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North Shore Line
    The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad (CNS&M) is often referred to as "America's Fastest Interurban".  Its
trains raced between Milwaukee and Chicago at speeds approaching 90 mph.
    The CNS&M began in 1895 as the Bluff City Electric Railway, a local streetcar line in Waukegan, IL.  Soon the owners
changed the name to Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railway (C&ME) and set their sights on connecting the two name cities.
A branch was also constructed to Mundelein.
    Later, the name was changed to Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad.  More often referred to as the North Shore
Line (NSL).  It saw its greatest advancements as part of the Insull empire of electric railways and utility companies.
    In 1926 they opened their Skokie Valley Route, which bypassed most of the shoreline communities.  This high speed line
became the showcase of the system.
    With the Great Lakes Naval Base and the Army's Fort Sheridan on the line, servicemen were always steady customers.  
Through the years, especially during WWII and Korea they carried thousands of trainees to camp and to the cities for "leave".
    Their two sleek, modern Electroliners were the pride of the system, but their skilled shops kept the older cars in shape to
maintain the fast (80+mph) and frequent (hourly) service.
    In addition to the interurban line, they also operated several streetcar lines in Waukegan, and one in Milwaukee.  The
Waukegan streetcar service ended in 1947.  The Milwaukee streetcar service ended Aug 12, 1951.
    Despite being fast and convenient, interurban service all across the country fell victim to improved highways and rising
costs. Service on the "Shoreline" ended July 24, 1955.  All remaining interurban service ended on a bitter cold Jan. 21, 1963.
    Ironically, while the line was facing abandonment, Japanese engineers came to study the line while planning their high speed
"Bullet Trains".
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
May 29, 1896 - Bluff City Electric Railway begins streetcar operations in
Waukegan.
May 12, 1898 - Line is expanding with vision to reach Chicago and Milwaukee.  
Becomes Chicago & Milwaukee Electric.
Dec. 2, 1905 - Service reaches Kenosha.
Sept. 2, 1906 - Service reaches Racine.
Sept. 1, 1907 - Local streetcar operations begin in Milwaukee.
Oct. 31, 1908 - Interurban service begins Evanston to Milwaukee.
July 26, 1916 - Sam Insull takes control. C&ME becomes Chicago, North Shore
& Milwaukee (CNS&M) aka North Shore Line (NSL).
Aug. 6, 1919 - Direct service begins between Milwaukee and Chicago "Loop".
Sept. 14, 1920 - New Milwaukee station opens.
1923 - Parlor-Observation service begins.
June 5, 1926 - New Skokie Valley route opens bypassing shoreline communities.
June 24, 1926 - Eucharistic Council near Mundelein draws over 75,000 riders
from Milwaukee, Waukegan and Chicago.  North Shore Line operates 445 trains
in one day using their equipment and Chicago "L" cars.  Most trains running 2 to
15 minutes apart.
May 1926 - Begin "Ferry Truck" (Piggyback) freight operation.
April 23, 1932 - End of Parlor-Observation service.  Cars rebuilt into regular
coaches, but lacking restrooms.
Sept. 30, 1932 - Line in bankruptcy and receivership.  Insull resigns.
1936 - Cars equipped with new wheel design offering more stable ride.
1930's - WPA project separates grade of CNS&M and CNW eliminating road
crossings through Glencoe, Winnetka and Kenilworth.
1947 - End Waukegan city streetcar service.
April 30, 1947 - End of "Piggyback" service.
1951 - Several cars remodeled as "Silverliners".
Aug. 12, 1951 - End of Milwaukee city streetcar service.
1953 - Railroad reorganized as CNS System later known as Susquehanna Corp.
July 24, 1955 - End of Shoreline route service.  Single track remains to Highwood
shops.
Jan. 19, 1963 - Last operation between Lake Bluff and Mundelein
Jan. 21, 1963 - End of all interurban passenger service.
Jan. 26, 1963 - Last of passenger cars and freight cars removed from line.
Opened in 1920, the new Milwaukee station replaced the original "storefront" station on 2nd between Wells and
Wisconsin.  The passenger facilities faced 6th and Michigan while the trains entered from 6th and Clybourn after coming
off the 6th street viaduct.  A freight terminal and additional storage tracks occupied the remainder of the block.  People
not old enough to have experienced the NSL, may find it hard to visualize where the station was, and when the trains
traveled through the city streets.
After leaving the Milwaukee station a southbound Electroliner meets a northbound train of standard cars on the 6th street
viaduct.  A 2-car train of standard cars heads south on 5th street.  Street running in Milwaukee brought the trains into
downtown, but the slow tedious run among traffic added time to the schedules.
Out of the cities, the double-track private right-of-way was
built to the highest standards, and well maintained permitting
speeds in excess of 80mph.
The 'Liners were the pride of the system, but the standard cars
held down most of the runs.
Unlike the 'Liners, they could run as single cars or be MU'ed
together in as many cars as needed, limited only by restrictions
in Milwaukee and length of loading platforms.
Entry into the heart of Chicago was faster, obtained by
operating over the elevated system where they mixed with the
"L" cars.  On rare occasions the trains could also operate
through the subway.
Introduced in 1941, the two Electroliners were the most modern
electric railway equipment of the time.
The 'Liners were self contained four-car articulated trains, with
electric heating and air-conditioning and a tavern-lounge car.  
Cooking of burgers and light meals was done on an electric stove.
Although capable of speeds over 100mph, they were limited to
the 80mph to 90mph of the standard cars.
Passenger service received the most attention from fans, but freight was also very important, and handled in a
number of ways.
Steeplecab locos hauled on-line freight as well as interchange loads.  Some of the smaller locos were equipped with
batteries to allow switching on industrial spurs not covered with overhead wire.
Less than carload freight was hauled in merchandise despatch cars running alone or mu, with as many cars as
needed.  Many were later converted to work cars.  They also introduced "Ferry Truck" (Piggyback) service hauling
trucks and trailers on flatcars.
The North Shore Line started as a streetcar line in Waukegan, and they continued to operate several lines there.   
They also operated a single line in Milwaukee.  In Milwaukee, they exchanged transfer privileges with the Milwaukee
Northern Rwy, but not with The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co.  Through the years they operated several
types of streetcars.  Below are two examples.
Double-truck car 356 heads south on 5th street while single-truck Birney 335 heads south on 6th street approaching
the viaduct.  Although the Birney's spent a short time in Milwaukee, mostly during WWII,  they earned the
nickname "Dinky" for the city streetcar line, which lasted to the end of streetcar service.
Here are just a few examples of
the public timetables and the
hundreds of various tickets used by
the North Shore Line.
They needed tickets for travel
between each station, as well as
different types for commuters,
students, clergy and service men.
  Although the line has been abandoned for over 50 years (as of Jan. 2013), it still remains one of the favorites among those
old enough to remember it, as well as newer generations with an interest in transit.  Collectors have preserved the memory
through an abundance of artifacts, brochures, slides, movies and photos.  It is the subject of numerous books and videos.  
Many of the cars built in the 1920's and 1930's and the Electroliners are preserved and still operate at several rail and trolley
museums.




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