Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

In retrospect it is a shame that I didn't start in earnest a few years earlier when the last of the open ended wooden cars still ran on the Ravenswood and Evanston lines. Both lines were always the forgotten relatives that usually got the newest after everyone else. I also regret never getting a picture of the Pullmans - both the red classics and the PCC's. I never had a chance to get a sedan, the 1930's Peter Witt cars that ran on the old Cottage Grove line. What a feast I would have had with a camera at my old watching post at Pulaski and Harrison during the late 1940's. I guess those memories are best served in the mind where the old cars will forever clank across the intersection and sparks will fly from the trolleys as they go through the insulators.

During this time period the mentality of the CTA and railroads in general were far more generous than today when we live in a crime ridden, litigatious society. At the end of December, 1957, I was able to arrange a visit to CTA's 77th and Vincennes shops. This was the main shop (and still is) for the CTA surface vehicles. This is where the PCC's made their final appearance before being shipped to St. Louis for partial conversion to the then new 6000 series elevated cars or, in the case after the final line closed in 1958, scrapping as were their predecessors. Out of a fleet of 683 pre and postwar PCC's only 1 of pre and post war St. Louis car survived and are presently on display at the Illinois Railway Museum at Union, Illinois. Two additional post war St. Louis PCC cars came close to be saved but were scrapped in early 1959. A rumor of a Pullman carcass floated around for a while but never was substantiated.

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Revised 21 December, 2011 23:25

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