CSL 5249 appears to be heading southbound on Larrabee, just north of Chicago Avenue. To the left, you see the Montgomery Ward complex, which has since been turned into residential. 5249 is signed to go to Vincennes and 88th, which probably makes this a Halsted car. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) M. E. writes: “The barn at 88th and Vincennes was originally the barn for the Kanakakee cars that ran from the Englewood L station at 63rd Place and Halsted, south on Halsted, southwest on Summit (a short street connecting Halsted with Vincennes), and Vincennes. When that service folded, the Chicago Surface Lines took over the barn. That barn closed early in my lifetime.”
Today’s post features many “old school” railfan photos, all from the collections of William Shapotkin. In the 1930s and 40s, photographers such as Joe L. Diaz and Edward Frank, Jr. wandered all over Chicagoland, taking black and white photos of streetcars, “L” cars, and interurbans, which they printed up and sold at railfan meetings.
They were still selling these photos into the 1980s and 90s. Years ago, I met both of these gentlemen, who are sadly no longer with us. Perhaps the late Malcolm D. McCarter was the last of this breed. He started selling photos around 1942, and continued to do so for the next 75 years or so. He was also the last living original member of the Illinois Railway Museum.
Unfortunately, these photos often did not come with any documentation as to when, or where, these pictures were taken. We have written captions that include whatever we could determine. But I know that our highly informed, eagle-eyed readers will help us fill in some of the missing details.
When referring to individual photos, please use the file name (i.e. shapotkin262), which you can get by hovering your mouse over the image, instead of saying “the sixth photo down” or some such. We thank you in advance for helping us with these, and let’s thank Bill Shapotkin again for graciously sharing them with us.
You also might want to consider a trip to Indianapolis to attend this year’s Hoosier Traction Meet, which Mr. Shapotkin runs. You can view a flyer (in PDF form) with all the relevant information here.
PS- At the end of this post, you will also find a blurb for our upcoming book Chicago’s Lost “L”s, to be released on July 12 from Arcadia Publishing. So far, we have received orders for more than 70 copies, for which we are very grateful.
FYI, we also have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger, which currently has 368 members.
From the Collections of William Shapotkin
CSL Pullman 172. Daniel Joseph has identified this as the intersection of Ogden, Cermak, and Springfield.
CSL 5638, signed for Navy Pier, may be running on the Stony Island route. M. E. writes, “The caption is undoubtedly correct that these are Stony Island cars that had the north destination Navy Pier. I’d like to add that I see so many trolley poles on the cars, going in both directions, that I think this place was the south terminal which was just north of 93rd St. South of 93rd St., the tracks were used for only a short distance by 93rd/95th St. cars.”
CSL 2803 is southbound on Ashland. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
This picture, taken on April 12, 1915, shows some window damage to CSL car 6063.
CSL 6101, signed for 35th Street. Chris Cole says this “appears to be taken at the Cottage Grove car barn at 38th Street. The Ida B Welles public housing project 2 story buildings are in the background. The Wells Homes ran from Cottage Grove to King Drive and 35th to Pershing Rd (39th). I also note that there are a number of overhead lines that would be present on the driveway to the barn. I believe that the 35th streetcar used the Cottage Grove barn from 1946 to 1951.”
CSL 2601 on the 111th Street line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1455. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 2745. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans says this is “looking W down Wrightwood from Lincoln on Lincoln Carhouse leads – car is pulling out to do a Riverview-Larrabee run.” Daniel Joseph adds, “Possibly at Wrightwood, Lincoln & Sheffield at car barn.”
CSL 2599 on the Brandon-Brainard line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 419 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on December 27, 1946.
CSL 5653, signed for Ashland. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 2730 and 2728. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans: “Open yard on west side of Lincoln carhouse looking south.”
CSL 2731 and 1346. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans: “Open yard on west side of Lincoln carhouse looking south.”
CSL 3315 on the 67-69-71 route.
