Friday, March 30, 2012

North Shore Line

The Chicago, North Shore, and Milwaukee Railroad was a Chicago-based interurban line that ran from 1916 to 1963. One of the Insull Lines (along with the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin and the Chicago, South Shore, and South Bend), the North Shore initially only reached Evanston, running on a private right of way all the way to Beer City. In 1919, the road obtained trackage rights over the Northwestern Elevated, which allowed access to the Loop, and service between the North Shore's two namesake cities.

Despite entering receivership in 1932, the North Shore managed to survive the Depression, even going so far as to introduce a pair of streamlined articulated trains, the famed Electroliners that ran five runs a day between the Windy and Beer Cities. The North Shore also saw a steep incline in ridership during the Second World War, due in no small part to the road's service at both Great Lakes Naval Base and Fort Sheridan.

However, like most interurbans, it didn't last. The North Shore saw fairly strong ridership after the war, but increased automobile ownership caused traffic problems in areas where there was still street running. In addition, the new Edens Expressway took local riders on the Skokie Valley Route (in use since 1926), which put a serious crimp in profitability. But by 1963 ridership had decreased so much that the North Shore ceased operations, with a final Electroliner run between Chicago and Milwaukee.

I'm not sure where this North Shore sign once stood-it is currently at the Illinois Railway Museum and has been beautifully restored since I shot this.

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