Central Electric 
Railfans' Association

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  • Sunday, June 09, 2013 2:12 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    This is part 3 of 3 in our series of blog posts showcasing masterful black-and-white photographs by the late David H. Cope. These were given to CERA by the East Penn Traction Club in 1988, on the occasion of our 50th anniversary. The photos were meant to be exhibited at our 50th anniversary banquet and program. You can enjoy them here as CERA celebrates its 75th anniversary.

    Lehigh Valley Transit northbound Liberty Bell Limited about to depart Norristown for Allentown in 1950. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit northbound Liberty Bell Limited about to depart Norristown for Allentown in 1950. (David H. Cope photo)


    Here is how the East Penn Traction Club introduced their exhibit:

    The electric railway scene in the Philadelphia area has been characterized by a rich variety of systems. Although the vast city system has many admirers, visitors to our region during CERA’s lifetime were often drawn here by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company’s Red Arrow Lines (and its predecessor, the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company, and successor, SEPTA-Suburban) – especially the 19 mile side-of-the-road line to West Chester. Others came to see, ride and photograph the third rail system of the Philadelphia and Western Railway and its connecting line, the Lehigh Valley Transit, whose Liberty Bell Limited line connected Philadelphia and Allentown. Still others came to see the PRSL West Jersey electrics and the Brilliners and Shore Fast cars of the Atlantic City and Shore. The exhibit, presented to our friends at CERA, depicts the great era of traction in the Delaware Valley during the CERA era.

    We hope that you will enjoy them.

    -David Sadowski

    Lehigh Valley Transit car 1006 on the wye by the P&W Upper Darby shops around 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit car 1006 on the wye by the P&W Upper Darby shops around 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight northbound on P&W at Conshohocken Road in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight northbound on P&W at Conshohocken Road in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight southbound on P&W between Gulph Mills and Conshohocken Road stations in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight southbound on P&W between Gulph Mills and Conshohocken Road stations in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 81 eastbound at Ridley Creek on June 3, 1954, the last day of West Chester service. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 81 eastbound at Ridley Creek on June 3, 1954, the last day of West Chester service. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 10 entering West Chester Pike from the Ardmore line, with 07 in the background at Llanerch. Car 10 was the last built by the Brill Company. The view is from September, 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 10 entering West Chester Pike from the Ardmore line, with 07 in the background at Llanerch. Car 10 was the last built by the Brill Company. The view is from September, 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 2 southbound at Chester Road on the Media line in 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 2 southbound at Chester Road on the Media line in 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 1 westbound on West Chester Pike between Manoa Road and Eagle Road on February 1, 1953 during the widening of West Chester Pike. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 1 westbound on West Chester Pike between Manoa Road and Eagle Road on February 1, 1953 during the widening of West Chester Pike. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound car 1030 (ex IRR) at Summit Lawn in October, 1950. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound car 1030 (ex IRR) at Summit Lawn in October, 1950. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight northbound, leaving DeKalb Pike (US Route 202) near Center Square in October, 1950. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit ex C&LE lightweight northbound, leaving DeKalb Pike (US Route 202) near Center Square in October, 1950. (David H. Cope photo)


  • Saturday, June 08, 2013 2:17 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    We at CERA are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year, and have recently rediscovered a wonderful gift from 25 years ago in our archives. In 1988, the East Penn Traction Club sent us 30 classic 8×10 black-and-white photos taken by David H. Cope (1913-2001). These were intended to be an exhibit at CERA’s 50th anniversary banquet and program. Offhand, I don’t know whether they were so exhibited, or not. But it seems like an excellent idea to showcase them here on our blog.

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (ex P&W) shops at Upper Darby with a northbound "Bullet," work car 402, and a yet-to-be-refurbished ex CNS&M Electroliner in November 1963. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (ex P&W) shops at Upper Darby with a northbound “Bullet,” work car 402, and a yet-to-be-refurbished ex CNS&M Electroliner in November 1963. (David H. Cope photo)


    In the package, East Penn described their idea behind the exhibit:

    The electric railway scene in the Philadelphia area has been characterized by a rich variety of systems. Although the vast city system has many admirers, visitors to our region during CERA’s lifetime were often drawn here by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company’s Red Arrow Lines (and its predecessor, the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company, and successor, SEPTA-Suburban) – especially the 19 mile side-of-the-road line to West Chester. Others came to see, ride and photograph the third rail system of the Philadelphia and Western Railway and its connecting line, the Lehigh Valley Transit, whose Liberty Bell Limited line connected Philadelphia and Allentown. Still others came to see the PRSL West Jersey electrics and the Brilliners and Shore Fast cars of the Atlantic City and Shore. The exhibit, presented to our friends at CERA, depicts the great era of traction in the Delaware Valley during the CERA era.

    Since 30 photos would be too many for one blog post, we will divide them up into three, with 10 photos in each. It seems very fitting to showcase these remarkable images here, for you, as a tribute both to the East Penn Traction Club, and to photographer David H. Cope. More to follow.

    -David Sadowski

    The East Penn Traction Club sent greetings to CERA in 1988. The East Penn officers are shown in this picture, along with the late David H. Cope, master photographer, who died in 2001.

    The East Penn Traction Club sent greetings to CERA in 1988. The East Penn officers are shown in this picture, along with the late David H. Cope, master photographer, who died in 2001.

    Lehigh Valley Transit northbound Liberty Bell Limited at Villanova Junction in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit northbound Liberty Bell Limited at Villanova Junction in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound Liberty Bell Limited car 702 at County Line station of the P&W in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound Liberty Bell Limited car 702 at County Line station of the P&W in 1947. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 207 southbound on Atlantic Avenue on December 28, 1955, the last day of service. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 207 southbound on Atlantic Avenue on December 28, 1955, the last day of service. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit 700 series car arrives at 69th Street Terminal of the P&W around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit 700 series car arrives at 69th Street Terminal of the P&W around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Transportation Company car 8518 westbound on Market Street at 16th with Broad Street Station on the left and City Hall in the background, around 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Philadelphia Transportation Company car 8518 westbound on Market Street at 16th with Broad Street Station on the left and City Hall in the background, around 1952. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound ex-C&LE lightweight crossing Schuykill River from Norristown to Bridgeport on the P&W around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Lehigh Valley Transit southbound ex-C&LE lightweight crossing Schuykill River from Norristown to Bridgeport on the P&W around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 219 at Longport around 1954. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City Transportation Company Brilliner 219 at Longport around 1954. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City and Shore car 115 at Pleasantville in 1946. (David H. Cope photo)

    Atlantic City and Shore car 115 at Pleasantville in 1946. (David H. Cope photo)

    Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines West Jersey electric train at Woodbury around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines West Jersey electric train at Woodbury around 1948. (David H. Cope photo)

    Editor’s note- Edward B. Havens writes:

    Many thanks to David Sadowski for sharing the CERA collection of David H. Cope traction photos. All are gems but one east of the Delaware River is a rare photo of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines [PRSL] electric multiple-unit [eMU] operation. In this photo, note the wooden baggage car and the two steel MP54d commuter coaches, all equipped with trolley poles (because of numerous Camden area grade crossings) and third rail shoes.

