Early in the morning of 21 January 1963, The North Shore Line ceased operation.
To commemorate its abandonment, we saw images of the railroad in its final years.
At the time, I promised to follow up with images of the North Shore Line, post-abandonment.
The following post is extensively illustrated. Click to enlarge.
Two years later, we commemorate that abandonment with a retrospective of the preservation efforts. We begin on the Municipality of East Troy's railroad (a story in itself just there) which, beginning in 1972, was home to the collection of The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society. As the East Troy Trolley Museum, their interurban service began with a pair of North Shore Silverliners. These cars had been stored at The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light's Cold Spring Shops, where a few tracks were electrified with rail deliveries from The Milwaukee Road switched by interurban work cars. I'm told that the cars had to be moved after a Transport Company official caught their owner taking an unauthorized joyride on Cold Spring Shops tracks.
The first car in museum service was 757, which did run without a roof mat in North Shore service. This illustration, from June of 1972, shows the shadow-striping just applied. The warning sign is a North Shore Line original.
Coach 763 also came over from Cold Spring Shops. Look closely, the decorative Silverliner trim is still along the side sills. The museum attempted to offer a North Shore car in each of the railroad's paint schemes, and back-painted 763 as a Greenliner of the late 1930s and early 1940s. The motors work, but trolley poles are not yet in place.
The car could be used to strengthen a formation at peak times, usually Sunday midafternoon, here at East Troy.
Same place, same formation, Fourth of July 1972. Numbers now in place, I'm not sure if anyone ever lettered the sides (CHICAGO NORTH SHORE & MILWAUKEE RAILROAD.) Carmaster Joe Hazinski wasn't looking forward to tackling it.
Also in the museum's collection, coach 715, which the leadership hoped to paint in the traction orange and maroon of the 1920s.
The car never ran in revenue service with East Troy. It's being moved by Milwaukee Electric work motor L-6, which still serves the East Troy Electric Railroad. (Two corrections: that's 763 being moved by L-6, and 715 did run briefly at East Troy, in orange.)
During spring break, 1974, I made an excursion to Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, where the former Electroliners were still offering afternoon bar service as Liberty Liners.
I think everyone who went to 69th Street Terminal in those days took this picture.
Here's the train at 69th Street. It's the 801-802 set, now in Illinois. Docked across the platform is one of Red Arrow's 160-series Strafford cars, themselves interurban classics, many of them preserved around the east.
The East Troy group added a few more North Shore cars to its collection in the early 1970s. A museum in New York City (!) had combination car 250, which was in rough shape, and observation car converted to coach 411, which was in operable condition.
The museum left this car in the simplified Greenliner colors of the 1950s. It got a lot of use because, with only two motors, it used less electricity.
Here are 411, signed for Phantom Woods, and 763, at East Troy.
That museum group had some legal difficulties that culminated with the collection being liquidated and a different preservation group ultimately running electric cars in East Troy. The 757 and 763 are now at Illinois Railway Museum, and the last I heard, 411 was in Escanaba, Michigan, in very rough shape.
Illinois Railway Museum offered a thirtieth anniversary commemoration of the abandonment, complete with the official notice.
The Electroliner awaits passengers at the museum's L station. The museum's practice, whenever the 'Liner is running, is to begin and end all its trips at the high-level platform, exactly as the North Shore Line had it.
On board, the tavern-lounge is serving Electroburgers.
The Electroliner heads toward the main line.
On the main line, here is a Shore Line Route local.
The sole surviving North Shore Line streetcar and a merchandise despatch motor meet near the carbarns.
Illinois Railway Museum have a substantial stable of North Shore cars, which rolled out again for the fiftieth anniversary of the abandonment.
In South Elgin, Illinois, the Fox River Trolley Museum have some North Shore cars. Another Silverliner, 756, requires some work. Here it keeps company with a Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban that also requires work.
Coach 715 came over from East Troy, and is in service, painted the way it was on the last day of service.
The museum at East Troy generally operate former Chicago or South Shore cars, and a restored wooden interurban from Wisconsin. Recently, though, they became home to another Silverliner, coach 761 which was previously preserved in southeastern Michigan. It requires work.
And, dear reader, if you want to ride the North Shore Line in its original habitat, the Chicago Transit Authority's Skokie Swift uses trackage purchased from the North Shore after abandonment.