The Photography of Roger Puta

A Christmas Present While I was scanning some slides of Roger Puta's the other evening, I came upon this one. I fell in love with it immediately. It sure isn't one of your run-of-the-mill train pictures. Roger took it in November 1978 at the Lackawanna RR station in Newark, NJ. In thinking about it, I feel my high school buddy and railfan friend has sent me a Christmas present across the miles and the 25 years he has been gone. So I'm sharing his present with you. Enjoy, Marty Bernard (2015)

A Christmas Present
While I was scanning some slides of Roger Puta’s the other evening, I came upon this one. I fell in love with it immediately. It sure isn’t one of your run-of-the-mill train pictures. Roger took it in November 1978 at the Lackawanna RR station in Newark, NJ.
In thinking about it, I feel my high school buddy and railfan friend has sent me a Christmas present across the miles and the 25 years he has been gone. So I’m sharing his present with you.
Enjoy,
Marty Bernard (2015)

We have lots of gifts for you under the Trolley Dodger tree this season. Most feature the exceptional photography of the late, but very prolific Roger Puta (1944-1990). His friend Marty Bernard has scanned many of these and has generously uploaded them to a Flickr album that has, at last count, 929 public domain images.

Here is what Marty Bernard has written about Roger Puta:

Who Was Roger Puta? (2016)

I am asked that question often. Here is a short bio.

Roger and I went to High School together. He was a good friend and railfan buddy. We grew up in nearby towns along the CB&Q in the Chicago western suburbs. We railfanned together through college, often with our railfan friends from the Chicago area. He worked for the Santa Fe and Western Pacific and lived in the Washington DC area and San Francisco in the 1970s and 80s. He was a rare mileage freak, a prolific and darn good train photographer, and focused considerable attention on passenger trains. He traveled widely in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to meet those interests. If it ran on rails, or was related to something that ran on rails, he photographed it. Thus his collection of thousands of slides includes many of streetcars, depots, and railroad graphics. He was known for his slides shows, some of which were at Winter Rail. In 1990 he caught a train to the Pearly Gates.

I am now scanning and posting his slides. I continue to be surprised how many railfans knew him and respond to my posts of his slides. He did many railfan trips of multiple days with one or more of his fellow foamers.

We have selected over 100 of these images for today’s post, following our usual Recent Finds. I believe it is important to pay tribute to those fans who have gone before us, for we are truly “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski

PS- The Trolley Dodger is now on Facebook too.

Recent Finds

July 30, 1953: "North Shore Line northbound train leaving Randolph St. station on Wabash, from Marshall Field's window." (Glenn S. Moe Photo)

July 30, 1953: “North Shore Line northbound train leaving Randolph St. station on Wabash, from Marshall Field’s window.” (Glenn S. Moe Photo)

A close-up view of the previous picture.

A close-up view of the previous picture.

CTA 1024 and work car S-340 were used on a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in August 1958. The location is the old Church Street freight yard near Northwestern University. After the fantrip, car 1024 went to the museum's location in North Chicago under its own power. It has since been restored to its as-delivered appearance as car 24. Don's Rail Photos: "1024 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 24. It was renumbered 1024 in 1913 and became CRT 1024 in 1923. It was rebuilt as 1st S-111 on March 19, 1955, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum as 1024 in 1958. S-340 was rebuilt from a 1700 series car." In this case, the "rebuilding" appears limited to a new coat of yellow paint. Information from Andre Kristopans shows that S-340 was originally car 1815, retired on January 9, 1958. It lasted into the mid-1960s.

CTA 1024 and work car S-340 were used on a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in August 1958. The location is the old Church Street freight yard near Northwestern University. After the fantrip, car 1024 went to the museum’s location in North Chicago under its own power. It has since been restored to its as-delivered appearance as car 24. Don’s Rail Photos: “1024 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 24. It was renumbered 1024 in 1913 and became CRT 1024 in 1923. It was rebuilt as 1st S-111 on March 19, 1955, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum as 1024 in 1958. S-340 was rebuilt from a 1700 series car.” In this case, the “rebuilding” appears limited to a new coat of yellow paint. Information from Andre Kristopans shows that S-340 was originally car 1815, retired on January 9, 1958. It lasted into the mid-1960s.

CTA work car S-340, taken at the same location, and on the same IERM fantrip, as the previous picture. The date is April 20, 1958.

CTA work car S-340, taken at the same location, and on the same IERM fantrip, as the previous picture. The date is April 20, 1958.

CTA gate car 390 is part of a two-car Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip train at the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in April 1957. Note the original station entrance, then nearly 50 years old, which had a green roof at this time. Sean Hunnicutt: "That is 6062 on the left."

CTA gate car 390 is part of a two-car Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip train at the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in April 1957. Note the original station entrance, then nearly 50 years old, which had a green roof at this time. Sean Hunnicutt: “That is 6062 on the left.”

This is the same fantrip train as in the picture taken at Kimball and Lawrence. Two wooden "L" CTA cars, including 390, are posed for a photo stop at Sedgwick in April 1957. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Many of these trips took place on Sundays, when Ravenswood trains did not run on this part of the "L", so there could be leisurely photo stops. At night and on Sundays, the Rave operated as a shuttle, starting in 1949, going only as far as Armitage. In 1963, after the North Shore Line quit, the Ravenswood shuttle ended at Belmont. The shuttle operation ended in 2000, as ridership on the renamed Brown Line had greatly increased. Now all Brown Line trains go to the Loop.

This is the same fantrip train as in the picture taken at Kimball and Lawrence. Two wooden “L” CTA cars, including 390, are posed for a photo stop at Sedgwick in April 1957. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Many of these trips took place on Sundays, when Ravenswood trains did not run on this part of the “L”, so there could be leisurely photo stops. At night and on Sundays, the Rave operated as a shuttle, starting in 1949, going only as far as Armitage. In 1963, after the North Shore Line quit, the Ravenswood shuttle ended at Belmont. The shuttle operation ended in 2000, as ridership on the renamed Brown Line had greatly increased. Now all Brown Line trains go to the Loop.

A six-car North Shore Line special train. This picture may date to the 1930s. I am not sure of the location, but this may also be where many of the cars were lined up for scrapping after the interurban was abandoned in 1963.

A six-car North Shore Line special train. This picture may date to the 1930s. I am not sure of the location, but this may also be where many of the cars were lined up for scrapping after the interurban was abandoned in 1963.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 459 is westbound at Lakewood station on August 8, 1954, during a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans' Association. (Bob Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 459 is westbound at Lakewood station on August 8, 1954, during a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. (Bob Selle Photo)

This photo was taken by Steve Carter sometime during the last year of operation of the CA&E (1957), at the intersection of York Road and Vallette Street (Elmhurst), looking north.

This photo was taken by Steve Carter sometime during the last year of operation of the CA&E (1957), at the intersection of York Road and Vallette Street (Elmhurst), looking north.

CTA PCC 4113, a product of the Pullman company, heads west of a shoo-fly at Madison and Wacker Drive on March 30, 1950. This was during construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which began in 1949 and moved south at the rate of about one block per year.

CTA PCC 4113, a product of the Pullman company, heads west of a shoo-fly at Madison and Wacker Drive on March 30, 1950. This was during construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which began in 1949 and moved south at the rate of about one block per year.

CTA PCC 4169 (a Pullman) is eastbound at 119th Street, near the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State, as it crosses over the Pennsylvania Railroad's "Panhandle" route.

CTA PCC 4169 (a Pullman) is eastbound at 119th Street, near the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State, as it crosses over the Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Panhandle” route.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 4293 at University on the Jackson Park "L". If not for the sign on the platform, I would've hard a difficult time identifying this location. The car is flying American flags, which may mean this picture was taken on July 4th or some other holiday.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 4293 at University on the Jackson Park “L”. If not for the sign on the platform, I would’ve hard a difficult time identifying this location. The car is flying American flags, which may mean this picture was taken on July 4th or some other holiday.

The City of Chicago hired professional photographers to shoot various scenes of the new State Street Subway around the time it opened in 1943. Some of these were issued in a series of postcards. Here, we see the new north portal, just south of Armitage.

The City of Chicago hired professional photographers to shoot various scenes of the new State Street Subway around the time it opened in 1943. Some of these were issued in a series of postcards. Here, we see the new north portal, just south of Armitage.

A close-up view of the previous picture.

A close-up view of the previous picture.

There must be a story behind this picture, showing an observation car on a mainline railroad. There were a number of lines that had a Chicago Limited.

There must be a story behind this picture, showing an observation car on a mainline railroad. There were a number of lines that had a Chicago Limited.

The observation car pictured above does bear some resemblance to ones used on the North Shore Line:

North Shore Line observation parlor car 420.

North Shore Line observation parlor car 420.

CTA PCC 7180 is at South Shops on February 12, 1956, near work cars E-208 and F-29. Don's Rail Photos: "E208, sweeper, was built by McGuire in 1895 as CCRys E8. It was renumbered E208 in 1913 and became CSL E208 in 1914. It was retired on September 27, 1956. F29, plow, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was retired on December 14, 1956."

CTA PCC 7180 is at South Shops on February 12, 1956, near work cars E-208 and F-29. Don’s Rail Photos: “E208, sweeper, was built by McGuire in 1895 as CCRys E8. It was renumbered E208 in 1913 and became CSL E208 in 1914. It was retired on September 27, 1956. F29, plow, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was retired on December 14, 1956.”

A four-car Evanston Shopper's Special. The front car is 1269. Don's Rail Photos: "1269 was a trailer built by American Car & Foundry in 1907, #5098, as NWERy 269. It was renumbered 269 in 1913 and became CRT 1269 in 1923." This picture was taken on August 6, 1937 by Otto C. Perry. A version with less cropping is on Don's Rail Photos.

A four-car Evanston Shopper’s Special. The front car is 1269. Don’s Rail Photos: “1269 was a trailer built by American Car & Foundry in 1907, #5098, as NWERy 269. It was renumbered 269 in 1913 and became CRT 1269 in 1923.” This picture was taken on August 6, 1937 by Otto C. Perry. A version with less cropping is on Don’s Rail Photos.

Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric car 49 in South Elgin, IL on August 6, 1944.

Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric car 49 in South Elgin, IL on August 6, 1944.

The Photography of Roger Puta

The earliest photos here date to about 1962, when Roger Puta was 18 years old. By then, the CA&E had stopped running, but the rolling stock was still awaiting final disposition in Wheaton. That was also the last full year of service for the North Shore Line.

There are many pictures of the Chicago Transit Authority, including the western end of the Lake Street “L”, still running at ground level until the end of October 1962. The Evanston branch still used overhead wire until 1973, operating 4000-series “L” cars as well as 6000s and the 1-50 single car units. The new high-speed Skokie Swift began running in April 1964, just over a year after the demise of the North Shore Line.

The South Shore Line continued operating 1920s-era cars until the early 1980s, as the last surviving Chicago interurban. Those venerable orange interurban cars ran on South Bend streets until 1970. We have also included some pictures from the Erie Lackawanna’s Gladstone branch, which also used equipment of the same vintage, and seems very interurban-ish even though for some reason, it is not usually classified as one.

Midwest traction is well represented by photos from the Southern Iowa Railway and Iowa Terminal, including former Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern car 100, newly repainted just prior to being tragically destroyed in a 1967 fire.

To round out our feature of classic railcars, there are some pictures of Bullet cars on the former Red Arrow line between Philadelphia and Norristown, aka the Philadelphia & Western, now operated by SEPTA.

The captions are by Marty Bernard. I corrected a few minor typos.