    Here is a diagram of the steel MP54d cars from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society website:
    http://tinyurl.com/o4hmyza

    The same route used by these eMUs, Camden-Woodbury-Glassboro, is currently being studied for a diesel multiple0-unit [DMU] operation similar to NJ Transit’s River Line.
    The PRSL third rail route originally ran to Millville but was truncated to Glassboro after the New Jersey Public Utility Commission ordered all PRSL wooden interurban-style passenger equipment out of use as a safety hazard. With a limited number of steel MP54d cars, the Glassboro line only continued until 1949 when non-electrified commuter rail was substituted.

    Other comments from the Yahoo Philly Transit group:

    One correction that needs to be made to Ed’s post is that they did not originally run to Millville, they originally ran to Atlantic City, then were cut back to Millville, then to Glassboro.

    The electric routes to Millville and Atlantic City both ran through Glassboro, but then split at Newfield.
    Since the prohibition on wood cars only applied to passenger carrying cars, the wood Railway Post Office cars did run as shown until the end of all electric service.


  • Monday, June 03, 2013 2:24 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    The Illinois Railway Museum held a fantrip earlier today on the CTA using a four-car train of 2200-series “L”/Subway cars. The goal was to raise money to help purchase a pair of these cars as they near the end of their service lives after 44 years. (CERA ran a similar trip using 2200s last November. You can read about it here.)

    Heading northbound approaching Howard, the fantrip train passes a Yellow Line train changing ends. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Heading northbound approaching Howard, the fantrip train passes a Yellow Line train changing ends. (Photo by David Sadowski)


    The service bulletin for today’s trip is here. The cars used were 2261-2262 and 2303-2304. This may end up being the final charter trip ever using the 2200s. Since I rode on the similar CERA trip last November, this time I acted as a “trainspotter,” trying to get wayside photos.

    Today’s trip started out at Rosemont, where the 2200s are stored. The train headed downtown over the Blue Line, and then up the ramp to what we now call the Pink Line (formerly the Douglas Park “L”) to 54th Avenue. Then the fantrip continued by going back downtown via the Loop “L”, and out to Midway on the Orange Line. This was followed by a jaunt out to Harlem (Green Line) in Forest Park.

    After a lunch break downtown, the charter went north to Howard on the Red Line, and then out to Dempster on the Yellow Line (former Skokie Swift).

    With Dan Ryan out of commission for five months as it is being rebuilt literally from the ground up, the 2200s then followed the temporary Red Line reroute via the South Side “L”, at least to 37th, where they turned back. Then it was back downtown and out over the Paulina Connector, where the train made a quick reversal of direction and then proceeded down the ramp, ending the day at Rosemont where things had started.

    The sun did not cooperate; the day remaining fairly cloudy throughout, but today’s charter was still a fitting tribute to a handsome class of cars that has served the CTA very well over the years. We look forward to a time when some 2200s are out at IRM, fitted with trolley poles of course, where we will greet them like old friends. We salute IRM for their efforts in preserving historic rail cars such as these.

    -David Sadowski

    The 2200s enter Howard station for a 20-minute break. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The 2200s enter Howard station for a 20-minute break. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The 2200s going southbound on the South Side "L" at 31st. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The 2200s going southbound on the South Side “L” at 31st. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Northbound on the South side "L" at 31st. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Northbound on the South side “L” at 31st. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Southbound on the Paulina Connector at Madison. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Southbound on the Paulina Connector at Madison. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Southbound on the Paulina Connector at Madison. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Southbound on the Paulina Connector at Madison. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Back on the Blue Line near Morgan, the fantrip train heads towards its final destination at Rosemont. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    Back on the Blue Line near Morgan, the fantrip train heads towards its final destination at Rosemont. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    The new CTA map pays tribute to the 2200s on the cover.

    The new CTA map pays tribute to the 2200s on the cover.


  • Sunday, June 02, 2013 3:11 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    May’s CERA program by Greg Borzo on the Chicago cable car system was well received. Mr. Borzo, author of a number of historical books, feels that our city’s cable cars were an important building block in transit past, but have been (literally and figuratively) “written out” of history. We had a capacity crowd of about 100 people on hand, and the audience and Mr. Borzo engaged in a spirited question and answer session at the conclusion of his presentation.

    In this circa 1908 view, we see one of the Red Chicago Pullmans (I think the number is 400) before it was red. Streetcars had replaced the last Chicago cable cars just two years before. Until then, overhead wire was banned from the Loop because of concerns that it might start another Chicago Fire. That could be Jack Benny's old Maxwell at right.

    In this circa 1908 view, we see one of the Red Chicago Pullmans (I think the number is 400) before it was red. Streetcars had replaced the last Chicago cable cars just two years before. Until then, overhead wire was banned from the Loop because of concerns that it might start another Chicago Fire. That could be Jack Benny’s old Maxwell at right.

    This is the present site of Loop Station, where CERA has a Post Office box. According to the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Federal_Building), the Post Office moved into the Chicago Federal Building in 1904. Note what appears to be a cable car at lower right. The building was torn down in 1965.

    This is the present site of Loop Station, where CERA has a Post Office box. According to the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Federal_Building), the Post Office moved into the Chicago Federal Building in 1904. Note what appears to be a cable car at lower right. The building was torn down in 1965.


    CERA has contributed a couple of Chicago cable car images to Greg Borzo that he had not previously been aware of. You can see one here, and the other is reproduced below.

    In this hand-tinted postcard, printed in Germany, we see a couple of Cottage Grove cable cars at center. Drexel Park Boulevard does not connect with Cottage Grove today, as it does here. According to Dennis McClendon, we are looking north at about 41st Street.

    In this hand-tinted postcard, printed in Germany, we see a couple of Cottage Grove cable cars at center. Drexel Park Boulevard does not connect with Cottage Grove today, as it does here. According to Dennis McClendon, we are looking north at about 41st Street.

    Our next program will be:

    Bill Hoffman’s Unedited Movies of the Chicago Rapid Transit Lines in the 1940s and 1950s
    Presented by Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive

    June’s membership meeting will consist of digitized 8mm films taken by the late Bill Hoffman during the 40s and 50s on the Chicago “L”. These films will be shown in an unedited format rather than as an organized program. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the program by calling out the locations as they appear on the screen. This will give the viewers a chance to participate in the program in a similar manner that has been developed on the CERA Members Blog. Come join us for what promises to be a fun evening.

    Friday, June 28, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St, Chicago, IL

    Admission is free.

    Tickets are now on sale by mail and online via our web site. We’ve just mailed full-color brochuresto CERA members for 2012 and 2013.

    We’ve already received several orders for tickets and for additional copies of our retrospective publication, Trolley Sparks Special #1. This is sure to become a collector’s item. Everyone who attends our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program will receive a copy. A limited number of additional copies are also available for pre-order via our web site. Books will be distributed in September. Reserve yours today.

    Meanwhile, we discovered a Trolley Sparks prospectus from the late 1940s, that offers an insightful view into CERA’s early days:

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    Keep in mind that prices have gone up a bit since then, but not too much when you take inflation into account.

    Reader Mail

    Blackpool Tram

    John Hodson writes:

    Attached is a photo of a rather curious street car. I believe it to be a photo of a Blackpool (England) “Boat” tram. Can someone confirm this tentative identification by me, or if not Blackpool, the city in which it actually was. All I need is the city if that is all that can be found.

    I did Google Blackpool Tram and I did find pictures of three preserved cars at Blackpool, two of which are operational, the third stored out of service. These cars do look like the one in the picture though the Blackpool cars now have windscreens. I think the B&W photo might be circa WWII or just after. For sure, it is in or near an industrial area as there is a gas holder in the background of the photo.

