Central Electric 
Railfans' Association

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  • Sunday, November 10, 2013 11:57 AM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Following up on our earlier post about the Chicago & West Towns Railway, here are more rare views of that important suburban system (which survives today with bus service as part of PACE).

    CERA published the definitive book about West Towns in 2006 as B-138. It is still in print and available for purchase here. The book (by James J. Buckley, and edited by Ricard Aaron) was based in part on an earlier bulletin issued by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS), active from 1952-73.

    ERHS was also responsible for preserving several rare railcars, including postwar Chicago PCC 4391 and Chicago & West Towns 141. Here, published for the first time, are some photos by Charles L. Tauscher of car 141 in 1959, being moved to a farm in Downers Grove. The Illinois Railway Museum acquired the car in 1973 and it has now been restored to operating condition.

    You can read a history of the ERHS here.

    It is fitting and proper to look back at car 141 as one of IRM’s numerous success stories as the museum celebrates its 60th anniversary with a banquet this weekend.

    -David Saowski

    141 as it appeared in September, 1959. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    141 as it appeared in September, 1959. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)


    141 in transit to join the rest of the ERHS collection. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    141 in transit to join the rest of the ERHS collection. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    The Electric Railway Historical Society performed a valuable service by saving many historic streetcars, such as Chicago & West Towns 141. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    The Electric Railway Historical Society performed a valuable service by saving many historic streetcars, such as Chicago & West Towns 141. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    West Towns car 141 heading out to Downers Grove in September 1959. It joined the ERHS collection there before heading to IRM in 1973. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    West Towns car 141 heading out to Downers Grove in September 1959. It joined the ERHS collection there before heading to IRM in 1973. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    141 being delivered to the farm owned by Mrs. Lena Gnas. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    141 being delivered to the farm owned by Mrs. Lena Gnas. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    Car 141, now fully restored at the Illinois Railway Museum, in action on a "Railfan Special." (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 141, now fully restored at the Illinois Railway Museum, in action on a “Railfan Special.” (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 101 on the Madison St. line. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 101 on the Madison St. line. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 158 was built by Cummings Car & Coach in 1927, using trucks, motors, and controls from scrapped 500-series cars. It was junked in 1948. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 158 was built by Cummings Car & Coach in 1927, using trucks, motors, and controls from scrapped 500-series cars. It was junked in 1948. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 144, signed for Melrose Park. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 144, signed for Melrose Park. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 151 on Lake Street. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 151 on Lake Street. (Photographer Unknown)

    144 on Lake Street. (Photogrpaher Unknown)

    144 on Lake Street. (Photogrpaher Unknown)

    144 in an earlier paint scheme. (Photographer Unknown)

    144 in an earlier paint scheme. (Photographer Unknown)

    On February 14, 1947, West Towns posed some of their new buses on lake Street. Two days later, buses replaced streetcars on the Madison St. line. (Photographer Unknown)

    On February 14, 1947, West Towns posed some of their new buses on lake Street. Two days later, buses replaced streetcars on the Madison St. line. (Photographer Unknown)

    Lake Street, February 14, 1947. The Madison St. car line quit the following day (Saturday), with bus service starting on Sunday. (Photographer Unknown)

    Lake Street, February 14, 1947. The Madison St. car line quit the following day (Saturday), with bus service starting on Sunday. (Photographer Unknown)

    West Towns private right-of-way through the Forest Preserves. According to Michael Murray, this is "where the line crossed 1st Ave. just east of the zoo. That photo looks east toward the Des Plaines River crossing and Riverside." (Photographer Unknown)

    West Towns private right-of-way through the Forest Preserves. According to Michael Murray, this is “where the line crossed 1st Ave. just east of the zoo. That photo looks east toward the Des Plaines River crossing and Riverside.” (Photographer Unknown)

    The old C&WT right-of-way is still visible in this aerial view of the scene shown above. 1st Avenue is at left. An access road into the Forest Preserves follows part of the r-o-w, which then continued straight across the Des Plaines River on its own bridge. We are south of 31st Street.

    The old C&WT right-of-way is still visible in this aerial view of the scene shown above. 1st Avenue is at left. An access road into the Forest Preserves follows part of the r-o-w, which then continued straight across the Des Plaines River on its own bridge. We are south of 31st Street.

    West Towns car 141 has been lovingly restored and is now operational again, for the first time since it last ran in 1948. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    West Towns car 141 has been lovingly restored and is now operational again, for the first time since it last ran in 1948. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    West Towns car 141, sole survivor of that street railway, at the Illinois Railway Museum on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    West Towns car 141, sole survivor of that street railway, at the Illinois Railway Museum on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)


  • Sunday, November 10, 2013 11:48 AM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    We were recently contacted by a woman whose father died a few years ago, leaving behind a collection of CERA books. I told her we had just received a letter from a man who was looking for a copy of CERA B-110, West Penn Railways. He said his grandfather had worked for West Penn.

    P1010499



    She said that by coincidence, this just happened to be the last book of her father’s that she had looked at. She sent us the book and we sold it to the grandson for a nominal sum.

    This was a “win-win” for everyone. The lady had a great sense of satisfaction, seeing her father’s book going to a good home. The grandson got the book they wanted, and CERA made a few dollars in the process.

    This gave us the idea of a CERA Used Book Exchange. We are often contacted by people who are looking for out-of-print CERA bulletins. And we know that there are people who have traction books they no longer want. The power of the Internet (and this blog) gives us a chance to get these books to the people who want them.

    If you have traction books that you no longer need, why not consider donating them to CERA? We will post a list of used books that are available on a periodic basis here on the blog, under the heading of CERA Used Book Exchange. Prices will be reasonable and will include domestic shipping via USPS Media Mail. International shipping will be extra, with rates available upon request. All proceeds will go to CERA, and will help fund our activities as an educational and technical association incorporated in the State of Illinois.

    We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, and your book donations may be tax-deductible. If you need a tax letter for your donation, we will be happy to provide one.

    The list will be updated as books come and go, and will supersede all previous lists. Watch this space in the next few weeks for our first such list.

    Naturally, CERA has a complete collection of bulletins for archive purposes. But we would like to scan all our old bulletins, and make them available as .pdf files on discs via high-resolution scans. This is not difficult for the earlier bulletins, which are shorter in length, but the later ones, starting with about B-100, might have to be removed from their bindings in order to be scanned. We cannot do this with our archived copies, so this means we may need additional copies of some bulletins beyond what we have in our archives.