1 of 2 Photos. On the slide mount Roger wrote, "CTA Lake St. B-train racing C&NW freight near Laramie Ave., Chicago, IL in May 1967." Before October 28, 1962 the Lake St. "L" ran at street level next to the C&NW's elevated embankment through far western Chicago and Oak Park after it dismounted its "L" structure above Lake Street. It was slow running with lots of grade crossings. On that date the trains shifted to new tracks up on the embankment. Roger's photo shows the results. At the right you can see the structure over Lake Street and see the tracks shift to the left (north) on to the C&NW embankment. And I really like this photo. Why? It's the pigeons. Four of them.

1 of 2 Photos. On the slide mount Roger wrote, “CTA Lake St. B-train racing C&NW freight near Laramie Ave., Chicago, IL in May 1967.”
Before October 28, 1962 the Lake St. “L” ran at street level next to the C&NW’s elevated embankment through far western Chicago and Oak Park after it dismounted its “L” structure above Lake Street. It was slow running with lots of grade crossings. On that date the trains shifted to new tracks up on the embankment. Roger’s photo shows the results. At the right you can see the structure over Lake Street and see the tracks shift to the left (north) on to the C&NW embankment. And I really like this photo. Why? It’s the pigeons. Four of them.

2 of 2 Photos. Roger wrote on the slide mount, "CTA eastbound Lake St. "L" taking down trolley pole at the station near N. Parkside Ave. and W. Lake St. in Chicago on August 14, 1962." At street level the trains drew their power from the trolley wire overhead -- on the "L" structure from a third rail. This is the last station before this eastbound train mounts the "L" structure. Above the old station, up on the embankment, is the nearly completed new station. The elimination of trolley pole running on the western end of the Lake Street "L" allowed the CTA to modernize its fleet without the cost of trolley poles.

2 of 2 Photos. Roger wrote on the slide mount, “CTA eastbound Lake St. “L” taking down trolley pole at the station near N. Parkside Ave. and W. Lake St. in Chicago on August 14, 1962.”
At street level the trains drew their power from the trolley wire overhead — on the “L” structure from a third rail. This is the last station before this eastbound train mounts the “L” structure. Above the old station, up on the embankment, is the nearly completed new station.
The elimination of trolley pole running on the western end of the Lake Street “L” allowed the CTA to modernize its fleet without the cost of trolley poles.

CTA Eastbound Lake St. "L" going past the pedestrian-only grade crossing at Elmwood Ave in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Eastbound Lake St. “L” going past the pedestrian-only grade crossing at Elmwood Ave in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Lake Street "L" trains meeting near N. Long Ave and W. Lake Street in Chicago, Il. on August 14, 1962

CTA Lake Street “L” trains meeting near N. Long Ave and W. Lake Street in Chicago, Il. on August 14, 1962

CTA Westbound Lake Street L approaching the Oak Park Ave. station while crossing the Euclid Ave. grade crossing in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Westbound Lake Street L approaching the Oak Park Ave. station while crossing the Euclid Ave. grade crossing in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Westbound Lake Street L in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Westbound Lake Street L in Oak Park, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Lake Street L coming down to street level off elevated track at N. Long Ave and W. Lake St. in Chicago, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Lake Street L coming down to street level off elevated track at N. Long Ave and W. Lake St. in Chicago, IL on August 14, 1962

CTA Ravenswood B train on outer loop at Randolph and Wells station, Chicago, IL on June 13, 1968

CTA Ravenswood B train on outer loop at Randolph and Wells station, Chicago, IL on June 13, 1968

CTA L cars in storage at Logan Square terminal, Chicago, IL on April 5, 1969. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "6629-30 on the outside corner. Funny note about this: my ex-girlfriend was born in Manila on this day."

CTA L cars in storage at Logan Square terminal, Chicago, IL on April 5, 1969. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “6629-30 on the outside corner. Funny note about this: my ex-girlfriend was born in Manila on this day.”

CTA interlocking tower at Logan Square Terminal, Chicago, IL on April 9, 1966 Roger Puta photograph Roger wrote, "The last mechanical interlocking on the CTA and will be replaced with a new tower."

CTA interlocking tower at Logan Square Terminal, Chicago, IL on April 9, 1966
Roger Puta photograph
Roger wrote, “The last mechanical interlocking on the CTA and will be replaced with a new tower.”

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) "L" until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O'Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta's photos except for Photo 2. 5. Yard at Logan Square from the unfinished tower. Sean Hunnicutt notes, "2153-54 (resting up for a long career) and 6615."

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos
The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) “L” until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O’Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta’s photos except for Photo 2.
5. Yard at Logan Square from the unfinished tower. Sean Hunnicutt notes, “2153-54 (resting up for a long career) and 6615.”

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) "L" until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O'Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta's photos except for Photo 2. 3. A Congress-Milwaukee A Train going through Logan Square Yard taken from Douglas-Milwaukee B train.

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos
The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) “L” until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O’Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta’s photos except for Photo 2.
3. A Congress-Milwaukee A Train going through Logan Square Yard taken from Douglas-Milwaukee B train.

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) "L" until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O'Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta's photos except for Photo 2. 1. Control panel in the unfinished tower at Logan Square on April 9. 1966.

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos
The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) “L” until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O’Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta’s photos except for Photo 2.
1. Control panel in the unfinished tower at Logan Square on April 9. 1966.

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) "L" until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O'Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta's photos except for Photo 2. 4. A Douglas Park bound B train crossing over just outside Logan Square terminal while Congress-Milwaukee A train waits. Taken from unfinished tower. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "2153-54 still on break at the right."

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos
The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) “L” until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O’Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta’s photos except for Photo 2.
4. A Douglas Park bound B train crossing over just outside Logan Square terminal while Congress-Milwaukee A train waits. Taken from unfinished tower. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “2153-54 still on break at the right.”

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) "L" until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O'Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta's photos except for Photo 2. 2. The old and new tower (correct me if I'm wrong). Rick's photo. Sean Hunnicutt: "6587-88."

CTA Logan Square Terminal and Yards Before the Kennedy Extension, 5 Photos
The Logan Square station served the CTA as the terminal of the Milwaukee (Ave.) “L” until February 1, 1970 when the Kennedy Extension to Jefferson Park (and later to O’Hare) opened. But on May 30, 1966, a new all-electric interlocking was placed in service at Logan Square tower. Roger Puta and Rick Burn had just visited Logan Square the month before and took these photos. These are Roger Puta’s photos except for Photo 2.
2. The old and new tower (correct me if I’m wrong). Rick’s photo. Sean Hunnicutt: “6587-88.”

CTA 6000s, Ravenswood Train, July 1965 These were early 6000 series cars with double headlights and a top center rollsign. The 6000s were rebuilt PCC streetcars. Roger's photo show them holding down a Ravenswood run in July, 1965. For more on these cars see: www.chicago-l.org/trains/roster/6000.html

CTA 6000s, Ravenswood Train, July 1965
These were early 6000 series cars with double headlights and a top center rollsign. The 6000s were rebuilt PCC streetcars. Roger’s photo show them holding down a Ravenswood run in July, 1965. For more on these cars see: http://www.chicago-l.org/trains/roster/6000.html

Chicago Transit Authority's Evanston Shuttle at Isabella station in Evanston, IL on May 26, 1962

Chicago Transit Authority’s Evanston Shuttle at Isabella station in Evanston, IL on May 26, 1962

CTA Skokie Swift, Skokie, IL May 1964

CTA Skokie Swift, Skokie, IL May 1964

Chicago Transit Authority "jitterbug" Skokie Swift car northbound on curve south of Oakton St., Skokie, IL on April 12, 1966

Chicago Transit Authority “jitterbug” Skokie Swift car northbound on curve south of Oakton St., Skokie, IL on April 12, 1966

Chicago Transit Authority 4000s as an Evanston Express (signed Evanston-Wilmette) leaving Isabella Station in Evanston, IL, April 12, 1966. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "4447."

Chicago Transit Authority 4000s as an Evanston Express (signed Evanston-Wilmette) leaving Isabella Station in Evanston, IL, April 12, 1966. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “4447.”

Chicago Transit Authority southbound Skokie Swift car south of Oakton St. in Skokie, IL on ex-CNS&M track on April 12, 1966

Chicago Transit Authority southbound Skokie Swift car south of Oakton St. in Skokie, IL on ex-CNS&M track on April 12, 1966

CTA 2240 at Laramie on the Douglas Line in April 1985

CTA 2240 at Laramie on the Douglas Line in April 1985

CTA O'Hare Station, April 1985

CTA O’Hare Station, April 1985

CTA Laramie stop on the Douglas (Pink) Line in April 1985

CTA Laramie stop on the Douglas (Pink) Line in April 1985

CTA 2292 at Laramie on the Douglas (Pink) Line in April 1985

CTA 2292 at Laramie on the Douglas (Pink) Line in April 1985

CTA 6-car 4000 series Ravenswood A train near Grand Ave. Station, Chicago, IL om February 2, 1968

CTA 6-car 4000 series Ravenswood A train near Grand Ave. Station, Chicago, IL om February 2, 1968

CTA 2-car train approaching Belmont Ave. Station on April 9, 1966 Roger Puta photograph Roger wrote, "Note doors and windows signify early L car." Sean Hunnicutt: "6057-58."

CTA 2-car train approaching Belmont Ave. Station on April 9, 1966
Roger Puta photograph
Roger wrote, “Note doors and windows signify early L car.” Sean Hunnicutt: “6057-58.”

Chicago Transit Authority Evanston Express with 4000 series cars at Clark Junction near the Belmont Station, Chicago, IL on February 2, 1968.

Chicago Transit Authority Evanston Express with 4000 series cars at Clark Junction near the Belmont Station, Chicago, IL on February 2, 1968.

CTA Evanston Express near Wellington station, Chicago, IL in February, 1968

CTA Evanston Express near Wellington station, Chicago, IL in February, 1968

CTA B Douglas-Milwaukee and A Congress-Milwaukee trains at end of track, Logan Square Terminal on April 9, 1966

CTA B Douglas-Milwaukee and A Congress-Milwaukee trains at end of track, Logan Square Terminal on April 9, 1966

These articulated cars were called "jitterbugs". There were only 4. Roger's photo is of CTA 54 as southbound Skokie Swift train south of Oakton St. in Skokie, IL on ex-CNS&M trackage on April 12, 1966. For more on these cars see: www.chicago-l.org/trains/roster/5000.html

These articulated cars were called “jitterbugs”.
There were only 4. Roger’s photo is of CTA 54 as southbound Skokie Swift train south of Oakton St. in Skokie, IL on ex-CNS&M trackage on April 12, 1966. For more on these cars see: http://www.chicago-l.org/trains/roster/5000.html

CTA (left to right) at Belmont Ave. Station, Ravenswood 2-car SB, B Jackson Park - Howard 6 car NB, A Englewood - Howard 6 car NB, in distance 2-car NB Ravenswood on April 9, 1966

CTA (left to right) at Belmont Ave. Station, Ravenswood 2-car SB, B Jackson Park – Howard 6 car NB, A Englewood – Howard 6 car NB, in distance 2-car NB Ravenswood on April 9, 1966

CTA 4-car Evanston Express approaching Isabella Ave. station with 4 trolley poles up, Evanston, IL, North Shore Channel bridge in background on April 12, 1966 These are single man cars used individually as shuttles on the Evanston Line during off hours.

CTA 4-car Evanston Express approaching Isabella Ave. station with 4 trolley poles up, Evanston, IL, North Shore Channel bridge in background on April 12, 1966
These are single man cars used individually as shuttles on the Evanston Line during off hours.

CTA Howard - Englewood A Train southbound at Addison, Chicago, IL on August 25, 1962

CTA Howard – Englewood A Train southbound at Addison, Chicago, IL on August 25, 1962

CTA A train Englewood - Howard L approaching Belmont Ave. station on Saturday evening rush hour, Chicago, IL on April 9, 1966. Sean Hunnicutt: "6286."

CTA A train Englewood – Howard L approaching Belmont Ave. station on Saturday evening rush hour, Chicago, IL on April 9, 1966. Sean Hunnicutt: “6286.”

