1-50 \ 61-65 series Cars

Single-unit car 41 is operating under trolley wire in its original livery, heading on southbound on the Evanston Line near Greenleaf Avenue in September, 1966. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Jerry Appleman)

 

Specifications:

Cars 1-50:

Built by: St. Louis Car Co.
Year: 1959-60 *
Length: 48'-0"
Width at Floor: 8'-8"
Width at Windows: 9'-4"
Height over Roof: 11'-10"
Trucks: St. Louis B-20 (1), GSC General 70 (2), Budd Pioneer III (3), St. Louis B-30 (4), St. Louis B-3 (5-50)
Coupler: Form 5
Wheel diameter: 26"
Seats: 46
Weight (w/o passengers): 45,900-51,500 lb. (depending on equipment)
Motors per car GE 1250D1 (1), GE 1250E1 (2), WH 1454D (3,4), GE 1220F1 [on delivery], WH1432lk [1964 - cars converted to Skokie service], 1432's [1985 - all cars] (5-50)
Balancing speed: 70 mph (1-4), 50 mph (5-50)

 

Cars 61-65 A&B:

Built by: St. Louis Car Co.
Year: 1959-60 **
Length: 96'-3" (as-rebuilt married pair unit) **
Width at Floor: 8'-8"
Width at Windows: 9'-4"
Height over Roof: 11'-10" (13'6" to top of locked down pantograph)
Trucks: St. Louis B-3
Coupler: Form 5
Wheel diameter: 26"
Seats: 90 (as-rebuilt married pair unit) **
Weight (w/o passengers): 99,650 lbs. **
Motors per unit: 8 WH1432LK @ 55hp
Balancing speed: 70 mph
Governed speed: 55 mph +

* Rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen in 1985
** Built as 1-50 series cars, rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen in 1985, renumbered, and joined into two-car units
+ The propulsion package, while capable of higher speeds, was limited by the logic of the car controls and the external signal system.

 

History:

In contrast to their brothers of the 6000-series, cars 1-50 provided a pool of double-end cars suitable for one-man, single-unit operation. Similar in architecture to the 6000-series cars, these cars were also built with parts salvaged from dismantled PCC streetcars. Delivery of these cars, which were ordered simultaneously with the last fifty 6000s, commenced in 1959 following the delivery of car 6720.

Design changes to facilitate single-car operation include placement of an operating cab at each end of the car. Doors are placed just behind these cabs so that incoming passengers enter at a location convenient to the operator. Selective door control is also provided to facilitate fare collection from the motorman's cab. The operator is able to collect fares over a counter in the back wall of the cab adjacent to the car aisle and door area.

Individual cars of this series have had distinctive appliances and operating patterns. Cars 1-4 have had individualistic careers due to their nonstandard equipment . The remaining cars, 5-50, were originally assigned to the West-Northwest Line in 1959. In this service they operated as pairs, almost always numerically matched. However by 1970 they had all been reassigned elsewhere.

Special equipment was applied to groups of cars working backwards from the high-numbered cars. Understanding this logic provides perspective to subsequent assignments. As the cars were being built it was planned that 12 cars would be needed for Evanston service. Thus cars 39-50 were delivered with roof boards and trolley bases. With this equipment they initially served on the West- Northwest line until 1961. The next group consisted of 8 cars, 31-38, which were equipped with linear accelerators. Shortly before cars 39-50 entered Evanston service it was deemed necessary to assign 6 more cars, 25-30, to this service. However only 4 cars, 25-28 found their way to Evanston. In 1967 additional cars were needed for Skokie service so the CTA again looked to this group for 4 cars, 25-26 and 29-30. In addition 23 and 24 were subsequently assigned to Skokie service. Each of these subgroups has had individual characteristics over their years of service.

 

"Evanston Equipped' Cars

One-man, single-car service on the Evanston Line started on April 2, 1961. Trolley poles, stirrup steps for roof access, electric transfer switches (selection of third rail or trolley wire power source) and fare boxes were installed on cars 27-28 and 39-48. Conversion of the Evanston Line to third-rail operation in 1973 rendered the trolley apparatus superfluous. However, the fare boxes were still needed for shuttle service so the cars remained distinctive in that regard.

 

High-Performance Test Cars

Car 4, a high-speed experimental 1-50 series car, was delivered in a distinctive maroon and gray paint scheme by the car builder, St. Louis Car Co. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by George Krambles)

Meanwhile experimental high-performance cars 1-4 went into test service. Basic to the acceleration and speed characteristics of these cars were new 100-hp motors, but the controls, trucks, gear drives, axles, and friction brakes were also experimental installations. The research program necessary to design and build the special equipment for these cars was a cooperative effort between CTA and many suppliers. These cars (and the four high-performance 6000s also used in the testing program) were painted in a distinctive maroon and silver gray color scheme. The special colors were retained for a few years in regular-speed service on the Ravenswood route where they were operated after December 19, 1960. By 1964 the four cars were repainted in the standard color scheme.

