Back Issues

Many back issues of First & Fastest are available. A few of the older issues are out of print and unavailable from us. However, copies may occasionally be found in the classifieds of First & Fastest. The following list contains only part of the contents of each issue. Every issue also has many other items about the Chicagoland electric railways, plus each of the departments listed on the First & Fastest main page.

Want to order back issues? Click here!

2006-2009 | 2010-Summer 2011 | Autumn 2011-Winter 2012 |
Spring 2013-Winter 2013 | Spring 2014-Winter 2016 | Dispatch Series


2006-2009 Issues

Winter 2006:
Timetables of the TMER&L - Part One, SouthShore Freight Inspection Train, Done with Despatch - North Shore Merchandise Despatch Service - Part Two, Pekin, Aurora Terminal, September 2, 1940, How we rode to work in Chicago in the 1950s - Street, elevated, interurban and suburban railways, Who is on the Cover


Spring 2007:
Land of the Burlingtons, My Visit to Michigan City Shops, North Shore Line's Last Summer, Streetcars in the 1930s, Arthur Gerber: Insull's Transit Architect, North Shore Line Mysteries, Insulls Smaller Empire


Summer 2007:
Elgin–Five Railroads and a River Named Fox, Interchange–The Milwaukee Road and the North Shore Line, Streetcars in the City of Lakes, A Life’s Interest in Cathedrals and Traction–William C. Janssen 1914-2007, Shore Line’s 25th Anniversary–Remembering the Early Years, Before the Prairie Path, Second & Slower–Riding the Rails, Biking Through History


Autumn 2007:
Kensington–Summer 1971, Rapid Transit to Midway–Part 1–The Long Road to “L” Service, PCC Streetcar Routes of Chicago, Ray Buhrmaster’s Traction Collection–Part 1, Men, Minds & Machines–Dandelion Wine and the Electric Stove, Chicago Mass Transit’s Periodic Financial Woes, The Chicago, Wheaton & Western–The Geneva Branch of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin


Winter 2007:
Timetables of TMER&L–Part Two, Done With Despatch–North Shore Line Merchandise Despatch Service–Part Three, The “Met” in the Suburbs, Just Another Day on the Railroad–“Boss, she just blew up!”, Men, Minds & Machines–Working the Night Limiteds with the North Shore’s Lady Collectors, The Big Three, Sheboygan’s Other Interurban


Spring 2008:
Chicagoland’s Country Trolley Line–Part 1–Chicago
& West Town’s LaGrange Line, Rapid Transit to Midway–Part II–Orange You Glad We Built It?, Destination Cicero, The Demise of Car 100, The North Shore–Taylor Avenue Local, Insull Interurbans of Central Illinois, Kankakee Electric Railway


Summer 2008:
South Shore Line at 100, Gary, Tremont and Michigan City on The Illinois Central, Happy 70th CERA, Milwaukee Road’s Suburban Service, Riding the Streets of Old Milwaukee, A Few Treasures from Dad’s Collection, Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railway Company–Third Rail Division, Big Brills & Little Brills


Autumn 2008:
July 3, 2008, ICRR Cars East of Shops, The Last Train to Greendale, Where in theWorld Was Car 611?, A Hot Time in Huntington, A Portfolio of Chicago Streetcars in the 1940s and 1950s


Winter 2008:
North Shore Line’s Last Winters, A Ticket to Everywhere–The Extraordinary Legacy of Chicago’s Downtown Railroad Passenger Terminals–Part 1, 100 Candles for the CSL #144, 1947 Blizzard, TM-MRK Racine and Kenosha Stations Weather the 1947 Blizzard, A.W. Johnson’s Back Yard, Commuting in Winter–Chicago Style Past and Present, Chicago’s Streetcar Tunnels


Spring 2009:
Rules, Rules, and more Rules, Commuting in Your Personal (Rail) Car, A Ticket to Everywhere – Chicago's Downtown Passenger Terminals – Part 2, Chicago's Tunnel Streetcars, Can You Top This?, and more!


Summer 2009:
Pioneer RDCs, Waukesha Beach, West Town's LaGrange Line, Electroliner Mystery Solved, Motor-Lunch Counter Car...for the day, Off Broadway in Aurora, and more!


Autumn 2009:
Amtrak – The Interurban of the 21st Century?, Justifying the Investment in the Skokie Valley Route, On Broadway – The Great Third Rail in Aurora, and more!


Winter 2009:
High Speed Rail, Towering Adventures, Joliet, Plainfield and Aurora, Before METRA, Riding the Streets of Old Milwaukee, and more!


2010-Summer 2011

Spring 2010:
Special Commemorative Issue No. 100 – (100 pages); Message from the Founder, GK 10-Year Remembrance, A Conversation with Samuel Insull, 1910 Wire Report, and more!


Summer 2010:
The Great Third Rail in Grand Central or Randolph Street Stations?, Rapid Transit to Midway, Part III, No Wonder I Like Streetcars, and more!


