I was watching a DVD on the CTA. There were videos of the newly opened Congress L in June of 1958. However, I noticed that there were PCC 6000's still running on the Garfield Line including the temporary street running on Van Buren. Can someone help me as to why both ran at the same time?
Test trains operated in the Congress median line for at least a week prior to the rerouting of the Garfield line on 22 June 1958. Perhaps the film was taken during that period. Seems like I saw such a shot recently, perhaps the Bill Hoffman footage shown at a recent CERA meeting.
The third rail would certainly raise some eyebrows, but remember that CTA train cars are functionally pretty similar to PCC streetcars: similar motors, braking, size, and weight. Not much like New York air-brake subway cars but very similar to the streetcars that operated in hundreds of cities, and the modern light rail systems that sometimes run in the middle of a street.
There was a significant difference between ordinary street running ahd how the CTA did the temporary street running during the building of the Congress Expressway. The track area was completely fenced on both sides and the street crossings were protected by th same type of anti-walking safeguards used on the ground-level Ravenswood line. The use of ordinary traffic control stop lights was an expedient to keep the traffic moving and control train movement. It worked well and did what was needed during the buildig period.
The street running was an expedient to keep the EL service running during the construction of the eastern part of the Congress Expressway. They effectively put the EL on the street with much the same as it was when elevated, except for traffic light control at the open street crossings. The lights knew when a train was coming, always stopped it and then set the lights to stop cross traffic. This worked for the Garfield Elevated service, but not the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban. They claimed their insurance would not allow it and their cutback in service significantly contributed to their going out of the passenger service and subsequently shutting down completely.