CTA 4-car Evanston Express approaching Isabella Ave. station, Evanston, IL, April 12, 1966

CTA 4-car Evanston Express approaching Isabella Ave. station, Evanston, IL, April 12, 1966

CTA Skokie Swift, Skokie, IL in May 1964 Crawford looking east

CTA Skokie Swift, Skokie, IL in May 1964 Crawford looking east

CTA 8127 Evanston Express on Outer Loop at Randolph and Wells Note only one pair of poles -- permanently coupled cars. June 13, 1968

CTA 8127 Evanston Express on Outer Loop at Randolph and Wells
Note only one pair of poles — permanently coupled cars. June 13, 1968

CTA 4-car Evanston Express leaving Isabella Ave. station, Wilmette, IL on April 12, 1966

CTA 4-car Evanston Express leaving Isabella Ave. station, Wilmette, IL on April 12, 1966

CTA Evanston Express train approaching the Merchandise Mart station, Chicago, IL on June 13, 1968

CTA Evanston Express train approaching the Merchandise Mart station, Chicago, IL on June 13, 1968

The Skokie Swift Over the North Shore Cannel Roger Puta took this photo in May of 1964 in Skokie. (This appears to be the uncropped version of this photo.)

The Skokie Swift Over the North Shore Cannel
Roger Puta took this photo in May of 1964 in Skokie. (This appears to be the uncropped version of this photo.)

The Skokie Swift Over the North Shore Cannel Roger Puta took this photo in May of 1964 in Skokie. He didn't have a telephoto lens at that time. So I cropped the photo much tighter just to see what it would look like. This allowed me to eliminate much of the uninteresting sky and get the photo closer to obeying the Rule of Thirds. It also shows that the car is slightly burred which does not show in the original size photo.

The Skokie Swift Over the North Shore Cannel
Roger Puta took this photo in May of 1964 in Skokie. He didn’t have a telephoto lens at that time. So I cropped the photo much tighter just to see what it would look like. This allowed me to eliminate much of the uninteresting sky and get the photo closer to obeying the Rule of Thirds. It also shows that the car is slightly burred which does not show in the original size photo.

CA&E 427 stored at Wheaton, IL Shops, April 25, 1962

CA&E 427 stored at Wheaton, IL Shops, April 25, 1962

CA&E 429 stored at Wheaton, IL shops, April 25, 1962

CA&E 429 stored at Wheaton, IL shops, April 25, 1962

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta's Camera CNS&M herald on the Electroliner at station in Milwaukee, WI on October 21, 1962.

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta’s Camera
CNS&M herald on the Electroliner at station in Milwaukee, WI on October 21, 1962.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee -- 4 Photos These are scans of Roger Puta's slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI. CNS&M Passenger Terminal at 6th St. and W. Clybourn Ave.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee — 4 Photos
These are scans of Roger Puta’s slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI.
CNS&M Passenger Terminal at 6th St. and W. Clybourn Ave.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee -- 4 Photos These are scans of Roger Puta's slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI. Lower yard east of the Terminal on W. Clybourn St. down toward the Milwaukee Road Passenger Station. (I once knew what that second car in was. Please remind me.) Sean Hunnicutt: "The first car is 170."

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee — 4 Photos
These are scans of Roger Puta’s slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI.
Lower yard east of the Terminal on W. Clybourn St. down toward the Milwaukee Road Passenger Station. (I once knew what that second car in was. Please remind me.) Sean Hunnicutt: “The first car is 170.”

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets -- 4 Photos I don't know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions. 1. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. approaching W. Orchard St. 2. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. near W. Orchard St. 3. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner coming out of private right-of-way onto S. 6th St. at W. Scott Ave. [Look who has the railfan seats. I don't remember. Are they looking at a blank wall?]

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets — 4 Photos
I don’t know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions.
1. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. approaching W. Orchard St.
2. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. near W. Orchard St.
3. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner coming out of private right-of-way onto S. 6th St. at W. Scott Ave. [Look who has the railfan seats. I don’t remember. Are they looking at a blank wall?]

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets -- 4 Photos I don't know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner coming out of private right-of-way onto S. 6th St. at W. Scott Ave. [Look who has the railfan seats. I don't remember. Are they looking at a blank wall?]

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets — 4 Photos
I don’t know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions.
CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner coming out of private right-of-way onto S. 6th St. at W. Scott Ave. [Look who has the railfan seats. I don’t remember. Are they looking at a blank wall?]

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta's Camera The last CNS&M Tavern - Lounge car on the substitute Electroliner that day. See previous photo.

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta’s Camera
The last CNS&M Tavern – Lounge car on the substitute Electroliner that day. See previous photo.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee -- 4 Photos These are scans of Roger Puta's slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI. CNS&M Yards and Shops at Harrison Street.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee — 4 Photos
These are scans of Roger Puta’s slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI.
CNS&M Yards and Shops at Harrison Street.

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets -- 4 Photos I don't know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. near W. Orchard St.

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets — 4 Photos
I don’t know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions.
CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 5th St. near W. Orchard St.

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets -- 4 Photos I don't know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions. CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 6th St. between W. Washington Ave. and Scott Ave. [Love the marked lights!]

An Electroliner on the Milwaukee Streets — 4 Photos
I don’t know how Roger Puta did it, but he photographed the same northbound Electroliner both on 5th and 6th Streets on October 21, 1962 only a couple blocks apart. Here are his captions.
CNS&M Train 805, The Electroliner on S. 6th St. between W. Washington Ave. and Scott Ave. [Love the marked lights!]

CNS&M Train 415 starting to move on W. National Ave. on S. 6th St. in Milwaukee, WI on October 12, 1962

CNS&M Train 415 starting to move on W. National Ave. on S. 6th St. in Milwaukee, WI on October 12, 1962

CNS&M Train 422 on S. 5th St. at W. Rogers Ave. in Milwaukee, WI on October 21, 1962

CNS&M Train 422 on S. 5th St. at W. Rogers Ave. in Milwaukee, WI on October 21, 1962

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta's Camera Each of the two Electroliner had a day off each week for maintenance and repair. So on every Tuesday and Thursday the substitute Electroliner would run. Roger caught the substitute in this photo. Here is his caption: CNS&M NB Train 803, The Electriliner, consisting of Silverliner 769, Tavern - Lounge 415 (upper window sash and trailer trucks), and Silverliner 76? stopped at the Racine, WI depot on October 21, 1962.

3 More About Electroliners from Roger Puta’s Camera
Each of the two Electroliner had a day off each week for maintenance and repair. So on every Tuesday and Thursday the substitute Electroliner would run. Roger caught the substitute in this photo. Here is his caption: CNS&M NB Train 803, The Electriliner, consisting of Silverliner 769, Tavern – Lounge 415 (upper window sash and trailer trucks), and Silverliner 76? stopped at the Racine, WI depot on October 21, 1962.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee -- 4 Photos These are scans of Roger Puta's slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI. I blew up the sign on the roof of the canopy.

North Shore Facilities in Milwaukee — 4 Photos
These are scans of Roger Puta’s slides taken October 12, 1962 in Milwaukee, WI.
I blew up the sign on the roof of the canopy.

A Surprise South Shore Shot Roger Puta and I railfanned the South Shore a lot during College (Christmas, semester, and Easter break). As I was scanning his South Shore slides yesterday I was surprised by this one. I have near duplicates of most of his South Shore slides because I was standing next to him. Not this one. It looks like it may have been a grab shot. Here is his caption: CSS&SB going down grade from Pennsylvania - Wabash Bridge in Gary, Indiana on February 10, 1963.

A Surprise South Shore Shot
Roger Puta and I railfanned the South Shore a lot during College (Christmas, semester, and Easter break). As I was scanning his South Shore slides yesterday I was surprised by this one. I have near duplicates of most of his South Shore slides because I was standing next to him. Not this one. It looks like it may have been a grab shot.
Here is his caption: CSS&SB going down grade from Pennsylvania – Wabash Bridge in Gary, Indiana on February 10, 1963.

CNS&M Glenayre passenger station in Glenview, Illinois. This slide was taken on January 24, 1963 three days after the North Shore abandoned service. It is one of nine Mediterranean Revival Style built by Samuel Insull. Only two still exist: Beverly Shores on the South Shore Line and Briergate on the North Shore Line.

CNS&M Glenayre passenger station in Glenview, Illinois. This slide was taken on January 24, 1963 three days after the North Shore abandoned service. It is one of nine Mediterranean Revival Style built by Samuel Insull. Only two still exist: Beverly Shores on the South Shore Line and Briergate on the North Shore Line.

CNS&M Train 409 northbound south of the Northbrook, Illinois station on the Skokie Valley Route on May 26, 1962.

CNS&M Train 409 northbound south of the Northbrook, Illinois station on the Skokie Valley Route on May 26, 1962.

CNS&M southbound Train 216 from Waukeegan, IL approaching the former Asbury Ave. station in Skokie, Ill. CERA Railfan Special in Car 720 was first train to stop at Asbury Ave since 1941, August 25, 1962.

CNS&M southbound Train 216 from Waukeegan, IL approaching the former Asbury Ave. station in Skokie, Ill. CERA Railfan Special in Car 720 was first train to stop at Asbury Ave since 1941, August 25, 1962.

CNS&M way freight on the team track between Northfield and Northbrook, Illinois on May 26, 1962.

CNS&M way freight on the team track between Northfield and Northbrook, Illinois on May 26, 1962.

Just an Electroliner I don't remember ever seeing a photo of an Electroliner from the Ridge Ave. (called Ridge Blvd. in Chicago) Bridge in Evanston, IL. But my friend Roger Puta took one on November 3, 1962, a little over 2 1/2 months before they ceased to run because the North Shore ended operations. Here is his caption on the slide mount, "CNS&M Train 802, the Electroliner taken from Ridge Blvd. bridge in Evanston, IL. Ridge Blvd. had been a stop on the old Skokie "L" and the station is still standing." The 3rd rails are have a slight layer of rust. Both Electroliners were saved. The one at the Illinois Ry Museum at Union, IL is being fully renovated. The one at Rockhill Trolley Museum, Rockhill Furnace, PA is in SEPTA (Red Arrow) colors.

Just an Electroliner
I don’t remember ever seeing a photo of an Electroliner from the Ridge Ave. (called Ridge Blvd. in Chicago) Bridge in Evanston, IL. But my friend Roger Puta took one on November 3, 1962, a little over 2 1/2 months before they ceased to run because the North Shore ended operations. Here is his caption on the slide mount, “CNS&M Train 802, the Electroliner taken from Ridge Blvd. bridge in Evanston, IL. Ridge Blvd. had been a stop on the old Skokie “L” and the station is still standing.”
The 3rd rails are have a slight layer of rust.
Both Electroliners were saved. The one at the Illinois Ry Museum at Union, IL is being fully renovated. The one at Rockhill Trolley Museum, Rockhill Furnace, PA is in SEPTA (Red Arrow) colors.

CSS&SD 105 at Gary, IN on January 27, 1964 Chicago South Shore and South Bend

CSS&SD 105 at Gary, IN on January 27, 1964
Chicago South Shore and South Bend

CSS&SB 801 in Hegewisch (Burnham Yard) in Chicago on January 27, 1964.

CSS&SB 801 in Hegewisch (Burnham Yard) in Chicago on January 27, 1964.

CSS&SB 106 at the Kensington stop in Chicago, IL in September 1963. This is where the South Shore diverts on to its own track and heads east.

CSS&SB 106 at the Kensington stop in Chicago, IL in September 1963. This is where the South Shore diverts on to its own track and heads east.

