Finishing The Rest of the Story

CSL 4001 in service on route 22 Clark-Wentworth.

CSL 4001 in service on route 22 Clark-Wentworth.

Our new e-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story is finally 100% finished. The discs are being made, and all current orders will be shipped within the next couple of days. (Editor’s note: all orders have now been shipped as of July 12th.)

We know that many of our devoted readers have been patiently awaiting this new work. We kept finding more new things to add, in our quest to give you, the reader, the maximum value for your $19.95 investment.

One addition was a tribute to the late Alan R. Lind, author of Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History. The book is dedicated to him.

Several important photographs recently came to light, and these have been added to the book. Some are reproduced here in this post, and they are significant additions.

These include a rare photo of experimental CSL car 4001 in revenue service. There are very few such pictures, since this streetcar (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) was, in the words of Frank Hicks, a “hangar queen.” Since this car was different than any other that CSL had, a dedicated crew was assigned to it, and apparently proved rather temperamental to operate.

By comparison, car 7001, built by J. G. Brill, saw more use and was much closer to the eventual design used for the PCC streetcar starting in 1936. It is somehow ironic that Brill never built any PCCs. The firm had a policy of not paying royalties to other companies, and their “Brilliner” was a failure in the marketplace. Few were sold.

Another last-minute addition is a photo showing CSL prewar PCC 4021 in service. This is the only survivor from the prewar fleet, and 4021 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story includes my 59-page essay of 18,571 words, covering various Chicago PCC topics, including the mysterious 1937 “Green Book” that some claimed formed the blueprint for the Chicago Transit Authority; the CTA’s 10-year modernization program; transit unification; the red ink of the the CTA’s early years; an important 1951 consultant report that recommended keeping the PCCs, converted to one-man operation; how the 1952 purchase of the Motor Coach Company seems to have played a role in the decision to get rid of the PCCs; how the math of the PCC Conversion Program just doesn’t add up; and much more.

There are special sections with more than 325 rare high-quality images, none of which appear in the recently published CERA Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. We urge everyone to purchase a copy of this important book, the most important book about Chicago streetcars to be published in the last 40 years, if you have not already secured your copy. You can purchase it online directly from CERA.*

Our new e-book comes on a single DVD data disc and is playable on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free download.

In addition to the text and pictures, there is more than 3,500 pages of bonus material, including 176 different historical newspaper and magazine articles, and several entire complete research books. You can read all the CTA Annual Reports from 1945 to 1976, the entire 12-volume Metropolitan Transit Research series by Chicago Transit Board member Werner W. Schroeder, various other 1950s CTA publications, the CTA 10-Year Modernization Plan, the 1941, 1948, 1952 and 1954 track maps, and much more.

This e-book should appeal to anyone interested in Chicago’s PCC streetcars. It gives what the late Paul Harvey used to call the “rest of the story.”

You can purchase your copy for just $19.95 from our Online Store using either PayPal or a debit or credit card. Shipping within the United States is free.

We thank everyone for their patience in waiting for the completion of this new addition to the slender shelf of Chicago streetcar publications.

Every dollar you spend on our products goes to help cover the costs of doing this important original research. We have other exciting new projects in the works. Besides buying our products, you can also make donations via our Online Store.

Many people tell us how much they enjoy this blog, and the pictures and videos we present. With your help, we will continue to give you more great images, and the stories behind them.

We thank you for your support.

-David Sadowski

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

CTA 7267 heads southbound on route 36 in August 1954. The location is around 1100 N. State Street, and we are looking north.

CTA 7267 heads southbound on route 36 in August 1954. The location is around 1100 N. State Street, and we are looking north.

1100 N. State Street as it looks today.

1100 N. State Street as it looks today.

CTA 4016 pulls into the terminal at Western and 79th on route 49.

CTA 4016 pulls into the terminal at Western and 79th on route 49.

CTA 4015 near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.

CTA 4015 near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.

CTA 4011 northbound on private right-of-way around Cottage Grove near 99th Street on route 4.

CTA 4011 northbound on private right-of-way around Cottage Grove near 99th Street on route 4.

Cottage Grove and 99th Street today. We are looking north.

Cottage Grove and 99th Street today. We are looking north.

Union Street Railway 610, an Osgood-Bradley “Electromobile,” built in 1929, shown in New Bedford, MA.