    In addition, we intend to make the 49 ERHS* bulletins available on disc as a complete set. We have put together a collection of most of them, but are still looking for the following numbers:

    5, 8, 12, 16, 18, 19, 21, 45, and 46

    If you have copies of any of these, we would be glad to have them. They will help us complete our project.

    Besides this, there are plenty of other high-quality traction books that have been put out by various publishers over the years. Interurbans Press, Kalmbach Publications and Morning Sun books come immediately to mind, but there have been many others. Books such as these are also welcome and would be of interest to our members.

    With your help, we can make the CERA Used Book Exchange a great success. I believe that over time, it will become one of the most popular features of the CERA Members’ Blog.

    If you are interested in donating used (or new) traction books to CERA, you can contact us:

    By e-mail: ceraoffice@gmail.com

    By mail: CERA, PO Box 503, Chicago IL, 60690-0503

    By telephone: 312-987-4391

    -David Sadowksi

    *The Electric Railway Historical Society published bulletins from 1952-73. They were also responsible for saving several historic railcars that are now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

    P1010496

    P1010495

    P1010493

    P1010492

    P1010491

    P1010490


  • Sunday, November 03, 2013 12:00 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    2014 Memberships Now On Sale

    This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA's 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA’s 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    You can purchase a 2014 CERA Membership right now, either online or by mail. The costs are as follows:

    Associate (USA) $42*
    Active (USA) $45*
    Contributing $90
    Sustaining $180

    *International members add $30 to these rates. All payments are due in US dollars.

    These rates are the same for new members as well as renewals. Once payment is received, we will be able to figure out whether it is a renewal. If you do not know you member number, we can look that up as well.

    We will mail our your 2014 Membership Card ASAP. It will have you member number next to your name on the label. There will also be a colored dot on the card indicating membership class.

    We are still taking renewals for 2013. Many of our members pride themselves on having had continuous memberships for many years. You can renew for 2013 by mail or online using the same link above (to our web site). You can print out all forms and mail them in, or pay online using PayPal, debit and credit cards. Please do not send your sensitive credit card information to CERA.

    We thank all our members for their continued support of CERA. Since we are a 501(c)3 organization, contributions beyond the $45 Active Membership rate may be tax-deductible.

    Become a card-carrying member of CERA!

    (The international rates have gone up to reflect the greatly increased costs of mailing books and other notices outside the US. Without these increases, we would have to consider discontinuing international memberships, which we do not want to do. Also, if international memberships cannot cover the costs, this means that domestic members would have to pay more to subsidize them, which again, we do not want to do.)

    Book Entitlements

    All members will receive a book entitlement, in addition to free admission to our monthly CERA programs.

    Our next CERA book (B-146) will be Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era, to be published in Spring 2014. This is the entitlement for 2012 Members.

    We will publish B-147 in Fall 2014. The title has yet to be determined. This will be the entitlement for 2013 members.

    We expect to publish B-148 in 2015. This will be the entitlement for 2014 members. This will put us back on our regular production schedule.

    Proposed By-Laws Changes

    Your CERA Board of Directors will propose changes in our By-Laws, to be voted on at the Annual Meeting on January 24, 2014. The exact wording of the proposals will be distributed by mail to the membership for their consideration not less than 10, nor more than 40 days prior to that meeting. A majority of those Active, Contributing, and Sustaining Members present is required for approval.

    Both changes involve classes of membership. At present, the By-Laws specify four such classes, Associate, Active, Contributing, and Sustaining. If the changes being proposed are approved, there would still be four classes, but they would be Active, Contributing, Sustaining, and Life memberships. The two changes, the addition of one category and the elimination of another, will be considered separately.

    Life Membership

    Many organizations have Life Members, with varying ways of determining the cost. Some organizations offer a Life Membership for a flat fee. Others have a sliding scale based on age. Some have honorary Life Members. At present, CERA’s By-Laws prohibit Life Memberships. The Board of Directors would like to change this.

    In general, the Board wishes to establish a Life Member category, with the exact requirements to be left to the discretion of the Directors. Putting exact requirements in the By-Laws would tie the hands and limit the flexibility of future Boards. However, the Directors intend to establish a sliding scale for determining the price of a Life Membership, based on the age of the applicant, of so much per year. This would be based on expected actuarial lifespan.

    In addition, the Board would like to be able to offer an honorary Life Membership in exceptional circumstances. Limitations could be placed on the number of such memberships. Perhaps there could be one honorary Life Membership that could be granted in each calendar year.

    The Board would also prefer that the dues paid for a Life Membership be deposited in our investment account, so they will generate the funds needed to pay for the expenses involved in having such members in future years. Since this is a new category, it could go into effect as soon as it is approved (if approved) at the 2014 Annual Meeting.

    Associate Membership

    CERA has offered both Associate and Active memberships for more than 70 years. Over time, it has become obvious to the Directors that the original intentions behind this distinction have been lost, and are no longer meaningful. Therefore, the Board proposes the elimination of the Associate category.

    In the first few years of the organization, you had to undergo a “catechism” in order to become an Active member, where you had to successfully answer a series of quiz questions about electric railways. While this may have been done partly in jest, that is how it was done. Needless to say, we have not had such a requirement in a long time.

    CERA’s Directors originally thought that Active Members would be people who live in the Chicago area, and Associate Members would live in different parts of the country. Over time, this distinction has also been lost or blurred. We have many Active Members who live outside Chicago, some even in foreign countries, while we have just as many Associate Members who live in Chicagoland.

    ALL classes of members receive a book entitlement, plus free admission to our monthly meetings, so there is no difference there. Active Members receive our monthly program notices, while we sometimes mail them to Associate Members as well, if we have other mailings to send them anyway. While we charge slightly less for Associate ($42) vs. Active ($45) memberships, there is not much difference there either.

    This year, CERA has been sending out News updates to our members on a monthly basis. It hardly seems fair that we would not send such updates to our Associate Members as we do to the others.

    There really does not seem to be much point in having a class of membership where people are required to be inactive. We want all our members to be active and interested in CERA. Associate Members cannot vote in our elections, and cannot serve as Directors or on committees, even if they want to.

    It would be preferable that all Members have the same rights to vote and to serve. If someone wants to be a Member and remain inactive in such matters, they can still do so- but by their own choice, not ours.

    The difference in the cost between an Active and Associate membership is supposed to cover the reduced costs of mailing to the latter. For 2014, the Board increased the cost of Associate Membership from $38 to $42, a difference of about 10%, to reflect our increased costs of mailings. We are sending more mailings to all our members, and there really isn’t a downside to that, since these mailings have been very successful in stimulating interest in CERA and its activities.