I posted the second photo a while back. Thought it was neat. Today I found the one Roger Puta took a few seconds earlier while the train was on the bridge. And he managed to avoid getting the headight hidden behind a structure member! This is a CSS&SB eastbound (to Chicago) going over Pennsylvania - Wabash RR bridge in Gary, Ind. on February 10, 1963.

I posted the second photo a while back. Thought it was neat. Today I found the one Roger Puta took a few seconds earlier while the train was on the bridge. And he managed to avoid getting the headight hidden behind a structure member! This is a CSS&SB eastbound (to Chicago) going over Pennsylvania – Wabash RR bridge in Gary, Ind. on February 10, 1963.

CSS&SB 11 at Gary, Ind. in July, 1979. That hand railing at the left is 802's.

CSS&SB 11 at Gary, Ind. in July, 1979. That hand railing at the left is 802’s.

CSS&SB 802 in the double track pocket at Gary, Ind. in July, 1979.

CSS&SB 802 in the double track pocket at Gary, Ind. in July, 1979.

CSS&SB 109 going up grade to Pennsylvania - Wabash bridge in Gary, Ind. on February 10, 1963.

CSS&SB 109 going up grade to Pennsylvania – Wabash bridge in Gary, Ind. on February 10, 1963.

CSS&SB 107 eastbound at the Hegewisch stop in Chicago, IL on December 31, 1965. (That's my wonderful Plymouth. Roger and I were in our senior year of college.)

CSS&SB 107 eastbound at the Hegewisch stop in Chicago, IL on December 31, 1965. (That’s my wonderful Plymouth. Roger and I were in our senior year of college.)

CSS&SB 801 in January 1964, location not recorded.

CSS&SB 801 in January 1964, location not recorded.

Two CSS&SB 700s (ex-NYC) on a caboose hop approaching the Gary, Ind. depot in January 1964.

Two CSS&SB 700s (ex-NYC) on a caboose hop approaching the Gary, Ind. depot in January 1964.

Chicago South Shore & South Bend 707 in Burnham Yard, January 1972

Chicago South Shore & South Bend 707 in Burnham Yard, January 1972

Chicago South Shore & South Bend 705 coming westbound into Hammond. The Indiana Toll Road is in the background in February 1972.

Chicago South Shore & South Bend 705 coming westbound into Hammond. The Indiana Toll Road is in the background in February 1972.

Chicago South Shore & south Bend 702 Burnham Yard, January 1972

Chicago South Shore & south Bend 702 Burnham Yard, January 1972

CSS&SB 32 in Hammond, IN on January 27, 1964

CSS&SB 32 in Hammond, IN on January 27, 1964

CSS&SB 106 in South Bend, Ind. on January 27, 1964 02

CSS&SB 106 in South Bend, Ind. on January 27, 1964 02

CSS&SB Train 320 boarding passengers in street at South Bend, Indiana station on April 9, 1966. Rick Burn and Steve Summer at right

CSS&SB Train 320 boarding passengers in street at South Bend, Indiana station on April 9, 1966. Rick Burn and Steve Summer at right

CSS&SB 104 in Michigan City, IN on January 27, 1964

CSS&SB 104 in Michigan City, IN on January 27, 1964

Roger Puta found CSS&SB 106 being loaded in South Bend, Ind. on January 27, 1964

Roger Puta found CSS&SB 106 being loaded in South Bend, Ind. on January 27, 1964

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs in Orange, NJ on November 1978

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs in Orange, NJ on November 1978

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs at Hoboken Terminal, December 1978

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs at Hoboken Terminal, December 1978

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs at Hoboken Terminal, December 1978

Erie-Lackawanna EMUs at Hoboken Terminal, December 1978

EL EMU Train on the Gladstone Branch from Pill Hill Road in November 1978

EL EMU Train on the Gladstone Branch from Pill Hill Road in November 1978

EL Montclair Station Depot in November 1978 R24 Building exists. Tracks gone.

EL Montclair Station Depot in November 1978 R24
Building exists. Tracks gone.

From the end of a platform in the Erie-Lackwanna Terminal at Hoboken, NJ in November 1978

From the end of a platform in the Erie-Lackwanna Terminal at Hoboken, NJ in November 1978

Erie Lackwanna Montclair Depot in November 1978 -- 3 Photos Building exists. Tracks gone.

Erie Lackwanna Montclair Depot in November 1978 — 3 Photos
Building exists. Tracks gone.

Lackawanna Railroad Freight House at Morristown NJ on Morristown Line former M&E Division of Lackawanna RR in November 1978 R26

Lackawanna Railroad Freight House at Morristown NJ on Morristown Line former M&E Division of Lackawanna RR in November 1978 R26

ex-DL&W Tower located eastbound side at Orange NJ station on Morristown Line in November 1978

ex-DL&W Tower located eastbound side at Orange NJ station on Morristown Line in November 1978

EL Signal P389 on Gladstone Branch. P is for Passaic & Delaware, former name of Gladstone Branch. Signal is west of Far Hills, NJ in November 1978

EL Signal P389 on Gladstone Branch. P is for Passaic & Delaware, former name of Gladstone Branch. Signal is west of Far Hills, NJ in November 1978

EL Chatham NJ station on former DL&W Morris & Essex, later EL Morristown Line in November 1978 B22

EL Chatham NJ station on former DL&W Morris & Essex, later EL Morristown Line in November 1978 B22

EL EMU Train on the Gladstone Branch from Pill Hill Road in November 1978

EL EMU Train on the Gladstone Branch from Pill Hill Road in November 1978

EL EMU interior in November 1978

EL EMU interior in November 1978

EL EMUs at Hoboken in November 1978

EL EMUs at Hoboken in November 1978

EL EMU westbound to Gladstone, NJ MU train on Gladstone branch... note parlor car in consist. Eastbound train # was 412 Gladstone to Hoboken weekdays only in November 1978

EL EMU westbound to Gladstone, NJ MU train on Gladstone branch… note parlor car in consist. Eastbound train # was 412 Gladstone to Hoboken weekdays only in November 1978

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 at Charles City Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 at Charles City
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 on MILW interchange tracks Mason City Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 on MILW interchange tracks Mason City
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at Emery Shops Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at Emery Shops
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at West Mason City Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at West Mason City
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967. Freight Motors 80 and 81 at the shops, Emery, IA

Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967.
Freight Motors 80 and 81 at the shops, Emery, IA

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 near Oakwood Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 near Oakwood
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad shops and substation at Emery Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad shops and substation at Emery
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at shops at Emery Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 at shops at Emery
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 -- 3 Photos Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963. Near Maine, IA

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 — 3 Photos
Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963.
Near Maine, IA

Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967. Box Motor 31 (ex-Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee) and Passenger Car 100 (ex-Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern Railway) near Mason City.

Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967.
Box Motor 31 (ex-Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee) and Passenger Car 100 (ex-Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern Railway) near Mason City.

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 -- 3 Photos Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963. At the Moravia, IA depot.

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 — 3 Photos
Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963.
At the Moravia, IA depot.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 near Roseville Siding Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 101 near Roseville Siding
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad right of way just east of Emery taken from Box Motor with Passenger Car 100 ahead Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad right of way just east of Emery taken from Box Motor with Passenger Car 100 ahead
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 near Clear Lake Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 near Clear Lake
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 near Clear Lake Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Iowa Terminal Railroad Car 100 near Clear Lake
Photograph taken by Roger Puta the weekend of August 12th and 13th, 1967 in Iowa.

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 -- 3 Photos Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963. South of the Moravia Iowa depot. Iowa Southern Utilities (former owner of the railroad) substation at left.

Southern Iowa Railway Freight Motor 101 — 3 Photos
Roger Puta took these during a railfan weekend in June 1963.
South of the Moravia Iowa depot. Iowa Southern Utilities (former owner of the railroad) substation at left.

Some Iowa Terminal Railroad Freight Motors -- 4 Photos Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967. Steeple Cab 30 in yards at Charles City, IA

Some Iowa Terminal Railroad Freight Motors — 4 Photos
Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967.
Steeple Cab 30 in yards at Charles City, IA

Some Iowa Terminal Railroad Freight Motors -- 4 Photos Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967. Freight Motor 61 at the shops, Emery, IA

Some Iowa Terminal Railroad Freight Motors — 4 Photos
Roger Puta took these August 12 and 13 of 1967.
Freight Motor 61 at the shops, Emery, IA

6 Brill Bullet Photos Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos
Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos
Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos
Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos
Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars.

6 Brill Bullet Photos
Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.

Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember. Note: Brill made transit cars. And yes, that's Roger Puta.

Roger Puta took these six photos of SEPTA Brill Bullet 200 at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, PA in May 1983. I rode these cars and stupidly never took interior shots. Thanks Roger for helping me remember.
Note: Brill made transit cars.
And yes, that’s Roger Puta.

FYI, a Google search brought up additional info on the life of Roger Puta here.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

misc676-001

STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

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:

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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 260th 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 704,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
DONATIONS
In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.
Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

More Railroad Record Club Rarities

Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern car 100. This car is featured on Railroad Record Club LP #2. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.”

No one person has been more responsible for preserving the historic artifacts connected with William A. Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club than our good friend Kenneth Gear. A while back, Ken acquired many of the original RRC tape recordings, some of which were never issued.

I have referred before to the RRC output being the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak, and thanks to Ken, we are beginning to see what the rest of the RRC archive consisted of. While we had already issued some “new” RRC recordings, taken from discs found in the Steventon archive, we have something even more exciting to announce today– newly uncovered audio recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban, the fabled North Shore Line, unheard for perhaps as much as 60 years.

These recordings have been digitized from original RRC tapes that Ken purchased, and are now available for the first time on compact disc. More details about that will be found at the end of this post.

Because we feel it is important for Ken to get back at least some of the substantial investment he has made, in order to preserve these and other historic materials, we are paying Ken a royalty of $5 for each disc sold. Our humble offerings are already reasonably priced, and we don’t make much money from them. On top of that, the Trolley Dodger has, to date, operated at a loss for every year. Our original losses were in excess of $10k per year. This was reduced to $6k in 2017, and we recently did our taxes and are pleased to report that we cut the loss to just $1400 in 2018.

Our goal with this enterprise is historic preservation and education, to provide an archive where people can get, and exchange information about electric railways. In some ways it is the modern equivalent of what my friend Ray DeGroote calls the “intelligence network” of railfans, which has been around since the 1930s or even earlier, just updated for the Internet age.

It used to be that you had to know somebody to be part of this intelligence network, and information was passed from one person to another. Now, it is accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it, via the world wide web.

With that in mind, our goal has always been to break even, in order to make the Trolley Dodger a self-sustaining enterprise.

But we have to give credit where credit is due. Without Kenneth Gear’s personal sacrifices, it’s possible that these materials would have been lost forever, and would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere. You never would even have known they existed.

That’s why I hope you will help support Ken’s gallant efforts by purchasing a copy of this new CD offering.

Because we are not entirely mercenary, Ken is also sharing dozens of classic railfan photos which he purchased as part of the Railroad Record Club archive. Presumably, all or nearly all of these were taken by the late William A. Steventon (1921-1993) himself, as many reflect the areas he lived, worked, and traveled to in his career.

A few of these we already published, but most of these appear here for the first time.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Altoona and Logan Valley car 74. Don’s Rail Photos: “74 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1930.”

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

The same picture cropped.

The same picture cropped.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Illinois Terminal car 285. Don’s rail Photos: “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1024 and as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and got new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.”

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A builder's photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

A builder’s photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

Illinois Terminal 1201 at Peoria. Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64. Howard Pletcher adds, “Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64 is at the Fort Wayne passenger terminal.”

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad car #375. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

The same picture, restored.

The same picture, restored.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corp View across the Broadway bridge, showing double truck car in distance, August 18, 1940. (But what city is this?) Mike Peters writes: “he ISC city car is in Fort Wayne, a block away from the south end of the Broadway line. The bridge carries Bluffton Road and the ISC interurban to Bluffton over the Saint Marys River. A good map of the Ft. Wayne system can be found in “Fort Wayne’s Trolleys” (George Bradley). ISC did provide service in several smaller cities, but these lines did not survive the 1930’s.”

