Progress

In this April 4, 1959 view, a westbound CTA Congress-Milwaukee "A" train crosses DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park over temporary trackage. I-290 is under construction here, and this portion of highway opened in 1960. The tracks shown here were south of where the line crosses DesPlaines Avenue today. While there was once a grade crossing between the CTA and the B&OCT freight line, the two sets of tracks were grade-separated as part of the highway project, and just east of where this picture was taken, the CTA crosses the highway (and the freight tracks) on a flyover. This was not yet in use in April 1959, and the CTA used temporary tracks that were approximately where the westbound lanes of I-290 are today.

In this April 4, 1959 view, a westbound CTA Congress-Milwaukee “A” train crosses DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park over temporary trackage. I-290 is under construction here, and this portion of highway opened in 1960. The tracks shown here were south of where the line crosses DesPlaines Avenue today. While there was once a grade crossing between the CTA and the B&OCT freight line, the two sets of tracks were grade-separated as part of the highway project, and just east of where this picture was taken, the CTA crosses the highway (and the freight tracks) on a flyover. This was not yet in use in April 1959, and the CTA used temporary tracks that were approximately where the westbound lanes of I-290 are today.

Progress is our most important product, or so the saying goes:

In engineering, in research, in manufacturing skill, in the values that bring a better, more satisfying life, at General Electric, progress is our most important product.

This was G.E.’s postwar slogan, and here, at the start of a new decade, it’s worth considering how much progress we have, or have not made.

Some of our pictures in this post show progress. It was better to eliminate numerous grade crossings on our transit lines, that much is clear. But was it really better to eliminate entire lines, such as the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban? Did that represent progress? Perhaps not, but there are those who think its demise was inevitable.

On the other hand, there are things that have survived in spite of all odds, like Chicago’s Loop “L”, or the former Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia. The Norristown High Speed Line never offered a one-seat ride to downtown Philly, and yet it continues today, under the auspices of SEPTA, a public agency, while loss of a one-seat ride is widely cited as causing the demise of CA&E. In part, luck and local circumstances are involved in what survives, and what does not.

Do highways represent progress? Some would say no, but it would be difficult to imagine modern life without them. I don’t think we are about to tear up our highways and plant flowers where they once were.

Progress often takes two steps forward, and one step backwards. We may yet see a time when all autos run on electricity, but that does not explain why the Chicago Transit Authority phased out electric trolley buses in 1973.

I’m sure there were those who thought it progress at the time, of a sort. Progress is often in the eye of the beholder.

Here at the Trolley Dodger, we have our own notions of progress. In our case, progress can mean making this blog sustainable, financially and otherwise. It can mean offering something new. It can mean doing a better job of restoring old images.

Understanding the past makes it possible to envision the future. That’s a form of progress we are engaged in.

As we start our sixth year, our motto might as well be, progress is our most important project, for it is something always to strive for, even if it is a project that can never be finished.

In addition to some great recent photo finds, both ours and from the William Shapotkin Collection, we have lots of great new Milwaukee material courtesy of Larry Sakar. As always, many thanks go out to our contributors.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Annual Fundraiser

Our annual fundraiser continues. We are close to reaching our goal. However, we are also very close to our deadline for needing it. We hope to continue this resource for you in 2020.

We have received contributions from several of our readers, for which we are very grateful. Should you consider helping us with a financial contribution of your own, however modest, there are links at the end of this post you can follow.

We will continue to do our best for you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Recent Finds:

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 426 heads up a westbound train in September 1946. The location is not identified, other than being in Maywood. My guess is this is 5th Avenue looking east, and you can catch a glimpse of the station at right. This is prior to the installation of high-level platforms.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 426 heads up a westbound train in September 1946. The location is not identified, other than being in Maywood. My guess is this is 5th Avenue looking east, and you can catch a glimpse of the station at right. This is prior to the installation of high-level platforms.

A close-up of the previous picture. Perhaps this tower might help identify the location.

A close-up of the previous picture. Perhaps this tower might help identify the location.

This could be the type of tower.

This could be the type of tower.

Chicago Surface Lines car 5939, presumably at Navy Pier, end of the line for the Stony Island route. The streetcar has an NRA sign, (referring to the National Recovery Act) which would date this picture to circa 1933-35.

Chicago Surface Lines car 5939, presumably at Navy Pier, end of the line for the Stony Island route. The streetcar has an NRA sign, (referring to the National Recovery Act) which would date this picture to circa 1933-35.

CA&E wood car 315 at the Wheaton Shops in August 1960. Don's Rail Photos: "315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962." (Rick Burn Photo)

CA&E wood car 315 at the Wheaton Shops in August 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962.” (Rick Burn Photo)

On April 4, 1959, a CTA Douglas Park train is on the ramp connecting the old "L" structure with the new Congress Expressway median line (and the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway).

On April 4, 1959, a CTA Douglas Park train is on the ramp connecting the old “L” structure with the new Congress Expressway median line (and the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway).

I presume that this picture, taken on April 13, 1957, shows a CTA Garfield Park "L" train near the east end of the Laramie Yard. (between Laramie 5200 W. and Lavergne 5000 W.) Just east of here, there was a ramp going up to the elevated structure that ran downtown. Just south of here, the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway was under construction. Laramie Yard, or portions of it, continued in use for about a year after the new Congress median line opened in June 1958. At left, it looks like a school building, but as far as I can tell, none of the structures in the picture still exist. Today, this area is occupied by the Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School, built in the early 1970s.

I presume that this picture, taken on April 13, 1957, shows a CTA Garfield Park “L” train near the east end of the Laramie Yard. (between Laramie 5200 W. and Lavergne 5000 W.) Just east of here, there was a ramp going up to the elevated structure that ran downtown. Just south of here, the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway was under construction. Laramie Yard, or portions of it, continued in use for about a year after the new Congress median line opened in June 1958. At left, it looks like a school building, but as far as I can tell, none of the structures in the picture still exist. Today, this area is occupied by the Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School, built in the early 1970s.

On May 26, 1956, a two-car CA&E interurban train is at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park. Another train is parked nearby on a small storage track. Between September 20, 1953 and July 3, 1957, CA&E trains terminated here, and riders who wanted to go downtown had to transfer across platform to CTA Garfield Park "L" trains. The track connection between the two lines had been severed, and each one turned around using a loop. The CTA's went above the CA&E on a wooden trestle. This view looks generally to the north. As of this time, construction of the nearby Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway was planned, but heavy construction work had not yet started here. As it was, when this picture was taken, the CA&E had still not sold their right-of-way crossing the DesPlaines River, a short distance west (left) of here.

On May 26, 1956, a two-car CA&E interurban train is at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park. Another train is parked nearby on a small storage track. Between September 20, 1953 and July 3, 1957, CA&E trains terminated here, and riders who wanted to go downtown had to transfer across platform to CTA Garfield Park “L” trains. The track connection between the two lines had been severed, and each one turned around using a loop. The CTA’s went above the CA&E on a wooden trestle. This view looks generally to the north. As of this time, construction of the nearby Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway was planned, but heavy construction work had not yet started here. As it was, when this picture was taken, the CA&E had still not sold their right-of-way crossing the DesPlaines River, a short distance west (left) of here.

On March 14, 1957, photographer Monty Powell captured this view of a CA&E train on the midday storage track at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Car 421, built in 1927 by the Cincinnati Car Company, is at the head of a five-car train. In the background, you can see the wooden trestle, used by CTA "L" trains to turn around. We are looking to the west.

On March 14, 1957, photographer Monty Powell captured this view of a CA&E train on the midday storage track at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park. Car 421, built in 1927 by the Cincinnati Car Company, is at the head of a five-car train. In the background, you can see the wooden trestle, used by CTA “L” trains to turn around. We are looking to the west.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA 9508 is heading southbound on Route 53 - Pulaski Road on February 4, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9508 is heading southbound on Route 53 – Pulaski Road on February 4, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9532 at 47th and Archer in April 1963. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9532 at 47th and Archer in April 1963. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL trolley bus 198. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL trolley bus 198. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines trolley bus 139. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines trolley bus 139. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 0359 at the North and Cicero garage. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 0359 at the North and Cicero garage. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9349 is southbound on Central Avenue at Lake Street. In the background, we see the Austin Town Hall, which was built decades after the town of Austin was annexed into the City of Chicago. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9349 is southbound on Central Avenue at Lake Street. In the background, we see the Austin Town Hall, which was built decades after the town of Austin was annexed into the City of Chicago. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 9536 and 1713 at California and Roscoe in 1957. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9536 and 1713 at California and Roscoe in 1957. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6141, working a southbound trip on Route 28 - Stony Island, is westbound on grand Avenue approaching Lake Shore Drive, having just departed the north end of the line at Navy Pier, on August 5, 1952. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6141, working a southbound trip on Route 28 – Stony Island, is westbound on grand Avenue approaching Lake Shore Drive, having just departed the north end of the line at Navy Pier, on August 5, 1952. (William Shapotkin Collection)

In August 1976, a Harlem-bound "L" train crosses the north approach to Union Station. The view looks south. (William Shapotkin Collection)

In August 1976, a Harlem-bound “L” train crosses the north approach to Union Station. The view looks south. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9534 is eastbound on Fullerton Avenue. I'm not sure when this picture was taken, but it does remind me of the aftermath of the Blizzard of '67, worst in the city's history. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9534 is eastbound on Fullerton Avenue. I’m not sure when this picture was taken, but it does remind me of the aftermath of the Blizzard of ’67, worst in the city’s history. (William Shapotkin Collection)

From Larry Sakar:

I was going thru various pocket folders looking for something totally unrelated to traction when I ran across this. It’s a photocopy of the picture Al Buetschle had taken of him, holding on to the trolley rope on the 978 somewhere on the MUNI property in the summer of `983.

If the orange on 978 doesn’t look quite right, it isn’t the photo or my scanner. 978 had been in Appleton, WI for the Festival of Light. I do not recall what that was all about. 978 ran on temporary track along the Fox River with an electric generator on a flat car to provide the electric power to run the streetcar. There was no trolley wire. By the time of the festival the 978 was owned by a group called “Streetcar ’86 Inc.” I know absolutely nothing about them.

They repainted 978 but had, apparently, never seen a color photo of a Milwaukee streetcar. Consequently, they used a much darker shade of orange than what TM used. They also painted on large numbers for the car’s number which were totally wrong. TM never put on such large car numbers.

That classic T-Bird in front of 978 was Al’s car. I believe I told you that it was destroyed in an accident when he was hit by a bunch of teenagers cruising around who failed to stop and broadsided him. And of course, they were uninsured! To 978’s right are a group of Boeing LRVs, the worst streetcars MUNI ever purchased, I don’t think the MBTA in Boston fared too well with theirs either! It’s been said that this was proof that an airplane manufacturer could not build a streetcar. Boeing proved that was true. I do not recall any other properties who mad the mistake of buying these cars.

The MKE Rapid Transit Line

I though it might be interesting to Trolley Dodger readers to take a photographic ride over the Milwaukee Rapid Transit line between the Public Service Building and the Honey Creek Pkwy. overpass.

For those who may not know of its existence, and those who have knowledge of it, here is a little bit of background information about it. The Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line ran between N. 8th and W. Hibernia Sts to West Jct. This is where the line heading west to Waukesha, Oconomowoc, and Watertown (westbound) split off from the lines to Hales Corners, Burlington & East Troy.

The line was constructed in 5 Phases as follows:
Phase 1: The Town of Wauwatosa Rapid Transit Line
Phase 2: The Cut-off for the East Troy and Burlington lines which linked those lines to the Rapid Transit Line eliminating street running on National Ave.
PHASE 3: The Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project
Phase 4: The Local West Side Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line (8th to 40th Sts.)
Phase 5: The Rapid Transit Subway: 8th & Hibernia Sts. to the Public Service Bldg. (NEVER COMPLETED).

Phase 1 was completed and opened for business on June 26, 1926. The remaining phases followed in order with Phase 4 completed and opened for business on September 22, 1930. Work on Phase 5 the subway continued until the Depression brought a halt to all construction in 1932. No more than half a block was ever built.

In addition to the lines to Burlington, East Troy, and Watertown, which used the Rapid Transit Line, TM also operated a Local West Side Rapid Transit Service between the PSB and West Jct. Interurbans made the 8 1/2 mile journey in 15 minutes or less.

The Rapid Transit was abandoned on June 30, 1951 under the management of The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company. The city of Milwaukee purchased the 4 1/2 miles between 8th St. and Soldiers Home station (start of the Calvary Cemetery cut) in 1952 for $1,000,000,800, supposedly the price paid by TM when the land was acquired in 1925. The line had been in receivership since November, 1950 and was being managed by a Trustee, Bruno V. Bitker.

The 4 1/2 miles purchased by the city were subsequently used for the East-West Freeway I-94. In addition to the over one million dollar purchase price, the city had to pay WEPCO an additional $500,000 to move the electric transmission towers off the right-of-way. According to trustee Bitker, a minimum of $250,000 in new capital was needed to keep the Rapid Transit in business.

Today, very few traces of the Rapid Transit Line exist. The high tension electric transmission lines, seen west of the Red Star Yeast Co. plant at 28th St. to almost N. 40th St., were moved to the section of the r.o.w adjacent to (south), where an additional 2 tracks could have been laid but never were. That is what motorists traveling on the East-West Freeway see today but chances are few if any know their history or that they are traveling over the former Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line.

We begin our journey at the Public Service Building on W. Michigan St. between N. 2nd and N. 3rd St. The building’s first floor housed the train shed (12 tracks) as well as the waiting room (west wing). For anyone wanting a bite to eat there was the Electric Grill, also in the first floor west wing.

After the demise of Speedrail on 6-30-51 Greyhound Buses and buses of Wisconsin Coach lines (formerly Waukesha Transit Lines) continued using the train shed until February, 1965 when Greyhound opened a new station and 20 story office tower. The office tower faces W. Wisconsin Ave from N. 6th to about 1/2 block west of N. 5th St. The one-story bus terminal was on the NE corner of N. 7th & Wisconsin Michigan Sts and had a two-story parking garage on top of it.

In 2006, Greyhound and WCL moved their terminal to the new Milwaukee Intermodal terminal adjacent to the Amtrak station at N. 5th St. and W. St. Paul Ave. A few years later, Badger Bus Company, whose terminal was across N. 7th St. also moved to the Intermodal station. Since November, 2018 “The HOP” Milwaukee’s new streetcar circulator lays over at the corner of N. 4th & W. St. Paul. The line operates between here and Burns Commons at E. Ogden and N. Prospect Aves.

It is only appropriate that we begin our trip at the Public Service Bldg. Trains exited the trainshed onto N. 3rd St. Those headed for Watertown, East Troy, Burlington or West Jct, then turned left (west) at N. 3rd and W. Michigan Sts. In those days there were no stop and go lights. A traffic policeman controlled the intersections of 2nd, 3rd and 6th & Michigan Sts. At 6th & Michigan Sts. trains turned left (south) again in front of the station of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee RR. Operating on N. 6th St for just one block, trains made a right turn onto W. Clybourn St. and followed it for 1 1/2 blocks west between N. 7th & N. 8th Sts. where they turned south (left) onto the private right-of-way. This was the first stop. The line went slightly downhill toward W. St. Paul Ave., but turned west on a sharp curve before reaching it. From here, many fans have said that it was like riding a roller coaster. Trains made a safety stop, and boarded passengers at N. 8th Sts. which was crossed at grade.

Because the planned subway was never completed, a “temporary ramp” was built over the subway portal beneath 8th St. Trains scooted down the ramp, and almost at once made a climb and a sharp turn. Over to the left stood the Rapid Transit Freight Terminal at 940 W. St. Paul Ave. A deck, even with the second floor of the building, was constructed to facilitate the loading and unloading of interurban freight. Railfans dubbed it “the shelf.” Passing the shelf trains entered the one block long Hibernia St. ‘L’ and rounded a curve to immediately dip back into a cut. Between 12th & 40th Sts. all streets passed over the Rapid Transit Line. In a minute’s time came the first of the three “Valley” (Menomonee River Valley) station stops -16th St.

All 3 valley stops, 16th, 27trh & 35th St. were beneath the viaducts that cross the valley from north to south. As we will see in the photos, getting to and from the stations required being able to navigate several sets of stairs. In 1926, there was no such thing as the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning anyone wheel chair-bound or on crutches was out of luck when it came to riding the Rapid Transit. The same would hold true for the stations along the Town of Wauwatosa Rapid Transit Line which crossed over all streets. The station stops were on the Rapid Transit Line embankment well above street level by 12 or more feet and also required being able to go up or down stairs.

Continuing west, stops were made at 27th & 35th Sts. At 40th St. the line went around a sharp curve to the southwest and scooted across the Menomonee Valley and Bluemound yards of the Milwaukee Road on a long steel bridge. The bridge would become the subject of a fight between two Milwaukee County agencies after abandonment. The Freeway people wanted the bridge removed because they claimed it was in the way of construction of the Stadium Interchange (I-94 and the never completed Stadium Freeway). But the Parks people who were overseeing the construction and eventual operation of Milwaukee County Stadium (at the site of the Story Quarry near 44th St.) wanted it kept and converted into a pedestrian bridge to provide closer and easier access to the new ball park from areas to the east. The bridge, sans decking, track and trolley wire stood as a silent reminder of what Milwaukee once had and had so foolishly thrown away. It was removed in 1954 and the surplus steel used for making repairs to the Holton St. viaduct over the Milwaukee River.

