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CTA Has The Saddest Online Auction Happening Right Now

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 12, 2013 3:00PM

I'm always on the lookout for vintage Chicago Transit Authority ephemera like bus stop signs and old bus and subway rollsigns. They're pieces of Chicago's public transit history and, on a certain aesthetic level, make unique interior design choices for bachelor pads. So when I received a press release with the subject "CTA Customers Get Chance to Buy Piece of Chicago Transit History With First Memorabilia Auction" I get excited.

Then I viewed the lots and oh, my heart sank. There are some bus stop signs but most of the items being auctioned for CTA by Rick Levin & Associates is junk.

There are a couple of retired 2200 Series rail cars up for bid, which would be impressive in your backyard, but who would want to pass up the chance to install some old rail car doors in a home? Or an old drive shaft?

This is a typical government/industrial auction, mind you; you aren't going to win a pallet of rail car springs with a hot round of Skee-Ball at Dave & Busters. It's intended for the railroad barons among us. (And who is a railroad baron in the 21st century?) But nestled among the rusty rail spikes, plastic rail ties and containers are such gems as conductor seats for your man cave or home theater rail crossing signals and pedestrian crossing gates; old fare transfer punches; an old bus stop (which the auctioneer notes will not be the one in the photo) and a "vintage Intel computer with tape backup" if you're of a mind to do a scene-by-scene recreation of Deep Purple's "Knocking at Your Back Door" video.

CTA President Forrest Claypool said in a statement, "This is a chance for transit fans to obtain a piece of Chicago history." And to hold on to it until our future primate overlords discover them in archaeological digs centuries from now. Bidding ends 10 a.m. Dec. 18 and stay away from the third rail lots. I will cut the person trying to outbid me on those.