Monday, September 19, 2011

A popular topic amongst My fellow Chicago railfans and local historians alike, are photos of Chicago during the electric streetcar era.

I found this photo at My Link page "Dave's Electric Railroads", located to the right of Your computer screen at

Todays current Chicago Transit Authority, was less than a year old when this photo was taken on Halsted Street by photographer Bill Volkmer in August of 1948.

These old standard double ended streetcars, served Chicago for many years begining around the early 1900's. Some lasted in maintenance work service, until the end of Chicago streetcar operations on June 21st, 1958. Prioer to 1914, Chicago had several transit companies providing electric streetcar service. Due largely to public outcry for municipal control of the competeing streetcar companies, the Chicago Surface Lines company was formed and began operations in 1914.

The CSL's original color scheme, was a dark green with red window trim and doors. This color scheme was replaced with the popular red and cream color scheme seen on the streetcar in this photo in 1924.

After World War 2 had ended in 1945, the financially strapped CSL began recieving several "New" streamlined PCC streetcars ordered before and during World War 2. These would last less then 10 years in transit service.

The Chicago Transit Authority was formed in 1945, but did not begin operations until November 1st, 1947. The CTA wanted to phase out streetcars due to limited flexibility and safety concerns. The CTA gradualy phased out electric streetcar routes and replaced them with buses during the late 1940's and throughout the 1950's.

The last day of CTA streetcar operation, was June 21st, 1958 on the "Last" remaining line, the Route # 22 Clark Wentworth line.

Streetcars always seem to bring back many happy memories for people who grew up in Chicago during this period.

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