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Here are samples of recently published articles.

"No Good Deeds Go Unpunished" – The Sad Story of the Waukegan, Rockford & Elgin Traction Company
By William R. Coulson
Published in the Spring 2014 issue of First & Fastest

The Waukegan, Rockford, & Elgin Traction Company is one of the more obscure and short-lived railroads in the Chicago area. Unlike most of the "pie-in-the-sky" interurban ventures of its era, however, the WR&ETrCo actually ran a railroad – from 1911 to 1924. But it never reached Waukegan, never reached Elgin, never reached Rockford, and never used traction!

The recent discovery in a dusty Waukegan basement of 39 original handnotated 1910-1911 land deeds for the line’s right-of-way acquisition has shed a new light on the forgotten railroad and its era.

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  "No Good Deeds Go Unpunished," Spring 2014  
  William R. Coulson wrote "No Good Deeds Go Unpunished," which appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of First & Fastest.
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First & Fastest, Autumn 2012
The Autumn 2012 issue of First & Fastest is available as a free download for a limited time. This issue includes:

  • My North Shore Line, a photo essay by three photographer
  • Glen Ellyn and the CA&E Part III, by Shore Line Staff
  • Towering Adventures – Part 6, Roberta Marsmaker: Twenty-Three Years in Illinois Central Towers, by Richard R. Gill
  • Forty Years On The Rails, Charles B. George, 1887
  • Milwaukee Road Competes for the Chicago Business, by Shore Line Staff
  • Wabash Railroad's Orland Park Local, prelude to Paul Burgess' forthcoming article on Metra's Southwest Service
  • West Town's Lake Street Line, a photo essay from the collections of George E. Kanary and Walter R. Keevil
  • Heading for Notre Dame Football on the South Shore Line in the Autumn of 1937, photos by Tony Chase from the Richard H. George Collection
  • Indiana Railroad – Past and Present, by Shore Line Staff

Click here to download this free issue.

  First & Fastest, Autumn 2012  
  Front Cover: It is a few minutes before 6:00 p.m. on Memorial Day, Wednesday, May 30, 1962, and Electroliner 801-802, operating as train 807, has just cleared Green Bay Junction and is about to cross Scranton Avenue on its trip to Milwaukee.—Raymond DeGroote photo
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Here are more samples of recently published articles.

"The Winter We Would Rather Forget"
Published in the Winter 2011 issue of First & Fastest

The Blizzard of 2011 on February 1-2 was followed by more snow during the following week. By the end of winter Chicagoans had experienced the fourth consecutive winter with snows in excess of 50 inches. The prediction for the winter of 2011-2012 is that Chicago will have the worst winter weather in the country, something that many people are not looking forward to experiencing.

Bruce Moffat was out in the teeth of the blizzard on February 1-2. We are presenting some more of his photos. One person who loves winter is Mark Llanuza, and the worse the weather gets, the more Mark likes it. When the weather is really bad and others are not out and about, Mark loves to jump in his car and take photos to capture scenes that others miss.

Continue reading ... (4.6 MB PDF)

  "The Winter We Would Rather Forget" from Winter 2011 First & Fastest  
  A special color insert about the Blizzard of 2011 appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of First & Fastest.
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"Chicago Surface Lines Car 4051: The Laboratory PCC Car and Its Predecessors"
By George E. Kanary
Published in the Autumn 2011 issue of First & Fastest

Most students of electric street railway transportation are familiar with the story of the PCC car. A genuine American design success story, it revolutionized urban surface rail transit not only in the United States and Canada, but overseas in Europe as well. In a short time the truck design and method of control and propulsion was adapted to rapid transit cars also.

Because of their glamorous appearance and visibility on the streets of North American cities, PCC cars not only influenced increased ridership but also established a new perception of streetcars in the public's mind. PCC cars were a marvelous departure from the typical streetcar with its noisy clatter, moderate speed and marginal comfort.

Continue reading ... (1.3 MB PDF)

  George E. Kanary wrote "Chicago Surface Lines Car 4051," which appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of First & Fastest.
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"Glen Ellyn and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin: Part II, Life in Glen Ellyn"
From The Story of An Old Town, Glen Ellyn, and a conversation with David Hoffman and Donald MacBean
Published in the Summer 2011 issue of First & Fastest

When the Aurora Elgin & Chicago began operations in 1902, the Chicago & North Western and its predecessor, the Galena & Chicago Union, had been operating for 53 years. Talk of an interurban line between Chicago and Aurora began in 1891 and in 1899 two competing companies were organized by rival interurban syndicators to build an electric railway between Wheaton and Chicago. Surveying and land acquisitions started that year for a line that would be south of the C&NW. By 1901, with construction underway, the Everett-Moore interests became the controlling shareholder with the Pomeroy-Mandelbaum syndicate maintaining a minority interest.

To gain some understanding of life in Glen Ellyn during the interurban's early years, we will extract some of the conversation that appeared in the book, The Story of An Old Town – Glen Ellyn by Ada Douglas Harmon. This book, which was published in 1928, is from the collection of David Hoffman. But, first, we will reach back to some recollections of Amos Churchill, speaking about his parents arriving from Syracuse, New York in June 1834.

Continue reading ... (1.3 MB PDF)

  "Glen Ellyn and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin" from Summer 2011 First & Fastest  
  "Glen Ellyn and the Chicago Aurora & Elgin: Part II, Life in Glen Ellyn" appeared in the Summer 2011 issue.
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"Things Were Not the Same after May 1, 1971"
By George E. Kanary
Published in the Spring 2011 issue of First & Fastest

D-Day for Amtrak
In mid April, 1971, I was returning from Seattle, Washington on my favorite train to the Pacific Northwest, the NORTH COAST LIMITED. For nearly 70 years, the flagship train of the Northern Pacific RR, one of the oldest named trains in the country, had closely followed the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804, and was definitely the super scenic way to Seattle and Portland. My first association with the North Coast Limited dated to 1948, when I took my first long distance train ride alone at age 10, to and from the State of Washington. The train still had some heavyweight sleepers, but the streamlined observation car, where I spent a lot of time, was making only its second round trip. You could still smell the fresh paint.

Sitting in my room and watching the Mississippi rolling along outside my window, sorrow came over me like a dark cloud as I realized that this train, running over this magnificent piece of high speed railroad, would no longer exist in two weeks.

Continue reading ... (4.4 MB PDF)

  "Things Were Not the Same" from Spring 2011 First & Fastest  
  George E. Kanary wrote "Things Were Not the Same after May 1, 1971" for the Spring 2011 issue of First & Fastest.
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