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Railfans' Association

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  • Friday, October 04, 2013 2:01 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    A special highlight of CERA’s trip to the Illinois Railway Museum on September 21st was the unique “Insull Parade,” featuring historic trains from all four Chicago-area railroads once controlled by Samuel Insull.

    The three-car steel CA&E train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The three-car steel CA&E train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)


    These were the Chicago Rapid Transit Co., the Chicago South Shore & South Bend, Chicago Aurora & Elgin, and the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee. Under Insull’s management, these properties were expanded and modernized, but fell victim to the Great Depression of the 1930s, and all fell into receivership. In the 1920s, it seemed as though business conditions would simply continue to improve forever; however, the stock market crash in October 1929 proved otherwise, leaving the Insull empire badly overextended.

    But the positive effects of Insull management lasted far beyond the Depression. CRT became part of the Chicago Transit Authority in 1947, and CTA continued to use equipment purchased by Insull in regular service until 1973. Without the Insull-led modernization of the late 1920s, it’s very unlikely the South Shore Line would have survived to still be with us today. Even the two interurbans that did not survive (CA&E and CNS&M) lasted for decades beyond Insull ownership.

    Fortunately, there are operable examples of cars from all four properties at IRM, and to help celebrate our 75th anniversary, CERA made special arrangements to run them on September 21st. Today, we feature the excellent photography of longtime CERA member and Director Jeff Wien, courtesy of the Wien-Criss Archive.

    All four pictures were taken at Olson Road, as the various cars did a “run-by” in the Insull Parade. We hope that you enjoy them. These cars look so good at this locale, that you would almost swear this was real interurban territory, and not simply a demonstration railroad at a railway museum.

    -David Sadowski

    The two-car North Shore Line train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The two-car North Shore Line train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The two-car wood Chicago Rapid Transit Co. train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The two-car wood Chicago Rapid Transit Co. train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The two-car South Shore Line train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The two-car South Shore Line train. (Photo by Jeff Wien, Wien-Criss Archive)

    PS- We recently received the following message from Frank Kehoe:

    I am a volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum currently involved in the restoration of Chicago Rapid Transit car 1024. This car is an 1898 product of the Pullman Co. and is the oldest rapid transit car in the IRM collection. It is being restored to its appearance in 1913 at the time of the consolidation.

    We want to restore the roof mounted marker lights and destination signs the car had in 1913. These items are depicted on pages 36 and 38 of CERA Bulletin 113 on cars 8 and 1034. We do not have either of these items to use on the restored car.

    Our current intention is to reproduce these marker lights and destination signs as best as we can from the photos. I am wondering if any members of CERA had either of these items that we could either use in the restoration or at least examine so that they could be reproduced as faithfully as possible.

    Any help you or your members could give in this project would be appreciated.

    If anyone can help with the above, please contact us at cerablog1@gmail.com and we will pass it along to Mr. Kehoe, thanks.


  • Thursday, October 03, 2013 2:26 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    The PCC car is alive and well just 50 miles from Chicago, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. CERA made a trip there on September 20th, as part of our 75th Anniversary celebrations. Our charter bus was full, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

    The Chicago car really looks quite nice, even if the green they used is a bit darker than the original. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Chicago car really looks quite nice, even if the green they used is a bit darker than the original. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Master mechanic Bradley Preston keeps the PCC fleet in tip-top shape. While fans sometimes nitpick minor details, such as the “wrong” shade of paint on a car, it’s a miracle that these cars are in such great shape. All are at least 60 years old.

    Consider what a feat it would be to have a fleet of working taxicabs using 1951 automobiles. That’s something akin to what we have here, and it’s a tribute to Mr. Preston’s skill and dedication that these cars continue to give good service after all these years.

    The Kenosha streetcar runs in a loop, in an east-west direction, covering a distance of slightly less than two miles. In operation for a dozen years or so, it has met its goals of providing transportation and attracting tourists.

    Nearly all the cars in the Kenosha fleet came from Toronto. While Toronto got many cars from the US second-hand, none of the Kenosha cars fall into that category.

    One car retains Toronto colors, while the other imports have been repainted in tribute to other cities that had PCCs, including Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Johnstown (the smallest US city that had PCCs). Another car is from Philadelphia, and remains in SEPTA colors. That car dates to 1948, and is the oldest one in the fleet.

    While the cars never really open up past about 20 mph, the ride around the trolley loop is quite enjoyable. There are various attractions along the way, including museums, a waterfront, and the train station where you can take a Metra train to Chicago.

    Kenosha is going forward with plans to build a second trolley loop, in a north-south direction. The full city council is expected to approve this in the near future. These plans may include a “Grand Union” allowing streetcars to change from one route to the other without going all the way around the loop.

    Kenosha’s streetcars have been, and hopefully will continue to be, an important part of a successful transition o a post-industrial era. They are well worth a visit.

    -David Sadowski

    The Kenosha shops, where Bradley Preston works his magic. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Kenosha shops, where Bradley Preston works his magic. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Johnstown car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Johnstown car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Streetcar technician Bradley Preston chats with CERA President Joe Reuter. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Streetcar technician Bradley Preston chats with CERA President Joe Reuter. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Pittsburgh car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Pittsburgh car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Philadelphia car, still in SEPTA paint. Other Kenosha cars are ex-Toronto, and are painted in tribute to various cities that had PCCs. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Philadelphia car, still in SEPTA paint. Other Kenosha cars are ex-Toronto, and are painted in tribute to various cities that had PCCs. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Toronto car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Toronto car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Two "second cities" cars meet (Chicago and Toronto). (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Two “second cities” cars meet (Chicago and Toronto). (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago meets Philly. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago meets Philly. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago and Cincinnati. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago and Cincinnati. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Cincinnati car in action. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Cincinnati car in action. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars ready to go back into the barn. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars ready to go back into the barn. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Johnstown car would be more authentic if it had a big Pepsi-Cola bottlecap on the front, like so many of the originals did there. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Johnstown car would be more authentic if it had a big Pepsi-Cola bottlecap on the front, like so many of the originals did there. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Pittsburgh car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Pittsburgh car. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Kenosha's PCC have wheelchair lifts. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Kenosha’s PCC have wheelchair lifts. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Cincinnati cars actually used two trolley poles, much as trolley buses do. The city was afraid that grounding the electricity through the track would somehow electrify underground pipes. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Cincinnati cars actually used two trolley poles, much as trolley buses do. The city was afraid that grounding the electricity through the track would somehow electrify underground pipes. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    PCC interior. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    PCC interior. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The Franks Diner was closed the day of our visit, but is always worth a trip when you're in Kenosha. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The Franks Diner was closed the day of our visit, but is always worth a trip when you’re in Kenosha. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Fans board the CERA charter bus. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Fans board the CERA charter bus. (Photo by David Sadowski)


  • Tuesday, October 01, 2013 2:40 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    It’s hard to imagine nowadays, but there was a time when not all of the CTA Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) was elevated. Until October 1962, the outer 2.5 miles between Laramie and Forest Park ran at ground level, with overhead wire instead of third rail. Since this was nearly 51 years ago, you’d have to be of a certain age to remember it. Fortunately, I rode this line frequently as a kid and recall it fondly.

