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Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurbans
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   Author  Topic: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurbans  (Read 2218 times)
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #40 on: Jun 15th, 2004, 11:04am »
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on Jun 14th, 2004, 10:38pm, Mark_Foster wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi Walt,
 
 
I may be too much of a traditionalist, but IMHO there are no longer any interurbans operating in revenue service in the US. They exixt today only in a few museum settings around the country.
 
Mark
 

 
 The difference of opinion over whether the P&W and the South Shore Line are interurbans simply illustrates what has always been the problem in defining what an interurban actually is ( or was). Even in the days when we would agree that both lines WERE interurbans, both greatly exceeded the "standard" of construction that was typical of interurbans. This is the reason why the term "super interurban" has been applied to both lines.
  The SEPTA equipment, which replaced the fabulous Brill Bullet Cars ( which were descended from the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Red Devil Cars) are basically high speed LRV's ( Adtranz-N-5 cars) and are mostly operated as single units. RDG-484's description of this line as a 'high speed trolley" stems partly from the severing, by SEPTA, of the long existing freight connection with the old PRR Cardington Branch at 69th Street, as he has described in his latest posting. During the days when the Lehigh Valley Transit Co. (LVT) used the P&W to reach 69th Street from Allentown, there was extensive through freight service to and from Allentown.---- I would agree that as they exist today, both lines are far from being typical interurbans.---- IMHO, the most accurate description of both is "America's most unusual electric railroads".


« Last Edit: Jun 15th, 2004, 11:06am by Walt_C » Logged

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Mark_Foster
Historian
Posts: 918
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #41 on: Jul 20th, 2004, 11:44pm »
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Hi Walt,  
 
I consider you to be somewhat of an authority on the C&LE which you have made mention of many times. Could you briefly sketch the route of the C&LE and it's later years of operation up to its abandonment. I believe the fast interurban cars were known as the Red Devils. Are there any pics of them on the internet that you can refer me to?
 
Am I correct in my understanding that the C&LE and ran  through cars from Cincy to Cleveland? Somewhere I recall reading that a number of head on collisions led to the demise of the road. Can you shed any light on this?
 
Mark


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Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #42 on: Jul 21st, 2004, 9:22am »
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I'll try--- without rewriting the Jack Keenan book( "Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad-- Ohio's Great Interurban") which is a great and detailed history of this interurban----
 C&LE was, essentially, a re-assembling by Dr. Thomas Conway, of the principal lines of the old Ohio Electric Railway, which had operated a number of Ohio interurban properties until the early 1920's. At that time, OE dissolved, and the underlying properties resumed individual operation. Conway acquired the Cincinnati and Dayton circa 1925, which at that time was very badly run down. He rehabilitated this property, re-naming it the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton RR ( not to be confused with an earlier B&O affiliated steam railroad of the same name). At the same time, he acquired an interest in the Lima Toledo Railroad and the Indiana, Columbus, and Eastern, both of which were former OE properties. He greatly rehabilitated those properties and began to operate them as one unit. ( The CH&D ran from Cincinnati through Hamilton into Dayton, the IC&E from Dayton through Springfield to Columbus, with a long branch line into Lima, and the LTRR connected with the IC&E at Lima and ran to Toledo.)
Joint operation of the three properties by Conway began in April 1929. All of the necessary legal steps were completed by the end of that year, and in 1930, Conway was able to formally merge the three roads to create the C&LE. The old CH&D became the Cincinnati Division, the IC&E route from Dayton to Columbus, the Columbus Division, and the long run from Springfield to Toledo the Toledo Division, combining the IC&E run from Springfield to Lima with the LTRR run from Lima to Toledo.
  The Red Devil Cars were acquired in 1930, having actually been ordered by the CH&D. There were two types, the "deluxe" versions ( No's 120 -129) which had a lounge section in the rear, and straight coach versions ( No's 110-119). For a time, C&LE provided porter service on the deluxe cars when they ran as limited "name" trains. There is news footage, somewhere, of a 1930 "race" between Red Devil Car No 126 and a bi-plane which No 126 "won" attaining a speed of 110 MPH. The cars were routinely run at 80 plus MPH.
 
  C&LE developed an extensive freight business, connecting at Dayton with the IRR system ( through the Dayton & Western which it operated, but did not own, until 1936, when the IRR took over operation of that property) and at Toledo with the Lake Shore Electric. To make a long story short, it was the abandonment in the late 1930's of the D&W, the IRR lines into Ohio, and the LSE's freight service which drove the final nail in the coffin of the C&LE in the late 1930's.
 