Next up was the stop for National Soldiers Home at 52nd St. Here, Rt. 10 streetcars coming from West Allis or heading to it joined the Rapid Transit line on two tracks of their own, along the north side of the Rapid Transit r.o.w. The Calvary Cemetery cut, as it was called, started at 62nd St. and ran to the west end of the cemetery just east of S. 60th St. Trains (both Rapid Transit and streetcar) now climbed a very steep grade to cross over 60th St. Streetcars made stops at 60th, 62nd & 65th Sts. before descending to street level at 68th St. 68th St. was the next stop for the Rapid Transit and was the first of two stations where passengers wishing to go to West Allis boarded a streetcar at 68th St. or a bus at 84th St.

At 68th St., the Rapid Transit line swept around a broad northwesterly curve that placed the r.o.w. on an alignment between W. Stevenson and W. Adler Sts. At 70th St. motormen had to shut off, so as not to carry current over the circuit breaker located there. Stops from this point west were 73rd, 76th, 79th, 84th & 92nd Sts. Like 68th St. the 92nd St. station was located on a curve this one going southwest. Stations west and south of 92nd St. were Schlinger Ave. also known as Greenfield Jct. This was the place where the Rapid Transit interchanged freight with the Milwaukee Road’s “Air Line.”

Now heading south, stops were made at Adler St., Greenfield Ave. and finally West Jct. Trains headed west to Watertown went down a ramp that swept them due west to come parallel with the Chicago & Northwestern RR. lines to Madison and Butler, this line going up and over the Watertown line on a bridge. Trains bound for Burlington or East Troy crossed over the C&NW on a high, steel bridge and continued southward. West Jct. trains entered the West Jct. loop for the return trip to Milwaukee.

Now that I’ve described the line in words I will continue with photos of many of these locations. These photos will be a mix of owners from TM to Speedrail.

SR 39-40 loading at the PSB H. Danneman coll.

SR 39-40 loading at the PSB H. Danneman coll.

2 car train of 1100's lvg PSB ca. 1930's. Note traffic cop

2 car train of 1100’s lvg PSB ca. 1930’s. Note traffic cop

SR 60 series wb on ramp over subway 8th St.

SR 60 series wb on ramp over subway 8th St.

Surplus 1100's on the shelf 11th St. yards.

Surplus 1100’s on the shelf 11th St. yards.

SR 35-36 EB at 6th & Michigan Sts. 1950 Lew Martin

SR 35-36 EB at 6th & Michigan Sts. 1950 Lew Martin

Car 66 inbound xing N. 8th St. 1951

Car 66 inbound xing N. 8th St. 1951

16th St. sta. on RT line lkg. west. Note US&S signal at right. City of MKE photo

16th St. sta. on RT line lkg. west. Note US&S signal at right. City of MKE photo

A quick note re: the 16th St. station. That little square bldg. seen perched above the r.o.w. was a new substation built solely to feed the Rapid Transit line and was decommissioned and removed after abandonment.

Storage after aband. 1100's east of gas tanks at 25th st.

Storage after aband. 1100’s east of gas tanks at 25th st.

SR 65 on 25th St. curve before 2-8-50. This is car 65 after someone repainted the front with the imitation LVT design save for the Liberty Bell. The car is curving around the gas tanks at 25th St. Lou Martin was standing on the 25th St, overpass shooting down at the car. The 25th St. bridge is now over the freeway.

SR 65 on 25th St. curve before 2-8-50. This is car 65 after someone repainted the front with the imitation LVT design save for the Liberty Bell. The car is curving around the gas tanks at 25th St. Lou Martin was standing on the 25th St, overpass shooting down at the car. The 25th St. bridge is now over the freeway.

RT r.o.w. lkg east @ 27th St.

RT r.o.w. lkg east @ 27th St.

TM 1100's EB at 35th St. sta. RT Line C.N. Barney coll.

TM 1100’s EB at 35th St. sta. RT Line C.N. Barney coll.

TM 1100 WB on RT Bridge over Men. Valley & Mke. Rd.

TM 1100 WB on RT Bridge over Men. Valley & Mke. Rd.

S. 60th St. curve on RT line lkg SW.

S. 60th St. curve on RT line lkg SW.

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at 61st St. Rt 10 tracks are at left

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at 61st St. Rt 10 tracks are at left

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east @ 62nd St. sta(for RT. 10 only)

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east @ 62nd St. sta(for RT. 10 only)

68th St. sta. lkg NE in 1937 City of MKE. Survey

68th St. sta. lkg NE in 1937 City of MKE. Survey

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at 69th St. Note RT. 10 tracks descending @ left

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at 69th St. Note RT. 10 tracks descending @ left

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at S. 70th St.

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at S. 70th St.

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at S. 73rd St. sta.

RT Line r.o.w. lkg east at S. 73rd St. sta.

I’m including this color shot by the late Lou Martin (below). This is what the Honey Creek Parkway bridge looked like. I think it was the best looking of all the TM bridges, especially with the stone abutments. Something you might find interesting: post WWII, there was a housing shortage in Milwaukee and its surrounds. Temporary barracks were set up in Honey Creek Parkway to house returning veterans especially those who were newly married and didn’t care to live at what had been home.

Take a close look at the photo of 70th St. You can see the warning flag about the circuit breaker hanging from the wire.

More trivia concerning the Rapid Transit line bridges from 68th St. west. When the Rapid Transit line was completed in 1930 ,TM decided to do what they’d already done on several bridges on the MRK-Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha line– advertise the “product.” Five bridges were chosen for this purpose, starting with Schlinger Ave. Each bridge had the word “Rapid” in that special font I like to call “Rapid Transit” followed by the number of minutes the Rapid Transit took to reach downtown from that point, and then ending with the word “Transit”. Schlinger was 18 minutes. The last one chosen – 68th St. was 11 Minutes to Downtown. The other 3 bridges were 92nd St., 84th St. and 76th St. Try getting to downtown Milwaukee from 68th St. in 11 minutes on the East-West Freeway (I94). GOOD LUCK!!!

The tanks in the background at 25th St. belonged to the Milwaukee Gas Light Company at 2400 W. St. Paul Ave. They were removed when the expressway was built. Post abandonment, the 1100 series single and duplexes were placed in storage at 25th St. Lightweight cars (the 30 and 40 series articulateds and the 60 series curved side cars) were stored on the tracks that lead into the never completed subway. Cars 300 & 301 were stored on the “shelf”.

Cars were moved to the Waukesha Gravel pit (still owned by Jay Maeder) on 2-29-52. Scrapping began the next day. By mid-October it was all over. The gravel pit was filled in around 1978 and today you’d never know it had been there. Gravel pit substation stood until 11-11-63 when it was torn down to make way for the new County Trunk Highway A bypass around downtown Waukesha. It was a little 2 lane highway when I saw it for the first time in 1967. Today, it is the very busy and very big Highways 59 & 164 bypass. The Waukesha loop and station are both gone.

I also forgot to point out in my commentary that Wisconsin Coach Lines was originally Waukesha Transit Lines, which became a thorn in Speedrail’s side when the PSC and its ever so “honest” chairman John C. Doerfer allowed WTL and Cardinal Bus Lines to continue operating even after the 12 hour service shutdown in February, 1951. Today WCL is part of the big bus conglomerate Coach USA, as is United Limo which operates the line to O’Hare from S. 13th & W. Edgerton almost directly east of me by 42 blocks. (I’m 2 blocks from 55th & Edgerton.) in the Heritage Village Apt. complex.

Rumor has it that when Greyhound pulled out of the PSB for the last time in early February of 1965 WEPCO employees sick of the noise and diesel fumes of the buses repunctuated Greyhound’s famous slogan of “Thank you for going Greyhound” to “Thank you for going, Greyhound!”

-Larry Sakar

60 SERIES AND GREYHOUND SILVER SIDES @ 3RD AND MICHIGAN The Medford Hotel on the NW corner of 3rd & Michigan (long gone) was the perfect place to watch activity at the PSB. Look at this.

60 SERIES AND GREYHOUND SILVER SIDES @ 3RD AND MICHIGAN The Medford Hotel on the NW corner of 3rd & Michigan (long gone) was the perfect place to watch activity at the PSB. Look at this.

RT line r.o.w. lkg west @ Honey Creek Pkwy bridge

RT line r.o.w. lkg west @ Honey Creek Pkwy bridge

SR 300 xing Honey Creek Pkwy bridge 5-7-50

SR 300 xing Honey Creek Pkwy bridge 5-7-50

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
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Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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This is our 247th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 589,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Five Years (Part One)

You've probably seen "first day of issue" stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

You’ve probably seen “first day of issue” stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

January 21 has long been a sad day for railfans, as this was when the fabled North Shore Line ran its last interurban train between Chicago and Milwaukee in 1963, truly the end of an era in American transportation history.  To make things worse, that was a bitterly cold day.

But it is also the date when, five years ago, we started this blog.

As we celebrate that event, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a retrospective of some of our favorite images from our first 245 posts. That’s a lot to choose from, so we’re doing this in two installments. If you are a regular reader, no doubt you have your own favorites.  Today’s post covers 2015 and 2016.

We are currently in the middle of our annual fundraiser. Right now, we are only part way to our goal of raising $400 to cover our fees for the coming year. We have already received several contributions, and we thank everyone who has helped to date.

If you would like to see the Trolley Dodger continue for another year, I hope you will consider making a contribution (if you have not yet already done so). There are links at the bottom of this post you can follow, in addition to our usual Online Store.

Any additional funds received, beyond those needed for our goal, will be used to purchase more images for future blog posts.

It’s been a great five years. Thanks for being a part of it. We will be back in a few days with an all-new post.  Part Two of our “Best of” will appear early next month.

-David Sadowski

From 52 Years Ago Today… (January 21, 2015):

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago's Loop.

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop.

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don's Rail Photos, "606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum."

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.”

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015):

CSL 7001 northbound at State and Washington, 1934. This experimental pre-PCC car transported visitors back and forth to A Century of Progress. Note that there are only three stars on the Chicago flag. The fourth star, symbolizing Fort Dearborn, was added in 1939. (CSL Photo)

CSL 7001 northbound at State and Washington, 1934. This experimental pre-PCC car transported visitors back and forth to A Century of Progress. Note that there are only three stars on the Chicago flag. The fourth star, symbolizing Fort Dearborn, was added in 1939. (CSL Photo)

From CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been (January 26, 2015):

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the Garfield Park line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the Garfield Park line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

From The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence” (February 18, 2015):

Brand-new “flat door” cars 6003-6004 are shown to good advantage at the North Water Terminal in 1950. (Clark Equipment Co. Photo)

From Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015):

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system.

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 2 (February 28, 2015):

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park "L". The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park “L”. The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

From Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part 2 (March 9, 2015):

CTA 4168, on diversion trackage, heads west on Chicago Avenue, near the landmark Montgomery Wards Company Complex.

CTA 4168, on diversion trackage, heads west on Chicago Avenue, near the landmark Montgomery Wards Company Complex.

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 4 (April 1, 2015):

George Foelschow writes, CSL 2811 "is on page 29 of the Lind book, identified as 134th Street (where it ducks under the Illinois Central tracks)." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Foelschow writes, CSL 2811 “is on page 29 of the Lind book, identified as 134th Street (where it ducks under the Illinois Central tracks).” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

From Chicago Rapid Transit Mystery Photos – Solved (April 28, 2015):

Image #811, according to Andre Kristopans, shows a "Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound." Edward Maurath notes that car "223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’."

Image #811, according to Andre Kristopans, shows a “Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound.” Edward Maurath notes that car “223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’.”

Image #818 shows CTA 6066-6067 at Logan Square terminal, most likely in the early 1950s. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Image #818 shows CTA 6066-6067 at Logan Square terminal, most likely in the early 1950s. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

From Electroliner Restoration Update (May 31, 2015):

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal in 1949. (Trolley Dodger Collection - Photographer Unknown)

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal in 1949. (Trolley Dodger Collection – Photographer Unknown)

From Chicago PCC Mystery Photos – Part 1 (June 20, 2015):

M. E. writes, "I am quite surprised that no one identified the location of photo #44. The photographer was on the westbound Englewood L platform at 63rd Place and Halsted, looking north to the heart of Englewood, 63rd and Halsted. The old red car on 63rd St. indicates that this photo was taken before the pre-war PCCs were transferred from Madison to 63rd. When this photo was taken, Englewood was almost certainly the largest commercial district outside the Loop. 63rd and Halsted was the center, but the Halsted business district ran from about 59th to 69th, and the 63rd business district ran from Wentworth west to Ashland. Things that are in this photo: -- The big building on the northeast corner is Sears Roebuck. In the basement was a Hillman's Pure Food grocery store. -- The three-story building on the northwest corner is the Ace department store. As I recall, it was rather dumpy. I distinctly remember all the ceiling fans that provided the only summertime ventilation -- NOT! -- On the southwest corner is S S Kresge, the forerunner of K Mart. Kresge and Woolworth's were 5-and-10-cent (a.k.a. dime) stores. The Kresge store had a doughnut manufacturing line in the windows along 63rd St. They made fresh doughnuts and sold them for 3 cents each. I also remember seeing a lot of store employees, unlike the ensuing K Mart and its ilk. -- See the small newsstand on the southeast corner? I helped an older man sell newspapers there. We sold the morning Tribune and Sun-Times for 4 cents, and the evening Daily News and Herald American for 5 cents. I think the Sunday Sun-Times and Herald American cost 15 cents, and the Trib was 20 cents. The Trib was so much fatter than the other two, it was worth the difference. (The Daily News published its weekend edition on Saturday.) We also sold the Southtown Economist, which today is the Southtown Star. Their printing plant was on Union Ave. (700 West) south of 65th St., not far from 63rd and Halsted. -- North of 63rd along Halsted are two movie theaters. On the east side of Halsted around Englewood Ave. (a.k.a. 62nd Place) is the Ace theater, a small old place. Across the street from the Ace is the Empress, a nicer newer place. Heading east on 63rd from Halsted, there were four more movie theaters. The easternmost was the Southtown Theater, which had a tall spire and an ornate lobby with a pond inhabited by swans. Its parking lot was surrounded by a cement Art Deco-style fence that was about a foot wide and easy to walk atop." Bill Wasik adds, "This appears to be the Christmas shopping season on S. Halsted, going by the display in the Sears/Hillman’s window at the right. If this was taken in 1952, the photo sadly was made only days or weeks before six persons were killed in a fire that destroyed the General Furniture store at 6155 S. Halsted. The huge General Furniture sign can be seen in the distance at the right of this photo." Jeff Wien adds, "Circa 1953, after pre-War PCCs were sent to Cottage Grove and post War PCCs were being sent to SLCC. Red Cars ran the last runs on 63rd Street."

M. E. writes, “I am quite surprised that no one identified the location of photo #44. The photographer was on the westbound Englewood L platform at 63rd Place and Halsted, looking north to the heart of Englewood, 63rd and Halsted. The old red car on 63rd St. indicates that this photo was taken before the pre-war PCCs were transferred from Madison to 63rd.
When this photo was taken, Englewood was almost certainly the largest commercial district outside the Loop. 63rd and Halsted was the center, but the Halsted business district ran from about 59th to 69th, and the 63rd business district ran from Wentworth west to Ashland.
Things that are in this photo:
— The big building on the northeast corner is Sears Roebuck. In the basement was a Hillman’s Pure Food grocery store.
— The three-story building on the northwest corner is the Ace department store. As I recall, it was rather dumpy. I distinctly remember all the ceiling fans that provided the only summertime ventilation — NOT!
— On the southwest corner is S S Kresge, the forerunner of K Mart. Kresge and Woolworth’s were 5-and-10-cent (a.k.a. dime) stores. The Kresge store had a doughnut manufacturing line in the windows along 63rd St. They made fresh doughnuts and sold them for 3 cents each. I also remember seeing a lot of
store employees, unlike the ensuing K Mart and its ilk.
— See the small newsstand on the southeast corner? I helped an older man sell newspapers there. We sold the morning Tribune and Sun-Times for 4 cents, and the evening Daily News and Herald American for 5 cents. I think the Sunday Sun-Times and Herald American cost 15 cents, and the Trib was 20 cents. The Trib was so much fatter than the other two, it was worth the difference. (The Daily News published its weekend edition on Saturday.) We also sold the Southtown
Economist, which today is the Southtown Star. Their printing plant was on Union
Ave. (700 West) south of 65th St., not far from 63rd and Halsted.
— North of 63rd along Halsted are two movie theaters. On the east side of Halsted around Englewood Ave. (a.k.a. 62nd Place) is the Ace theater, a small old place. Across the street from the Ace is the Empress, a nicer newer place. Heading east on 63rd from Halsted, there were four more movie theaters. The easternmost
was the Southtown Theater, which had a tall spire and an ornate lobby with a pond inhabited by swans. Its parking lot was surrounded by a cement Art Deco-style fence that was about a foot wide and easy to walk atop.” Bill Wasik adds, “This appears to be the Christmas shopping season on S. Halsted, going by the display in the Sears/Hillman’s window at the right. If this was taken in 1952, the photo sadly was made only days or weeks before six persons were killed in a fire that destroyed the General Furniture store at 6155 S. Halsted. The huge General Furniture sign can be seen in the distance at the right of this photo.”
Jeff Wien adds, “Circa 1953, after pre-War PCCs were sent to Cottage Grove and post War PCCs were being sent to SLCC. Red Cars ran the last runs on 63rd Street.”

#43 - Len Marcus says, "Westbound on Chicago Avenue turning south onto Halsted Street during Halsted Street reroute for bridge reconstruction on Halsted, north of Chicago Avenue." Bill Wasik adds, "This was a favorite spot for the tin sign brigade, with some rarities on display, especially the one for Nectar Beer." Bill Shapotkin: "A S/B Halsted car turning from W/B Chicago into S/B Halsted. Cars are being detoured due to bridgework on Halsted St. (Approx 40 years later, the Halsted busses would do the same detour for the same work on the same bridge -- damn, some things never change.)"