    South Boulevard at Home, October 1962. The photographer's vantage point was a stairway leading to an old C&NW station. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    South Boulevard at Home, October 1962. The photographer’s vantage point was a stairway leading to an old C&NW station. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)


    When Chicago’s “L” system was first built, some of the lines were extended to what were then sparsely populated areas. Much of Oak Park’s growth is the result of being served by two rapid transit lines for more than 100 years. But naturally, when these extensions were made, the private companies who built them were trying to get things going in the least expensive way possible. Therefore, ground level operation was the norm through Oak Park.

    This persisted until about 50 years ago, when both Oak Park’s rapid transit lines were grade-separated within a few years of each other. The Garfield Park “L” was relocated into the Congress Expressway through this area in 1960, and the Lake Street “L” was elevated onto the Chicago & North Western embankment two years later.

    What historian and author Bruce Moffat has called “everybody’s favorite side of the road trolley” was undoubtedly a ponderous and somewhat dangerous affair from an operational standpoint. There were numerous blind intersections, where cars and trucks and sometimes people would dart out in front of moving trains.

    When the C&NW elevated onto their embankment (c1910), clearances with the rapid transit line were very tight- so tight, in fact, that CTA did not want to run curved-sided cars on the ground-level section. There were 22 viaducts with manually operated gates, and the gateman’s shacks also created tight clearances.

    By the early 1950s, CTA had taken over from the bankrupt Chicago Rapid Transit Company, and considered ways to get rid of the three ground-level west side lines (Lake, Garfield, and Douglas). Douglas got cut back to 54th Avenue. Garfield might have met the same fate, except for the Congress Superhighway project. It morphed into the present-day Blue Line in the expressway median.

    Around 1951, the CTA proposed cutting back Lake to Laramie, where the elevated structure ended. Oak Park, which billed itself the World’s Largest Village at the time (it has since lost the title, first to Skokie, then to Baniyachong of Bangladesh), did not like this idea and worked to find a solution.

    Putting the outer end of Lake onto the C&NW embankment turned out to be a win-win for everyone involved. The CTA speeded up service and improved safety, while eliminating 22 grade crossings (and, most likely, at least 70 gatemen). The space vacated by the CTA got turned into parking spaces.

    CTA built a new yard in Forest Park, which meant that CTA no longer had to store Lake trains on a third track on the elevated structure. At first, plans were to extend the rapid to the Des Plaines River, but in the end, Harlem became the last stop, as it had been before.

    But C&NW came out ahead also. CTA had to pay rent of over $200k per year for using the embankment. And there was the matter of station closures. CTA and C&NW made a deal, whereby the latter agreed to close several close-in stations, ceding that ridership to the CTA. C&NW wanted to concentrate their efforts on the suburban market. Eliminating these stations made it easier for the CTA to relocate on the embankment.

    Service was finally moved over to the embankment on October 28, 1962, over the course of a weekend. According to longtime CERA member (and former Director) Charles Tauscher, on Saturday the 27th, “L” service was cut back to Laramie, while the track connection was changed over from the old ramp to the new one bringing the line over to the C&NW.

    The original connection to the embankment had an odd little dogleg in the track, which would often catch people unawares and throw them off to one side. Regular riders came to expect it. Fortunately, this section of curved track was smoothed out some years back.

    Within two years of the 1962 changeover, the Lake line, which had been passed over with the 6000s, finally got new equipment. A significant part of the new fleet of 2000s, high-speed cars with air conditioning, were assigned to the Lake Street “L”, now that it was fully elevated.

    CTA’s 6000s did not run on the Lake Street “L” much until the Blizzard of ’79, when they replaced more modern cars with burned-out motors. Here, for once the embankment worked against the “L” for a change. While the snow could fall through a steel “L” structure, it simply piled up on the embankment. The outer portion of Lake was closed for a week and had to be dug out by teams of workers armed with snow shovels.

    Mr. Tauscher, an excellent photographer, took many photos of the Lake Street “L” in 1961-62, while the new alignment was being built. We present these for your enjoyment, courtesy of the Wien-Criss Archive. This will be the first of a series showing this very interesting operation.

    -David Sadowski

    CTA 4308 at Lake and Long on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4308 at Lake and Long on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4388 in Forest Park on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4388 in Forest Park on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4388 at Central on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4388 at Central on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Central Avenue, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Central Avenue, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The ramp up to Laramie, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The ramp up to Laramie, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4297 at Laramie, May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4297 at Laramie, May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A West Towns bus crosses the Lake Street "L" at Ridgeland in October 1962. Today, this is the Pace 315 route. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A West Towns bus crosses the Lake Street “L” at Ridgeland in October 1962. Today, this is the Pace 315 route. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The ramp to Laramie in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The ramp to Laramie in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Ridgeland station, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Ridgeland station, October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #85 bus at Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #85 bus at Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA trolley bus on Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA trolley bus on Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Just east of Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    Just east of Central in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #91 bus crosses the Lake line at Austin Boulevard in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #91 bus crosses the Lake line at Austin Boulevard in October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #16 Lake Street bus in October 1962. This route used narrow buses for some years, but was eventually discontinued. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    A CTA #16 Lake Street bus in October 1962. This route used narrow buses for some years, but was eventually discontinued. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    October 1962. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4301 with poles up at Laramie on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA 4301 with poles up at Laramie on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    4411 at Forest Park in October 1962. Note the Wieboldt's store in the background, a local landmark. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    4411 at Forest Park in October 1962. Note the Wieboldt’s store in the background, a local landmark. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    At Forest Park in August 1962. Note local the Wieboldt's store in the background. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    At Forest Park in August 1962. Note local the Wieboldt’s store in the background. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA Central Avenue trolley bus 9734 on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    CTA Central Avenue trolley bus 9734 on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    4367 at Central on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    4367 at Central on May 7, 1961. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The end of the line just west of Harlem Avenue in August 1962. Here, the embankment had to be built up in order to create the new CTA yard. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

    The end of the line just west of Harlem Avenue in August 1962. Here, the embankment had to be built up in order to create the new CTA yard. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)


  • Sunday, September 29, 2013 4:13 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Here are some photos from last Saturday’s CERA inspection trip to the Illinois Railway Museum. We salute the entire crew of volunteers at IRM for giving us such a warm welcome, and for arranging to put out all the various pieces of equipment we requested. The weather was beautiful.

    CERA and IRM celebrated the four various Chicago-area Insull properties, the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee, Chicago Aurora and Elgin, Chicago South Shore & South Bend, and the Chicago Rapid Transit Co. We rode on trains from all four properties, and this culminated in an unprecedented “Insull Parade” on IRM’s Main Line.

    In addition to this, Indiana Railroad car 65 also made a rare appearance. We hope you will enjoy these souvenirs of a wonderful time spent in Union, Illinois.

