CTA Seating Survey
CTA riders have a rare opportunity to express their opinions about the new “bowling alley” seating on the 5000-series “L” cars via a new survey. These cars have New York-style seats that mainly face sideways, instead of the more traditional two-across ones as in previous train cars. The 5000s have only four forward-facing seats per car, and eventually, most of the CTA fleet will be made up of these cars. The new seating arrangement is controversial to say the least, and this is your chance to do something about it.
Riders can express their opinions about CTA “L” car seating in a new survey. This crowd, from about 100 years ago, looks like a tough audience, but at least they are all facing forward. (Author’s collection)
Friday Night’s CERA Program
Our April CERA program will feature Illusion Travels by Streetcar, a 1953 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. It tells the story of a Mexico City streetcar conductor and motorman, who, learning that their old car #133 is about to be scrapped (replaced by a PCC), sneak the car out for one last joy ride that gets out of control. They pick up various interesting characters along the way, all the while refusing to collect fares. Then, they have to sneak the car back into the yard without getting caught.
Illusion Travels by Streetcar is a charming film, and one not seen in the United States until 1977. Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) was a world-famous director best known for such films as Un Chien Andalou, L’Age d’Or, Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and That Obscure Object of Desire. Six of his films were included in Sight & Sound‘s 2012 critic’s poll of the top 250 films of all time. Buñuel made his reputation as a surrealist, in league with Salvador Dali, but while there are a few surrealistic touches in the film, there is nothing that detracts from telling a good story.
This film was commissioned by the Mexico City streetcar system itself, in an attempt to improve their image, after a bad accident the year before. However, characteristically, Buñuel makes the officials of the streetcar company the villains, and the working man the hero.
David Sadowski will introduce the 82-minute film, which is in Spanish with English subtitles, and Ray DeGroote will round out the program by showing some of his slides taken in Mexico City in the mid-1950s.
Friday, April 26, 2013
1900 hrs / 7:00pm
525 S State St, Chicago, IL
Admission is free.
News From April’s CERA Board Meeting
At our meeting on April 17, your CERA Board of Directors voted to institute a $5 admission charge for non-members at our monthly programs, starting with the September meeting. We hope that this will provide people who regularly attend our meetings with an incentive to become members. Admission will always be free for our current members.
The new policy will not take effect until the September meeting, which will allow us to make announcements about the change at the three preceding meetings. Admission will be continue to be free for non-members at this year’s meetings in April, May and June.
The board decided that it is the wish of this organization to collect, solicit, acquire and maintain an Archive of materials relating to CERA’s mission of educating the public about the history and operations of electric railways; and that such a collection will be organized by an official CERA Archivist and made available to researchers, all in conjunction with the stated purposes of the organization. This will include artifacts, photographs, negatives, slides, and documents. David Sadowski was appointed CERA Archivist.
In that regard, CERA is now on record as being willing to accept donations of such materials, which can include collections assembled by individuals, or specific items. Donations to our Archives may be tax-deductible. For further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
P.O. Box 503
Chicago Surface Lines built two cable car replicas for the 1933 Century of Progress. Since 1938, car 532 has been on display at the Museum of Science and Industry. CCR 209 is at the Illinois Railway Museum. Here is how the cars looked on February 25, 1938. Chicago’s cable car system will be featured at CERA’s May program, where our speaker will be author Greg Borzo. (Author’s collection)