    I seem to remember that there is Blackpool car preserved in the San Francisco Bay area; I can’t remember where this car might be in that city.

    There is indeed a Blackpool “boat car” in San Francisco numbered 228. According to the Market Street Railway web site:

    This streetcar turns more heads than any other in Muni’s vintage fleet. It brings smiles to so many who see it sail by — its nautical air whistle gaily tooting.

    It comes from Blackpool, England’s venerable seaside resort, one of twelve built for that city in 1934. For many years, it ran along the coast to Fleetwood along the coastal promenade, sharing the tracks with a wide variety of unusual English-built equipment. In the fall, Blackpool trams are specially decorated for the “illuminations,” with elaborate lighting making the cars sparkle as the sun sets over the Irish Sea.

    This particular tram actually crossed the Atlantic twice. In 1976, it delighted Philadelphians as part of that city’s bicentennial celebration. Returned to Blackpool, it sat unused because its wheel span had been widened to Philadelphia’s broad gauge.

    After a sister boat tram was successfully leased for the first Trolley Festival from the Western Railway Museum in Solano County, Market Street Railway members went after one that Muni could own, and struck gold with car no. 228, which Blackpool donated to San Francisco as a gesture of friendship. Muni crafts workers restored the car to its Blackpool look and gauge.

    You can also see some pictures of the boat tram taken in 2009 here. One poster there also commented:

    Built 1934 by English Electric, ran in Blackpool England until being loaned to Philadelphia PA for use the during the US Bicentennial Celebration, was given to SF as a gift in 1984. More info about 228, and the rest of SF Muni’s historic fleet can be found athttp://www.streetcar.org. On a side note another boat #226 is at The Western Railway Museum in Solono County CA.

    A Blackpool Boat Tram at Luzerne car barn in Philadelphia in August 1976.

    A Blackpool Boat Tram at Luzerne car barn in Philadelphia in August 1976.

    John McLemore asks, “What became of Bulletin No. 142?”

    CERA B-142 is Keystone State Traction: Pennsylvania’s Historic Trolley Systems, by Robert G. Lewis with Howard L. Stevens and William C. Vantuono, and with a foreword by William D. Middleton. It was published in 2009.

    This book is out of print. It’s a very popular subject. I got my copy from a second-hand book dealer.

    Alton Lanier writes:

    If any of our members need one, there is a copy of The “L”: The Development of Chicago’s Rapid Transit System, 1888-1932 (CERA Bulletin 131) by Bruce G. Moffat for sale in the used book department of a local hobby shop in Memphis, Model Railroad and Hobby Shop at phone (901)384-6500. It was in good condition and selling for $30.

    They also had a copy of the bulletin (either B-107 or B-108 I think) on the North Shore with the Electroliner cover. It was in good condition, too.

    eBay is another good source for out-of-print CERA bulletins. You can also try searching for them viahttp://www.bookfinder.com.

    -David Sadowski


  • Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:14 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    CERA is pulling out all the stops as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary this Sept. 20, 21, and 22. Tickets are on sale now by mail and through the CERA web site.

    As detailed in our 75th Anniversary brochure, there are special fantrips to ride the Kenosha streetcars and visit both the Illinois Railway Museum and the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can either drive to these events or take our charter bus.

    All this will be capped off on Saturday night, Sept. 21st, at our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program. Each attendee will receive a copy of Trolley Sparks Special #1, a limited-edition retrospective book compiled by CERA Director John Marton, our program host.

    Tickets for all events can be purchased by mail or online via our web site.

    Finally, CERA has negotiated a special $99 promotional rate with the Chicago Marriott O’Hare. You can make your reservations directly with the hotel using the special promotional code “CERA.”

    We look forward to seeing you at this once-in-a-lifetime celebration!

    CERA75

    CERA official car 300 as it looked in August, 1942.

    CERA official car 300 as it looked in August, 1942.

    CNS&M 150 at the head of a CERA fantrip on the Libertyville-Mundelein branch in late 1962. The drumhead still appears to be in good shape.

    CNS&M 150 at the head of a CERA fantrip on the Libertyville-Mundelein branch in late 1962. The drumhead still appears to be in good shape.

    CRT/CTA 5004, shown here in 63rd St. Lower Yard, on a 1963 CERA fantrip.

    CRT/CTA 5004, shown here in 63rd St. Lower Yard, on a 1963 CERA fantrip.

    A 2000-series CTA "L" car leads the way on a CERA fantrip.

    A 2000-series CTA “L” car leads the way on a CERA fantrip.

    The CERA drumhead today. (Photo by John Marton)

    The CERA drumhead today. (Photo by John Marton)


    The five original Kenosha PCCs, all ex-Toronto, lined up outside the carbarn (4606-4609-4616-4615-4610).

    The five original Kenosha PCCs, all ex-Toronto, lined up outside the carbarn (4606-4609-4616-4615-4610).

    4606 looking very shiny in the carbarn.

    4606 looking very shiny in the carbarn.

    KENOSHA FANTRIP
    FRIDAY SEPT. 20, 2013

    Join us on a sojourn to Kenosha, Wisconsin, as we inspect the closest operating streetcar line to Chicago. Ride and photograph all operating cars. Tour the shops.

    10:00 A.M. – Buses leave Marriott
    3:30 P.M. – Buses depart Kenosha
    5:00 P.M. – Buses arrive at Marriott

    LUNCH at own expense (why not try the historic Franks Diner?)

    Kenosha Fantrip (Includes Charter Bus) – $50
    Kenosha Fantrip Only – $30

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    IRM FANTRIP
    SATURDAY SEPT. 21, 2013

    We will make a trip to Union, Illinois, to visit the Illinois Railway Museum, the largest operating railroad museum in the US. We have arranged for special consists of North Shore Line, Chicago Rapid Transit, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and possibly South Shore trains to commemorate the various Chicago-area Insull properties.

    9:00 A.M. – Buses leave Marriott
    4:30 P.M. – Buses depart Union
    5:30 P.M. – Buses arrive at Marriott

    LUNCH at own expense

    IRM Fantrip (Includes Charter Bus) – $50
    IRM – Fantrip Only – $30

    75TH ANNIVERSARY BANQUET & PROGRAM
    SATURDAY SEPT. 21, 2013

    Marriott Chicago O’Hare

    Cocktails and Nachos @5:45 (Cash Bar)

    7:00-10:00 DINNER with PROGRAM following

    Tossed Green Salad
    Entrees: Chicken, Salmon, Ravioli or Beef Filet
    Mixed Vegetables
    Cheesecake
    Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks

    Our special retrospective program will be hosted by John Marton. Only those who have purchased a Banquet and Program 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.

    75th Anniversary Banquet & Program – Chicken Entree – $75
    75th Anniversary Banquet & Program – Salmon Entree – $75
    75th Anniversary Banquet & Program – Ravioli Entree – $75
    75th Anniversary Banquet & Program – Beef Filet Entree – $85

    Trolley Sparks Special #1

    Trolley Sparks Special #1

    TROLLEY SPARKS SPECIAL #1

    In conjunction with our 75th Anniversary celebrations, CERA will publish Trolley Sparks Special #1, reviving a name used on many of our earliest publications going back to 1944. Everyone who attends our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program will receive a copy of this special retrospective book edited by John Marton, which will not be part of our regular membership entitlement. A limited number of additional copies are available for $29 each. Like many CERA books, it is sure to become a collector’s item. Books will be distributed at the Banquet.

