Thursday, September 11, 2008
North Shore Line
One of the most famous railroads in the Chicago region was the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad—known as the North Shore Line. The railroad operated from 1916-1963, but began its life in 1894 as a street railway line in Waukegan.
After the company reorganized in 1916, industrial tycoon and founder of Commonwealth Edison, Samuel Insull, bought a controlling interest and served as its chairman for many years, transforming it into one of the finest electric interurban railways. The main line's southern terminus was in Evanston, Illinois and northern terminus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 1941, the North Shore Line added premiere service trains called Electroliners. These trains could attain speeds of over 110 miles per hour, but generally traveled at 85-90 mph, and transported passengers from Chicago to Milwaukee in under two hours.
The completion of the Edens Expressway and the Northwest (now Kennedy) Expressway in the 1950s and 1960s, caused a sharp drop in passenger ridership, ultimately leading to the line's closure on January 21, 1963.
For over a decade, the right-of-way remained unused, but parts of it have since become the Green Bay Trail, now one of the most popular hiking and biking trails in the Chicago area.