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Re: [thegreatthirdrail] CA&E and the Cleveland Rapid, some answers

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  • Scott Greig
    I remember hearing about that Cleveland 4000 (4144, if I m not mistaken).  It was privately owned by a doctor in some town.  Ironic and tragic that the last
    Message 1 of 18 , Mar 9 8:55 PM
      I remember hearing about that Cleveland 4000 (4144, if I'm not mistaken).  It was privately owned by a doctor in some town.  Ironic and tragic that the last Peter Witt from the city that gave us one of the most important designs in streetcar history was scrapped.

      --- On Sat, 3/9/13, steven heister <steven.heister@...> wrote:

      From: steven heister <steven.heister@...>
      Subject: [thegreatthirdrail] CA&E and the Cleveland Rapid, some answers
      To: thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 9:12 PM

      Being a lifelong Clevelander and electric railway fan I can shed some light on some questions and speculation that has been on this bulletin board.
      A little Cleveland History. The Shaker Rapid has been running service to Shaker Heights for nearly 100 years with low platform cars. The Van Swerigen brothers were real estate and railroad moguls that had great plans for Cleveland Rapid Lines. The Vans as part of the Cleveland Union Terminal project of the 1920's made provision for many of these rapid lines to feed their development. Some even had construction started. The great depression took care of squashing those all plans. While WWII raged the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) made plans for a rapid system using low floor cars, streetcars just like Shaker. They would run on PROW's from a downtown distribution subway to locations where the cars would leave their PROW and enter the outer ends of existing streetcar lines. This would allow a 1 seat ride to the city center. This was the 1944 plan. After the war a Chicago firm was brought into consult and said low floor was out and high platform PROW rapid with bus feeders was the way to go. This is what was built. That set Cleveland up with two different technologies sharing portions of the rapid. Local newspaper reporter Harry Christiansen was a frequent agitator for building the CTS rapid. His articles in the paper helped to motivate CTS to build the line. In 1954 the line began opening for service with high platform cars. I know of no consideration at this time to consider acquiring any CA&E cars by CTS, even after the line quit.
      Fast forward a few years, the CTS rapid reached Hopkins Airport in 1968. It was now possible to leave affluent Shaker Heights and go to the airport by rail. However you had to lug your baggage up and down tall stairs at either the E.55 st. station or Union Terminal, Tower City today. There was no easy cross platform transfer. Later CTS opened a high platform station at E.34. Shaker had always had a station here. Now you could transfer from one train to another with only a couple stairs to negotiate. However this station was isolated and most riders were not comfortable transferring here. Also you had two fares to pay. One to Shaker another to CTS. Not many passenger went from Shaker Heights to the airport by rail due to these factors. 
      In 1975 the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was formed by CTS and Shaker merging along with several suburban bus lines. Now you had just one fare to pay with a free transfer. But the Shaker Riders still didn't  flock to the airport by rail. You still had an isolated station at E.34 and tall stairs to negotiate at E.55 and at Tower City. Enter Harry Christiansen again. He was still pushing for transit improvements, but not as a newspaper writer. He now worked for RTA as a Special Projects Coordinator. He knew of the CA&E cars at Trolleyville and how they could do both high and low platform with their traps. He proposed RTA lease the 1945 curvesiders for direct Shaker Heights to the airport service. This would be a relatively short term deal as a demonstration service. If the riders flocked to rails to go from Shaker to the Airport it would prove their was a market for such service provided proper conditions were made available. Essentially a 1 seat ride and no lugging of baggage up and down tall stairs. For what ever reason his idea was never was carried out. I think that should cover the CTS/CA&E rumor mill.
      Why did Brookins not get North Shore Cars. At the time the cars were available Brookins was dealing with a lawsuit brought against him by a few Columbia Park residents who did not appreciate the constant influx of old rail equipment showing up at the time. In 1954 he bought 4 Fox River cars from Shaker. In 1960 he bought two center entrance cars from Shaker. He also had gotten 2 open cars from Vera Cruz Mexico. Then 8 interubans show up from the CA&E. The residents don't like what they see and call their lawyers. Brookins now had legal issues to deal with. If he had brought North Shore cars in while this legal matter was playing out, it would probably have played right into the hands of the residents. Brookins at the same time was offered a complete Cleveland 4000 series streetcar. This was the last one left out of a fleet of 150. These were well like cars in Cleveland. He passed on it, no doubt due to the legal situation. Brookins eventually won the legal action and then more cars showed up, but by then the North Shore stuff was probably gone as well as the 4000, it was scrapped.
      I hope this answers some questions.
      Steve Heister
      Northern Ohio Railway Museum