    Additional Copies of Trolley Sparks Special #1 – $29 (Illinois residents pay 9.25% sales tax. Price includes shipping within the United States only.)

    CA&E 20 at the Fox River Trolley Museum in the 1980s. It is the oldest operating interurban car in the US. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    CA&E 20 at the Fox River Trolley Museum in the 1980s. It is the oldest operating interurban car in the US. (Photo by David Sadowski)

    FOX RIVER FANTRIP
    SUNDAY SEPT. 22, 2013

    Finally, we will visit South Elgin, Illinois and the Fox River Trolley Museum. At present, we expect to ride the following cars:

    CA&E 20

    CNS&M 715

    AE&FRE 304

    CTA 43

    CTA 45

    9:30 A.M. – Buses leave Marriott
    2:30 P.M. – Buses depart South Elgin (for early flights home)

    LUNCH at own expense

    Fox River Trolley Museum (Includes Charter Bus) – $35
    Fox River Trolley Museum – Fantrip Only – $15

    The Chicago Marriott O'Hare.

    The Chicago Marriott O’Hare.

    SPECIAL HOTEL RATES
    MARRIOTT O’HARE CHICAGO

    8535 West Higgins Road
    Chicago, IL 60631
    773-693-4444

    CERA has negotiated a special event rate of $99/Night + Tax, depending upon availability, for reservations made by August 1st.

    Parking for Hotel Guests:
    $26/DAY Mon-Fri (24 hours)
    $11/DAY Sat-Sun (not overnight)
    $18/DAY Sat-Sun (overnight)
    Handicapped – FREE, but limited

    Please contact the Marriott directly to make your reservations. Use reservation code “CERA

    We are mailing out 75th Anniversary Brochures and mail-in forms this week to all CERA Members for 2012 and 2013. If you have not renewed your membership yet for this year, we hope that you will consider rejoining us. New Members are certainly welcome too, as CERA moves forward into its next 75 years!

    -Your CERA Board of Directors


  • Friday, May 24, 2013 3:16 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    The recent SEPTA fantrip on the Media trolley line, which used an LRV with a red overwrap paying tribute to the Philadelphia and West Chester cars that began service there 100 years ago, got us to thinking about how trolley service got started in this area. Today’s Media and Sharon Hill lines are the last remnants of a much larger system that began with a line to West Chester and also included a shorter branch to Ardmore.

    A Philadelphia Suburban postwar St. Louis car on Gay Street in West Chester in May, 1954.

    A Philadelphia Suburban postwar St. Louis car on Gay Street in West Chester in May, 1954.

    When the Red Arrow trolley line to West Chester (PA) was cut back in 1954, it was to some degree a victim of its own success. Along with West Chester Pike, which it ran along, the trolley helped the entire region grow and become prosperous starting in the 1890s.

    West Chester Pike itself began life in 1848, as an improved road connecting the western edge of Philadelphia and West Chester, a distance of about 20 miles. This was a commercial venture, a toll road; the “pike” being a board used as a gate to prevent travelers from passing through without paying a toll. Upon being paid, the gatekeeper would “turn the pike,” to let you through, thus inspiring the word turnpike, still in common use in the Eastern US.

    Before the West Chester line was electrified in the 1890s, rail service had begun as early as 1859 with horsecars, replaced in 1865 by steam “dummies.” (A steam dummy is a diminutive steam engine, often disguised or modified in such a way as to try not to scare horses.) Until electric streetcars became practical in the 1880s, however, these lines were not particularly successful.

    A. Merritt Taylor took control of the Philadelphia and West Chester in 1899, and three generations of the Taylor family ran the trolleys right up until 1970, a long time after private operators had stopped making a profit in other parts of the country. By then, the operation had been reorganized under the name Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co., which was commonly known under the brand name of “Red Arrow.” These same lines are operated today by SEPTA under public ownership. Red Arrow also included the Norristown High-Speed Line. (To read an obituary of Merritt H. Taylor Jr., click here.)

    The Taylors believed in electric rail transit, and were able to keep them profitable far longer than many of their contemporaries. A. Merritt Taylor expanded trolley service with the Ardmore branch in 1902, followed by Media in 1913 and finally Sharon Hill four years later. Today’s Media and Sharon Hill routes are thought of as “light rail” but they have many of the characteristics of classic interurbans, being a mixture of private right-of-way, street running, double track, single track, and even some side of the road trackage.

    Much of the West Chester line was single track with passing sidings, especially the outer portion. As the area continued to grow rapidly in the postwar era, the need to widen West Chester Pike became evident. Starting in 1948, Red Arrow was under a lot of pressure to either make a major investment in relocating and double-tracking the West Chester line, or let the highway take the space occupied by the trolley.

    Although Red Arrow was profitable, the funds were not available to do this, and therefore most of the line was run with buses starting in 1954. Some trolley service continued to the Westgate Hills shopping center until 1958.

    Railcar availability also factored into some abandonments. It is said that the Taylors could have kept the short Ardmore branch in 1966 if they could have found two more suitable cars. The two surviving former Illinois Terminal double-end PCC cars were considered, but did not have doors on both sides, a Red Arrow requirement. So the last Ardmore trolley ran on December 30, 1966.

    The Ardmore branch had a section of private right-of-way, which became part of a busway, an early example of today’s “bus rapid transit” perhaps.

    Cutting back the West Chester and Ardmore lines made the Red Arrow depot at Llanerch somewhat superfluous, and it was demolished in 1971. SEPTA consolidated operations of the Media and Sharon Hill lines at 69th Street Terminal, where they remain today.

    At a time when cities across the nation are either building new light rail lines, or contemplating them, it’s interesting to speculate what might have been, if we could have just kept some of what we once had- and what we one had included the historic trolley between Philadelphia and West Chester. It’s a shame that, having helped build up the area, the West Chester trolley is no longer around to continue to build on that success.

    -David Sadowski

    PS- If you would like to read CERA Bulletin 88, which features the Red Arrow trolley lines, clickhere. However, keep in mind that this is a 10mb file in .PDF format.

    A map showing the historic Red Arrow trolley lines (from the Wikipedia).

    A map showing the historic Red Arrow trolley lines (from the Wikipedia).

    PST 64 zips through the snow alongside West Chester Pike in the 1940s.

    PST 64 zips through the snow alongside West Chester Pike in the 1940s.

    PST 24 on one of the "last runs" on the West Chester line in June, 1954. The location is where Route 202 crosses West Chester Pike.

    PST 24 on one of the “last runs” on the West Chester line in June, 1954. The location is where Route 202 crosses West Chester Pike.

    PST 66 and 76 on an NRHS fantrip in West Chester on June 6, 1954, two days after regular service ended.

    PST 66 and 76 on an NRHS fantrip in West Chester on June 6, 1954, two days after regular service ended.

    PST 66 and 76 on an NRHS fantrip in West Chester on June 6, 1954, two days after the end of regular service.

    PST 66 and 76 on an NRHS fantrip in West Chester on June 6, 1954, two days after the end of regular service.

    The Red Arrow Lines had excellent ridership in the 1950s.

    The Red Arrow Lines had excellent ridership in the 1950s.

    PST 21 on side-of-road trackage alongside West Chester Pike in June, 1954.

    PST 21 on side-of-road trackage alongside West Chester Pike in June, 1954.

    PST St. Louis car 11 on West Chester Pike near the Llanerch Depot on November 26, 1954. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    PST St. Louis car 11 on West Chester Pike near the Llanerch Depot on November 26, 1954. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    PST 12 in West Chester.