    -David Sadowski

    IRM helped CERA celebrate its 75th anniversary on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    IRM helped CERA celebrate its 75th anniversary on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)


    C&WT 141 is the last survivor of that street railway. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    C&WT 141 is the last survivor of that street railway. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago and West Towns car 141 has been restored. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Chicago and West Towns car 141 has been restored. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The South Shore cars are rarely operated at IRM since they use pantographs. The overhead is designed for poles, not pans. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The South Shore cars are rarely operated at IRM since they use pantographs. The overhead is designed for poles, not pans. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    These signs were a familiar sight on South Shore trains in the 1970s and 80s. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    These signs were a familiar sight on South Shore trains in the 1970s and 80s. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CRT/CTA 1268 and 1797. Despite the difference in numbers, they are about the same age. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CRT/CTA 1268 and 1797. Despite the difference in numbers, they are about the same age. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CERA fantrip riders on the wooden "L" cars. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CERA fantrip riders on the wooden “L” cars. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CRT/CTA wooden "L" car 1024 is undergoing restoration. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CRT/CTA wooden “L” car 1024 is undergoing restoration. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Boarding the two-car "L" train. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Boarding the two-car “L” train. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Our three-car steel CA&E train (409-431-460). (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Our three-car steel CA&E train (409-431-460). (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E and South Shore cars, representing two of the four Chicago-area Insull properties. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E and South Shore cars, representing two of the four Chicago-area Insull properties. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars 460 and 431 can couple together, despite being of different vintages. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars 460 and 431 can couple together, despite being of different vintages. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E 460 was the last new car built for the line (1945-46). Some have called it the last "standard" interurban car built in the US, but that is open to interpretation. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E 460 was the last new car built for the line (1945-46). Some have called it the last “standard” interurban car built in the US, but that is open to interpretation. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The CERA crowd lines up to board the "Roarin' Elgin" train. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The CERA crowd lines up to board the “Roarin’ Elgin” train. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The Nebraska Zephyr at IRM. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The Nebraska Zephyr at IRM. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The two-car North Shore train (714-749) stops to pick up passengers along the Main Line. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The two-car North Shore train (714-749) stops to pick up passengers along the Main Line. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Riders on North Shore 714. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Riders on North Shore 714. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The North Shore trains are looking pretty good at Union. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The North Shore trains are looking pretty good at Union. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CNS&M 749 at the Depot. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CNS&M 749 at the Depot. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Indiana Railroad car 65, IRM's first acquisition, was also out that day. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Indiana Railroad car 65, IRM’s first acquisition, was also out that day. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The elegant Indiana Railroad logo. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The elegant Indiana Railroad logo. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    IR 65 on the Trolley Loop. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    IR 65 on the Trolley Loop. (Photo by David Sadowski)


  • Friday, September 27, 2013 4:15 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Our latest “mystery photos” post generated quite a lot of interest. John Nicholson submitted the best overall entry by far, and is therefore the contest winner. We hope that you will enjoy them. We certainly had a lot of fun putting this contest together. (Mr. Nicholson’s answers have been added to the photo captions.)

    If you did not win the contest, well, better luck next time. We thank everyone for taking part.

    -David Sadowski

    Here's yet another mystery photo. Yes, it's a bus, but there seems to be a rail context here in this April 1962 scene. What is going on in this picture? Where is this? (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)

    Here’s yet another mystery photo. Yes, it’s a bus, but there seems to be a rail context here in this April 1962 scene. What is going on in this picture? Where is this? (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher)


    Mystery Photo #1 "This was taken on CERA fantrip #84 on 6-20-60. There is also a photo by Ray DeGroote of these two cars at Damen Ave. on the Logan Square "L" on another Web site. These cars were never in regular service on the Logan Square or Lake St. lines. My guess is that someone added the destination sign strictly for the fantrip photo and the cars not operated beyond Pulaski. Some trips with these cars descended the Hamlin ramp and ran under trolley wire into the West Shops." (Charles L. Tauscher Collection) (Ed Halstead comments, "I rode the 1-50 series of cars on the Logan Square line for at least a year during time I was going to college.")

    Mystery Photo #1 “This was taken on CERA fantrip #84 on 6-20-60. There is also a photo by Ray DeGroote of these two cars at Damen Ave. on the Logan Square “L” on another Web site. These cars were never in regular service on the Logan Square or Lake St. lines. My guess is that someone added the destination sign strictly for the fantrip photo and the cars not operated beyond Pulaski. Some trips with these cars descended the Hamlin ramp and ran under trolley wire into the West Shops.” (Charles L. Tauscher Collection) (Ed Halstead comments, “I rode the 1-50 series of cars on the Logan Square line for at least a year during time I was going to college.”)

    Mystery Photo #2 "This was an electrical fire on the South Side "L" at 35th St. My copies from the Chicago Daily News give the date as 10-18-62, but it could have been a day earlier." (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #2 “This was an electrical fire on the South Side “L” at 35th St. My copies from the Chicago Daily News give the date as 10-18-62, but it could have been a day earlier.” (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #3 - CA&E 310 on July 1, 1957. "A "gimme"--the Batavia terminal two days before the "suspension" of passenger service on 7-03-57." (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #3 – CA&E 310 on July 1, 1957. “A “gimme”–the Batavia terminal two days before the “suspension” of passenger service on 7-03-57.” (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    CA&E 310-309 in Batavia on CERA Fantrip #71 (May 19, 1957), about six weeks before the suspension of passenger service. Some have compared the Batavia branch to the main line at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    CA&E 310-309 in Batavia on CERA Fantrip #71 (May 19, 1957), about six weeks before the suspension of passenger service. Some have compared the Batavia branch to the main line at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photographer Unknown)

    Mystery Photo #4 - CTA 2200s in September 1973. "This is the 50th St. station on the Douglas Park Line. The old station building was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum where it can be seen today." (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #4 – CTA 2200s in September 1973. “This is the 50th St. station on the Douglas Park Line. The old station building was moved to the Illinois Railway Museum where it can be seen today.” (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    February 16, 1978 - "Pete Vesic readies CTA rapid transit station from 50th and Cicero Avenue for its move to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. The former station is on a truck trailer at the National Casting Co., 5300 W. 16th St. It will be dedicated later this year." (Photo by James DePree)

    February 16, 1978 – “Pete Vesic readies CTA rapid transit station from 50th and Cicero Avenue for its move to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. The former station is on a truck trailer at the National Casting Co., 5300 W. 16th St. It will be dedicated later this year.” (Photo by James DePree)

    Mystery Photo #7 - "This car is eastbound at Madison and Canal passing North Western Station. This car must have been freshly delivered as it has a CSL logo on the side. The 4194 was in a group of cars delivered between September 1947 and March 1948. I would place the date around 1948 or very early 1949." (Unknown photographer) (Picture taken in August 1948- ed.)

    Mystery Photo #7 – “This car is eastbound at Madison and Canal passing North Western Station. This car must have been freshly delivered as it has a CSL logo on the side. The 4194 was in a group of cars delivered between September 1947 and March 1948. I would place the date around 1948 or very early 1949.” (Unknown photographer) (Picture taken in August 1948- ed.)

    Mystery Photo #9 - "I have no interest in buses whether they be motor or horse-drawn. I could only guess that this is at the Chicago Historical Museum; a duplicate is operated at Greenfield Village." (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #9 – “I have no interest in buses whether they be motor or horse-drawn. I could only guess that this is at the Chicago Historical Museum; a duplicate is operated at Greenfield Village.” (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #10 - "This is the Guilford Ave. "el" Saratoga St. ramp in Baltimore. Service on this line ended on 1-01-50." (Unknown photographer) This was somewhat of a trick question. We did say, however, that the photos were "generally" from Chicago. While this scene does look like Chicago, none of our "Ls" descend right into the middle of a street as this one did. The difference, of course, is that this was a streetcar elevated. So it naturally went into a street. Baltimore's el was 2000 feet long. Kansas City had a similar mile-long el.

    Mystery Photo #10 – “This is the Guilford Ave. “el” Saratoga St. ramp in Baltimore. Service on this line ended on 1-01-50.” (Unknown photographer) This was somewhat of a trick question. We did say, however, that the photos were “generally” from Chicago. While this scene does look like Chicago, none of our “Ls” descend right into the middle of a street as this one did. The difference, of course, is that this was a streetcar elevated. So it naturally went into a street. Baltimore’s el was 2000 feet long. Kansas City had a similar mile-long el.