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #94. Don’s Rail Photos: “90 thru 99 were built by Cummings in 1930 as Northern Indiana Ry 350 thru 359. In 1935, they were returned to Cummings, who rebuilt them and sold them to the IRR. They were retired in 1940.”

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth's at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth’s at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date-- March 31, 1936.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date– March 31, 1936.

Jeff Wien: “TMER&T, route 13: Clybourn Downtown Milwaukee.”
.

No information.

No information.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

No information (photo restored).

No information (photo restored).

No information (unrestored photo).

No information (unrestored photo).

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Unidentified car and person. Mike Peters: “The photo of 817 and employee would also be Fort Wayne. After passenger operations ceased, this motor was retained for switching the Spy Run power plant and several nearby industries. The roster in “Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Trolleys” (CERA #122) shows the 817 as being retired in 1952.”

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

Recent Finds

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 - Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 – Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

North Shore Line 254

North Shore Line 254 “at freight station on “L”structure near Loop – January 27, 1962.”

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an “L” station in the early 1950s.

CTA 7216, a St. Louis Car Company PCC, is northbound on Route 36 – Broadway in the 1950s. Jeff Wien: “Cars laying over on 119th at Morgan.”

CTA 4362, a Pullman PCC, on Route 8 – Halsted, most likely in the late 1940s. Jeff Wien adds, “Rt. 8 car has just pulled off of Broadway onto Waveland to head south on Halsted to 79th Street loop. Photo ca 1951 when Halsted was operated with PCCs, most Pullmans.”

TRACTION AUDIO, 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


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

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.

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)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 229th 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 507,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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

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

Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

1 Selection of Steventon tapes mostly unreleased

Following up on our recent post William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club (September 24, 2018), guest author Kenneth Gear continues with a detailed rundown on his latest discoveries.

I have been interested in historic preservation for a long time, and it’s not every day that anyone comes across original material such as this. Suddenly, out of nowhere it seems, previously unknown, unissued audio recordings have emerged for some long-vanished steam and electric railroads, along with 16mm motion picture film, and various artifacts related to the Railroad Record Club’s 42 issued LPs, in their various forms. It seems like a miracle that somehow, it all survived to be rescued from oblivion.

Getting this done involved a tremendous financial sacrifice on Ken’s part, as he is of modest means. I hope that he will be able to recoup at least some of his substantial investment in the future. I am sure he will appreciate any contributions you may be able to offer him, towards the cost of transferring some of these reel-to-reel tapes and 16mm movie films to digital.

You can find Part 1 here: Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017)

-David Sadowski

PS- Our new book Building Chicago’s Subways is now available for immediate shipment.  If you already pre-ordered it, your copy is already on its way to you.  We are excited to have had the opportunity to tell the story of this exciting chapter in Chicago history.  Details on how to order are at the end of this post.

Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2

It’s been over a year since I acquired a large portion of the William Steventon estate. The Railroad Record Club items that I purchased last year have enabled David and I to piece together a fairly complete history of the RRC and to more fully appreciate the time and effort Mr. Steventon put into producing these records. The homemade 78rpm records alone proved to be an invaluable resource. Not only did they provide us with some wonderful recordings, most of which hadn’t been heard in over fifty years, they revealed the pre-history of the club and offered a glimpse into the infancy of railroad field recording.

We were able to hear the very first railroad recording Steventon made– B&O trains at Riverdale, Maryland in 1953. We also finally completed our quest to get a copy of every single released RRC record digitized and put on CDs. We are now only in need of two samplers, the 5th and 6th years. More interesting information was garnered from examining original record jacket artwork and paste up boards, as well as the metal print blocks. We were also able to compile a list of records re-issued on 12″ stock and find out what was necessary for it to happen and the cost of doing it.

Photographs from his personal collection were scanned and published in the Trolley Dodger for all to enjoy. I think the effort that went into keeping all this material from ending up in a dumpster was well worth the time and expense and I’m happy to have been involved.

In spite of this, I knew the job was only half finished. There was much more that needed to be saved and time was running out. Those tapes I wrote about under the heading “what I left behind” in the first treasure hunt story needed to be preserved. There were still a big box of photos, reams of correspondence, the metal master discs for the 12″ reissues and lots and lots of sealed records.

The estate dealer was quite adamant that this stuff had to go…and quickly! I purchased all that I could, but I certainly could not afford to buy anything else and asked for some time to raise the money. As I tried to come up with the extra cash needed, months went by and the emails ceased. For a while it seemed that all this great material would be lost. Still, I squirreled away what money I could when I could and slowly, much too slowly, I approached his asking price. With the funds in hand, I emailed the estate dealer putting in the subject line that I HAD the money for the remaining Steventon estate items. Even as I composed that email I couldn’t be sure that the entire lot wasn’t already in some land fill rotting away. He answered me the next day, but it seemed a lot longer then that to me. His first two sentences were a relief:  

Ken, good to hear from you.  Yes, it is all as we left it a year ago.

There was one complication that needed to be addressed. I could not make the trip up to him in Wisconsin this year as I had done before. All the items would have to be shipped to me in New Jersey.

The estate dealer was agreeable to packing up the items and doing the weighing and making the transportation arrangements, but again there was a complication. This was his busy season and he would be working extensively out of town.  He would not be able to devote much time to this effort for the next few weeks. A little progress was made here and there through the rest of June and I purchased boxes and packing material in July. I was a little apprehensive about shipping old open reel tapes and vinyl records during the hottest part of the summer anyway, so I just had to be patient. In early August progress was made and on the 13th I received the long-awaited email:

The last box is packed.  You’ll have a pallet coming that’s right around 400 pounds, perhaps a touch over.  Nine boxes to be delivered to the YRC terminal. 

Several more delays would still be encountered, not the lest of which was the local hardware store’s forklift needing repairs. The hardware store, for a $20 fee, would be used to lift the pallet onto the truck. At last, in early September, with all hurdles cleared, a newly-repaired forklift placed the shipment on to the truck. Finally, the second half of the Steventon estate’s Railroad Record Club items were on their way to me.

A few days later I heading to the local YRC terminal to receive the long-awaited shipment. After some paperwork in the office, I backed a borrowed ¾-ton pick-up truck to the indicated bay. Soon a forklift lowered the last of the Railroad Record Club items from the Steventon estate into the truck bed. I now had a night of treasure hunting to look forward to!

I had sort of “cherry picked” the first half of the estate, so I knew that a great unexpected find was rather doubtful, but I did come across a few surprises.

THE TAPES

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

2 Tapes appear to be in good condition

3 Tape with hand written track listing

3 Tape with hand written track listing

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

4 More unreleased Steventon audio

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

5 Lots of interesting material on these tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

6 Still more intersting tapes

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

7 Unreleased audio this is why I bought the whole lot

8 Steventon tapes

8 Steventon tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

9 More Stevnton tapes

10 Even more tapes

10 Even more tapes

11 Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

11 Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

12 Another view of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

12 Another view of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

13 A box full of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

13 A box full of the Small reels -the master tapes for the 78rpm records

14 Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

14 Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

15 Another Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

15 Another Close up of the 78rpm record master tapes

16 78rpm master tapes showing condition of tapes-not too bad

16 78rpm master tapes showing condition of tapes-not too bad

17 close up of 78rpm master tape showing condition

17 close up of 78rpm master tape showing condition

18 BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes with Steventon letter

18 BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes with Steventon letter

19 Montreal & South Counties tape with Steventon letter

19 Montreal & South Counties tape with Steventon letter

20 BC Electric tape with Steventon letter

20 BC Electric tape with Steventon letter

21 Close up of the BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes

21 Close up of the BC Electric and Montreal & South Counties tapes

22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

23 Master tape for record 26

23 Master tape for record 26

24 A stack of 22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

24 A stack of 22 Railroad Record Club Master tapes

25 master tape Railroad Record Club number 16

25 master tape Railroad Record Club number 16

26 master tape Railroad Record Club number 15

26 master tape Railroad Record Club number 15

27 master tape Railroad Record Club with memo

27 master tape Railroad Record Club with memo

28 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

28 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

29 master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

29 master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

30 Note on box containing master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

30 Note on box containing master tape Railroad Record Club number 18

31 Two master tapes for record number 3

31 Two master tapes for record number 3

32 Two master tapes for record number 3 showing condition

32 Two master tapes for record number 3 showing condition

33 master tape Railroad Record Club number 7

33 master tape Railroad Record Club number 7

34 master tapes Railroad Record Club number 10

34 master tapes Railroad Record Club number 10

35 master tape Railroad Record Club number 23 with memo

35 master tape Railroad Record Club number 23 with memo

36 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

36 master tape Railroad Record Club number 17

The reel to reel tapes that I had left behind last year were the real reason I went to all this trouble and expense to acquire the rest of the estate. I’m sure I did not get any of the tapes that were actually in Steventon’s recorder when he was trackside, but they may no longer exist. Perhaps he transferred these “field tapes” to newer tape stock, in an effort to preserve them and some of these duplicates are what I received. There is at least one recording I know he made that is not among my tapes. In the liner notes of Record Number 20, Steventon writes that the cab ride onboard NYC # 1441 with his father at the throttle was edited down from over two hours of tape. I would have been very happy to find 4 or 5 reels of tape marked “cab ride with Dad” but it was not to be. What I did find, however, is some very good and interesting stuff, most of which has never been released on a Railroad Record Club LP.

One tape that was a bit of a surprise was a 4″ reel of tape marked NYS&W. Of all the railroads in the New York area, why the Susquehanna? If he recorded this tape while in New York to ride and record the Queensboro Bridge trolley, which had to be prior to April 1957 when that line shut down, then why not record PRR K-4s on the New York & Long Branch which lasted until October of that year? Or all those electric locomotives on the NYC and NYNH&H? Perhaps he did record some or all these railroads and I just don’t have the tapes. Anything is possible, but I have found no evidence that he ever did. I’ll just have to wait until I have the NYS&W tape put on CD to find out just what the attraction may have been.

Other interesting finds include three 5″ reels of a fan trip operated by the Northern Pacific Railroad on June 20, 1957. 4-8-4 # 2686 pulled the train from St. Paul, MN to Staples. One tape is labeled “NP 2686-LV MPLS,” the second NP 2686 coal dock stop,” and the last, “NP 2686 LV Staples.” There was also a negative of the NP 2686 at Staples found among the photographs. Other steam and/or diesel tapes are labeled “CPR,” “NKP Ft. Wayne,” “N&W,” and “Soo Line.”

The traction fans among us will be happy to know there is plenty for them. The CNS&M has several tapes devoted to it. One tape is marked “CNS&M switching at Rondout and Mundelein”. There is a cut on Record 26 of locomotive # 459 switching at Rondout, but not at Mundelein. Another North Shore tape is marked “Mundelein Run” and another simply ” Mundelein”. One more CNS&M tape has “Electroliner” written on the box.

There is a tape marked “ITS 202”, apparently Steventon preferred Illinois Traction System to Illinois Terminal. On Record 25 Steventon wrote in the liner notes, “We had just arrived (at Harristown, IL) on interurban No. 202 where we had made an “on train” recording east from Springfield. We alighted and watched the 202 fade into the distance. This was the last sight and sound we had of the Illinois Terminal as an interurban. The “on train” recording of 202 and a streamliner is scheduled for release at a later date.” It never was. I don’t know about the streamliner recording, I may or may not have it, but I will consider it a privilege to be involved with releasing the 202 recording for him.

