Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover

Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover

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Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive by John Kelly Soft Cover
 
Interurban Trains To Chicago Photo Archive
By John Kelly
Softbound
126 Pages
Copyright 2007

Table of Contents
Foreword by John Gruber4
Introduction6
Chapter 1. Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad - Skokie Valley Route.  8
Chapter 2. Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad - Sunset Lines.68
Chapter 3. Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad - South Shore Lines.96

Introduction
At the beginning of the 20th century most people did not own an automobile and highways were not much more than dirt roads. The most popular means of transportation were walking, horse-drawn carriage, and steam-powered, heavyweight trains. That was also the dawn of the interurban (high-speed, intercity electric railways operating on overhead catenary) that evolved from the streetcar. The word interurban derived from Latin for "between cities" and is credited to Charles L. Henry, an Indiana state senator who coined the term after seeing the electric railway at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. The interurbans' speed and handiness operating at frequent intervals carried passengers, mail, express, and general merchandise from the city to the country. It brought farmers and out-of-town folks into the city for a day of shopping or business. In addition, the interurban contributed to rural electrification and helped open America's suburbs to new development.
One of the most famous business tycoons from the Interurban Era was Chicago's Samuel Insull. Born in London, Insull came to New York in 1881 at age 21, and became private secretary to inventor Thomas Edison. He helped Edison build electric power stations throughout the United States, and with Edison founded the General Electric Company. By 1892, Insull left General Electric and moved to Chicago to become president of Chicago Edison. In 1907, Insull merged Chicago Edison with rival Commonwealth Electric, forming Commonwealth Edison. He later merged utility companies forming Middle West Utilities, providing power to Illinois and other Midwestern states. Meanwhile, Insull had been buying substantial stock in many railroads, mostly electric interurban streetcar lines. The most well known of Insult's interurban lines was the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, often referred to as "America's Fastest Interurban." In 1916, Insull acquired the bankrupt Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railway, renamed it the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee, and converted it into a first-class electric interurban railway. The line ran from Milwaukee to Evanston, Illinois, and by 1919, North Shore trains were operating into the Chicago Loop over the existing Northwestern Elevated Railroad. Passengers could travel between Chicago and Milwaukee on the luxury Badger Limited, complete with diner and parlor-observation cars. The train operated on a 2-hour and 15-minute schedule on newly rebuilt roadbed between the two cities. On February 15, 1922, the North Shore introduced its new Eastern Limited, operating over the South Side Elevated Railroad to a terminal at 63rd and Dorchester on Chicago's South Side, with hourly service to Milwaukee and
connections to the eastern railroads. North Shore passengers taking the Twentieth Century Limited transferred directly at LaSalle Street Station, and passengers for the Broadway Limited could walk from the Wells & Quincy elevated station to Chicago Union Station. In 1925, the North Shore was operating 160 trains daily between Milwaukee and Chicago, and passenger traffic counts increased to 16-million riders annually.
By 1924, the railroad's Shore Line Route between Chicago and Waukegan was becoming more congested due to urban sprawl in the shoreline communities, speed restrictions, and existing grade curvature. North Shore management believed future passenger growth would require expansion from two tracks to a four-track route, a project that would be costly as land and building values continued to increase along Lake Michigan's shoreline. As an alternate plan, the railroad decided to build a new, direct cutoff through the Skokie Valley on land owned by an Insull business (Public Service Company of Northern Illinois) for high-speed transmission lines. The 23-mile Skokie Valley Route was built on this right-of-way west of Lake Bluff, eventually connecting to the Howard Street "L" at Evanston, and into Chicago. It was three miles shorter than the old Shore Line Route and allowed express train operations, plus increased suburban ridership into Chicago. Construction of the new route began April 4, 1924, and was completed June 5, 1926, at a cost of $10,000,000. Opening of the Skokie Valley Route was observed with much fanfare and hope for the future, including faster schedules for Chicago-Milwaukee trains. The Cincinnati Car Company built 20 steel interurban cars and three dining cars for the new service. Gross operating revenue for 1926 increased to $7.6 million and ridership boomed to an all-time high of 19.5 million passengers, with continued growth in 1928. Of course, it didn't last; the 1929 stock market crash followed by the 1930s Great Depression began three decades of decline for the North Shore. In 1932, the mighty Insull Empire went bust, as thousands of small investors were wiped out. Insull was indicted for unfair business practices and forced to resign. He fled to Europe to avoid prosecution, but was returned to the United
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