Electroliners / Liberty Liners

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Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby Lucius Kwok » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:52 am

Have there only been two Electroliner / Liberty Liner trainsets ever built?

I've been able to find out about one that's been restored to the Electroliner livery at the IRM and another in storage in Rockhill, still in Liberty Liner colors.

Excerpt from Electroliner wikipedia page:

The Electroliner was a passenger train service of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad that ran between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Service was provided using a pair of streamlined electric multiple unit interurban trains built by St. Louis Car Company in 1941.

Each trainset is made up of four sections: two end units and two center units. Each end unit is divided at the side doors into a Luxury Coach, which seats 30, and a Smoking Coach section, which seats 10 and also has a restroom. Each door had steps and a trap door for boarding from both street level and high-level platforms. One center unit is a coach unit that seats 40, and the other center unit is a Tavern Lounge which seats 26.

In 1963, the Electroliners were sold to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines, and the two trainsets were renamed Liberty Liners. They were fitted with third-rail contact shoes to operate on the Philadelphia and Western Railroad tracks, which used third rail and high-level platform stations between Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and Norristown, where they switched to overhead trolley wire on its way to Lansdale, Bethlehem, and Allentown. The Liberty Liners were retired around 1979.


If you see any errors there, post them here and I can edit the wiki page, or you can edit it yourself.
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Postby Rich T » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:17 pm

Only two were built.
They always were equipted with 3rd rail equipment as they operated over the Chicago L system to access The Loop. When they came to Philadelphia the trolley poles were removed as the LVT north of Norristown was abandoned in 1951.
To operate over the P&W from 69th Street to Norristown spring operated 3rd rail shoes were installed as the CTA uses gravity shoes.
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Postby JimBoylan » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:24 am

Confusion could happen because the original owner (Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR) assigned 2 numbers (801-802 and 803-804) to each of the 2 integral articulated trains, even though you couldn't run both halves of a train separately, as they shared a center set of wheels! Electrically, they were each a pair of 4 motor Multiple Unit "cars", but sharing a center unpowered truck.
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Postby RDG484 » Mon May 29, 2006 2:45 pm

I once saw an artist's conception of Budd's proposal to build an "Electro-Zephyr" for the North Shore Line at the time the bids went out for the Electroliners. Does anyone know where I can find this proposal? It would have been incredible to see a Zephyr with poles or a pantograph reaching for wire instead of spewing diesel smoke.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby sixroute » Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:32 pm

In 1963, the Electroliners were sold to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines, and the two trainsets were renamed Liberty Liners. They were fitted with third-rail contact shoes to operate on the Philadelphia and Western Railroad tracks, which used third rail and high-level platform stations between Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and Norristown, where they switched to overhead trolley wire on its way to Lansdale, Bethlehem, and Allentown. The Liberty Liners were retired around 1979.

The Electroliners/Liberty Liners never were north of Norristown and did not have trolley poles attached while on the PSTco/SEPTA line. The P&W bridge over Main St in Norristown was long gone by 1963.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby dinwitty » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:00 pm

I have visited both liners at both museums, IRM is really nice, I believe operable, the Rockhill very little done with it, needs a lot of work. I recall riding the liners also when they were on the NS as a kid. Rode the entire line a lot whenever possible.

I rode the P&W after they were retired on the Bullets.

I will be modeling the NS along with SS and other lines.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby polybalt » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:35 pm

The Electroliner at IRM ( 801/802) was not just repainted from its SEPTA days. Substantial body work ws required to "backdate" the train to North Shore. SEPTA cut in new doors, removed stepwells, etc. The train looks great at IRM but is not currently operating. It needs expensive traction motor work before it can run again.

By coincidence, the train was pulled out of its usual home in one of the storage barns to be washed just this last weekend. Photos are here:

http://www.irm.org/gallery/album114
Peter Schmidt
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby walt » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:29 pm

sixroute wrote:
In 1963, the Electroliners were sold to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines, and the two trainsets were renamed Liberty Liners. They were fitted with third-rail contact shoes to operate on the Philadelphia and Western Railroad tracks, which used third rail and high-level platform stations between Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and Norristown, where they switched to overhead trolley wire on its way to Lansdale, Bethlehem, and Allentown. The Liberty Liners were retired around 1979.