#43 – Len Marcus says, “Westbound on Chicago Avenue turning south onto Halsted Street during Halsted Street reroute for bridge reconstruction on Halsted, north of Chicago Avenue.” Bill Wasik adds, “This was a favorite spot for the tin sign brigade, with some rarities on display, especially the one for Nectar Beer.” Bill Shapotkin: “A S/B Halsted car turning from W/B Chicago into S/B Halsted. Cars are being detoured due to bridgework on Halsted St. (Approx 40 years later, the Halsted busses would do the same detour for the same work on the same bridge — damn, some things never change.)”

From CA&E Mystery Photos – Part 1 (July 14, 2015):

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

From The CA&E in Black-and-White (July 31, 2015):

#16 - CA&E 453 at Des Plaines Avenue terminal in August 1955. Cars 451-460 were ordered in 1941 but delayed by war. They were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1945-46 and are considered the last "standard" interurban cars built in the US, although this is a somewhat debatable point.

#16 – CA&E 453 at Des Plaines Avenue terminal in August 1955. Cars 451-460 were ordered in 1941 More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015but delayed by war. They were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1945-46 and are considered the last “standard” interurban cars built in the US, although this is a somewhat debatable point.

From Chicago PCC Updates (August 30, 2015):

A two-car train of "flat door" 6000-series cars at the ground-level Oak Park Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" in the 1950s. These used PCC technology and were built with all new parts, unlike the later curved door cars that were partly built with parts salvaged from PCC streetcars. The building at rear, located at approximately 814 Harrison Street, is still standing in Oak Park. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "That's 6053-54."

A two-car train of “flat door” 6000-series cars at the ground-level Oak Park Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” in the 1950s. These used PCC technology and were built with all new parts, unlike the later curved door cars that were partly built with parts salvaged from PCC streetcars. The building at rear, located at approximately 814 Harrison Street, is still standing in Oak Park. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “That’s 6053-54.”

From A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part Two (August 22, 2015):

A two-car (170-709) North Shore Line Chicago Express "at speed" (although most likely moving very slowly) at Fifth and Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A two-car (170-709) North Shore Line Chicago Express “at speed” (although most likely moving very slowly) at Fifth and Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

From More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015):

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

From Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015):

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950."

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950.”

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Four (October 12, 2015):

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)

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Six (November 30, 2015):

CSL 7034 eastbound at Madison and Hamlin in July 1937. The tall building at rear is still there. (CSL Photo) Marty Robinson adds, "The tall building is the Midwest Hotel, which housed the studio of WNIB in the attic. I was a program host there in 1957."

CSL 7034 eastbound at Madison and Hamlin in July 1937. The tall building at rear is still there. (CSL Photo) Marty Robinson adds, “The tall building is the Midwest Hotel, which housed the studio of WNIB in the attic. I was a program host there in 1957.”

From More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015 (December 14, 2015):

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

From Attention, Juice Fans! (January 22, 2016):

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

From Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016):

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

CTA 5003 on the Met "L" near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

CTA 5003 on the Met “L” near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Eight (April 28, 2016):

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: "Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note: 1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936. 2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car. 3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison. Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip."

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: “Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note:
1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936.
2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car.
3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison.
Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip.”

From Spring Cleaning (May 16, 2016):

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a "baldy" with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a “baldy” with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

From Night Beat (June 21, 2016):

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don's Rail Photos: "26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways." (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26's Michigan sojourn, click here.

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways.” (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26’s Michigan sojourn, click here.

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don's Rail Photos adds, "25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947."

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.”

From More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016):

MBTA (Boston) PCC 3147 at an unidentified location in October 1966. Could this be the old Braves Field loop? Tunnelstation writes:"The Boston PCC picture is located at the end of the “C” line near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir off Beacon Street. The scene is the exit from the Reservoir Car yard out to the street which also serves as the end of the line return loop going to Downtown Boston. That is one of the oldest continuous running trolley lines in America and is still in service today using cars built in Japan." Beacon Street is the MBTA Green Line "C" branch.

MBTA (Boston) PCC 3147 at an unidentified location in October 1966. Could this be the old Braves Field loop? Tunnelstation writes:”The Boston PCC picture is located at the end of the “C” line near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir off Beacon Street. The scene is the exit from the Reservoir Car yard out to the street which also serves as the end of the line return loop going to Downtown Boston. That is one of the oldest continuous running trolley lines in America and is still in service today using cars built in Japan.” Beacon Street is the MBTA Green Line “C” branch.

From Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016):

Originally, I thought this early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there's one car, since the other "married pair" behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

Originally, I thought this early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there’s one car, since the other “married pair” behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

From Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

Red Arrow Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Red Arrow Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016):

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located right where the Garfield Park "L" structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located right where the Garfield Park “L” structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (September 26, 2016):

Here, we have a difference of opinion. George Trapp: "2 car train on single track is probably circa 1938-1943 as the 4000 series is in Brown/Orange. Believe location is Emerson St. and bridge is being installed where none existed before." On the other hand, Brian M. Hicks says that this view "is from Central St. looking North. The 2700 Hampton Pkwy apartments can be seen in the background (1930-31)." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Andre Kristopans: "The shot at Central Street shows construction of the North Shore Channel underway. The embankment is being dug away and the big bridge will soon be going in."

Here, we have a difference of opinion. George Trapp: “2 car train on single track is probably circa 1938-1943 as the 4000 series is in Brown/Orange. Believe location is Emerson St. and bridge is being installed where none existed before.” On the other hand, Brian M. Hicks says that this view “is from Central St. looking North. The 2700 Hampton Pkwy apartments can be seen in the background (1930-31).” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Andre Kristopans: “The shot at Central Street shows construction of the North Shore Channel underway. The embankment is being dug away and the big bridge will soon be going in.”

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Six (October 3, 2016):

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

From Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part Four (October 26, 2016):

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street "L" on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC's assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location."

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016):

CTA high-speeds 3 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 3 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

From Recent Finds (December 2, 2016):

The experimental CSL Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental CSL Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

From Under Our Tree (December 27, 2016):

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: "When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus."

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: “When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus.”

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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101 Dalmatians

CSL prewar PCC 4022 heads west on Madison Street in the late 1940s. It is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. Fifth Avenue is an angle street that heads southwest. Service on the branch line terminated at the Garfield Park

CSL prewar PCC 4022 heads west on Madison Street in the late 1940s. It is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. Fifth Avenue is an angle street that heads southwest. Service on the branch line terminated at the Garfield Park “L” station at Pulaski Road. Several parts of Fifth Avenue have been truncated since streetcars stopped running there in early 1954. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

It has been nearly two months since our last post, but we are back with a bevy of classic traction photos for your consideration.

Things have been quite busy of late, as we worked as an election judge for two recent elections (three in the last six months). Although you have not seen a new post for a while, work behind the scenes continued. We scanned hundreds of images, and many needed extra help in Photoshop.

When you see as post such as this, it is like the tip of an iceberg. For every image we share, there are others that, for whatever reason, do not make the grade, as well as others that are being stored up in an inventory of images, waiting for their moment in the sun.

Leopards, they say, never change their spots… but I assume you can identify certain breeds of dogs, such as Dalmatians, by the location of their spots. Spots factor into our images in any number of ways. Our readers often help us determine just which spot a picture was taken at. And we often have to do spot removal, a tedious practice, on old images.

Brian Wilson has his Pet Sounds, and we have our own pet images. Today’s batch are particular favorites, but each one is a different animal– a horse of a different color, you could say. You should have seen some of these pictures before we got hold of them and gave them triage. On second thought, just stick to the finished product you see here.

There are many, many hours of work that go into each post, and money too. When you see an image here, figure that it cost at least $10 on average to obtain it. We are fortunate that some of our readers have shared images from their extensive collections with us.

In particular, today’s post benefited tremendously from the generosity of both William Shapotkin and Jeffrey L. Wien, both of whom recently celebrated birthdays.

So, we are calling this post 101 Dalmatians, as we have at least that many new pictures here, and after working on them for so long, we are starting to see spots everywhere we look. We hope you will appreciate our modest efforts, and we will be back soon with more posts.

-David Sadowski

Our best wishes also go out to Ray DeGroote, the dean of Chicago railfans at age 88, who was recently injured in a fall. We wish him a speedy recovery. If anyone can do it at that age, Ray can.

Recent Finds

A bird's-eye view of the Wells Street Terminal used by the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban on September 19, 1953. The following day, CA&E stopped running trains downtown, and their track connection with the CTA was severed forever in suburban Forest Park. There is a similar image, taken in 1960, showing the same terminal, or what was left after the CTA built a new track connection to the Loop elevated through it in 1955. You can find that in my book Building Chicago's Subways.

A bird’s-eye view of the Wells Street Terminal used by the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban on September 19, 1953. The following day, CA&E stopped running trains downtown, and their track connection with the CTA was severed forever in suburban Forest Park. There is a similar image, taken in 1960, showing the same terminal, or what was left after the CTA built a new track connection to the Loop elevated through it in 1955. You can find that in my book Building Chicago’s Subways.

On July 27, 1962, a CTA Douglas Park “B” train pulls away from us at the Racine stop on the Congress rapid transit line., then only four years old. The train will go downtown through the Dearborn Subway, and then out to Logan Square via the Milwaukee Avenue tube.

On May 28, 1978, photographer William D. Lloyd caught this picture of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 on the north side “L”. Now nearing the century mark, they are still on the property today. Here, they were only about five years out of regular service.

On January 26, 1964, approximately one year after the North Shore Line quit, the two Electroliners were rechristened as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow's 13-mile line between Philadelphia and Norristown. In the distance, we see a pair of early 1930s Bullet cars, which had a storied history of their own.

On January 26, 1964, approximately one year after the North Shore Line quit, the two Electroliners were rechristened as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow’s 13-mile line between Philadelphia and Norristown. In the distance, we see a pair of early 1930s Bullet cars, which had a storied history of their own.

MBTA (Boston) ex-Dallas double-end PCC 3336 at Mattapan yards on December 5, 1976. (Ed McKernan Photo)

MBTA (Boston) ex-Dallas double-end PCC 3336 at Mattapan yards on December 5, 1976. (Ed McKernan Photo)

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Two CRT Met cars at the Laramie Shops in 1947. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)

In the last couple years of red car service in Chicago, which ended in 1954, the CTA painted a few of the older streetcars green. It was not an attractive color for them. Here, we see inbound car 6172 jogging from one side of Lake Street to another via Pine Avenue. To this day, tracks are still visible under the viaduct. At this point, streetcars crossed the Lake Street

In the last couple years of red car service in Chicago, which ended in 1954, the CTA painted a few of the older streetcars green. It was not an attractive color for them. Here, we see inbound car 6172 jogging from one side of Lake Street to another via Pine Avenue. To this day, tracks are still visible under the viaduct. At this point, streetcars crossed the Lake Street “L”, which ran on the ground here until 1962.

CSL 1466 was used as a training car for the three river tunnels. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1466 was used as a training car for the three river tunnels. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 173X (full number not visible) is heading west on Madison Street in the 1930s. The Civic Opera House, built by Samuel Insull in 1929, is visible at rear. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 173X (full number not visible) is heading west on Madison Street in the 1930s. The Civic Opera House, built by Samuel Insull in 1929, is visible at rear. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A maintenance of way car along the overhead section of the North Side “L”, exact date and location unknown. Jeff Wien adds that this is: “Wilson Avenue, freight connection to Buena Yards, probably in the early 50s.”

Laurel Line car 31 is at the Plains substation on August 3, 1952. Edward Skuchas writes: “I believe the locations of the two Laurel Line photos are incorrect. The top photo is Pittston. The lower photo may be the Plains sub-station. West Pittston is on the other side of the Susquehanna River, and the Laurel Line did not go there.”

Laurel Line car 39 is at the Plains sub-station on December 28, 1952, shortly before abandonment.

Laurel Line car 39 is at the Plains sub-station on December 28, 1952, shortly before abandonment.

The interior of Lehigh Valley Transit car 1007, showing its leather bucket seats, which were popular when this car was built for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie in the early 1930s.

The interior of Lehigh Valley Transit car 1007, showing its leather bucket seats, which were popular when this car was built for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie in the early 1930s.

Conductors on a Humboldt Park

Conductors on a Humboldt Park “L” train, circa 1907-15.

A Loop-bound Metropolitan

A Loop-bound Metropolitan “L” train, circa 1907-15.

The Chicago Surface Lines used trailers during the 1920s, as a way of dealing with increasing crowds of riders. But with the advent of the Great Depression, ridership fell sharply, and the trailers were no longer needed. Some thought was given to reviving them during World War II, but this did not happen. Here, 1756 pulls 8049. Don's Rail Photos notes,

The Chicago Surface Lines used trailers during the 1920s, as a way of dealing with increasing crowds of riders. But with the advent of the Great Depression, ridership fell sharply, and the trailers were no longer needed. Some thought was given to reviving them during World War II, but this did not happen. Here, 1756 pulls 8049. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “8056 was built by Brill in 1921, #21272. It became a shed at 77th and scrapped on July 17, 1957.” 1756 was a “169” or Broadway-State car. Again, Don Ross: “1756 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.”

CTA prewar PCC 7028 on private right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 - Cottage Grove, in June 1953.

CTA prewar PCC 7028 on private right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove, in June 1953.

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3848 on priate right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 - Cottage Grove in June 1952. Here, the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service, now the Metra Electric.

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3848 on priate right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove in June 1952. Here, the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service, now the Metra Electric.

After the Chicago Transit Authority retired the last of the wooden

After the Chicago Transit Authority retired the last of the wooden “L” cars in 1957, some were used for a few more years in work service. Here, a Met car has been renumbered as S-308 at Skokie Shops.

CTA single cat unit 23 is outbound on the Skokie Swift at Niles Center Road on August 20, 1970.

CTA single cat unit 23 is outbound on the Skokie Swift at Niles Center Road on August 20, 1970.

CTA single car unit 26 on the open-cut section of the Skokie Swift in August 1978.

CTA single car unit 26 on the open-cut section of the Skokie Swift in August 1978.

CTA postwar PCC 4337, built by Pullman, heads south on State Street in the early 1950s.

CTA postwar PCC 4337, built by Pullman, heads south on State Street in the early 1950s.

An outbound CTA Douglas Park train ascends the ramp that will take from the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway to the old

An outbound CTA Douglas Park train ascends the ramp that will take from the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway to the old “L” structure in the mid-1960s. This ramp is not used much now, as Douglas trains, now renamed the Pink Line, have been rerouted to the Lake Street “L” via the Paulina Connector. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

I ought this Red Border Kodachrome slide, which dates to the early 1950s, thinking perhaps it might e the old Park Theater on Chicago’s west side (on Lake near Austin). But after studying the image for a while, I am inclined to think it’s somewhere else. While the facade looks similar to the actual Park Theater, it is not identical. There should be streetcar tracks visible– the movie theater closed in 1952, about two years before the streetcar quit. And the theater on Lake Street at Austin Boulevard did not have a streetlight such as the one seen at right. There was a light attached to a line pole that held the trolley wire– a line pole not visible in this picture. That, plus the rounded nature of the signage, which I have never seen in any other pictures of the Park, tell me that this is not it. But we have in the past posted several pictures of streetcars near the actual theater. If you type “park theater” or “lake austin” in the search window on our page, these various pictures will come up.

CSL 1039 at Wabash and Lake in June 1947. Signed for the Indiana-Lincoln through route #3, it is southbound, and headed to Indiana and 51st.

CSL 1039 at Wabash and Lake in June 1947. Signed for the Indiana-Lincoln through route #3, it is southbound, and headed to Indiana and 51st.

CSL 6284 on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. Although the car is full of people, for some reason the side sign says Not In Service.

CSL 6284 on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. Although the car is full of people, for some reason the side sign says Not In Service.

A two-car CTA train of 4000s at right, in Evanston shuttle service, heads southbound approaching Howard in the 1950s.

A two-car CTA train of 4000s at right, in Evanston shuttle service, heads southbound approaching Howard in the 1950s.

TMER&T 1121, on a December 4, 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line.

TMER&T 1121, on a December 4, 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 at McCormick Boulevard (Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift) on July 16, 1989. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 at McCormick Boulevard (Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift) on July 16, 1989. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

The CTA has a yard for the Green Line (formerly the Lake Street

The CTA has a yard for the Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) just west of the Harlem Avenue terminal in suburban Forest Park. Here, various cars in the 2000-series are seen, along with a Metra commuter train on the adjacent Union Pacific West Line. This picture was most likely taken during the 1990s. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

CTA gate car 2318 is parked along the outer portion of the Douglas Park line in February 1950.

CTA gate car 2318 is parked along the outer portion of the Douglas Park line in February 1950.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company gate car 305 is seen on the Loop

Chicago Rapid Transit Company gate car 305 is seen on the Loop “L” in the 1940s, signed as a Wilson Avenue Local.

The presence of double track would seem to indicate that this picture of a South Shore Line train was taken in East Chicago, Indiana in the 1950s. The street running through the middle of town was replaced by a new section running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956.

The presence of double track would seem to indicate that this picture of a South Shore Line train was taken in East Chicago, Indiana in the 1950s. The street running through the middle of town was replaced by a new section running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956.

CTA Holiday Trains have become an annual tradition. Photographer Bruce C. Nelson captured this one on December 2, 2017.

CTA Holiday Trains have become an annual tradition. Photographer Bruce C. Nelson captured this one on December 2, 2017.

Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 426 is most likely running on Route 65 - Grand, as it is signed to go to Grand and Armitage. Chances are, this photo was taken circa 1939-40, and shows temporary trackage for construction of Chicago's first subways.

Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 426 is most likely running on Route 65 – Grand, as it is signed to go to Grand and Armitage. Chances are, this photo was taken circa 1939-40, and shows temporary trackage for construction of Chicago’s first subways.

October 27, 1962 was the last day of ground-level operation on the CTA Lake Street

October 27, 1962 was the last day of ground-level operation on the CTA Lake Street “L”. The following day, service was relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment. Here, we see a pair of 4000s heading west on South Boulevard at Kenilworth.

After serving Chicago for many years, some of the original CTA

After serving Chicago for many years, some of the original CTA “flat door” 6000s had a second life on Philadelphia’s Norristown High-Speed Line. 6089-6090 are approaching Radnor on April 10, 1987.

Here is a view of the old Tower 18 on Chicago's Loop

Here is a view of the old Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop “L”, when this was the world’s busiest railroad crossing. The old Loop ran both tracks in only one direction, but this changed in 1969, when the CTA wanted to connect the Lake Street “L” with the new Dan Ryan line. Therefore, the old tower had to go, as it was situated right where the new tracks had to go.

Both CTA and CA&E trains are visible in this July 8, 1953 photo taken at Laramie on the Garfield Park

Both CTA and CA&E trains are visible in this July 8, 1953 photo taken at Laramie on the Garfield Park “L”. Just a little over two months later, the CA&E interurban cut back service to Forest Park, a few miles west of here (and behind the photographer).

The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company's car 60, seen here in 1950, was a Cincinnati curved-side car. The ill-fated attempt to keep electric transit service going in Milwaukee was doomed to failure, once a horrific head-on collision took the lives of several people.

The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company’s car 60, seen here in 1950, was a Cincinnati curved-side car. The ill-fated attempt to keep electric transit service going in Milwaukee was doomed to failure, once a horrific head-on collision took the lives of several people.

CA&E 425 is passing over Union Station in this undated photo. Trains going more or less straight would end up at the Wells Street Terminal, while the tracks in the background leading off to the right connected to the Loop

CA&E 425 is passing over Union Station in this undated photo. Trains going more or less straight would end up at the Wells Street Terminal, while the tracks in the background leading off to the right connected to the Loop “L” Van Buren. When Lower Wacker Drive was being built, this necessitated tearing down this second connection to thee Loop, and building a new one through the second floor of Wells Terminal. The switchover between the two took place in 1955.

Riders at the old Laramie stop on the CTA's Garfield Park

Riders at the old Laramie stop on the CTA’s Garfield Park “L” in 1947. Met cars are seen in storage in the background. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)

A CRT gate car, running in service on the old Garfield Park

A CRT gate car, running in service on the old Garfield Park “L” in 1947. This is the Laramie stop. (Charles R. Griffin Photo)

This CTA brochure, dated July 1949, explains the changes that were coming from the CTA's plan to revise north-south

This CTA brochure, dated July 1949, explains the changes that were coming from the CTA’s plan to revise north-south “L” and subway service. This included A/B “skip stop” service and making the Evanston branch a shuttle.

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From the Wien-Criss Archive:

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on Chicago's South Side

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on Chicago’s South Side “L” on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner barrels through, having just crossed under the EJ&E, on January 12, 1963, a little over a week before the end of service. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner barrels through, having just crossed under the EJ&E, on January 12, 1963, a little over a week before the end of service. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner on June 1, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner on June 1, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner at Edison Court on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner at Edison Court on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 7001 at 77th and Vincennes in October 1956. It is a shame that this historic car, which ran in Chicago from 1934 to 1944, was not saved. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 7001 at 77th and Vincennes in October 1956. It is a shame that this historic car, which ran in Chicago from 1934 to 1944, was not saved. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A Milwaukee streetcar, presumably on Route 10, in the 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A Milwaukee streetcar, presumably on Route 10, in the 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Interior shots were not easy for photographers on September 4, 1962, when Robert F. Collins took this picture of the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Interior shots were not easy for photographers on September 4, 1962, when Robert F. Collins took this picture of the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Don's Rail Photos:

Don’s Rail Photos: “E223, sweeper, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1908 as CCRys E23. It was renumbered E223 in 1913 and became CSL E223 in 1914. It was sold to Illinois Railway Museum on August 29, 1958.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 17, 1957 the late James J. Buckley caught this terrific 3/4 view of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin freight train at Lakewood. (Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 17, 1957 the late James J. Buckley caught this terrific 3/4 view of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin freight train at Lakewood. (Wien-Criss Archive)

It's June 1963, several months after the CTA elevated the Lake Street

It’s June 1963, several months after the CTA elevated the Lake Street “L” onto the Chicago & North Western embankment. A four-car train made up of “circus wagons,” the fan’s name for experimental high-speed cars, is making a rare appearance at Harlem Avenue, the end of the line. This view looks east. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7237 is running southbound on Clark Street in the late 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7237 is running southbound on Clark Street in the late 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7196 is at 81st and Halsted, the southern end of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7196 is at 81st and Halsted, the southern end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is southbound on Clark at Washington. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is southbound on Clark at Washington. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7187 on Clark Street on September 6, 1957, the last day of street railway service on Chicago's north side. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7187 on Clark Street on September 6, 1957, the last day of street railway service on Chicago’s north side. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, CTA 4372 pulls into the turnaround loop at Clark and Howard. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, CTA 4372 pulls into the turnaround loop at Clark and Howard. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7189 is southbound at Clark and Ohio on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph notes, "The Hotel Wacker was at Clark and Huron."

CTA 7189 is southbound at Clark and Ohio on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph notes, “The Hotel Wacker was at Clark and Huron.”

On September 6, 1957, Charles H. Thorpe took this picture of CTA 7139, the last pull-out from Devon Station (car barn). (Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, Charles H. Thorpe took this picture of CTA 7139, the last pull-out from Devon Station (car barn). (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4379 is on north Clark Street on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph adds, "This streetcar is traveling southbound to 81st & Halsted (as the destination sign states) somewhere near Clark and Glenlake." (This is, however, on the northern portion of Clark Street as we stated.)

CTA 4379 is on north Clark Street on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph adds, “This streetcar is traveling southbound to 81st & Halsted (as the destination sign states) somewhere near Clark and Glenlake.” (This is, however, on the northern portion of Clark Street as we stated.)

CTA 7195 is on Halsted Street, near the south end of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is on Halsted Street, near the south end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3360 is running Route 4 - Cottage Grove, circa 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3360 is running Route 4 – Cottage Grove, circa 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7154 is near Limits Station (car barn), near 2700 N. Clark Street, on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7154 is near Limits Station (car barn), near 2700 N. Clark Street, on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA steeple cab S-343, a

CTA steeple cab S-343, a “yard shifter,” serving the rapid transit system, is at 64th and Prairie. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “S-343 was built by Chicago City Ry in 1909 as Chicago City Ry C50. It was renumbered L202 in 1913 and became CSL L202 in 1914. It was rebuilt as S-343 in 1959 and acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1979. It was acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1983 and restored as L202.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines crane car X-4 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos says,

Chicago Surface Lines crane car X-4 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos says,”X4, derrick, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as CRys 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1947 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7220, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on Route 22. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7220, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on Route 22. (Wien-Criss Archive)

From the William Shapotkin Collection:

CSL 5301 is at Lake and Ashland, running on Route 9, in April 1937. Streetcars were not permitted on boulevards, and the section of Ashland between Lake and Roosevelt was just such a boulevard. Therefore, in that stretch, Ashland streetcars jogged over the nearby Paulina. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5301 is at Lake and Ashland, running on Route 9, in April 1937. Streetcars were not permitted on boulevards, and the section of Ashland between Lake and Roosevelt was just such a boulevard. Therefore, in that stretch, Ashland streetcars jogged over the nearby Paulina. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on the Illinois Central Electric on April 24, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on the Illinois Central Electric on April 24, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The slide mount for this had the word

The slide mount for this had the word “junk” written on it, but I don’t agree. This is also from that same April 24, 1966 fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)

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A photo stop at Washington Park race track on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip on the IC. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Illinois Central Electric 1427 and 1186 on the Washington Park Branch on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip. Note that the motor unit in this pair faces north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Illinois Central Electric 1427 and 1186 on the Washington Park Branch on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip. Note that the motor unit in this pair faces north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Illinois Central Electric at Blue Island in June 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Illinois Central Electric at Blue Island in June 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This slide mount has George Strombeck written on it, but I am not sure whether that is the name of the photographer, or the man in the picture. Either way, this shows a Milwaukee Road commuter train in Downtown Chicago on April 21, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This slide mount has George Strombeck written on it, but I am not sure whether that is the name of the photographer, or the man in the picture. Either way, this shows a Milwaukee Road commuter train in Downtown Chicago on April 21, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The GM&O

The GM&O “Abe Lincoln” at 18th Street in Chicago on April 22, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Ryan Tower

Photos of Ryan Tower, where the North Shore Line crossed the Chicago & North Western, are scarce, as this was a somewhat remote location for fans. But thanks to the good offices of Bill Shapotkin, here are several such views, along with his usual contemporary photos showing what the area looks like today.

Milwaukee County, WI - A pair of CNS&M cars (the

Milwaukee County, WI – A pair of CNS&M cars (the “Silverliner” at left is on a fantrip) pass one another at Ryan Tower – crossing with the C&NW “New Line.” Note that the once-double-tracked C&NW is now ut a single-track line through here (the one-time westbound main has been removed). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Ryan Tower, WI - TM interurban #1121, in fantrip service, heads southbound on the CNS&M as it crosses over the C&NW

Ryan Tower, WI – TM interurban #1121, in fantrip service, heads southbound on the CNS&M as it crosses over the C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower on December 4, 1949. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - A southbound CNS&M

Milwaukee County, WI – A southbound CNS&M “Silverliner” (in fantrip service) is about to cross over the (now single-track) C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower. View looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

On the stretch between Milwaukee limits and Racine station, a North Shore train crosses North Western freight route at Ryan Road. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the stretch between Milwaukee limits and Racine station, a North Shore train crosses North Western freight route at Ryan Road. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - In 1958, a southbound CNS&M passenger train approaches the crossing with C&NW

Milwaukee County, WI – In 1958, a southbound CNS&M passenger train approaches the crossing with C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Road (that’s Ryan Tower at left). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Near the Milwaukee County line, a North Shore car crosses the C&NW freight line at an acute angle. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Near the Milwaukee County line, a North Shore car crosses the C&NW freight line at an acute angle. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - Looking N/NW (timetable NB) on long-abandoned right-of-way of CNS&M from

Milwaukee County, WI – Looking N/NW (timetable NB) on long-abandoned right-of-way of CNS&M from “Old Ryan Road,” (formerly Ryan Road). The CNS&M once crossed the C&NW (now UP) “New Line” – visible at right at “Ryan Tower,” located behind the photographer on the south side of the road. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 20, 2003.

(William Shapotkin Photo)

(William Shapotkin Photo)

Milwaukee, WI - Looking SB on UP (ex-C&NW)

Milwaukee, WI – Looking SB on UP (ex-C&NW) “New Line” from “Old Ryan Road” (new Ryan Road is visible overhead in the distance). This once double-tracked line once crossed the long-abandoned CNS&M at “Ryan Tower,” located south of the Roadway. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 6, 2003.

C&WT 104 at the end of the line in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 104 at the end of the line in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 164 on Lake Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 164 on Lake Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 145 is westbound on Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left is the Marshall Field & Company store, a local landmark. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 145 is westbound on Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left is the Marshall Field & Company store, a local landmark. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture is not very sharp, but it does show a C&WT streetcar stopped at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo, sometime in the 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture is not very sharp, but it does show a C&WT streetcar stopped at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo, sometime in the 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 133 has changed ends at Madison and Austin, and is ready to head west. Across the street from Oak Park into Chicago, riders could change to a Chicago Surface Lines PCC for a fast ride into the city. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 133 has changed ends at Madison and Austin, and is ready to head west. Across the street from Oak Park into Chicago, riders could change to a Chicago Surface Lines PCC for a fast ride into the city. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This shows westbound C&WT car 108, signed Berwyn-Lyons, on Stanley having just passed Oak Park Avenue circa 1941. At right is the Berwyn stop on the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. Today, Pace bus route 302 runs here, and commuter train service is under the auspices of Metra. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This shows westbound C&WT car 108, signed Berwyn-Lyons, on Stanley having just passed Oak Park Avenue circa 1941. At right is the Berwyn stop on the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. Today, Pace bus route 302 runs here, and commuter train service is under the auspices of Metra. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection) Patrick Cunningham: “The unidentified C&WT photo looks like it was taken just east of the Stone Ave. station on the CB&Q in LaGrange. The view is east. If you look at the prior photo of the end of the C&WT in LaGrange (which was at Brainard Ave.), you’ll note that the line was single track. This appears to be a passing siding or layover point.” On the other hand. Michael Murray writes, “I believe the 7th C&WT picture is looking east at Harlem and Stanley Aves. Page 128 of the Buckley book shows the signal on the pole, the track alignment, the CBQ shelter, and the CBQ signal in a photo near where yours was taken. I originally thought the same about the C&WT picture, but it’s Berwyn, not La Grange. The Buckley book confirms the location. ” Charles R. Vlk: “The “I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection)” photo is looking East on Stanley Avenue where the single track line crossing the Burlington at Harlem Avenue goes to double track. Harlem Avenue is behind the camera to the West.”

C&WT 112 is eastbound at Stanley and Oak Park Avenue. The CB&Q Berwyn stop is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 112 is eastbound at Stanley and Oak Park Avenue. The CB&Q Berwyn stop is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

We have seen this picture of C&WT 141 before (it is also in my book Chicago Trolleys), but why pass up another chance to see it again? This is the bridge where the LaGrange line crossed the DesPlaines River, and I believe we are looking the the southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)

We have seen this picture of C&WT 141 before (it is also in my book Chicago Trolleys), but why pass up another chance to see it again? This is the bridge where the LaGrange line crossed the DesPlaines River, and I believe we are looking the the southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I assume these are the C&WT tracks in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “I’m skeptical that photo 10 is on the La Grange line. There wasn’t any single track on the line similar to the one in the photo. My guess is perhaps the Berwyn-Lyons line? Ogden Ave. on the right, and this is the easternmost passing track, which, according to the Buckley book, was west of Harlem. Note that the line poles are only briefly wide of the main “march” of poles into the distance.”

A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “Photo 11, which you have captioned as “A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange” is found on page 129 of the Buckley book, and is captioned: “Between Harlem Ave and the Des Plaines River, the Berwyn-Lyons streetcar line was built on private right-of-way on the south side of Ogden Ave. It was abandoned October 26, 1933 because the land was wanted to widen Ogden Ave. The railway here was single track with two passing sidings. Car 133 was photographed on the passing siding near the Des Plaines River in October 1933, a few days before abandonment.”

C&WT 111. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 111. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Collection)

An unidentified C&WT car, probably in the 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

An unidentified C&WT car, probably in the 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 107. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 107. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 165 is at Lake and Austin, the east end of the line, in suburban Oak Park. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 165 is at Lake and Austin, the east end of the line, in suburban Oak Park. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 158 in LaGrange. Not sure why this section of track is blocked off, except that perhaps it is due to the tracks being unstable, due to the nearby excavation going on. (William Shapotkin Collection) Patrick Cunningham adds, “C&WT 158 is just east of LaGrange Road. In the background, you can just make out the Jackson Moving and Storage sign on the building with the towers. The building is there, the towers are gone. Probably about here: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8166104,-87.8687401,3a,75y,70.46h,80.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st0yuoCYe7FXm6EGEmBkuQA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1

From a high vantage point, here we see C&WT 112 has just turned from Ridgeland onto Stanley in suburban Berwyn, and is heading west, just north of the CB&Q, which it will cross at Harlem Avenue one mile west of here. (William Shapotkin Collection)

From a high vantage point, here we see C&WT 112 has just turned from Ridgeland onto Stanley in suburban Berwyn, and is heading west, just north of the CB&Q, which it will cross at Harlem Avenue one mile west of here. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 132 on Cermak Road in the late 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 132 on Cermak Road in the late 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 105 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 111 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 111 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Photo)

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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Larry Sakar, TM, and Speedrail

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952." It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952.” It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Today, we are featuring some recent correspondence with Larry Sakar, author of the 1991 book Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?. This has long been a collector’s item– try finding a copy at a reasonable price, and you will see what I mean.

Larry has continued his research in the 26 years since this book came out, and has a new book in the works. Larry is very outspoken, and doesn’t pull any punches. Perhaps that is because he knows his subject so well.

Meanwhile, this Wednesday, I sent off the corrected proofs of our own book Chicago Trolleys to the publisher. That means our part in it is now pretty much done, except perhaps for answering any questions that the proofreaders might have. Then it will go to press and the publication date is September 25.

If any of you have ever written a book, you may know that it is something akin to wrestling an alligator. However, now I believe I’ve got the alligator wrestled to the ground, and am very happy with the finished product. Chances are, you will be too.

-David Sadowski

Larry A. Sakar writes:

I just discovered your site and saw the 3 color photos of LVT 1100 & 1102 loaded onto flat cars for the trip to Milwaukee (Odds and Ends, May 5, 2017). The Feb., 1948 date is not correct. Speedrail did not exist in 1948. It began on 9/2/49 after Jay Maeder bought the Waukesha line from Northland Greyhound for $110!

