Recent additions and changes to this site.

During these unpredictable times of the pandemic, I have not been making too many updates to this web site in recent months. Personally, I have been been extensively researching my ancestry. Which have included a few interesting observations regarding transportation.

The Vandervoort or van der Voort branch of my family immigrated in 1910 from the Netherlands, where I have always admired the railway and public transportation systems. In 1870 my great grandfather Pieter van der Voort was born in Zegwaart, Netherlands. Zegwaart and nearby Zoetermeer were small towns surrounded by farms, east of the major city Den Haag or The Hague. During the 1970's, with a growing population and a need to carefully manage land use in this densely populated country, Zoetermeer was developed into a large suburb of Den Haag. And a new commuter rail line was constructed at the same time. And Zegwaart basically became a neighborhood within Zoetermeer.

Earlier in the century, a similar approach was used in the development of Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Shaker Heights was developed with two light rail lines, connecting to downtown Cleveland. The main developers of Shaker Heights were the Van Sweringen brothers. Practical people with a Dutch last name.

My great grandfather Orlin Wells was a railroader. He was born in 1880 in Jefferson County Illinois, which was home to many Wells ancestors. Mount Vernon is the county seat there, that area was served by the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad main line which became part of Union Pacific. In 1903 he married Letta Potter. The Potter family was mainly in the area between Terre Haute and Evansville Indiana, served by the other Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad main line, which became part of CSX. The 1910 US Census mentions him as a railroad agent, presumably for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois. Shortly after then they moved to Michigan, mainly living in the Holland Zeeland area southwest of Grand Rapids. For many years he worked for the Pere Marquette Railroad, as an operator/agent at the station in Fennville Michigan. Fennville is south of Holland Michigan, on the Pere Marquette now CSX main line between Grand Rapids and Chicago.

In the mid 1970's, I started studying railroad employee timetables. And I learned that the passing siding near Fennville was identified as "Wells", I was intrigued. By then the railroad was Chesapeake & Ohio. So I wrote to the Chesapeake & Ohio headquarters about it, and I received the following response.


Minor update, identifying routes with suspended service due to covid-19 pandemic. These are unpredictable times, with many uncertainties on the levels of public transportation service. Meanwhile, the CTA did not suspend any routes during the pandemic. Although like with many transportation providers throughout the world, the pandemic has affected staffing levels with the CTA, resulting in many cancelled runs and longer than normal wait times. (added July 26, 2022)


Brief histories of transit systems in cities throughout the United States, organized by state. The recent discovery of old McGraw Electric Railway Directories, along with the McGraw publication Street Railway Journal, has provided additional information on some the earliest streetcar companies, from the 1880's to the 1920's. Now included is greater detail on years various types of transit vehicles were in operation. Links to transit system web sites were rechecked August 7, 2022. (added September 10, 2020)


An interesting sampling, of the early evolution of interurban and intercity bus systems in select states. Primarily listings of Certificates of Convenience and Necessity issued by various state regulatory commissions, granting authority to operate the bus services. Consistent information is not available for all states. But nevertheless, this information provides an interesting picture, on how bus networks typically evolved. (added April 6, 2020)


Section enhanced with additional information from railroad employee timetables and additional resources. Zoomable Google Maps show additional railroads which did not have passenger service listed, including additional branch lines and freight or belt lines. (added July 28, 2019)


Zoomable Google Maps completed, showing known lost stations throughout the states of Illinois and Indiana and Michigan and Wisconsin. Most recently enhanced to include links to newly created zoomable Google Maps, covering the larger cities and cities with multiple railroads. (added April 21, 2019)


Amtrak adopted Chicago as its main hub outside the Northeast Corridor. And because Chicago historically had six separate terminal stations for intercity passenger trains, consolidating all Amtrak trains into Union Station was sometimes a challenge. Described are how this all was accomplished. (added March 31, 2019)


Pages include links to zoomable Google Maps covering the larger cities and cities with multiple railroads, making it easier to understand the railroad geography in these areas. (added March 25, 2019)


Zoomable Google Maps showing present and past railroads, stations, junctions crossings and towers in the most important cities in Illinois and Indiana and Michigan and Wisconsin. Maps of larger cities originally created for the "Great Union Stations" section of this web site have been enhanced, and new maps for smaller cities have been added. (added March 23, 2019)


Zoomable Google Maps showing all present and past railroads in the Chicago area. Added to the maps are present and past railroad junctions and towers, along with present and past railroad roundhouses and turntables. Those had previously been included on separate maps. (added February 22, 2019)


It had been 40 years since I had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. This trip lasted a week and a half. In London, with a quick round trip by train to Scotland. Then the Eurostar train to Brussels, and the Thalys train to the Netherlands for the final few days. (added September 28, 2018)


After a recent trip to Europe, this section is highlighted here, covering the great passenger stations in London and the comprehensive railway system in southeast England. Along with the impressive railway network in the Netherlands. And how these rail systems continue to handle frequent intercity and commuter trains. Includes new photos of the stations. (added September 16, 2018)