    When we send book catalogs to our members, we sell more books. When we send renewal notices, we get more renewals. It is hard to imagine how CERA could have had a successful 75th Anniversary series of events without the various mailings that were sent out to ALL our members, including the Associates.

    For 2014, the difference in cost between an Associate and Active membership is only $3. This hardly seems like enough of a difference to warrant keeping the Associate category.

    If people are concerned about the cost of mailings and saving CERA money through reducing them, there are other ways to do that. The easiest and simplest way would be to sign up to become a “follower” of the CERA Members Blog. That way, you will automatically receive much the same CERA news, updates, and program information by email. Better yet, you will be in control of your own subscription, which will reduce CERA’s overhead costs that would be incurred in managing it.

    Once you subscribe to the Blog, all you would need to do is drop us a line, telling us that you prefer to receive your updates this way, and we would in turn stop mailing them to you, until you tell us to start them up again. This is something that ALL members can do right now, and it doesn’t take an additional membership category to accomplish it.

    The simplest way to put this change into effect would be to eliminate the various references to Associate Membership in our By-Laws. The exact wording of these proposals has yet to be made, and will be approved by the Board of Directors at our November meeting, prior to being mailed out to the voting membership.

    Again, any such change would have to be approved by a majority of Active, Contributing, and Sustaining Members attending our 2014 Annual Meeting. AND, the change would not go into effect until 2015. You can still purchase an Associate Membership for 2014 for only $42, either online (through our web site) or by mail.

    Directors Election

    CERA’s Active, Contributing, and Sustaining Members will elect three people to our Board of Directors at our Annual Meeting on January 24, 2014. Due to the changes in our By-Laws that were approved earlier this year, changing the number of Directors from 9 to 7, this is a transitional election. There are two 3-year terms available, and one 2-year term.

    The top two vote-getters will receive 3-year terms, and the third-place finisher will get a 2-year term. In future years, there will be a cycle of three, two, and two Directors elected per year (which adds up to seven), each with a 3-year term. (In the 2013 election, there was only one vacancy, in order to reduce the total number of Directors from 9 to 7.)

    The three Directors whose terms are expiring are John NicholsonJoseph Reuter, and Bill Reynolds. All three have indicated that they wish to stand for election again. However, anyone who is an Active, Contributing, or Sustaining member for 2014 is eligible to serve. If you qualify and are interested, please contact our Nominations Committee indicating your interest, as follows:


    By mail:

    CERA Nominations Committee
    PO Box 503
    Chicago, IL
    60690-0503

    By e-mail:

    ceraoffice@gmail.com

    Once it is determined whose names will appear on the ballot, they will be mailed out to our Active, Contributing, and Sustaining Members in accordance with our By-Laws. You can return your ballot either by mail (to the PO Box of the Elections Committee chair, which will be printed on the ballot) or bring it to the Annual Meeting.

    Please contact us at ceraoffice@gmail.com (or at the office) if you have any questions or comments about the election or our proposed By-Laws changes.

    Thanks!

    -Your CERA Board of Directors


  • Saturday, November 02, 2013 12:04 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Our next program…
    South Shore in the ’70s- The Little Train That Did

    By the 1970s, South Shore Line was the last interurban left in the country. Owner Chessie had petitioned for abandonment, and the rolling stock was really showing its age. Yet somehow it survived, thanks in large part to those classic railcars. In retrospect, the “Little Train That Could” was surely the little train that did. Come join us for what promises to be a fun evening, as we watch films of the South Shore in this era, taken by Daniel Morris and Bill Reynolds. We will also see the classic documentary “Passengers Use Light at Night.”

    Friday, November 22, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 South State Street
    Chicago, IL

    Admission is free for current CERA members. There will be a $5.00 Admission charge for non-members. Please note that the fourth Friday in November falls the week before Thanksgiving this year. In most years, our program would take place the day after Thanksgiving, but not this year!

    To whet your appetite for the program, we present a generous selection of South Shore views from the 1960s to the early 1980s.

    #34 in Michigan City in September 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    #34 in Michigan City in September 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    Cars 7 and 212 in west South Bend on May 24, 1963. (Photographer Unknown)

    Cars 7 and 212 in west South Bend on May 24, 1963. (Photographer Unknown)

    A two-car train at South Bend station in February 1969. In September 1970, the line was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town, but it has since been extended to the South Bend airport. (Photographer Unknown)

    A two-car train at South Bend station in February 1969. In September 1970, the line was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town, but it has since been extended to the South Bend airport. (Photographer Unknown)

    #102 at South Bend in December 1962. (Photographer Unknown)

    #102 at South Bend in December 1962. (Photographer Unknown)

    Baggage car 504 at Michigan City in June 1967. According to Don's Rail Photos, it was "built by St. Louis Car in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 377." It was purchased by the South Shore in 1941 from the Indiana Railroad. (Photographer Unknown)

    Baggage car 504 at Michigan City in June 1967. According to Don’s Rail Photos, it was “built by St. Louis Car in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 377.” It was purchased by the South Shore in 1941 from the Indiana Railroad. (Photographer Unknown)

    #22 heads up a four-car train in Michigan City in September 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    #22 heads up a four-car train in Michigan City in September 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    This may be the downtown South Bend station interior, April 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    This may be the downtown South Bend station interior, April 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    South Shore cars 26 and 102 in Michigan City, October 1975. A CTA 4000-series "L" car is barely visible at left, on its way to a railway museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    South Shore cars 26 and 102 in Michigan City, October 1975. A CTA 4000-series “L” car is barely visible at left, on its way to a railway museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    The stock room at the shops in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    The stock room at the shops in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    The Gary station in June 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    The Gary station in June 1969. (Photographer Unknown)

    The waiting room at the East Chicago station in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    The waiting room at the East Chicago station in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    Signage at the old Randolph St. station. The neon at left is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    Signage at the old Randolph St. station. The neon at left is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    Combine 102 at Randolph Street in July 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    Combine 102 at Randolph Street in July 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    Don's Rail Photos says, "110 was built by Standard in 1929 as coach 10. It was rebuilt into 110 in 1951." Here we see it on September 1, 1973. (Photographer Unknown)

    Don’s Rail Photos says, “110 was built by Standard in 1929 as coach 10. It was rebuilt into 110 in 1951.” Here we see it on September 1, 1973. (Photographer Unknown)

    #203 (built by Pullman in 1927) in July 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    #203 (built by Pullman in 1927) in July 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    #23 on a fantrip in July 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    #23 on a fantrip in July 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    According to Don's Rail Photos: "104 was builtt by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in 1943. Air conditioning and picture windows came in 1950." Here we see the car in June 1975. (Photographer Unknown)