I know because I’m Larry Sakar, author of “Speedrail Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?” published by Interurban Press in 1991.

Cars 1100 & 1102 were purchased sometime in late October by Jay Maeder who went to Allentown for the purpose of buying additional Cincinnati Curved side lightweight cars to go with the 6 purchased by Ed Tennyson, Speedrail’s VP of operations in Sept. 1949 from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit (cars 60-65). SHRT sold Tennyson the 6 cars for $500 each and he leased them back to Speedrail. The sale was supposed to be contingent on Mr. Maeder putting up the additional $2300 for spare parts. Whether or not he did I have never been able to find out.

Maeder paid $750 each for 1100 & 1102 which were supposedly the best 2 of the 4 cars (1100-1103). You are absolutely correct about the refurbishing of 1102 into MRT car 66 which premiered on 3/31/51 and served only for 3 months before Speedrail ended all operations on 6/30/51. As part of the rehabilitation it exchanged trucks with car 64 which was wrecked in the collision with e-TM 1121 serving as Speedrail’s freight motor. That happened just 3 days after the terrible and fatal accident on the NMRA fan trip of 9/2/50. The 3 man crew on 1121 finished switching the C&NW Ry. interchange just south of West Jct. early that day and were in a hurry to get home so they ignored the proper procedure for entering the mainline from the C&NW interchange and smacked into car 64 bashing in a significant portion of the front platform. They did not have to worry about getting home early after that. All 3 were terminated. But it caused Travelers Insurance to pull the plug on Speedrail’s liability insurance because of 2 serious accidents in 3 days and also because Maeder was 6 months behind in paying the premiums. He had used money set aside for insurance to buy Shaker Heights cars 300 & 301! As President and sole stockholder he could do what he wanted. The money was used to buy equipment and not for any personal purposes thus making it perfectly legal but also perfectly stupid!

To the best of my knowledge Maeder never intended to use car 1100 for spare parts. That only happened because it was dead on arrival in Milwaukee and would not run period. 1102 blew a motor on arrival and had to be sent to TMER&T’s Cold Spring shops for repair. Cold Spring was marking up costs by 100%! The small shops facility in the Public Service building terminal could not do major repairs.

I don’t know if you would be interested but I have just completed a new manuscript entitled, “The Complete History of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line from TMER&L to Speedrail.” There are 146 pages of text plus an additional 160 pages of photos and documents. Of these there are 37 pages of color photos.

The money to pay for refurbishing 1102 into 66 came from the sale of 14 surplus ex-TM 1100 series cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Company in Milwaukee. This all took place several months after Bruno V. Bitker the federal bankruptcy trustee dismissed Jay Maeder. The seats put in what became car 66 came from some of those 1100’s. It also switched trucks with the damaged car 64.

I think if Maeder had remained in charge he would never have sold those surplus 1100’s. He had a sentimental attachment to TM which he first discovered in 1926 when he attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin for his senior year of high school. Delafield was a stop on the Milwaukee-Watertown line.

Thanks and continue the great work. You have a fantastic website.

Thanks for writing, and also for all this wonderful information. As you are well aware I am sure, the information people write on slides, prints, negs, etc. is not always 100% accurate. I appreciate your corrections.

Lehigh Valley Transit purchased four Cincinnati curved-side cars second-hand in 1938 for the Easton Limited interurban line. Unfortunately, these cars were underpowered, and not really up to the task of working this hilly route. They were sharp-looking cars as LVT renovated them, but could not maintain the schedules of the cars they replaced. So it is no great surprise that by the time Speedrail got two of them in 1949, they were in bad shape.

Larry replied:

Yes, I do know that incorrect info often turns up in both pics and books. My 1991 Speedrail book has errors but when I wrote it in 1988 it was based on the best information I had at the time. I never dreamed that after it came out I’d be contacted by Jay Maeder’s daughter Jane and would be the recipient of several boxes of documents her father left behind. She and her late brother Jay Jr. decided that I should have them as they would never do anything with them. Neither of them knew much about Speedrail other than that their father once “owned a railroad”.

That reminds me. I saw the discussion as to whether Jay Maeder ever lived in Texas. No he didn’t but his daughter Jane Maeder Walsh lives in Houston. And Jay Sr. is survived by a lot of grandchildren. I didn’t know Jay Jr. drew that cartoon but I’m not surprised. He was an authority on the Dick Tracy comic strip having authored two books on the subject. I only spoke to him one time while he was working for the New York Daily News and was writing a column called “Lounge Lizard” which reviewed NYC lounge acts. I’ve had a lot of contact with Jane.

I wanted to scream when I got the last shipment of documents in 2012. At the bottom of the box was a scrapbook – the kind with the brown pages like many of us had as kids where we glued things in with Muselix glue. That’s what I expected to see when I opened it but instead found blank pages. Then I looked again. What he did, David, was rip out newspaper clippings related to Speedrail. Then he’d rip out the date and using a nail like the ones you get with picture hooks, would attach it to the clipping. But instead of placing the clippings on the pages he literally shoved them into the spines of each page. Well, after 60 years as I’m sure you know the newsprint deteriorated and the dates fell off as the paper deteriorated. Newsprint is notorious for that. Consequently, I ended up with about 25 clippings where the event could have happened anytime in the 22 months Speedrail existed.

You’re 100% right that the 9-2-50 accident is still controversial. I would say that in terms of blame 80% goes to Maeder and 20% to Tennyson. The Maeder/Tennyson working relationship had been deteriorating ever since the fall of 1949 when Maeder bought the Local Rapid Transit line (Milwaukee-West Junction-Hales Corners) without ever bringing the matter before the Speedrail Board (such as it was). Tennyson was opposed. He told me that when he went to Cleveland on 9/12/49 and met with Maeder’s Cleveland Attorney, Frank Taplin, Taplin told him, “Ed, whatever you do do not let Jay buy that Local Rapid Transit line. He will lose his shirt!” Tennyson was there to buy the 6 Shaker Heights curved side cars. Anyway, according to what he told me, when he found out what Maeder had done he went to the third member of the board, Oliver A. Grootemaat Speedrail’s general counsel and secretary. He said Grootemaat told him, “Maeder owns all the stock. He can do whatever he wants.!”

As for 9-2-50 Tennyson told me Maeder had asked him to draw up a schedule and rules for the 5 NMRA fan trips which he did. On the morning of 9/2 he discovered the trains were running late and that’s when he called the so-called dispatcher, Joe Bellon at the Public Service Building to find out what was going on. It was then that he found out that Maeder and one of the senior motormen, Gerald Greer had spent the night before drawing up “anticipatory train orders” that required every train to call from every siding. Also, the rules were that photo stops were to be made southbound to Hales Corners only. And anyone who did not come when time was up for the photo stop would be left behind. When Maeder’s train got to Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners the fans asked for a photostop going back to Milwaukee. Maeder should have said “NO” but he went along with it. So Tennyson called Bellon and told him to go back to the original orders where trains were to operate by schedule and timetable and only call if they ran into trouble. Maeder had called from Hillcrest to report they’d be stopping for a photostop northbound but from that point on he wasn’t heard from again. In order to allow the regularly scheduled southbound Hales Corners pass Maeder pulled in to Greenwood Jct., a siding never used which was the connection to the Lakeside Belt Line. It was seldom if ever used and once the M-R-K (Milwaukee-Racine Kenosha Line) was abandoned in Dec. of 1947 it was useless.

As a result of the reversal of orders Equitz assumed Maeder would hold at Oklahoma Ave. for him to pass. Maeder, still operating under his revised orders expected the dispatcher would tell Equitz he’d cleared Maeder’s train all the way to West Jct. The end result was that 10 people were killed because two guys didn’t get along. I do think Maeder went thru a red signal. And I also feel he had no business running the train especially since it was discovered he was color blind. If he’d been familiar with the Nachod signals that should not have made a difference. The position of the lights would have shown if the signal was red or white. Maeder was too occupied by all of the railfans gathered around him and he didn’t give the signal more than a quick glance, something you could not do with Nachod signals.

Maeder made an idiot of himself at the Coroner’s inquest. When the DA asked him why his train was running late he objected. the DA asked why he objected to his train being labeled as late and he replied, “My train was an extra train. Extra trains cannot be late. They can only be behind schedule.” HUH?? What’s the difference? Isn’t being behind schedule being late? He also testified that he and the regular motorman George Wolter weren’t relying on the signals. “They were a help but we weren’t relying on them”, is what he testified. Yes, Maeder was exonerated in court but only because the law on 4th Degree Manslaughter required it to be a deliberate act. I seriously doubt if he would be as lucky today not to mention that he personally would face a ton of lawsuits. And though he was exonerated in court he could and did not fare as well in the one court he could do nothing about, the court of public opinion. Bitker clearly didn’t want him around anymore. Tennyson said Bitker banned Maeder from the property but I don’t know if that’s true.

The Rapid Transit book I’ve completed contains photos you’ve never seen before. One of my sources is John Schoenknecht the head of the Waukesha County Historical Society and he has supplied me with some really great photos.

I see Bill Shapotkin comments quite regularly. I’ve known Bill since 1986. Great guy!

This is all great stuff. Who is publishing your book? I see that Interurbans Press put out your Speedrail volume.

Larry:

Interurbans Press did put out the Speedrail book. They published one or two books after that and went out of business. Mac Sebree, the owner retired and sold the company to video producer PENTREX. PENTREX had no interest in selling or publishing books. They bought Interurban Press for one thing and one thing only – their videos. And even if they were still around I’d be extremely reluctant to deal with them again! At the time they accepted the book they had purchased PTJ Publications which was in Waukesha. PTJ as you may know was the original publisher of Passenger Train Journal.

 In 1988 home computers and the Internet did not exist. But since they had the office in Waukesha I begged and pleaded for them to do the book there even though the normally did all books in Glendale, CA. Mike Schaefer was part of PTJ Publications and he was the person I wanted to edit and layout the book. I pointed out that it would be much easier for all concerned should any problems arise. I couldn’t hop a plane to Glendale, CA.  just like that. I was working. But driving out to Waukesha would be no problem. What I didn’t know until later was that “bad blood” existed between Mike and this Paul Hammond who ran things in Glendale. Interurban Press interpreted my request as taking sides. I was trying to do what I felt would be best especially since I knew Mike knew the subject which the California people did not. Interurban Press refused.

The book was to have been published in 1989 but a tragedy at the Waukesha office delayed it by two years. A young staff member was engaged to be married. Something happened and the engagement was called off. He become despondent and went out to Butler and killed himself by stepping in front of an on-coming C&NW train. Horrible! Anyway they resumed work on it and things seemed to go well from there. I don’t know how it works today but back then you received 3 final drafts. The first two showed the space where the photos would be and the caption but not the actual photo. The final proof was called the blue line. So the blue line arrives in the mail and I absolutely exploded. What was supposed to be a photo of the 9-2-50 Speedrail wreck was a photo of the 8-24-49 Soldiers Home wreck. I probably didn’t even need long distance I was so angry. Their excuse: “Well, we just assumed that the wrecks were one and the same.” YOU ASSUMED?? So I had to quickly run out to Waukesha. They had the Milwaukee Journals for the day of and days after the 9-2-50 wreck. With the space already dedicated we had to choose that really bad picture that appears in the book. It was the only one that fit.

There were any number of other things that happened over those 2-3 years (1988-1991). I can’t tell you how many times they told me they “expected to take a loss” on the book and discouraging things like that. Loss nothing! It sold out all of the first printing in 18 months. I had thought about pitching it to Kalmbach but didn’t think I’d stand much of a chance being an unknown at the time. I was right. In 1999 a couple of years after the video, “Rapid Transit in Milwaukee From TMER&L to Speedrail” was put out by TMER&THS of which I was Secretary and Treasurer we decided to write a companion book to the video. Jack Gervais was co-authoring it with me. He was handling everything up to Speedrail and I was writing from Speedrail to the end. When we finished it in 2000 I tried pitching it to Kalmbach now that I had a book published. They turned it down. They were full of compliments about it being well written and all but felt it was too limited as a subject and would not sell the way a book on a more popular subject like the Milwaukee Road would. Gervais then contacted Larry Plachno. I did not want to deal with him as I’d heard a great deal of negative things about him from Bill Shapotkin. Well we did end up driving all the way to Polo, Illinois only to have Plachno open the binder, look at a few pages and go, “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk! I have a problem with you people already” HUH? “All this quoting. Don’t you know a good historian never quotes. He paraphrases.” I politely took the binder, shut it, said, “Thank you for your time, Mr. Plachno. That may be your philosophy for writing books but it isn’t mine!” In the intro to the new book I address that. I don’t believe in paraphrasing because that puts my interpretation on what was said. I quote and I let my readers decide how to interpret what was said. 

So in terms of a publisher I don’t have one and I’ve no idea of who I could give it to. I’m not looking to make money from this. The Maeder family designated me “Keeper of the Flame” where Speedrail is concerned. They entrusted what Jay left behind because they feel I would know best how to make use of it. I take that both as a compliment and a responsibility to preserve this history. That is my goal, here. Norm Carlson is a perfect example of someone who understands that. I have worked with him quite a few times and enjoyed it. He’s a professional and “First & Fastest” is the high quality publication it is because of his dedication. Browsing thru your site I see much the same thing, David. You obviously have a real feel for preserving this history and those are the type of people I like to work with. I really enjoy the Trolley Dodger site.

The Speedrail book was written as a way to promote TMER&THS Inc. I quit the group 14 years ago so this book has absolutely no connection to them or any other group. I am a member of Shore Line. Norm has been very gracious in publishing my articles. I’m also writing for “Landmark,” the publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society. My goal is to leave behind a historical record so that someday someone can come along and view this history. 

I saw your comment that maybe if things had been just a little different Speedrail might still be around today. Actually, David, sad to say, Speedrail was dead before it began. The following chapters from my book and  a page from a city of Milwaukee subcommittee in March, 1945 will show you what Milwaukee thought of the Rapid Transit. Once the city caught what I call “expressway fever” and they decided the Rapid Transit line west from downtown was the place for the East-West Freeway they stopped at nothing to get it. Maeder owned the track, overhead wire, cars and bridges but not the land on which those tracks sat. That remained Wisconsin Electric Power Co. property. Shaker Heights did not have that problem. Maeder wrongly assumed that Milwaukee would rally to support his efforts to save the Rapid Transit as happened in Shaker Heights. It was the Waukesha riders who rallied to support it. Milwaukee could’ve card less except for Mayor Zeidler, of course. More to follow soon.

The photo I sent you earlier today which shows a guy up on a stage addressing a crowd of people goes with the chapter”The First Public Pledge Meeting.” The date is 6-27-51. The place was Kuney’s dance hall in the Town of Calhoun. I think the man on stage is Edwin Knappe but am not sure. You’ll read about him and the Calhoun Farms Riders Group in the chapter about them. Kuney’s is still there today if you think I should put in a present day picture. There’s nothing special about it. Calhoun Farms was to the north and west of the Calhoun Road stop on the Waukesha line. There’s a historical marker which explains about it and the area of Calhoun which is east of Waukesha. It even mentions the Rapid Transit. I have pictures of that too.

One of the people you’ll see quoted in the Speedrail section fairly often is former Speedrail motorman Don Leistikow. I’d say that at least 50% of what I learned about Speedrail over the years came from Don. I’m attaching his famous “Skunk” story. I think you” get a laugh out of it. Don was quite a story teller. He passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 85 and is sorely missed.

While I never actually met Don L. Leistikow, I did correspond with him a bit, and I almost met him once.  I went out to East Troy onetime and took some pictures, and after I posted them to the web, someone identified him in one of the pictures.  What a nice man.

Larry:

NSL fans may be interested to know that after being vacant for the last 47 years the site of the North Shore’s Harrison St. shops at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave. (remember NSL called it “street” but Harrison is actually an avenue) is finally being redeveloped. Sadly, not for traction purposes. A private charter school whose name I can’t remember is building on the property all the way to where it dead-ends above the KK River and Cleveland Ave. and extending west on Harrison Ave. to the southeast corner of S. 6th St. It’s a huge, multi-story facility. Back in 2005 when I visited the site of the shops with Norm Carlson of the Shore Line interurban Historical Society and Walter Keevil of CERA I noticed that the city of Milwaukee had paved S. 5th St. from the point where the private right-of-way began on the south side of the street all the way to the fence and concrete barrier that mark where the NSL’s bridge over the river began. Let’s face it. Vacant lots do not generate property tax revenue. The dilapidated shops building stood until about 1970. I remember a Milwaukee Journal editorial cartoon and article in 1968 urging its demolition because it presented a bad image of Milwaukee to drivers coming in (northbound) on I-94 which sits below the east end of the property. The school is supposed to open for the fall 2018-2019 semester next year.

