CENTRAL ELECTRIC RAILFANS' ASSOCIATION

A not-for-profit technical & educational society, established in 1938

What's new at CERA

JUNE 24 IN-PERSON:

The Interurbans of Allen County, Indiana

presented by Craig Berndt

Our in-person program on Friday, June 24, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. (CDT)  will be held in our new venue: 899 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago.

Craig Berndt will take us back to the days when Allen County Indiana had five interurbans and give us a fascinating tour of the Ft. Wayne streetcar system.


The five interurbans, all opened in the first decade of the 20th century and all abandoned between the late 1920s and 1945, were:

  • Ft. Wayne & Southwestern Traction Co. + Ft. Wayne & Wabash Valley Traction Co.
  • Ft. Wayne, Van Wert & Lima Traction Co. 
  • Toledo & Chicago Interurban Railway Co. 
  • Ft. Wayne & Springfield Railway Co. 
Ft. Wayne, Bluffton & Marion Traction Co. 

Craig is a native of northeast Indiana who has researched the electric and steam railroads in the four northeast counties and written books about three of the lines.

Per the presenter's wishes, the program will not be streamed or recorded.

Remember, every 2nd Friday, we're on ZOOM.

CERA will continue providing our Second Friday of the Month Zoom programs at 7 p.m. Centra, even during the summer months. Please stay tuned for programing informartion and join the programs by going to:

https://tinyurl.com/CERAonZOOM

Meeting ID: 831 2668 5411   |   Passcode: 959625   

TROLLEYS TO THE BOARDWALK

Order CERA Bulletin B-151 today!

The highly anticipated new book from CERA, Trolleys to the Boardwalk is now available. It is being shipped as a benefit of membership to all who were members in 2018.

We also have books in hand at our Chicago offices and are ready to send them. Please click on Buy a Book to order.

B-151 is a history of Atlantic City Trolleys from 1854 to 1955, written by James J.N. Henwood, who ecounts the story of trolley operation in Atlantic City, from humble horse cars to the modern Brilliners.

Originally conceived of as a seaside shipping port, Atlantic City’s developers realized its potential for summer visitors seeking an escape from crowded cities to the inviting beaches of the Jersey Shore. Resorts and other businesses burgeoned, helped by the crowds brought to the city over three railroads.

Local transportation began with a simple horsecar service as well as a steam dummy operation. It was traction Pioneer Frank J. Sprague who electrified the city railway in 1889. Under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, lines were ultimately consolidated into the Atlantic City & Shore Railroad. Over the years AC&S operated the local Atlantic City trolley service and a short interurban—the Shore Fast Line-between Atlantic City and Ocean City. There was also another electric line in the area, the Atlantic City & Suburban, that led a troubled existence and suffered an early demise.

Come on board and ride back with us in time to relive Atlantic City’s colorful trolley era.


LOOKING AHEAD CERA ON ZOOM APRIL 8

Our second Friday in April, April 8 Zoom program will feature our good friend Harvey Laner, whose presentation “Pacific Northwest Traction” will feature movies taken by George Krambles and Bill Janssen in 1939 along the Milwaukee Road electrified line. Also included is the Butte Anaconda and Pacific. There will also be footage from Portland and Seattle.

LOOKING BACK: CERA on Zoom Feb. 11

THE NORTHWESTERN 'L' presented by Bruce Moffat

Bruce Moffat gave a fascinating program on the Northwestern 'L' on Feb. 11. Stay tuned for the recording to be posted!

On December 30, 1899, the last of Chicago's four operating elevated railroads began service between Wilson Avenue and the Loop. 

Known as the Northwestern Elevated Railroad, this company was conceived and built largely through the efforts of Chicago traction magnate Charles Tyson Yerkes.  Subsequent extensions would extend the "North Side 'L'" into Ravenswood and northward to Howard Street, Evanston, Wilmette and eventually Skokie. 

Transportation historian Bruce Moffat will provide an overview of the growth and evolution of this major transit artery which is now embarking on its 123rd year of service. 

For more railfan programming listings, visit:

http://www.railcc.org/events.html


Please consider donating to CERA. Our members and non-members alike help us keep providing monthly programming, annual books, periodic trips and events and more. Simply click on the donate button.

TROLLEYS TO THE BOARDWALK

Order CERA Bulletin B-151 today!

The highly anticipated new book from CERA, Trolleys to the Boardwalk is now available. It is being shipped as a benefit of membership to all who were members in 2018.

We also have books in hand at our Chicago offices and are ready to send them. Please click on Buy a Book to order.

B-151 is a history of Atlantic City Trolleys from 1854 to 1955, written by James J.N. Henwood, who ecounts the story of trolley operation in Atlantic City, from humble horse cars to the modern Brilliners.

Originally conceived of as a seaside shipping port, Atlantic City’s developers realized its potential for summer visitors seeking an escape from crowded cities to the inviting beaches of the Jersey Shore. Resorts and other businesses burgeoned, helped by the crowds brought to the city over three railroads.

Local transportation began with a simple horsecar service as well as a steam dummy operation. It was traction Pioneer Frank J. Sprague who electrified the city railway in 1889. Under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, lines were ultimately consolidated into the Atlantic City & Shore Railroad. Over the years AC&S operated the local Atlantic City trolley service and a short interurban—the Shore Fast Line-between Atlantic City and Ocean City. There was also another electric line in the area, the Atlantic City & Suburban, that led a troubled existence and suffered an early demise.

