The Daily Inter Ocean, January 28, 1882
By the cable time, at 2 o’clock this afternoon the latest addendum to the great throng of devices that make up modern civilization “on the wing.” namely, the street automation, the cable-moved car, will start on its first public trip from the corner of State and Madison streets. In order that all the world which is down town at 2 o’clock p.m. may see the first start, and join in the hallelujah of a thing accomplished, the grip-car, and the cars accompanying it, will be brought down to the corner of Madison and State streets by horses, after the olden style. There the attachment will be made between the grip-car and the cable, the attendant cars, as well as the grip-car itself, will be filled with the invited guests, including the Honor the Mayor, the Aldermen, and various other city officials withe the exception of the small-pox inspectors, and with the officers of the company. These, it is expected, for no fare will be charged on this trial trip, will fill from four to six cars, so that the whole will make a train of respectable length.
Arriving at the Twenty-first street buildings of the company, for, hereafter, to call them stables will be obsolete, the riders will be invited to disembark, and inspect the wonders within, where, hereafter, horses will not stand, but engines; firemen do the work of stable boys, and engineers, not grooms, put on the traces that may draw a thousand carriages and 10,000 people, if necessary; aye, and at twenty miles an hour, ordinances permitting, at eight miles an hour at any rate, and not at the stagy jogging that of the easy-going street-car horse. Wonders within! What at=re they? Monsters in iron, with nostrils belching flame; with limbs of steel and knuckles of brass and gleaming eyes; scoured and polished and curried and clean; gallant steeds that never tire, if oiled and fed with their jetty meals from the harvest fields beneath the earth. Surely the details of these modern monsters are worth describing, from the oven-door to the tiny levers which are the reins that check them. Let it suffice to say, however, that the floor, the foundations, on which they rest, exceed anything of the kind in the city; that the mechanical skill required in placing them, so that the fittings for the interlacing rods should come come out exactly true had to be of the first order; that the exact nicety and completeness with which this work has all been done is, in itself a monument of compliment to the Hon. A. B, Cook, the builder. The foundations go down nineteen feet, and are of cut stone, plus millions of bricks.
The ponderous engines resting on this substratum of solid stone and brick are of the Wheelock pattern. The cylinders, four in number, are twenty-four inches in diameter, and have a forty-eight inch stroke; while the fly-wheels are twelve feet in diameter and weigh 25,000 pounds each. The engines are entirely automatic, and are all under the control of one “governor,” which measures off the steam with an exact nicety, that makes itself a marvel of its inventive genius; regulating with the utmost precision the supply to the demand of the motive power. All these engines can be run either forward or backward, being readily reversible if required in case of any entanglement in the cables. In reference to the work, it might be said that President Holmes has nothing but the highest praise for the completeness with which it has been done.
It may be mentioned that a grip car was run from 1 o’clock to 5 o’clock yesterday morning, making four trips in all; the first trip being made at the rate of two and half to three miles an hour; the second at six miles an hour, and the last at eight miles an hour, which last is to be the regular “gait” (a la President Holmes), at which the cable cars are to run—the city not objecting; the avenge “gait” now being run from four to five miles an hour. President Holmes said:
And everything worked beautifully, the engines going admirably; since that, we have been running the cable to get it limbered up. The cable is working eight miles an hour now. There will be a larger or smaller number of cars running right after tomorrow. We are putting draw-bars—with which the regular cars are attached to the grip-cars—on the cars as rapidly as possible. There will be one ‘driver’ or engineer on the grip-car, and conductors enough on each train to attend to the passengers—probably one conductor to every two passenger cars. The cars will run every three minutes, and there will be from one to three or four passenger cars to every grip-car. As yet we have not got all the grip-cars we need—having a present only twelve that are completely finished. We shall have forty-two grip cars, and all these are already completed with the exception of the grip frames, which are being rapidly attached to them.
State Street Cable Car
Interview with President Holmes.
“How fast can you run the cars?” the reporter asked.
“We can run the cars by cable as fast as the city will permit us. We can run them from fifteen to twenty miles per hour; though the probable rate of speed will be about eight miles an hour—that is the same rate as that adopted on the San Francisco street cable line. We may not run that fast at first—not until we get the engineers in working order.”
“How soon will it be before you run the cable cars as far as Thirty-ninth street?”
The cable will be finished up to Thirty-ninth street tomorrow (to-day), if it continues fine weather. But to completely finish it will take a few days longer. We shall then run the cars right along to Thirty-ninth street. The loop (the portion of the track running from State street, east on Madison street, to Wabash, north on Wabash to Lake, west on Lake to State, and back to Madison) will be finished to-day.”
Thus is practically completed the second railway line ever constructed. It is unquestionably one of the greatest triumphs in engineering skill ever constructed. Taking the engines alone, the exactness with which the various parts of the machinery fit into each other is simply remarkable. Mr. Wheelock, who “set” hundreds of these engines, pronounces this work of Mr. Cook as a masterpiece of perfection an d correctness in setting. It may here be stated that each of the 300 horse-power—the power being almost up to that of the celebrated Corliss monsters. In conclusion it may be said that the whole work has taken a long time to complete, but it has been work done in the face of innumerable obstacles that would have made most men falter and turn and desire to retract altogether from the undertaking. For having successfully brought it to a conclusion Mr. Holmes deserves the warmest congratulations and the best of eulogies.
Joint Loop of the State and Wabash Lines
Drawing by J. Bucknall Smith
Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1888
After many vexatious delays it is now reasonably certain that the North Side cable cars will begin running for good Monday. The company has made arrangements for a formal opening, and it will make every effort to keep its promise. At 11 tomorrow there will be a gathering at the power station, at which Mayor Roche will make some remarks. Then a train of grip cars decked with flags will be boarded, and the party will take a trip down-town, around the loop, and back to the power station, where there will be more speaking. Then the horse- cars will disappear from North Clark, unless there should be some accident to the cable system, which, it is hoped, will not occur.
The main power station from which are operated the cable lines on Clark and Wells streets is located on the side of the old barn, near the corner of Clark and Elm streets. The building has been entirely remodeled and there is nothing about it that is familiar except the contour of the outside walls, and these have been renewed in pressed bricks with ornamentation of carved stone work. Within polished hardwood floors and heavy masses of masonry and polished stone work have taken the place of the pine planks over which, three or four years ago, the company’s fiery steeds were accustomed to prance whenever teams were changed. The walls are plastered and painted, and the southern end is wainscoted with German mirrors. Everywhere about the place is neat and trim, and there is an air of polish that is suggestive of a man-of-war. The main apartment, which is about 170×150 feet, is devoted to machinery, the boiler-room being inclosed in brick walls, separating it from the engine-room. There are four horizontal steam engines of the Corliss type, resplendent in polished brass and iron. As arranged one engine carries the Clark street cable between Elm street and Wrightwood avenue. Engine No. 3 works the Wells street cable, while its consort is waiting till the Council grants permission to the company to apply the system to North State street. Steam is furnished by two batteries of four boilers, each of 125-horse power. Each boiler is 18 feet long and 6 feet in diameter. They are supplied with steam-operated coal feeders and grate shakers. The smokestack is 200 feet high from the grate-bars. Under the boiler-room floor is an iron tank of a capacity of 20,000 gallons. This will always be kept filled in case any mishap should occur to the City water-Works. All the waste steam is used to heat the water feed before it enters the boilers.
Each engine is of 500-horse power. The cylinders are 28 inches in diameter and the piston stroke is 60 inches. The fly- wheels are 20 feet in diameter and each weighs 45,000 pounds. The engines are built for a maximum speed of sixty revolutions per minute, though in actual use it is expected that the service will not demand more than fifty-five or fifty seven. They are so arranged as to be worked in pairs or singly, as each one of the two can interchange labor with the other. The object of this is to furnish sufficient power to meet any extraordinary rush of travel, such as happens holidays and occasions like the visit of President Cleveland last October. An engine may break down and need repairs. It is but the work of a minute to change the load from one to the other. The main shafts do not directly operate the cable-drums. There is an intermediate gearing, the effect od which is to give the drum one revolution while the engine makes two and one-half. In other words, while each Corliss makes sixty revolutions per minute the cable-drum only accomplishes twenty-four. The cable-drums are twelve feet in diameter and are built in two sections. Each has three grooves, in which is carried the cable, and each works independent on the shaft, a pinion movement with double gearing carrying the two portions along as the shaft revolves. Each drum has its corresponding “idler” of the same diameter and constructed much the same way. One half is fixed to its shaft, while the other revolves around it as a bushing. The object of this complexity is to equalize the tension on the cable and render the strain as constant as possible. The cable passes around the drum and idler six times, and is then carried to the tension runway, which extends to the rear for a distance of eighty feet. The object of this is to take up any slack that may arise. Here every precaution has been taken to prevent accidents. The tension-wheel is ten feet in diameter and this is firmly braced to a moveable platform running backwards and forwards on narrow-gage track. To this platform is attached a chain cable heavy enough to anchor a lake propeller, and this, after passing through a combination pulley, is weighted with counterweights to the extent of two tons. In addition to this another similar chain is attached to the carriage by means of a ten-ton tension spring. If anything should snap the tension spring is bound to catch up the strain, and thus prevent a wreck. On leaving their tension wheels the three cables pass out into the vault. The wells street cable travels over a pair of horizontal “idlers” to the corner of Division street, where it enters the subway and through it to the Wells street tracks. The north-bound cable runs to Wisconsin street, where it enters the vault, by means of which connections is made with the Clark street line. Turning south the cable stretches to the Illinois street vault, where a bend is taken, and it is carried on the up-track to the Division street vault, thence along the subway to the point of starting.
The Main Power Plant at Clark Street.
How the Cables are Threaded.
The Clark-street cables, north and south, enter the vault over vertical “idlers,” and once go onto the street, The jump to be made by the grips here is about eighteen feet, from leaving one cable to catching the other, and this, the engineer says, can be readily done by a momentum obtained in a run of twenty feet. The cable to Illinois street is a little less than a mile in length, and is on a straight piece of track. That from Elm street to Wrightwood avenue is about two miles, and independent of its being double the weight of the southern section will have to bear a much greater strain consequent upon the curves at North avenue, Centre street, Fullerton avenue and Sherman place.
At Wrightwood avenue there is a supplemental cable which runs through the car barns and forms the return loop at the northern end of the line. This loop is operated by a gearing attached to a ten-foot “idler” over which the main-cable moves in the vault about 300 feet south of the car barn.