I’m sure most NSL fans don’t know this. After the 6th and Michigan station in downtown Milwaukee was razed in May or June of 1964 somebody came up with the ideas of building a tourist tower on the south end of the property at about the point where NSL trains entered and left the elevated platforms that were attached to the south end of the terminal. Here is an artists rendering of what it was going to look like from the Milwaukee Journal of 11-22-64. Of course it ever happened. What did happen was this. In the summer of 1965 the church whose denomination I have forgotten that was on the north side of Wisconsin Ave. between N. 10th & N. 11th Sts. was being forced to move. The entire block on both sides of the street was disappearing, literally. The I-43 freeway was and does cross beneath the “Avenue” at this point. So the church spent almost $2 million to buy the entire 4 square blocks where the NSL station had stood. That encompassed W. Michigan St. on the north. W. Clybourn St. on the south. N. 5th St. on the east and N. 6th St. on the west. The plan was to build the church and some sort of shopping area around it. I say the “plan” because that too never happened. I remember a wooden sign erected on the station site facing W. Michigan St. that said, “Future home of…” and it named the congregation. For the next 33 years the property sat vacant. Then in 1998 Time Insurance Co. which had been located on the corner of N. 5th St. and W. Wells St. downtown built their new corporate headquarters on the site. A check of the Milwaukee city directory shows the building there as of 1998. The Wells St. building was sold to make way for Milwaukee’s first downtown convention center which was called “MECCA – the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena.” It was judged as the boxiest and ugliest building ever built in Milwaukee and it too fell to the wrecking ball when the new, and very underused, downtown convention center was constructed along Wisconsin Ave. between N. 4th & N. 6th Sts. Why the church was never built and how Time Insurance acquired the property (sale, foreclosure??) is something I have been unable to find out. The congregation disappears from the Milwaukee city directory in 1966. Perhaps they moved to one of the suburbs or merged with another congregation. If any of the NSL fans know I’d be very interested in the details. Time Insurance has since been thru all kinds of mergers and the building now says Securant Insurance.

In the summer of 1971 I went to the site of Ryan Tower on the abandoned NSL r.o.w. I didn’t drive back then so it meant to very lengthy bus rides from my home on Milwaukee’s northwest side. and a long walk up Ryan Rd. from the end of the Rt. 66 bus line. I knew I was at the right spot when I got to the crossing with the C&NW’s new line. And that was the only way I knew. The NSL was gone with nary a trace. I had to walk a block or so north before I came across the abandoned NSL r.o.w. As I continued north there much to my surprise was the NSL’s Carrollville substation still standing 8 years after the abandonment. I took this picture of it on 8-17-71 using a Polaroid camera I’d gotten for Christmas the previous year. My ANSCO 8-shot box camera took better pictures than that Polaroid! And then you always had the chore of having to spread this smelly fixer on the photo to keep it from curling up. So please forgive the quality of the pictures.

Larry’s Human Interest Stories

I’ll be glad to write this. There are four of them, all involving people who had they been where they had planned to be might not have lived another day.

What I have found in the 52 years I have been studying and researching the Rapid Transit and Speedrail is that fate and coincidence seem to play a major role. For example, take how I got to know Jane Maeder Walsh, Jay’s daughter. In 1991 when the Speedrail book came out she had a daughter who was a student at Carroll College (now University) in Waukesha. Jane was living in Atlanta at the time but decided to come to Waukesha for a visit. While there she decided to go to the Waukesha Public Library and see what she could find out about “the railroad that my father owned.” At first, all the librarian was able to find was a folder containing a few newspaper clippings from the Waukesha Freeman, Waukesha’s daily newspaper. Then she remembered that the library had just received a new book about Speedrail. She gave it to Jane to browse through there since she obviously would not be able to borrow it.

A short time later, on a Saturday morning my phone rang. The lady on the other end asked if I was the person who wrote the Speedrail book. I said I was. She said, “My name is Jane Walsh. I know that name doesn’t mean anything to you until I tell you my maiden name. It is Maeder and Jay Maeder was my father.” I kind of held my breath for a second thinking the next thing I’d hear was that she didn’t like the things Tennyson said about her father and she was going to sue me. Quite to the contrary she wanted to know where she could go to buy copies of the book. I put her in touch with one of the local hobby shops that I knew was carrying it and she bought half a dozen copies for her family. I didn’t hear from her for quite a while after that until the day she and her brother discovered a box of material relating to Speedrail, long forgotten, left behind by her father. She said that she and her brother had no interest in it and asked if I would want it? Are you kidding? Over the course of the next few years they found other boxes of things. She e-mailed Jay Jr. and asked if he wanted it. He replied, “Are we still in touch with that Sakar guy?” Jane said she had talked to me about it and I’d said I wanted it if her brother didn’t. Jay Jr. then replied, “Let’s face it… neither you nor I will ever make anything out of this stuff. I say, let’s make him keeper of the flame. Larry will know what to do with it.” That was a great honor that they had confidence that I could make use of the material.

We still keep in touch by e-mail from time to time. My friend and colleague Chris Barney and I paid to have copies made of that picture of her father walking alongside car 60 flagging it on the inaugural Speedrail fan trip of 10-16-49. We sent them to her and she was thrilled. It’s the only picture she has of her father with “his railroad.”

You might remember that on the 9-2-50 the motorman of the 1192-93 heavy duplex that collided with Maeder’s train (39-40) was LeRoy Equitz. In the fall of 1971, I got a job as a student library aide at the main library in downtown Milwaukee. One night I was sitting in the lunchroom on break with a brother and sister who also worked there. Terry, the brother struck up a conversation with me. “We hear you like trains.” I said, “Well yes. I do like trains but my main interest is streetcars and interurbans.” They had no clue as to what either of those were. Terry said, “Our uncle was a train engineer.” I said, Oh really, where?” He said, “Right here in Milwaukee.” I asked which railroad he worked for, thinking it had to be either the Milwaukee Road or the C&NW. Terry said neither one sounded like the one their uncle had mentioned. I asked when he worked as an engineer and he said, “In the ’50’s.” Then he continued. “Our uncle was involved in an accident and ended up losing a foot because of it.” Suddenly, my curiosity was on high, so to speak.” So I said, “This accident. Could it have been in 1950 itself?” Terry said, “Come to think of it, yes. He did say 1950.” So I continued, “And this accident, could it possibly have been on Labor Day weekend in 1950?” BINGO! He said that it was. That’s when I said, “Don’t tell me your uncle’s name. Let me guess it. Is it LeRoy Equitz?” The brother and sister sat there for a second in amazement. “Yes. How on earth did you know that?” Of course I explained about Speedrail and told them which newspaper and dates to look at if they wanted more information. As I recall, LeRoy was still living but he had moved away some years earlier. I don’t recall to where so I never had an opportunity to talk to him.

You ask yourself what were the odds that I’d end up working with the niece and nephew of LeRoy Equitz. And I have found that to be the case so often in this hobby. So call it fate, destiny, coincidence. There are times when you can’t help but feel this was meant to be.

Thanks for taking the time to write this and your other reminiscences. I’d like to share these with my readers.

Naturally, I won’t use any of the material you sent me from your upcoming book, but is there anything else that you would not want me to run in my blog?

Larry:

Please feel free to use any of the material I’ve sent you for the Trolley Dodger. Anything and everything I write is for the enjoyment and/or information of others. What’s the point of keeping what I’ve learned over the years to myself? That benefits no one!

I saw the piece in The Trolley Dodger on the late Maury Klebolt. From 1983 to 1987 I went out to SFO every September for the Historic Market Street streetcar festival. I used to see Maury at the Market and Duboce storage facility below the former San Francisco mint. He was very involved with that Market Street Railway group. I seem to recall that he acquired a couple of streetcars for them. I wasn’t acquainted with him but had stories about his fan trips from the late Jack Gervais who apparently knew him. Bill Shapotkin also told me some stories about him.

By the way I kind of chuckle every time I see a Joe L. Diaz photo of a CSL “Sedan”. My good friend Dave Stanley knew Joe very well, along with a number of other well-known Chicago fans like the late Bob Gibson. I met both Dave and Bill Shapotkin in 1986. Both Dave and Bill told me Joe would have a fit when someone called those cars “Sedans.” It would provoke an “Ooh, they weren’t called that” response. I knew him by sight but I didn’t actually know him as such. I remember seeing him at CERA meetings in the back of the room selling books. That was back in the days when CERA met at the old Midland Hotel. I believe that’s now called the Blackhawk Hotel. I was a CERA member in the ’90’s but didn’t keep up my membership. Going to meetings meant having to drive to either Kenosha and take METRA which also meant leaving the meeting early to catch the 9:00pm train back to Kenosha and then an 11:00pm one hour drive back to Milwaukee. I never cared for night driving. Then in 2009 I lost all of the sight in my left eye as a result of diabetic retinopathy, which I didn’t know I had until it was too late. Since then I have been advised not to drive at night or on the highway or expressway. I no longer have the necessary depth perception and bright light, especially headlights coming at me blind me. Amtrak experimented with a late night (first 11:00pm then changed to 10:30pm) train to Milwaukee but they never promoted it so the ridership never materialized. Now the last train to Milwaukee leaves Chicago at 8:45pm.

I knew a lot of really nice guys in Chicago all of whom I have not seen nor spoken with in at least 15 years. Bruce Moffat and Ray DeGroote are two who come to mind. I always called Ray the Rick Steeves of the traction world. In any Ray DeGroote program you could always count on a money lesson, a geography lesson and a culture lesson. When I was the program director for TMER&THS from 1989 to 1995, I used to refer to Ray as “our world traveler”. The last time I saw Bruce was on a CERA fan trip on METRA Electric in the ’90’s. Bill Shapotkin was the trip director. At the first photo stop GK wanted a photo with the other car host and myself. Bruce took the picture but to this day I’ve never seen it.

I haven’t seen all of the issues of The Trolley Dodger but here are some Milwaukee streetcar photos from my collection that I think readers might enjoy.

Every now and then you get a photo that really has you stumped trying to figure out where it was taken. That’s what happened with this photo given to me by Bob Genack. I saw the RT 35 Route sign and stupidly assumed this had to be somewhere on the 35th Street route. But what really threw me a curve was the “35th St.” sign in the destination sign box below the big roof Route sign. If this was a northbound car it should have said “Burleigh,” and if southbound “St. Paul”. After puzzling over it I looked it over with a magnifying glass to see if I could detect any business names. And there in the left background was the solution. This is a time exposure so it’s a “ghosted” image. But if you look closely you will see a TM heavy duplex. OK. Now I see what this was all about. This is a TM posed, company photo. The 943 isn’t on 35th St. It’s on Michigan Street. You can’t see it but the Public Service Building is just out of the right hand side of the picture. The duplex is inbound from Sheboygan on N. 3rd St. It will turn left onto Michigan St. go one block east and then turn right onto N. 2nd St. to enter the PSB terminal. Those aren’t passengers standing waiting for the streetcar. They are TM company employees posing for the picture. The 943 looks brand new so I’m thinking this was taken in about 1928 or 1929. OK TM, you fooled me.

Streetcar advertising was a frequent occurrence on TM. But unlike the buses of today where the advertising is put on mylar sheets and then attached to the bus with a heat gun, and it is simply peeled off when the time is up, in streetcar days the car was actually repainted. Here’s one of the all-time classic examples of a repainted Milwaukee streetcar that is from the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. days. M&STC bought TMER&T at the end of 1952 and took over operation of the system on Jan. 1, 1953. They continued to use “The Transport Company” as their shortened name. M&STC lasted until July, 1975 when Milwaukee finally municipalized its transit system when M&STC was purchased by Milwaukee County. That is when the present-day Milwaukee County Transit System was born. But the “Transport Company” name had become so ingrained in the minds of Milwaukeeans that many continued to call it “The Transport Company” for quite some time after the county took over. Now everyone refers to it as MCTS.

Anyway, in 1955, car 943 was chosen to be repainted with a “safety message” from the Milwaukee Safety Commission. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the car advertising safety was involved in an accident downtown at 4th and Wells Streets in a collision with a city garbage truck? I guess the car didn’t heed its own message! The close-up b&w shot was taken at the Farwell Ave. terminal where Rt. 10 streetcars and Rt. 21-North Ave. trolleybuses laid over. The trolley bus service on Rt. 21 North Ave. lasted until 1961 or 1962 when it was converted to diesel bus operation using the new 1500 series GM new look fishbowl buses M&STC had purchased for that purpose. A portion of Rt. 10 east of Jackson & Wells Sts. downtown was eventually abandoned and most of the route from Jackson & Wells Strees east covered by Rt. 30 Sherman Blvd. buses.

Next up are 2 beautiful color photos of 943 in its “safety commission” paint job taken by Don Ross (Don’s Rail Photos. In the close-up shot, the car is on a fan trip at S. 81st St. and W. Greenfield Ave. which was Route 18-National Ave. That line ended at S. 92nd St. & W. Lapham Ave. Before West Junction was rebuilt Rt. 10 cars ran all the way out there via the private right-of-way which continued all the way out there. Prior to the construction of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 1925 & 1930, interurbans also used that r.o.w. Today the r.o.w. is still there going west from 92nd & Lapham and is used by We Energies vehicles to get to West Jct. so that the power lines can be serviced. In the second, more distant photo 943 is crossing W. Wisconsin Ave. on the p.r.o.w. that paralleled N. 52nd St. from Wells to the entrance to the Calvary Cemetery cut, later the stop for Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953 to 1957. Streetcars were gone by the opening of the baseball season in 1958.

The TM 900-series streetcars were an updated version of the 800-series built in 1920. The earliest 900’s were identical to the 800’s in all respects except one. The center motorman’s window on an 800 is narrower than on a 900. Other than that there was little if any difference. But by the time the group of cars from 976 seen here at Cold Spring shops to 985 were built, the interiors now had leather seats vs. rattan for all previous cars, and this group of 10 was unique in that they had that sort of visor/sun shield over the center window. One car in this group survives today. Car 978 was saved by former Milwaukeean Al Buetschle on behalf of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. They wanted a streetcar for outdoor display in Hart Park which is just to the east of the Wauwatosa end of the No. 10 line at Harwood Ave. and State Streets. Al loved the cars with the front visor and that is why he chose the 978. The car is now the property of the East Troy Electric RR and is currently undergoing an extensive rehabilitation. There is a very involved history of how the car was acquired and what happened to it over the years which I wrote for a fan publication in 1998. Al now lives in Oakley, Ca. a city in Contra Costa, County 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

As I mentioned the 800’s had a narrower center window than the 900’s. You can see that in this photo of car 870 at the end of Rt. 40 at Kinnickinnic & St. Francis Aves. in St. Francis. The area doesn’t look much different today save for the absence of the streetcar. St. Francis is a suburb of Milwaukee on the southeast side.

Here’s a second shot of an 800 seen at the end of Rt. 11 at Howell & Howard Aves. probably in the 1950’s. Rt. 11 was converted to bus operation in 1956 and was Milwaukee’s second to last streetcar line.

At the start I mentioned “mystery” photos, and to close out here is one such example. I know where this is and I think this is probably in the 20’s or 30’s. What I can’t figure out is what a 600 series car (at least that’s what it looks like with that roof destination sign in the middle) is doing on Rt. 12 – 12th St. or why the destination sign says Center. Center is Center St. which was home to the Rt. 22 streetcar line. Rts. 21 & 22 were some of the earliest conversions from streetcar to trackless trolley. I question the destination because Rt. 12 cars usually operated all the way to 27th & Hopkins Streets. In the late 1920’s a transfer station was constructed here. It was a smaller version of the one at Farwell & North Aves. When Rt. 12 was converted to diesel bus operation the building was torn down and became a parking lot for the nearby A.O. Smith Corp. At last report the streetcar tracks are still in the pavement.

Thanks so much for this and your other recent messages. You have given me plenty of material to work with here. I am sure our readers, especially those in the Milwaukee area, will love reading this.

Who knows, it might even help you find a publisher!

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.  The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

Book Review:

The Street Railways of Grand Rapids
By Carl Bajema and Tom Maas
Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association*
Hardcover with dust jacket, 304 pages

The authors present a fascinating and very thorough account of street railway service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, covering the years up to 1935, when the system was abandoned in favor of buses. There was quite a variety of service in the area, including horse cars, cable cars, steam dummies, streetcars of various types, and interurbans connecting to other cities such as Holland. The authors coverall these ably and thoroughly.

This book has just been issued in a very limited edition, and chances are it will not be reprinted once the first edition has sold out, which I am sure it will. CERA Bulletins have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and this book does not disappoint.

Having had a few discussions about this book with Mr. Bajema myself, when it was in its early stages, I can attest that it presented a considerable challenge. After all, Grand Rapids streetcar service ended in 1935, and anyone old enough to have ridden one, and remember it, would be close to 90 years old by now.

Color photography was still in its infancy in 1935. Fortunately, there are ways to add color to such a book, including color postcards, yellowed newspaper clippings, and maps. All these are present in abundance.

Another challenge is the lack of corporate records for the operator. And then, there is the matter of a roster, which is pretty much de rigueur for a book such as this.

Complicating matters, the Grand Rapids system used names for their cars instead of numbers, which makes it very difficult to put forward a complete roster.

The names of all such cars as of 1927 are given. Interestingly, though, the one Grand Rapids photo we have posted on this blog is not included in the book. It shows the F. W. Wurtzburg, named after a local department store. Since this photo probably dates to the 1930s, perhaps the name was applied after 1927.

This book should interest anyone who likes streetcars in general, or lives in Michigan in particular. It is available from the publisher. At 304 pages, it is also somewhat larger than the typical 224-page CERA length.

The general approach the authors have taken here could also be applied to other subjects of a similar vintage, such as the Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria, an Illinois interurban which quit in 1934.

It is somewhat ironic that Grand Rapids was at the forefront of innovation in the 1920s, but just a decade later, was also among the first cities of its size to completely replace streetcars with buses.  But there is a connection– the need to innovate was born out of necessity.

Read the book, and you’ll find out why.

-David Sadowski

The "F. W. Wurtzburg," built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

The “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

*Please note that The Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

Product Review

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

Tracing Light box Dbmier A4S USB Powered Light Pad Artcraft Tracing LED Light Board for Drawing, Tracing, Sketching, Animation Active Area 8.27″ X 12.20″

Here is a new product that should interest anyone who works with photographic negatives or transparencies. It is a modern version of a lightbox, using LED technology. It is powered by a USB cord that can connect to a computer. I expect you can get an adapter that will allow you to use AC power. Otherwise, you would be limited to using it in the vicinity of your computer.