  C&LE did not actually run its passenger cars through to Cleveland, you had to change to the LSE at Toledo. C&LE and LSE DID run through fast ( Keenan calls them "Hot Shots") freight trains between Cleveland and Cinncinati. C&LE also ran through passenger service from Cinn. to Detroit, in conjunction with the Eastern Michigan-Toledo ( EMT) RR in 1932. This service ended when EMT abandoned its line from Toledo to Detroit. LSE also ran through service to Detroit during that period.
  The Keenan book has much much more on C&LE ( it is the source of most of my knowledge of this property)--- C&LE was basically a single track interurban, but it operated its one man passenger cars, particularly the Red Devils at VERY high speeds, using a train order dispatching system. This was the cause of a number of high speed fatal head on collisions ( three are described by Mr. Keenan), which occured when operators of the one man passenger cars overran meeting points  and collided with opposing traffic, and which played a major part, along with the depression itself, in the demise of the road in 1938.
   I haven't found any web pictures of the Red Devils AS Red Devils, however the Philly Trolley.Org site has a couple of pictures of the cars as they appeared on the Lehigh Valley Transit Co. ( Liberty Bell Route) in Norristown, Pa. where the deluxe versions went after C&LE sold them to LVT in 1938. I also understand that one of the coach versions survives at a museum ( I forget which one now) but it is identified as a Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Car, which is the property which acquired some of the straight coach versions in 1939. The Seashore Museum in Maine has LVT No 1030, which is a very similar former IRR Lightweight Car.
   My interest in the C&LE ( since I have only been to Ohio twice) comes from the fact that Dr. Conway also owned and rehabilitated the Philadelphia & Western Railroad in the 1930's ( this is now SEPTA's Route 100) and that the Red Devil Cars were the electrical and mechanical prototype for the P&W's Brill Bullet Cars which I rode frequently. C&LE Red Devil No 127 was actually loaned to the P&W in 1930 as a part of the development process for the Bullet Cars.


« Last Edit: Jul 21st, 2004, 9:55am by Walt_C » Logged

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Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #43 on: Jul 21st, 2004, 4:26pm »
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on Jul 20th, 2004, 11:44pm, Mark_Foster wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi Walt,  
 I believe the fast interurban cars were known as the Red Devils. Are there any pics of them on the internet that you can refer me to?
 
 
Mark

 
 Mark--- I just found a web site with a number of very good photos of the Red Devil Cars--- It's Dave's Electric Railroads ( just do a web search on that title)-- It has photos from a number of collections and from many electric railroads, including the C&LE---AND many of the pictures are in color!


« Last Edit: Jul 21st, 2004, 4:27pm by Walt_C » Logged

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Mark_Foster
Historian
Posts: 918
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #44 on: Jul 21st, 2004, 8:37pm »
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Hi Walt,
 
Many, many thanks for the information you posted re the C&LE. I really appreciate the time you spent putting this excellent overview together. Thanks to your frequent references to the C&LE and the P&W I have developed an interest in the two lines which previously I had known nothing about. Dave's Electric Railroads is an awesome site and I'll spend many happy hours checking out the pics of all the roads represented there.
 
I expect that the C&LE went to one man operation as an economy move during the depression years. Not a good idea for a high speed interurban where the motorman needs to concentrate on operating his car without any other distractions. This probably was a contributing factor to what I understand was dismal safety record prior to the cessation of operations.
 
Mark
 


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Walt_C
Historian
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #45 on: Jul 22nd, 2004, 9:13am »
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Mark---- My pleasure! C&LE is an interesting study. It has been described ( by Mr. Keenan) as both a prototypical interurban and a unique interurban. Prototypical because it was a basically single track operation, using suspended wire and trolley poles. It operated the streetcar systems in Hamilton and Lima, and provided some streetcar type service in Dayton. It was unique because of the extremely high operating speeds and because of the wide territory it served.
 