    According to Don’s Rail Photos: “104 was builtt by Pullman in 1926. It was lengthened in 1943. Air conditioning and picture windows came in 1950.” Here we see the car in June 1975. (Photographer Unknown)

    Loco 702 in June 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    Loco 702 in June 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 106 meets Little Joe 803 in September 1980. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car 106 meets Little Joe 803 in September 1980. (Photographer Unknown)

    The shops in March 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    The shops in March 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    A "Little Joe" at the shops in September 1973. (Photographer Unknown)

    A “Little Joe” at the shops in September 1973. (Photographer Unknown)

    At the south end of the Randolph St. station in 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    At the south end of the Randolph St. station in 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    Combine 1010 heads up a train in July 1971. This is the present area of Millenium Park. (Photographer Unknown)

    Combine 1010 heads up a train in July 1971. This is the present area of Millenium Park. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car #1 in September 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    Car #1 in September 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    A fantrip in May 1975. (Photographer Unknown)

    A fantrip in May 1975. (Photographer Unknown)

    At the shops in June 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    At the shops in June 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    A two-car train led up by combine #100 in September 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    A two-car train led up by combine #100 in September 1976. (Photographer Unknown)

    #39 at speed on December 27, 1978. (Photographer Unknown)

    #39 at speed on December 27, 1978. (Photographer Unknown)

    The Michigan City Shops in February 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    The Michigan City Shops in February 1971. (Photographer Unknown)

    The caption reads, "Lance and Carol in snow-covered train, South Bend Yards, February 1969." (Photographer Unknown)

    The caption reads, “Lance and Carol in snow-covered train, South Bend Yards, February 1969.” (Photographer Unknown)

    #104 at Michigan City on July 5, 1971. (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

    #104 at Michigan City on July 5, 1971. (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

    Michigan City street running in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    Michigan City street running in January 1970. (Photographer Unknown)

    #102 at the Michigan City station in June 1967. (Photographer Unknown)

    #102 at the Michigan City station in June 1967. (Photographer Unknown)

    A twilight view of the single-rack right-of-way on January 3, 1978. (Photographer Unknown)

    A twilight view of the single-rack right-of-way on January 3, 1978. (Photographer Unknown)


  • Thursday, October 31, 2013 12:08 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Here is a second installment in our series on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Lake Street “L” when the outer end of it ran on the ground. (To read the first part, go here.)

    In this classic photo by George Krambles, an "L" train led by car 1753 passes surface car 3136 in April 1952.

    In this classic photo by George Krambles, an “L” train led by car 1753 passes surface car 3136 in April 1952.


    We take things up in the early 1950s, when the CTA first proposed cutting back the “L” to Laramie, in order to get rid of the 2-mile ground-level portion, with its numerous grade crossings and blind spots. Oak Park did not want this to happen, and within a few short years, the various parties (CTA, C&NW, plus various governmental bodies) worked out the current arrangement, which has been in place now for more than 50 years.

    Until 1954, the CTA #16 Lake St. streetcar paralleled the “L” and crossed it at grade. On Central, a trolley bus line also crossed.

    What was difficult (and somewhat dangerous) from an operational standpoint was good for the camera, however, with quite a variety of equipment in different settings. Come take a trip with us along the Lake line in those thrilling days of yesteryear, when the “L” wasn’t quite so elevated after all.

    -David Sadowski

    Wooden "L" car 3145 at Marion and Lake in August 1951. (Photographer Unknown)

    Wooden “L” car 3145 at Marion and Lake in August 1951. (Photographer Unknown)

    CTA 1751 at Lake and Pine in the early 1950s. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA 1751 at Lake and Pine in the early 1950s. (Unknown Photographer)

    Wooden "L" cars cross the #16 streetcar line at Pine. (Unknown Photographer)

    Wooden “L” cars cross the #16 streetcar line at Pine. (Unknown Photographer)

    The #16 Lake St. streetcar crossing at Pine. Buses replaced trolleys on this route as of May 30, 1954. (Unknown Photographer)

    The #16 Lake St. streetcar crossing at Pine. Buses replaced trolleys on this route as of May 30, 1954. (Unknown Photographer)

    Going up the ramp between Central and Laramie. (Photographer Unknown)

    Going up the ramp between Central and Laramie. (Photographer Unknown)

    Oak Park in the mid-1950s. (Photographer unknown)

    Oak Park in the mid-1950s. (Photographer unknown)

    Oak Park in the late 1950s. (Photographer Unknown)

    Oak Park in the late 1950s. (Photographer Unknown)

    CTA Lake St. 4000s (led by 4442) circle the Loop on September 9, 1958. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA Lake St. 4000s (led by 4442) circle the Loop on September 9, 1958. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA Central Avenue trolley bus 9323 crosses the "L" on April 15, 1960. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    CTA Central Avenue trolley bus 9323 crosses the “L” on April 15, 1960. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    In this July 5, 1960 view, 4000s are switching between third rail and overhead wire. The westbound train at right prepares to descend the ramp to ground-level operation. By the time the new embankment alignment opened in October 1962, CTA had moved the power changeover point west to the Central Avenue station. (Unknown Photographer)

    In this July 5, 1960 view, 4000s are switching between third rail and overhead wire. The westbound train at right prepares to descend the ramp to ground-level operation. By the time the new embankment alignment opened in October 1962, CTA had moved the power changeover point west to the Central Avenue station. (Unknown Photographer)

    That wall looks pretty close in this July 5, 1960 view from the "railfan seat." (Photographer Unknown)

    That wall looks pretty close in this July 5, 1960 view from the “railfan seat.” (Photographer Unknown)

    "Side of the road" rapid transit operation in January 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    “Side of the road” rapid transit operation in January 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    CTA 4367-4368 between Marion and Home avenues on August 31, 1961. (Photographer Unknown)

    CTA 4367-4368 between Marion and Home avenues on August 31, 1961. (Photographer Unknown)

    CTA 4388-4387 in Oak Park on September 3, 1961. (Photographer Unknown)

    CTA 4388-4387 in Oak Park on September 3, 1961. (Photographer Unknown)

    The Marion station on September 4, 1961. (Unknown Photographer)

    The Marion station on September 4, 1961. (Unknown Photographer)

    West of Harlem in Forest Park on September 6, 1961, before the embankment was expanded to create a yard and shops. (Photographer Unknown)

    West of Harlem in Forest Park on September 6, 1961, before the embankment was expanded to create a yard and shops. (Photographer Unknown)

    A train of 4000s between Home and Marion in the early 1960s. (Photographer Unknown)