    PST 12 in West Chester.

    PST Brilliner 3 on West Chester Pike near the Llanerch Depot on November 26, 1954. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    PST Brilliner 3 on West Chester Pike near the Llanerch Depot on November 26, 1954. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    PST 60 at Llanerch car barn on May 15, 1949.

    PST 60 at Llanerch car barn on May 15, 1949.

    PST 24 and 14 at Westgate Hills on the West Chester line on September 4, 1950.

    PST 24 and 14 at Westgate Hills on the West Chester line on September 4, 1950.

    The Red Arrow trolley lines were featured in CERA Bulletin 88.

    The Red Arrow trolley lines were featured in CERA Bulletin 88.

    A 1944 map showing Red Arrow's extensive network of suburban bus and trolley lines radiating out from 69th Street Terminal.

    A 1944 map showing Red Arrow’s extensive network of suburban bus and trolley lines radiating out from 69th Street Terminal.

    The "Red Arrow" brand, used by Philadelphia Suburban between 1937 and 1970, when the private operator was sold to SEPTA, a public agency.

    The “Red Arrow” brand, used by Philadelphia Suburban between 1937 and 1970, when the private operator was sold to SEPTA, a public agency.

    In 1970, the West Chester (PA) Coin Club minted a token commemorating the last West Chester trolley 16 years earlier.

    In 1970, the West Chester (PA) Coin Club minted a token commemorating the last West Chester trolley 16 years earlier.


  • Sunday, May 19, 2013 3:17 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Our second “mystery photo” contest must have been a tough one for our readers, since we got only one submission, from longtime CERA member George Foelschow. However, George’s answers are right on the money, and he wins this contest, as he did with the previous one. We have already sent out his prize, a copy of CERA Bulletin 126, A Rainbow of Traction, along with his previous prize, a “pre-flood” copy of B-97.

    The intrepid Mr. Foelschow’s answers make for very interesting reading, and we hope that you will enjoy them. He also shows up in some of the photos we have posted from 1950s Chicago streetcar fantrips.

    Editor’s note: The caption to photo #2 has been corrected. Several people pointed out that it shows Wheaton, not Forest Park, as Mr. Foelschow had thought.

    #1 - Green Hornet "L" car meets Green Hornet streetcar. The earliest of the rapid transit 6000s with flat doors and double headlights is seen eastbound on Van Buren Street at Western Avenue as Garfield Park. Postwar St. Louis PCC 4273 is northbound on the Western Avenue shoofly, constructed while the bridge over Congress is built. The "normal" streetcar tracks are seen in the foreground. This would be 1955 or 1956, after 6000s came to Garfield and before Western was bussed, June 1956. Answer: CTA 6000s and 4393 at Western/Van Buren on June 16, 1954. (Photo by Bill Hoffman)

    #1 – Green Hornet “L” car meets Green Hornet streetcar. The earliest of the rapid transit 6000s with flat doors and double headlights is seen eastbound on Van Buren Street at Western Avenue as Garfield Park. Postwar St. Louis PCC 4273 is northbound on the Western Avenue shoofly, constructed while the bridge over Congress is built. The “normal” streetcar tracks are seen in the foreground. This would be 1955 or 1956, after 6000s came to Garfield and before Western was bussed, June 1956. Answer: CTA 6000s and 4393 at Western/Van Buren on June 16, 1954. (Photo by Bill Hoffman)


    #2 - Two car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train headed by Cincinnati steel 422 with a postwar St. Louis steel westbound on CA&E tracks in Wheaton. The approximate location, as determined through Googole Maps, is about 188 S. Wheaton Ave., the current location of the Illinois Prairie Path. (Mr. Foelschow thought this was Forest Park, but the buildings in the picture match up with Wheaton. The other tracks at left are the C&NW (present-day Union Pacific West Line). Answer: CA&E 457-422 at Wheaton on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #2 – Two car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train headed by Cincinnati steel 422 with a postwar St. Louis steel westbound on CA&E tracks in Wheaton. The approximate location, as determined through Googole Maps, is about 188 S. Wheaton Ave., the current location of the Illinois Prairie Path. (Mr. Foelschow thought this was Forest Park, but the buildings in the picture match up with Wheaton. The other tracks at left are the C&NW (present-day Union Pacific West Line). Answer: CA&E 457-422 at Wheaton on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #3 - An almost timeless photo of CA&E 457 and 404 at Wheaton station, the hub of CA&E operations. The woman's babushka suggests late spring or early fall. The key clue to time would be knowing when 404 received the final paint job and, of course, no later than July 3, 1957. Answer: CA&E 457 at Wheaton on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #3 – An almost timeless photo of CA&E 457 and 404 at Wheaton station, the hub of CA&E operations. The woman’s babushka suggests late spring or early fall. The key clue to time would be knowing when 404 received the final paint job and, of course, no later than July 3, 1957. Answer: CA&E 457 at Wheaton on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #4 - I believe this is the crew of a CA&E charter operated after the end of passenger service. If memory serves, I think the photo was taken at the Hollywood (formerly Renwick) flag stop on the Elgin branch, with Raymond Street behind the photographer. (Photographer unknown)

    #4 – I believe this is the crew of a CA&E charter operated after the end of passenger service. If memory serves, I think the photo was taken at the Hollywood (formerly Renwick) flag stop on the Elgin branch, with Raymond Street behind the photographer. (Photographer unknown)

    #5 - An afternoon rush hour Douglas Park "A" train westbound at Marshfield "L" station on the Met mainline, using wood open-platform equipment. This is early fifties, land has been cleared for expressway construction, and "A" and "B" service came to Douglas and Garfield in December 1951 after Westchester service was abandoned. Answer: CTA 2731, looking east from Marshfield on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #5 – An afternoon rush hour Douglas Park “A” train westbound at Marshfield “L” station on the Met mainline, using wood open-platform equipment. This is early fifties, land has been cleared for expressway construction, and “A” and “B” service came to Douglas and Garfield in December 1951 after Westchester service was abandoned. Answer: CTA 2731, looking east from Marshfield on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #6 - Another train of Douglas Park woods in the same period as (5), this time westbound over Union Station train sheds approaching Canal station on the Met mainline. Answer: CTA 2730 at Canal Street, looking east, on September 16, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #6 – Another train of Douglas Park woods in the same period as (5), this time westbound over Union Station train sheds approaching Canal station on the Met mainline. Answer: CTA 2730 at Canal Street, looking east, on September 16, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #7 - The Garfield Park "L" is but a memory. Here we see an eastbound Congress "A" train, consisting a later 6000s cars with curved doors, probably taken from the Cicero Avenue overpass with the Belt Railway overpass in the background. This must be late 50s or early 60s, with the vulgar styling of Detroit-made cars in evidence. Answer: Congress expressway at Cicero on December 27, 1963. (Photographer unknown)

    #7 – The Garfield Park “L” is but a memory. Here we see an eastbound Congress “A” train, consisting a later 6000s cars with curved doors, probably taken from the Cicero Avenue overpass with the Belt Railway overpass in the background. This must be late 50s or early 60s, with the vulgar styling of Detroit-made cars in evidence. Answer: Congress expressway at Cicero on December 27, 1963. (Photographer unknown)

