Chicago “L’s” Great Steel Fleet – Dispatch 5 tells the story about the Chicago “L’s” passenger car fleet that are affectionately called the Baldies.

The story of the Chicago “L’s” Great Steel Fleet – Dispatch 5 – The Baldies starts in the early 20th Century, when the rapid transit system was overwhelmed with riders. The managers of Chicago’s elevated railways were faced with two huge challenges,  one an insufficient car fleet and two a tremendous congestion on the Loop. By rerouting the trains and creating terminals short of the Loop, they eased the congestion. To provide sufficient rolling stock, they ordered the famous fleet of 4000s steel transit cars.  250 these cars were called “Baldies” due to their bare steel arched roofs. These Baldies were delivered during 1914 and 1915.

Now, 100 years after the delivery of the first cars, Bruce Moffat discusses in the Chicago “L’s” Great Steel Fleet – Dispatch 5  what was then a revolutionary car design with rolled steel components. Their 50-year service life testifies to the durability of these cars. Bruce Moffat, the author, is the preeminent expert on all things Chicago transit related.

The Shore Line Interurban Historical Society that published Dispatch 5 is a non-profit organization that publishes a quarterly magazine and dispatches about urban, suburban and interurban passenger rail service in the Chicago Hub region.  For more information on this organization or to join visit their website at The mission of the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society is to preserve the history of urban, suburban, and interurban passenger railroads in the upper Midwest.

Chicago “L’s” Great Steel Fleet – Dispatch 5 – The Baldies is a fantastic book and a must have for any Chicago elevated railroad fan and for that matter any railroad fan.  The Shore Line Interurban Historical Society has published 8 other Dispatches about Chicago Railroading.  You can find them for sale on this website.

Publication Information

Weight .625 lbs
Dimensions 11 × 8.5 × .125 in




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