There are also tapes of the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City (CRANDIC), Charles City Western, Toledo & Eastern, and Capital Transit. Canadian traction fans are not overlooked either. There is a 5″ reel of the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway. There are also two 5″ reels, one each, of the BC Electric and the Montreal & Southern Counties. These two tapes were recorded by Eugene Van Dusen, and the accompanying letter to Steventon, plus a copy of it sent to Elwin Purington, were found among some RRC papers I have. Another reel of tape not recorded by Steventon is “Cincinnati Street Railway Car 187 12/13/51.” Finding this was a nice surprise. I don’t know who did record it, but Steventon did not start making recordings until 1953.

Here is the entire list of the tape reels, excluding 21/2″ reels which I’ll list separately, and the master tapes for the LPs,

REEL TO REEL TAPES

INFORMATION MARKED ON TAPE BOXES

4″ reels:

1. NYS&W

5″ reels:

1. CPR-J. Van Brocklin
2. Soo Line
3. T&E NKP Diesel-NKP Ft. Wayne
4. N&W
5. N&W from Salem
6. N&W Billy + Larry on end
7. NP 2686 Lv Mpls-6/20/57
8. NP 2686 coal dock stop
9. NP 2686 Lv Staples
10. B. C. Electric
11. Montreal & Southern Counties
12. Potomac Edison #5
13. Potomac Edison H&F last run radio program
14. CNS&M -switching at Rondout and Mundelein
15. Mundelein Run
16. Capital Transit co 1151
17. ITS car 202
18. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City 5/31/53
19. CCW 5/18/54*
20. CCW CC to Colwell
21. Toledo & Eastern
22. PRR GG-1s

7″ reels:

1. Railroading in Spooner Wisconsin
2. CNS&M Electroliner
3. N. St. C & Toronto
4. Johnstown Traction and Altoona & Logan Valley
5. Cincinnati Street Railway car 187 12/13/51

The next bunch of tapes are smaller reels. These 21/2″ reels are in their original manufacture’s boxes and are marked only with a Railroad name and a catalog number. The catalog numbers correspond with the catalog numbers on the 10″ 78rpm acetate records that I acquired with the first half of the estate. As producing these records was a very time-consuming task, Steventon saved time by making a master tape for each record. The master tape would contain his spoken introductions followed by the train sounds. I bought over sixty of these small master tapes, and a large number have never been put on the regular Railroad Record Club releases. They contain sounds of railroads I was completely unaware Steventon ever recorded, such as L&N, Southern, and Virginian. This collection also contains the Queensboro Bridge trolley, the IND subway, and the Third Avenue EL recordings Steventon made in New York City.

21/2″ reels:

1. Potomac Edison, 4 reels
2. Shenandoah Central, 2 reels
3. Capital Transit, 3 reels
4. Altoona & Logan Valley, 2 reels
5. B&O, 9 reels
6. Shaker Heights RT, 3 reels
7. PRR, 5 reels
8. NKP, 1 reel
9. St. Louis PS, 1 reel
10. Illinois Terminal, 2 reels
11. ICRR 3 reels
12. N&W, 1 reel
13. WM Rwy, 1 reel
14. Baltimore Transit, 2 reels
15. Senate Subway, 1 reel
16. Scranton Transit, 1 reel
17. Rochester Subway, 1 reel
18. CB&Q, 2 reels
19. Niagara, St. C & T, 2 reels
20. Virginian, 2 reels
21. Southern, 2 reels
22. Queensboro Bridge, 2 reels
23. Wabash, 1 reel
24. Third Ave. EL, 2 reels
25. Soo Line, 5 reels
26. L&N, 2 reels
27. St. Elizabeth Hospital, 1 reel (used steam switcher to move coal hoppers)
28. Omaha Road, 1 reel
29. NYC IND Subway, 1 reel
30. Unidentified, 4 reels

This is not a complete set of all the master tapes made for the 78rpm records to be sure, but it’s most of them. I consider it a small miracle that any survive at all! I am not an audio expert, but in my opinion, uninformed as it may be, these tapes appear to be in reasonably good condition. I would think that the tapes would be able to withstand a few more plays, enough to be digitized at least. Neither David nor I have the equipment to attempt this and I think it would be ill advised of us to try anyway. The tapes are old and were not stored in archival conditions. I’m sure the prudent course of action is to entrust any work on them to a professional.

The last batch of tapes are the master tapes made for the released Railroad Record Club LPs. There are different size reels, some tapes are only of one side of the LP while others have both sides on the same reel. Some are in good condition and some are not. Some I have multiple copies of and a few of the LPs I have no tapes for, Rather then make a complete list of every reel I will simply list the few LPs I have NO master tapes for.

No master tapes:

RRC 21
RRC 24
RRC 29
RRC 31
RRC SP-2
RRC SP-4
RRC SP-6

Most of these reels are 7″ with only a few smaller or larger. The most interesting master tapes are the reels for RRC 3 EBT/D&RGW. There are two 7″ reels that most likely have the original release version of the record, the one with William Steventon’s narration. There are also two 5″ reels, one marked “sounds only” and the other labeled “Narrative.” Since Steventon removed his voice from the 12″reissue of the record, the “Narrative” tape must contain just the voice of Elwin Purington doing the new narration.

I’m not sure just what to do with these master tapes. Some are in rough shape and all these sounds are on the released Railroad Record Club LPs. It certainly would be a considerable expense to digitize them all and no new sounds would be gained. For now, I’ll store them in the best possible conditions that I can provide and perhaps one day a clear path of action will present itself.

MOVIE FILMS

1 Steventon Film that should be all trains

1 Steventon Film that should be all trains

2 Capital Transit B&W Night Film

2 Capital Transit B&W Night Film

3 Steventon film

3 Steventon film

4 Pennsy and B&O film

4 Pennsy and B&O film

5 Back of Kodachrome box

5 Back of Kodachrome box

6 Front of kodachrome box

6 Front of kodachrome box

I found several rolls of 16mm movie film within the boxes of audio tapes. Fortunately, Steventon was very good at labeling everything. He inserted little slips of paper into the film boxes listing the contents of the films. Unfortunately, the majority are family home movies. Most are of Steventon’s son Seth. His first day of school, Christmases, and birthday parties. There were six 100-foot reels that should be all trains.

16mm movies;

1. 100-foot reel but only about 50 feet of film. Labeled “Pennsy Fan Trip and B&O near Riverdale.”
2. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “Canada Term”. I’m not sure what that is supposed to indicate. I unspooled a few feet of film and the first few frames are without a doubt a steeple cab locomotive.
3. 100-foot reel, full, B&W, labeled “Cap Transit Night Film.”
4. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “EBT Reel 1.”
5. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “EBT Reel 2.”
6. 100-foot reel, full, labeled “Negative 1R Freight” Also written on box “bad footage.”

PRINT BLOCKS

1 Selection of print blocks

1 Selection of print blocks

2 More print blocks

2 More print blocks

3 Still more print blocks

3 Still more print blocks

4. Print block for very early RRC traction logo

4. Print block for very early RRC traction logo

5. Railroad Record Club logo print block

5. Railroad Record Club logo print block

6 Another style Railroad Record Club logo print block

6 Another style Railroad Record Club logo print block

7 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction

7 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction

8 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction in two sizes

8 Interurban car fron LP Sound Scrapbook-Traction in two sizes

9 PRR steamer from 1st edition of RRC 10 in two sizes

9 PRR steamer from 1st edition of RRC 10 in two sizes

10 D&RGW locomotive from the 1st edition of the LP the Siverton Train

10 D&RGW locomotive from the 1st edition of the LP the Siverton Train

11A Print block for NKP LP

11A Print block for NKP LP

12 Ad for RRC 25

12 Ad for RRC 25

13 Ad for RRC 25 reversed

13 Ad for RRC 25 reversed

14 Print block for large ad

14 Print block for large ad

15 Print block for large ad reversed

15 Print block for large ad reversed

16 Ad for traction watch fobs

16 Ad for traction watch fobs

17 Ad for steam LPs

17 Ad for steam LPs

18 Ad for steam LPs reversed

18 Ad for steam LPs reversed

19 Strange RRC ad

19 Strange RRC ad

20 Strange RRC ad printed version

20 Strange RRC ad printed version

I also acquired a good number of print blocks, which are mostly quite small and were used in the RRC advertisements.  I have a bunch of print blocks of the LP covers, all about the size of a postage stamp. They were used in ads and in the catalogs. There are a few complete ads that mostly feature a single record release. One large ad of interest is a very 1960’s, almost psychedelic illustration of a steam locomotive looming over a record player. Smoke is shooting from it’s stack and entwined within the billows of smoke are such things as a whistle blowing, a box cab electric locomotive, and a steam train. LPs are seen flying through the air and the words “steam and electric recordings” in twisted snake-like lettering fills the upper portion. Wild and unexpected. I would certainly like to know if this ad ever appeared anywhere in print.

I did not make a list of these small print blocks, there are just too many. I did photograph a representative selection of them. These photos will give a good idea of what is in the collection.

RECORDS

1 41 copies of RRC 3

1 41 copies of RRC 3

2 18 copies of RRC 5

2 18 copies of RRC 5

3 RCA test pressing for Sound Scrapbook Steam showing notation on upper left of sleeve

3 RCA test pressing for Sound Scrapbook Steam showing notation on upper left of sleeve

4 RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal one of only 3 good discs

4 RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal one of only 3 good discs

5 Back of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

5 Back of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

6 Close up of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

6 Close up of RCA test pressing for Illinois Terminal

7 Close up of RCA test pressing for NKP

7 Close up of RCA test pressing for NKP

8 RCA test pressing for CN showing damage

8 RCA test pressing for CN showing damage

9 Metal press stamp

9 Metal press stamp

10 Metal press stamp with cardboard sleeve

10 Metal press stamp with cardboard sleeve

11 RRC Nashville Metal press stamp

11 RRC Nashville Metal press stamp

12 Metal press stamps in cardboard sleeves for RRC4 B&O

12 Metal press stamps in cardboard sleeves for RRC4 B&O

13 3 RRC Nashville Metal press stamps

13 3 RRC Nashville Metal press stamps

14 Metal press stamp for RRC LP

14 Metal press stamp for RRC LP

15 Railroad Record Club SP-4 boxes and sleeves

15 Railroad Record Club SP-4 boxes and sleeves

16 Record jackets for each of the 3 records in the SP-4 set

16 Record jackets for each of the 3 records in the SP-4 set

17 Label for 1st edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

17 Label for 1st edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

18 Label for 2nd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

18 Label for 2nd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

19 Label for 3rd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

19 Label for 3rd edition of record 1 side 1 of RRC-SP4

Since the estate dealer would only sell me the tapes unless I bought the entire lot, including the remainder of the RRC LP stock, I had no choice but to buy them. I’ll admit I would not have wanted to see all these mint condition, still sealed LPs go in the trash, but what am I going to do with them and where am I going to store them? These questions I’m still contemplating. However, these concerns are secondary to preserving and digitizing the tapes. I have a few options, I can rent a table at a few railroadiania swap meets, contact a few local hobby stores and see if they are willing to sell some, and David and I have been thinking of making them available through the blog.

I’ll have to carefully consider my options. It would be nice to make a little of my money back and put it towards digitizing tapes. For the record, here is a list of the 12″ remasters. They are all still sealed and, for the most part, in mint condition. A few may have a bend or crease in the jackets and a few copies of RRC 20 have brown water stains in the lower right corner.