   The one man operation was a result of the Depression, and extended only to passenger cars. Conway took both  C&LE and P&W to one man operation circa 1930. C&LE's problem, of course, was the fact that it was a predominently single track system, with no block signals aside from a short stretch of track around Hamilton. P&W was ( and is) completely grade separated, with double track for all but the last mile or so of the run ( between Bridgeport and Norristown, Pa), and block signalling covering the entire line.
 C&LE also employed the dubious  practice, from the safety perspective, of holding the high speed, one man, limited passenger trains at meeting locations in favor of freight, and sometimes even work trains, which carried several crew members. The contrast between the safety records of the C&LE and the P&W is striking.
  BTW, Dr. Conway also rehabilitated the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin prior to acquiring the C&D. He sold the re juvinated CA&E to the Samuel Insull interests just prior to his acquisition of the C&D.


« Last Edit: Jul 22nd, 2004, 9:18am by Walt_C » Logged

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trolleyfan
TRAINing
Posts: 3
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #46 on: Mar 28th, 2005, 2:22am »
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Just one thing wrong in this quote:
 
 
"4. Dining car service on the North Shore Line actually dated back to 1917 when its "Gold Coast Limited" began providing Dining Car Service. One former North Shore Diner still exists, No. 420, at the Seashore Museum. However, it is now in a straight coach configuration. "
 
 
 
Actually CNS&M #420 was built as a Parlor-Observation trailer.  It was rebuilt during WW2 into it's present configuration after sitting in dead storage for a number of years at Highwood.
 
Greg
Seattle, WA


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NS3360
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #47 on: Mar 28th, 2005, 8:54am »
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Anyone have any CRandIC (Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Railway) photos or stories?

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Walt_C
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #48 on: Mar 28th, 2005, 11:34am »
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I don't know much about this property, except that it purchased the C&LE Red Devil Cars that weren't already sold to LVT ( Lehigh Valley Transit Co.) in 1939. These were mostly the coach versions of the "Devils"---- I believe that the only surviving Red Devil Car is one of the cars that had been sold to CRANDIC.

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RDG484
Former Member
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #49 on: Mar 28th, 2005, 1:24pm »
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on Mar 28th, 2005, 11:34am, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I don't know much about this property, except that it purchased the C&LE Red Devil Cars that weren't already sold to LVT ( Lehigh Valley Transit Co.) in 1939. These were mostly the coach versions of the "Devils"---- I believe that the only surviving Red Devil Car is one of the cars that had been sold to CRANDIC.

 
I know of one Red Devil that's at the Seashore Trolley Museum (in CRANDIC colors), and one at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in C&LE red.  In addition, there is a Red Devil body shell stored in Topton, PA.  All 13 of LVT's Red Devils were scrapped, and a LOT of teeth had to be pulled to save the LVT 1030 (ex-IRR No. 55) from scrap.


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Walt_C
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #50 on: Mar 29th, 2005, 5:03pm »
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I wasn't aware of the second surviving Red Devil Car--- I'm glad that another has survived. The LVT cars were run into the ground during WWII and on the last day of service, three of them broke down.-- No wonder they were scrapped---- though they were the "Deluxe" versions ( with the lounge section in the rear). LVT No. 1030 is a former Indiana Railroad lightweight car, which was very similiar to the Red Devils, but was not actually a Red Devil. I believe that no 1030 and its sisters on the IRR were multi-unit, while the Red Devils were not.

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RDG484
Former Member
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #51 on: Mar 29th, 2005, 8:22pm »
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on Mar 29th, 2005, 5:03pm, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I wasn't aware of the second surviving Red Devil Car--- I'm glad that another has survived. The LVT cars were run into the ground during WWII and on the last day of service, three of them broke down.-- No wonder they were scrapped---- though they were the "Deluxe" versions ( with the lounge section in the rear). LVT No. 1030 is a former Indiana Railroad lightweight car, which was very similiar to the Red Devils, but was not actually a Red Devil. I believe that no 1030 and its sisters on the IRR were multi-unit, while the Red Devils were not.

 
Right.  IRR's had couplers while C&LE's did not, though I think they would have done better if they did; i.e., less meets to worry about at sidings.


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Walt_C
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #52 on: Mar 30th, 2005, 12:45pm »
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C&LE had much to worry about regarding meets at sidings. It suffered four fatal head on collisions which occurred when  passenger cars overan passing sidings and collided with opposing traffic. I don't know that operating two car trains would have helped much in this regard--- block signalling, or at least more intellegent dispatching ( ie not using the practice of holding one-man passenger cars at sidings and making them wait for freight trains which carried more than one crew member) would probably have had a greater effect on the accident rate, especially if one intended to run one man passenger cars at the speeds ( 80 plus MPH) that C&LE ran the Red Devil Cars.
 
