One of the last operating remnants of the North Shore Line.

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One of the last operating remnants of the North Shore Line.
Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, December 21, 2019 11:38 AM

CTA's Yellow line from Howard to Skokie, I think this used to be called the "Skokie Swift" from the speeds of the line and if I read elsewhere correctly the line was used by trains to Milwaukee from Chicago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVaEW1Pk234

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Posted by NKP guy on Saturday, December 21, 2019 1:11 PM

   Interesting video.

   When was the catenary taken down?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, December 21, 2019 1:34 PM

CMStPnP

CTA's Yellow line from Howard to Skokie, I think this used to be called the "Skokie Swift" from the speeds of the line and if I read elsewhere correctly the line was used by trains to Milwaukee from Chicago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVaEW1Pk234

 

Correct.  The Skokie Valley Line was the newer, faster route through northern suburbs compared to the older Shore Line route. 

The high-speed Electroliners used this route.

The rails were removed after the North Shore ceased operations in  1961. Rails and the catenary were reinstalled for the CTA's Skokie Swift.  Although,  the CTA uses 3rd rail, it used overhead on the Yellow line until 2004.

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, December 21, 2019 2:41 PM

That was a fun head-end ride video, one of the better ones I've seen!

On thing though, referring to the overhead catenary as an "aberration?"

If I was an overhead catenary I'd be highly insulted!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, December 21, 2019 7:45 PM

I didn't realize CTA rapid transit lines had road crossings.

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, December 21, 2019 10:15 PM

charlie hebdo
The rails were removed after the North Shore ceased operations in  1961. Rails and the catenary were reinstalled for the CTA's Skokie Swift.  Although,  the CTA uses 3rd rail, it used overhead on the Yellow line until 2004.

CTA retained the line for access to the Skokie Shops, still CTA's principal shop complex.  The rail and wire west of the shops to Dempster Street was intact in 1964, though CTA crews did work there to prep for the Skokie Swift, using ex-CNS&M line car 606 to do the work.

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Posted by Gramp on Saturday, December 21, 2019 10:30 PM

I recall Trains had an article on the Skokie Swift back in the '60s. Sure wish the ROW from Skokie north would have been retained. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 22, 2019 9:02 AM

Is not some of it actually in use because of a C&NW freight line relocation now used by UP?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, December 23, 2019 7:12 AM

If you look north from Dempster Street, you can see that the C&NW tracks were relocates slightly west to accomodate a Com Ed transmission line.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, December 23, 2019 2:15 PM

In response to the various notes on the North Shore Skokie Valley route:

(1) As prior notes mentioned  the North Shore trackage between Dempster Street and Howard was acquired by CTA following the NSL abandonment and used for the Skokie Swift (now the CTA Yellow Line).  The North Shore catenary between East Prairie and Dempster wasn't removed after the NSL abandonment, and was used by the Skokie Swift until it was converted to 3rd rail (one of the other notes says this occurred around 2004, which seems about right).

(2) CNW had a freight line right next to the NSL Skokie Valley Route on the west from Oakton Street north to about Lake Cook Road.  This was built around 1903 or so and predated the NSL line.  It was part of a line that continued south from Oakton to a connection with the CNW Weber Line at Bryn Mawr Ave, in Chicago (Bryn Mawr Jct) .  The combined lines then ran south through the Mayfair interlocking, continued south as what later became known as the Cragin line to the CNW freight yard at 40th Street (now Pulaski), which was CNW's main Chicago area yard before the construction of Proviso Yard in the 1920's.  By the time of the NSL abandonment, the CNW line was in very poor condition, and would have required substantial and expensive reconstruction to remain in service.

(3) The NLS abandonment gave CNW a way to address this problem at minimal cost (it probably even made a tidy profit on it).  What happened was this:

     (i)  CNW acquired the NSL line intact between Dempster Street and a connection with the CNW "New Line" Subdisivion near Lake Cook Road. 

     (ii) CNW built a connection just north of Dempster Street beween its existing line and the NSL southbound main.  This became the "new" CNW line.  The original CNW line was then abandoned, salvaged, and the underlying property sold to developers (there's very little evidence today that it ever existed).  The 'S' curve you can see today north of Dempster is the connection CNW built after the NSL abandonment between the original CNW alignment and the NSL alignment.

   (iii) CNW also salvaged the NSL northbound main and sold the underlying propery to Commonwealth Edison, which built a new transmission line on the strip.  CE then removed the transmission towers just east ot the new power line that had also served as NSL catenary supports. 

   (iv) CNW continued to use the line into the 1980's, and actually rebuilt parts of the NSL trackage with welded rail for coal trains running through the former 40th Street Yard area.  But eventually (I don't remember the exact year), CNW changed the routing of these trains to operate via the New Line Subdivision and Proviso.  At this point, the older route became unnecessary as a through route and was abandoned between Oakton Street and Bryn Mawr Jct (it's now a bike trail).