    Mystery Photo #11 - "Looking south onto Clark St. from the Clark & Lake "L" station. The Sedans are still serving Route 22 and my guess is the photo dates from the early 1940s." (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #11 – “Looking south onto Clark St. from the Clark & Lake “L” station. The Sedans are still serving Route 22 and my guess is the photo dates from the early 1940s.” (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #12 - "Milwaukee Ave. cars line up southbound on Dearborn ready to turn west onto Madison St. Note the "Charles Netcher Building" building to the right. Netcher was the founder of the Boston Store which remained in business at that site until 1948 (Sears now occupies the building). As the store fronts still look like the place is open, I'd say the photo was taken no later than 1948." (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #12 – “Milwaukee Ave. cars line up southbound on Dearborn ready to turn west onto Madison St. Note the “Charles Netcher Building” building to the right. Netcher was the founder of the Boston Store which remained in business at that site until 1948 (Sears now occupies the building). As the store fronts still look like the place is open, I’d say the photo was taken no later than 1948.” (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #13 - "This is at Roosevelt Rd. on the Westchester line showing the temporary terminal in place when the line was being extended to 22nd and Mannheim. The extension opened on 12-01-30 so my guess for the date of the photo is late 1930 or possibly early 1931." (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #13 – “This is at Roosevelt Rd. on the Westchester line showing the temporary terminal in place when the line was being extended to 22nd and Mannheim. The extension opened on 12-01-30 so my guess for the date of the photo is late 1930 or possibly early 1931.” (Unknown photographer)


  • Thursday, September 26, 2013 4:18 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    75th Anniversary Banquet and Program

    CERA’s 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program was a great success. The sold-out crowd enjoyed the food, the camaraderie, and the North Shore Line films shown by Walter Keevil. We thank all those who attended, especially everyone who came from out of town just for our big CERA weekend of events.

    Our next book (B-146) will be called Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era, to be published in Spring 2014. (Photo by James J. Buckley, CERA Archives)

    Our next book (B-146) will be called Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era, to be published in Spring 2014. (Photo by James J. Buckley, CERA Archives)

    We gave out two awards. First, Myles Jarrow, Member #23, received the 2013 CERA Founder’s Award, and spoke for several minutes about the early days of the organization. Then, we surprised Ray DeGroote, our Master of Ceremonies, by giving him the 2013 CERA Service Award for 65 years of faithful service.

    Saturday night's CERA 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program was very well received. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Saturday night’s CERA 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program was very well received. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Ye olde editor gave a slideshow with many photos from past fantrips, including some going back to CERA’s earliest days. I have posted a few here (courtesy of John Nicholson) that I was not able to include, and I hope that you will enjoy them.

    Great Lakes Naval station, 6-16-40. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    Great Lakes Naval station, 6-16-40. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    Birney car 328 in Waukegan. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    Birney car 328 in Waukegan. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M 738 at Buena Yard (near Irving Park Road) on 6-16-40. That's a CSL streetcar in the background, and Graceland cemetery behind the wall. (Photo by George Krambles, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M 738 at Buena Yard (near Irving Park Road) on 6-16-40. That’s a CSL streetcar in the background, and Graceland cemetery behind the wall. (Photo by George Krambles, John Nicholson Collection)

    Deerpath, 6-4-39. (Photo by George Krambles, John Nicholson Collection)

    Deerpath, 6-4-39. (Photo by George Krambles, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M Dining Car 409 - Uptown, Wilson Ave. station, March 17, 1939. (Unknown Photographer, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M Dining Car 409 – Uptown, Wilson Ave. station, March 17, 1939. (Unknown Photographer, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M 255 and 409 at Greenwood and North Ave. in Waukegan on 6-4-39. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    CNS&M 255 and 409 at Greenwood and North Ave. in Waukegan on 6-4-39. (Photo by Eugene Van Dusen, John Nicholson Collection)

    Our Next Publications

    At the Banquet, we announced that our next book (B-146) published will be called Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era. Each Chicago streetcar line that had PCCs will be covered in detail, from one end of the line to the other- a story told in pictures. At present, we expect to publish this book in Spring 2014, and it will be the membership entitlement for 2012 CERA members.

    Work on this book has been proceeding for some time, and we already have permission from several outstanding photographers to use their work in the book. If you have good quality original color slides or other excellent Chicago PCC photos that you believe would be good additions to this book, we would love to hear from you.

    We believe that CERA is the right organization to publish books about Chicago streetcars. It is our “turf,” so to speak, yet the organization has not published such a book in its first 75 years. We feel it is important to get it right, and make the best possible Chicago PCCs book. And, lastly, we feel it is important to put out such a book within the lifetime of those who actually rode Chicago streetcars.

    Meanwhile, work continues on our Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria book. We need more good quality images of this important Illinois interurban before we can publish it. Finding such images will naturally take some time. As soon as we have the images we need, we will issue the book.

    If any of you have high-resolution images (or originals that can be scanned) of either Chicago PCCs or the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, please drop us a line at: ceraoffice@gmail.com

    Your help in creating these publications will ensure that both volumes will live up to the high and exacting standards set by previous CERA bulletins.

    Don’t Forget Our September Membership Meeting:

    Midwest Traction In Vintage Films From the 1930s and 40s

    Left coaster and longtime CERA Member Harvey Laner has been collecting vintage traction films for a long time. He’s traveling here to showcase Midwestern properties, and many of these films will be seen in Chicago for the first time. Our program includes Cincinnati Streetcars, Cincinnati, Newport and Covington, Cincinnati and Lake Erie, Columbus Delaware and Marion, Lake Shore Electric Ry., Gary Railways, Indiana Railroad, Marion Railways, Indianapolis Railways, Fort Wayne (Indiana), Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern, Chicago Great Western, Charles City Western, Mason City and Clear Lake, and Iowa Traction. Mr. Laner will round out the program with a selection of his own Chicago-area films from 1956-57, featuring streetcars, interurbans, and rapid transit. Come join us for what promises to be a fun evening.

    Friday, September 27, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St
    Chicago, IL 60605

    Admission is free for current CERA members. There will be a $5.00 Admission charge for non-members. Simply show your CERA 2013 Membership card at the door for entry. (Don’t worry- even if you don’t bring your card, we can still look up your membership status.)

    Non-members will be issued tickets for pass-in/outs. We can accept membership renewals at the door. If you have not done so already, why not become a card-carrying member of CERA?

    We will also be selling copies of our latest limited-edition book, Trolley Sparks Special #1, a 75-year retrospective of CERA. Buy your copy now, before the book is completely sold out. It is sure to become a collector’s item.

    -David Sadowski


  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013 4:22 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Here is the first of three posts from CERA’s 75th Anniversary weekend. On Sunday, September 22, 2013, we journey to South Elgin to visit the Fox River Trolley Museum.

    This was my first trip to South Elgin since the line was extended south to Blackhawk in 2002. The museum has about 35 pieces of equipment and offers a nice ride along the scenic Fox River.

    In 2009, the museum acquired ex-Aurora Elgin & Fox River car 304, which once ran on these same tracks from 1924 to 1935. The museum is the last surviving remnant of that interurban.

    Cars 304 and 20 bask in the sun at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars 304 and 20 bask in the sun at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)


    The basic mode of operation was to run a car from Castlemuir (the north end) every 20 minutes with a meet at the passing siding (Coleman) in the middle of the line. There were short photo stops there and at the ends before another car departed. There were four trains in service on Sunday, three of which could be juggled at any one time (the two ends plus a siding). It makes for a nice ride, and the weatherman cooperated, providing some sun. A fine time was had by all our attendees.