    #8 - The photographer must have loved rush hour Douglas Park woods, an "A" train yet, rounding the Halsted curve westbound on the Met mainline in the same time period as the earlier ones. Answer: CTA 2700s at Halsted/Van Buren in May 1952. (Photo by George Krambles)

    #8 – The photographer must have loved rush hour Douglas Park woods, an “A” train yet, rounding the Halsted curve westbound on the Met mainline in the same time period as the earlier ones. Answer: CTA 2700s at Halsted/Van Buren in May 1952. (Photo by George Krambles)

    #9 - The newest of the CA&E woods (315?) is seen approaching the throat of the Wells Street terminal on the south of the two-bridge Scherzer rolling lift bridges over the South Branch of the Chicago River. The Market Street connection to the Loop is seen at right. This must be late in the game before September 20, 1953, since the wood is freshly painted and the woods and steel Pullmans were low priority for paint jobs. Answer: East from Canal on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #9 – The newest of the CA&E woods (315?) is seen approaching the throat of the Wells Street terminal on the south of the two-bridge Scherzer rolling lift bridges over the South Branch of the Chicago River. The Market Street connection to the Loop is seen at right. This must be late in the game before September 20, 1953, since the wood is freshly painted and the woods and steel Pullmans were low priority for paint jobs. Answer: East from Canal on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #10 - Is that a single car on Garfield Park? It must be Sunday. The end is near for the elevated in this spot, as construction is underway in Van Buren Street. We are looking east from about Western Avenue, with Crane High School at Oakley and Van Buren is evident at the left in the background. Answer: Near Western on Sunday, July 19, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #10 – Is that a single car on Garfield Park? It must be Sunday. The end is near for the elevated in this spot, as construction is underway in Van Buren Street. We are looking east from about Western Avenue, with Crane High School at Oakley and Van Buren is evident at the left in the background. Answer: Near Western on Sunday, July 19, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #11 - What a gorgeous sight - two CA&E steel Pullmans on a site beloved by photographers, Halsted curve on the Met mainline. Again, this is probably in 1953, since the end of CA&E service to the Loop inspired much photography that year. (Photographer unknown)

    #11 – What a gorgeous sight – two CA&E steel Pullmans on a site beloved by photographers, Halsted curve on the Met mainline. Again, this is probably in 1953, since the end of CA&E service to the Loop inspired much photography that year. (Photographer unknown)

    #12 - Two similar Met woods, one early with the fishbelly underframe, the later version with the straight frame, descend the east ramp from the Met "L" mainline, approaching the first grade crossing at Racine Avenue, probably early on in this operation, since Garfield Park was operated exclusively with wood cars. Answer: CTA 2815-2880 westbound, descending ramp to Van Buren near Racine on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #12 – Two similar Met woods, one early with the fishbelly underframe, the later version with the straight frame, descend the east ramp from the Met “L” mainline, approaching the first grade crossing at Racine Avenue, probably early on in this operation, since Garfield Park was operated exclusively with wood cars. Answer: CTA 2815-2880 westbound, descending ramp to Van Buren near Racine on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #13 - Upward bound in the same general location as (12). Answer: CTA 2858 on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #13 – Upward bound in the same general location as (12). Answer: CTA 2858 on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #14 - A view of Desplaines Avenue station, now part of CTA's West-Northwest route. A 6000 series train is facing the camera, signed Congress "A", with the famous Maywood gas tank in the background. The station has been reconfigured for CTA-only operation. The platform at the right is from the 1953-1957 era, minus the CA&E ticket office and waiting room. The Congress "A" sign places this in the post June 1958 era. Answer: September 6, 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    #14 – A view of Desplaines Avenue station, now part of CTA’s West-Northwest route. A 6000 series train is facing the camera, signed Congress “A”, with the famous Maywood gas tank in the background. The station has been reconfigured for CTA-only operation. The platform at the right is from the 1953-1957 era, minus the CA&E ticket office and waiting room. The Congress “A” sign places this in the post June 1958 era. Answer: September 6, 1961. (Photographer unknown)

    #15 - Two Garfield Park 4000-series baldies on the Van Buren Street trackage as seen from a passing Douglas train on the new structure built to connect Douglas trains to Lake Street. The completed bridge over the roadway is Ogden Avenue. Answer: CTA 4248-4247 on Van Buren from the Douglas "L" structure on December 11, 1955. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #15 – Two Garfield Park 4000-series baldies on the Van Buren Street trackage as seen from a passing Douglas train on the new structure built to connect Douglas trains to Lake Street. The completed bridge over the roadway is Ogden Avenue. Answer: CTA 4248-4247 on Van Buren from the Douglas “L” structure on December 11, 1955. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #16 - An eastbound 4000-series train is on Van Buren Street at Paulina. The 4000s represented the middle years of the street level operation, bridging wood cars (early) and 6000s (later). The new structure for Douglas trains is behind the facing train. Paulina's streetcar tracks are no longer evident. Answer: CTA 4446 at Van Buren/Paulina on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #16 – An eastbound 4000-series train is on Van Buren Street at Paulina. The 4000s represented the middle years of the street level operation, bridging wood cars (early) and 6000s (later). The new structure for Douglas trains is behind the facing train. Paulina’s streetcar tracks are no longer evident. Answer: CTA 4446 at Van Buren/Paulina on April 21, 1957. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #17 - A test train is pictured on the eastbound track on VanBuren at Paulina. These were used to familiarize motorists with rapid transit trains on the street in the inner city, as well as training motormen. The yellow rectangles on the car sides aids visibility. Note the car tracks on Paulina, still an operating car line, 9-Ashland, until February 1954. At the right is Marshfield station on structure, still serving Garfield and Douglas passengers. Answer: CTA test train at Van Buren/Paulina on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #17 – A test train is pictured on the eastbound track on VanBuren at Paulina. These were used to familiarize motorists with rapid transit trains on the street in the inner city, as well as training motormen. The yellow rectangles on the car sides aids visibility. Note the car tracks on Paulina, still an operating car line, 9-Ashland, until February 1954. At the right is Marshfield station on structure, still serving Garfield and Douglas passengers. Answer: CTA test train at Van Buren/Paulina on August 25, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #18 - Two-car Met wood westbound on Van Buren at Ashland Blvd. The building on the northeast corner was a union headquarters and hall. Answer: CTA 2906-2878 at Van Buren/Ashland on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #18 – Two-car Met wood westbound on Van Buren at Ashland Blvd. The building on the northeast corner was a union headquarters and hall. Answer: CTA 2906-2878 at Van Buren/Ashland on November 8, 1953. (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #19 - Early flat door 6000 train westbound on Van Buren at the Campbell scissors crossover. A bus is going north on Western, with the steel of the new bridge in evidence. Answer: May 9, 1954 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #19 – Early flat door 6000 train westbound on Van Buren at the Campbell scissors crossover. A bus is going north on Western, with the steel of the new bridge in evidence. Answer: May 9, 1954 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #20 - The expressway is open and trains of 6000s are evident on both Van Buren and in the Congress median, plus a Douglas train on structure. We are looking east from a point west of Ogden Avenue, with Alden's catalog warehouse and Pres-St. Luke's Hospital completing the scene. Possibly the Congress train is a test/training train? Answer: Van Buren/Wolcott on June 21, 1958. (Photo by Bill Hoffman)

    #20 – The expressway is open and trains of 6000s are evident on both Van Buren and in the Congress median, plus a Douglas train on structure. We are looking east from a point west of Ogden Avenue, with Alden’s catalog warehouse and Pres-St. Luke’s Hospital completing the scene. Possibly the Congress train is a test/training train? Answer: Van Buren/Wolcott on June 21, 1958. (Photo by Bill Hoffman)