    • Scott Greig
      Soon after the CA&E cars arrived at North Chicago, IRM wanted to run a fantrip on the North Shore Line with the 431.  While it ultimately got quashed by
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 9 9:01 PM
        Soon after the CA&E cars arrived at North Chicago, IRM wanted to run a fantrip on the North Shore Line with the 431.  While it ultimately got quashed by railroad management, things got as far as a representative from the Highwood mechanical department (perhaps electric/air brake foreman Frank Beshack) coming to the hardware foundry to inspect the 431.  He was very impressed with the condition of the car, and reportedly commented that the car was in better condition than some of what the North Shore was running in regular service.

        --- On Sat, 3/9/13, Larry M <minnman554212000@...> wrote:

        From: Larry M <minnman554212000@...>
        Subject: Re: [thegreatthirdrail] was(Re: CA&E and the Cleveland Rapid) condition of CA&E cars vs NSL cars
        To: "thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com" <thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:08 PM

        I also have to wonder if the CA&E cars were in as good of shape as the North Shore Line cars at the end of each line's passenger service. I know that Highwood had several cars in the shop waiting for maintenance at the time that line shut down. Did Wheaton do minimal upkeep on their cars after passenger service ended?


        Sent from my iPhone with IOS 6.1

        On Mar 9, 2013, at 18:24, Scott Greig <sbgreig_m1@...> wrote:


        I'd often wondered why Brookins didn't buy any North Shore cars...given the timing (only about a year later) and what he had to pay for the CA&E steels (over $2000+ apiece), I've concluded he just didn't have any money left to work with at the time!

        On Sat, Mar 9, 2013 6:09 PM CST borowmaq@... wrote:

        >I'm not aware of any role Gerald Brookins had in the Hopkins Airport
        >line. But he came with cash on the barrelhead to Wheaton looking for
        >cars for his museum in 1963, and Ed Allen once told me he called Roy
        >Roadcap personally to ask if the Commuters Association still wanted the
        >450s. Told no, Ed asked Brookins how many he wanted, and he took
        >four...eight cars in all. He told Ed that they were for his museum.
        >His wife (to whom he promised he would buy one at most) was
        >flabbergasted. But if it weren't for him, none of those cars would
        >have survived.
        >As far as the clearances go, you're right. They don't really make it.
        >When the woods were run on the Waterfront Line (and, to a certain
        >extent, the other two branches), they could barely make it. The pans
        >they attached to 460 were essentially in the locked-down position under
        >Tower City but still in contact with the wire, and the same was true
        >about the woods. The woods could only make it a short distance out on
        >the other two branches; beyond that the station clearances didn't work.
        >I rode the 460/455 towing 458 from GCRTA's Brook Park Shop to storage
        >at Tower City in the dead of night one night in May 2006. They
        >performed like champs (although 455's compressor failed just before the
        >trip, so 460 had to do the work for all three cars). Not quite the
        >same as the trip Stan Bristol and Julie Johnson took aboard the last
        >Batavia shuttle July 3, 1957, but it certainly was the equivalent to
        >Yahoo! Groups Links

      • steven heister
        Thank You. ... From: David Sadowski To: thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:53 AM Subject: Re: [thegreatthirdrail] CA&E and the
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 10 7:46 PM
          Thank You.
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:53 AM
          Subject: Re: [thegreatthirdrail] CA&E and the Cleveland Rapid, some answers


          I will transcribe the newspaper clipping I found in an old railfan scrapbook.

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