The most interesting division of the line is the tunnel or South Side loop. Over this branch are moved the cars from the Wells and Clark street line. This is a separate cable and has its motive power in the new station at the corner of Illinois street and LaSalle avenue. Here are located two engines of the same type as those at the Clark street station. Their cylinders are 28×48 inches and each is 200-horse power. In every respect the machinery is the counterpart of that already described. The cable after passing six times over the drum and once over the tension run-way emerges underground at the east side of the building, and, turning on a pair of “idlers,” passes westward under the north track on Illinois street to Wells, thence to the vault, where another change is made in direction, and it returns under the south track to the corner of Illinois and La Salle, where it goes through the huge vault and after passing over a pair of “idlers” proceeds down the west track through the tunnel, along LaSalle street to Monroe, thence to Dearborn, to Randolph, and thence to LaSalle, through the tunnel north to Illinois street, thence to the vault on Clark street, near by; back again on the north side of Illinois Street, partway around the curve to the west side of LaSalle, thence into the vault, where it is carried over two “idlers” set at angles of about 35 and 50 degrees, thence to the cable subway proper, through which it runs a short distance, and then back underground to the big drum in the engine house. The cables cross each other on the diamond formed at the crossing of the east and west tracks, where they curve in opposite directions into Illinois street. The “turnout in the slot” detaches the car-grip from striking either one. It is here that one of the hardest “jumps” on the line has to be made, and the momentum has to be obtained after turning the corner either at Wells or Clark street.
Main Tension Run
The Vaults at Elm Street.
The vaults are about 25 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 12 feet deep, built in solid masonry about 30 inches thick. In building them it was necessary to deflect the sewers and the gas and water pipes, rendering their cost nearly double what it would have been under ordinary circumstances. The “idlers” are mounted on piers of solid masonry, and the roadway overhead is carried on heavy steel beams. An intercepting catch-basin collects the drainage from the surface water, and a pump connected by a belt with one of the idlers is arranged to bail out whatever water accumulates after rain-storms and from melting snow.
Each engine is furnished with an indicator. Which, like the machine counters on printing –presses, registers every revolution, and in this manner the miles traveled each day by the cable can be accurately determined. At the tunnel station there is an elaborate electric plant. One dynamo is used for lighting the building and the tunnel. The other operates a twenty-horse power electric motor on the dock at the foot of LaSalle avenue. This is used to furnish the power required in pumping water out of the tunnels sewer, and operating a ventilating fan, which exhausts the foul air from the big sub- aqueous bore.
The New Cable Cars.
There are forty-seven grip-cars-seventeen of them recently remodeled. The other thirty are eight-wheel trucks and much resemble the observation coaches on the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. In the smallest car the front platform is inclosed, and back of the doorway is a V shaped recess. In this the gripman stands. In front of him are the grip and two brake levers. The entrance to the car is on the right side at the rear. To prevent accidents the entrance at the left had been closed. About six feet of the forward end of the eight-wheel car is open. There are two benches almost back to back. On these there is accommodation for eight to ten passengers. Between the benches stand the three levers, and immediately back of them is the gripman’s station. From where he stands he has an excellent view of the track in front of him, and as the levers are within easy reach a collision cannot happen except through carelessness.
The grip catches the cable from the underside and the jaws close upon it laterally, the amount of strain being governed entirely by the lever in the hand of the gripman. The grip is supported on two slide bars and moves from side to side to adjust itself to the irregularities of and the turn-outs in the slot running down the centre of the track. In the roof of the car, immediately over the grip, is a half-inch iron bar with an “eye” in the centre. In a box under the seat are a tackling block and chain. When the car is run into the barn the tackle is taken out and attached to the “eye” on the roof. The connecting rod between the lever and the grip is removed, the lower end of the tackle is attached to the grip, and the driver hoists it up into the car, where it hangs until the car is taken out for service next morning, when it is lowered into position, the connecting rod is affixed, and the whole concern starts in on its day’s work. Should an accident happen to a car on the road, all that is to be done is for the driver to let go the cable and stand still till the succeeding car overtakes him. His car is then pushed to a “grip manhole,” where a stop is made; the grip is hoisted out of the cable runway, and the car is pushed to the barn, where the necessary repairs can be made.
Several New Wrinkles.
Each car is fitted with a register, with a dial about ten inches in diameter, and consecutively numbered. Every time a fare is collected the driver must pull the register-cord. A bell reverberates loudly, and the hand moves ahead a number. This, it is understood, will supersede the register now in use, and will for some time to come at least, prevent the slippery conductor from manipulating the company’s dividend through the assistance of the “brother-in-law.”
A perfect system of electric communication based on the fire- alarm principle has been arranged. The wires run through the cable conduit, and at the street-crossing there is a numbered box. Should anything happen all that the conductor has to do is to pull the ring attached to the box. Four signals are used, each one of which instructs the engineer what to do in the emergency. The box gives its number when rung, thus immediately notifying the engineer where the mishap may have taken place.
A Sketch of the New Company.
The controlling interest in the North Side street-car line was purchased by the Philadelphia syndicate, of which C. T. Yerkes is the representative, from Volney, C. Turner and Jacob Rehm and their associates two years ago this spring. The property was then leased for a term of years to the North Chicago Street Railway Company, of which Mr. Yerkes is President. Shortly after the lease was perfected, the company obtained permission from the Council to rebuild the road on Clark and Wells streets and Lincoln avenue with a cable line. State and Larrabee streets were exempted, as the property-owners were opposed to the improvement. After considerable dickering the Council gave the company the right of way through the tunnel and a franchise to run down LaSalle street to Monroe, thence to Dearborn, thence to Randolph, to LaSalle, where the return curve is made to the tunnel. In consideration for this right of way the company obligated itself to build new double bridges at Wells and Clark streets and remove the old Wells street bridge to Daerborn street, where a new centre-pier and abutments have been erected for its reception. The work of putting in the cable conduits began Sept. 27, 1886, at Wrightwood avenue, and was pushed southward as fast as the yokes and plates came to hand. A. C. Story, the President of the Board of Education, led the opposition to the improvement, and he instituted legal proceedings in the Appellate and Circuit Courts shortly after the work was commenced. On both occasions the injunction which he applied for was denied. Cable laying continued until the first snow fell, when it was suspended for the winter, the double track conduit having been completes as far as North avenue Dec. 8. In the following spring-April of last year- the work was resumed, and Mr. Story resumed his opposition likewise. He brought his suit in the United State Court, and for a short time caused a suspension of work. Arguments on the motion for an injunction were heard, and Judge Gresham decided as did his brother Judges of the State courts. As soon as all the straight track was completed the work of putting in the vaults began. Owing to rainy weather in September and the delays experienced in getting the machinery from the East, it was late in the fall before they were finished. The one at Wisconsin street. The junction of the Clark and Wells street lines, was not finished until after the beginning of the present year.
The road is laid throughout in iron and steel-the yokes being of the former. The conduit tubes, manhole plates, the girder rail, the slot rail, and the structural beams are all steel. The yokes are placed four and one-half feet apart from centre to centre. The pulleys on which the cables run through the conduit are eighteen inches in diameter, except in the tunnel, where they are eight. At the Wrightwood avenue loop, which runs through the car-shops, each car as it passes over the repair pits underneath is subjected to a close examination every trip, with special reference to the condition of the grip and brakes.
The extension on Lincoln avenue will be commenced as soon as the weather will permit. The power-house at the corner of Lincoln and Wrightwood avenues is ready for the reception of the engines and cable drums.
Subway Looking North.
Cost and Maintenance of Cable Roads.
In a recent number of the Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies, Dr. D. J. Miller, the engineer of one of the New York cable lines, gave an interesting paper on the subject of “Traction Rope Railways,” with reference to the cable road systems now in use in some larger cities in the country. After presenting a few statistics on the number of miles in operation and under construction in Chicago, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Francisco he gives the following estimated of the cost of a double-track cable road two and a half miles long:
To meet this constant expense the company requires a traffic of 2,659,060 per annum at five cents for each person. Mr. Miller figures that any horse railway which has a daily traffic of 2,000 persons per mile, can with perfect safety invest in the cable system, owing to the absolute certainty of a steady increase in the business. The cost per mile, on the basis of the figures given, is $221,100, which covers everything. The operating expenses as estimated include officers’ salaries, pay of employees, taxes, etc. the estimates are based on 445 round trips every twenty-four hours. A comparison with the cost of operating a horse railway furnishing the same service is given in the following figures:
With animal traction thee can be no sudden expansion of the carrying capacity. The cable-road, with adequate rolling-stock, is prepared for any emergency.
The North Side company has now completed and in operation about five and one-half miles of double track. Assuming the figures of Mr. Miller to be correct, the cost of the North Side cable-system up to date has been about $1,250,000.
Madison Street Cable Car
The Inter-Ocean, March 27, 1888
Mr. Yerkes Congratulated.
A few degrees past high noon yesterday, President Yerkes struck the gong and started the engines for driving the North Side cables. Indoors the signal was witnessed by 500 or more invited guests, and it seemed as though all the North Side viewed the results along the line of operation. The building at the corner of Elm and Clark street, where the plant has its pondrous roots, was as gay and festive as a young ladies’ bazar. The machinery, with its monster wheels and gigantic boilers, was as neat and nice as watch work. Hundreds of flags, miles of cedar, balsam, and pine, and scores of sturdy palms, azaleas, and begonia lent beauty and color to the gleaming steel and life to the spacious engine-room, with its hard floors of pine and asphalt and its walls of sulphuric green.
In the various inclosures were rows of sago plants and pots of geranium and hyacinth, suggestive of engines on wreath. Back of the battery of boilers is a sort of annex, which Mr. Yerkes had converted into a sort of annex for his levee, and it was peopled with a regiment of newspapermen, a company of politicians, and corps of capitalists and swells.
Johnny Hand carried off the honors with his orchestra of eighteen pieces and a program of medley numbers. Herr John beat the air, and led his band with a new fangled baton that was built on the plan of a potato-pounder. It was a weighty affair, and after long selections a wad of paper torn from a violin score gave the impresario relief.
The crowd down in the “basin” about the orchestra, was heterogeneous. There were Spartans from the East in cape coats, wet feet and dismal countenance; there were our own up-town wet-grocers and down-town politicians with turned-up pantaloons; there were entry clerks in high hats; round shouldered book-keepers and ubiquitous office boys, representatives of business houses and real estate firms; there were newspaper editors, church ushers, Sunday school leaders, sheriffs and health and police officials; there were gentlemen who have figured conspicuously in ward primaries, and County Commissioners, and there were some of the lands that border on the Rhine, the Boyne, the Baltic and the Danube, in muddy boots. Womankind was represented by less than a score of ladies wearing gossamer coats, cover shoes, rainy-day millinery, and storm gloves.