In years past, there have been various lightboxes on the market. Some had conventional light bulbs, and others used florescent lighting. All were somewhat problematic and all were also bulkier than this ultra-thin model, which has three levels of brightness and puts out white light (which many of the older lightboxes did not).

The old type lightboxes also put out a lot of heat, which this one does not.  It’s a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem, but better late than never!

It is available for a very attractive price. I highly recommend it, and gain nothing financially if anyone does buy one. I only wish a product like this had been available 30 years ago.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

Bruce Fastow writes:

Perhaps you can guide me. I own a Johnson fare box similar to the one attached. Can you tell me how I can take the top off so I can clean out the hopper? My kids put paper in the unit.

 

Chances are, one of our readers knows the answer and can help, thanks.

Pre-Order Our New Book 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.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 221 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 189th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 305,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

Remembering Truman Hefner (1926-2017)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Stewart Odell writes:

I’m hoping you can help clarify something for me.  A dear family friend of many years passed this weekend in OKC. In searching his official obit I have come across a reference to him in your August 2015 blog. Truman Hefner was from Cook County and lived with his family for many years in OKC, where I met him.

I’m trying to determine how he might have come to be mentioned in your column. The coincidence of 1) his birthplace- 2) His name and- 3) the fact that he was a miniature railroad enthusiast to the point where he built a miniature railroad in his back yard for his children and the neighborhood kids to enjoy, is uncanny to me. It only follows that he might have also been an amateur photographer.

Truman also traveled the state of Oklahoma (and probably the country) pursuing his enthusiasm for both miniature and full-size rail systems and their history.

Have you any idea how the lone reference on your site may have come to be? Not a show-stopper, just sentimental, and interested. Meanwhile, I’ve discovered your amazing site.

Thanks for writing. I am very sorry to hear that Truman Hefner has passed away.

I knew him as one of the very best railfan photographers, whose work has been widely distributed, including any number of books. When I was involved with putting together Central Electric Railfans’ Association bulletin 146, we used several of his color images of Chicago PCC streetcars.

I spoke to him on the phone several times, and he was always very cheerful, upbeat, enthusiastic, and generous.

In September 2014, when CERA held an event called the Chicago Streetcar Pictorial Round Table, we invited him to attend. He bought a plane ticket, but unfortunately there was some sort of computer problem at O’Hare that day that prevented flights from arriving or departing.

Still, he did participate in the meeting by telephone. At the time, he was about 88 or 89 years old.

He told me that he only took railfan photos for a few years, and described his camera to me. It was made in Germany and had an excellent quality lens. He still had the camera, but said it was no longer working.

I would imagine he was excited about the prospect of streetcars returning to Oklahoma City.

My sincere condolences go out to his family.

He’s mentioned in four of my blog posts.
The one titled CA&E Mystery Photos Answers – Part 1 has an image of his in it, taken from an original slide in my collection. The very first picture in the post titled The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence” is Mr. Hefner’s.

He is also mentioned in a few posts on the blog I did before this one. That was in connection to the Chicago Streetcar Pictorial Round Table. For that event, I designed a poster that featured a photo of Mr. Hefner’s. It shows a Chicago PCC at the Museum Loop near Soldier Field, and was taken on April 26, 1951, the day that Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke to a large crowd there.

From his Legacy remembrance page:

Truman Dale Hefner

October 24, 1926 – May 21, 2017

Truman passed away at his home in Oklahoma City. He was born in Lexington, Illinois to parents, Guy and Ferne Hefner. Most of his early life was in Berwyn, Illinois, where after graduating high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Air Force. He was called into the service in 1945, and was discharged at the end of the war. Truman continued his military service with the Air Force Reserves and reached the rank of first lieutenant. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and went on to work for Motorola and Eureka Williams before transferring to Oklahoma City in 1958 to work for Western Electric where he remained until his retirement in 1989.

Truman’s lifelong interest in trains sparked his other interest of photography. He loved to travel with family and friends, always taking pictures and movies of their journeys. The 1/8 scale model train hobby was his true passion. He enjoyed traveling near and far visiting many club and friend’s tracks. He was one of the founding members of the Locomotive Operators of Central Oklahoma, a member of the Oklahoma Railroad Museum and many more railroad clubs over the years. Truman and his partner, Jim Murray, started a business, Cannonball, to supply hobbyists with railroad equipment.

Truman is survived by his wife of 69 years, Vera (Hoch) Hefner; daughters Trudy Hefner, Nancy and Herb Conley, Susan Carey and Marshall Lee, Barbara and Philo Hatch; daughter-in-law Ellyn Novak Hefner; 9 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Anna Mae Meyer and his only son Jimmy Hefner.

Truman Hefner took many great pictures with a German Karomat camera similar to this one, which has a high-quality Schneider lens.

Truman Hefner took many great pictures with a German Karomat camera similar to this one, which has a high-quality Schneider lens.

CA&E 453 in a winter scene. Here, we are looking east from Halsted. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CA&E 453 in a winter scene. Here, we are looking east from Halsted. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 586 at Milwaukee and Canal on route 56 in October 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 586 at Milwaukee and Canal on route 56 in October 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This was perhaps Truman Hefner's best-known photograph. Please note, the Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans' Association.

This was perhaps Truman Hefner’s best-known photograph. Please note, the Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

I found two videos showing Mr. Hefner and his miniature railroad train.

Over the Years at Mexican Hat (the C&IG RR from April 1986 to May 2009) by Truman Hefner

Over the Years at Zuni by Truman Hefner

He will be missed by everyone in the railfan community.

Genevieve Heydt writes:

Dear Trolley Dodger,
While working on a group history project with some friends, I stumbled upon your website while tracking some train cars from the AE&FRE line that was shut down during the Great Depression and had some questions regarding some of these lines and what was going on with them in certain periods because I struggled to find answers myself online. I noticed a trend of cars being sold from CI/SHRT to Speedrail in 1950 to Speedrail and then being scrapped in 1952. Regarding these trends, I was wondering if you had any information or speculations around these events.

If you could, a response between now and Thursday night would be appreciated because we present on Friday and I would love to learn more before we present.

Thank you,
Genevieve Heydt
Sophomore of the Gifted Academy in Elgin Highschool

Thank you for writing.

To answer your question, it helps to know the history of the various properties involved.

The AE&FRE halted passenger service in 1935, so all their rolling stock would have been put up for sale. Lighweight interurban cars 300-304 and 306 (not sure what happened to 305, perhaps it was involved in a wreck or used for parts) were sold to the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line, which still exists in Cleveland.

These fine cars (built by St. Louis Car Co.) were just over 10 years old at the time and were well suited for use on the SHRT, which was by then completely grade-separated and did not run in traffic on city streets at all.

SHRT also bought a half-dozen lightweight interurban cars of another type, known as “Cincinnati curved-side cars.” These were built by the Cincinnati Car Co. in 1928-29 and were a popular style, used by many properties across the country.

Between 1947 and 1953, SHRT modernized its fleet by purchasing PCC streetcars, which had become the industry standard. Some were bought new, and others second-hand.

Having newer equipment meant they no longer needed some of these older cars, which were put up for sale. By this time, streetcars and interurbans were getting to be fewer and fewer, and the market for such vehicles was shrinking.

The last new PCC car was built in 1952. It was nearly 25 years before another new American streetcar was built.

Meanwhile, in the Milwaukee area, the once mighty Milwaukee Electric interurban was in decline. Parts were abandoned and replaced by buses. By 1949, the last remaining segment, running from Milwaukee to Waukesha, was sold to Jay Maeder, who renamed it Speedrail.

As much as possible, he wanted to replace their heavyweight equipment with lighter cars that would use less electricity. Speedrail bought several of the Cincinnati curved-side cars from SHRT, and a couple from Lehigh Valley Transit.

These were refurbished and continued in use until 1951, when Speedrail shut down in the aftermath of a horrific head-on collision in which several people were killed. A heavy car struck a lighter one on a fantrip, with Jay Maeder at the controls.

The Speedrail cars were put up for sale, but there were no buyers and all were cut up for scrap in 1952.

In 1954, SHRT sold six cars (300-304, 306) to Gerald E. Brookins, a developer who had built a trailer park in the Cleveland suburbs. He built a streetcar line in this development to take people back and forth from their trailers to his general store.

This development was called Trolleyville, USA and continued in use for many years. The first car ran in 1963.

You could consider this something akin to an operating museum for trolleys.

After Mr. Brookins died, his family kept Trolleyville going for some time, but eventually decided to sell the trailer park. There was an attempt to create a museum operation that would run on the SHRT, and some of the Trolleyville cars did actually operate there briefly, but ultimately the plans came to naught and all their collection was sold to various trolley museums at an auction.

Fortunately, AE&FRE car 304 was purchased by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, so it now operates on a small portion of its original tracks.

I have posted pictures of AE&FRE equipment on my blog, including passenger cars in service, and electric freight operations in South Elgin after 1935.

I hope this helps.

Good luck with your presentation.

PS- One of my posts has several pictures from Trolleyville USA.

Jack Bejna has shared more of his wonderful restoration work with us. This time, the pictures feature Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. in 1902.

From Don’s Rail Photos:

Niles Cars 10 thru 28 even

These 10 motor cars were built by Niles Car & Mfg Co. in 1902 and were part of the original stock. 10 was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped. 12 was modernized in April 1940 and retired in 1955. 14 was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1955. 16 was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1959. 18 was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955. 20 is preserved at the R.E.L.I.C. museum at South Elgin. 22 was wrecked on October 12, 1911, at Waller Avenue, and scrapped. 24 was modernized in July 1943 and retired in 1959. 26 was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959. 28 was modernized at an unknown date and retired in 1959.

10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped.

CA&E Car 10 and trailer 5, CERA fantrip #12, August 6, 1939.

CA&E Car 10 and trailer 5, CERA fantrip #12, August 6, 1939.

CA&E Car 12.

CA&E Car 12.

CA&E Car 14.

CA&E Car 14.

CA&E Car 16.

CA&E Car 16.

CA&E Car 18.

CA&E Car 18.

CA&E Car 20.

CA&E Car 20.

CA&E Car 24.

CA&E Car 24.

CA&E Car 26.

CA&E Car 26.

CA&E Car 28 west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E Car 28 west of DesPlaines Avenue.

Joe Kaczynski writes:

Hello David,

I was going thru some things and found the attached photo that I had gotten on E-Bay several years ago. It’s the West Town neighborhood where I grew up. I was born in ’57 and sadly missed the streetcar era. But fondly recall the Marmon-Herrington trolley buses that ran in their place until 1967.

In all probability the photo was taken from the Chicago Ave. El platform on the old Logan Square Line. It’s a westbound streetcar on Route #66 Chicago Ave., just having crossed Paulina St.

On the rear of the photo is written:

“CTA 3165
Chicago-Paulina
8-27-50
T.H. Desnoyers”

I don’t recall ever seeing this photo on your website.

Thanks! Thomas H. Desnoyers (1928-1977) took many great photographs, but unfortunately died before his time.

CTA 3165 at Chicago and Paulina, August 27, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

CTA 3165 at Chicago and Paulina, August 27, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

On a personal note, since this is Memorial Day, I thought I would share a blog post written about my uncle, Frank Sadowski, Jr. (1921-1945). The “Bobbie” mentioned there is my father, Edmund Robert Sadowski (1924-1996). Both served their country during World War II. My aunt Margaret (1922-2004), who drove an ambulance during the war, is also mentioned.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. The expected publication date is September 25th of this year. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 183rd post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 288,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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The Roebuck Stops Here

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That's Sears at left. The 'L' station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash 'L' station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That’s Sears at left. The ‘L’ station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

From guest contributor Eric Bronsky:

Sears has been in the news lately. The onetime catalog/mail order champion is fading fast. I was never a fan of Sears, but I was curious to see what this company has brought to the table over the years. One thing led to another and I ended up writing a piece about Sears’ State Street stores (that’s right, there were two Sears flagships in downtown Chicago). I illustrated it with my own photography plus some great historic images from my collection (including the monorail ride in Sears’ toy department).

The file ended up being too big to send as an email attachment, so I posted it online. To view, click on this link:

The Roebuck Stops Here

As a bonus, here are then-and-now photos of Congress Street.

Here's the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash 'L' station was razed during the '50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the 'L' visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Here’s the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station was razed during the ’50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the ‘L’ visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Several major department stores along State Street once had direct connections to ‘L’ stations on Wabash and subway stations along State. The first downtown Sears established a direct basement-level entrance to the Van Buren & Congress mezzanine of the Jackson & State station in 1943. When that store closed, this station entrance also closed. The basement arcade of the building at 22 W. Madison / 2 N. State (the Boston Store until 1948) had a subway entrance, but the new Sears store never used that entrance and it remained sealed. Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) connection to the State St. subway is the last remaining department store entrance.

Of course, you are welcome to share this with others! You may also print out The Roebuck Stops Here or download it to save on your computer.

— Eric

Selected FSA/OWI Photos, 1935-45

The Library of Congress has uploaded a great many photos taken between 1935 and 1945 by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. You can search through their collections here.

We have selected some Chicago-area photos from this archive to share with you. These are mainly the ones that are, in some fashion, transportation related, although I have also included a few that aren’t. I hope that you will enjoy them.

There is not a lot of information provided with each photo, but our readers should be able to figure out most of the locations without too much difficulty. I think the picture showing sidewalks in an area where there aren’t any houses yet may be Westchester, where development started in the late 1920s and was delayed until after the end of World War II by the Great Depression.

The pictures of the “L” are from the south side. You should have no difficulty recognizing the Maxwell Street market, the Stockyards, etc. etc. The train station pictures are from Union Station. One photo shows the Illinois Central electric suburban commuter service, today’s Metra Electric.

I only found a few streetcar pictures in the archive. It may not be possible to determine where some were taken due to the fog.

-David Sadowski

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Finally, here are a few from Milwaukee, circa WWII. I believe these may show the old Milwaukee Electric interurban right-of-way going west of the city, which was known as the “Rapid Transit” line. Portions of this are now taken up by an expressway.

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 121st post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 127,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


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


Traction in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Electric 1121 crosses the Chicago and North Western on a 1949 fantrip over the North Shore Line. It even has a Skokie Valley Route sign on it.

Milwaukee Electric 1121 crosses the Chicago and North Western on a 1949 fantrip over the North Shore Line. It even has a Skokie Valley Route sign on it.

Our last post featured the Kenosha streetcar, which has been running now for 15 years. Milwaukee is planning a streetcar line of its own, and may begin construction next spring.

Today, we pay tribute to this rich traction history with a selection of classic photos showing Milwaukee streetcars and interurbans. Much of the information we are sharing about these railcars comes from Don’s Rail Photos, an excellent online archive. Don Ross has been collecting photos since 1946 and if you have not yet checked out his web site, I hope you will do so.

Milwaukee once had an interurban system, part of which was called a “rapid transit” line. The last vestige of this once-great system was called Speedrail.

Speedrail was a valiant effort to keep service going on a shoestring, in an era before government funding for transit. Unfortunately, there was a horrific accident on September 2, 1950 that led directly to the end of the interurban on June 30, 1951. That this crash was involved a train full of railfans, many of whom had come to Milwaukee from out of town to attend a convention, made things even more tragic. Jay Maeder, head of Speedrail, was at the controls of one of the two trains, which hit head-on on a blind curve. The exact cause of the accident was never determined. You can read more about it here.

Milwaukee’s last streetcar ran in 1958. If you would like to hear the sounds of Milwaukee streetcars in action, you may be interested in our compact disc of Railroad Record Club LPs #35 and 36, which you can find in our Online Store.

This Hi-Fi recording, made in the 1950s, has been digitally remastered and sounds great. It is paired with additional vintage recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, plus the Chicago Transit Authority’s Garfield Park “L”.

When the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, then located in North Chicago, purchased a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin railcar after the “Roarin’ Elgin” was abandoned, the suggestion was made to use a CA&E car on a North Shore Line fantrip. And although an inspection showed that the CA&E car was, most likely, in better shape than some of the CNS&M’s existing rolling stock, IERM was unable to get permission to use the car, and this historic opportunity was lost.

However, about a dozen years before this, a similar sort of trip was run, when Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1121 ran on a fantrip over North Shore Line trackage. We are pleased to offer three photos from that trip in this post.

According to the book Kenosha on the Go, by the Kenosha Streetcar Society, page 79, this fantrip took place on Sunday, December 4, 1949, with North Shore motorman Howard A. Odinius at the controls. It had been 27 months since the abandonment of the MRK (Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha) interurban line of KMCL (Kenosha Motor Coach Lines), which ran to downtown Kenosha. (Speedrail ran service to Waukesha.)

You can read Don Ross’ account of the fantrip here.

After Milwaukee lost its streetcars, the era of traction continued there until the North Shore Line quit in 1963, and the last Milwaukee trolley bus ran in 1965. Now, the Illinois Railway Museum has a variety of Milwaukee equipment in its extensive collections.

Let’s hope events in Milwaukee are gaining traction, and not losing it.

-Ye Olde Editor

PS- Here’s a video showing Milwaukee’s route 10 streetcar in 1957:

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950."

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950.”

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 alongside an Electroliner (probably 803-804) at the Kenosha station. This was a 1949 fantrip where a TMER&T car was operated on part of the North Shore Line.

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 alongside an Electroliner (probably 803-804) at the Kenosha station. This was a 1949 fantrip where a TMER&T car was operated on part of the North Shore Line.

