Garfield Park "L"


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Garfield Park "L"
Date: December 25, 2010 11:55PM

Hey, I was wondering if anyone out there remembers if there were any plans floated around during the 30s through the 50s when the Congress Expressway was being planned and built, regarding any other alignments or types of service on the Garfield Park "L" during and after construction. If anyone could provide me with any links or information I would greatly appreciate it! I also know that the CA&E interurban also used these tracks to reach downtown.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Vern H ()
Date: December 26, 2010 05:34AM

This is a start if you haven't already seen it. http://chicago-l.org/operations/lines/garfield.html I have a video tape somewhere that shows the trains operating on Van Buren st during the Xway construction.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Date: December 27, 2010 07:56PM

Yes, I'm familiar with that site, but unfortuantely the section on the Garfield Park line is pretty bare with information. Plus, the book written on the history of the "L" only goes to 1932, so that ends that possibility too. But thank you.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Vern H ()
Date: December 28, 2010 06:07AM

I have a few pics, have you seen these?

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Image 1 is looking east from the former Marshfield station in 1953.

Image 2 is at the former Laramie av station and yard.

Image 3 is at the former Gunderson av station.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Date: December 28, 2010 10:14PM

The first and third one's I am familiar with, but the second one is new to me. Thanks for posting them!

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Vern H ()
Date: December 30, 2010 06:04AM

I can't remember what book it was in but did you notice where the Congress line goes underground just east of Halsted there are two extra portals? Supposedly this was either for the CA&E or a reroute of the Lake st line. I don't know how they'd have worked turning then trains around though as the extra portals are dead ends. The same type of thing is on the Lake st section of the subway. Where it turns to run under Milwaukee av, there are stub tunnels that follow Lake st. This was another possibility of tying the Lake st line into the subway. BTW the tunnels are not side by side there, one runs under the other to make the connection possible.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jayg ()
Date: May 10, 2011 06:09AM

chicagotransitfan have you seen this publication?

<a HREF="http://www.shore-line.org/Special.html">shore-line.org</a>

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Date: July 15, 2011 11:32PM

Thanks for the pictures and info. I actually have that publication, and it is very helpful! If anyone has any other information or pictures of the Metropolitan 'L (Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Douglas Park, Garfield Park, main line), please post here!

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Vern H ()
Date: July 19, 2011 05:17AM

Probably a dumb question but did you see "remnants of the "L" on this site? Lots of great stuff there!

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 23, 2015 05:25PM

thanks because i've not before seen that image looking east on the old garfield pk line from marshfield. it certainly makes plain that the garfield el right of way was the 'vehicle' for the congress expwy, all the moreso in that the line was 4 tracks wide (east of marshfield anyway). the congress xpwy was first planned as I understand it in the '30s, the CTA took over the transit lines in 1948 from the long insolvent various CRT lines, facilitating the commencement of expressway construction. it's all too convenient. the biggest casualty was the CA&E interurban train who long ran a joint operation with the garfield park line, but found themselves being forced out of the existance (east of des plaines ave) when the garfield park line was sacrificed for the congress. people remark how suddenly & unexpectedly the CA&E folded (in 1957) but seriously what else could be expected--the expressway was now a reality and their downtown terminus was not nor could it be foreseen. just what magic hat was CA&E supposed to pull a new downtown terminal out of?

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 24, 2015 11:28AM

The question of "what was the plan" for where to put CA&E is hard to answer, and probably changed year to year, in part because expressway construction was so slow and no one knew if CA&E would still be around.  As early as 1952, CA&E was petitioning to substitute bus service and the county held up expressway planning for months, worried that it would be building new tracks for an abandoned railroad.  By 1954, CA&E officials were bemoaning legal, operating, and financial obstacles to ever resuming Loop service.  The railroad's general counsel is quoted as saying that running trains out to Logan Square to turn them back is "unthinkable."

Reading between the lines, it's hard not to think that perhaps the CA&E shareholders preferred abandonment to continued operation.  A Feb. 12, 1952, Tribune story suggests that pretty explicitly: "Beginning in 1947 a group of Kansas farmers and financiers began buying [CA&E] stock until they obtained about 80 per cent of it. They now have paper profits ranging upward of 100 per cent or higher.  If the road were junked, the salvage value of its real estate and equipment would give the Kansans an even greater profit."

