Monday, July 4, 2016

CSL Fare Registers

Here's an interesting email we received from a reader, Phil O'Keefe.  I can't answer his questions, but I'm sure some of our knowledgeable audience can help!  He writes:

Hello Randall:

I really enjoy your blog.

I am a big CSL fan.  I have been for over 40 years.  I know quite a bit about the streetcars and routes.  One thing I have been wondering about for quite a while now is… What kind of fare registers did the CSL Blue Goose PCC cars have?  I have looked at this vintage photo of a car in original 2-man configuration and I see nothing except what appears to be a farebox:

Now the thing is, the Peter Witt cars and Pullman pre-PCC car each had a square International fare register mounted above the conductor’s station:

Then, the postwar PCC cars have the round International fare registers which were probably salvaged from older red streetcars that were scrapped just before and after WW2. (I believe that International Register Company phased out the round fare registers around WW1 after the square registers were introduced.)

If you don’t know the answer to my question, then I would appreciate it if you could ask around IRM.  I’m sure someone there would know the answer.  BTW, it would make a cool blog article to discuss CSL/CTA fare registers.  I think the CSL primarily used International registers, but I suspect there were some older cars that had Sterling (or Sterling Meeker) registers.  I found a Sterling years ago with a CSL-looking number painted on the face, but no CSL logo.  The face needed restoration, so I added the logo just for fun:

Oh, I’d like to mention that when I lived in the Chicago-area, I was an active member at the Fox River Line.  I worked as a motorman and conductor for many years and ended up as Assistant Trainmaster.  I also worked on car maintenance/repairs/restoration.   One of my biggest projects was getting NSL 715 repaired, repainted, and back in service again after we purchased it from TWERHS at East Troy.  It was a real mess when we got it.

Here’s a photo of Stan Bristol (conductor) and myself (motorman) with George Krambles and his entourage at the museum in the late ‘80s.  

I was motoring CTA 4451 on an inspection trip for Krambles.  I let him motor the car back to the depot from the end of the line.

I would really love to operate the CSL streetcars at IRM, but I now live in Minnesota about 4 hours away from Union.  I would only be able to come out maybe a couple of days a year to operate if I may.   



Phil O’Keefe


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, Randall. Maybe someone out there knows.


Anonymous said...

The Blue Goose fare registers were written up in the Autumn 2011 edition of First & Fastest by George Kanary. See page 20.

This new fare register, made of plastic, will
allow the passenger to see their fare being
processed. The top piece has a series of lights
and a specific tone to indicate the amount of
fare being paid. The three-cent children’s fare
was announced by a red light and a three-tone
—From the November 1936 issue of
Surface Service Magazine, Author’s Collection

There seems to be a copy of this article at:

Bill Wulfert

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Bill. That was a very interesting article in F&F. George really knows his stuff. He is also a fantastic O Scale CSL streetcar model builder. I once visited his Chicago streetcar layout and was blown away by his modeling skills.

So, in the Blue Goose interior photo above, what I thought was a fare box, is apparently one of those "plastic" fare registers. It would be so cool to have more detailed information and clearer photos on these registers. It's unclear how they were actuated. Looks like the conductor possibly inserted coins into the two slots in the top? I doubt that any of these oddball registers survived when the CTA converted the prewar PCCs into one-man cars in the early '50s. But, you never know.