    This trip followed our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program the night before, which was a sold out affair. We were treated to rare North Shore Line films presented by longtime CERA Member, Director, and President Walter Keevil. Thanks to Mr. Keevil’s generosity in sharing these movies with us, it was almost as if the North Shore Line was brought back to life again, however briefly, on the screen, 50 years after it last ran.

    It was a memorable event, and one that we will remember for many years to come. As the expression goes, you had to be there.

    -David Sadowski

    AE&FR car 304, back on home ground after many decades in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    AE&FR car 304, back on home ground after many decades in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    715 and 304 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    715 and 304 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    North Shore 715 at the high-level platform at Blackhawk. The museum line was extended here in 2002. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    North Shore 715 at the high-level platform at Blackhawk. The museum line was extended here in 2002. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E wood car 20 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E wood car 20 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars 20 and 715 meet at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Cars 20 and 715 meet at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Fox River's collection includes Chicago streetcar RPO 6. In the early 1900s, trolleys collected mail en route and some sorting and cancelling happened on board. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Fox River’s collection includes Chicago streetcar RPO 6. In the early 1900s, trolleys collected mail en route and some sorting and cancelling happened on board. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    At the helm of car 304, which ran on the AE&FR from 1924 to 1935. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    At the helm of car 304, which ran on the AE&FR from 1924 to 1935. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Moving the headlight to the front of car 304 as it changes ends at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Moving the headlight to the front of car 304 as it changes ends at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    AE&FR 304 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    AE&FR 304 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 is decorated with period advertisements such as this. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 is decorated with period advertisements such as this. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of AE&FR car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of AE&FR car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The conductor of car 304. The museum is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The conductor of car 304. The museum is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The controls of car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The controls of car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CTA single car units 43 and 45 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CTA single car units 43 and 45 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 at Coleman. It is always very gratifying when a car returns to run on its home rails. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 at Coleman. It is always very gratifying when a car returns to run on its home rails. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E 458 will run at Fox River someday. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E 458 will run at Fox River someday. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Preserving a sign like this helps keep the memory of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin alive. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Preserving a sign like this helps keep the memory of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin alive. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of a CTA single car unit- a sight familiar to Chicago commuters for more than 30 years. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The interior of a CTA single car unit- a sight familiar to Chicago commuters for more than 30 years. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    North Shore Line 715 prepares to depart Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    North Shore Line 715 prepares to depart Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Once modern, CTA cars 43 and 45 are now vintage. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Once modern, CTA cars 43 and 45 are now vintage. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 at Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Car 304 at Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The front end of CA&E 458 looks really good, but the rest of the car needs work before it can run at Fox River. It was acquired from the defunct "Trolleyville USA" operation in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The front end of CA&E 458 looks really good, but the rest of the car needs work before it can run at Fox River. It was acquired from the defunct “Trolleyville USA” operation in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The scene at Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The scene at Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    In this scene, it is apparent how badly CA&E 458 needs that paint job completed. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    In this scene, it is apparent how badly CA&E 458 needs that paint job completed. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A ride along the Fox River offers a picturesque view. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A ride along the Fox River offers a picturesque view. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The low-level boarding area at Blackhawk. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    The low-level boarding area at Blackhawk. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    2013-09-22 10.59.31 HDR

    A panoramic view of the north end of the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A panoramic view of the north end of the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A large and enthusiastic crowd attended CERA's 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    A large and enthusiastic crowd attended CERA’s 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Master of Ceremonies Ray DeGroote at the 75th Anniversary Banquet/Program. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    Master of Ceremonies Ray DeGroote at the 75th Anniversary Banquet/Program. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A panoramic view of our banquet hall. (Photo by Diana Koester)

    A panoramic view of our banquet hall. (Photo by Diana Koester)


  • Sunday, September 15, 2013 4:28 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Here, in our second installment of Transit Trivia, we have a Baker’s Dozen of mystery photos, generally from Chicago. In most cases, it’s the where and when that we are looking for, but in a few other cases, there is something else that’s mysterious about the picture.

    Send your best answers to cerablog1@gmail.com and we will print the best answers. The contest ends at midnight Central Time on September 22, 2013. The winner will be the entrant with the best overall answers. Limit one entry per person.

    The winner will receive a copy of our new book, Trolley Sparks Special #1, a 75-year retrospective of CERA, its history, members, publications, and fantrips.

    You can still buy tickets here for all this week’s 75th Anniversary events, the fantrips to Kenosha, IRM, and the Fox River Trolley Museum, plus our Banquet/Program featuring rare North Shore Line films, presented by longtime CERA Member, Director, and President Walter Keevil. Tickets bought starting today will be held for pickup at the events. We hope to see you there!

    -David Sadowski

    PS- Everyone attending our Banquet and Program will receive a copy of our new book, which you can also order using the link given above.

    Mystery Photo #1, taken on June 26, 1960 at Clinton. The mystery here is, what are these single car units with trolley poles doing on the Lake St. "L"? After all, we have been led to believe that curved-sided "L" cars could not operate on the ground-level portion of Lake, due to clearance issues. (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #1, taken on June 26, 1960 at Clinton. The mystery here is, what are these single car units with trolley poles doing on the Lake St. “L”? After all, we have been led to believe that curved-sided “L” cars could not operate on the ground-level portion of Lake, due to clearance issues. (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)


    Mystery Photo #2 has a processing date of October 1962. What has happened here, and where are we? (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #2 has a processing date of October 1962. What has happened here, and where are we? (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #3 - CA&E 310 on July 1, 1957. Where are we? (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #3 – CA&E 310 on July 1, 1957. Where are we? (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #4 - CTA 2200s in September 1973. Where are we? Name an interesting fact about this station. (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #4 – CTA 2200s in September 1973. Where are we? Name an interesting fact about this station. (Charles L. Tauscher Collection)

    Mystery Photo #5 - These are Chicago PCCs, but where are we? When could this undated photo have been taken? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #5 – These are Chicago PCCs, but where are we? When could this undated photo have been taken? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #6 - Where are we? And when could this undated photo have been taken? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #6 – Where are we? And when could this undated photo have been taken? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #7 - Where are we? When do you think this photo was taken? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #7 – Where are we? When do you think this photo was taken? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #8 - Where are we? When could this photo have been taken? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #8 – Where are we? When could this photo have been taken? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #9 - An 1853 Chicago Omnibus, on display in 1962. Where is it today? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #9 – An 1853 Chicago Omnibus, on display in 1962. Where is it today? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #10 - It's 1943, but where are we? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #10 – It’s 1943, but where are we? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #11 - Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #11 – Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #12 - Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #12 – Where are we? When could it be? (Photographer unknown)

    Mystery Photo #13 - Where are we? When could it be? (Unknown photographer)

    Mystery Photo #13 – Where are we? When could it be? (Unknown photographer)


  • Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:57 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Vern Hallas writes:

    I am a big fan of the Chicago “L” system and found part 4 of From Garfield “L” To Congress Median via a link from Chicagobus.org. I LOVE this stuff, especially the old pictures. Is there anywhere I can see the 3 previous parts? I would very gladly become a CERA member if necessary.

    Thanks for writing. We always hope people will enjoy the posts, and naturally, we encourage everyone to join CERA. You can purchase a membership online, by mail, or at one of our 10 yearly program meetings. For more information, go here. We thank you for your support.