  By the time C&LE BECAME the C&LE ( 1930) it rarely had enough traffic to support multi-car passenger trains. In the early 30's, some of the name limited "trains" were operated in two sections, but by the mid 1930's there wasn't enough traffic to support even this kind of scheduling. The 1927 interuban cars purchased by the C&LE predecessor CH&D were originally purchased in two types--- Nos.100-106 were combines which could be coupled to motor trailers No. 107-109, but in the mid 1930's C&LE one manned both types and converted the trailers to full motor cars because of the lack of any need to run two car passenger trains. (BTW- No. 103 of this series was the last interurban car ever to operate over any portion of the C&LE).


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Mark_Foster
Historian
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #53 on: Mar 30th, 2005, 9:05pm »
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Hi Walt,
 
It's good to correspond with you again after our several months absence.
 
I'm curious about the operating rules on the C&LE that led to the several head on collisions. I would have expected that the road operated by timetable which called for meets at specific locations (sidings) between opposing cars (trains). These meets should have been positively observed by both cars unless changed by train orders.
In this case the train order should have specified car ABC meet car XYZ at location FGHIJ. The SOP for meets whether scheduled by timetable or train order would be that either north or south bound cars take the siding while the other car hold the main.
 
Such rules are basic and could only result in accidents if: 1) timetable scheduled meets were not observed, 2) conflicting train orders were issued to two different cars or, 3) motormen failed to receive (or ignored) train orders. Any idea as to what was the problem(s) that led to the multiple head on collisions on the C&LE?
 
Mark
 
 


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Mark_Foster
Historian
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #54 on: Mar 30th, 2005, 9:05pm »
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Hi Walt,
 
It's good to correspond with you again after our several months absence.
 
I'm curious about the operating rules on the C&LE that led to the several head on collisions. I would have expected that the road operated by timetable which called for meets at specific locations (sidings) between opposing cars (trains). These meets should have been positively observed by both cars unless changed by train orders.
In this case the train order should have specified car ABC meet car XYZ at location FGHIJ. The SOP for meets whether scheduled by timetable or train order would be that either north or south bound cars take the siding while the other car hold the main.
 
Such rules are basic and could only result in accidents if: 1) timetable scheduled meets were not observed, 2) conflicting train orders were issued to two different cars or, 3) motormen failed to receive (or ignored) train orders. Any idea as to what was the problem(s) that led to the multiple head on collisions on the C&LE?
 
Mark
 
 


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Walt_C
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #55 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 10:57am »
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The train order/ timetable rights system of dispatching WAS the system used by C&LE. This system dated back to the Ohio Electric days ( early part of the century) and worked fine as long as the passenger cars ran at moderate speeds ( 40-50 MPH top speed) and carried two crew members. OE had an extensive procedure in its rule book which was required anytime a car approached a meeting point, and which gave the conductor and motorman separate responsibilities and activities which had to be performed.
 
  C&LE went to one man operation on its passenger cars ( its freight runs continued to carry multi-member crews), and doubled the top speeds of its passenger cars ( which were also of lightweight, rather than heavyweight, construction). It became painfully obvious that even the best and most concientious operator needed a better reminder of meeting points than a timetable, or set of train orders attached to a clipboard.
 
   One of the fatal accidents occurred when a Red Devil stopped to board a passenger. The operator had to look up the fare, but put the car back into motion and continued to operate the car as he collected the fare. He found the fare rate, collected the fare, and gave the passenger his ticket as the car was running. It was not too long after this that the car collided with an opposing car, having run past the passing siding. It was clear that the operator had been distracted by looking up, and collecting the fare, and had missed the siding.
 
   The second accident occurred in a torrential downpour, and, most probably, the operator couldn't see the marker ( which was implanted at trackside) identifying the passing siding.
 
   There were other interurbans which ran just as fast, most notably the North Shore Line ( CNS&M), the South Shore Line (CSC&SB), but these properties ran heavyweight equipment with multi member crews over block signal protected rights of way. C&LE was a typically constructed single track rural interurban that didn't even protect its grade crossings. Operation of extremely fast ( for the 1930's) lightweight, one man passenger cars using the timetable rights/ train order method of dispatching was simply an accident waiting to happen, and, unfortunately, they did happen. This problem was made much worse by C&LE's financially justified, but otherwise dubious practice of holding the high speed one man passenger cars at meets in favor of the more lucrative freight runs, even though the freight runs carried several crew members, each of whom was painfully aware of the consequences of running past meeting points, and who could have been expected to remind each other ( and most importantly the motorman) when they approached a meeting.