President Yerkes briefly introduced Mayor Roche, who said he was surprised at immensity of the machinery with which he was surrounded, and felt inclined to envy the North Siders. He found an outlet for his surprise, however, in the thought that the West Side—where he resided—was hugging to its breast the idea that the time was coming when it, too, would have a cable. He prayed for fine weather at the next meeting between the city authorities and the parties who desired to construct a cable on the West Side. Elevated roads were needed as well as cable roads, so that the people might enjoy all the benefits conferred upon the people of New York. No matter what criticisms were made on the road or its management, no matter what restrictions were placed upon them, it was an enterprise that should be appreciated.
In next addressing the assemblage, Colonel W. H. Thompson said:
- Fifty years ago the city of Chicago contained about 4,500 inhabitants. At that time there were no improved streets, and it was not an unusual thing to signs in the middle of some of the principal streets labeled “No bottom here.” The first public conveyance for passengers that I can learn of was in 1837. Augustus Garrett, afterward Mayor of the city, desiring to go with some friends to a party at the Lake House, then the best hotel in the city, at the corner of Rush and Michigan streets, called a drayman passing by and asked his price for taking a load to the hotel, provided loaded and uploaded it himself. The reply was 25 cents, whereupon Garrett said to his friends, “Jump aboard.” This was at the corner of South Water and Dearborn streets, at Garrett’s auction store, and they were driven to the Lake House. An this time a citizen of Chicago, then and now, was entertaining a distinguished lord from England, who had traveled the world over, and as they were driving around the city the lord stopped his horse and said with a great deal of enthusiasm:
“Chicago some day will be the largest place in the world,” and the citizen, surprised, asked if he would not except London, Paris, St. Petersburgh, etc. “No,” said the English lord,
The largest cities in the world are all inland places, and then again, if you take the dividers and draw it around Chicago for 500 miles you draw it around the richest on the face of God’s green earth, and when this country becomes thoroughly settled up and the Western country developed generally, Chicago will be the depot for this whole country, and it will, in time, be the largest place in the world.” How this English lord’s prophecy is being verified, I call upon you, ladies and gentlemen, presently to witness. In 1853 there were less than two miles of streets paved. In 1888 there are over 300 miles of improved streets in the city.
In 1887, for the year ending June 30, the number of arrivals and clearances at the Port of Chicago were 23,460, while at the same date the number of arrivals and clearances in the ports of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia were 28,059, making combined, only 4,599 more vessels than Chicago. This includes foreign vessels with the coastwise included. Now, in 1897, June 30 for the coastwise trade only, the number of arrivals and clearances of vessels in Chicago were 22,672. In New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Norfolk, and Portsmouth and San Francisco combined they were only 17,004, Chicago having 5,668 more arrivals and clearance than all of the above places combined.
Section of the Cable Conduit and Tracks
The time lost by bridges being opened in this city, from actual account, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., is about three hours per day, so that the use of the tunnels by the horse-car companies will save that amount of time per day to 600,000 people.
The City Railway Company was organized February, 1859, by Frank Parmalee, David A. Gage, Liberty Bigelow and Henry W. Fuller, and the North Chicago Railway Company was organized at the same time by William B. Ogden, John B. Turner, Charles J. Dyer, James H. Rees and Valentine C. Turner, with a capital of $100,000 each. During the summer of 1859 the City Railway Company constructed tracks on State street, from Randolph street south to Twelfth street, and commenced the operation of its lines with six cars. In February, 1862, the West Division Railway Company purchased the tracks which the City Railway Company had constructed two years previously on the West Side, on Madison street to Ashland avenue, and the same distance west on Randolph street. The entire passenger receipts of both the City Railway Company and the West Division Railway Company, in 1862, were about to $500 per day, being about equally divided between the two companies, making about 10,000 passengers per day.
It is now estimated that these two companies carry between 250,000 and 300,000 passengers per day, and now operate about 1,300 cars with steam and horse power, equal from 9,000 to 10,000 horses. The North Chicago Railway Company operates about 340 cars and has 1,850 horses and 60 miles of track. The West Division has 100 miles of track, and the South Division has 122 miles all told, 35 miles of which is cable, which was completed and operated with 80 cars January 28, 1882. The population of the North Side is 30,000 to the square mile, and that ion the South Sde 29,000 to the square mile, and on the West Side 16,000 to the square mile.
A new organization has purchased the North Chicago Railway Company, and leased for 99 years, the West Division Railway Company. This organization is composed of the leading business men of an Eastern city, who, having confidence in the future growth of our city, have, at an enormous cost, purchased and leased these lines. They have placed at the head, as president, a gentleman who is the peer of any business man in this city, and the business men of this city are the peers of any business men in this world.
They come here to make great improvements in the developing of this great city, and it is this duty of every property owner and very business man who has at heart the improvement and development of this city to render to this organization every honorable means in his power to enable them to make these great improvements intended and now laid out, and by so doing you will encourage them to go on and on and make still greater improvements than they had originally intended. It is the duty of this organization to give the people in return for quicker transit, more commodious cars, well heated in cold weather, and a seat for every passenger—man, woman, or child. Then everybody will be their friends and will assist them in their great improvements and developments. Men may come and men may go, but the improvements in this great city will go on until Chicago shall be the greatest and the grandest city that the sun ever shown upon.
Mr. C. B. Holmes, President of the Chicago City Railway Company, was then introduced as a gentleman who knew something about the pleasures of running a cable line. He said outside of the number of gentlemen who have borne the burden of the great enterprise, he doubted if there was any body in the vast concourse to whom its completion brought more satisfaction than to himself. Gathered as they were, surrounded by manifestations of power and of progress, he very much doubted whether they would have been there had the experiment of the other side of the river proved a total failure; but as they were there he took it as proof positive that the South Side road had not failed. Having been through the bloody sweat and agonies and trials of the work, he congratulated his friends upon the accomplishment of their work, with all then improvements they had been able to add to it, and congratulated them upon the successful result of their enterprise.
Mr. E. S. Taylor, one of the Lincoln Park Commissioners, was the next speaker, and he said the occasion was one that clearly marked a gigantic enterprise, which promised to banish the old horse car, serviceable it was true, but slow, and relegate it to the period of partial obscurity, where it would drag out its obsolete existence with such relics as the stage coaches of old. On behalf of his fellow commissioners he wished to inform his audience that Lincoln Park had added ninety-seven acres to its territory, where the patrons of the new road might amble at their will, sure of the most courteous hospitality.
President Charles T. Yerkes came forward, and said he supposed it would be in order for him to say something, but his friends had said so much that they left him without anything to say. He thanked the people of the North Side for their patience in waiting so long for the promised cable line; he also thanked the city officials for the very efficient service they had rendered. The press of the city he likewise owed a debt of gratitude to for their support; “they have always been on our side,” said the speaker, with tones of sarcasm that failed not to please the audience. He considered that thanks were due to the employes for the work on time; and a great deal was due to the exertions and wondrous energy of Chief Engineer Andrews. In concluding Mr. Yerkes said nothing now remained to be said or done but to declare the North Side Cable Line open, and suiting the action to the word, he advanced a step or so, to where a gong was fixed alongside of the brass railing, and pulling three times on the wire handle, so as to cause three distinct sounds, he stepped back among the group of gentlemen that occupied the platform. All eyes were turned towards the ponderous machinery, and while waiting breathlessly for some movement in it, the engineer’s voice from below was plainly audible as in stentorian notes he cried:
“Stand clear there!” A faintly perceptible motion in the immense fly wheels, increasing in speed as the seconds flashed by, until at length they were revolving at their normal speed, and the much-talked of and anxiously-awaited North Side cable was in running order for the convenience of the public. After giving some vigorous cheers, the company inspected the monster mechanism with infinite delight. Congratulations were showered upon Mr. Yerkes from a hundred sources, and those present then adjourned to an inner room and opened a few bottles of “veuve clicquot” of choice vintage, reserving some ardent Galician brandy for such as had mucous stomach-linings less impressionable. Then he announced that the cars, which had started from the barn at the first revolution of the driving wheels, would be down in ten or fifteen minutes to convey such as desired it, and were possessed of cards of invitation, into town. Along came four cars of novel construction, and into them scrambled as many as could find room. These cars are entirely different from any now in the city. They are thirty-three feet long from end to end of the platforms, ands will seat forty-five persons. The front or grip portion is open, and the seats so arranged that the passengers will face outward \. They are mounted on trucks, finished with a king-pin similar to those used in the steam cars; in the interior they are furnished like Pullman coaches, but are upholstered in carpet. The driver stands in the space so provided, between the V and the front of the car, which affords ample space for the working of the grip and break (sic). The reconstructed cars will seat as many people as heretofore, while each of these will pull another car, thereby giving seventy cars at a time on the cable tracks.
Excepting the natural hindrances of vehicular traffic for the tracks were lined with thousands of people whose hearts were teaming with delight, there was no impediment. The cars ran smoothly, and the bells attached ti them jingled right merrily. Approaching the grade that leads to the entrance of the Lasalle street tunnel, the ladies showed traces of tremulous agitation, but so evenly did the cars proceed on their way that they speedily forgot their fears, as the light if day usurped that of electricity with which the tunnel was lit up and made luminous as noon.
At the entrance to the tunnel was worked in evergreens the word “Welcome,” while at the base of the central column stood a balsam tree of average dimensions. The advent of the first and succeeding three cars on emerging from the tunnel at Randolph street was the signal for an uproarious cheer from the large assembly in the vicinity of that point. The trip toward town from this point onward was devoid of incident. Happy and exciting faces were abundant along the route, and there are not any whom necessity calls to the North Side that, under the new regime, can do other than strive to banish the hateful memory of the “‘oss cars” and perpetuate the glory of the cable.
