CTA Surface System History presented by the Illinois Railway Museum

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This website is a collaborative effort between the Illinois Railway Museum's Strahorn Library, Trolley Bus Department, Motor Bus Department, and the Museum's generous donors. If you like what you see here, please consider a donation to any or all of these departments. NO MUSEUM FUNDS ARE USED ON THIS WEBSITE - all domain fees and website builder fees are donated for that specific purpose while scanning and coding is done completely by volunteers. This site will be continually updated so come back often to see what's new! Please mention you like this site when making your donation. Using the links below will open a new browser/tab and take you directly to the museum's SECURE website which will allow you to make donations. This window/tab will remain open and accessable. Thank you in advance for your generosity!!!

Click to donate to the Trolley Bus Department

Click to donate to the Strahorn Library

You can also support the Museum by purchasing items from our CTA Sign Website.    Click here to go directly to IRM's CTA Sign Sales Site.   

Clicking on the above link will open a new browser window/tab so this site will continue to be available.


This website would not be possible without contributions of materials and time from:

Do you see gaps in the website collection? A map that we don't have an image for, or a transfer style/route that is not represented here? Do you have such an item in your collection??? Of course we would love to accept donations of items that are not currently in our colleciton, but, should you want to hold on to artifacts, that's perfectly understandable. We would greatly appreciate a scan of the missing item(s) or contact us via the email link at the bottom of this page to discuss lending us your artifact(s) so we can scan and return them to you. Of course proper credit will be given. Our goal is to make this website as comprehensive as possible, with or without the artifacts in our possession. Please use the webmaster email contact link at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your consideration!!

Latest Update: 05/12/2021

- We have had some recent additions to our transfer collection. So far, 218 images of new-to-our-collection transfers, 153 images of upgraded transfers, and 71 images of new-to-our-collection transfers which replaced images supplied to us by others, have bee loaded. There are now 2,957 transfer images available. We are currently going through all the new arrivals, sorting them, comparing them to our current collection, choosing new and upgraded ones, scanning them, and uploading them here. More will be coming very shortly. The individual style counts will also be updated once everything is loaded. Click here to go directly to the Transfers page.

Other Recent Updates:

- 80 additional CTA Trolley Bus photos from the Steve Scalzo Collection have been uploadd to the "Photos" section (40 last week & 40 just now - Pages 34 & 35 are the newest pages). There are now 1,559 photos available from the Steve Scalzo Collection. Click here to go directly to the Photos page.

- An additional 40 CTA trolley bus photos from our R. Hill Collection have been loaded. This bring the total photos now available from that collection up to 240. Click here to go directly to the Photos page.

- 97 new individual route maps have been added thanks to Andre Kristopans. We have also added 5 new timetables. Click here to go directly to the Route Descriptions/Driver's Maps page.

- Two additional full issues of Surface Service magazine have been added (October & November 1938). This brings our total number of full issues of employee magazines to 364. Click here to go directly to the Employee Magazines page.

- As an accompaniment to his "Motor/Trolley Bus Route Histories", Chicago transit historian Andre Kristopans has provided us with a comprehensive history of streetcar routes! They can be found on the Route Descriptions/History page, just below the complete system route index books and route number history document link. Click here to go directly to the Route Descriptions/History page.

- In the spirit of the note immediately above the "Latest Update" section, noted CTA Historian and prolific author Bruce Moffat graciously allowed us access to his vast collection of individual route maps, also knows as "Line Maps". Although our collection spans decades of accumulating these from our generous members, Bruce's collection produced over 1,300 individual maps that were not in our collection. That represents an increase of about 58% and would bring the total number of maps to 3,500! Once the scanning was complete, in a completely unexpected and very generous move, Bruce donated the entire collection to the Museum. Thank you SO MUCH Bruce, that move elevates this part of the Museum's collection to "World Class" status. They are now all uploaded and available!! Click here to go directly to the main Route Descriptions page.

- Another brand new subsection has been added to the North Shore Main Section. This one features Public Timetables - 22 of them. Click here to go directly to the NSL Public Timetables page.

- Thanks to long-time Museum volunteer Bill Wulfert, who graciously allowed us to scan his vast collection of fantrip information, we now have an additional 100 new items in that section. UPDATE: Among several other updates thorughout the site, another 11 fantrip tickets have been added, again thanks to Bill. Click here to go directly to the Fantrips page.

Some numbers for this site:

Total photos available: 4,229
Total blueprints available: 438
Total amount of data available: 35.1 Gb
Total individual route timetables available: 1,217
Total CSL/CTA Employee magazines available: 364
Total line maps/individual route descriptions available: 3,595
Total transfer images available: 2,957 (2,796 of those from Chicago)
Total full system map scans available (pre-CTA, CTA, RTA, Nortran): 224
Total number of web pages viewed on this site (through 05/11/2021): 399,325

Useful Links:

Illinois Railway Museum Homepage

Chicago L.org Website - Excellent Detail About Rapid Transit

Trolleybuses.net Website - Tons of photos of Trolley Buses and the new home of Dave's Railpix

Please feel free to use the information contained within this website for your personal enjoyment. Nothing contained within this website may be reproduced without first obtaining permission from the Illinois Railway Museum. PLEASE respect the museum and its collection in this matter.
The CTA logo (used on this site with permission) and any logos contained within this website are copyrighted and may not be used or reproduced without the consent of the respective agency/entity.
Please direct questions and comments (no solicitaiton emails please) to IRM-CTA Webmaster . The Illinois Railway Museum is always looking for donations of CTA and predecessor companies' material. Also use this email if you have artifacts to donate to the museum. We will gladly contact you about making arrangements for donations. Remember that the Illinois Railway Museum is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law (please consult your tax adviser to determine deductibility).