Chicago Commuter Rail Collection

An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago




Collection Summary

Creator:Chicago Commuter Rail
Title:Chicago Commuter Rail Collection
Dates:1898/1947
Abstract: The Chicago Commuter Rail Collection includes stereoscopes of a Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad station, a photograph published on a calendar sheet, acceptance and bond agreements for the Chicago City Railway Company with the City of Chicago, and bus schedules for the Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc.
Quantity: 0.10 linear feet
Identification: CCR

Administrative History of Chicago Commuter Rail

Chicago's first streetcars were horse-drawn vehicles operated by the Chicago City Railway Company and the North Chicago City Railway Company during the late 1850s and early 1860s. Cable cars and electric-powered trolleys were later substituted in the 1880s. The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company was incorporated on April 7, 1892. The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company, known as the "Met" or "Polly L" constructed a four branch railroad system between downtown Chicago and the western city limits. After overcoming financial problems in 1897, the Met's "L" system embarked on a continuous expansion, later forming the backbone of mass transit in Chicago during the 1930s and 1940s.

Consolidation of Chicago's commuter rail companies proceeded relatively quickly during the 1890s, and by 1905 the City voted to place surface railways under municipal ownership, but not operation. Private companies continued to operate the lines, subject to rehabilitation and maintenance requirements, and a new agency, the Board of Traction Supervising Engineers, had the right to approve or deny any construction or expansion plans. Chicago could boast the world's largest public transportation system during the Century of Progress held in 1933 and 1934, but by the late 1940s, the automobile and other changes in the urban economy and society had made Chicago's private transportation firms unprofitable. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), a public entity, was created on April 12, 1945 to acquire, own, and operate the mass transit system in the Chicago metropolitan area of Cook County.


Scope and Contents

The Chicago Commuter Rail Collection includes stereoscopes of a Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad station, a photograph published on a calendar sheet, acceptance and bond agreements for the Chicago City Railway Company with the City of Chicago, and bus schedules for the Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc.


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Subjects:
Chicago and West Town Railways --Sources.
Chicago City Railway Company --Sources.
Local transit --Illinois --Chicago --Sources.
Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad --Sources.
Railroads, Elevated --Illinois --Chicago --Sources.
Street-railroads --Illinois --Chicago --Sources.
Chicago Neighborhoods


Detailed Description/Box and Folder Listing

Chicago Commuter Rail Collection, 1898-1947

BoxFolder
11Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad - Stereoscopes and photographs, 1898-1910
2Chicago City Railroad Company - Acceptance and Bond agreements with City of Chicago, 1907
3Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc. - Bus Schedules, 1943-1947