you mention. The 4001 had a very simple livery consisting of only two colors while the 7001’s livery evidently featured five colors: roof, lower body, upper body, belt rail and striping. Judging from various photos of the 7001 that show the belt rail alternately as very dark or quite light, I’d guess the belt rail was orange and that we’re seeing – respectively – orthochromatic or panchromatic views. Photos I’ve seen also strongly suggest the roof and front visor were a metallic color, surely silver.

I decided to see if I could find a newspaper account of the 7001’s debut – and I did! I found two mentions within a few minutes of Googling. There’s an article on page 3 of the March 21, 1934 Tribune at http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/03/21/ which describes the car’s colors to be “silver and gray.” There’s another account in the July 9, 1934 issue on page 7 (http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/07/09/). This article focuses on the newly-delivered 4001 but includes the line “The new car was demonstrated to a party of engineers, car line officials, and newspapermen, beside the streamlined silver and green vehicle recently placed in operation.” Then just a few lines later it refers to the Brill car as “silver and gray.”

So, I don’t know. The 7001 may have been more of a green-grey than a bright Mercury green-like shade. It’s also possible that the 7001’s primary body color was grey, that Lind’s color description was correct but simply left out the gray color, and that the belt rail, striping, and secondary body color were some combination of two shades of green and orange. A third possibility I would forward is that the car was mainly green and that what we’re seeing is a transcription or typesetting error – swapping out the word “green” for the word “gray.” It may be a bit of a stretch but I’ve done my share of poring over old newspapers and accuracy is not a word I’d generally associate with newspaper articles! Either way I haven’t seen any contemporary evidence to support that flyer’s suggestion that the Brill car was, in common with the Pullman car, blue.

Modeler A:

The color is not Mercury Green but I don’t know the name of the shade. It is lighter than Mercury. Brill used the same shade on the first Brilliner delivered to the Atlantic City & Shore then owned by the PRR. That car had narrow gold stripes on it similar to the Raymond Loewy styling of the 1938 Broadway Limited trains. There are color renditions of the Brilliner in (that) shade of green in numerous trade journals of the time.

Modeler B:

As you may recall, Mercury Green seemed to be darker in some photos than in others. Perhaps the Mercury Green color had variations, some lighter and some darker. I recall hearing talk about what was Traction Orange, and the reply was whatever they could get that seemed close to Traction Orange! It was not an exact science so there were variations.

Having looked at Black & White movies of car 7001 in service as well as B&W photos, I can see how one could feel comfortable with a Mercury Green color on the lower body of the car. The paint was probably not called Mercury Green in those days, but it might have been very close in hue.

After I sent Mr. Hicks a copy of the 1934 trade ad, he wrote:

Thanks for forwarding these photos; interesting stuff! Did you say that Transit Journal illustration of the 7001 was from 1934? That’s pretty intriguing to me mainly because the color scheme is extremely similar to the prewar PCC cars, suggesting that perhaps the decision on what color those cars should be was made well before the cars themselves were even ordered. Or who knows, maybe someone at CSL just saw this illustration and thought it would look nice in real life. Neat! And Modeler A’s statement that the green on the 7001 was very similar to that on the Atlantic City demonstrator does make some sense; I wouldn’t be at all surprised. It also looks more toned-down than Mercury green so perhaps that’s where the disagreements in the newspaper over whether the car was grey or green came from.

I replied:

Yes, the Brill illustration was from 1934. By 1935 they were touting the Washington, D. C. pre-PCC cars.

Could be Brill worked up several different color schemes for 7001 and they just happened to pick this particular one for the advertisement, even though the car itself was painted differently.

I know that Brill had a styling department in this period, since they worked as consultants on the 1939-41 modernization program for Lehigh Valley Transit. (See photo below.)

So yes, the original color scheme for the 1936 Chicago PCCs, built by St. Louis Car Company, may have actually originated with Brill, who never actually built any PCC cars.

Modeler A added:

My enlightenment on the topic of color for the 7001 comes from Bob Gibson, Joe Diaz, Jim Konas, Fielding Kunecke, and Bob Konsbruck, all sadly now deceased. These fellows, all older than me, saw the car and rode it in service. Bob Gibson rode it every day, in blue, of course, on his way home from Austin High School. It ran as a PM school tripper on Madison Street, always with the same crew, familiar with the operating characteristics of the car, the hydraulic brakes, for example. Its unfortunate that we cannot get their testimony today but I can carry on their remarks. Joe Diaz, an avid follower of the Pennsylvania RR, included all things Pennsy in his historic trek and he identified the color as identical to the Brilliner demonstrator delivered to the PRR-Atlantic City & Shore. You can take it for what its worth or stay with whatever the news reporter felt like writing that day.