CSL 5702, signed for 93rd and Stony Island. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes: “I’m going to hazard a guess as to where this picture was taken. But first, I present my case. The destination sign on the first car says “Stony Island-93rd”; the sign on the second car says (I think) “Stony Island-Downtown” — yet both cars are on the same track, heading in the same direction. Why would that happen? It might happen if these were special fan trips, one car following the other, oblivious to their destination signs. Or it might simply be two Stony Island cars heading to 93rd St., but the sign on the second car is wrong. Another factor to consider is that the tracks on Stony Island ran in the street south to 69th St., but south of 69th, they had their own right-of-way between the north- and south-bound auto traffic lanes. In this picture, I believe I see a separation between the tracks and the car lane. Therefore this picture was taken south of 69th St. But the best clue, by far, is the round sign in the distance: “Ruby OK used cars.” The dealership was Ruby Chevrolet. I went to Google and looked up “ruby chevrolet used car location south side chicago”. Up came a link to a Tribune obituary about Richard Ruby, car dealer and attorney, dated 8 December 2014. In that obituary, it says Ruby’s lot was at 72nd and Stony Island. Next, consider the railroad crossing sign. It is a dinky sign with no flashing lights. That would indicate a crossing that was lightly used by trains. I submit that this is the trackage used by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad that started at about 71st and Dorchester (as an offshoot from the Illinois Central main line), then ran southeast, along the ground, through South Shore and to the South Chicago neighborhood. In Google maps, if you enter “73rd and Stony Island Chicago”, you will see the path used by that trackage. It crossed Stony Island just south of 73rd. (This railroad trackage lasted a long time, because the B&O did not want to give it up. So, every day at 3 p.m., they ran a diesel engine and caboose — maybe a few freight cars too — down that track. Motorists mostly ignored the rail crossing signs, so the train had to proceed very slowly and blow its horn constantly.) So, I think this photo’s location is the southeast corner of 73rd and Stony Island, looking north. North of 73rd, Stony Island tracks also carried South Deering cars, which ran from the Jackson Park L at 63rd and Dorchester, south to 64th, east to Stony Island, south to 73rd, then east on 73rd. In the photo, South Deering cars made the turn to the right, whereas Stony Island cars continued straight ahead. Gee, that was much fun to deduce!” Andre Kristopans concurs: “Looking north on Stony at 73rd. RR crossing just out of picture to left was the old B&O Brookdale line, once the main line into Chicago.” Mitch Markovitz adds: “That’s my old neighborhood. Both cars southbound at 73rd and Stony with the tracks for South Deering branching off. It doesn’t really matter what the destination sign reads on the second car. Changing the sign won’t make the car stray off to distant lines. Either a pull out, a pull in, or someone futzing and changing the sign.”
CSL 5909 on Route 47.
CSL 1868. I can’t make out the destination sign. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: “This is the 5200 block of Harrison St, Chicago. Buildings are still there.”
CSL 419, at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on December 27, 1946.
CSL snow sweeper E1. Don’s Rail Photos: “E1, sweeper, was built by Lewis and Fowler in 1895 as Chicago Rys 2. It was renumbered E1 in 1913 and became CSL E1 in 1914. It was retired on November 24, 1950.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Not sure which CTA snow plow this is. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Bill Wasik says this “shows an eastbound snowplow on 92nd St. as it approaches Baltimore Avenue. Can’t identify the plow, but two buildings of note in this photo are still standing. These include the glass-bricked neo-Romanesque banquet hall at the far right. This is an 1891 corner block at the northwest corner of Baltimore Ave. Also visible one block to the west is a bank building that once was the headquarters of the Steel City National Bank, a facility mired in scandal during the early 1970s.”
CSL/CTA salt car AA10. Don’s Rail Photos: “AA10, salt car, was built by CUT in 1899 as CUT 4492. It was rebuilt as 1445 in 1911 and became CSL 1445 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car in 1930 and renumbered AA10 on October 1, 1941. It was retired on February 18, 1955.”
CSL 3307 is westbound on Montrose, about to cross under the Chicago & North Western railroad at about 1800 West.
The Chicago Surface Lines tracks were extended to the site of A Century of Progress in 1933. This could be from that year, as a shelter is under construction. We are looking south.
CSL 840 under the “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 5621, signed to go to Belmont and Clybourn. This picture seems to date to the mid-1930s.
CSL 204. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
A Chicago Surface Lines trolley bus on Route 86 – Narragansett. This route used trolley buses from 1930 to 1953.
Chicago Motor Coach Company double-decker bus 500, built in 1923.