Don's Rail Photos says, "1182-1183 was rebuilt from an I&C (Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co.) car in 1929 and scrapped in 1952." The car is shown at the North Side station in Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “1182-1183 was rebuilt from an I&C (Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co.) car in 1929 and scrapped in 1952.” The car is shown at the North Side station in Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don's Rail Photos says, "1196-1197 was built at Cold Spring in 1929. The second car was equipped with small dining facilities but it was shortly rebuilt with a baggage compartment at the rear end. It was stored at West Allis Station after a few years. In 1942 it was rebuilt with all coach and scrapped in 1952." This car is shown in downtown Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “1196-1197 was built at Cold Spring in 1929. The second car was equipped with small dining facilities but it was shortly rebuilt with a baggage compartment at the rear end. It was stored at West Allis Station after a few years. In 1942 it was rebuilt with all coach and scrapped in 1952.” This car is shown in downtown Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Speedrail cars 300 and 65, both signed for Hales Corners. According to Don's Rail Photos, "300 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1308. In 1936 it was sold to Cleveland Interurban RR as 300. CI became Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1944. It was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail in May 1950 as 300. It was scrapped in 1952." Car 65 at right is a "curved side" car built by the Cincinnati Car Company. It also came by way of Shaker Heights.

Speedrail cars 300 and 65, both signed for Hales Corners. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “300 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1308. In 1936 it was sold to Cleveland Interurban RR as 300. CI became Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1944. It was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail in May 1950 as 300. It was scrapped in 1952.” Car 65 at right is a “curved side” car built by the Cincinnati Car Company. It also came by way of Shaker Heights.

Speedrail car 66, shown here on the Waukesha loop, was a Cincinnati "curved-side" car. It had formerly been used by both Lehigh Valley Transit and the Dayton and Troy. This car, after having been refurbished for Speedrail, was only in service for a short period of time before the line quit in 1951.

Speedrail car 66, shown here on the Waukesha loop, was a Cincinnati “curved-side” car. It had formerly been used by both Lehigh Valley Transit and the Dayton and Troy. This car, after having been refurbished for Speedrail, was only in service for a short period of time before the line quit in 1951.

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

Here is a video about the Speedrail wreck:

Milwaukee city streetcar 570 on route 15. Don's Rail Photos adds, "570 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1931."

Milwaukee city streetcar 570 on route 15. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “570 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1931.”

The caption to this photo reads, "City car - Milwaukee. Last 2-man car pulling into station on last run in West Allis." Charles Kronenwetter adds, "Car 638 appears to be coming Northbound on 84th St approaching the National Ave intersection." Don's Rail Photos: "638 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928."

The caption to this photo reads, “City car – Milwaukee. Last 2-man car pulling into station on last run in West Allis.” Charles Kronenwetter adds, “Car 638 appears to be coming Northbound on 84th St approaching the National Ave intersection.” Don’s Rail Photos: “638 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928.”

Don's Rail Photos says, "589 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was rebuilt in 1927." This car is shown at the end of one of the Milwaukee city streetcar lines in West Allis. Charles Kronoenwetter says, "589 is coming off the short section of private right-of-way which ran between Mitchell St. and Becher St. onto Becher St."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “589 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was rebuilt in 1927.” This car is shown at the end of one of the Milwaukee city streetcar lines in West Allis. Charles Kronoenwetter says, “589 is coming off the short section of private right-of-way which ran between Mitchell St. and Becher St. onto Becher St.”

Milwaukee city car 556 on Becher St. in West Allis. Don's Rail Photos adds, "556 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1928."

Milwaukee city car 556 on Becher St. in West Allis. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “556 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1928.”

Railroad Record Club LP #35 features Hi-fi audio recordings of Milwaukee streetcars in the 1950s. We have digitized this and many other recordings, which you can find in our Online Store.

Railroad Record Club LP #35 features Hi-fi audio recordings of Milwaukee streetcars in the 1950s. We have digitized this and many other recordings, which you can find in our Online Store.

Updates

FYI, we’ve added another picture to a previous post, More Hoosier Traction:

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 78th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part One

Electroliner set 803-804 departs Kenosha in January 1963, shortly before the end of service.

Electroliner set 803-804 departs Kenosha in January 1963, shortly before the end of service.

Our very first post (January 21st) featured the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee railroad, and it is high time for another look at that storied interurban.

Last month was the 60th anniversary of the abandonment of the Shore Line portion of the North Shore Line system, but since we showcased the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in several posts last month, we did not have the opportunity to commemorate that. In the first of two posts, we offer a potpourri of classic North Shore Line scenes for your enjoyment.

CNS&M line car 606 at Kelly Siding on July 14, 1959. The colors on this slide have been digitally restored, after having been shifted to red. The original slide must have been one of the early Ektachromes or Agfachromes that turned out not to have stable dyes.

CNS&M line car 606 at Kelly Siding on July 14, 1959. The colors on this slide have been digitally restored, after having been shifted to red. The original slide must have been one of the early Ektachromes or Agfachromes that turned out not to have stable dyes.

CNS&M 159, 169, and 175 heading southbound from Milwaukee at the Racine Quarry siding on April 19, 1959. Fans today sometimes refer to these as "Greenliners."

CNS&M 159, 169, and 175 heading southbound from Milwaukee at the Racine Quarry siding on April 19, 1959. Fans today sometimes refer to these as “Greenliners.”

NSL 711 passing a CTA gate car at Jarvis looking south in the 1950s, headed for the Mundelein branch.

NSL 711 passing a CTA gate car at Jarvis looking south in the 1950s, headed for the Mundelein branch.

A snowy Skokie Valley Route photo run-by during a North Shore Line fantrip on February 21, 1960.

A snowy Skokie Valley Route photo run-by during a North Shore Line fantrip on February 21, 1960.

NSL 167 is at the tail end of a northbound two-car train approaching the CTA Sheridan Road station on July 6, 1955. This was a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route during its final weeks of service.

NSL 167 is at the tail end of a northbound two-car train approaching the CTA Sheridan Road station on July 6, 1955. This was a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route during its final weeks of service.

A single car NSL Chicago Limited crosses the Chicago River heading south on Chicago’s “L” system.

CNS&M 182 heads up an eastbound train at St. Mary's Road in the Thornbury Village subdivision (Glen Oaks,IL) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962.

CNS&M 182 heads up an eastbound train at St. Mary’s Road in the Thornbury Village subdivision (Glen Oaks,IL) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962.

A three-car North Shore Line train heads north on Chicago’s north side “L”, signed for Highwood on the Shore Line Route. Cliff Burnstein adds, “The train is passing Swift School, the only Chicago grade school with an Olympic-sized swimming pool (at the time, at least). The school is still there, approx. 5600 North Winthrop. I attended Swift 1949-1951 and remember well the distraction of passing “L” trains and the NSL. I was probably the only kid in class thus distracted.”

CNS&M Diner-Lounge car 415.

CNS&M Diner-Lounge car 415.

Limited/Special Train Consists

Kyle V. writes:

I am seeking your assistance in figuring this out, as you seem to be particularly knowledgeable in matters pertaining to Chicago interurban history, and your blog posts have been filled with helpful resources.

For a while now (and to no avail) I have been trying to determine what a typical consist would have been on one of the CNS&M Limited/Special trains (e.g. the Prairie State Limited, the Badger Special, Gold Coast Limited etc.) in the Insull years.

I am currently attempting to model one of these trains (though not any one in particular) in N scale, and I have so far acquired both a steel coach and a parlor-observation car (#420). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to find any resource that would let me know what other coaches to acquire for this purpose.

Most photographs (that I have come across) featuring these trains focus primarily on the parlor-observation car, and are taken at such an angle that the numbers and window configurations of the other coaches cannot be determined with any accuracy. I have thus far been unable to find any sort of car assignment records from this era.

I come to you with this in the hopes that perhaps you are privy to some sort of documentation, photographic or otherwise, that could help me solve this issue once and for all (Or could perhaps point me in the direction where I could find this information myself).

Thank you.

We will do my best to help you out, thanks.  I posted your request to various online discussion groups, where people who might know the answer would read it.  Here are the responses:

Randy Stahl:

Two coaches from the 737-776 Pullman or Standard cars , followed by the 418 or 419 diner and on the tail end you can use your 420.

If you want to back date the train a few years use the 409, 414-416 diners and some coaches from the last order from Cincinnati along with Observation cars from the 410-413 group.

I don’t think the train length ever or rarely exceeded 4-5 cars on the name trains. I have seen pictures of North Shore trains with 6-7 cars and two diners but I don’t believe they were name trains.

I wanted to model these trains too, I couldn’t make up my mind which ones so I am modeling all of them!!

Scott Greig:

It’s been a long time since I looked at any of my CNS&M timetables, let alone any from the name train era…but I want to say that you would see a diner OR an obs car on a given name train, but not both. To a certain degree, that would be duplicating services, as both types of equipment had parlor and/or meal service.

Randy Stahl:

I assumed the diners were for the coach passengers on the named trains?

Seth Bramson:

I believe that the name trains in those days, pre-Electroliners (and maybe some even after the E-liners) carried a dining car.

Lynn Willer:

The North Shore used to be able to loop in Milwaukee so the parlor open end cars could turn easily. North Shore used to terminate further north until the new station was built.

Obviously pre-Electroliner. The Liner solved turning trains.

The Limiteds could have the usual coach cars, the diner and the Parlor.

Probably if you can find the CERA books on the North Shore you may have good info there.

Mitch Markovitz:

The parlors were deadheaded to Harrison to use the wye and be re-stocked.

There would only be coach passengers on a train with diners. I believe for a very short time the noon train, The Cream City, carried both a diner and a parlor.

After the work rule of one trainman per car was changed diners ran second out in a consist leaving the hind end free for making adds and cuts. The kitchen was generally placed facing the rear so the conductor who worked the head 2 cars would not have to continually pass through the corridor into the dining room.

After 1932 when full parlors were discontinued some of the diners had two rows of tables and chairs removed which were replaced by parlor chairs taken from the full parlors. Thus we see printed materials referring to “Parlor-Dining” service with the admonition, “Parlor chairs may be occupied for the service of meals. Patrons occupying chairs beyond the service will be charged the regular fixed rate for such service.”

That (a diner car and a parlor car) makes a nice looking train but I don’t think it’s prototypical. I note in another email that only one train for a very short time carried both.

Diners didn’t provide parlor accommodations until after ’32 when the full parlors were discontinued. Parlor meal service remains a mystery to me. I’ve never seen a photo of the kitchen or a menu. 1923 – 1930 was still in the prohibition era so all my imagination tells me is lemonade and a sandwich.

Parlors ran in non-meal time periods.

As for diners during the ’20s during breakfast departures, the lunch departures of 11am, noon, ans 1pm, and dinner time diners were in consists of non-name trains and I’m not sure they were mentioned in the timetables (CERA Bulletins.)

Joseph Hazinski:

If you look at the track diagrams, the observation cars could also be wyed downtown at 2nd and Wells St. on the streetcar line, a much shorter deadhead then Harrison Avenue. I don’t know if they were but it was possible. The first dinner-parlor cars operated from this location when the terminal was located there before the 6th and Michigan location was built. Also I think restocking took place at the 6th and Michigan terminal. Harrison Avenue shops did not seem to have a place for a commissary while there was food service in the downtown station.

Joe Stupar:

Employee timetable 23, from June 05, 1926, lists the train numbers of trains carrying dining and parlor cars. They are:

Dining cars: Daily; 901, 415, 905, 900, 414, and 906. Daily, except Sunday; 405, 413, 429, 412, 904, and 426.

Parlor Cars: 915, 903, 415, 421, 900, 902, 420, and 916.

The two trains that had both, 415 and 900, the 415 was the Cream City Special departing 63rd-Dorchester at 11:33am for Milwaukee via the Skokie Valley Route, arriving Milwaukee at 2:05 PM. The 900 was the Interstate Limited, departing Milwaukee at 7:15 AM and operating via Skokie Valley to 63-Dorchester, arriving 9:46.

These are the named trains listed in that timetable, with direction and departure time:
900 – Interstate Limited (SB) 7:15 AM (possible misprint, also labeled Badger Limited)
901 – Badger Limited (NB) 6:48 AM
902 – Eastern Limited (SB) 10:00 AM
903 – Eastern Limited (NB) 9:23 AM
414 – Cream City Special (SB) 12:00 Noon
415 – Cream City Special (NB) 11:33 AM
420 – Prairie State Special (SB) 3:00PM
421 – Prairie State Special (NB) 2:33PM
916 – Metropolitan (SB) 3:55 PM
905 – Interstate Limited (NB) 4:26 PM
904 – Illinois Limited (SB) 4:45 PM
906 – Badger Limited (SB) 5:15 PM

Hope this is helpful. Of course, I’m sure it changed from timetable to timetable.

Mitch Markovitz:

That diner and parlor consist didn’t last long. Hard to find in timetables. The thought of it fascinated me for many decades.

On the South Shore after the arrival of the short parlors, Diner + parlor consist existed on 3 round trips with the long parlors appearing only mid-morning and mid-afternoon. I’ve seen photos of the kitchen in a long South Shore parlor and it had a broiler arrangement similar to Pullman broiler buffet cars indicating some form of hot meal service.

I wasn’t there, and I can only report on histories I’ve read. Yes, physically you could tote a parlor with a motor on to the street, then shove the thing all the way in to the midst of downtown Milwaukee streetcar traffic, both NSL and Milwaukee Electric, cross over to the opposite main for the return to the depot, and then re-stock, clean and prepare for the return trip in an hour.

The prospect of that move in my mind as an operating railroader is questionable.

Joe Stupar:

It is also interesting that in 1923 there were no trains with both (dining cars and parlor cars). Timetable 18 lists:

Dining Cars: Daily; 901, 415, 905, 900, 414, 904. Monday only; 921. Saturday only; 417. Daily except Sun; 413, 427, 412, 426. Daily except Sat/Sun; 436.

Parlor Cars: 903, 421, 431, 902, 420, 430.

I have not scanned all of the timetables yet, it jumps from 23 to 52 which was in 1942. This does not tell much about the consist, but I would have to guess the cars other than dining or parlor cars would be however many motors they needed. Perhaps 3 or 4 given the publicity photos I have seen from the 1920s.

George Campbell:

In addition to handling of diners and observation cars in Milwaukee, before the new terminal how did the NSL handle empty incoming cars after passengers were unloaded?

Chuck (mr600v):

Although dining and/or parlor/observation cars sometimes were wyed at Harrison, it was much shorter and easier to wye them at 2nd and Wells.

After unloading, the last coach (motor car) and the parlor/ob could have been cut from the train, backed into the intersection, changed ends then proceeded to 2nd and Wells with the motor car leading. There it would likely pull south on 2nd, then back across Wells, then headed west on Wells again with the motor car leading.

At the station, the two cars could be backed into the station and additional cars added to the front to make up the next train out.

If they were wyed at Harrison, a motor car would have been added to the rear of the parlor/ob to pull it through the city, not push it.

Mitch Markovitz:

Do you have direct evidence that this was the way? I know in Campbell’s book he says he saw the cars taken to Harrison.

After service terminated at 6th and Michigan my opinion, and it’s merely my opinion that making a move with those cars into downtown traffic (streetcar, pedestrian, and other) along with trying to fit the move on Wells Street where the tracks were also used by Transport Company streetcars, along with presenting limited train equipment in the area where the old depot was would be questionable. The distance may be shorter to run up, but my opinion is that the safer. Most efficient route would be down to Harrison.

Before the new depot opened and the trains went to 2nd and Grand (Wisconsin I believe) there were no obs cars. There were the parlor diners.
My opinion, and it’s merely my opinion, is that the consist changed ends, crossed over and waited to depart.

I think we can consult some early timetables to see the times and frequencies.

It was that very short span in 1926 where there was a consist with both.

The brochure “A Trip on the North Shore Line” discusses a train with both and there’s an illustration showing the obs platform with a drum sign reading, “Cream City.”

Randy Stahl:

I based my consist info on that very article (business trip on the Cream City Special). I also know that in the old footage of the Eucharistic Congress they clearly show not only a parlor obs but the sharp viewer will also spot a 404-406 (I think) parlor diner made up as a full parlor car.

I think that there were plenty of instances and opportunity where the two were used together, granted perhaps not on a scheduled train.

I am thinking about the number of cars they had after 1928.

404, 405 and 406 were converted to coaches by Cincinnati in 1923 (734, 735 and 736).

407-408-409, 414-417, 418,419. I think some were stored in 1928 (maybe the 407 and 408), I don’t know how many were still in use by the time the 418, 419 and 420 were delivered in 1928 but it could be as many as seven diners.

410-413 and 420. So there were enough parlor obs and dining cars cars to cover at least 5 trains a day in both directions.

I spoke to George Campbell (years ago) and he was very certain the cars were towed to Harrison St. to be turned and serviced.

Lynn Willer:

That makes the best sense, to clean them up after every run, check the cars out, keep them hot and ready.

Milwaukee had lots of street trackage and the new depot existed then during the parlor years. NS had only recently exited the older terminal.
I found a timetable in the North Shore Memories book listing the parlor trains.

Mitch Markovitz:

The first parlor train of the day arrived in Milwaukee at 10am. The next parlor departure was at 3pm.

That’s a gap of 5 hours. So there was no rush to make a difficult move up to Wells Street.

We haven’t discussed the need to wash a limited train. The line, in competition with and in good operation wouldn’t receive passengers, let alone parlor passengers in a soiled car.

I’ve done a lot of research on the Eucharistic consist. The diners were very new 416 and 417. Indeed the car closest to the obs was stripped of tables and chairs and replaced by parlor chairs. The car was returned to its diner self right after the move. All cars on the train were brand new except the obs which I believe we determined was 413 as it had just been painted.

Lynn Willer:

I was just reading so