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The Blog is Back! Photos of Robert Konsbruck

Wednesday, August 05, 2020 3:01 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

After a long hiatus, CERA’s Blog has returned.

Every three-to-four weeks we will present photos and articles from our archives as well as current news in the field of electric railways. Please feel free to contribute—we can be reached through our email: ceraoffice@gmail.com.

The photos of Robert Konsbruck

CERA was fortunate to be allowed to scan the slides, prints and negatives from the collection of the late Robert Konsbruck. It is a slow process to scan, clean, and correct the color on each slide.

Today, we’re offering a few photos that Bob either took or were kept in his collection.

By 1953 the handwriting was on the wall for streetcars in Cleveland. With the conversion of the St. Clair line to bus in 1951 and the Euclid and Lorain lines in 1952, the Cleveland Transit System deemed its 75 PCC cars to be surplus and sold them to Toronto in October 1952. The remaining lines were served by an aging fleet of Peter Witt cars until the last line—Madison—was converted to bus on January 23, 1954. Madison was the only line remaining when Bob went out to Cleveland in late 1953 to photograph the cars one last time.

Before: This photo shows the appearance of the slides when we began restoring them.

After: This and subsequent slides were run through Photo Shop where exposure and color were corrected and the images were cleaned of any dirt and dust. The top view shows Witt 4142 near the Spring Garden wye on the Madison line. The following photo shows a typical scene along the line in the last weeks of streetcar operation.

Knowing the end was near, local fans rode and photographed the cars while they could. One group chartered 4117 for a fantrip. The car is shown at Public Square and out along the line on Madison.

Peter Witt 4138 is heading east on Madison on its way to Public Square.

One wonders how many buses were required to handle the same number of riders as the Witts. Their large capacity is demonstrated in this scene as 4145 loads regular riders and shoppers in front of Cleveland’s famed department store, Higbee’s, on Public Square.

Bob found an ideal photo site from the Cleveland Union Terminal tower where he recorded this view. By then only the Madison streetcars called at Public Square.

South Bend streetcars had less than three weeks to run when CERA operated Inspection Trip No. 20 on Memorial Day 1940. Members arrived in South Bend via the South Shore Line where they then traveled over the streets of South Bend on Chicago South Bend and Northern Indiana Railway No. 216, a St. Louis Car Company product built originally for the St. Joseph Valley Railway. The last streetcar in South Bend ran on June 15, 1940.

Both Hershey Transit and the Fairmount Park trolley in Philadelphia remained in operation until 1946. These three photos are probably from the early ‘40s.

Hershey Transit 18 and 7 meet at Hershey Square where crews were changed. The former car was built for the company by Brill in 1915 while No. 7 was one of three cars purchased in 1930 from the Lebanon Street Railway. Built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1914, the car has survived and is undergoing restoration in Hershey.

Brill-built No. 11 lays over at the picturesque Hershey Hotel terminal.

The Fairmount Park trolley operated a meandering line through its namesake park in Philadelphia until 1946. Riding in one of its open cars was a pleasant way to seek relief from Philadelphia’s hot and humid summers. Open car No. 81 basks in the sun outside of the line’s Belmont Avenue car house.

 Bob went out to photograph the North Shore Line as often as time permitted in the early 1960s. This view shows a southbound freight headed by battery-electric No. 455 as it approaches Berkeley Avenue just north of the Briergate station.

Mundelein-bound train passes under I-94 at Greenhouse.

A southbound Silverliner pauses at Highmoor on a crisp sunny day.

A Chicago-bound train with equipment substituting for an Electroliner approaches a rural grade crossing north of Racine. Tavern-lounge car No. 415 provided meal and beverage service on this run.

 The other double-sash Silverliner—No. 409—was behind 757 on a northbound train at South Upton Junction.

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