La Salle Street Engine Room
THE WEST CHICAGO STREET RAILROAD COMPANY
The West Side system is the newest and most elaborate in the city and second to none in the extent of its resources, or the perfection of its general equipment, and for this reason whatever is said in a descriptive way must naturally be confined to it. This, as well as the North Side road, it will be borne in mind, reaches the South Side or business centre by way of tunnels under the Chicago river. These tunnels were built by the city, and prior to the companies in question using them were mere holes in the ground and represented the waste of so much public money. President Yerkes, however, saw how they could be utilized to abace the bridge nuisance, and otherwise serve the people, and was quick to move in the matter of obtaining their use. In consideration of the city allowing him to use the LaSalle street tunnel he built and donated to the public two double steel steam bridges across the river, one at Wells and the other at Clark street, at a cost of over $300,000. The Washington street tunnel was in a far worse condition when taken hold of—in fact, it had been abandoned —and before it could be used had to be rebuilt at a cost of nearly $200,000. Both tunnels are now totally unlike what they were a few years ago, and the public not only recognizes the wisdom of their present use, but finds in them the abolition of the former waits at the swing bridges, which is worth additional hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cily every year.
The Street Railway Journal, August, 1889
Main Power Station of the Chicago City Railway.
The original cable-driving plant of the Chicago City Railway Co., located at the corner of State and Twenty first Streets, has deservedly won the admiration of many thousands of Chicago’s citizens, as well as of numerous visitors from all parts of the world, by whom the powerful machinery which it contains has been inspected.
In spite of the fact that this station, having been built in ’81 and ’82, is one of the earlier enterprises of its kind in this country, and that meantime the builders of much of its machinery have naturally improved their designs, as may be seen in the more recently established plants of this company, the Cottage Grove Avenue plant for example—its arrangement is so perfect, its machinery so powerful and effective in the performance of its work, and its operation so continuous and generally satisfactory, that it may safely be termed a model power-house; and the object in view in the . present article is therefore to present to our readers a general description of it, together with particulars of some of the more prominent features. To begin with, then, our next page illustration presents a ground plan of the entire establishment, showing the location of the boilers and machinery, with the tension carriages, the cables and their appurtenances. A study of this plan will show the admirable arrangement which prevails, and it will be seen that under the same roof are the company’s general offices, which with the engine rooms, car house and car factory occupy a full half block, a space equivalent to two and a half acres or more. Here the various officials of the company have their offices, the number of the office entrance, 2020 State Street, being undoubtedly familiar to many street railway men. The arrangement is such that no time is lost in passing from one department to another, nor is any space wasted, and the impress of the same master mind is to be seen here as well as in the plan of the power-house. All the departments comprise much in little, or, in other words, the most is made of every part; and each engine, drum, sheave and pulley is fixed in the place most appropriate for it.
The first pair of engines stand at the southeast corner of the power-house (and of the building); between them are a ponderous fly-wheel and a set of main-shaft gearing. Next thereto, to the northward and parallel, is a pair of drums, over which the No. 1 cable (that operating the upper part of State Street) passes. Then comes the first set of drum gearing; and on the other side is the set of drums over which passes the Wabash Avenue cable (No. 3). For the information of those who may not be familiar with the vicinity, it may be well to say that State Street is a long and straight thoroughfare (one of the busiest in the city), running north and south. Wabash Avenue is more of a residence street, and runs parallel with State, one block apart. The cable for Wabash Avenue passes along State Street, one block south, to Twenty-second Street, and thence through a tunnel to Wabash Avenue. Both these cables reach to Madison Street and back, that on Wabash Avenue being about three blocks the longer (including the distance from the power house to where it begins to propel the cars). The distance from Twenty-first Street to Madison is about two miles, and hence these cables are each more than four miles long. Then from Madison to Lake Street (two blocks further north) a loop cable (No. 5) takes the Wabash Avenue cars to Lake Street, to State Street, to Madison Street, and back to Wabash Avenue. This loop line is driven by the Wabash Avenue cable. Another loop line (cable No. 6), connected with the State Street cable, takes the State Street cars along Madison Street to Wabash Avenue, along the latter to Lake Street, and along Lake back to State Street; thence forward to the main (No. 1) cable. Both of the loop ropes run in the same tunnel, or tube, and it was here that at the beginning some difficulty was experienced until the gripmen became masters of their work
2020 State Street
The speed of these main cables, which operate in the very heart of the city, is eight and a half miles per hour, while cables Nos. 2 and 4 move at a speed of nine and a half miles an hour, and those of the extensions beyond Thirty-ninth Street run at the rate of twelve miles an hour. The loop ropes, it should be stated, move at half the speed of the main cables.
The half of the power-house already described is separated from the rest by a passage-way from the front to the back part of the premises. On the other side of the passage-way is the pair of drums belonging to cable No. 4. Next is the second set of drum gearing, and on the other side thereof are the drums of No. 2 cable. Cable No. 4 operates the Cottage Grove Avenue road as far as Thirty-ninth Street, which avenue starts at Twenty-second Street, two blocks east of Wabash Avenue, and runs in a south-easternly direction to Thirty-ninth Street, the distance being about two and a half miles (five miles of rope) from the power-house. Cable No. 2 operates the cars on State Street from Twenty-first to Thirty-ninth Street, a distance of about two miles; and No. 4 operates the Twenty second Street loop (designated No. 7 cable).
These four cables, with the three loop lines, make a total of twenty and a quarter miles of rope. They were built between seven and eight years ago, the first (State Street) being opened January 28, 1882. At that time there was no occasion to run cars beyond Thirty-ninth Street (the old city limits), and the two original engines afforded sufficient power for the traffic of those years. But the cable lines soon attracted inhabitants beyond their termini, and in 1886 and 1887 they were extended on State Street to Sixty-third Street (adding three miles of road), and on Cottage Grove Avenue to Sixty-seventh Street, with a branch road eastward on Fifty-fifth Street (an extension of nearly four and a half miles of road), making a total of thirty-five miles of cable. These extensions, however, are operated from separate power-houses, but as they connect with the original cable roads they add immensely to the number of passengers thereon, which now exceed one million per week. Over one hundred miles of horse car tracks also feed the main uptown cable lines, and over the whole of this South Side system a passenger can proceed (if in one continuous journey) for a single fare of five cents. Thousands avail themselves morning and evening of the facilities thus furnished, some seven miles, some ten, some twenty, and this travel is so regular that Mr. Holmes, the president and superintendent, knows almost exactly how many transfer tickets will be required each day.
Ground Plan of State Street Power Plant.
2020 State Street
Robinson Fire Map
The ropes used on these lines (we are indebted to the “Souvenir, ” a handsome little descriptive volume, by H. H. Windsor, secretary of the company, for some of the data and illustrations given here with) are an inch and a quarter in diameter, containing six strands of sixteen wires each, with large wires on the outside, twisted around a central strand of hemp. The cables are tarred and oiled as they enter the power-station, and their entire length carefully inspected every night while moving at four miles an hour, and of course after the day’s work is finished. The average life of a cable is about 40,000miles, but lately some ropes have run much greater distances, two of those run from the State Street plant being recently still in service and in good condition, the one with 60,000 miles to its credit and the other 58,000. On Cottage Grove Avenue there are records, it is said, of 69,300and 83,900,at a speed of twelve miles per hour, running twenty hours daily; and on the State Street line of 106,000miles. Other records are reported of 95,000,76,800 and 97,400 miles on the more recently constructed lines.
The absence of curves and the use of a long grip, coupled of course, with excellence of material, is accountable for the long service of the cables. The serious effect of curves, and especially of reversed curves, is recognized by all cable road superintendents. It shows itself in the rapid wear of cables and excessive consumption of fuel for motive power. The advantages of a long grip over a short one are that less pressure is necessary to move the car, consequently there is less danger of stranding and of hardening the cables by friction. It also overcomes the rocking motion of the car to a certain extent. When the grip has the cable fast, the rocking motion breaks the wires at each end of the grip, just as they would be broken if bent backward and forward by hand. When the fact is considered that this rocking motion bends the cable hundreds of thousands of times every day, it is not strange that short grips make short life for cables.
But to return to our subject. One pair of engines managed to drive the four main (original) cables, with their anxiliaries, until about eighteen months ago, when two more engines were added. It is remarkable that the necessity for two extra engines had been foreseen when the plan of the engine house was arranged, and space reserved for them. The new engines, with their great fly wheel and shaft gearing, are placed on the north side of the four pairs of cable drums and their gearing, but further back and partly alongside the place of the tension carriages, which are just in the rear of the cable drums. The gears and shafts are so arranged that the whole four engines may work together, or one pair of engines may (as is the usual rule) drive two of the cables, those going to the northward (Nos. 1and 3) being operated by the first pair of engines, and those going to Thirty-ninth Street (Nos. 4 and 2) by the new engines. A boiler capacity of 1,000 H. P. was originally provided at this station, four 250 H. P. boilers of the Babcock & Wilcox water tube type having been erected; and it is said that the excellent performance of these boilers under the severe service demanded of them has fully demonstrated their good qualities as safe and economical steam generators. Somewhat recently these boilers have been equipped with the Roney mechanical stoker and smokeless furnace, a description of which is given later on. When the immense increase in travel on the original cable lines demonstrated the necessity of extending them, and the power station at State and Fifty second Streets was accordingly established, a plant of three 350 H. P. Hazelton tripod boilers was adopted. This is a boiler of an entirely different type, the merits of which the company had been meanwhile investigating; and as they considered that in some respects the Hazelton boilers were preferable for the requirements of these power plants, they were adopted when the magnificent new station at Cottage Grove Avenue and Fifty-fifth Street was built, three of them, having a capacity of 600 H. P. each (said to be the largest single boiler in the world), being installed, while later in the same season, when increased boiler capacity at the original State Street plant was found necessary, two 500 H. P. “Hazelton” were added to the original Babcock & Wilcox plant, as may be seen by reference to the plan. Each of these boilers is equipped with three Roney mechanical stokers.
The four engines are capable of developing 3,000 H. P., but the usual force is only about 1,200. About two-thirds of the power developed is used in propelling the cars, the remaining third being required to move the cable. The ordinary number of cable cars operated at one time is about 400, and they keep on running (more or less of them) for twenty-one and a half hours out of every twenty-four, the cable having a rest (ceases running) from 2.20 to 5.00 A. M. in Summer, while in Winter its “sleeping time” is not more than forty minutes; and sometimes, when the frost threatens mischief, and the pulleys and sheaves are liable to freeze if not kept running, not over ten minutes. In front of the new pair of engines there has been placed recently one of Ide’s “Ideal” engines, to drive a couple of electric motors, one a Thomson-Houston incan descent light motor, the other an “Excelsior” arc light motor. The power-house is lighted by both lights, the incandescent only being used in the offices. The engine is 60 H. P. and will make 270 revolutions per minute. The name “Ideal” is drawn from the inventor’s name, A. L. Ide, by affixing the initials to the surname.