Come on board and ride back with us in time to relive Atlantic City’s colorful trolley era.

 


RECORDINGS AVAILABLE

CEDAR RAPIDS: A TALE OF TWO INTERUBANS
Watch the wildly successful July 23 program from railfan newcomer Luke Stephens.

Take a ride over the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway and the Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern Railroad

Many of the interurbans of Iowa continued to provide electrically operated passenger and freight service well into the 1950s. Two of those were the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (Crandic) and the Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northern Railroad. 

Watch the recorded Zoom session here.

Luke Stephens is a Cedar Rapids area high school student who has a curiosity about “the way things used to be” where he lives. After seeing a 1920s photo of a Crandic interurban on the main street of his hometown, he began to research the interurban industry in general and the Crandic in particular. The result was a 20-minute video that impressed many of us “old timers” with his depth of research and articulate presentation.

Luke now presents an expanded PowerPoint program on both of the Cedar Rapids interurbans with views along the line and insights into the operation of these roads. Many photos in both black-and-white and color (edited by John Nicholson), maps, and other graphics promise to make this an entertaining and informative program. Be sure to join us and spread the word to other CERA members.

RECORDED PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO ALL

David Wilson: From the Garfield 'L' to Blue Line Rapid Transit

Watch David Wilson's fascinating presentation of how a historic “L” and interurban corridor was transformed into today’s Eisenhower Expressway and its pioneering rapid transit line. 

Watch the recording of our public Zoom presentation from May 14, Before There Was a Prairie Path: The Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, presented by John Nicholson.

The program, which clocks in at an hour and 52 minutes of fascinating stories and photograpy can be viewed here. 

Watch 20th Century's LeHigh Valley Transit program.

20th Century Railroad Club welcomed CERA President John Nicholson for a reprise of the Lehigh Valley Transit portion of John's August CERA Zoom meeting. That's the program we had not been able to feature in a recording. So click here to see and hear the history of Pennsylvania inter-urban line Lehigh Valley Transit.

The recording of the April 14 presentation for 20th Century  runs just about an hour long. 

TIME TRAVEL TO CHICAGO'S METROPOLITAN "L"

On Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 Bruce Moffat presented: Chicago’s Metropolitan “L”. The Zoom program recording is available here.

OTHER CERA ZOOM PROGRAMS

RIDE THE NORTH SHORE LINE AGAIN!We were happy to see at least 282 viewers on our Jan. 22 program about the North Shore Line. Watch the recorded program by following this link.


MANHATTAN TRANSFER

David Wilson takes us on a trip to New York City in this recorded Zoom program.

THE LOOP "L"

Patrick Reardon's history of The Loop: The "L" Tracks That Shaped and Saved Chicago. The edited video of the program is now live.

Ray DeGroote's October railfanning in Hungary and the Czech Republic, is also available.

And from John Nicholson comes September's presentation ofthe Chicago South Shore and South Bend.

If you’d like to present a program with CERA via Zoom, contact us. We can scan your photos or slides and format them into a PowerPoint program for presentation.


CERA in May
Zoom and In-Person!

CERA ON ZOOM this Friday, May 13, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. (CDT)

The Streetcars and Interurbans of Kentucky

Presented by Charles Bogart

Join us for this Zoom program, open to all!

There were only two interurban lines in Kentucky based in Louisville and Lexington. Both the

Louisville and Interurban Railroad and the Kentucky Traction and Terminal Company operated

lines radiating out of their respective cities. All of these lines fell victim to the Depression and increased automobile use. 

The KT&T was notable for operating the first order of Cincinnati Car Company’s famed curved-side cars. Streetcar lines operated in such cities as Ashland, Frankfort, Lexington, Owensboro, Paducah, Covington, and of course, Louisville. The end of service on the Cincinnati Newport & Covington in 1950 rang down the curtain on traction operation in Kentucky.

Noted traction historian Charles Bogart will take us on a tour of the various interurban and streetcar lines in Kentucky, with the exception of the Louisville streetcar system (a program of its own). Be on hand this coming Friday for what promises to be a very informative and entertaining evening.

Join the program by going to: https://tinyurl.com/CERAonZOOM

Meeting ID: 831 2668 5411   |   Passcode: 959625   | Dial in: 312-626-6799

Our in-person program on Friday, May 27, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. (CDT)
 will be held in our new venue: 899 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago 

Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Company

Presented by Bill Van Doren


Per the presenter's wishes, the program will not be streamed or recorded.

In May we will look at the Cincinnati and Columbus Traction Company in Ohio.  

A fair question is why, with the North Shore, the Sunset Line, the Fox Valley and all the interurbans in nearby Illinois and Wisconsin would we be looking at an ill-conceived and short-lived interurban in far off Ohio that never really reached its terminal cities.  Well, it was by far the heaviest built and best-equipped line out of Cincinnati until the Cincinnati and Lake Erie came along. 


It was promoted and owned by a family of lawyers and judges who sued everybody about everything and achieved an impact on the industry far beyond its neighbors.  As an early abandonment, the Ohio Railroad Commission in writing its decision stated that this case would set the standard for future actions.  They sued steam railroads attempting to force interchange and lost the case in the US Supreme Court forever depriving interurbans of the right to force interchange.  Their suits set precedents in workman’s compensation and freight rates among other issues.  Besides, it is an extremely interesting company.




Upcoming Programs

  • In-person meetings have returned! Watch this space.

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Central Electric Railfans' Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 503, Chicago, IL  60690

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