A Chicago Hub Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
The Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad
"North Shore Line"


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CNS&M North Shore Line
February 9, 1941
The Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, often called the North Shore Line, was an interurban railroad line that operated between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with branches to Mundelein, Illinois. It had two separate routes from Chicago to the North suburbs, and operated until it's abandonment in 1963.(wik)(rp)
The predecessor of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee began life in the 1890s as a street railway line in Waukegan, Illinois. As the company grew and made plans for expansion, it became the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railroad.(wik) When the company exited reorganization in 1916, it was renamed the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad. Chicago utility magnate Samuel Insull acquired a controlling interest in the railroad and served as its chairman. Insull, through a holding company, controlled two other Chicago area interurban railroads the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad which connected Chicago with its west suburbs and the Fox River valley, and the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad or South Shore Line, which connected Chicago with


North Shore Line
North Shore Line
September 29, 1946
Northern Indiana and which continues to this day as one of the last interurbans in the United States.(wik)
The North Shore Line of 1916 consisted of a main line whose southern terminus was in Evanston, Illinois, just north of the Chicago city limits. The line continued north through Chicago's wealthy north shore communities along Lake Michigan Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, and Highland Park. The line continued through Highwood, home of the railroad's headquarters and main shops, and continued through Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, North Chicago, and Waukegan. From Waukegan, the line traversed Zion before entering Wisconsin and tapping Kenosha and Racine, before reaching its northern terminus in Milwaukee. The entire main line in Illinois was double track, but pockets of single track remained in Wisconsin. While some of the line was street trackage, most was on private right-of-way which, along with the paralleling line of the Chicago and North Western Railway bisected the business districts of the north shore communities as far north as Lake Bluff.
At Lake Bluff, a branch diverged to the west to serve the Libertyville area, now Mundelein. At North Chicago Junction, a branch led to downtown Waukegan via city streets.(wik)

History of Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad

1890's - Predecessor was a street railway in Waukegan, Illinois, Expanding line becomes Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railroad
1916 - Reorganized as Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad. Samuel Insull in control. Southern terminus is Evanston, Illinois, with transfers to Chicago Rapid Transit. North terminal Milwaukee
1919 - Trackage rights obtained to bring North Shore into Chicago Loop
1920 - New terminal in Milwaukee dedicated
1920's - Almost all of former single track now double tracked.
1920's - Some additional deluxe limited stop name trains added, with dining, and parlor observation cars. Example was "Gold Coast Limited"
CNS&M
1920's - Feeder bus lines established
1923-24 - Skokie Valley line from Evanston west to Skokie and then north, paralleling the North Western completed to remain competitive
1925 - Niles Center (Skokie) CRT line opened on North Shore tracks
1926 - Improved and extended Skokie Valley line allows diversion of limited trains to high speed runs and improves local service on the Lake Shore line
1932 - Depression causes North Shore to go into receivership
1939 - Refurbished "Greenliners" begin operation
1941 - North Shore and North Western complete grade separation projects financed partially by US Gov't
1941 - Streamliner lightweight "Electroliners" introduced
1941-1945 - War years increase traffic to Fort Sheridan and Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Revenues increase
1946 - Reorganization complete
1947 - Service into Waukegan downtown reverts to bus service
1948 - 91 day work stoppage
1949 - Revenues decrease as post-war motor cars increase. Attempts to drop Shore Line fails
1953 - Reorganized as part of Susquehanna Corporation, a holding company
1955 - Shore Line service discontinued
1963 - North Shore line shuts down. Chicago Transit Authority buys the Howard street line to Skokie

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- various editions
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Copyright Richard Parks, April 25, 2009, revised May 6, 2011