 

"Skokie Equipped" Cars

Cars 1-4 were a logical choice to inaugurate the new Skokie Swift service on April 20, 1964. They were suitable both for one-man and high-performance operation; but, equipment for an "at speed" change between third rail and overhead trolley power collection was required. Originally a lightweight pantograph was contemplated. However, a device with sufficient "reach" for the Skokie line's 23 foot high trolley wire was not commercially available. Mounting such a device on a roof platform was prohibited by clearance restrictions.

Therefore, a "pan trolley" of original design was developed by CTA using available components. First applied to car 4, this device, a pantograph shoe supported by two standard trolley poles, resembled a bow trolley. Wire contact was important due to heavy power consumption. To provide sufficient contact surface pantograph shoes similar to those used on CTA's S-104 and S-105 were obtained. Some shoes used in prototype applications were obtained from the South Shore Line.

In prototype testing, dependable wire contact was not achieved above 35 mph, when air turbulence created pressure which forced the pan trolley down from the trolley wire. This condition was remedied before service began by adding an airfoil similar in contour and purpose to an airplane wing. Car dimensions, even with pan trolleys down, exceed usual CTA clearance outline. Thus Skokie cars were restricted to this service.

Not only cars 1-4 were "Skokie equipped" as traffic immediately exceeded capacity of four cars. Cars 25 and 26 were fitted with pan trolleys, much of the work being done over a weekend. Other cars were subsequently fitted with pan trolleys. One Stemmen pantograph, made to order in West Germany, was eventually obtained and used first on car 4, then on car 24.

Rolling stock assigned to Skokie Swift service has traditionally been equipped with wheel scrubbers to enhance contact between the train's running gear and the track. Positive contact is essential to the operation of ATC cab signals and automatic grade crossing warning devices. Wheel scrubbers were applied to the original Skokie Swift single cars in 1964 primarily due to their light weight.

 

"Ravenswood Equipped" Cars

The remaining 26 cars (numbers 5-22 and 31-38) were assigned to the Ravenswood line by 1970. In this service the cars operated in two-car units interchangeably with the 6000-series cars. The configuration of this line, whose platforms change sides of the track ten to twelve times in each roundtrip, was not ideal for the conductors who would have to change cars with each change of sides. Accordingly, in the early 1970's modifications were made to the odd-numbered cars in this series to provide conductor's position on both sides of the same car. So modified, they are used principally in rush hour service. The units so retrofitted were cars 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 31, 33, 35, and 37. This modification reduced the seating in those cars from 46 to 44 people.

 

1-50 Series:
The Later Years & the 61-65 Series Cars

Interestingly, cars 1-4 saw a rather short service life. CTA forces, under direction from General Electric, converted car 1 to chopper control in the early 1970s, and the car ran in CTA service with this control package. Car 2 also got a chopper package and ran with it in CTA service for a while. Car 1 became a "test bed" for General Electric at Erie, PA by the mid-1970s. Cars 2 and 3, having reached the end of their useful life, were scrapped in 1974. In 1975, only car 4 of the 1-4 group remained in Skokie service, but not for long; it was scrapped a year later. Car 4 went out of service shortly after the DOT's State of the Art Cars cars made their appearance in January 1975. On the last Saturday of its operation, car 4 ran along with the SOAC.

The rest remained active in Evanston, Skokie and West-Northwest service. In 1973, the Evanston Line was converted to third rail and cars 39-40, and 42-48 lost their trolley poles; cars 27 and 28 kept them. They were mostly then used on the Ravenswood and Evanston lines. When 27 was painted in the Bicentennial paint scheme in March 1975 it lost its poles and roof boards in the process, but the car rosters showed them on for several years. In 1977, cars 39 and 42 received double poles for sleet cutting and 41 got its poles back. Later, cars 39 and 42 got bow pans and were reassigned to Skokie Swift service.

In the fall of 1983, car 29 was involved in a derailment at the south end of Howard. The truck ground to the third rail and burned up the side of the car and bolster. About a week later, car 24 derailed in the same place. It turned out to be a miswired track circuit. This caused the towerman to believe that the one car Skokie train was clear of the switch when in reality it was not. The switch threw under the car and it derailed. Car 24 was repaired but 29 was not. In 1985, car 29 was sent to Morrison-Knudsen (see next paragraph) and stripped for parts. A portion was then used as guard shanty at a gate to the plant.

Car 63 is seen here at Skokie Shops in May of 1998 shortly before its overhead equipment was removed. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Eric Zabelny)

In 1985-86, the last 45 cars of this series were upgraded by the Morrison-Knudsen Company, who latter manufactured the 3200-series. With the first four retired, the revised series name 5-50 has often been used in association with these cars post-rehab. Among the changes instituted by Morrison-Knudsen included a new paint scheme (the ever-present red, white, and blue Spirit of Chicago scheme), revamped interiors with new seat coverings and repainted walls, removal of the fare collection window from the motorman's cab, and many mechanical updates in and under the car. This had the effect of extending the life of the cars greatly. Eight of the units (cars 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 19, 21, 31) were also later paired off into two-car units and renumbered 61-64. These cars had new pantographs installed for Skokie Swift service, removing from service the CTA-designed pan trolleys. Cars 28 and 41 kept their trolley poles.