Andre Kritsopans: “Looking west towards east end of “east house” at 77th, basically where Wentworth south of 77th would be. 77th until 1970s had two separate buildings, with an open area between them, until the open area was roofed over. The pile of junk in front is 77th scrap pile, looks like mostly boilers and other building parts.”
CSL 3286. Might this be Kedzie Station (car house)? (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
On April 16, 1946, Mrs. Edith Sands and her family were living in the body of former CSL streetcar 1384. There was a housing shortage once WWII ended. There is a different picture of the interior of this makeshift home in our book Chicago Trolleys.
CSL 3296 is on Montrose. Could this be westbound at Welles Park? Note the Packard at left.
CSL 1415 is on Racine at Belden on July 9, 1946.
While researching the above photo, I ran across another one, taken at the same location but from the opposite direction:
CSL 1415, built originally in 1906, is at work on Racine at Belden on the WEBSTER RACINE route. The photographer is unknown. An original Kodachrome from February 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection)
CSL 5241 is southbound on Through Route 8, Halsted. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The car (signed for destination of 111/Sacramento and probably a school tripper for Morgan Park High School) is standing W/B in 111th St JUST EAST of Vincennes Ave. That house with the distinctive roof (left) still-stands today. View looks east.”
CSL 5436 is westbound on 79th Street at Ashland on June 11, 1948.
CSL 5635 at Navy Pier.
I assume that CTA PCC 4300 is turning from Archer onto Clark, running a northbound trip on Route 42 – Halsted-Downtown, and that we are looking to the southwest. Note the Rock Island train in the background. Metra Rock Island District trains still use these tracks.
The same location today.
Postwar PCC 4233 being delivered from Pullman.
This one is too fuzzy to see much, except that it is the east end of an east-west streetcar line on the north side, since the tracks end abruptly. I assume that’s Broadway crossing on an angle. Miles Beitler, on the other hand, writes: “I searched the listings for the auto service garage on the right side of the photo. I found a listing for “Ragalie Bros. Auto Service” with a location of 3939 West 5th Avenue, a diagonal street. 3939 is at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Harrison Street. When I checked the 1932 telephone book I found (a) listing for Micheli Restaurant. That location — 3953 West Harrison — is also near the intersection of Harrison and 5th Avenue and it does seem to fit the photo. Moreover, I believe there was a streetcar line on 5th Avenue which ended at Harrison. Of course, the expressway was not there in 1932. Also note the horse drawn Bowman Dairy wagon on the right. I believe that Bowman Dairy used horse drawn delivery wagons well into the 1920s.”
A note re: the picture above. The addresses of the businesses and locations of buildings would seem to confirm that this is Fifth Avenue, just east of Pulaski Road, with Harrison Street as the cross-street in the background. The tracks that end in the middle of the street were for the Madison-Fifth line. When CSL introduced the new single-ended Peter Witts in 1929, they were used on Madison, and a loop was apparently devised for Madison-Fifth by extending these tracks around the block, via Pulaski and Harrison, to form a triangular-shaped loop. The new northbound track on Pulaski was separate from the existing streetcar tracks, so as not to interfere with Pulaski service. In late 1936, CSL put PCC cars on Madison, and these were also used on Madison-Fifth.
This branch line was discontinued on February 22, 1954, when construction of the nearby Congress Expressway reached this area, just to the north. Fifth Avenue was not a major street and would have required a complicated bridge over the highway, crossing at an angle. So it was decided to truncate Fifth instead.
The Garfield Park “L” ran east and west at this point, just south of the alley mid-block between Harrison and Flournoy Streets. The “L” would have been just out of view to the right of this picture. It intersected with Fifth Avenue at Pulaski Road, just behind the photographer.
In this zoomed-in view of the previous picture, the building in the distance matches the building in the next picture, taken in 1953.
