Early CERA bulletins were generally very short in length, some just a single sheet of paper, but gradually grew longer over the years. Late in World War II, the Trolley Sparks periodical, started in 1944 by Barney Neuberger, was brought into the CERA fold and continued for a while as a separate publication. You can read more about that early history here.
Eventually, the Trolley Sparks series became CERA bulletins, issued on an irregular basis, and requiring a separate subscription from CERA membership. As our publications grew longer and more detailed, this arrangement became unsustainable. And so it was that CERA announced on August 10, 1951 that the Trolley Sparks series would be discontinued with Bulletin 95. (This letter is reproduced in our 2013 book Trolley Sparks Special #1, on page 68.
By this, they meant it was being discontinued as a periodical, since the Trolley Sparks name continued to be used on the cover of CERA bulletins through number 100. These later issues were book-length volumes issued more or less annually, however.
Some active CERA members, believing there was a continuing need for short-length traction publications, organized the not-for-profit Electric Railway Historical Society in January 1952.
You can read a comprehensive history of ERHS here. Besides the short publications, ERHS was instrumental in acquiring and preserving several historic streetcars, now part of the Illinois Railway Museum collection, including CTA 4391 and Chicago & West Towns 141. We posted some pictures of 141 being moved to the ERHS barn in Downers Grove here.
Between 1952 and 1967, ERHS put out 49 bulletins. Many were reprints of trade publications from Brill, St. Louis Car Co., and other streetcar manufacturers. But there were also valuable original works by such noted authors as James J. Buckley, George W. Hilton, Paul Stringham, O. R. Cummings, George K. Bradley, and many others. Over the years, all of these publications have gone out of print and are very hard to find.
ERHS was dissolved around 40 years ago, and never had an extensive membership. Most of the people who were active in it are no longer with us.
CERA was granted permission to reprint the ERHS bulletins many years ago. However, it took some time before we could reach a consensus on the best way to do this.
Throughout its 15-year publishing history, ERHS maintained a very high level of quality in their output. We feel that it is important to give these works new life in the digital age.
Therefore, CERA is excited to announce the availability of the Complete ERHS Collection in digital form, starting May 1, 2014.
Since there would probably be a very limited demand for any one title in the series, we decided it would be best to make all 49 bulletins available for readers and researchers on a single disc that can be viewed on a computer, using Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program that most people already are using. We are offering this for the bargain price of just $29.95, with domestic shipping included. This works out to a cost of just 61 cents per book.
It took some time and effort to acquire a complete collection of all 49 ERHS bulletins in excellent condition. For nearly all bulletins, multiple copies were studied and the ones in the best quality were chosen for high-resolution scanning. Each bulletin is an exact facsimile of the original.
The disc includes an introduction as well as an index to all 49 bulletins, which can be viewed separately, plus some additional bonus features.
Other than doing just what we did, and painstakingly assemble a complete collection yourself, which could take years, this is the next best thing. Why not purchase your copy today?
Making these historically important works available to the public once again is fully in keeping with CERA’s mission “to encourage study of the history, equipment and operation of urban, suburban and mainline electric railways.” CERA is fully committed to expanding our publishing activities to include shorter works as well as full-length volumes in the future, honoring the spirit, the example, and the legacy of the Electric Railway Historical Society.
-Your CERA Directors
A Complete List of All 49 ERHS Buletins:
#1 – Lightweight Interurban Cars (1952)
#2 – Chicago City Railway Co. Book of Standard Cars (1952)
#3 – Chicago & West Towns Railways (Story and Research by Robert W. Gibson) (1952)
#4 – Brill Magazine, May 1927 (1952)
#5 – Westinghouse Cars and Car Equipment (1952)
#6 – The Northern Indiana Railways by George K. Bradley (1953)
#7 – Brill Magazine, August 1916 (1953)
#8 – The Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry. by James J. Buckley (1953)
#9 – Car Plans of the Perley A. Thomas Car Company, High Point, N.C. (1953)
#10 – Cable Railways of Chicago by George W. Hilton (1954)
#11 – Brill Magazine, July 1915 (1954)
#12 – A Granite State Interurban: The Story of the Concord and Manchester Electric Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1954)
#13 – Car Plans of the Chicago Railways Company 1911 (1954)
#14 – Cars of the McGuire-Cummings Mfg. Co. 1911 (1954)
#15 – Brill Magazine, December 1914 (1954)
#16 – The St. Joseph Valley Railway by Joseph A. Galloway and James J. Buckley (1955)
#17 – Interurban Trolley Guide 1915 (Chicago to New York by Trolley) (1955)
#18 – Cars of the St. Louis Car Company 1927 (1955)
#19 – The Biddeford and Saco Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1956)
#20 – Brill Magazine, March 1913 (1956)
#21 – Cars of the Rockford and Interurban Railway (1956)
#22 – The Rockford and Interurban Railway by Philip L. Keister (1956)
#23 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1912 (1957)
#24 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1925 (1957)
#25 – The Blue Hill Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1957)
#26 – Brill Magazine, April 1924 (1957)
#27 – Electric Railway Journal 1912 Convention Issue (1957)
#28 – The Evanston Railway Co. by James J. Buckley (1958)
#29 – The Niles Car and Manufacturing Co. 1910 (1958)
#30 – Niles Cars 1914 (1958)
#31 – Thomas Built Cars (1959)
#32 – The Lafayette Street Railway by David W. Chambers (1958)
#33 – Modern Lightweight Cars (1959)
#34 – Brill Magazine, September 1911 (1959)
#35 – The Manchester Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1960)
#36 – The Safety Car (1960)
#37 – Brill Magazine, January 1917 (1961)
#38 – Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962)
#39 – Railway Equipments and Locomotives in the Far West (1962)
#40 – The Sterling, Dixon, and Eastern Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1963)
#41 – Brill Magazine, May 1925 (1963)
#42 – The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway by George W. Hilton (1964)
#43 – Brill Magazine, October 1912 (1964)
#44 – St. Louis Cable Railways by Berl Katz (1965)
#45 – Historic Trolley Guide to Suburban Electric Lines of the New York Metropolitan Area, within a 50-mile radius of New York City, as of 1914 (1965)
#46 – 76 Years of Peoria Street Cars by Paul Stringham (1965)
#47 – Light-Weight Cars (1965)
#48 – The Lee County Central Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1967)
#49 – Metropolitan Subway and Elevated Systems (1967)