In 1990, two more 5-50s, cars 23 and 24, were renumbered 65a-b and made into a fifth 61-65 series unit for Skokie Swift service. The 5-50s continued to serve the system until the mid-1990s, with cars 6, 8, 10, 12-14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 27, 28, 32-38, 40, 41, and 43-50 assigned to the Evanston service (Purple Line) and cars 61-65, 25, 26, 29, 30, 39,and 42 used on the Skokie Swift (Yellow Line). The 5-50s occasionally made trips on the Blue Line, but particularly dominated the Evanston and Skokie Swift until the delivery of the pantograph-equipped 3200s (coincidentally also made by Morrison-Knudsen) in 1994. By 1990, car 41 was the only car still equipped with trolley poles, though they had no practical purpose by this point.

In 1993, most of the 5-50s were taken out of revenue service. All the Skokie Swift cars lost their pantographs except for cars 30 and 63a-b, which were used reserve cars for the Skokie Swift. These cars could not be officially retired without paying back the federal grant money used for their rebuilding. In an agreement with the government, the cars could be used in work service but had to be kept in passenger-ready condition.

Cars 28 and 41 lost their poles n the spring of 1994 when, along with car 42 (with pans), a regular car, and flat car, they made a trip from Skokie Shops to 95th. The train never made it. All of the roof equipment was accidentally ripped off en-route and the train was laid up in 63rd Street middle track on the Dan Ryan Line. Car 42 received the most damage. Car 28's roof boards were rotted and were not repaired. Car 41 was subsequently repaired and limited to Skokie only service. All pans were removed on remaining Skokie cars but car 30 for possible sale to IRM and 63a-b. 30 was moved to Howard and placed in Skokie Swift standby service.

Between 1993 and 1996, the 5-50 series cars were stored at the Rosemont Yard on the Blue Line. Some of these cars did see occasional service during this time. In 1997, the 5-50s were stored at Harlem, 61st, and Howard yards and the Skokie Shops. Many of these cars were chartered and used on fantrips. The very last passenger run of the 1-50 series took place in March of 1998, when cars 63a-b, and 30 made a few revenue runs on the Skokie Swift. By July of 1998, all the cars were at Skokie Shops, ready for disposition. In May 1999, the first of the cars were scrapped. By January 2000, most have been scrapped or sold to transportation museums, though a number still linger in the Skokie Shops yards.


Disposition of the 1-50 Series

Car #

Disposition


1

Sent to General Electric Co in Erie, PA for testing; still at GE, future undetermined

2

Scrapped in 1974

3

Scrapped in 1974

4

Scrapped in 1976

5

Converted into 61-65 series car 61A in 1985

6

Sent to Cozzi Iron & Metal Inc. and removed from CTA by August of 1999

7

Converted into 61-65 series car 61B in 1985

8

Sent to Cozzi Iron & Metal Inc. and removed from CTA by August of 1999

9

Converted into 61-65 series car 62A in 1985

10

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

11

Converted into 61-65 series car 62B in 1985

12, 13, 14

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

15

Converted into 61-65 series car 63A in 1985

16

Sent to Cozzi Iron & Metal Inc. and removed from CTA by August of 1999

17, 18

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

19

Converted into 61-65 series car 63B in 1985

20

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

21

Converted into 61-65 series car 64A in 1985

22

Sent to Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL

23

Converted into 61-65 series car 65A? in 1990

24

Converted into 61-65 series car 65B? in 1990

25

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

26

Authorized for disposition 2/1/98, kept at Skokie Shops as late as 1/99, sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

27

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

28

Went to Trolley Car '86 in Appleton, WI

29

Damaged in an accident in 1983; stripped for parts by Morrison-Knudsen in '85

30

Sent to Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL, used in revenue service

31

Converted into 61-65 series car 64B in 1985

32

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

33

Future undetermined; may be scrapped

34

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

35

Sent to Wisconsin Trolley Museum in East Troy, WI

36, 37

Sent to Cozzi Iron & Metal Inc. and removed from CTA by August of 1999

38

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

39

Sent to Cozzi Iron & Metal Inc. and removed from CTA by August of 1999

40

Sent to Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, IL

41

Sent to Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL, used in revenue service (last 5-50 to have trolley poles)

42

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

43

Sent to Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, IL

44

Sent to the Museum of Transport in St. Louis, MO

45

Sent to Wisconsin Trolley Museum in East Troy, WI

46, 47

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

48

Sent to Halton County Radial Railway Museum in Ontario, Canada

49, 50

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

61a

Purchased by Illinois Railway Museum, but stripped at Skokie Shops; trucks and body sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

61b

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

62

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

63a

IRM got 2 trucks, body sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

63b

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL

64, 65

Sent to William Lans Sons Co. scrappers in South Beloit, IL


 

Excerpts from this car history are from Chicago's Rapid Transit, Volume II: Rolling Stock 1947-1976 by the Central Electric Railfans Association. Copyright 1976, CERA. All right reserved. Thanks to Eric Zabelny and Peter Vesic for providing additional information on the 1-50 series from the mid 1970s until retirement.