Featured Item: Passenger train movement in Metropolitan Chicago

Posted Aug 12, 2019Author: Cecilia Smith, University of Chicago

What is the item?

This is a map created by Harold M Mayer, who received his PhD from the University of Chicago and was a professor at the University of Wisconsin. It depicts the number of passenger trains arriving and departing from Chicago each day in 1940.


What BTAA Library submitted the item?

University of Chicago


Interesting tidbits:

  • This map was submitted as part of Dr. Mayer’s PhD dissertation.
  • The circled numbers represent the number of daily scheduled weekday passenger trains in both directions as shown in timetables in January 1940. These numbers do not include public transit in elevated trains, now known as the “L.”
  • The southeast side of the city shows a surprising 504 passenger trains moving to and from the city each day.
  • In order to show the downtown Chicago area, and prevent it from being covered by thick lines, Mayer chose an interesting circular cutaway technique. Within the cutaway, the location of the rail lines are present, but the volume of passenger trains is no longer represented.