12″ remaster LPs:

41 copies of RRC 3, EBT/D&RGW
18 copies of RRC 5, D7rgw
36 copies of RRC 8 CN
29 copies of RRC 3 15, CB&Q
34 copies of RRC 16, Westside Lumber
25 copies of RRC 20, NYC/C&IM (6 copies have water damage)
15 copies of RRC 26, CNS&M Freight
22 copies of RRC 29, NKP 779

Included with the unsold record stock were several mint copies of the original 10″ LPs:

10″ LPs:
1 copy RRC 2, WCF&N
1 copy RRC 4, B&O
2 copies of RRC 5, D&RGW
1 copy RRC 7, N&W
1 copy RRC 8, CN
1 copy RRC 10, PRR
1 copy RRC 16, Westside Lumber
1 copy RRC 17, Soo Line
1 copy RRC 19, DM&IR
1 copy RRC 20, NYC/C&IM
8 copies of RRC 28, Charles City Western
1 copy RRC 29, NKP 779
1 copy RRC SP-2 NP 2626

Twenty-four RCA test pressing were included in the sale, ten 12″ pressings and fourteen 10″. All these pressings are stamped on one side only and on the paper sleeve of two of the 12″ pressings there is a hand-written note: “Masters will be 12 inch”. This is the one rather disheartening part of the story. All but three of these test pressings are in very poor condition. The accrete has flaked off in large chips. When I removed the disc from the paper sleeve to determine its condition, a black snowfall often resulted. I’m not sure what to do with these, they are really just trash now. I will photograph the label of each one for my archive but after that, I just don’t know. The three good discs are two 12″ pressings for both sides of RRC 15, CB&Q. It’s lucky that the only undamaged 12″ RCA test pressings are for the two sides of the same record. The one good 10″ disc is for side 2 of RRC 25, Illinois Terminal.

The metal stamping plates vary in condition. I was able to inspect these plates while at the dealer’s property last July, so I knew what to expect. I turned them down last year to save my money for what I considered the good stuff, the artwork and 78rpm records. All the original RCA stamp plates were lost in 1973, necessitating the 12″ remaster program. These plates are the Nashville-made stamps made in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. As I remember it, all 17 master plates were in the dealer’s warehouse. I only looked at them briefly but the top few were scratched and dented. Now, if I wanted the tapes, I had to buy them. Here I did a little dealing. Since these plates were a bit heavier than the records and I was paying for shipment by the pound, I convinced the dealer to choose a few of the stamps that were in the best condition. Those in poor condition he would not charge me for and he could discard them. The archivist in me wanted to save them all, but compromises must occasionally be made.

In all I got twelve of these stamps, five are 14″ and 7 are 12″.

I ended up with a bunch of returned records as well. Numbering somewhere around fifteen or twenty, these records were returned by buyers dissatisfied with them.  Most of them have a note attached with the buyer’s name and his complaint. Things such as scratches, surface noise, and various clicks and pops were the most often cited reasons for the return.

An interesting find was various copies of the records that comprise the three-record set of SP-4. I was able to put together a set of each of the three pressings this set had. A surprise was a set of these records not in the display box that they came in, but in three separate record jackets. Each jacket had the same drawing of CSS&SB MU #108 that appeared on the box lid. Perhaps this was some sort of test printing or the original idea for the jackets. I may never know but I’m sure it is a unique set.

PHOTOGRAPHS

NP 4-8-4 2686

NP 4-8-4 2686

CA&E Elgin train on street in Aurora IL 1931

CA&E Elgin train on street in Aurora IL 1931

Capital Transit PCC and bus Catholic University

Capital Transit PCC and bus Catholic University

D&RGW 476 locomotive featured on SP-1

D&RGW 476 locomotive featured on SP-1

D&RGW 481

D&RGW 481

Des Moines & Central Iowa car 1710

Des Moines & Central Iowa car 1710

EBT 15 on a rainy day very likely while record 3 was being recorded

EBT 15 on a rainy day very likely while record 3 was being recorded

Evansville & Ohio Valley car 134

Evansville & Ohio Valley car 134

Ill Terminal car 285

Ill Terminal car 285

Ill Terminal local on Caldwell Hill East Pearia about 1936

Ill Terminal local on Caldwell Hill East Pearia about 1936

Indiana box car 550

Indiana box car 550

Indiana RR 752 waiting for loads at mine scale

Indiana RR 752 waiting for loads at mine scale

Indiana RR car 64

Indiana RR car 64

Indiana RR car 93 at Anderson IN September 4 1938

Indiana RR car 93 at Anderson IN September 4 1938

Indiana RR Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana RR Vigo with rails ripped out.

Interstate car 711 ex-IPSC 427 September 3 1939

Interstate car 711 ex-IPSC 427 September 3 1939

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle June 3 1939

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle June 3 1939

Interurban car 44 and REA truck Rosslyn VA

Interurban car 44 and REA truck Rosslyn VA

MC&CL RR car 34

MC&CL RR car 34

MC&CL Steeple cab 52

MC&CL Steeple cab 52

Nice right of way photo but no info other than date March 31 1936

Nice right of way photo but no info other than date March 31 1936

S T F Co RR 54 Farmington MO

S T F Co RR 54 Farmington MO

Unidentified car and person

Unidentified car and person

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive photo 2

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive photo 2

Waterloo Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 this car is featured on RRC 2

Waterloo Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 this car is featured on RRC 2

Here again I had to do a little dealing. I went quickly through the box of Steventon photos last year, choosing about 20 photos to purchase. The box contained a mix of railroad photos and family snap shots. The family photos outnumbered the trains. Again, I did not want to pay for, or have the added weight of photos that were just going to be tossed away. Steventon’s son was the one who sold all this family history in the first place, so I saw no reason to try and get it back to him. The dealer agreed to sort the photos and sell and ship only railroad photos. He would discard the unwanted photos.

In all there are 135 photos of railroad equipment, mostly traction subjects. Some have complete caption information, and some have nothing. There are 23 photos of active traction right-of-ways but no caption information. 24 photos of abandoned traction right-of-ways have no captions. I cannot be sure if it is a “before” and “after” series of 27 photos. I also received 11 steam negatives, the aforementioned NP 4-8-4 # 2686 (two almost identical shots at Staples, MN) and several D&RGW narrow gauge roster photos. There is one EBT negative and a shot of a steam tractor.  I haven’t had time to scan all of these photos yet, but they will appear in the Trolley Dodger as I do. For now, here are a few scans to whet your appetite.

DOCUMENTS

Stack of prints of Soo 2715

Stack of prints of Soo 2715

VHS VIDEO TAPES 

There was one last surprise waiting for me. There are eight VHS video tapes in the estate lot, seven of which were professionally produced programs of traction subjects, several of which Steventon provided audio for. One tape on a store-bought blank was labeled simply “Railroad Programs”. I thought it was most likely a tape of TV shows about trains, but I popped it in the player just to see. It turned out to be a recording of a presentation that Steventon made to a local historical society. The video quality is bad, but you can hear everything he says perfectly.

It’s all really basic stuff, what you would expect him to present to a general audience. Such things as the appeal of a steam locomotive, the nicknames of various railroad job positions like “Hogger” for engineer etc.  He then gets into the “sound portion” of his talk. He has a reel to reel tape player with him, and he explains the use of whistle signals and then plays a cut of a B&O EM-1 from Record number 4, noting the “two longs-a short-and another long” signal for a road crossing. He then goes into how a steam locomotive gains traction. Here he plays the sequence of SOO Line 2718 backing off the wye track from the intro record. He stops the tape at places to note the change in the locomotive’s sound and what that indicates to the engineer. Next, he talks about the use of torpedoes as a signaling device and plays a cut from Record number 8. He never says that these sounds are from his records. In fact, he never mentions that he ever sold records and the Railroad Record Club is not once referenced.

He eventually brings out a chart of steam locomotive wheel arrangements.  He walks out of frame with it, but you can still hear what he is saying. At some point someone thinks to pan the camera around, but the view is only the back of the chart!

By the time he finishes with the chart, the program has gone on for about 40 minutes. Now he introduces “Whistle ‘Round the Bend” and plays the entire record, all 30 minutes. While the camera never moves during this, and Steventon just sits there listening, it’s a bit of a poignant moment. The video quality, as I said, is poor, and he is in the center of a wide shot, but it’s still possible to see that he is moved by the words and sounds he his hearing.

While little information is given about how, where, or when the sounds he played were recorded a little more personal stuff is revealed. He tells of the day in 1936 that his mother died. His father was at work and needed to get home. The NYC put every opposing train on the siding and he had green signals the whole way. He also tells us that he was a sickly child and his father took him onboard the locomotive with him, even against the rules, because he wanted to spend time with him, and make William happy, as the doctors said he may not survive into adulthood.  With this video I was able to “know” William Steventon just a little bit better.

As I have these tapes put on to CD, they will be offered for sale in the online store. I bought these tapes not to just save them from destruction, but to have them made available to everyone who may be interested. I think that is perhaps the best way to ensure these historic sounds are preserved. Not just as a tribute to the people who recorded them who are now gone, but to ensure these sounds will endure to instruct and entertain future railfans long after we are gone too.

-Kenneth Gear

New Steam Audio CD:

FTS
Farewell To Steam
Mister D’s Machine
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

Farewell To Steam
On February 6, 1955 the Santa Fe Railway ran a railfan train from Los Angeles to Barstow and back for the Railway Club of Southern California. This was Santa Fe’s last run powered by a steam locomotive over this route. The engine was a 4-8-4, #3759. We have used the original, rare 1955 mono version of this recording, and not the later 1958 reissue that had a bunch of echo added to create a fake stereo effect.

Mister D’s Machine
When diesel locomotives replaced steam in the 1950s, they offered a multitude of different sounds. This original 1963 stereo recording showcases the many sounds of diesels on the San Joaquin and Los Angeles Divisions of the Southern Pacific, including the Tahachappi Loop, an engineering feat that made modern railroading famous.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 72:56

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year 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:

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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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William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club

William Steventon

William Steventon

Today’s post is the first of two by Kenneth Gear, long a friend of this blog. We have great news to report– Ken has finally been able to purchase all the remaining Railroad Record Club items from the dealer that purchased them many years ago from the estate of William A. Steventon, who died 25 years ago.

Ken details all that in another post, Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2. These new discoveries have enabled him to offer what is, to my knowledge, the first-ever comprehensive and factual history of William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club.

Thanks in great part to Ken’s dedication and persistence, you can find practically all the RRC’s 10″ and 12″ output, now digitized on compact discs for the 21st century, in our Online Store. We thank him for these efforts, and hope you will too.

-David Sadowski

INTRODUCTION

As regular readers of this blog know, David and I have been gathering bits and pieces of information about the Railroad Record Club and its founder, William A. Steventon. We wanted to get a better understanding of what went into making these records, and to put together a history of the club. David started the ball rolling in April 2015 when he wrote the first Trolley Dodger post about it. As soon as I read that post I jumped aboard having been interested in the subject for some time. Together we finally managed to accumulate enough separate fragments of the story so that when we put it all together, it formed an accurate outline of the events leading up to the formation of the club and offered some insight into its operation. We were also able to build a brief biological sketch of Mr. Steventon.

Separately David and I looked for any resource that might reveal some small bit of new information. We read liner notes, club newsletters, and we looked through back issues of magazines in search of RRC ads. We collected order blanks, and I purchased copies of records I already owned because they had club inserts tucked away in the jackets. I researched the meaning of the matrix codes engraved in the lead out grooves of the LPs to more accurately date them. We studied artwork and found some of Steventon’s personal correspondences.  Everything came together when I purchased a large collection of Railroad Record Club items from Steventon’s estate. Combing through this material finally gave us enough information so that David and I could piece together the Railroad Record Club story you are about to read.

There are still unanswered questions to be sure and there are also missing recordings. We haven’t been able to secure copies of the 5th and 6th year sampler records. We also can only speculate on how, to whom, and at what cost these sampler records were distributed.

If any readers have any RRC material, please contact David. We only ask for a scan of any paper work or leads you may be able to offer as to who might be able to help. Thank you.

I have recently been able to purchase the last of the Steventon estate items I left behind last year (more on that in A Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt, Part 2) and with luck David and I will be able to put together a few more pieces of the Railroad Record Club puzzle.