A word about the horizontal sheaves just outside the power-house, and underneath the roadway, is necessary in a description of this model cable plant. A pair of twelve-foot horizontal sheaves guide each cable in and out of the power-house. Cable No. 4 (Cottage Grove Avenue) passes over the pair of sheaves nearest the building. No. 3 cable (Wabash Avenue) passes over the next pair. No. 1 cable (State Street to Madison Street) passes over the other pair of sheaves in line with the pairs already mentioned; and cable No. 2 (State Street to Thirty-ninth Street) passes over the pair of sheaves to the north of the latter. The average life of a rope is twelve months. Some last longer, while some do not last so long. The least sign of weakness is enough to condemn a rope. Mr. Holmes does not wait for a breakage.
The Boilers and Furnaces.
The boilers used in this plant, as shown in Fig. 3, are known as the Hazelton tripod boilers, and are two in number, of 500 H. P. each. These boilers, which are regularly developing 1,500 H. P., occupy with the six Roney mechanical stokers with which they are equipped, a floors pace of but thirty-two feet wide by fifty-eight feet long. In spite of the large increase over the rated capacity of the boiler, the steam remains uniformly “dry.” These boilers and stokers have now been in operation twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week for over a year and a half, and have never failed in the slightest respect to maintain the highest degree of efficiency and economy. The soft coal screenings, which is the kind of fuel burned at all the power stations of this company, are taken by a Harrison conveyer as fast as unloaded, elevated to the top of the building and distributed to the several iron storage tanks, holding upwards of eighty tons, and from there flow by gravity into the coal magazines on the stokers, as shown in the cut, whence they are supplied automatically to the furnaces, so that from the time the coal is unloaded from the wagon it is not handled again until the fine ashes are taken from the ash % pit. Not only are the boilers and stokers wonderfully economical of fuel, but the visitor, on account of the small number of men employed, and the absence of all dust and ashes, is vividly reminded of the boiler rooms of Pittsburg, Pa., where only natural gas is used. In fact, the economy in fuel and labor obtained at this plant leaves a very small margin in favor even of natural gas.
Fig. 1, showing a sectional elevation of a 350 H. P. boiler with two Roney stokers attached, will enable those interested to better understand the construction and setting of a Hazelton boiler, which differs radically from the ordinary type of boiler. It is claimed for them that they possess a number of important advantages, and are not only the safest, but the most economical of steam generators, as the entire boiler is heating surface, and the full force of the heat is applied most effectually.
Their distinctive features consist in an upright centre column, the sediment falling by gravity to the bottom, where it is easily removed; and the radial arms are short, being twenty-four to thirty-six inches in length and affording a very rapid circulation. These arms are made of regular boiler tubes, with one end closed and the other expanded in a hole bored in the centre column. There is no pull or strain on the joints, as the tubes are made fast at one end only,and can expand freely as heat is applied. Large domes are provided at the water line which increase the water area, and steam is given off free of water. The part of the boiler above the water line is steam space, and the tubes above the water line act as steam dryers. Thus with this boiler the steam is hotter than the temperature due to the pressure, as it passes in all the tubes above the water line before it leaves the boiler. The gain from this alone, it is said, is great, as the steam is dryer and hotter, enabling the engines to cut off shorter on account of the greater expansion of dry steam. All the parts of this boiler are easily accessible for repairs and cleaning. A very desirable feature is that the ground space required is comparatively very small, a 500 H. P. boiler needing only seventeen feet. No stack is necessary, as the bricking in of this boiler forms the stack.
The foregoing account of the boilers at this steam plant would be incomplete without a description of the stokers and furnaces with which these plants are equipped, and which are to the boilers what the lungs are to the body, taking from the atmosphere the necessary oxygen to combine with the hydrogen and carbon of the fuel, and producing a heat which sends the steam flying through the entire system of mains and pipes, as the blood courses through the arteries and veins of the body.
FIG. 2 General section showing Roney Stoker on large scale.
The Roney mechanical stokers and smokeless furnaces are in use on all boilers of the City Railway Co., which fact is an evidence of how highly they are regarded by this company. To describe the operation of the stoker briefly, we would say the fuel is fed in from the hopper by a gradual motion, which can be regulated to feed little or much, and the coal, as it enters, is coked under the short arch at the front of the grate, and the gases given off in this coking operation receive the necessary air for perfect combustion from the hot air chamber with perforated bottom, shown at the head of the grate and immediately over the coal as it enters the furnaces. This air heated in passing through the air spaces in the side walls and mingling with the gases given off in the coking of the fuel, produces practically perfect combustion, so much so that the fire is smokeless when the supply of fuel is regular and constant. After the combustible portion has been burned the ash and cinder are deposited in the ash pit ready for removal. This apparatus may be seen in Fig. 1, as attached to a Hazelton boiler, and in Fig. 2 a general section on a large scale is shown. The fuel to be burned is dumped into the hopper on the boiler front. In small plants it may be shoveled in by hand. In large plants such as in the State Street power-house, Fig. 3, it is usually handled direct from the car to the hoppers by elevators and conveyers.
FIG. 3 Boilers and stokers in State Street Power House
The grate bars which extend laterally across the furnace are constantly in motion, and form alternately a series of steps as shown in the cut, and then by a forward rocking motion dip down until they overlap like shingles on a roof, forming a favorable surface for the forward movement of the coal, but before it slides too far the grates return to the stepped position, thus checking the downward motion of the coal and breaking up the clinker thoroughly over the whole surface of the grate, and admitting additional air for the combustion of the fuel. This alternate sliding and checking motion being constant, finally lands the cinder and ash on the lower dumping grate, when by releasing the handles shown in the cut the grate tilts forward, throwing the cinders into the ash pit, when it can again be closed, ready for further operation.
View of Wheelock Engines
State Street Power Plant
From this brief description it will be seen that the Stoker can be operated continuously, and the fire can be forced whenever and as rapidly as desired, without opening doors for the supply of fuel or cleaning grate. This is an important feature in its construction and an element of the economy in the operation of the stoker. For, as is well known, the continual opening and closing of doors in the ordinary method of firing is not only a source of great loss in fuel, hut a severe strain upon the boiler shell, on account of the unequal contraction and expansion it causes. In mechanical stoking the furnace is never open to the outside air, hence its temperature is always high and always uniform; a most important consideration often overlooked. The effect of this on the life and maintenance of the boiler is evident.
It is hard to conceive of a simpler device for accomplishing so important a purpose. The stoker is strong and well built, having in view the conditions of its operation and the usual nature of its attendance. There are few pin connections or finished parts. The strains are exceedingly light, and the motion is so slow as not to be perceptible to the casual observer. Any single bar can be picked out and replaced even easier than in the ordinary flat grate. On account of the free circulation of air through the grate, due to the constant rocking motion, the bars are kept cool, and consequently are long lived. The boiler fronts are plainly but handsomely modeled, in accordance with the prevailing idea of mechanical contour. The application of the stoker to the remodeling of existing boiler plants is fortunately easy. The stoker itself is independent of the masonry of the boiler setting. In setting a stoker, the lower half of the boiler front is removed. The stoker is then erected in place, without other disturbance of the boiler setting.
The stoker is manufactured and sold throughout the United States by Messrs. Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co., New York, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburg; Chicago office, 156 & 158 Lake Street.
The engines which drive the cable-winding machinery of this extensive plant are known as the “Improved Wheelock” engines, from the Wheelock Engine Co., of Worcester, Mass. The general appearance may be seen by reference to the engraving on the previous page, which presents an interior view of the State Street power house. The most remarkable feature of this type of engine is the valve system, the exterior parts of which are shown in the engraving. The valve employed is a multi-ported slide, working on a flat seat, formed within a skeleton plug or shell, through which passages are cored, forming ports into and out of the cylinder. The valve and operating parts being mounted upon or within this shell, they together form a complete and self contained piece of mechanism entirely independent of the cylinder. The shell is turned slightly tapering, to fill corresponding holes in the walls of the steam chest, and being ground to a steam tight fit therein, it, with the contained valve, seat and operating parts, is lightly driven into place and is retained secure without the need of other means of fastening than results from the tanered driven fit.
The valve is operated from a rocking spindle having bearings in the ends of the shell. Motion is communicated from the spindle through crank arms and a pair of short links connecting the latter with the valve, and forming a toggle joint which converts the rotary motion of spindle into reciprocatory motion of valve. The spindle works in hardened steel bushings, and is itself of steel, hardened and ground, as are also all the running parts of the valve gear The spindles are self-packing, by the action of steam pressure forcing the accurately ground face of a collar against a corresponding face of the end of the bushing. Upon the outer end of spindles are keyed cranks, driven direct from the eccentric in case of the exhaust valves, those of the admission valves being operated from the others by latch-links, which alternately hook on and let go through the action of a curved finger engaging with trip-cams adjusted by the governor, thus accomplishing cut-off in an obvious manner.
It is apparent that when the strain on the engine varies so suddenly and violently as on a great cable road, where it may happen that a large number of trains have to be started at the same time, or may be all as suddenly freed from the cable during stops, a quick-acting automatic cut off engine, which shall instantly reciprocate to the varying strains, is an imperative necessity, and from their adoption by the Chicago City Railway it would appear that the “Improved Wheelock” filled all requirements. The dimensions of the two pairs in use in the plant under description are 30′ X 60′, extra heavy throughout, and capable of developing a total of 2,200 H. P. The other engines (all Wheelock) in use by the same company are: One pair 36″x 72’ = 2,000 H. P.; two pairs, 24′ x 48 = 1,200 H. P.; one 16″X48″ = 125H. P.; making a total of 3,325, or in all of 5,525H. P. These are said to be low ratings, however, the nominal rating being 6,000 H. P.
View of Driving Engines
State Street Power Plant
The Cable Winding Machinery.
The driving machinery for all the cables of the Chicago City Railway Co. came from the well-known firm of Poole & Hunt, of Baltimore, Md., now Robert Poole & Son Co. Each pair of the engines above described has a crank shaft, eighteen inches diameter, which with the crank weighs about 20,000lbs. The main driving pinions fastened to the crank shaft are six feet diameter and thirty-two inches face, weighing 20,000lbs. each. The teeth are of the double helical type, and mesh into those of the main driving gears (ten feet diameter), fastened to the main line shafts. These gears weigh 28,000 lbs. each, and are cast in one piece. They are marvels of the moulder’s skill, running true and, considering the great power transmitted, comparatively noiseless, although there has been no machine work done on the teeth, they being left just as they came from the sand. The fly-wheels on the engine crank shafts are twenty-four feet in diameter, and each weighs 90,000 lbs. Each of these monster wheels is made in ten sections, so accurately fitted and bolted together, that, al though the outer rim travels at the rate of a mile a minute, there is no perceptible variation from its true and even motion. The main line shaft is fifteen inches diameter and sixty-eight feet long. It is in four sections and revolves in eight bearings. There are two pinions on this line shaft, one five and one six feet diameter, sixteen inches face, weighing respectively 8,000 and 9,000 lbs.