Autumn 2010:
Amtrak – Trains of Amtrak's Hiawatha Service, Special IRM CNS&M 749 16 page section, Standing Room Only on the Indiana Railroad, and more!


Winter 2010:
Armour Yellow Under Wire, Operation Lifesaver Limited,
Racine's First Interurban, Riding The Dolton Cannonball – The Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad, They Said It Could Not Be Done - but it was, and more!


Spring 2011:
Raymond Street - Then and Now, Things Were Not the Same after May 1 1971, Towering Adventures - Part 4, No Wonder I Like Streetcars, It Has Been 70 years Since the Magic Interurban, Insull's Smaller Empire, and more!


Summer 2011:
A Project in Excess of $4,000,000, The North Shore Line's Last Days, The Midlothian & Blue Island Railway, Milwaukee's Never Completed Subway, Glen Ellyn and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin - Part II, Life in Glen Ellyn, Wire Report, and more!


Autumn 2011-Winter 2012

Autumn 2011:
The CA&E in Cook County - Then and Now, Tracing Routes of the North Shore Line, CSL Car 4051 - The Laboratory PCC Car and Its Predecessors, Roosevelt Road 0 June 14, 1966, Life With The Jitterbugs, West Towns in Forest Park, and more!


Winter 2011:
Train Festival 2011 In Rock Island, Milwaukee's Impressive 600s, Towering Adventures – Part 5 – Randolph Street Tower, A Hall Signal Primer, The Winter We Would Rather Forget, April 13, 1949 on the East Troy and North Shore, The South Shore In 1937 – An Introduction, Along Roosevelt Road – Summer 1949, and more!


Spring 2012:
Briergate - The Rest of the Story, Halstead to Marshfield, The 4 track MET West Side Division, The Chicago Freight Tunnels, Bluffton, and more!


Summer 2012:
Aurora to Chicago on the CA&E, North Shore on the "L," Following the Lake Street Forneys, Front Entrance - Center Exit CSL Sedans, The BIG Puppy, and more!


Autumn 2012:
My North Shore Line, Glen Ellyn and the CA&E, West Town's Lake Street Line Heading for Notre Dame Football on the South Shore Line in 1937, Wabash Railroad's Orland Park Local, Indiana Railroad Past and Present, and more!


Winter 2012:
North Shore Line – The Final Day, Twenty First Street Crossing, South Shore Freight 1937 Style, Old Elm Road – Lake Forest – 1939-2007-2012, The Winter That Wasn't, Riding the Streets of Old Milwaukee, and more!


Spring 2013-Winter 2013

Spring 2013:
Follow the Flag - Metra Wabash Extension, Vignettes of The Road of Service, Torrence Avenue Bridge, The Goddesses Return Home, CRT's Unique Stock Yards Branch, and more!


Summer 2013:
Examining Passenger Service on the Chicago to Omaha Corridor, Illinois Central to Iowa, Off to Louisville with Dick George, CSL Family of Lookalike Cars, F&F News, and more!


Autumn 2013:
CTA's Red Line South Reconstruction, Streets of Old Milwaukee-WWII, Wooden Cars Fleet of Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railway, A Second Hand Rose-But Not Without Thorns, and more!


Winter 2013:
An 800-Class Rolls Again, 4000s carry APTA Members to Skokie Shops, CTA Windows to the Past, Steam, Winter "Cocktail" Parties, 220 mph High Speed Rail in Illinois, Englewood Flyover, F&F News, and more!


Spring 2014-Winter 2016

Spring 2014:
Two special features on the Skokie Swift, Innovative Elevated, Story of the Waukegan Rockford & Elgin Traction Co., CHIBERIA Weather Report, and more!


Summer 2014:
North End of the Skokie Valley, CA&E Wood Fleet at IRM, Milwaukee Northern Railway Construction, and more!


Autumn 2014:
30 Years Before Metra, Men-Minds-Machines-SRS 133, Operations Management on the Indiana Railroad, “Independence Hall” Returns to Operating Condition, and more!


Winter 2014:
A New Era Emerging In Chicago?, Men-Minds-Machines-South Upton, Memorable Winters Before “Polar Vortex,” Days at Wilson Shops, Kenosha Trolley Extension, and more!


Spring 2015:
Fabric of NW Indiana - The South Shore Line, Farewell to the 2400s, South from Gary Works on Broadway, Down to the Mines in a High Speed, Curved Sides - Rough Rides, and more!


Summer 2015:
Rondout Tower, Final Shore Line Trip, How I Commuted to the Highwood Office, The Lookalike Cars, TM's Duplexes, Riding the Streets of Old Milwaukee, and more!


Autumn 2015:
MY JOB: Develop a Plan to Restore Passenger Service on the CA&E, Benjamin Kubelsky and the North Shore Line, Western Michigan Boat to Interurban Connection, Chicago & West Towns Madison Street Line, To Blue Island and Joliet, and more!


Winter 2015:
Union Pacific's Alton Route, Metra's Engineering Dept., The Parade On The Raceway - The Early Years, The Kankakee Line - Part 1, Yellow Line Reopening, and more!