Me:

I would value eyewitness accounts such as you describe over the offhand remarks made in a newspaper article. The people who wrote those articles weren’t fans, while your sources were all sticklers for accuracy.

Modeler B adds:

I would say that the photo (of the Atlantic City Brilliner) showing the two tone green colors adds credence to the attractive rendition as seen on Modeler A’s model of 7001. Using the lighter color green below the belt rail and the darker color green for the thin lines that flow around the car body.

Say what you may, these color combinations are exactly what CSL used on the Post War PCCs. Mercury Green below the belt rail, Swamp holly Orange Belt Rail, and Cream colored roof. The colors were always separated by a dark green line of paint. Some people thought that the thin line was Black, but it is a very dark shade of green, not unlike the Green shown on the Atlantic City Brilliner.

In conclusion, we all now seem to agree that the 7001 was indeed first painted in colors like those shown on the model. In turn, this color scheme is remarkably similar to the classic combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange that Surface Lines picked for the 600 postwar PCCs.

Therefore, it is one of the ironies of history that J. G. Brill, who never made a single PCC streetcar, due to their refusal to pay royalties on the patents, appears to have played an important role, albeit indirect, in the process of developing the color schemes ultimately used on the entire Chicago PCC fleet– all 683 cars.

And, the more you look at it, that $520 winning bid for the 7001 model starts to look like a real bargain.

-David Sadowski

In this Brill trade ad, which appeared in a 1934 issue of Transit Journal, 7001 looks quite a lot like the PCCs Chicago got in 1936-- from the St. Louis Car Company. But it does not appear to have been painted in these colors in 1934. Interestingly, it was later repainted to look a lot more like this.

In this Brill trade ad, which appeared in a 1934 issue of Transit Journal, 7001 looks quite a lot like the PCCs Chicago got in 1936– from the St. Louis Car Company. But it does not appear to have been painted in these colors in 1934. Interestingly, it was later repainted to look a lot more like this.

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

CSL 7001 in World's Fair service in 1934. (George Kanary Collection)

CSL 7001 in World’s Fair service in 1934. (George Kanary Collection)

7001

This 1935 CSL brochure shows experimental pre-PCC car 7001 painted mainly in red, which it never was.

This 1935 CSL brochure shows experimental pre-PCC car 7001 painted mainly in red, which it never was.

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

A 1950s brass model of 7001.

A 1950s brass model of 7001.

To the best of our knowledge, this is how 7001 looked as delivered to the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934.

To the best of our knowledge, this is how 7001 looked as delivered to the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934.

According to Don's Rail Photos, "Atlantic City and Shore 6891 was built by Brill in July 1938, #23646. It was renumbered 6901 in 1940 and renumbered 201 in 1945. It was scrapped in 1956." The light green color on this car is said to be an exact match for how 7001 was originally painted. (General Electric Photo)

According to Don’s Rail Photos, “Atlantic City and Shore 6891 was built by Brill in July 1938, #23646. It was renumbered 6901 in 1940 and renumbered 201 in 1945. It was scrapped in 1956.” The light green color on this car is said to be an exact match for how 7001 was originally painted. (General Electric Photo)

Now perhaps we know the origins of the famous color combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange, used on 600 postwar Chicago PCC cars. (David Sadowski Photo)

Now perhaps we know the origins of the famous color combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange, used on 600 postwar Chicago PCC cars. (David Sadowski Photo)

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Brill stylists worked as consultants on the brilliant 1939-41 modernization of Lehigh Valley Transit’s fleet. Here, ex-Indiana Railroad car 55 is shown at Fairview Shops in Allentown, PA in May 1941, in the process of being converted for service on the Liberty Bell Limited. Notice how the “55” has been crossed out on the side of the car and replaced with “1030.” After the end of LVT interurban service in 1951, this car was sold to the Seashore Trolley Museum, where it remains today.

CSL 7001 as it looked after being repainted circa 1941.

CSL 7001 as it looked after being repainted circa 1941.