Union Street Railway 610, an Osgood-Bradley “Electromobile,” built in 1929, shown in New Bedford, MA.

A New York “Bluebird” articulated compartment car in service in 1949.

A New York “Bluebird” articulated compartment car in service in 1949.

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CTA articulated set 5002 in April 1949, in Garfield-Westchester service. George Foelschow says, "5002 is shown eastbound on CA&E owned track between Austin and Central with the wilds of Columbus Park in the background. The track map indicates a crossover and the interchange track with the B&OCT. Note the switch stands."

CTA articulated set 5002 in April 1949, in Garfield-Westchester service. George Foelschow says, “5002 is shown eastbound on CA&E owned track between Austin and Central with the wilds of Columbus Park in the background. The track map indicates a crossover and the interchange track with the B&OCT. Note the switch stands.”

CTA trolley bus 9754 at the west end of the Irving Park route.

CTA trolley bus 9754 at the west end of the Irving Park route.

CTA 4006 in the turnaround loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett.

CTA 4006 in the turnaround loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett.

The current CTA bus loop at 63rd Place and Armon Schmidt Road (Narragansett).

The current CTA bus loop at 63rd Place and Armon Schmidt Road (Narragansett).

A CTA handout from 1948. These were put on transit vehicles in a holder marked “read as you ride.”

CSL 4021 at Madison and Canal in the 1940s. The only prewar Chicago PCC that survives, this car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (B. H. Nichols Photo)

CSL 4021 at Madison and Canal in the 1940s. The only prewar Chicago PCC that survives, this car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (B. H. Nichols Photo)

CTA 4409 heads north on State near Harrison on route 36, July 22, 1955.

CTA 4409 heads north on State near Harrison on route 36, July 22, 1955.

CTA 4035 heads south at Clark and Harrison on route 22 in the mid-1950s.

CTA 4035 heads south at Clark and Harrison on route 22 in the mid-1950s.

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The finished product.

The finished product.

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Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story

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Trolley Dodger Press is proud to announce the publication of Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, an E-book on data disc.

At its peak, the Chicago Surface Lines operated 3100 streetcars over the largest such system in the world. This included 683 modern PCC streetcars, which ran between 1936 and 1958.

The publication this month of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Era, 1936-1958 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association is an important addition to the historical record. This lavishly illustrated 448-page book includes hundreds of great pictures of Chicago’s PCC streetcars and is a must-have for all serious railfans. If you have not already done so, we urge you to purchase a copy directly from CERA, before it is completely sold out.*

Besides being a picture book, CERA Bulletin 146 includes a detailed history of the rise and fall of the modern streetcar in Chicago. However, as comprehensive as this book is, Chicago streetcars are such a vast subject that it is likely impossible for anyone to have the “last word.” Even in a book as large as this, there were many things that inevitably had to be left out.

With this in mind, David Sadowski, co-author of B-146, has put together a companion volume, an unofficial supplement that helps tell the “rest of the story” about Chicago’s PCC cars. This is an E-Book on a DVD data disc that can be be read on a computer, using Acrobat Reader.

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story includes more than 448 pages of information, including informative essays, hundreds of great photographs, detailed track maps, and a variety of supporting documents. These include the Chicago Transit Authority‘s 1947 modernization program, various CTA annual reports, the 1951 consultant report that recommended Chicago keep its PCCs, and a 1954 Transit Research Study by Werner W. Schroeder, member and vice chairman of the Chicago Transit Board.

The essays examine, among other things, the PCC conversion plan, through which the CTA “recycled” parts from 570 of 600 postwar PCC cars for use on a like number of new rapid transit cars. The author also looks into the circumstances under which Chicago could have retained some sort of streetcar system, the failed effort to build a streetcar subway, CTA’s 1952 takeover of the Chicago Motor Coach Co. bus routes, plans to use the PCCs on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and how transit unification brought about the demise of the streetcar system we did have.

Read this book, and you too will have the “rest of the story!”

For release on June 21, 2015, the 57th anniversary of when the last Chicago streetcar ran.

This title can be pre-ordered now in our Online Store.

A pair of CTA

A pair of CTA “curved door” PCC rapid transit cars being delivered via the North Shore Line in the 1950s. These used parts salvaged from scrapped Chicago PCC streetcars.

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.