Meshing with each driving pinion is a ten-foot diameter gear, weighing 14,000lbs. Said gear is fastened to a shaft, carrying a drum on each end. A second pair of drums is carried by a shaft, having a similar gear, while between the two there is an idler shaft, with a five foot diameter pinion. The drums driven by the six-foot pinion, on the main line shaft, drive their cables one mile per hour faster than those driven by the five-foot pinion. The drum shafts are ten inches diameter and sixteen feet long, and run in pillow blocks sixteen inches long, which are bolted to a heavy cast iron framework, which in turn is anchored to solid concrete foundations, thirteen feet deep. Usually the bearings for drum shafts are placed on either side the drums, but here the drums are hung outside the bearings, and the outer ends of each pair of drum shafts are connected by a strut, which can be adjusted for wear, and which relieves the pillow blocks of the strain caused by the cable passing around the drums. The drums being outside their bearings, permit the ready removal or replacement of the cable if desired; and allows making an extra lap, when the cable has stretched to such an extent that it would otherwise be necessary to cut a piece out. The drums are twelve feet diameter, weighing 12,000 lbs. each, and have six one and a quarter inch turned grooves
The incoming cable passes around its pair of drums with two or three wraps as the case may require; then leads from the bottom of the drum to the tension carriage, where it passes around the tension wheel from the under side, and leads out into the street, passing around a twelve foot horizontal sheave, and is afterwards elevated to its proper level in the channel. The drums, gears, engines and shafting make an aggregate weight of over one million pounds, and occupy a space 151 ft. long and sixty feet wide.
In all this heavy machinery the utmost nicety of construction and finish prevails, and great pains were taken in the casting of these immense drums and wheels, in the selection of the iron and in having the molten metal in just the proper condition when the castings were poured. One little defect in a single tooth, of the hundreds so rapidly turning in this multitude of wheels, might cause wreck and ruin to them all.
A few words in passing with regard to the tension carriage, a simple but most essential requisite of a cable road. The cables, in order to receive any motion, must be always taut on the drums. To secure this automatically yet effectively, the cable as it comes into the power-station is passed around the drums, and thence before returning to the street around a vertical iron sheave, weighing 3,000 lbs., twelve feet in diameter, with a one and a quarter inch groove in its rim. This wheel is set in a wrought iron frame, twelve feet long, carried by four flange wheels on an ordinary steel T-rail track, with a forty-four inch gauge. At the farther end of this carriage is attached a heavy chain, which may be shortened or let out at will by means of a sprocket wheel. This chain passes over a pulley, and suspends in a pit a weight of 4,000 lbs. As the moving cable comes in taut or slack the carriage moves forward or backward, and the weight in the pit rises or falls. The great weight of the cable causes a sag of one and a half inches between each carrying pulley. When a heavily loaded train grasps the cable in starting this slack is all taken up for some distance ahead; but in a few, seconds when the train has secured its momentum, this slack is replaced. Were it not for the mobility of the tension carriage this sudden and constant tightening and loosening
of the cable by the multitude of trains would prevent a steady and uniform motion of the cars. The tension also takes up the natural stretch, which in a new rope five miles long amounts to fifty feet the first day, and often as high as one hundred feet the first week, after which the stretch is nominal.
The Inter-Ocean July 17, 1890
STARTING THE CABLE
The West Side cable was started yesterday morning at 7 o’clock, and at 8 o’clock the first grip car was run out. After that several cars followed, and then continued to run all day. The cable worked all right, but it was run slow in order that the other cars might not be interfered with. The only trouble seemed to be at the curve at Jefferson street, and there the grips were a bit troubled. This will be remedied at once. The grips turned onto Jefferson street and ran down to the switch near Washington, and were there switched over to the west track and then made the return trip. There is a cross switch on Jefferson street so that the grips can easily be returned from that point. The system, from the Washington street loop to the Milwaukee avenue and Madison street lines, is a complete lot of switches, and the grips can move in any direction at will, so that it is no trouble for the Madison street grips to go back from Jefferson street. The grips will be run every day on Madison street until all the difficulties are overcome.
Chicago Cable Cars
February 25, 1893
LaSalle Street Tunnel Entrance
Engraving by Charles Graham
Harper’s Weekly, Saturday, 24 May 1890
The Street Railway Journal, January 1893
New Loop of the West Chicago Street Railroad Company
The patrons of the West Chicago Street Railroad Company have never been satisfied with the present downtown loop. It does not extend east sufficiently far to accommodate a large proportion of business men, while ladies are left at a three blocks from the shopping district. Work is now in progress on a new loop which will remove these causes for dissatisfaction. The accompanying map shows the new as well as the present loop. At the present time cars turn from Washington Street at the corner of Fifth Avenue, and loop through Madison and LaSalle back to Fifth Avenue and Washington Street. The new loop will follow the old route to the corner of Madison and La Salle Streets, when instead of turning down the latter street they will continue on Madison Street, turning north on State Street, and returning direct to the West Side by Washington Street
The work on the new loop will progress slowly, as it is prosecuted under the most unfavorable conditions. The vast throngs of people that pass the corners in the very heart of the city must be accommodated, to the decided hindrance of the work. Provision has been made for them by building bridges over the excavations and iron work. The time of beginning the work was rather inopportune as the frozen ground makes excavation a slow process. The company, however, had no choice of times. It was not allowed to begin work earlier, as the city authorities, for obvious reasons, refused permission for opening up the streets prior to the dedication of the World’s Fair buildings. These were not the only obstacles. When the streets were opened a great many pipes ranging in sizes from three to twenty inches were found, and their removal was necessary before work could be prosecuted in earnest. The owners of these water, gas and electric tubes had been notified months before that they would be called upon to change the locations of their pipes, but they paid no sort of attention to the notices. The company was severely criticised for the delays in the work and bad conditions of the thoroughfare, although it seemed apparent on the surface that the one was not its fault and that the other was the inevitable accompaniment of the enterprise.
All the work is of a most substantial character, and adapted to the severe demands of downtown service. Parabolic steel curves are to be laid. The entering curve a radius of fifty feet. The special work was designed in the company’s office and was constructed by the John son Company.
As the map indicates, there will be five cable crossings; the new loop passes the North Side loop at La Salle and Madison, Dearborn and Madison, Dearborn and Washington and La Salle and Washington Streets. At the last corner it will also cross the old loop. At all of these points will be located depression and safety sheaves so arranged that if the former give way the latter will carry the rope and prevent it cutting into the cable which it crosses. At these points rollers will also be arranged, designed to act in case a careless gripman neglects to release the rope; in that event either the grip will be broken or the cable released.
The Street Railway Journal, November 1892
The New Cable Station of the West Chicago Street Railroad Co.
The West Chicago Street Railroad Co. are now erecting two new cable power stations whose equipment combines many features of interest. These improvements, together with the new tunnel under the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, will involve a total outlay of $2,000,000. Both of the stations are well under way. One of them will, in all probability, be in operation by January 1 ; the date when the second plant will be started is contingent upon the completion of the tunnel, the construction of which has been already delayed to such an extent by litigation that no one dares to commit himself to a prediction.
The larger of the power stations is located at the corner of Blue Island Avenue and Twelfth Street. The ground is irregular in shape, but the form is nearly triangular. As a reference to the drawing (Fig. 1) of the elevation on Blue Island Avenue shows, a six story building is to be erected adjoining the station. It will be a handsome structure, and will be divided for offices which the railway company will let for general and business purposes. It will be lighted by electric light, provided with elevators, and the tower will contain a clock with six four foot dials. The structure, which will cost $50,000 exclusive of the site, will he the most pretentious building in the neighborhood.
From the same drawing an idea of the general appearance of the exterior of the power station may be gained. The station, like the adjoining office building, is to be built of brick with cut stone trimmings, and will be covered by a truss roof, 100 ft. span, with corrugated iron inside and outside. Louvres are provided for furnishing light and air. The stack will rise to a height of 165 ft. Fig. 2 shows the Twelfth Street elevation of the building.
FIG 1—Blue Island Avenue Elevation
New Cable Power Station
West Chicago Street Railway
The sub-construction for the station was very expensive. When the excavations were in progress a slough was struck. To make proper foundations for machinery it was necessary to excavate thirty-eight feet below the street level and to use an enormous amount of concrete. The cost of this portion of the work was not less than $65,000. The West Chicago Street Railroad Co. constructed the building, and the entire equipment was contraded for by the Pennsylvania Iron Works Co. The cost of the building and its equipment will be about $500,000.
The boiler room is built with steel girders and brick arches. There are eight Otis steel boilers, the dimensions of which are 72 ins. X 20 ft., made by John Mohr & Co., of Chicago, and provided with furnaces for burning oil. Dodge injectors will be used, capable of furnishing the supply of water for all the boilers, and a large duplex Snow pump, with dimensions 14 ins. and 8X12 ins. will be available. Two Berry man heaters, each of 1,000 h. p., will be installed. Under the sidewalk will be located a cistern of sufficient capacity to hold a twenty-four hours’ supply. This is an extremely important= provision’, as it has more than once happened in Chicago that the city supply has failed, and steam users have been subjected to extreme inconvenience for several hours. Oil will be conburned
as fuel, and two tanks, each of a capacity of 20,000 gals., will be built under the sidewalk.
Power will be supplied by two high pressure Allis engines of 1,800 h. p. each, with flywheels twenty-four feet in diameter and weighing 100,000 lbs. each. All cylinders will take steam from the under side beneath the floor, so that no steam pipes will be seen in the engine room. The cylinders are provided with hand reversing gear consisting of a bronze rack on the wrist plate, and a pinion which is secured to a cast iron stand bolted to the floor, the starting bar being removable. A fourteen inch separator with steam loop arrangement is provided for each engine. The eighteen inch exhaust pipe is fitted with a Warren Acme A exhaust head. An electric light plant will be located in the engine room.