    A train of 4000s between Home and Marion in the early 1960s. (Photographer Unknown)

    It might surprise you to learn that wooden "L" cars ran on the embankment, but they did- in work service. Here we see CTA 337-333 on May 24, 1963. (Unknown Photographer)

    It might surprise you to learn that wooden “L” cars ran on the embankment, but they did- in work service. Here we see CTA 337-333 on May 24, 1963. (Unknown Photographer)

    The bi-level is moving towards the camera in this May 1964 scene, since the C&NW runs left-hand. (Unknown Photographer)

    The bi-level is moving towards the camera in this May 1964 scene, since the C&NW runs left-hand. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA 4000s meet C&NW bi-levels on the embankment in May 1964. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA 4000s meet C&NW bi-levels on the embankment in May 1964. (Unknown Photographer)

    4000s ran on Lake Street until being replaced by the new 2000s in 1964. (Photographer Unknown)

    4000s ran on Lake Street until being replaced by the new 2000s in 1964. (Photographer Unknown)

    Going around the Loop in May 1964. (Unknown Photographer)

    Going around the Loop in May 1964. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA 4452-4451-4270-4269 meet 2140-2141 at State and Lake at 12:35 pm on June 26, 1966. (Unknown Photographer)

    CTA 4452-4451-4270-4269 meet 2140-2141 at State and Lake at 12:35 pm on June 26, 1966. (Unknown Photographer)


  • Friday, October 25, 2013 12:22 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Here are the answers to our I Love a Mystery Photo Contest! We thank everyone who took part. John Nicholson submitted the best overall entry, getting 14 out of the 15 puzzlers correct, so he is our contest winner. John’s answers are given in each photo caption.

    Note the close resemblance between photo #1 and this shot of the station near the end of service. Different angle, but same station, same building, same railroad.

    We hope you have enjoyed this contest, and will watch this space for our next helping of Transit Trivia. If you did not get all the answers, well, better luck next time!

    -David Sadowski

    PS- We borrowed our headline title from the old-time radio series I Love a Mystery, which you can read about here.

    #1 - "Remnants of the Swift & Co. station on the Stockyards branch." This photo was taken about one year after CTA service ended on October 7, 1957. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    #1 – “Remnants of the Swift & Co. station on the Stockyards branch.” This photo was taken about one year after CTA service ended on October 7, 1957. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)


    Here is another view of the Swift station, from yet another angle, showing how everything looked around the time the single-track Stockyards branch line opened in 1908:

    scan928

    #2 - "Former CNS&M MD car purchased by Frank Sherwin of Chicago Hardware Foundry. Repainted and lettered as a CHF storage car." The Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago was the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, today's IRM. (Photographer unknown)

    #2 – “Former CNS&M MD car purchased by Frank Sherwin of Chicago Hardware Foundry. Repainted and lettered as a CHF storage car.” The Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago was the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, today’s IRM. (Photographer unknown)

    #3 - "We're on Pulaski looking north to North Ave. There was a slight jog on Pulaski before reaching North Ave., Pioneer Bank on the NW corner of North and Pulaski was a local landmark." (Photographer unknown)

    #3 – “We’re on Pulaski looking north to North Ave. There was a slight jog on Pulaski before reaching North Ave., Pioneer Bank on the NW corner of North and Pulaski was a local landmark.” (Photographer unknown)

    #4 - "The famous Queen Mary taken in 1948 or shortly thereafter; it was converted into an electric bus in 1948." This photo was taken in March 1949. It's been suggested that this is at the North Avenue garage. As a trolley bus it was numbered 9763, making it the highest numbered Chicago tb. (Photographer unknown)

    #4 – “The famous Queen Mary taken in 1948 or shortly thereafter; it was converted into an electric bus in 1948.” This photo was taken in March 1949. It’s been suggested that this is at the North Avenue garage. As a trolley bus it was numbered 9763, making it the highest numbered Chicago tb. (Photographer unknown)

    You can see another view of CTA 9763 in service here.

    #5 - "This is a southbound Jackson Park train at the Merchandise Mart station." (CRT 4296 on July 2, 1940.) The sign just behind the train says "Kinzie," yet that was not the name of the station when this picture was taken. (Photographer unknown)

    #5 – “This is a southbound Jackson Park train at the Merchandise Mart station.” (CRT 4296 on July 2, 1940.) The sign just behind the train says “Kinzie,” yet that was not the name of the station when this picture was taken. (Photographer unknown)

    #6 - "This is the Cook County Hospital car that transported patients between Cook County Hospital and the Chicago State Hospital. It also made trips over connecting interurban lines." (The car was called Cook County No. 1 - see our sidebar below.) (Photographer unknown)

    #6 – “This is the Cook County Hospital car that transported patients between Cook County Hospital and the Chicago State Hospital. It also made trips over connecting interurban lines.” (The car was called Cook County No. 1 – see our sidebar below.) (Photographer unknown)

    More info about Cook County No. 1 from:http://forgottenchicago.com/forum/5/10734/10916/re__dunning_insane_asylum

    One of the more interesting facets of Chicago State Hospital was Cook County Car No. 1. From 1918 to 1939, this 60,000-pound interurban type car made weekly trips, carrying mentally ill patients from the Cook County Hospital to Dunning Hospital. For many patients this was their last journey, as many would be warehoused at this hospital for the remainder of their lives.

    Cook County Car No. 1 was built in 1918, at the West Shop of the Chicago Surface Lines. The Glowczewski family, who lived on the Northwest Side of Chicago for many years, remembers it, “being painted an ugly dark green with oversized wheels, and it moved like a Sturmorser tank along Irving Park Road.” The car had separate sections for the male and female patients. The female patients were closest to the motorman.

    Once inside Cook County Car No. 1, one would find sleeping berths, leather reclining chairs and small cabinets. Usually the crew consisted of two attendants, a nurse, and a physician. Unruly or agitated patients were strapped to the beds. Patients who were infirm were removed by wheel chairs and stretchers upon reaching Dunning Hospital. When the car’s work was finished, it would return to the old Kedzie station at Kedzie and Van Buren via Irving Park Road to Milwaukee Avenue (Six Corners), to California Avenue to Chicago Avenue, west on Chicago to Kedzie, and then subsequently, to the Kedzie depot.

    Two Irish lads regularly piloted the hospital trolley from its inception of service in 1918, to its last run o May 18, 1939. They were motorman Danial O’Brien and conductor Patrick Gibbons. Since it was of no value to the Surface lines, Cook County Car No. 1 was scrapped in late 1939. Starting in 1940, a $17,000 gas bus brought patients from the Cook County Hospital to Chicago State Hospital.