WILLIAM STEVENTON & THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB 

William A. Steventon was born in 1921 in Mount Carmel, Illinois, son of a locomotive engineer on the Big Four Railroad (New York Central). As a child he spent much of his time around the red brick passenger station and wooden freight house across from Main Street. The family eventually moved to Cairo, Illinois and there he would often ride in the locomotive cab with his father. In the liner notes to Record number 20- NYC/C&IM while describing an in-cab recording made with his father at the throttle, Steventon reminisces about his boyhood days spent there:

“It is strange that this recording should remind me of something that I had almost forgotten. If I hadn’t heard my father pull a whistle cord in 50 years, and in the distance I should hear a certain whistle, I would know that it was him. This recording also reminds me of the many times I had waited as a youngster for him to whistle near Cherry switch to let us know he was coming home from a north-end run. It reminds me of the many times I have walked down Washington Street in Cairo and heard him whistling in the yards.”

After serving in World War II Steventon married and took a government job. He and his wife settled in the Washington DC area and it is here that the Railroad Record Club story begins.

It all began when Steventon’s wife gave him a record of Railroad sound effects as a Christmas gift, most likely in 1952. While he was interested in the concept of recorded train sounds, he was very dissatisfied with this record. He was convinced that the sounds were not those of actual trains, that they were train “effects” created in a recording studio.  He wanted sound recordings of REAL trains. He purchased one of the new reel to reel tape recorders that had recently become available and in March 1953, set out to make his first railroad sound recordings.

First recording

First recording

The first recording he made was along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at the Riverdale, Maryland passenger station (MP 32.4 on the Washington Branch). As best as can be determined, the first train he recorded was # 523 the “MARYLANDER” powered by an EMD diesel (he did not make note of the locomotive number). His second train was powered by steam but in his haste to hear the recording immediately after making it, he accidently partially erased it! He wrote about his frustration in an article for TRACTION & MODELS Magazine:

“When we made our very first recording in 1953 we took the equipment to Riverdale, Maryland and recorded a steamer thundering past the B&O station. When it was gone we stopped the recorder, rewound the tape and played it back. Nothing happened-the tape was silent. we waited thinking that the steamer wasn’t within “hearing distance” as yet, but when it became evident that we should be hearing the sound, we investigated.  In our enthusiasm to “get recording” we had failed to become familiar with our equipment. Instead of pushing the playback key, we had pushed the record key and were erasing the sound we had just recorded.”

That partially erased recording, as well as the others he made that night, were discovered on a 78rpm acetate record in his estate. It is included on the Trolley Dodger Railroad Record Club Rarities Steam & Diesel CD.

During the next few years, Steventon made numerous railroad sound recordings, both in and around Washington DC and on trips to visit family in Illinois. Near Washington DC he recorded the streetcars of the Capital Transit Company, steam & diesels on the B&O, and Pennsy GG-1s. He even recorded the sounds of the Senate Subway. He made trips to Maryland to record the Western Maryland, the Hagerstown & Frederick interurban cars and freight box motors, and he rode and recorded the Baltimore streetcars. In Pennsylvania he recorded mainline steam on the PRR, revenue steam on the East Broad Top, and made extensive recordings of the Johnstown Traction Company and the Altoona & Logan Valley. In Illinois he captured the sounds of the New York Central, Chicago & Illinois Midland, Nickel Plate, Illinois Central, and Chicago Burlington & Quincy among others. He did recordings of the passenger and freight operations of the Midwestern electric railways including the Illinois Terminal, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, Chicago Aurora & Elgin and even recorded an entire run of Chicago South Shore & South Bend M.U. car # 108 from Chicago to South Bend. In Iowa he added the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, Southern Iowa, Cedar Rapids & Iowa City and Charles City Western. In his travels he made recordings of the Pacific Electric, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Wabash, Soo Line, Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge, and Norfolk & Western. In a 1958 newspaper interview he stated he had traveled to fifteen states to record train sounds. It is quite an extensive output and not all of it has been pressed into vinyl or released on tape or CD.

All this recording did not come easily. Dragging the equipment from home to car and from car to trackside required the help of at least one other person. Steventon wrote about the difficulty of using this bulky equipment in the field:

“We had a 12-volt auto battery for the primary power source, a 12 v.d.c. to 110 v.a.c. rotary converter, a reel to reel recorder plus a satchel of extra equipment, tapes, and assorted material. Two men could struggle with all this equipment, but it required three men to carry everything with any degree of ease and mobility. In addition, we normally carried a battery charger for use with keeping the battery up to par during the night. This could be left in the auto during the day but was a very necessary part of our total equipment requirement.”

It is a wonder anyone was able to record anything, considering the burden it must have been to get all this stuff trackside. It makes one grateful for the ability to record high quality sound and high definition video with just a tiny cell phone as we can do today.

Steventon eventually took a job as manager of the Cream Valley Telephone Company and he and his wife moved to Hawkins, Wisconsin. There he would continue to make railroad sound recordings, start a family. and create the Railroad Record Club.

Doing all this traveling and making these recordings invariably put him in contact with like-minded people. It is safe to assume that they would want to trade and share the recordings they made with each other. In the mid-1950s this was no easy task. Modern home audio systems, as we think of them now, simply did not exist. The problem was made even worse if recordings were to be shared or sold to someone who did not make recordings themselves and therefore did not own a reel to reel tape player/recorder. While most people at the time did not own a tape player, a phonograph could be found in most homes.

Steventon pre-RRC 78rpm records

Steventon pre-RRC 78rpm records

If Steventon wanted to give or sell his recordings to many other people, they would have to be put onto phonograph records. This too, wouldn’t be easy. The solution was to procure a portable disc cutter. These machines became available for home use starting in about 1929 and were most often used to record things off the radio. The standard record format of the time was a disc ten inches in diameter and made of aluminum covered with acetate. The 78rpm playing speed yielded no more than five minutes of content per side. These records had to be made in real time and the record blanks were quite heavy compared to a modern vinyl record. To distill more and varied content on these homemade records, he spliced together all sorts of bits and pieces and recorded brief introductions to tell listeners what they were about to hear. He conceived a catalog numbering system and had rubber stamps made for the most popular titles, the rest having hand-written labels. Steventon produced an extraordinary amount of records this way. Finding a sizable collection of these acetate records in the Steventon estate reveled just how extensive the output was. Although a complete catalog listing of these records can not presently be made, the following partial list is still very impressive.

01. Potomac Edison (aka Hagerstown & Frederick)
02. Shenandoah Central
03. Capital Transit
04. Johnstown Traction
05. Altoona & Logan Valley
06. Baltimore & Ohio
07. Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
08. Claude Mahoney Radio Program about NRHS fantrip (1953)
09. Pennsylvania Railroad
10. Nickel Plate Road
11. St. Louis Public Service
12. Illinois Terminal
13. Illinois Central
16. Norfolk & Western
17. Western Maryland Railway
18. Baltimore Transit
19. Senate Subway (Washington, DC)
21. Rochester Subway
22. East Broad Top
23. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
24. Chicago & Illinois Midland
25. Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto
26. Virginian
28. Queensboro Bridge
29. Wabash
30. 3rd Avenue Elevated
31. Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste Marie
32. Louisville & Nashville
34. St Elizabeth’s Hospital (hospital in Washington DC that used a 0-4-0T to move coal from the B&O.)
37. Independent Subway

It is worth noting that this numbering sequence is totally different from the later one adopted for the 10” records issued later.

Things were apparently going well for Steventon’s railroad record enterprise for a while but things were about to change. Long playing 33 1/3 rpm records made of lighter materials and with improved sound were beginning to gain in popularity. Record blanks and parts for the disc cutter would undoubtedly become harder to get. Steventon needed to have his records made by a professional record pressing company to continue selling them. Steventon would have to make new master tapes for each release because the new records, although still 10”, could hold fifteen minutes of sound on each side-a full half-hour altogether. This would be the equivalent of more then five of the old acetates. He would forgo, for the most part, his spoken introductions and provide printed notes on the cardboard record jackets. These notes could be pretty sparse at first, containing little more than the railroad and locomotive number.

RRC intro record

RRC intro record

RRC INTRO old SP5

RRC INTRO old SP5

Bill Steventon recording compressor noise on CNS&M interurban

Bill Steventon recording compressor noise on CNS&M interurban

Eventually he began to write extensive notes on separate sheets of paper that were inserted into the record jackets. In time, the first completed master tape was sent off to the RCA Custom Record facility in Indianapolis, Indiana and soon afterward the first official Railroad Record Club LP came into being. The record was titled simply INTRODUCTORY RECORD and carried no catalog number. Side one contained the sounds of Soo Line 4-6-2 # 2718 powering an August, 1955 fan trip between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Illinois Central 0-8-0 # 3509 switching at Centralia, Illinois was featured on the flip side. A look at the first four characters in the matrix code engraved into the lead-out grooves of a first edition of this record, G8OL, gives the following information: First is the date code-G indicates the record was manufactured in 1956, then the label code-8 showing it was a custom job that was re-recorded from the client’s source material. Next is the category code-O meaning it is a phonograph record, and the fourth character-L denoted the size, speed & groove, 10”, mono, & 331/3 rpm. The final numbers 0479 for side one and 0480 on side two were simply sequence numbers. The Introductory Record was therefore available for sale sometime in 1956 or perhaps 1957.

He made the decision to sell these new records not as a regular mail order business, but as a club. The club membership idea may have been the direct result of the expense associated with this new endeavor. He had to have the records pressed by RCA which required metal master plates to be made. Cardboard record jackets had to be purchased and be printed with photographs or drawings. Tape stock had to be bought for the making of the new master tapes. All in all, this must have been a considerable expense. Selling the records through a club meant that the members were required to purchase a set number of records and paying for them in advance, thereby guaranteeing he would get some return on all this investment. The club worked like this: Four records would be offered per year. Members could buy the records at the discounted price of $4 each providing they maintained membership by purchasing at least three of the selections. Membership expired upon the purchase of one year’s group. There were no membership dues, but records were paid for in advance to provide the necessary money to have the metal masters made.  Special pressings could be purchased at club prices but were not counted toward the three-record minimum. Non-members could buy individual LPs at $5.25 each. $4.00 for a LP record sounds like a bargain but remember those $4 in 1958 had the same buying power as $34.72 in 2018! These Records weren’t cheap. According to a 1958 interview he gave to the Milwaukee Sentinel, the club started off very well. The article stated that there were some 200 club members through out the United States and several foreign countries including New Zealand, Australia, England and Canada. It goes on to state he has already sold 1,000 records.

Steventon continued to sell his records through the yearly club membership plan until October 1965 when the club membership requirement was withdrawn. The records would now be sold separately and at the same price to everyone.

From 1957 with the release of the Introductory record until October 1965 when the last regularly scheduled production of a Railroad Record Club release (Record number 32-New York Central) was offered, Steventon produced thirty-two regular club releases and three special pressings. One more release, SP-4-CSS&SB would be released later that year. Afterwards, Steventon released Records Numbers 33-36 and special pressings numbers SP-5 (a reissue of the introductory record) and the last all new Railroad Record Club record in 1983, number SP-6 Milwaukee Road box cab electrics. Each record was simply numbered in the order it was produced.

RAILROAD RECORD CLUB TITLES
0 Soo Line, Illinois Central (Introductory Record)
1 Wabash Railroad, Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha
2 Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, Southern Iowa Railway
3 Denver, Rio Grande & Western, East Broad Top
4 Baltimore and Ohio
5 Denver & Rio Grande Western
6 Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick)
7 Norfolk & Western, Illinois Central (Also includes a bit of Illinois Terminal Railroad)
8 Canadian National (aka Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam)
9 Winston-Salem Southbound
10 Pennsylvania Railroad
11 Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
12 Duluth Missabe & Iron Range
13 Nickel Plate Road
14 Pacific Electric
15 Chicago, Burlington & Quincy