Electric Interurbans


Electric interurbans are a kind of cross between streetcars and railroad.  A belt of lines was partially contructed around Chicago. 

Joliet and Plainfield were connected in 1903, and extended in 1904 to Aurora and to Chicago Heights in 1909. The lines became unprofitable and were abandoned in the 1920's.

Sources - Click for more info:





Interurban Rail

The interurban was an electric railway that was important in the eastern half of the United States from about 1890 to 1925. Interurbans provided passenger service between cities and towns.

Interurbans were a cross between a streetcar and a train. There were 15,500 miles of interurban rail in the US in 1915.

Interurbans in the Chicago region included the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad (North Shore Line), the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, and the South Shore Line.

The South Shore Line that services Chicago to South Bend is one of the last operations still running in the US that began life as an interurban.  It still operates in Michigan City, Indiana down the middle of a street like a street car.  The equipment is now modern electric rail equipment.

The South Shore Line has flag stops. Back in the good old days you would flag a train and it would stop and pick you up.
I did this at Calumet Harbor, a desolate spot with no sign of any kind of train station.  I simply waived my hand and the seven car train stopped from 70+ miles per hour. I ran to the train and hopped off and off we went. People were surprised to see the train stop to pick me up.

At night people would light a newspaper so the train would know that a passenger wanted them to stop.  Now flag stops have a 

"push button located in or near the shelter to activate strobe light to signal train to stop. Please push button at least 5 minutes before scheduled departure time of train. Strobe light will turn off automatically after 10 minutes. Passengers should remain visible to engineer when standing at platform. There is no strobe at McCormick Place or 63rd St."



Comparing electric interurban railways and "steam railroads". The three major interurbans entering Chicago were not typical interurban lines, enabling them to survive well beyond the 1930's, when most interurban lines were abandoned.


"America's Last Interurban" continues to operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.


Operated until 1963 between Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Operated until 1957 west of Chicago.


These three major interurban lines entering Chicago were once controlled by Samuel Insull, who also controlled various electric companies including Chicago's Commonwealth Edison, along with other interurban lines in Indiana, and the Chicago Rapid Transit Co.
Insull acquired control of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad Co. in 1916, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad Co. in 1926, and the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad in 1925. Insull resigned from control of all companies in 1932.


The more traditional interurban lines were more local in nature, and were basically extensions of city streetcar lines into the country, and on to other cities. Such lines typically ran alongside country roads, which generally were not paved at the time. But the paving of such roads in the 1920's and 1930's made the local interurban lines obsolete, with buses able to do the job more economically.


The first local transit routes in Chicago's suburbs were electric railways, including streetcar and interurban lines. Nearly all of these routes were replaced with buses during the 1930's, evolving to today's Pace bus system.


Local interurban lines did once extend beyond the Chicago area into northern Illinois. But outside the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area, public transit agencies were never approved, and local and interurban public transportation disappeared entirely.


Some of America's most comprehensive interurban railway networks existed in the Midwest states beyond Chicago.


Beyond the Midwest, the development of interurban lines was generally quite fragmented, except in the densely populated northeastern United States, where many local electric railways existed and interconnected.


The interurban industry is one of the most unsuccessful industries to ever exist in America. Included are misconceptions and myths, and what really happened to interurban transportation.

  1. Interurban - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Jump to Power collection by rolling stock – Most interurban cars and freight locomotives collected current from ... An example of this was the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin where a ... AC transmission lines, and AC/DC conversion systems.

  2. CHICAGO INTERURBANS PAGE - chicago transit & railfan


    When one thinks of an electric interurban railway, one usually thinks of the ChicagoSouth Shore and South Bend Railroad (South Shore Line), generally ...

  3. Interurban electric rail -- Chicago Tribune


    The Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, an electric interurban rail linethat carried passengers between Milwaukee and downtown Chicago, shut ...

  4. The Last Interurbans - Academic Web Server - Presbyterian College

    web.presby.edu › Academic Web Server › Jon Bell › Transit

    Jul 14, 2007 – A list of electric interurban railways in the US that survived until ... to Wisconsin, using a series of connecting interurban lines... 1957, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, Illinois, Third-rail power; used 'L' tracks to reach Chicago's Loop ...

  5. Welcome to the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society


    We invite you to join the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society and explore First & Fastest ... in what is now known as the Chicago Hub Network of Amtrak, and our special publications. ... Want to find out about our new electronic publication?