In 1956, CTA told CA&E that they wouldn't be allowed in the new Dearborn St subway because it would "overload the subway and hamper CTA operations."  The same article mentions the possibility of a ramp at Paulina to bring CA&E trains into the Loop via Lake Street.  A year later--just two weeks before abandonment--CA&E baffled the city by asking to use the temporary Van Buren Street trackage (which for five years they'd refused to consider) until the Congress subway is finished.  No word on where they will terminate trains, and the plan appears to have just been an attempt to get someone to pony up $3 million for the CA&E's supposed losses since the cutback in 1953.  As soon as the governor's representative said on June 22nd that there would be no money, CA&E said it would cease passenger operations.  Eleven days later it did, in the middle of a workday.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 24, 2015 12:35PM

the CTA waited until '56 to tell the CA&E they couldn't use the Dearborn subway? That's pretty late in the (construction) game, and I wonder if the interurban had held serious designs on that possibility. After all there were congress construction accomodations put into place (tunnels & right of way) to such extent SOMEONE had a specific notion where the CA&E might terminate. And the ramp @ paulina you mention makes me wonder why the ramp being used by the garfield line re-routed onto vanburen street level couldn't suffice--that would return the CA&E trains back to their original elevated terminus wouldn't it (the challenge becomes how their trains would leave the expressway median for vanburen). One thing strikes me is the CA&E had a very good cooperative relationship with the CTA's garfield line predecessors, but not so much when the CTA took over '48--then things soured



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2015 12:38PM by the_mogra.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Dunning1 ()
Date: April 24, 2015 02:32PM

I'm not sure on this, but I think the Dearborn Street Subway was only opened to the LaSalle Street station back in 1952, and trains turned around just past that station. The tunnel under the Chicago River and the Clinton Station, along with the hookup to the median in the Eisenhower Expressway didn't occur until 1957. If this is in fact true, CTA's comments on use of the subway would make sense.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 24, 2015 03:37PM

you are correct that the connection to the dearborn st subway from the congress median didn't materialize until afterwards, although CTA's remarks to CA&E in '56 were to thwart any future plan the interurban might've contemplated at the time

i can't help but get a nagging feeling there was more to this CA&E end story than ever was made public. promises made but not kept

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: April 24, 2015 03:58PM

Looking at the infrastructure built, but not utilized, I'd say that there was an initial plan to provide for the CA&E to continue operations, with the two unused portals probably leading to a subway terminal, but like has been suggested, the CTA didn't want to lay track for an interurban that was being abandoned. They may also have expected the CA&E to pay for the new terminal, which they probably couldn't. And for the CTA to operate commuter trains on former CA&E trackage, they would have had to get their charter modified to allow them to provide service beyond Cook County.

Attempting to run CA&E trains downtown via the Paulina Connector might have required some fancy trackwork west of the Douglas trackage, since there is a station and a ramp west of those tracks.

I have seen portions of a study the CTA did about taking over CNS&M service as far as Zion, from about the time they were abandoning service, so it isn't inconceivable. The Skokie Swift was the modest result of this.

Yeah, there may be more to the story, and we may never know what it was.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 24, 2015 06:02PM

the CTA at the time may well've been caught as off guard as everybody else when CA&E threw in the towel, and in any event they wouldn't be laying track for them per se, the CA&E would get that done as long as the right-of-way was there, which it was (as the congress expwy finished). the CA&E really didn't need a new downtown terminal, did they, they just needed to be able to get to the one they already had (on the west side of wells). i brought up the ramp the CTA had built for getting garfield line trains down to vanburen street level (which was removed once the congress line opened) as a possibile means for the CA&E to reach their existing terminal, I don't think I was referring to the 'paulina street connector' (todays 'pink-line'). as I understand it the CTA had already been running garfield line trains on CA&E tracks, from 1948-51 (and years before pre-CTA) west of the desplaines station (no need for charter modification)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2015 06:05PM by the_mogra.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: April 24, 2015 10:05PM

I mentioned the charter modification as it was mentioned to me by the classmate who gave me some of those charts (which I wish I could lay my hands on) about the CNS&M study by the CTA. It would have been necessary to allow the CTA to operate in Lake County, and I assume the same would be necessary to operate to the west outside of Cook County.