    #21 - Another view of 6000s westbound on Van Buren between Ogden and Paulina looking east. Answer: May 9, 1954 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #21 – Another view of 6000s westbound on Van Buren between Ogden and Paulina looking east. Answer: May 9, 1954 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #22 - A train of westbound 4000s has ascended the ramp from the last grade crossing at California and is crossing the unlandscaped expressway to join the old Garfield Park "L" structure near Sacramento Blvd. Answer: May 25, 1956 (Photo by Charles Able)

    #22 – A train of westbound 4000s has ascended the ramp from the last grade crossing at California and is crossing the unlandscaped expressway to join the old Garfield Park “L” structure near Sacramento Blvd. Answer: May 25, 1956 (Photo by Charles Able)

    #23 - A three-car wood test train is on the connecting ramp about to descend to ground level. Where did they find the open-platform middle car? Perhaps it was borrowed from Ravenswood. This would be in 1953, before September 20. Answer: September 20, 1953 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #23 – A three-car wood test train is on the connecting ramp about to descend to ground level. Where did they find the open-platform middle car? Perhaps it was borrowed from Ravenswood. This would be in 1953, before September 20. Answer: September 20, 1953 (Photo by Ray DeGroote)

    #24 - A three-car Met wood eastbound on the old structure with the temporary structure in the background. A sharp eye will note the Art Nouveau boulevard street lamp on Sacramento behind the old structure. (Photographer unknown)

    #24 – A three-car Met wood eastbound on the old structure with the temporary structure in the background. A sharp eye will note the Art Nouveau boulevard street lamp on Sacramento behind the old structure. (Photographer unknown)

    #25 - A two-car Met wood approaching Oak Park Avenue station on Garfield Park before any of the major changes occurred on this stretch. CA&E had a low-level platform at this location for discharging passengers. (Photographer unknown)

    #25 – A two-car Met wood approaching Oak Park Avenue station on Garfield Park before any of the major changes occurred on this stretch. CA&E had a low-level platform at this location for discharging passengers. (Photographer unknown)

    #26 - Westbound Douglas train of 6000s leaving Marshfield station (behind photographer). Pres-St. Luke's Hospital is in the background, behind the "L". (Photographer unknown)

    #26 – Westbound Douglas train of 6000s leaving Marshfield station (behind photographer). Pres-St. Luke’s Hospital is in the background, behind the “L”. (Photographer unknown)

    #27 - CA&E wood cars, with 318 prominent, take a weekday midday rest at the Lockwood storage yard, on CA&E property west of Laramie Avenue, obviously pre-September 1953. (Photographer unknown)

    #27 – CA&E wood cars, with 318 prominent, take a weekday midday rest at the Lockwood storage yard, on CA&E property west of Laramie Avenue, obviously pre-September 1953. (Photographer unknown)


  • Monday, May 13, 2013 3:21 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)
    FYI, here are some videos we shot on May 5, 2013 during the Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys fantrip on SEPTA’s Media light rail line. The fourth video was shot the day before the fantrip.


    Pennsylvania Trip 01

    Pennsylvania Trip 02

    Pennsylvania Trip 03

    Pennsylvania Trip 04

    There will be another fantrip soon using car 101, which has a red overwrap commemorating 100 years of trolley service to Media PA:

    FRIENDS OF PHILADELPHIA TROLLEYS
    Red Arrow Father’s Day Charter
    New Date, June 9, 2013

    FPT will use the Media Centennial Trolley for a charter on Sunday, June 9. LRV 101 has been wrapped to look like it was as car 38 of the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company when the line opened on April 1, 1913.

    New Date: Sunday, June 9, 2013 Father’s Day will come a week early this year; FPT will do this charter a week early this year. SEPTA asked F.P.T. to move the trip up a week because of the US Open.

    Departs: 11:00 AM sharp from SEPTA’s 69th St Terminal

    Returns: Approximately 3:00 PM

    Routing: Both the Media and Sharon Hill Lines will be covered.

    Equipment: Red Arrow Kawasaki LRV 101 Trolley

    Fare: $45.00 a seat

    Shirts, Snacks & drinks will be available on the car.

    To reserve a seat, mail a check or M.O. made out to FPT, Inc. To:
    Harry Donahue, 103 Mulberry Court, Morgantown, PA 19543

    Need more info contact: Harry Donahue had2709@aol.com Or Bill Monaghan FPT2799@comcast.net

    Equipment and routing is subject to change.

    Here is the handout from the May 5th trip. Note that the date of the June trip has been changed from the date listed there.


  • Sunday, May 12, 2013 3:27 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Chicago Cable Cars: A Forgotten But Important Story
    Presented by Greg Borzo

    Travel back to the days (1882-1906) when Chicago had the largest cable car system the world has ever seen. Chicago’s cable car system sparked a nationwide cable car building-boom that spread to 26 other U.S. cities. This lavishly illustrated PowerPoint presentation is based on Chicago Cable Cars, a new book by Greg Borzo, author of the popular book The Chicago “L”. The presentation includes more than 80 photos, some of which have never been published before. Having provided more than one billion rides, Chicago’s cable cars filled city residents with pride- and lined robber barons’ pockets with money. They helped lay the groundwork for Chicago’s transit network of today.

    001

    Greg Borzo is an award-winning journalist with a Masters Degree from Northwestern University. He has worked at Modern Railroads, Traffic World, the Business Word, the American Medical Association, the Field Museum and the University of Chicago. He is the Author of The Chicago “L”and Where to Bike Chicago. Currently a freelance writer, Greg lives downtown to better take advantage of all the historical, architectural, musical and cultural amenities that the city has to offer.

    Friday, May 24, 2013
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St, Chicago, IL

    Admission is free. (CERA will begin charging $5 for non-members starting with our September meeting. Admission will always be free for CERA members.)

    You can learn more about Chicago Cable Cars here, on the Forgotten Chicago blog.

    Cover photo

    Cottage Grove Railway #665

    006 Randolph

    The last Chicago cable car (to date) ran along the lakefront at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair, using an authentic San Francisco car. (Photographer unknown - CERA Archives)

    The last Chicago cable car (to date) ran along the lakefront at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair, using an authentic San Francisco car. (Photographer unknown – CERA Archives)


  • Thursday, May 09, 2013 3:36 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions to our Mystery Filmstrip Contest. We have selected George Foelschow as the winner, based on his answers as a whole. Honorable mention must go to Andre Kristopons, Dennis McClendon, and Jeff Wien, who all made excellent entries.

    Mr. Foelschow wins a copy of CERA Bulletin 97, published in November 1953, which covers the electric railways of Wisconsin. There is an interesting story regarding this “Trolley Sparks” publication. Ray DeGroote says much of the original press run for this book was destroyed by flooding in his basement. He had two feet of water, and the books, which were in cardboard boxes, were all floating around in the water.

    Subsequently, the book was reprinted, and this time, three blank pages at the end of the book were eliminated. That’s how you can tell the difference between the two printings. (While Ray did get more basement flooding with our recent heavy rainfall, it was more like three inches this time.)

