Starting in 1940, 42 standard steel coaches and dinning cars were extensively improved and refurbished for the Limited runs between Chicago and Milwaukee, and the Shore Line Route services. Improvements included new seating and lighting, heating and ventilating systems, sound reducing ceilings, and rubber tiled floors.
In 1941 came the Electroliners! Low bidder St Louis Car Company won the bid for the Electroliners for approximately $300,000. Assembly began in July of 1940 and by November the bodies were fabricated and the electrical equipment was installed. Mid January 1941 the interior finish was completed.
Inside the Liner (top and bottom photos by Hedrich-Blessing Studio middle photo George Krambles CERA 107 "Route of the Electroliners")
Train 801-802 was ready in St Louis. Trolley wires were secured, adaptations made, and the train was picked up by the Terminal Railroad Association engine for transfer to Alton Railroad at East St Louis. It was coupled ahead of a caboose in an overnight freight and brought to Belt Railway of Chicago, then sent over that Line and the Milwaukee Road to the NSL at Racine. By having the Liner delivered to Wisconsin, significant taxes were saved due to Wisconsin's lack of sale tax laws that Illinois had!
A merchandise dispatch motor completed the job by towing the Liner to Harrison Street Shop arriving January 22. Nine days later the second Liner arrived the same way.
The four bodied trains had 2 numbers even though it was operated as a unit and was articulating. From the south end (normally) it was designated as A, B, C, A1. B was a tavern lounge car, C was a single compartment coach, and the A and A1 were divided into smoking and non-smoking compartments by the center vestibule.
Thursday February 6th, 1941 a demonstration trip for civic, industrial, and press leaders left terminals in Milwaukee and Chicago and met in Waukegan, where they both met for a premier luncheon.
Story from "North Shore Line News"- employee newsletter published August, 1946.
Saturday, February 8 at 1:20p the 801-802 left the North Water Terminal in Chicago. This was the first revenue passenger trip made by the Liners. Central Electric Railfans' Association trip number 29 took 144 passengers for a ride in a raging blizzard.
Sunday, February 9, 801-802 was pressed into regular service; a Chicago and Northwestern derailment caused initial delays.
In almost 22 years of Liner service over the NSL, each train ran over 450 miles daily.
Early November of 1963, after the abandonment of the NSL, the Liners were on their way to the Red Arrow Line, owner by Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company.
Runs began in February of 1941 and were on every third hourly limited schedule; those trips originating at 8a, 11a, 2p, 5p, 8p plus a few other special runs saw the Electroliner. These runs also omitted the Skokie and Zion stations, which were other stops for the limited run. The North Chicago Junction and Waukegan stops were eliminated by Electroliners on weekends and hours when heavy traffic would overload the fixed capacity of the train. A standard limited train would run a few minutes behind the Electroliners to accommodate the traffic.
WWII came and so did the riders! In 1940 barely 10 million passengers rode the NSL. By 1945 almost 28 million rode. Operating revenues jumped to almost $10 million. Seven former diners and parlor cars were rebuilt into coaches. Every car was put into service and rolling stock was borrowed from the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.
April 1, 1943, John O. Gallagher and Edward J. Quinn as trustees took over the property from Bernard J. Fallon and A.A. Sprague receivers.
January 8, 1944 was the deadline for a new contract to allow NSL operation rights between Wilmette and Irving Park Boulevard. These tracks had been owned by the Chicago Milwaukee and St Paul predecessor and an agreement had been made in 1919, but the contract was re-negotiated so no operational interruptions occurred. The Chicago Transit Authority bought this section from the Milwaukee Road in 1953.
July 26,1946 car 357 is crossing the Waukegan River on Genesee Street. (photo by RVM CERA "30 Years Later the North Shore Line").
November 1, 1946 the North Shore came out of bankruptcy again! Great Lakes sailors provided a vast amount of ridership for the NSL.
However, by the end of the war in 1947, troubles started again. Passenger traffic declined below pre-war numbers. Local streetcar services in Waukegan and North Chicago were converted to bus service November 15,1947. With abandonment of rail operations north of 10th Street, the original service provided by the NSL's first corporate ancestor 52 years earlier ceased to be provided.
The NSL attempted to incorporate bus service paralleling the Shore Line Route into Chicago during this time. Towns along the lakefront never granted application for bus operation and the North Shore request was denied.
LCL (less than carload) freight service fell in 1947 to truck services and was discontinued. Carload freight interchange however, did so well that 2 locomotives were purchased second hand form the Oregon Electric Railway.
1948 brought another system stopping strike that lasted over 3 months from March 27 and ended June 30. A 40% fare increase welcomed passengers when the service began again.
June 30, 1948 Edison Court Station. Photo donated anonymously.
Also in 1948 the North Shore began lengthy efforts to abandon the 37 mile Shore Line Route which had been losing money. Many Shore Line trips were discontinued.
June1949 tavern lounge service on the Electroliner was the only service offered- all other dinning car service was discontinued.
(at the I.R.M.) Pretty awesome isn't she????
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