CTA 1725 is operating as a one-man shuttle car on the Madison-Fifth branch line on Route 20 on February 15, 1953. The car is heading southwest on Fifth Avenue approaching Harrison Street and Pulaski Avenue, which was the end of the line near the adjacent Garfield Park “L” station. I thought at first that the date might actually have been 1954, but subsequent research shows the 1953 date to be correct. (Robert Selle Photo)
In addition, this photo, taken from the Pulaski Road station on the Garfield Park “L” station, shows buildings on the north side of Fifth Avenue that match up with those in the shapotkin308 image above. Note it’s the same exact fire escape:
On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 – Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park “L” at Pulaski. The “L” was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This “L” station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. The Fifth Avenue line used gauntlet track on Pulaski, so as not to interfere with Pulaski streetcars. This is confirmed by studying the 1948 supervisor’s track map. Danny Joseph adds, “As a child I lived near this triangle when both Pulaski and Fifth still operated street cars and Harrison did not. I was very fascinated by the gauntlet on Pulaski which was the first time I saw such construction.” (Bob Selle Photo)
The gas stations on the triangular-shaped corner of Harrison and Fifth also match, between the late 1920s photo and this one from 1950:
This birds-eye view of CTA 1744 was taken from the Pulaski Road “L” station on the Garfield Park branch in April 1950. However, what we are looking at may actually be a Madison-Fifth car at the west end of its route, ready to loop back via Pulaski and Harrison. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This image is looking E-N/E on Fifth Ave from the Garfield Pk ‘L’…no question about it. The intersection behind the streetcar is Harrison.”
Now that we have determined where shapotkin308 was taken, it’s the presence of a late 1920s Franklin automobile that pins the date down to circa 1926-28. In 1929, the streetcar tracks on Fifth Avenue were extended around the block. Interestingly, the Franklin used an air-cooled engine, and the radiator grill on the car was simply for show. After the Franklin firm failed in 1934, it was succeeded by Aircooled Motors, which was later purchased by Preston Tucker, and provided the engines (water-cooled) for the short-lived 1948 Tucker Torpedo. Aircooled Motors survived Tucker and continued in operation until 1975, providing engines for many small airplanes and helicoptors.
CTA 6002 is southbound on Kedzie on June 22, 1950, having just passed the Garfield Park “L”. Service at this station continued until June, 1958, since it was not in the path of the Congress Expressway.
The same location today.
This could be the west end of the 75th Street route. CSL Pullmans 122, 126, and 392 are visible. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
This photo has a lot of scratches, but it does show CSL 2510 at 75th and the lakefront. Presumably the negative was scratched from being printed many times. (M. D. McCarter Photo)
CSL 5993, on the 31st Street route, is running direct to the World’s Fair (A Century of Progress), so this must be 1933-34. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 6103 is running on Through Route 17 – Kedzie. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) Daniel Joseph: “Probably Kedzie & 30th St looking north at grade crossing.”
CSL 1942 is signed for Chicago Avenue. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1466. This may be one of the cars that was usually used to train crews in the Van Buren Street tunnel under the Chicago River. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Daniel Joseph says, “I believe this is at 18th St, Canalport & Normal.”
CSL 3216 is signed for 51st and Central Park. M. E. writes: “Given that the destination sign reads “51 – Central Park”, then this picture was taken from the northwest corner of 51st and Cottage Grove Ave., looking south. The 51st St. line’s eastern terminal was actually at 55th St. and the Illinois Central railroad at Lake Park Ave. From there, the route headed west on 55th to Cottage Grove Ave., north to 51st St., and west on 51st St. So the car in this picture is making the turn from northbound Cottage Grove to westbound 51st.” On the other hand, Graham Garfield writes, “Note the sign on the light pole that says “4A”. Illinois route 4A was a state highway from Joliet to downtown Chicago via Archer Ave. until 1967. Based on buildings in the background that are still extant, the angled street here is Archer and the car is deadheading from Archer carbarn (where the #51 was out of) to 51st St to start its run. We are looking northeast at Archer/Kedzie.”
CTA 5444 is one of two cars at Racine and 87th Street. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 3091 is signed for Elston and Lawrence. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 3319, southbound on Damen. (Joe Diaz Photo) Daniel Joseph writes, “Probably Damen & 59th looking north at viaduct on the 5800 block.”
CSL 133 is signed for 75th and Lake Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Daniel Joseph adds, “Probably 75th & Constance at the now abandoned B & O crossing.”