    To find all our blog posts that feature the Garfield Park “L”, just go to our home page and type “Garfield” in the search window. That will bring up all the other posts, which have various headline titles.

    Meanwhile, here is another generous helping of period photos for your enjoyment.

    -David Sadowski

    A lone Met "L" car heads toward the Loop in 1949. There were four tracks crossing the Chicago River at this point, on two parallel bridges. The tracks at the bottom of the picture led to the Wells St. terminal. In 1955, the tracks at left were torn out due to the construction of this part of Lower Wacker Drive, and a new connection to the Loop "L" was created by bridging the short gap with the gutted Wells St. Terminal. (Photo by Stanley Kubrick)

    A lone Met “L” car heads toward the Loop in 1949. There were four tracks crossing the Chicago River at this point, on two parallel bridges. The tracks at the bottom of the picture led to the Wells St. terminal. In 1955, the tracks at left were torn out due to the construction of this part of Lower Wacker Drive, and a new connection to the Loop “L” was created by bridging the short gap with the gutted Wells St. Terminal. (Photo by Stanley Kubrick)


    PS- The photo by Stanley Kubrick (yes, the famous film director) was taken in 1949, while he worked as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine. This was “work for hire,” and when LOOK folded in 1971, the publisher donated their photo archive to the Library of Congress:

    Cowles Communications, Inc., transferred all of its copyrights in the LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection to the United States, but asked that the Library convey Cowles’ desire that the photographs are “Not to be used for advertising or trade purposes.” The Library cannot provide further interpretation of this phrase.

    We are certain that our use of the photo complies with Cowles Communications’ intentions.

    February 8, 1938 - "An architect's sketch of proposed overpasses to be built at half-mile intersections... the proposed Congress street improvement under a plan for two highways through the West Side which has been recommended to Mayor Kelly by his committee of six engineers. They proposed that the second route, an elevated superhighway, be constructed in Kinzie street or Lake street. They suggested converting the Lake Street Rapid Transit structure into a motor road. Immediate action was urged by aldermen and property owners today." (Photographer unknown)

    February 8, 1938 – “An architect’s sketch of proposed overpasses to be built at half-mile intersections… the proposed Congress street improvement under a plan for two highways through the West Side which has been recommended to Mayor Kelly by his committee of six engineers. They proposed that the second route, an elevated superhighway, be constructed in Kinzie street or Lake street. They suggested converting the Lake Street Rapid Transit structure into a motor road. Immediate action was urged by aldermen and property owners today.” (Photographer unknown)

    This early highway plan is somewhere between what actually got built, and the original boulevard in Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. The 1938 version was an elevated highway, which would pass over intersections. There is no trace of a rapid transit median, and the Kelly administration favored express bus service instead. As built, very little of the Congress expressway was elevated.

    Oddly enough, in this highway illustration, there are very few autos. In real life, the expressway soon became clogged with cars, and rush-hour gridlock soon became an everyday occurrence.

    September 22, 1947 - "End Subway Hunt. The lost is found! Armed with steel claw, crane strikes pay dirt after three swings and locates remains of unused 200-foot tunnel in river near Congress st. Tube will be sealed to prevent interference with new Congress st. subway." (Photographer unknown) What tunnel was this?

    September 22, 1947 – “End Subway Hunt. The lost is found! Armed with steel claw, crane strikes pay dirt after three swings and locates remains of unused 200-foot tunnel in river near Congress st. Tube will be sealed to prevent interference with new Congress st. subway.” (Photographer unknown) What tunnel was this?

    While the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway was said to be “80% completed” in 1942, when construction was halted due to WWII materials shortages (including steel subway cars), “phase one” of Chicago’s second subway ended abruptly at Dearborn and Congress. Phase two, which did not start until after WWII, brought the subway west along Congress street, under the Chicago River and the old Main Post Office, to emerge near Halsted and run in the highway median. The subway opened as far as LaSalle street in 1951, and under the river starting on June 22, 1958.

    March 11, 1949 - "This isn't a London bombed area, but a view of Van Buren st. looking west from Racine av, as demolition continues for the Congress st. superhighway. Vacant areas indicate where wrecking crews already have torn down structures. Other gaunt, vacant buildings have been emptied by the relocation office and will soon fall, including the CTA car barn." (Photographer unknown)

    March 11, 1949 – “This isn’t a London bombed area, but a view of Van Buren st. looking west from Racine av, as demolition continues for the Congress st. superhighway. Vacant areas indicate where wrecking crews already have torn down structures. Other gaunt, vacant buildings have been emptied by the relocation office and will soon fall, including the CTA car barn.” (Photographer unknown)

    March 11, 1949 - "Land that once was congested with Loop skyscrapers appears now as a deep cut through the Loop looking west from a building on Dearborn st. The new superhighway, eight lanes wide, will pass under the LaSalle st. station tracks, over the river and through the arcade in the Post Office (background). The cleared site in the immediate foreground once was the location of the 13-story Monon building, since razed by the Dept. of Subways and Superhighways. (Unknown Photographer) Note the PCC streetcar.

    March 11, 1949 – “Land that once was congested with Loop skyscrapers appears now as a deep cut through the Loop looking west from a building on Dearborn st. The new superhighway, eight lanes wide, will pass under the LaSalle st. station tracks, over the river and through the arcade in the Post Office (background). The cleared site in the immediate foreground once was the location of the 13-story Monon building, since razed by the Dept. of Subways and Superhighways. (Unknown Photographer) Note the PCC streetcar.

    September 2, 1949 - "Arrow indicates path in which five-story building is being moved from Congress and Peoria sts. to its new foundation (foreground) at Harrison and Peoria sts. to make way for Congress st. superhighway." (Photographer unknown) The Garfield Park "L" is visible in the background.

    September 2, 1949 – “Arrow indicates path in which five-story building is being moved from Congress and Peoria sts. to its new foundation (foreground) at Harrison and Peoria sts. to make way for Congress st. superhighway.” (Photographer unknown) The Garfield Park “L” is visible in the background.

    February 24, 1950 - CTA "L" riders were cheerful despite the obvious lack of amenities on the trains. "A rush hour crowd shivers aboard an elevated train. They were victims of Chicago's first zero cold snap today, which happened at the same time that the transit authorities cut off all heat in their vehicles to conserve coal. The result: cold customers." (Photographer unknown)

    February 24, 1950 – CTA “L” riders were cheerful despite the obvious lack of amenities on the trains. “A rush hour crowd shivers aboard an elevated train. They were victims of Chicago’s first zero cold snap today, which happened at the same time that the transit authorities cut off all heat in their vehicles to conserve coal. The result: cold customers.” (Photographer unknown)

    September 24, 1951 - "Going ahead with plans for shunting Aurora & Elgin trains and elevated trains to streetcar tracks in Van Buren, between Racine and Sacramento blvd., wooden pilings are driven to support structure bringing the tracks to street level." (Photographer unknown) As we know now, CA&E refused to use the Van Buren street-level trackage. Calling it "streetcar" trackage was a bit of a stretch, since ultimately third rail was used and the right-of-way fenced off from traffic. However, calling it that may have been the means used to justify operating trains without crossing gate protection.