    #7 - "Car 222 at Michigan City; it was converted by CSS&SB to a way and structures vehicle and later a newspaper car." (Photographer unknown)

    #7 – “Car 222 at Michigan City; it was converted by CSS&SB to a way and structures vehicle and later a newspaper car.” (Photographer unknown)

    #8 - "Looking south on State St. from the State-Lake "L" station. Christmas decorations are up, An American in Paris (release date 11/11/51) is playing at the State Lake Theater. There were several days of very heavy snowfall just before Christmas so I would say this photo dates to around the third week of December 1951." (The actual date is December 14, 1951.) (Photographer unknown)

    #8 – “Looking south on State St. from the State-Lake “L” station. Christmas decorations are up, An American in Paris (release date 11/11/51) is playing at the State Lake Theater. There were several days of very heavy snowfall just before Christmas so I would say this photo dates to around the third week of December 1951.” (The actual date is December 14, 1951.) (Photographer unknown)

    #9 - "LaSalle & Van Buren" Clues include some of the early skyscrapers, the Victoria Hotel, and the continuous platform. (Photographer unknown)

    #9 – “LaSalle & Van Buren” Clues include some of the early skyscrapers, the Victoria Hotel, and the continuous platform. (Photographer unknown)

    #10 - "CERA trip #6 on 2/12/39 taken along Mannheim Rd. on the Mt. Carmel/Cook County branch of the CA&E." (Photographer unknown)

    #10 – “CERA trip #6 on 2/12/39 taken along Mannheim Rd. on the Mt. Carmel/Cook County branch of the CA&E.” (Photographer unknown)

    #11 - "This is a Garfield "L" train at Oak Park Ave. (CA&E trackage where CRT had trackage rights)." The clue is the building in the background. (Photographer unknown)

    #11 – “This is a Garfield “L” train at Oak Park Ave. (CA&E trackage where CRT had trackage rights).” The clue is the building in the background. (Photographer unknown)

    #12 - You'd think the CRT 4000s were never used in interurban or street railway service, yet here we are. "Military special is on North Shore Line trackage on Greenleaf Ave. in Wilmette circa 1942." (Photographer unknown)

    #12 – You’d think the CRT 4000s were never used in interurban or street railway service, yet here we are. “Military special is on North Shore Line trackage on Greenleaf Ave. in Wilmette circa 1942.” (Photographer unknown)

    #13 - CSL 6201 at 130th and Indiana on October 17, 1941. Only Charles Amstein got this one right. (The info written on the back of the photo, apparently was incorrect- we received a correction from Roy Benedict.) (Photographer unknown)

    #13 – CSL 6201 at 130th and Indiana on October 17, 1941. Only Charles Amstein got this one right. (The info written on the back of the photo, apparently was incorrect- we received a correction from Roy Benedict.) (Photographer unknown)

    #14 - "Military special at the Wilmette Ave. station in Wilmette on the North Shore Line." (Photographer unknown)

    #14 – “Military special at the Wilmette Ave. station in Wilmette on the North Shore Line.” (Photographer unknown)

    #15 - "End of the North Ave. line at Narragansett." (The clue is the Gateway Bowl sign.) Streetcar service was extended here on November 29, 1931, and was replaced by trolley buses on July 3, 1949. (Photographer unknown)

    #15 – “End of the North Ave. line at Narragansett.” (The clue is the Gateway Bowl sign.) Streetcar service was extended here on November 29, 1931, and was replaced by trolley buses on July 3, 1949. (Photographer unknown)


  • Friday, October 25, 2013 12:20 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Tonight’s CERA program features two hours of rare color films of Lehigh Valley Transit’s interurbans, the famed Liberty Bell Limited and Easton Limited. The program will start promptly at 7 and end at 9. We hope that you can join us as we step back in time to view the last old-fashioned Pennsylvania over hill, over dale, street running and side of the road interurban, which also ran on the P&W between Philadelphia and Norristown.

    An LVT 1000-series car (ex Cincinnati & Lake Erie). These cars provided the bulk of Liberty Bell Limited service from 1939 until abandonment in 1951. (Photographer unknown)

    An LVT 1000-series car (ex Cincinnati & Lake Erie). These cars provided the bulk of Liberty Bell Limited service from 1939 until abandonment in 1951. (Photographer unknown)

    A rare three-car train of older 700-800 series cars on a Liberty Bell Limited fantrip in 1950. (Photographer unknown)

    A rare three-car train of older 700-800 series cars on a Liberty Bell Limited fantrip in 1950. (Photographer unknown)

    LVT used four Cincinnati curved-side cars (ex-Dayton & Troy) on the Easton Limited interurban from 1939-49. Here is one towards the end of service, looking a bit worse for wear. (Photographer unknown)

    LVT used four Cincinnati curved-side cars (ex-Dayton & Troy) on the Easton Limited interurban from 1939-49. Here is one towards the end of service, looking a bit worse for wear. (Photographer unknown)


    These films were taken by the late Gerhard Solomon, and are brought to you by special arrangement with the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

    Friday, October 25, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St, Chicago, IL

    Admission is free for current CERA Members, and $5 for non-members.

    We will also be selling copies of our new book Trolley Sparks Special #1 at the meeting for $32, which includes 9.25% Illinois Sales Tax. 

    PS- There are three tables set up at each monthly CERA meeting. The table nearest the door is reserved for CERA’s use. The other two tables can be used by members to sell their wares on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Table setup is not permitted once the meeting has started, and attendees are not permitted to sell items without a table. Everyone’s cooperation with these rules is greatly appreciated.

    This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA's 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA’s 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CERA memberships for 2013 and 2014 can also be purchased at the meeting or via our web site.

    -Your CERA Directors


  • Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:25 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    For our 75th blog post, in our 75th year, we decided to pull out all the stops and present something uniquely Chicagoan. This is the fourth in our series detailing the construction of Chicago’s “Initial System of Subways.” (To read the other three chapters, just type “Chicago subway” into the search window on our blog’s home page, and they should come up.)

    The State Street subway opened on October 16, 1943, and celebrated its 70th anniversary just a few days ago. To top things off, we present a number of rare, vintage documents relating to the Chicago Rapid Transit system and the subway.

    We hope that you will enjoy these period photographs and descriptions, which let history speak for itself.