    While one entrant put the time period of the pictures down as “early 1940s,” this is obviously wrong and a date of Fall 1952 or Spring 1953 is indicated by a number of factors:

    1. This is the CTA era, which began on October 1, 1947

    2. Postwar PCCs were put into service in 1948

    3. Red cars last ran in regular service on May 30, 1954

    4. Prewar PCCs were scrapped in 1956-57

    5. The “38” sign on a Cottage Grove car indicates it terminated at Grand. This would indicate a date between June 29, 1952 and March 16, 1953, according to the book Chicago Surface Lines by Alan R. Lind (page 252).

    6. The Museum Shuttle operation ran from August 12, 1951 to April 12, 1953 (same source, page 298).

    So, we can narrow down the date this film was shot as being between June 29, 1952 and April 12, 1953. There may be other things in the pictures that would narrow it down even further, but we are not aware of them. Apparently, it’s not winter based on the clothing people are wearing. So if you said Fall 1952 or Spring 1953, you are probably correct, and most likely on a Sunday to boot.

    As for frames 0, 1, and 2, George Foelschow notes: “UP Railway Post Office, and a steam loco, all unknown locations.” As for 19, 20, and 21, he opines, “Mainline railroad tracks approaching Dearborn Station, presumably viewed from Roosevelt Road.”

    Andre Krisotpons also made an astute observation, saying, “I can even say what streets the photographer walked down- started at Van Buren and Green, east on Van Buren, south on State, east on Roosevelt to Michigan, then west of Roosevelt to west of State.”

    -David Sadowski

    Frame 7 - "The Met "L" mainline at Clinton Street looking northwest with the Burlington building behind. A flat-door 6000 eastbound (Douglas?) with a single headlight above the end door. Wire suggests the west portal of the van Buren streetcar tunnel." -GF "About 321 S. Clinton." -DM Another clue is the sign for the Trav-Ler Radio Corp., which was located at 571 West Jackson Boulevard

    Frame 7 – “The Met “L” mainline at Clinton Street looking northwest with the Burlington building behind. A flat-door 6000 eastbound (Douglas?) with a single headlight above teh end door. Wire suggests the west portal of the van Buren streetcar tunnel.” -GF “About 321 S. Clinton.” -DM Another clue is the sign for the Trav-Ler Radio Corp., which was located at 571 West Jackson Boulevard

    Approximately the same location as frame 7 as it looks today. With steam engines long gone, the Burlington building looks much cleaner. You can still see where the old Met "L" structure curved around it.

    Approximately the same location as frame 7 as it looks today. With steam engines long gone, the Burlington building looks much cleaner. You can still see where the old Met “L” structure curved around it.


    Frame 18 - Looking southwest from Wabash and Roosevelt. Prewar PCC 4023 is heading northbound. "Note #38 sign! This is an Indiana sign, but (the) car is obviously on 4-Cottage Grove. Apparently there was no 4 Wabash-Grand sign, but amazing that a PCC would have a sign for Indiana Ave., which could not use PCCs!" -AK

    Frame 18 – Looking southwest from Wabash and Roosevelt. Prewar PCC 4023 is heading northbound. “Note #38 sign! This is an Indiana sign, but (the) car is obviously on 4-Cottage Grove. Apparently there was no 4 Wabash-Grand sign, but amazing that a PCC would have a sign for Indiana Ave., which could not use PCCs!” -AK

    Frame 11 - "Postwar PCC 4132 northbound on Clark (at) Van Buren Street (pre-one-way Dearborn Clark pairing)." -GF "Note part of trough under (the) "L" in picture." -JW

    Frame 11 – “Postwar PCC 4132 northbound on Clark (at) Van Buren Street (pre-one-way Dearborn Clark pairing).” -GF “Note part of trough under (the) “L” in picture.” -JW

    Frame 12 - "Pullman PCC, presumably 36-Boradway State, northbound on State at Harrison, subway staircase in evidence." -GF "Location of University Center now." -JW

    Frame 12 – “Pullman PCC, presumably 36-Boradway State, northbound on State at Harrison, subway staircase in evidence.” -GF “Location of University Center now.” -JW

    Frame 13 - "Prewar PCC, presumably 4-Cottage Grove, northbound on Wabash at 11th Street. The Ludington Building at right is a good clue." -GF "1104 S. Wabash Ave." -JW

    Frame 13 – “Prewar PCC, presumably 4-Cottage Grove, northbound on Wabash at 11th Street. The Ludington Building at right is a good clue.” -GF “1104 S. Wabash Ave.” -JW

    Frame 14 - "Bus 5495 as 12-Roosevelt on layover on East 11th Street between Wabash and Michigan." -GF "Fageol Twin Coach propane bus... note Getz Theater building behind bus (Indiana limestone building)." -JW

    Frame 14 – “Bus 5495 as 12-Roosevelt on layover on East 11th Street between Wabash and Michigan.” -GF “Fageol Twin Coach propane bus… note Getz Theater building behind bus (Indiana limestone building).” -JW

    Frame 10 - "Postwar Pullman 4202 on Clark southbound approaching Van Buren. with the Federal Building and Old Post Office in the background." -GF

    Frame 10 – “Postwar Pullman 4202 on Clark southbound approaching Van Buren. with the Federal Building and Old Post Office in the background.” -GF

    Frame 9 - "6000-series train, presumably Douglas, on Met "L" mainline east of Canal. over Union Station trainshed, viewed from Van Buren Street in front of the Main Post Office." -GF

    Frame 9 – “6000-series train, presumably Douglas, on Met “L” mainline east of Canal. over Union Station trainshed, viewed from Van Buren Street in front of the Main Post Office.” -GF

    Frame Frame 8 - Met "L" car 2836 with fishbelly underframe in same location as (9) as Garfield Park. The single car suggests Sunday, when Garfield was at its nadir, when the west terminal was Laramie Avenue between December 1951 and September 1953." -GF "Looking north from approximately 321 S. Canal." -DM

    Frame 8 – Met “L” car 2836 with fishbelly underframe in same location as (9) as Garfield Park. The single car suggests Sunday, when Garfield was at its nadir, when the west terminal was Laramie Avenue between December 1951 and September 1953.” -GF “Looking north from approximately 321 S. Canal.” -DM

    Frame 15 - "Red car 3132 on layover at Roosevelt and Wabash as a Roosevelt shuttle. View is looking northwest, with the Roosevelt North Shore Line terminal in the background... Hillside Lounge next to the station." -GF "Roosevelt Road Shuttle to Museum Loop on Route 12A." -JW

    Frame 15 – “Red car 3132 on layover at Roosevelt and Wabash as a Roosevelt shuttle. View is looking northwest, with the Roosevelt North Shore Line terminal in the background… Hillside Lounge next to the station.” -GF “Roosevelt Road Shuttle to Museum Loop on Route 12A.” -JW

    Frame 16 - "Prewar PCC 4028 as a 4 (Cottage Grove) car southbound on Wabash approaching Roosevelt." -GF

    Frame 16 – “Prewar PCC 4028 as a 4 (Cottage Grove) car southbound on Wabash approaching Roosevelt.” -GF

    Frame 17 - "Bus 5456 as 12-Roosevelt turning from eastbound Roosevelt to northbound Wabash on its terminal loop, 11th, Michigan, and back to Roosevelt. Roosevelt west of Wabash is paved and dewired." -GF "Fageol Twin Coach" -JW

    Frame 17 – “Bus 5456 as 12-Roosevelt turning from eastbound Roosevelt to northbound Wabash on its terminal loop, 11th, Michigan, and back to Roosevelt. Roosevelt west of Wabash is paved and dewired.” -GF “Fageol Twin Coach” -JW


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