    September 24, 1951 – “Going ahead with plans for shunting Aurora & Elgin trains and elevated trains to streetcar tracks in Van Buren, between Racine and Sacramento blvd., wooden pilings are driven to support structure bringing the tracks to street level.” (Photographer unknown) As we know now, CA&E refused to use the Van Buren street-level trackage. Calling it “streetcar” trackage was a bit of a stretch, since ultimately third rail was used and the right-of-way fenced off from traffic. However, calling it that may have been the means used to justify operating trains without crossing gate protection.

    CA&E 426 eastbound near First Avenue in Maywood in 1952. (Unknown photographer)

    CA&E 426 eastbound near First Avenue in Maywood in 1952. (Unknown photographer)

    May 8, 1952 - "Looking west from Wood along the way of the (Congress) Superhighway." (Photo by Joe Kordick) This image was taken just prior to one in part 4 of this series. A two-car Garfield Park "L" train stops at the Ogden station, closely shadowed by a three-car CA&E train, which will also stop there to discharge passengers (instead of at Marshfield, which CTA considered a bottleneck).

    May 8, 1952 – “Looking west from Wood along the way of the (Congress) Superhighway.” (Photo by Joe Kordick) This image was taken just prior to one in part 4 of this series. A two-car Garfield Park “L” train stops at the Ogden station, closely shadowed by a three-car CA&E train, which will also stop there to discharge passengers (instead of at Marshfield, which CTA considered a bottleneck).

    February 10, 1954 - "Most of the paving that has been done on the highway has been done in Maywood. This is the scene at 5th av., Maywood, where an overpass crosses the highway." (Photographer unknown)

    February 10, 1954 – “Most of the paving that has been done on the highway has been done in Maywood. This is the scene at 5th av., Maywood, where an overpass crosses the highway.” (Photographer unknown)

    CA&E 427 westbound at Des Plaines in September 1954. A CTA Garfield Park train loops in the background. (Unknown photographer)

    CA&E 427 westbound at Des Plaines in September 1954. A CTA Garfield Park train loops in the background. (Unknown photographer)

    The Congress expressway under construction, circa 1954. We are looking east from about Ashland (1600 west). The CTA temporary trackage on Van Buren is at the left. (Photographer unknown)

    The Congress expressway under construction, circa 1954. We are looking east from about Ashland (1600 west). The CTA temporary trackage on Van Buren is at the left. (Photographer unknown)

    A close-up of the same scene, showing a CTA two-car train of 4000s on the Garfield Park route. The bridge is at Loomis (1400 west). (Photographer unknown)

    A close-up of the same scene, showing a CTA two-car train of 4000s on the Garfield Park route. The bridge is at Loomis (1400 west). (Photographer unknown)

    February 9, 1956 - "Congress at expressway about 2900 west. Workmen brave the bad weather to continue completion of rails on the Congress st expressway. They fasten down rails with brackets and spikes." (Photo by Larry Nocerino)

    February 9, 1956 – “Congress at expressway about 2900 west. Workmen brave the bad weather to continue completion of rails on the Congress st expressway. They fasten down rails with brackets and spikes.” (Photo by Larry Nocerino)

    July 1, 1957 - New stations, Congress Expressway and Keeler Ave. Boller Boll and Bill Magorn, iron workers, working on the aluminum support columns at the station. (Photo by Bill Knefel)

    July 1, 1957 – New stations, Congress Expressway and Keeler Ave. Boller Boll and Bill Magorn, iron workers, working on the aluminum support columns at the station. (Photo by Bill Knefel)

    December 9, 1957 - "Congress Expy. and Cicero: Dale Mueller, tile setters' helper and Tom Shue, tile setter, work on the inside of the ramp that leads to station." (Photo by Knefel) The full-length fiberglass panels on these station ramps soon became a problem, since they shielded anyone in the tunnel from view and were considered havens for crime. Eventually they were partially removed.

    December 9, 1957 – “Congress Expy. and Cicero: Dale Mueller, tile setters’ helper and Tom Shue, tile setter, work on the inside of the ramp that leads to station.” (Photo by Knefel) The full-length fiberglass panels on these station ramps soon became a problem, since they shielded anyone in the tunnel from view and were considered havens for crime. Eventually they were partially removed.

    In this January 1958 view, we see both the unfinished Congress median line and the Garfield Park "L". Just above the middle of the photo, the "L" crosses from the north to the south of the expressway at Sacramento. Motorists apparently had to dodge support columns right in the middle of the highway. The "L" section at right continues west before crossing the highway yet again, while at left trains descend a ramp down to temporary trackage in Van Buren street. (Photographer unknown)

    In this January 1958 view, we see both the unfinished Congress median line and the Garfield Park “L”. Just above the middle of the photo, the “L” crosses from the north to the south of the expressway at Sacramento. Motorists apparently had to dodge support columns right in the middle of the highway. The “L” section at right continues west before crossing the highway yet again, while at left trains descend a ramp down to temporary trackage in Van Buren street. (Photographer unknown)

    A close-up of the same January 1958 scene. (Photographer unknown)

    A close-up of the same January 1958 scene. (Photographer unknown)

    April 7, 1958 - "View looking northeast from Paulina and the Congress expressway shows progress of work on a ramp that will link the Douglas Park elevated branch with the median strip of the expressway. The median strip will be used by both Douglas and Garfield trains to enter the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway near Halsted." (Photographer unknown) Today, Pink Line trains continue to the left and run downtown over the Lake/Green Line route via the Paulina connector. (Note a CTA train of 6000s in the picture, running on the temporary Van Buren street trackage.)

    April 7, 1958 – “View looking northeast from Paulina and the Congress expressway shows progress of work on a ramp that will link the Douglas Park elevated branch with the median strip of the expressway. The median strip will be used by both Douglas and Garfield trains to enter the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway near Halsted.” (Photographer unknown) Today, Pink Line trains continue to the left and run downtown over the Lake/Green Line route via the Paulina connector. (Note a CTA train of 6000s in the picture, running on the temporary Van Buren street trackage.)

    June 10, 1958 - 'Pictorially, you are "entering" Chicago's new CTA subway which will open June 22. The subway proper runs under the Congress Expressway from Halsted to link with the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway at Dearborn. Trains will enter the subway from an open cut in the expressway, on which they will travel from Lockwood (5300 west). Ultimately the western terminal of the expressway run will be at Desplaines av., Forest Park. From Lockwood to Dearborn, the trains will take just 14 minutes. The scene here is looking east from Halsted at the start of the subway proper. A crane hoists a beam into place for auto traffic interchange at this point." (Photographer unknown)

    June 10, 1958 – ‘Pictorially, you are “entering” Chicago’s new CTA subway which will open June 22. The subway proper runs under the Congress Expressway from Halsted to link with the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway at Dearborn. Trains will enter the subway from an open cut in the expressway, on which they will travel from Lockwood (5300 west). Ultimately the western terminal of the expressway run will be at Desplaines av., Forest Park. From Lockwood to Dearborn, the trains will take just 14 minutes. The scene here is looking east from Halsted at the start of the subway proper. A crane hoists a beam into place for auto traffic interchange at this point.” (Photographer unknown)

    June 5, 1959 - "New sign on the Congress Street expressway on the west bound side." (Photo by Luther Joseph) The Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was planned before the Interstate Highway System, but eventually became part of it.

    June 5, 1959 – “New sign on the Congress Street expressway on the west bound side.” (Photo by Luther Joseph) The Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was planned before the Interstate Highway System, but eventually became part of it.