    -David Sadowski

    Chicago's State Street subway as it looked upon opening in 1943. (Photographer unknown)

    Chicago’s State Street subway as it looked upon opening in 1943. (Photographer unknown)


    January 10, 1939 - "Because Chicago's subway is being dug at a depth of 35 feet, where there is clay instead of rock, it is being dug with knives. Curved blades about a foot long, with a handle at each end, are held by two men while a third one pushes the knife downward to slice off a long strip of clay. It was found that this is the fastest way to cut through clay. Three 'groundhogs' are shown above using one of the knives." (Photographer unknown)

    January 10, 1939 – “Because Chicago’s subway is being dug at a depth of 35 feet, where there is clay instead of rock, it is being dug with knives. Curved blades about a foot long, with a handle at each end, are held by two men while a third one pushes the knife downward to slice off a long strip of clay. It was found that this is the fastest way to cut through clay. Three ‘groundhogs’ are shown above using one of the knives.” (Photographer unknown)

    May 17, 1939 - "Lillian Edwards looking at crack in wall in her apartment, caused by subway construction." (Photo by Padulo)

    May 17, 1939 – “Lillian Edwards looking at crack in wall in her apartment, caused by subway construction.” (Photo by Padulo)

    July 21, 1939 - Subway excavation in the Loop was literally a mining operation: "Pix shows crowd of workers, subway officials and firemen going down entrance to tunnel." (Photo by Mosse)

    July 21, 1939 – Subway excavation in the Loop was literally a mining operation: “Pix shows crowd of workers, subway officials and firemen going down entrance to tunnel.” (Photo by Mosse)

    September 22, 1939 - "Dredging river for subway at State and Wacker." (Photographer unknown)

    September 22, 1939 – “Dredging river for subway at State and Wacker.” (Photographer unknown)

    December 12, 1939 - "Photodiagram illustrates how the tubes for carrying the subway under the Chicago River have been lowered in an east and west position in the river. Cables are attached to flat-bottomed scows to hold the tubes in suspension. The steel frameworks protruding upward show the engineers at what depth the tubes ride. Tomorrow morning the tubes will be swung in the direction of the arrow until they line up with State Street. They then will be dropped into a 30-foot channel which has been dug across the river bed." (Photographer unknown)

    December 12, 1939 – “Photodiagram illustrates how the tubes for carrying the subway under the Chicago River have been lowered in an east and west position in the river. Cables are attached to flat-bottomed scows to hold the tubes in suspension. The steel frameworks protruding upward show the engineers at what depth the tubes ride. Tomorrow morning the tubes will be swung in the direction of the arrow until they line up with State Street. They then will be dropped into a 30-foot channel which has been dug across the river bed.” (Photographer unknown)

    Just prior to the mayoral election, the City of Chicago held an "inspection trip" in the still-uncompleted State Street subway, with only one track in service. Here is a souvenir pin from that event.

    Just prior to the mayoral election, the City of Chicago held an “inspection trip” in the still-uncompleted State Street subway, with only one track in service. Here is a souvenir pin from that event.

    Posed photos, probably taken in April 1943 by Peter Fish Studios, were used by the city to promote the new subway on postcards.

    Posed photos, probably taken in April 1943 by Peter Fish Studios, were used by the city to promote the new subway on postcards.

    The brand-new right-of-way going into the north end of the subway tunnel, as it looked in 1943. (Photographer unknown)

    The brand-new right-of-way going into the north end of the subway tunnel, as it looked in 1943. (Photographer unknown)

    October 18, 1943 - "Crowds standing in the subway waiting for their trains." (Photo by George Kotalik)

    October 18, 1943 – “Crowds standing in the subway waiting for their trains.” (Photo by George Kotalik)

    October 21, 1943 - "Signs indicating the approximate positions of car doors when the train stops speed up the loading and unloading of trains. The platform height is level with the car floors." (Photographer unknown)

    October 21, 1943 – “Signs indicating the approximate positions of car doors when the train stops speed up the loading and unloading of trains. The platform height is level with the car floors.” (Photographer unknown)

    October 21, 1943 - "Transfers to allow passengers to switch from the subway trains to westside elevated cars running over the old structure comprising the Loop are issued issued from booths on the train-level platform. Built at two levels, the subway consists of a station level containing ticket seller, automatic turnstiles, checking lockers and washrooms, and the train level." Eventually, these booths were replaced by machines that issued "walking transfers." (Photographer unknown)

    October 21, 1943 – “Transfers to allow passengers to switch from the subway trains to westside elevated cars running over the old structure comprising the Loop are issued issued from booths on the train-level platform. Built at two levels, the subway consists of a station level containing ticket seller, automatic turnstiles, checking lockers and washrooms, and the train level.” Eventually, these booths were replaced by machines that issued “walking transfers.” (Photographer unknown)

    October 21, 1943 - "Electric escalators, which can be operated in either direction depending on rush hour needs, are used to speed moving of passengers between train levels and station levels, just below the street surface. Stairways run parallel to the escalators, while walls of passage ways and station levels are of tile." (Photographer unknown)

    October 21, 1943 – “Electric escalators, which can be operated in either direction depending on rush hour needs, are used to speed moving of passengers between train levels and station levels, just below the street surface. Stairways run parallel to the escalators, while walls of passage ways and station levels are of tile.” (Photographer unknown)

    October 24, 1943 - "Secretary of Commerce Harold Ickes, who okayed checks for $17,000,000 worth of government money that went into the Chicago subway, made a tour of it yesterday and found it much to his liking. The car was crowded on the return trip to the loop and Ickes stood up." (Unknown photographer)

    October 24, 1943 – “Secretary of Commerce Harold Ickes, who okayed checks for $17,000,000 worth of government money that went into the Chicago subway, made a tour of it yesterday and found it much to his liking. The car was crowded on the return trip to the loop and Ickes stood up.” (Unknown photographer)

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, had close ties to Mayor Kelly. His Administration approved additional funding that made the Chicago subway possible. (Photographer unknown)

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, had close ties to Mayor Kelly. His Administration approved additional funding that made the Chicago subway possible. (Photographer unknown)

    ChicagoSubways

    Justifiably proud of its new subway, the City of Chicago issued a 32-page booklet about it in October 1943, which you can downland and read here as an 8mb PDF file.

    ScreenShot122

    A CRT brochure, effective December 1, 1943, showing routing changes caused by the opening of the State Street subway. You can download it here as a 1.24mb PDF file.