   (v)  CNW continued using the line north of Oakton for a few on line customers, but these slowly went away.  After the UP-CNW merger, UP filed for abandonment/discontinuance of the remaining line.  The segment between Oakton and Dempster was approved for abandonment and became a trail.   North of Dempster, however, UP only filed for "discontinuance of service", a status that allows service to be halted but is short of a full "abandonment".  As part of this "discontinuance" the grade crossings and the tracks roughly 300' each side of the crossings were removed.  But the remainder of the line is still in place, although difficult to see with all of the overgrowth.

Probably much more than you never wanted to know.   

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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, December 23, 2019 2:33 PM

MidlandMike

I didn't realize CTA rapid transit lines had road crossings.

 

 

Existing CTA lines with grade grossings are:
 
Purple Line (far north end)
 
Yellow Line (East Prairie to Dempster Street)
 
Brown Line (Rockwell to Kimball)
 
Pink Line (Kilbourn to 54th Avenue)
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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, December 23, 2019 10:37 PM

One additional factoid on CNW's acquisition of the NSL ROW between Dempster Street and Lake Cook Road.

The NSL south of Lake Cook Road was in a joint corridor with Commonwealth Edison (former Northern Illinois Public Service Corp) utility lines.  NSL actually had two right of way strips in this corridor (illustrated in the CERA "Route of the Electroliners" bulletin).  The western ROW strip was the one that had tracks on it.  The eastern ROW strip was between the utility strips, and was intended for an additional two tracks, which were never built.  I'm not entirely sure of this, but I believe the CNW acquisition included both the formerly active NSL ROW strip and the never used NSL ROW strip between the Commonwealth Edison (ex-NIPSCO) utility strips, which CNW then turned around and sold to the utility (again, showing that the NSL deal was probably a really good deal for CNW). 

 

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 12:00 AM

For further info on the CNW-CNS&M Skokie line, see the environmental/historical report filed as part of UP's abandonment / discontinuation petition in 2002:

https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/MPD/78432/85257CA7006C955B85256BB2005B1D17/205337.pdf 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 2:45 AM

Falcon:  I greatly appreciate the update and the detail.  I definitely consider myself a fan of all three "Insull Interurbans," and the two CERA North Shore books are still here with me in Israel.

I donated my Milwaukee Electric CERA book to the local American Consulate Library to conserve space in my tiny apartment, thinking I could still use it when needed, and it giving a good idea to Israelis as to how American cities grew with dependence on the streetcar in many cases.  The librarian, an immigrant from S. Africa, disaccessed it and did not notify me, and I have no idea where it is.  When I have the cash, I hope to purchise a new copy, as well as rejoining the CERA.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 10:11 AM

David, that's the problem with donating a book to a library, or any  library for that matter.  If it sits on the shelf for the longest time with no apparant interest they're going to de-acession it to clear the space.  And as you've unfortunately found out they're not likely to contact the donor to see if he or she wants it back.

Next time, check your local friends and aquaintances to see if any of them are interested, if you didn't do so already.  At least you'll know where it is.  

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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 5:55 PM

daveklepper

Falcon:  I greatly appreciate the update and the detail.  I definitely consider myself a fan of all three "Insull Interurbans," and the two CERA North Shore books are still here with me in Israel.

I donated my Milwaukee Electric CERA book to the local American Consulate Library to conserve space in my tiny apartment, thinking I could still use it when needed, and it giving a good idea to Israelis as to how American cities grew with dependence on the streetcar in many cases.  The librarian, an immigrant from S. Africa, disaccessed it and did not notify me, and I have no idea where it is.  When I have the cash, I hope to purchise a new copy, as well as rejoining the CERA.

 

  A good source for railroad books like this which are long out of print is the Illinois Railway Museum used bookstore  They seem to get a lot of old books from estates which the heirs simply want to dispose of.  I got a copy of the CERA TMER&L book there a few years ago, at a very reasonable price.  There's always new stuff coming in as my generation gradually dies off and the heirs get rid of their unwanted railroad libraries.

Unfortunately, the store does not appear to have a website presence (probably because the people who run it are even more computer illiterate than I am, if that's possible).  I've left a note at the museum for contact information (I'm a longtime IRM member) and I'll pass the response on when I get it.  

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, December 30, 2019 9:29 AM

Thanks.  I was also an IRM member and hope to rejoin sometime in the future.

It's a great railroad museum, and transit is well represented.

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Posted by bo-Jack on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 12:08 PM
The North Shore Line abandoned operations in January, 1963. CTA purchased the line shortly afterwards and inaugurated "Skokie Swift" rapid transit service in April, 1964. The tracks and overhead were never removed.
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 10:07 AM

And in the interem period, the CTA coninued to use the part of the line needed to reach its major shops.

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