    October 30, 1959 - The old Garfield Park "L" structure, which used to run parallel to the expressway in front of the buildings at the right of the picture, has been out of service for more than a year and has been torn down in this area near Halsted. The space once occupied by the "L", to some extent, allowed the expressway to be widened at this point. (Photographer unknown)

    October 30, 1959 – The old Garfield Park “L” structure, which used to run parallel to the expressway in front of the buildings at the right of the picture, has been out of service for more than a year and has been torn down in this area near Halsted. The space once occupied by the “L”, to some extent, allowed the expressway to be widened at this point. (Photographer unknown)

    May 18, 1971 - Here is a view of some of the spartan amenities at the "temporary" CTA terminal at Des Plaines avenue that commuters endured from the 1950s to the 1980s. The crowds were swelled by a commuter rail strike. (Photo by Bill De Luga)

    May 18, 1971 – Here is a view of some of the spartan amenities at the “temporary” CTA terminal at Des Plaines avenue that commuters endured from the 1950s to the 1980s. The crowds were swelled by a commuter rail strike. (Photo by Bill De Luga)


  • Thursday, September 05, 2013 4:31 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    There’s a lot going on at CERA this month, with three fantrips, a banquet/program, plus our regular monthly meeting.

    A K-type controller (the type featured in our logo) in a Japanese tram in July 1969. (Unknown photographer) CERA is moving full speed ahead!

    A K-type controller (the type featured in our logo) in a Japanese tram in July 1969. (Unknown photographer) CERA is moving full speed ahead!


    During May, all CERA 2012 and 2013 Members received a special mailing, with a brochure detailing our 75th Anniversary events this September. The basic cost of attending our Diamond Jubilee banquet and program is $75, which also includes a copy of Trolley Sparks Special #1, a retrospective look at the first 75 years of our group.

    CNS&M 739 in Milwaukee on June 24, 1962. (Photographer unknown)

    CNS&M 739 in Milwaukee on June 24, 1962. (Photographer unknown)

    CNS&M 731 in Milwaukee in August 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    CNS&M 731 in Milwaukee in August 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    January 20, 1963, the last full day of North Shore Line operation. "Waiting for Mundelein-Libertyville train- Solheim's head." (Photo by Charles B. Porter)

    January 20, 1963, the last full day of North Shore Line operation. “Waiting for Mundelein-Libertyville train- Solheim’s head.” (Photo by Charles B. Porter)

    CNS&M Electroliner on January 20, 1963 in Milwaukee, during the last full day of operation. (Photographer unknown)

    CNS&M Electroliner on January 20, 1963 in Milwaukee, during the last full day of operation. (Photographer unknown)

    Longtime CERA Member, Director, and President Walter Keevil will present the program at our 75th Anniversary Banquet this September 21st. Since this is the 50th anniversary of the North Shore Line’s demise, Walter will show rare films of that famous interurban from his extensive collection.

    The hour-long program will include material from 1941 to 1962, with the Shore Line and streetcars included, as well as the mainline, Mundelein branch and scenes on the “L”. Preceding the program, we will have a short presentation of photos from CERA fantrips going back to 1938.

    September 10, 1938 - Indiana Railroad car 435 in Indianapolis. "Last car north (to Kokomo), 3:15 pm Last day." (Photo by George Krambles)

    September 10, 1938 – Indiana Railroad car 435 in Indianapolis. “Last car north (to Kokomo), 3:15 pm Last day.” (Photo by George Krambles)

    Stay on top of things. Attend one of our three upcoming fantrips. (These are CRT/CTA 4000s models made in the early 1970s by Jack Bender- photo by Pete Peters.)

    Stay on top of things. Attend one of our three upcoming fantrips. (These are CRT/CTA 4000s models made in the early 1970s by Jack Bender- photo by Pete Peters.)

    CA&E 20 at the Fox River Trolley Museum in August 1976. (Photographer unknown)

    CA&E 20 at the Fox River Trolley Museum in August 1976. (Photographer unknown)

    In addition to the banquet and program, we have fantrips to the Kenosha streetcars, the Illinois Railway Museum, and Fox River Trolley Museum. Charter bus transportation is available for all three events.

    Tickets for all these events can be purchased NOW online via our web site, or by mail. You can pay online using either PayPal, or a debit/credit card. Mail payments should be by check. Please do not send us credit card information by mail.

    For further information go here. Seating is limited and these events may sell out quickly. Tickets will be mailed to you as soon as we receive your order. Orders for Banquet/Program tickets must be received no later than September 14th to be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate orders received after that date to the greatest extent possible.

    Only those who have purchased a Banquet ticket will be admitted to the program. No exceptions. While we are not requiring a dress code as such, we ask that our members dress appropriately for the occasion. This is your last chance to order tickets for our special 75th Anniversary events.

    Our newest book Trolley Sparks Special #1 has been printed and will distributed starting September 21st. The cost is $29, which includes shipping within the United States. International shipping costs $12. This book is not part of our regular membership entitlement. Illinois residents need to add 9.25% sales tax, which makes the total $31.68. International shipping costs an additional $12.

    This is a limited edition book, likely to sell out quickly.

    Avoid traffic congestion- ride our chartered buses to our three September fantrips.

    Avoid traffic congestion- ride our chartered buses to our three September fantrips.

    For those attending the 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program, there will be free parking at the venue. Just pull into the regular paid lot and we will distribute vouchers at the banquet, which you can use when leaving the lot by midnight Saturday. FYI, there is no free overnight or daytime parking at the hotel.

    If you are attending one of our three fantrips, and plan to take our charter bus, you have the option of parking at the nearby CTA Cumberland parking garage. Our buses will stop there (both ways) five minutes after the scheduled times at the hotel. The rate is $5 for up to 12 hours.

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

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    All this will be followed by our regular “fourth Friday” program meeting:

    Midwest Traction In Vintage Films From the 1930s and 40s

    Presented by Harvey Laner

    Left coaster and longtime CERA Member Harvey Laner has been collecting vintage traction films for a long time. He’s traveling here to showcase Midwestern properties, and many of these films will be seen in Chicago for the first time.

    Our program includes Cincinnati Streetcars, Cincinnati, Newport and Covington, Cincinnati and Lake Erie, Columbus Delaware and Marion, Lake Shore Electric Ry., Gary Railways, Indiana Railroad, Marion Railways, Indianapolis Railways, Fort Wayne (Indiana), Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern, Chicago Great Western, Charles City Western, Mason City and Clear Lake, and Iowa Traction.

    Mr. Laner will round out the program with a selection of his own Chicago-area films from 1956-57, featuring streetcars, interurbans, and rapid transit. Come join us for what promises to be a fun evening.

    Friday, September 27, 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. Admission will always be free for our members. It is hoped that this will help encourage more people to become current CERA members. You can show your 2013 membership card for admission. Otherwise, we can look up your membership status in our database. Everyone attending the meeting will receive a ticket for pass-in/outs.

    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.

    CRANDIC 116 (ex-C&LE) in Iowa City on October 26, 1952. (Photographer unknown)

    CRANDIC 116 (ex-C&LE) in Iowa City on October 26, 1952. (Photographer unknown)

    CA&E 458 in Elgin on October 8, 1955. (Photographer unknown)

    CA&E 458 in Elgin on October 8, 1955. (Photographer unknown)

    Charles City Western car 50 in Iowa during the 1950s. (Photographer unknown)

    Charles City Western car 50 in Iowa during the 1950s. (Photographer unknown)

    C&LE 112 in Toldeo during the 1930s. (Photographer unknown)

    C&LE 112 in Toldeo during the 1930s. (Photographer unknown)

    -Your CERA Directors


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