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TOM'S RAILFAN PAGES
MY UNCLE THE MOTORMAN













Home | TROLLEY SQUARE | SAVING CTA CAR 28 | CAB RIDE AT THE EAST TROY RAILROAD | MODULAR LAYOUT PROJECT | RIDING ON BUDD CARS | THE 14 YEAR OLD CONDUCTOR | THE ELECTROLINER STORY | MY UNCLE THE MOTORMAN | SOME PHOTOS | IN SEARCH OF CIRCUS WAGONS | IRM IN 1966 | MY BIO PAGE AND AFFILIATIONS





My exploits on the Lake Street Line with Uncle Pierre:

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A Lake Street 4000 series train
on the ground portion of the line.
I always wanted one of those gateman
shantys as a playhouse when I was
little, but they were torn down
fast when the line was remodeled
and raised up on the embankment
in 1963.
















During the 1960's my Dad and I took frequent trips on the L. My uncle Pierre was a motorman for the Lake Street Line which was our main starting point for our excursions. The Lake Street line was one of my favorites because it still used the older 4000 equipment and had overhead wire for its ground operations. One day in 1962 Dad and I met Pierre by chance at the beginning of his shift. He was with several motormen and they all were going to ride up to the yards to get their trains. All of us got in the rear car of a Loop bound train, opened the windows and the rear door for air circulation. This was a real treat for an young boy to ride with real motormen and listen to their jokes and stories, all the while listening to those motor and gear sounds reflect off the embankment wall as we travelled down the line. Pierre introduced me to Tiny, a very large man who reminded me of Curly Joe (of three stooges fame). After a few stops, more cars were coupled onto the rear of the train. I had a good view to watch the workmen connect the cables and hoses between the cars. Soon we were off on our way again without the nice view out the back door. All too soon the train went up the incline and the trolley poles were pulled down to finish the trip on the elevated portion of the line using third rail. Up the line was the stop where my uncle and his coworkers had to get off to make up their own trains. Pierre instructed Dad to get off at the second stop and wait on the platform for him. I got to do some train watching as we waited on the platform for Pierre to come. After several trains went by, one started to slow down a bit. Tiny leaned out of his cab and yelled as he went by "Pierre is Three trains behind". I swear the front car of his train was leaning to the side under his 400 pound weight. Tiny accelerated his train away and I listened and watched his train take a shallow curve at speed and disappear into the distance. The third train pulled up and there was Pierre smiling and inviting us on board. I enjoyed the rest of the ride watching him work the controls and brakes. Even though I was only 7 or 8 at the time, I was well familiar with the operations of the 4000's. Pierre always said when I was older he would let me operate his train around the Loop. We had a limited train so Pierre was able to keep the train at full speed most of the time. The Lake Street Line had the least amount of curves of all the lines on the CTA. Dad and I got off in the Loop and transfered to another line to go north. I'll always remember that day with Pierre and Tiny. The next few years Dad and I would occasionally meet up with Pierre, once in the Loop when he was running the New Look cars (2000 series) and another time when we gave him a ride home after his shift. In 1971 Pierre had to retire due to his cateract operations on his eyes. The Lake Street (Lake/Dan Ryan by this time) never seemed the same, but I'll always have my memories.

IN 2004 I WAS ABLE TO RUN A 4000 SERIES TRAIN.
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WHILE RUNNING THESE CARS, I KEPT REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES RIDING THE 4000 SERIES CTA CARS.