Spring 2016:
CSL: More is Better, HW&EC Railway, Cook County Car 1, The last 'L' at Lakeside, News, and more!


Summer 2016:
CA&E Then and Now, 100th Anniversary of the North Shore Line, Minnesota Streetcar Museum, News, and more!


Autumn 2016:
Early "L" Operations, My Interest in the NSL becomes my first job, Milwaukee's Route 11, News, and more!


Winter 2016:
NKP 765 comes to Metra in Chicago, Chicago and West Towns memories, News, and more!


Dispatch Series

Note: Dispatch Series publications also may be ordered online from our Special Publications page.

Cooperation Moves the Public (Dispatch No. 1):
The story of the integrated operations of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin and the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and later the Chicago Transit Authority over the Garfield Park Branch of Chicago's rapid transit system until September 19, 1953. Trains were operated seconds apart "on sight" as there were no signals and no radios. Note: Now available only as a Shore Line Electroreader™ download in the form of a universally readable, high-quality PDF.


Competing Rails: The Milwaukee Road's Legacy in Evanston and Wilmette (Dispatch No. 2):
Read all about early rail competition on Chicago’s North Shore, steam vs. electricity, and connecting Evanston and Chicago by rail. This complex story is full of business, political and financial intrigue.


One Hundred Years of Enduring Tradition – South Shore Line (Dispatch No. 3):
Very different from all other railroad publications, covers the reasons why "The Last Interurban" survived and the history of the South Shore Line as told by the people who were involved since 1926.


The Road of Service – Perspectives on the North Shore Line (Dispatch No. 4):
This 100-page publication, published in 2012, brings together a collection of diverse recollections by Shore Line members and people of different backgrounds who rode and/or lived along the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad. Collectively, it explains the influence the North Shore Line had on our lives and why, 50 years after its January 1963 abandonment, the railroad still fascinates many people.


The Chicago "L's" Great Steel Fleet – The Baldies (Dispatch No. 5):
In the early 20th Century, overwhelmed with riders, managers of Chicago's elevated railways were faced with two huge challenges, an insufficient car fleet and tremendous congestion on the Loop. Through routing of trains and terminals short of the Loop eased the congestion. Providing sufficient rolling stock resulted in ordering the famous fleet of 4000s, 250 of which were called "Baldies" due to their bare steel arched roofs were delivered during 1914 and 1915. Now, 100 years after the delivery of the first cars, Bruce Moffat discusses in Dispatch 5 what was then a revolutionary car design with rolled steel components. Their 50-year service life testifies to the durability of these cars.


Chicago Surface Lines: The Big 5 Routes and 5 Others (Dispatch No. 6):
CSL was the world's largest street railway. In 1931, the five largest Chicago Surface Lines routes, in terms of originating revenue passengers, were Ashland, Clark-Wentworth, Halsted, Madison and Milwaukee. George Kanary vividly relives the sights, sounds and aroma of the countless neighborhoods that the Halsted cars traversed from the north to the far southwest side including passing by Chicago's famous Stock Yards. Dispatch 6 explores in depth ten fascinating routes, the principal streetcar types used and a chronology of significant events from 1945 to 1958 with detailed text and over 110 thoroughly captioned photographs in 100 pages including then/now photo comparisons in black & white and color showing the changes in some of the neighborhoods where the cars ran.


A Transportation Miracle, XXVIII International Eucharistic Congress, Chicago, June 20-24, 1926 (Dispatch No. 7):
There has never been anything like the 28th International Eucharistic Congress held in June 1926. Steam railroads from across the U. S. and Canada carried 600,000 people to Chicago, and overall 1,000,000 people participated. Streetcars provided 15 million passenger trips. Interurbans, rapid transit and suburban trains carried people throughout Chicago. Five railroads combined to provide over 300,000 passenger trips for the closing ceremonies, in a triumph of logistics and coordination! During Chicago's first 100 years this Eucharistic Congress and the World's Fairs of 1893 and 1933-34 established Chicago as an international city. A Transportation Miracle tells this incredible story. Topics include background information, day-by-day details, the role that the rail lines played and information on Cardinal Mundelein, who orchestrated the Eucharistic Congress.


Ordering Back Issues

Did you see a back issue or two that caught your attention? Then order one for your own collection! Just follow these simple steps!

  1. Print out the back issue brochure located here in PDF format. (Download Acrobat Reader)
  2. Complete the order form on the back page of the brochure.
    Note: If you wish to order an older issue that is shown above but not listed on the order form, please list the issue date (for example, Spring 2007) on the order form and enclose $3 per issue plus shipping and handling.
  3. Fill in your shipping address. Make your check or money order payable to the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society.
  4. Send your order to:

Shore Line
PO Box 425
Lake Forest IL 60045-0425

Note: Online ordering is not available for back issues of First & Fastest at this time.


  From left: The Winter 2007, Spring 2007, and Summer 2008 issues of First & Fastest.




    © 2007-19 Shore Line Interurban Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.