    CRTStory

    A CRT brochure detailing the history and extent of the rapid transit system in 1937, just prior to construction of the Initial System of Subways. You can download and read it here as a 2.21mb PDF file. (This is a 1940 reprint.)

    scan915

    scan916

    scan917

    scan918

    July 23, 1944 - Illustrating how wooden "L" cars could have been a fire hazard in the subway, if they had been allowed, here is a contemporary account of just such a fire on the elevated structure: "Lake St. opposite Garfield Pk. Conservatory. One car completely gutted and others tied up for blocks. Two other cares were more or less severely damaged too." (Photo by Risser)

    July 23, 1944 – Illustrating how wooden “L” cars could have been a fire hazard in the subway, if they had been allowed, here is a contemporary account of just such a fire on the elevated structure: “Lake St. opposite Garfield Pk. Conservatory. One car completely gutted and others tied up for blocks. Two other cares were more or less severely damaged too.” (Photo by Risser)


  • Monday, October 14, 2013 12:29 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    (This contest has ended, but you can read the answers here.)

    We all love a mystery, don’t we? But our readers especially seem to like our mystery photo contests, so we thought we would try another one. This time, we have upped the ante with 15 new puzzlers for your consideration.

    As usual, the entrant with the best overall submission will be the winner. Please get your submissions in by midnight (Central time) Monday, October 21, 2013.

    The winner gets a copy of the CERA book A Rainbow of Traction.

    Some of you seem to prefer writing about your guesses on public forums. You do so at your own risk. You might just provide another entrant with the winning answer.

    Good luck figuring out our puzzlers, which are all from the Chicago area this time.

    -David Sadowski

    #1 - This picture was taken in Chicago during fall 1958. But what is it? Where is it? (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    #1 – This picture was taken in Chicago during fall 1958. But what is it? Where is it? (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)


    #2 - What is this? Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    #2 – What is this? Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    #3 - Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #3 – Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #4 - What have we here? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #4 – What have we here? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #5 - Where was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #5 – Where was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #6 - What is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #6 – What is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #7 - What is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #7 – What is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #8 - Where are we? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #8 – Where are we? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #9 - Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #9 – Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #10 - Where are we? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #10 – Where are we? When was this picture taken? (Photographer unknown)

    #11 - What station is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #11 – What station is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #12 - Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #12 – Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #13 - Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #13 – Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #14 - What station is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #14 – What station is this? (Photographer unknown)

    #15 - Where are we? (Photographer unknown)

    #15 – Where are we? (Photographer unknown)


  • Wednesday, October 09, 2013 12:32 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    October at CERA:
    A Round Trip on the Liberty Bell Limited

    Step back in time and enjoy rare color film footage the late Gerhard Salomon captured from 1947 to 1951, covering Lehigh Valley Transit Company‘s entire Liberty Bell Line from Downtown Allentown to Philadelphia’s 69th Street Terminal. We will also see the Liberty Bell Limited cars on the LVT City Division and on the Easton Limited. Come join us for what promises to be a fun evening. (By special arrangement with the Rockhill Trolley Museum.)

    Friday, October 25, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St, Chicago, IL

    Admission is free for current CERA Members, and $5 for non-members.

    LVT 701 near Locust Siding on October 22, 1950. (Unknown Photographer)

    LVT 701 near Locust Siding on October 22, 1950. (Unknown Photographer)

    LVT C15 near Centre Valley on October 10, 1950. (Unknown Photographer)

    LVT C15 near Centre Valley on October 10, 1950. (Unknown Photographer)


    We will also be selling copies of our new book Trolley Sparks Special #1 at the meeting for $32, which includes 9.25% Illinois Sales Tax. 

    PS- There are three tables set up at each monthly CERA meeting. The table nearest the door is reserved for CERA’s use. The other two tables can be used by members to sell their wares on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Table setup is not permitted once the meeting has started, and attendees are not permitted to sell items without a table. Everyone’s cooperation with these rules is greatly appreciated.

    CERA News for October 2013

    P1010215

    Trolley Sparks Special #1 – A Limited Number of Copies Are Still Available

    Everyone who attended our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program on September 21st received a copy of our special retrospective book Trolley Sparks Special #1, edited by John Marton. In addition, all pre-order copies of our newest book were shipped out in late September.

    A limited number of books are still available for immediate shipment. The cost is just $29, which includes domestic postage. (Illinois residents pay 9.25% sales tax.) International shipping costs $12. This book is not part of our regular membership entitlement.

    You can order yours today either online (via our web site) or by mail. The book makes an excellent gift, so why not pick up an extra copy today with the holidays coming up? Don’t wait until we are completely sold out!

    CSL/CTA 4391 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the mid-1980s. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CSL/CTA 4391 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the mid-1980s. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    B-146 – Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era

    We made a special announcement revealing our next book (B-146) at the banquet. This will be the membership entitlement for 2012 members. We are very excited about the new book, and you will be too!

    The Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era will cover the routes that used PCCs from one end to the other in spectacular color images. This will be the first CERA book devoted entirely to Chicago streetcars. We feel that CERA is the right organization to publish such a book, and that it is important to both get it right, and get it out within the living memory of those who rode Chicago streetcars.

    Photo selection for the book is going on right now. If you have quality photos of Chicago PCCs that would be useful for our book, we would love to hear from you. We have already received permission from several excellent photographers to use their work in the book. Can you help contribute?

    Other Upcoming Publications

    CERA’s Publications Committee continues to work on several upcoming book projects, in various stages of completion. We expect to publish two books next year, B-146 in the spring and B-147 in the fall. The title of B-147 will be announced sometime next year. That will be the book entitlement for 2013 CERA members.

    More quality images are needed in order to complete our upcoming Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria book. If you can contribute to this important volume, please let us know. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    2014 Memberships Now Available

    Starting October 9th, we are now accepting memberships for 2014, either by mail or through our web site.

    2014 Membership Rates:
    Associate USA $42
    Active USA $45
    Contributing $90-179
    Sustaining $180+
    Associate International $72
    Active International $75

    Due to the increased costs of mailing outside the US, especially for sending books, there is now a $30 surcharge for International Active or Associate memberships.

    Our 2014 CERA Membership Card features a color picture of a Chicago PCC streetcar, in honor of our upcoming book B-146, to be published in spring 2014. Once you purchase your membership, we will mail out your membership card right away. It will have your CERA member # and membership class noted on it.Become a card-carrying member of CERA today!

    (Note: we are still accepting 2013 memberships, which entitle you to a book (B-147), which we currently expect to be mailed in fall 2014. It also entitles you to free admission at the rest of this year’s CERA program meetings.)

    We Thank You

    Thanks to all those who attended our recent 75th Anniversary events, which were very well attended. Special thanks go out to both Walter Keevil, who gave the program at our banquet, and Harvey Laner, who did the same at our regular September membership meeting.

    -Your CERA Directors


Copyright 2018 Central Electric Railfans' Association. All Right Reserved 

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

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