CSL 3010 is signed for Elston-Downtown. Bill Wasik adds, “Shapotkin 294 shows the 4700 block of Elston Ave. looking north toward Lawrence Ave. The photo likely was taken in 1946-47. The large three-story commercial building seen in the distance behind the Drewrys billboard was part of the Bankers Life complex. Demolished in the 1990s, it was replaced by an apartment complex for seniors. Most of the other buildings in this scene are still standing.”
CSL 2619 is on the Brandon-Brainard line on the far reaches of Chicago’s south side. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 3303 is eastbound on Montrose, having just crossed under the Chicago & North Western and the Ravenswood “L”.
CSL 498 and 3085. I am unable to see the route signs, but at least we can tell this picture was taken in the 34th Ward. 498 is signed to go to North Western Station, which was a sign used on Milwaukee Avenue cars. Michael Franklin says we are “looking at the NW corner of Armitage & California.”
CSL 5505 is on Through Route 8, (Halsted) signed to run to Vincennes and 88th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 2595 is on the 87th Street route, possibly prior to the extension of this line in 1937, which was the final streetcar extension in Chicago.
CSL 5083 is signed for Pitney and Archer. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 5130, signed for 31st and Lake Park, appears to be eastbound on 31st, having just passed the South Side “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1145. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)
CTA snow plow E-207. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
This is actually a picture of CTA 225 at Dearborn and Kinzie, on a December 18, 1955 fantrip, where it was disguised as 144 with a piece of oilcloth. The story goes that Maury Klebolt, who organized this trip, had advertised that car 144 would be used, and for some reason, it was not available that day. 225 was later sold to the Seashore Trolley Museum, where it remains today, while 144 is at the Illinois Railway Museum.
CTA 225 at Clark and Cermak on a February 16, 1957 Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip.
CTA 144 at 81st and Emerald on the final Chicago streetcar fantrip on June 15, 1958.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 318. Don’s Rail Photos: “318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CA&E 10. Don’s Rail Photos: “10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CA&E 455 at the front of a Chicago Limited. Not sure what the workers at left are doing.
CA&E electric loco 2002 is at left. I can’t make out the numbers on the steel cars at left.
CA&E 48 at left, with 315 at right. Can this be Wheaton? Don’s Rail Photos: “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CA&E 320 at an unknown location. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CA&E 410 heads up a two-car train in Wheaton.
CA&E 409 at the Wheaton Shops.
CA&E 452 leads an Aurora-Batavia Limited.
Not sure where this is. Could it be Wheaton? Dann Chamberlin: “Yes, it is. The Wheaton yard and shops are to the rear of the photographer. The photo looks east towards downtown Wheaton. Note the tower of the DuPage County courthouse in the right-rear of the photo.”
CA&E 458 heads up a Wheaton local. Not sure where this is. Dann Chamberlin: “The train has just left the Main Street Glen Ellyn stop headed west towards Wheaton. The Main Street gate tower can be seen in the left-rear of the photo. To the right of 458 one can make out the tower of today’s Glen Ellyn Civic Center. I attended junior high school in that building!”
CA&E 459 at the front of a two-car train. Could this be Wheaton? Dann Chamberlin: “Again, yes it is. The photo looks like it could have been taken from the dispatcher’s tower. That’s the ever-present DuPage County courthouse tower in the background.”
A CA&E train of woods, headed up by car 26, at an undetermined location.
A CA&E freight train is on a siding while a regular train passes.
CA&E 460 heads up a two-car train in (I think) Maywood.
CA&E 427 is westbound at ground-level “L” station at Oak Park Avenue. The view looks northeast.
CA&E 452 and 454 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, between 1953 and 1957.
CA&E 411 heads up a westbound train on the Garfield Park “L”.
We previously ran a different version of this photo of CA&E 315 in a different post, where it was credited to Joe L. Diaz. The location appears to be somewhere between Western and Paulina on the Garfield Park “L”.
CA&E 317. (Heier Industrial Photo)
Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:
Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!
From the back cover:
Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found
Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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A Tribute to the North Shore Line
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.
Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.
It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.
Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.
Total time – 121:22
# of Discs – 1 Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
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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.”
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.
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 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.
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)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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. 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. 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 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
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 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
CTA 2240 at Laramie on the Douglas Line in April 1985
CTA O’Hare Station, 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 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.”
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 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: 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 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 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 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 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
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.
CA&E 427 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.
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.”
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?]
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.
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!]
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
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.
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 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.