The Electroliners/Liberty Liners never were north of Norristown and did not have trolley poles attached while on the PSTco/SEPTA line. The P&W bridge over Main St in Norristown was long gone by 1963.


When the Red Arrow decided to purchase the Electroliners, it had visions of extending the P&W to Downingtown over a lttle used Reading Railroad freight branch which would have left the P&W near Gulph Mills. It was discovered that upgrading that line was way beyond the financial ability of the Red Arrow, and the Reading was not particularly cooperative, so the "Liners" never ran beyond Norristown. I rode on one of the trains in revenue service in the late 1960's. This was an extremely nice ride, but the Liners were really ill suited for a line that was ( is) only 13.5 miles long.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby Mr rt » Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:19 am

The folks at IRM have been giving their Electroliner some TLC.
Saw some photos of it out in the sunshine on another site yesterday.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby aline1969 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:18 am

I beleive the one at Rockhill is for sale, I could be wrong :-D
Replace the 57 with the Green Line!!! The people demand more transit, more new routes
$75 K raised for Middlesex & Boston trolley #41 :: Seashore Trolley Museum
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby sixroute » Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:45 pm

walt wrote:
sixroute wrote:
In 1963, the Electroliners were sold to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, also known as the Red Arrow Lines, and the two trainsets were renamed Liberty Liners. They were fitted with third-rail contact shoes to operate on the Philadelphia and Western Railroad tracks, which used third rail and high-level platform stations between Upper Darby, Pennsylvania and Norristown, where they switched to overhead trolley wire on its way to Lansdale, Bethlehem, and Allentown. The Liberty Liners were retired around 1979.

The Electroliners/Liberty Liners never were north of Norristown and did not have trolley poles attached while on the PSTco/SEPTA line. The P&W bridge over Main St in Norristown was long gone by 1963.


When the Red Arrow decided to purchase the Electroliners, it had visions of extending the P&W to Downingtown over a lttle used Reading Railroad freight branch which would have left the P&W near Gulph Mills. It was discovered that upgrading that line was way beyond the financial ability of the Red Arrow, and the Reading was not particularly cooperative, so the "Liners" never ran beyond Norristown. I rode on one of the trains in revenue service in the late 1960's. This was an extremely nice ride, but the Liners were really ill suited for a line that was ( is) only 13.5 miles long.


When PSTCo purchased the liners they also bought crossing gate systems and a substation. The crossing gates, originally intesded for the Downingtown branch ended up on the R Bus (Ardmore trolley replacement) line. The substation is still active just east of Bryn Mawr
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby JeffK » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:51 pm

To clear things up a bit:

The "R" bus was renumbered as the 103 many years ago.

The Liners could not run beyond Norristown. In fact, NOTHING could, because the tracks were removed after the LVT stopped operating in 1951. The P&W stopped in mid-air on a trestle that joined a commercial building. You had to walk through a small, rather decrepit waiting room and go downstairs to the street. The line was further cut back by 1 block when the Norristown Transportation Center was constructed.

I rode the 'Liners many times on my trips home from classes at Temple U. I would sometimes intentionally miss an earlier Bullet or Strafford car so I could ride a 'Liner. Especially before they were slightly redone inside, the old plush seats and color scheme made it a bit of a time warp back to the 1940s. Get out your Benny Goodman records!
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby Mitch » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:07 pm

Each Electroliner train set had 2 road numbers, i.e. 801-802 as they were in essence 2 cars MUed together. The reason there was not an 800-801 numbering was that the long time NSL Chief Mechanical Officer, Henry Cordell stated, "Vaht de hell, Yuh don't start counting at zero do ya."

What a colorful train that was. I'll never forget boarding at Roosevelt road, the very southern most point one could and rushing into the tavern-lounge so I could eat while going over The "L." Also ...one could ride the very front right next to the motorman. More often than not he would have his door open.
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby sixroute » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:28 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OggfP8zJKmI
Liberty Liner, out for the day 2011
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Re: Electroliners / Liberty Liners

Postby Rich T » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:40 am

"Liners" being delivered to Red Arrow by a PRR Baldwin, then picked up by #402

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrZzv4Cd ... PL&index=6
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