I'm not clear where exactly the ramp up to the existing L tracks was for connecting the temporary at-grade operation to the old Garfield main line, but from some of the pictures I've seen on the web, the existing structure was located along the north side of the expressway's cut, so there might have been no way to use that ramp without building a lot of new structure if that was the case, and then there was that aging Scherzer bridge that would have had to be maintained.

I do recall someone mentioning the CA&E using the Paulina Connector to get downtown via the Lake Street L, and I could see that working for them if the line could accomodate an eastbound ramp up from the expressway to the Douglas tracks, and they could have even used their old terminal platform after the tracks were connected to the Loop, so the Van Buren-Wells tower could be removed at the SW corner. Ramp up, head over to Lake, head east to the Loop, turn south on Wells, pull in to the terminal, then depart by turning south on Wells, east on Van Buren, north on Wabash, and out on Lake back to Paulina. The tracks and structure west of the terminal could be removed completely, and there would be less tying up of Loop tracks with interurban trains.

Of course, this is all speculation. We may never know what the original plans were for the CA&E, and what those two extra portals were meant for, unless CDOT still has some of the drawings from the Dept, of Subways & Superhighways for them in their files. Makes me wish I had tried to find out before I retired from CDOT!

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 25, 2015 12:06AM

The extra portals at Halsted were to allow Douglas Park trains to access a future subway that would have been built under Clinton Street. Remember that the city, not CTA, was building the "open-air subway" in the Congress Superhighway.

The extra space in the median near UIC makes some think that room was left for CA&E. Documented plans are hard to come by, but my recent research indicates that the CA&E would more likely have used the Paulina Connector track and run to the Loop via the Lake Street line (as the Pink Line now does). The extra median space and portals were built to allow for future capacity improvement, with either Douglas or Congress trains running via a future Clinton Street subway.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: April 25, 2015 12:17AM

Mr Downtown Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The extra portals at Halsted were to allow Douglas
> Park trains to access a future subway that would
> have been built under Clinton Street. Remember
> that the city, not CTA, was building the "open-air
> subway" in the Congress Superhighway.
>
> The extra space in the median near UIC makes some
> think that room was left for CA&E. Documented
> plans are hard to come by, but my recent research
> indicates that the CA&E would more likely have
> used the Paulina Connector track and run to the
> Loop via the Lake Street line (as the Pink Line
> now does). The extra median space and portals
> were built to allow for future capacity
> improvement, with either Douglas or Congress
> trains running via a future Clinton Street subway.

That would make sense, I suppose, assuming they could add ramps for eastbound trains at the Douglas tracks. The CA&E was still using wood cars up to the end, so the CTA wouldn't want them using subway tracks. I'd love to see whayever plans had been drawn up for that Clinton subway.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 25, 2015 01:57PM

using the Paulina St connector for CA&E trains to access the loop tracks (from the congress median) to me seems a rather far-fetched approach. all they really needed was to ramp up to the easternmost portion of the Garfield park line (to access their terminal) which of course was still being used by the CTA including that scherzer bridge. much simpler.

the extra right-of-way all along the congress line has always been thought a CA&E provisional legacy. the unused subway portals are another matter however and probably don't have any CA&E relation

I don't like the way the CTA gradually eased out their interurban track-sharing partner

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 25, 2015 03:01PM

I think you're forgetting that the Met's main stem, from Marshfield Junction east to Halsted, also had to be removed for the superhighway and new Circle Interchange. In addition, the Wacker Drive Extension required reconstruction of the east approach to the Met's Scherzer bridge. With CTA having no further need of the bridge or the connection to the Loop, that's a lot to expect the CA&E to take over and maintain for its own use. CA&E running via Paulina Connector to the Loop was quite a simple solution by comparison.

Anyone interested in exactly where the Metropolitan West Side Elevated tracks ran may want to study [url=http://tinyurl.com/metro-west-side-elev]this map made by Eric Pancer.[/url]

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 26, 2015 05:10PM

that's a pretty good Garfield line superimposed type 'map' in that it makes miserably plain how the Garfield line always was intended to be the 'sacrificial lamb' for congress expressway construction, automatically spelling doom in a way for the CA&E. That's sort of why I suspect something else must've been promised to the CA&E early on ('40s) for them to go along with such a potentially ruinous prospect. those are the things that have never been made public

I'd say the CA&E would have absolutely no problem taking over the Scherzer bridge once the CTA was completely done with it (1958?) because operating and maintaining a bridge (that they've always gone over) sure beats having to build a completely new downtown terminal (i don't see the 'paulina street connector' having a real value for them in that regard)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2015 05:11PM by the_mogra.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 26, 2015 05:23PM

If the CA&E were to come in on the Paulina Connector and run around the Loop, they wouldn't need a terminal at all, though for operational reasons they might like to arrange for a trainmen's room, a dispatcher, and a place to lay up a couple of midday trains. There are a number of places that could have been done without needing new trackage on the Near West Side.