Power will be transmitted from the main line shaft, which is eighteen inches in diameter, by means of cut steel gear and 1,000 h. p. friction clutches operated by hydraulic cylinders. By this arrangement any of the four cables may be started or stopped by turning a small valve. Four sets of winding machinery, consisting of Walker differential drums, will be installed, of which one will be kept in reserve. This provision is regarded as a wise one as it guards against prolonged delay in case of an accident to one of the drums. The vault sheaves are so ar ranged that any one of the cables may be transferred to the reserve drum in an hour and a half. For winding up the old cables two sets of the Pennsylvania Iron Works Co’s patent reels have been located between the tension runs which extend under the boiler room floor, the carriages being of the Root design.
From the plant will be operated three cables, two for the Blue Island Avenue line, and one for the Halsted Street line. The latter passes through a subway on Twelfth Street for half a mile before reaching the Halsted Street conduit. This cable will have a speed of ten miles per hour; of the two ropes on Blue Island Avenue, one will move at the rate of ten miles, and the other at twelve miles per hour.
It has been stated that the engine room is free from steam pipes, which have been kept below the floor. This plan was followed in order that the room might be clear for the operation of traveling cranes. It is doubtless true, as the engineers of the West Side Street Railroad Co. assert, that an equipment of cranes in a cable station conduces to the economy of the plant. When the inevitable accident comes, repairs can be made quickly, and an enormous saving in time is effected ; and at the same time when these appliances are available it is no longer necessary to keep on hand the “rigging” for handling heavy parts, which in the aggregate involves the outlay of considerable money. The two cranes in the station were manufactured by the Walker Manufacturing Co. They are each of fifty-six foot span, and each has a capacity of twenty-five tons.
FIG 2—Twelfth Street Elevation
New Cable Station
West Chicago Street Railway
VAN BUREN STREET POWER STATION.
From the station located at the corner of Van Buren and Jefferson Streets, the cable for the new down town loop will be operated. The building is L shaped, with a frontage of 175 ft. on the latter street and fifty feet on Van Buren Street. The structure will be brick with cut stone trimmings. The stack will be 150 ft. in height with eight foot core. As in the case of the other station, the building is erected by the railroad company and the entire equipment is furnished by the Pennsylvania Iron Works Co.
With one or two important exceptions, the station has been planned on the same lines as the Blue Island Avenue station, and the description may, therefore, be materially abridged. Steam is generated in two Otis steel boilers, 72 ins. X 18 ft. under which oil will be burned. Dodge injectors and a Snow duplex pump will be used.
The two engines will be of 1,500 h. p. of the Allis make, with flywheels twenty feet in diameter, each weighing 100,000 lbs. In this station power will be transmitted by twenty-six three inch cotton ropes, the pinions on the engine shaft being eight feet in diameter, and the rope wheels thirty-two feet in diameter, weighing sixty tons each. Two sets of Walker differential drums, thirteen feet four inches in diameter will be installed, one being held in reserve. For winding old cables, reels of the Pennsylvania Iron Works Co.’s patent type will be used. Tension carriages will be of the Root design.
One cable will be operated from the station, passing through the tunnel and around the loop as follows: On Van Buren Street east to Dearborn Street, north to Adams, west to Franklin Street, south to the entrance of the tunnel and back to the station. The length of the rope will be about 12,000 ft., and its diameter ins. Two Walker traveling cranes will be available for handling heavy machinery; one will be of forty six foot span and the other fifty-four foot span. The electric light plant for lighting the tunnel will be located in the station. Seventy-five arc lights will be necessary for this purpose, and the current will be generated by a dynamo operated by a sixty horse power engine. A similar engine and generator will be held in reserve.
Both the stations will be complete in every respect, and every detail has been carefully worked out. They were both designed by S. Potes, chief engineer of the West Chicago Street Railroad Co., with whom was associated in designing the buildings H. B. Prudden of Kansas City. The work has been prosecuted under Mr. Potes’ personal supervision, and when finished they will embody the very latest ideas in the design and equipment of cable power stations.
THE CABLE CAR ROUTES
STATE STREET LINE (28 Jan 1882)
State Street Loop
Powered by 21st Street and State Street Powerhouse and 52nd and State Street (1887)
From State and Madison Streets
East on Madison Street to Wabash Ave
North on Wabash Avenue to Lake Street
West on Lake Street to State Street
South on State Street to 39th
Extended to 63rd Street (1887)
WABASH/COTTAGE GROVE LINE (1882)
Powered by 55th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue Powerhouse
From Wabash and Madison
North on Wabash Ave to Lake Street
West on Lake Street to State Street
South on State Street to Madison Street
East on Madison Street to Wabash Avenue
South on Wabash to 22nd Street
Cottage Grove Avenue to 55th Street
CLARK STREET LINE (26 Mar 1888)
Down Town Loop
Powered by LaSalle and Clark Street Powerhouses
The Clark Street Station is the central or main station, and is a model of neatness and order. It contains four Corliss engines of 500-horse power each, four sets of cable-driving machinery, eight massive boilers, and the fuel is handled by an elevator worked by a link belt apparatus. These engines drive three distinct cables, the combined length of which is about 56,500 feet. One of them runs on Clark street north to within 150 feet of the limits car-house and returns, and is 22,700 feet long; the second cable runs south on Clark street to within 150 feet of Illinois street and returns, being 9,200 feet long; and the third cable runs from the power-house through a subway on Clark street to Division is red, and on Division to Wells street, north on Wells street to the intersection of Clark and Wisconsin streets, where it passes around a large drum and returns to a point 150 feet north of Illinois street, around another drum, back to Division, through the subway, and to the power-house, the cable being 22,000 feet long.
La Salle street, from Randolph street to Monroe street (single track).
Monroe street, from La Salle street to Dearborn street (single track).
Dearborn street, from Monroe street to Randolph street (single track).
Randolph street, from Dearborn street to La Salle street (single track).
La Salle street (and avenue), from Randolph street (through tunnel from near Randolph street to near Michigan street) to Illinois street.
Illinois street, from La Salle avenue to Clark street.
Clark street, from Illinois street to car barns at southwest corner of Dewey (first street south of Diversey street) and Clark streets.
WELLS STREET LINE (26 March 1888)
Powered by LaSalle and Clark Street Powerhouses
South of Illinois street at La Salle avenue — same as Clark street line.
Illinois street, from La Salle avenue to Wells street.
Wells street, from Illinois street north to Clark street.
Northwest of Wells street at Clark street — same as Clark street line.
La Salle Street Power House
LINCOLN AVENUE LINE (February 1889)
Powered by Lincoln Avenue Powerhouse
The Lincoln avenue power station contains two Corliss engines of 300-horse power each, six boilers and two sets of driving machinery, and the plant is used to move the Lincoln avenue cars between the junction of Centre and Clark streets and Wrightwood avenue, the cable for the purpose being about 18,000 feet long.
South and southeast of intersection of Clark street and Wells street, cars interchange between Clark Street Line and Wells Street Line.
Clark street, from Wells street northwest to Center street — same as Clark Street Line.
Center street, from Clark street to Lincoln avenue.
Lincoln avenue, from Centre street to Wrightwood avenue.
The Milwaukee Avenue Line (June 7 1890)
The Milwaukee avenue power-house, located at the corner of Cleaver st., in outward appearance and general equipment is very similar to the one on Madison st It is supplied with two Corliss engines of 1,200 horse-power each, which were built by Frazer & Chalmers, of Chicago. These two engines operate the entire Milwaukee ave. system, which extends from Jefferson and Washington sts. to Armitage ave. The west end rope is driven at the rate of twelve miles an hour, while the east end rope is moved at the rate of ten and one-half miles. As with the Madison St. ropes, their speed, however, can be increased or lessened at will.
East of Jefferson street — same as Madison Street Line.
Washington street, from Jefferson street to Desplaines street.
Desplaines street, from Washington street to Milwaukee avenue.
Milwaukee avenue, from Desplaines street to Armitage avenue.
The Madison Street Line (July 16 1890)
The West Side cable system consists of two distinct lines—the Madison street line, which runs directly west, and the Milwaukee avenue line, which runs northwest. Both lines connect with the downtown ” loop” hereafter referred to, and in smoothness of trackage and comoleteaess of equinraent are prepared to invite the most rigid investigation and comparison. The power for the operation of the system is supplied from three distinct power-houses, all of which are supplied with the best machinery and appliances thatcould be obtained. The principal power-house is located at Madison and Rockwell sts. , being 210 x 225 feet. Itcontains two 1,200 horsepower engines, and one of these is going night and day (moving the cars on Madison st.), while the other is held in reserve in case of an accident. The cable running west t© Fortieth street is driven at the rate of fourteen miles an hour, while the one running east is driven ten and a half miles an hour ; the speed of either of them, however, can be increased at will. There is in addition a Corliss engine to propel a loop rope in the power-house, by means of which the cars can be reversed at Rockwell st. whenever it is necessary. The power-house itself is a neat and attractive structure, lighted by electricity, and surmounted by a smoke-stack 175 feet high.
Down Town Loop —
Fifth avenue, from Washington street to Madison street (single track).
Madison street, from Fifth avenue to State street (single track).
State street, from Madison street to Washington street (single track).
Washington street, from State street to Fifth avenue (single track).
Washington street, from Fifth avenue (through tunnel between Franklin street and Clinton street) to Jefferson street.
Jefferson street, from Washington street to Madison street.
Madison street, from Jefferson street to crawford avenue.
CLYBOURN AVENUE LINE (May 1891)
Powered by Clark Street Powerhouse
South of intersection of Wells street and Division street (same as Wells Street Line)
Division street, from Wells street to Clybourn avenue.
Clybourn avenue, from Division street to power house at Cooper street (about 300 feet southeast of intersection of Clybourn avenue and Ashland avenue).
Lincoln Avenue Power Station
South Halsted Street Line (1893)
The third power-house is located at the corner of Jefferson and Washington sts., and is where the company’s offices are to be found. This station is furnished with two five hundred horse-power Wetherell- Corliss engines, which are used to operates the Washington street tunnel loop. The cars of both the Madison st, and Milwaukee ave. lines are delivered to the cable at this station, and by it they are drawn through the tunnel and around the loop heretofore mentioned. The service of this particular cable is very exacting. At times the heavily loaded trains are but a few seconds apart, yet there is seldom, if ever, any cause for complaint, so perfect are all the details and so elaborate the machinery and appliances. The dynamos for lighting the tunnel are also located at this point, as is also the base of an electric signal system which extends along the several cable lines. By this system the conductor or gripman can communicate with the powerhouses and offices at any time, which is an adjunct of almost incalculable advantage in keeping the tracks clear and promptly stopping the machinery in case of accidents from any cause.
