The Central Electric Railfans' Association offer a photo essay on the fiftieth anniversary of the Skokie Swift.  In its first incarnation, ancient Rapid Transit cars ran into empty country, even after the Second World War.

Central Electric Railfans' Association archive photo.

I wonder if that white two-story store building is still there, or if that went for something newer.  Readers? Bueller?

The intermediate Rapid Transit stations remained until the North Shore's abandonment, to be removed before the opening of the Swift.  The above-track headhouse at Asbury remained as a business until sometime in the 1970s.

Central Electric Railfans' Association archive photo.

Both Electroliners are in preservation (one in its Philadelphia incarnation, in Pennsylvania).  Other curved-side articulated cars also ran on the Swift.

Central Electric Railfans' Association archive photo.

I have to do an essay on the Jitterbugs.  All four of them went into preservation, but one was scrapped when a museum encountered financial troubles (this happens) and another is to become a parts source for the Illinois Railway Museum to restore its unit to operation.

These units had nearly the coach seating capacity of an Electroliner.  The fourth section of the Electroliner had the tavern-lounge.  You can't get a Smokie Link on the Skokie Swift.  That's an airfoil on the power collector.  No conductor putting the trolley pole on the wire on the fly the way the North Shore did: the operator hit a button in the cab to lower the collector inbound, or to raise it outbound, and the airfoil helped maintain contact between collector shoe and wire.

A recent Chicago History Today essay on the Swift illustrates that sometimes the remote control didn't work.

J. R. Schmidt photo courtesy Chicago History Today.

That damaged stucco above the southbound track wasn't from the Polar Vortex.  Apparently North Shore collectors would sometimes have troubles getting the pole down, and it would smack into the Asbury station.  The motorman on a Swift car didn't have the positive signal from the conductor (and on longer North Shore trains, the collector [trainman, in North Shore-speak]) and his first clue that the (electrical) collector was still up would be a loud BANG on the roof.  But Transit Authority shop forces could sometimes find repair parts for Swift pantographs and collectors on the ground at Asbury.


Larry Laker said...

Yes, that white two-story Art-Deco building in the first photo is still there. It is the Bronx Building at 8800 Bronx Avenue. Recently cleaned up, renovated, and upgraded with commercial, professional, and office space/suites available. Built in 1926-27 for $170,000, current asking price is in the $1-2 million range. And as they used to say in those 1960s ads, "walking distance to the Swift." And a little bit east on Dempster is Poochie's where you can get a Chicago Dog, an Italian Combo, or a Cheddar Burger. Mmm, now I'm hungry!

Stephen Karlson said...

Thank you for that information! I was inspired to mention the Smokie Link by a recent Tribune article on the changing food offerings at Wrigley, where the Smokie Links have gone the way of the Electroliners.