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.

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2012-2014 | 2015-2016 | 2017-2020 | Dispatch Series



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:
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:
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!




Spring 2017:
Then and Now at Wilson, The Little Branch Line Cherished by Many, Classic Streetcars of Chicago, Milwaukee Traction Classics, Twin Cities Light Rail, and more!


Summer 2017:
CA&E: Can You Believe It Has Been 60 Years?, How We Brought NKP 765 to Metra, Steaming on the C&NW, West Towns La Grange Line, Metra's Mechanical Department, and more!


Autumn 2017:
40 Years of Chicagoland F40PHs, Chicago's Rapid Transit Under Wire, Beer and Streetcars in Chicago, NSL City Car History, Chicago Aurora & Elgin's Geneva-St. Charles Branch, The Electroliners' Last Summer, The Alley "L" Turns 125, and more!


Winter 2017:
My last encounter with the North Shore Line, Winters Past on the Big Three, "Q" Steam Fantrips from Chicago, CTA's 70th (!) Anniversary, The Chargers Arrive!, Insull's Smaller Empire, News, and more!


Spring 2018:
New Fox River Bridge in Elgin, Soo Line 1003 - Trek to Shriners Hospital for Children, The Silverliners, NSL City Car History, Pressed Steel Streetcars of Chicago, and more!


Summer 2018:
CA&E: The Last Streetcar in Chicago, A Tale of Two Streamliners, Creating the Land of the Burlingtons, The South Chicago Branch, CTA Wraps Things Up, and more!


Autumn 2018:
The Architecture and Design of Chicago's First Subway, Dining on the North Shore Line, South Shore Freight - The Earliest Years, The Terre Haute Line's Brazil Division, Canal and Clark Streets Grade Separation, and more!


Winter 2018:
60 Years Ago, the Last Trips on the CA&E, New Depots on the Old Alton, Wilson Lower Yard … A Look Back at a Forgotten "L" Facility, Interurban Through Valparaiso's Lakes, A Caboose for the 21st Century, Insull's Smaller Empire, and more!


Spring 2019:
Metra's Hiawatha Heritage Locomotive, Streetcars return to Milwaukee, Tower B35 Elgin Junction, and more!


Summer 2019:
CA&E during Wendell Dillinger's Tenure, South Shore's Transition, Port Washington Sheboygan Line, and more!


Autumn 2019:
The Milwaukee Electric's Watertown Line, Terre Haute and the Interurban System That Grew From There, and more!


Winter 2019:
BIG BOY Steams Through Illinois, The Rock Island's Track One Restaurant, The Pioneer Zephyr, Illinois Terminal—Danville, Champaign, St. Louis and Peoria, 6000-Series Cars Return to the "L", and more!


Spring 2020:
UP's C&NW Twins, Last Ride on NSL, Chicago Streetcars, Happy 100th Dick George, Illinois Traction in Peoria, and more!


Summer 2020:
Logan Square, Milwaukee Railroader to Metra, First Trip on the South Shore, CA&E Lost Its "C," Pullman, and more!


Autumn 2020:
52 Years with John Appel, Burlington Route Way of the Zephyrs, The Electric, Franklin Street, The 500s in Milwaukee, TM to the Lakes of Muskego, Steam-Powered Passenger Trains, and more!


Winter 2020:
Metra 2020, World's Columbian Exposition, Metropolitan's 2756, Snow and Rain Photo Essay, Views of Evanston, CSL: The Streetcar Company That Owned No Streetcars, West Towns, 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.


Chicago Surface Lines: Linking Chicago's Neighborhoods (Dispatch No. 8):
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, with residents self-identifying as being from, for example, Hyde Park or Albany Park or Beverly or Uptown. The neighborhoods are where things happened: education, entertainment, shopping — the everyday things of life. The neighborhoods in the 1940s and 1950s were like villages where "everybody knew your name." The common denominator? The streetcars of the Chicago Surface Lines which, while serving the individual neighborhoods, also linked them to other neighborhoods, near and far. Dispatch 8 covers 12 of CSL's streetcar lines from January 1, 1945 until the end of streetcar service. These 12 routes (including Broadway-State, Western, 63rd Street and Lawrence) carried about 20% of CSL's total originating revenue passengers with an average of 521 streetcars daily. Eight of the 12 routes covered served only outlying neighborhoods and did not even enter the Central Business District. The Dispatch includes detailed narratives on the routes and George Kanary takes us for a long ride on the Cottage Grove line, reliving his experiences on the route.


Chicago Surface Lines: Linking Chicago's Neighborhoods II (Dispatch No. 9):
Building upon the success of Dispatch 8, Chicago Surface Lines: Linking Chicago's Neighborhoods, Shore Line announces the availability of Dispatch 9, Chicago Surface Lines: Linking Chicago's Neighborhoods II. Dispatch 9 covers 26 streetcar lines in the 1945-1958 period. The Dispatch includes a section on Eight Distinctive Lines of Southeast Chicago (including "the Hegewisch line" and South Deering); coverage of Diagonal Lines in a Grid City (including Elston, Archer and Lincoln); as well as information on such routes as Kedzie, Cicero, 18th Street and Chicago Avenue. The routes used about 630 streetcars daily and carried 162 million originating revenue passengers in 1945. Dispatch 9 includes detailed narratives on each route and a wonderful article by George Kanary on his recollections of life on Division Street in Wicker Park. 100 Pages. 20 of them in color; 149 Photos, 28 of them in Color (including popular Then/Now Photos); 2 Maps in Color; $20 Cover Price; Great for Your Library and as Gifts for "Chicago" Buffs, Railfans and Otherwise.


Chicago's Railroads in Transition: The Photography of Lou Gerard (Dispatch No. 10):
In 1960, there were 19 intercity railroads in Chicagoland, 17 of which provided passenger service. Commuter service was provided by nine railroads along with two interurban electric railroads. Sixty years later the area is served by Metra, South Shore, Amtrak and six Class 1s plus several short lines. Over six decades, the railroad and transit industry in Chicagoland has undergone massive changes and rationalization. Lou Gerard's notable photography documents this incredible transition in this Dispatch. Lou's career was with Chicago Transit Authority's rail operations. He takes you to his work, his strong relationship with the nation's last interurban; local service both pre-Metra and Metra; freight railroads; Amtrak; steam excursions; and his huge interest in Great Lakes boats. This is a must for your library. Over 200 photographs, mostly in vivid color in 100 pages. $25 Cover Price.


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 2012) 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 Summer 2017, Winter 2017, and Spring 2018 issues of First & Fastest.




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