Down Town Loop —
Franklin street, from tunnel south (about 110 feet) to Van Buren street (single track).
Van Buren street, from Franklin street to Dearborn street (single track).
Dearborn street, from Van Buren street to Adams street (single track).
Adams street, from Dearborn street to Franklin street (single track).
Franklin street, from Adams street to tunnel (single track).
Tunnel, from Franklin street to Clinton street.
Clinton street, from tunnel to Van Buren street.
Van Buren street, from Clinton street to Halsted street.
Halsted street, from Van Buren street to O’Neiil street.
O’Neil street, from Halsted street into car barns at southwest corner Halsted and O’Neil streets.
Blue Island Avenue Line(1893)
It is expected by the company that the work of laying cable track on Blue Island ave., the great southwestern artery of the West Division, will be commenced during 1891. Powerhouses are at Jefferson and Van Buren and at Blue Island and 12th Streets.
North and east from intersection of Blue Island avenue with Halsted street same as Halsted street line.
Blue Island avenue, from Halsted street southwesterly to Western avenue and Twenty-sixth street.
Chicago Tribune July 22, 1906
State street bade an ungrateful farewell to the cable train of the Chicago City railway company this morning, in the dark and early hours when good people were asleep and the roystering were enjoying their ephemeral fling.
Groaning and wabblng as one decrepit and having earned a long rest, the final cable train rattled and bumped around the loop and swung into position for its “positively last performance” at 1:35 o’clock a.m. The train consisted of a battered grip car and a twenty year old trailer.
Just behind it moved the first real State street troley car, belated forerunner of faster transportation.
At the time the cars reached their destination they were much splintered and smashed by “relic hunters.”
It was a muggy, sultry night. All day the hot sun, scarcely tempered by a breeze, had beaten down fiercely on the pavements, softening the asphalt into jelly, prostrating citizens, driving those who could obtain release from the burning heat to cool lake resorts. Belated pedestrians dawdling along Madison street, limply gave evidence of the long battling with the heat. They had drifted from mirrored, palm sheltered cafés, regretting separation from the soothing music, white clad waiters, and tall glasses tinkling with cracked ice and grateful summer drinks. The languid air of these late ones was compatible with the enervating midnight.
Weary Workers Homeward Bound.
Others were waiting for the last cable train—a great crowd of curiosity seekers. A policeman stood at the corner of Madison and State streets. He lifted his uncomfortable helmet to wipe his perspiring forehead. He was talking with a cabman, the head of whose ribbish horse hung listlessly.
Four negroes leaned on their shovels on the corner. They wore overalls caked with the dried clay that told of a fatiguing eight hour shift in the excavation for some future sky scraper. The neatest one of the quartet had his blue jumper tied in a compact bundle that fitted snugly in the spoon of his shovel.
“When does the last cable train leave?” a man on the corner asked.
“There’s no use o’ my lyin’ or four flushin’,” the policeman said, and he removed his helmet again to get the full benefit of a fancied reply. “I just don’t know, it may be 1 o’clock or it may be 2.”
“A few minutes after 12 boss,” one of the colored workmen answered.
Ready for the Last Cable Ride.
Many others had joined the group at the corner as the archaic cable train—the last of its kind in State street—lumbered up grumblingly.
The conductor ranh=g his bell with every day nonchalance—a mechanical act that had no sentiment for him until he was stirred later with reminiscences of his first trip over the line.
The train lumbered through the deep cañon of the big department stores—the wonder of the world—impressive examples pf latent energy in their dark and deserted state. It clattered past saloons where the Chicagoans in vain endavored to keep down their physical temperature while their mental atmosphere rose with the sipping of uncounted highballs. Past the “midway” section of the mart of commerce, giving passengers a glimpse of two burlesque theaters, with their posters of houris in tights pointing slippered toes in the direction of the few surviving hairs of venerable bald heads. Past cheap lodging houses, pawnshops, small second hand household furniture shops.
Negroes—always more negroes—boarded the car. Smartly dressed colored folk, who chatted gayly, baking in the midnight heat with hereditary immunity. Negro women in white dresses. Some of them wore blue badges. They had been to some function. A negro lad of 10 in a white knicker suit, with a crimson sash drape diagonally over his blouse. Negroes with pinchbeck jewelry and chiffon hats and canvas shoes and silk elbow gloves and Panama hats and silk shirts.
Going Through the Black Belt.
State street caters to the colored people. A restaurant near Twenty-seventh street was piled high with watermelons of the long variety, whose exposed luscious red interiors caused the occupants of the car to crane their necks longingly until after the car had passed.
The Pekin, said to be the most noted theater for colored folk in the world, was still a blaze of light and gorgeous coloring—the most noticeable landmark in the street. The car already had passed flaunting reminders of the levee and waiting carriages and automobiles near Twenty-second street.
The severe heat intensified all the bad smells of a not overly clean quarter of the city, but the real smell—the smell for which Chicago is famous, which cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world; the odor that Chicago cannot escape by any possibility—was encountered a little north of Twelfth street. There wasn’t much wind, but there was enough to carry the odor of offal from a thousand noisome smelling places in Packingtown through the car, and to cause comments even among those most familiar with its varying degrees of offensiveness.
A policeman boarded the car at Thirtieth street.
“Hello, Goddard!” he said to the conductor, cheerfully. “Taking your last trip, eh? No more cable cars after tonight.”
“That’s right,” answered Goddart, before he swung along on the footboard to pick up two more fares. “I’m taking out the last cable train tonight. In 1886 I run the first cable train south of Thirty-ninth street.”
Conductor Welcomes the Change.
This was better than the Historian had hoped for—to meet an old conductor—and at the first cessation of the collector’s activity he made his way to the rear platform.
The conductor was F. L. Goddard, a keen faced, slender, swarthy man of 55 years. A drug clerk once, he became a street car employe for health’s sake.
“Don’t you feel a pang of regret when you stop to consider that this is the last trip—positively the last trip—you’ll ever make on a cable car?” the Historian asked.
“Pang, nothing!” answered Goddard. “I’m progressive. This is an age of electricity.”
Some time or another you may be sure the sentiments of some traction magnate had been passed along to that conductor. “An age of electricity!” T. E. Mitten, or John M. Roach, or Pierepont Morgan could not have said more pat.
“It’s an age of electricity,” the conductor repeated, pausing to inspect closely a suspicious looking nickel. “The cable is out of date—out of style. Styles in transportation systems change like a woman’s hat—though not so often in Chicago. Now, we’ll have a modern traction system. Look at St. Louis. Finest street cars in the world. And a slow town at that!”
He jumped off the car to assist an aged negress who carried an armful of bundles and when he came back he said he hoped to have one of the electric cars.
Goddard in Reminiscent Mood.
State street had the cable to Thirty-ninth street in 1882. In 1888 the cable was extended from Thirty-ninth street south to Sixty-third street and I had the honor of taking the first car out. William O’Brien, superintendent of barns—he’s been dead these nine years—drove the train. Before that I ran a horse car—Paddy Ryan, who is desk sergeant at the Central station—and I.
The people south of Thirty-ninth street were crazy for the cable then and the cars were crowded. Twenty years ago the passengers were a different class of people from those who ride now in the State street cars. There weren’t so many colored people. The Indiana electrics were not running and Wentworth avenue had nothing but horse cars. The black belt didn’t go much farther south than Twenty-fifth street—now it runs clear to Sixty-third street. Now the line id patronized mostly by black people. I have no complaint to make about them. I have less trouble with them than with white folks.
The Inter Ocean, August 20, 1906
WARNING—Teamsters, union men,and others, are hereby warned to avoid West Madison street and Milwaukee avenue for a few days at least. The Union Traction company has placed electric trains on these streets and the new electric trains need all the highway, as well as a good portion of the sidewalk. No man, the motorman in charge especially, can tell when the train will stop or when it will start. The method of starting and stopping at present in vogue is to pull any lever hard and trust in Providence. No one was killed yesterday, because there were no teams on the street.
Seventy-six electric trains yesterday morning replaced the venerable cable cars on West Madison street and Milwaukee avenue. The populace of those busy thoroughfares was on hand early, prepared to rejoice. It stayed to lament.
Some of the most optimistic citizens who yesterday viewed the dashing career of the renovated cable cars doing duty as electrics predicted that perhaps in a month it would be safe to cross the street. No one had the the nerve to set the day on which it would be safe to ride in one of the revamped rattletraps.
Cars Run in Bunches.
Yesterday the cars ran in bunches. For a period of five minutes they would fly past a given point at such speed and with such continuity the heads of the spectators reeled.
Mothers clutching their babies hurried into nearby doorways, and aged persons sought the shelter of quiet side streets. Of course no one could get on, but still the sight of the speed possibilities of the new motive power was most encouraging.
Then a car would break down of jump the track, or do something that would necessitate a stoppage, and all the cars in the line behind it would come to a standstill. People who had waited for two or three hours at transfer points would gleefully clamber aboard to take their first ride on a Madison electric.
After a while the car would be hoisted on the track or the motor would be fixed and with much ringing of the foot gongs a start would be made. Everybody got the worth of his money in excitement, but no one cared to make more than one trip.
Havoc Among Outing Parties.
Families out driving for the day in delivery wagons, would take the track for a few minutes to miss the holes in the pavement. The ringing of the gong would come to the children in the rear seat and before the father at the helm would be able to turn his head the car would be upon them. A wild scramble would clear the right of way, and the family would continue its outing on some other street. About four of these nerve straining performance were all that the average passenger could stand.
“Next crossing, please,” a passenger would say.
“Bing,” would go the bell.
The motorman would begin to make passes at the levers and while in front of him, and at an accelerated pace the car would go sailing on its way.
“I’m doing all I know,” the motorman would say,”I hope the bridge is not open.”
Demonstrators Test Motormen.
Every hour or so the current would be shut off from the power-house, and when the cars stopped demonstrators would get on board and show how things ought to be done.
It was not all the fault of the motormen. The cars are also to blame. They are ancient, but freshly painted, and the motors are not all that they might be.
The old time gripmen are a fine set of men physically, but it takes time to break the habits of years. The only good thing about the old cables was the brakes, and and that has gone with the cars. The “new” cars are without air brakes, and hand brakes are not good enough for a motor and trailer.
The people took the thing as a joke yesterday, but it may be serious today when the heavy traffic starts.
Electric Trolley Car
Francis Gregory, Conductor