The CA&E was merely a tenant on CRT; nothing had to be promised to them any more than was promised to the tenants of the two-flats along the route of the new highway.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: April 26, 2015 05:36PM

And the CA&E had to contend with loss of riders due to the expressway itself.

OTOH, since we are mostly speculating now, consider what might have happened if Federal funds were involved. The CTA might have taken over part or most of the CA&E, and operated it like the Skokie Swift, only without catenary, since the bulk of the CA&E was third-rail-powered. The only changes might have been adding high-level platforms and track trips at signals.

I agree with Mr Downtown about the Loomis Junction/Paulina Connector/Lake Street/Loop access path. It would have allowed the CA&E to continue using wood cars, and the most obvious layover would be the Wells Street Terminal via Tower 22. Even with the removal of tracks and structure from Wacker Drive and all points west.

I guess we'll never know.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 27, 2015 11:45AM

i think the CA&E wanted to continue using their downtown terminal, after all it was already there. accessing the Loop via the very roundabout 'paulina st connector' tracks would be totally unacceptable to commuters

constructing a ramp to bring CA&E trains up from the new Congress median on to paulina st connector doesn't make sense--simply construct a differing ramp little a bit further east to bring CA&E trains up from the menian to the old garfield line on vanburen, the portion that remained for the CTA to use before CTA trains left it behind in 1958. that's far more direct and duplicates what the CA&E previously had

the best part is it keeps CA&E trains off of CTA used tracks. the CTA would not want the CA&E trains doing like the pink line does nowadays, and CA&E commuters would leave that line if it took so much extra traveling via the connector to reach the loop

the CTA was fine with CA&E ceasing operations east of DesPlaines rd in 1951, because that just brought passengers to them. they didn't want the CA&E to reach downtown anymore

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: April 27, 2015 12:15PM

CTA apparently did look into running some of the CA&E service beyond Desplaines Avenue, using PCC cars that were being surplused (and traded in on new 6000s for the L). But most of the profitable CA&E territory was beyond the area CTA is authorized to serve, and nothing came of the idea. Remember that up north, CTA had to retain half the Skokie Swift route just for access to its own shops. That prompted some creative thinking.

A lot of CA&E corporate documents, giving some insight into the company's plans, are [url=http://www.caerr.com/main.asp]online thanks to the late Julie Johnson.[/url]

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 27, 2015 01:01PM

there's a fantastic hardcover book published around 10 years ago about the CA&E and it's smooth as silk joint operation over the old garfield park line tracks. It includes some marvelous color photographs (it was co-authored by Bruce Moffat) of their trains on the elevated

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: tomcat630 ()
Date: May 01, 2015 03:26AM

If there was an RTA then, maybe the CA&E would still be around? Who knows?

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Vern H ()
Date: May 04, 2015 12:36AM

I read somewhere (can't find it now...) that the CTA was considering keeping a mile or so of the old Humboldt Park line for the CA&E to store trains on between rush hours.

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Re: Garfield Park "L"
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: May 04, 2015 01:35AM

Vern H Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read somewhere (can't find it now...) that the
> CTA was considering keeping a mile or so of the
> old Humboldt Park line for the CA&E to store
> trains on between rush hours.

Well, that would have required keeping the NW Met Branch elevated structure and tracks in service, as well as Evergreen Jubction, and probably pointed to using an EB ramp at Loomis Junction to get the CA&E downtown. That might have been better, since a third track could have been reinstalled on the Lake Street L as an express track for the CA&E.

Gotta wonder what it would have been like if the Met had extended that line further west. I have yet to hear anyone complain about the Brown Line "competing" with the Larence Avenue bus, but I sure remember people complaining about traffic on North Avenue when I worked for the City!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2015 01:37AM by Jeff_Weiner.

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