« Last Edit: Mar 31st, 2005, 11:19am by Walt_C » Logged

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RDG484
Former Member
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
  SB_Bullet_Bryn_Marw.jpg - 58253 Bytes
« Reply #56 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 2:41pm »
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on Mar 31st, 2005, 10:57am, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
  There were other interurbans which ran just as fast, most notably the North Shore Line ( CNS&M), the South Shore Line (CSC&SB), but these properties ran.........with multi member crews over block signal protected rights of way. C&LE was a typically constructed single track rural interurban that didn't even protect its grade crossings.

 
Don't forget the Philadelphia & Western RR.


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Traction/SB_Bullet_Bryn_Marw.jpg
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Walt_C
Historian
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #57 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 2:55pm »
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on Mar 31st, 2005, 2:41pm, RDG484 wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
Don't forget the Philadelphia & Western RR.

 
 Actually I didn't forget the P&W ( How could I-- since it and the C&LE were operated by the same management team during that era, the Red Devils were the electrical and mechanical prototypes for the Bullet Cars AND it is the property which I rode, and, because of the relationship to the C&LE, first sparked my interest in the C&LE)
   I used the two Chicago area interurbans mainly because they used multi- member crews. P&W is a prime example of how an interurban which uses high-speed  lightweight passenger equipment ought to be operated. Of course, P&W had ( has) the added advantage of being completely double tracked ( except for the section in Norristown), and of being completely grade separated. If Dr. Conway and his associates had been able to ungrade the C&LE and completely double track the syetem, none of those accidents would have occurred. (Complete grade separation would not have solved the problem of high speed head on collisions on a single track system)  Since this was a financial impossibility, he would have had to either run the cars much slower or retain two man operation to have avoided those accidents. Running the cars slower would have eliminated his chief advertising factor, and retaining two man operation during the depression would probably have cut the 10 year life of the C&LE in half. The most "do-able" fix would have been to install block signalling over the entire system, but even this, during the depression, was not seriously considered.


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RDG484
Former Member
Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #58 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 3:08pm »
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When I rode the P&W for the first time, in 1969, I remember my father buying us two tickets at the ticket window at 69th St. Terminal, then getting on the train, and seeing a man in civilian clothes in the front with a door seperating him from the rest of the coach.   The uniformed conductor collected tickets, put them in a clip on the window post, and called out the stations.  People entered and exited through the rear door of the train.
 
A year later, the ticket office, the man in civilian clothes, the door that was behind him, the tickets, and the ticket clips were all gone.  Instead, a man in uniform ran the train, collected all cash fares (exact fare only), and the entrance/exit was at the front of the train, not the rear.  But the speed of the train was still there, as was the familiar motor whine.  
 
Now you have neither, as the N-5's have been downgraded to a 40 MPH top speed due to deteriorating track conditions.  This is HALF the track speed of when it was operating before SEPTA, and that was without cab signals, which it now has.
 
Progress or Congress?


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Walt_C
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Re: Illinois Traction and other Midwest Interurban
 
« Reply #59 on: Mar 31st, 2005, 4:47pm »
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RDG-- my first trip on the P&W was 10 years before yours--- when the P&W WAS the P&W ( though merged into the Red Arrow). There was the same ticket arrangement at 69th Street, but persons boarding at the other stations ( except Norristown) bought their tickets from the operator who then gave them a printed ticket. It was a little disconcerting to see the operator facing the entry door ( the operator's seat swivled), but still operating the car-- at Bullet Car speeds-- as he completed the fare transaction. This is exactly what the C&LE operator I described earlier was doing, but he was doing it on a single track unprotected ROW---- and ran head on into an opposing car when he passed his meeting point.  ( imagine a Bullet Car-- sounds and feeling, operating at top speeds over a ROW which had trees and brush growing right next to the tracks, and which had blind curves--- though they were banked--- and on which you knew there was traffic coming the other way.---- THAT was the experience riding a Red Devil Car over the C&LE in the 1930's)
  I'm VERY sorry to hear that SEPTA has reduced the speeds on the P&W-----It was the speed, ( and the sounds and feeling of the Bullet Cars) that made the line so great to ride. You're right-- at present speeds, it is nothing more than a trolley line-- without trolley poles.


« Last Edit: Mar 31st, 2005, 4:55pm by Walt_C » Logged

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