  6. Winnetka's “North Shore Line” Electric Inter-urban Service


    Winnetka's “North Shore Line” Electric Inter-urban Service. Gazette ... Fifty years ago, an inter-urban, electrified railroad known as the Chicago, North Shore, and ...

  7. ELECTRIC INTERURBAN RAILWAYS | The Handbook of Texas ...


    The electric interurban industry in Texas totaled nearly 500 miles, the second ...About 70 percent of the mileage was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where electric lines ... LeRoy O. King (Chicago: Central Electric Railfans' Association, 1982).

  1. Old South Shore (America's Last Classic Interurban Railway ...


    Apr 10, 2008 - Uploaded by GreenFrogVideos
    Purchase at -- www.greenfrog.com By the late 1970s, theChicago, South Shore and ... been the sturdiest of ...
  2. More videos for electric interurban lines chicago »



    THE ELECTRIC INTERURBAN IN ILLINOIS ... Two of the interurban lines spreading outward from Chicago competed with the automobile for many years by ...

  4. Interurbans - Encyclopedia of Chicago


    By 1910 a network of interurban electric railways connected many of the cities ... to the Loop over the Chicago Elevated Railway's Northwestern line until 1919.

Cost of Housing


The cost of housing in parts of the USA have gotten very high. People in those communities who do not already own a home have a very difficult time in buying or renting.  Many solutions are proposed, but the problem is very difficult.

For an individual who can work remotely, the solution is obvious. Move to a much more affordable community and telecommute. This solution does not work for people who must be present at their workplace. 

Click to view the interactive map, illustrates costs per square foot for selected counties.


Sanctions on Putin

The sanctions that the nations of the world have placed on Russia will drive their economy far down. And the withdrawal of international companies from the Russian economy will likewise drastically impact Russia.  Hopefully this will lead to a negotiated settlement with Ukraine. And hopefully this debacle will bring about the end of Putin.

No one has talked about this possible saction, but it would be very effective. The nations of the world enact a substantial tarif on Russean energy imports, and direct the money for weapons and aid to Ukraine, and then towards rebuilding the buildings and infrastructure destroyed during the war. The impacts of this tariff would be felt in both Russia and the world energy market, and would hurt the world economy, and hopefully be only temporary.   

One more way to whack Putin.


Interactive Pipeline Maps


The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) Public Viewer from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration allows users to view pipelines and related information by individual county for the entire United States. The map includes:

  • Gas and hazardous liquid pipelines
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants
  • Breakout tanks (tanks used for storage or flow relief)
  • Pipeline accidents and incidents going back to 2002

Users can click on individual pipelines to find operator information and contact details, pipeline status and length, and the commodity being carried by the pipeline. For accidents, available information includes the date of the accident, the name of the operator, the material released, the total volume lost and recovered, and the cause of the accident.

Click here to access the interactive map.



Ukraine Invasion

 The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a terrible thing.  And the west is doing the right thing - massive sanctions which are really damaging the Russian economy.  They will, unfortunately, take time to work. The question is whether they will inflict enough pain on Russia so tha the people and their leaders work up enough courage to tell Putin to stop.  A big question.

Of course Russians that only watch their national TV know only Putin's take on the war.  Russians who use the internet know what the rest of the world thinks.  

It is vitally important that we keep informing the Russian people as best we can about what their government is doing in Ukraine.  Below is an interesting idea.


“A Norwegian computer expert has created a website enabling anyone to send an email about the war in Ukraine to up to 150 Russian email addresses at a time, so that Russian people have a chance to hear the truth their government is hiding.

All over Russia email inboxes are pinging. Millions of messages are being received with the same intriguing subject Ya vam ne vrag - I am not your enemy. The message appears in Russian with an English translation and it begins: "Dear friend, I am writing to you to express my concern for the secure future of our children on this planet. Most of the world has condemned Putin's invasion of Ukraine.”

“The lengthy email goes on to implore Russian people to reject the war in Ukraine and seek the truth about the invasion from non-state news services.

In just a few days, more than 22 million of these emails landed in Russian inboxes, and they're being sent by volunteers around the world, who are donating their time and email addresses to the cause.”

“The spam email campaign created by a small team in Norway seems to have caught the imagination of thousands of people searching for ways to help Russians learn about the war.”


Electric Interurbans

  Electric interurbans are a kind of cross between streetcars and railroad.  A belt of lines was partially contructed around Chicago.  Jolie...