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  • March 25, 2023 8:06 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    Today we kicked off our packed schedule of events for 2023 with the first Bunny Burrow Express. We saw many smiling faces searching for the Easter Bunny, and of course also some Easter treats.

    The Easter Bunny was all smiles, happy to see everyone ready to celebrate.

    Along the way, the passengers found some Easter eggs at the Bunny Burrow.

    All the families had the chance to get their photo with the Easter Bunny and get their own treats.

    Then the Easter Bunny and the passengers had to say goodbye as the train returned to Blackhawk.

    Make your own Easter memories and meet the Easter Bunny at the Bunny Burrow Express! There are two more chances, on April 1 and April 8 at 10am, 11:30am, and 1pm. Tickets are still available for all trains!

    More Information

    Purchase tickets for April 1

    Purchase tickets for April 8

  • March 04, 2023 9:02 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    After heavy use for the Polar Express, cars 40 and 43 were put away for the winter. However, with Easter approaching, this weekend they were brought back out from hibernation to get ready for the Bunny Burrow Express later this month. A crew consisting of Damin, Donna, Jacob, Mike, and Tom together took on the task of transitioning the cars from Polar Express to Bunny Burrow Express.

    At the time we started, all the decorations from Polar Express were still there and needed to be removed.

    We arrive to a train still decorated for Polar Express

    Tom packs up some of the decorations into bins for next year

    Jacob unloads a box of Polar Express decorations

    Then, with the Polar Express decorations removed and stored for next year, it was time to put up the Bunny Burrow Express decorations.

    Donna hangs up a paper streamer

    Damin hangs up another paper streamer

    Donna wraps a pole

    With that, we had a train decorated and ready for the Bunny Burrow Express!

    We of course made sure to show our Easter spirit on the outside of the train.

    We look forward to seeing everyone show their Easter spirit for the Bunny Burrow Express starting on March 25!
    Tickets are still available for all trains!

    More Information

    Purchase Tickets for March 25

    Purchase tickets for April 1

    Purchase tickets for April 8

  • March 02, 2023 6:31 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    We would like to thank the Examiner of South Elgin for recognizing all of our hard work at the museum. We pride ourselves on our relationship with our local community and are grateful to see ourselves recognized for the value we provide, and are looking forward to a great season this year.

  • February 18, 2023 9:11 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    Jeff and Thee smile and wave as the north cab area is just about completely stripped.

    A door restoration station, consisting of a couple of sawhorses, has been set up.

    Every door (ten by last count) has to come off, be stripped of handles, trim, kick plates, catches, closers, glass, etc., and then be sanded and repaired as needed.

    Since some (most) doors have 5-10 coats of paint, this process is slow going.

  • February 17, 2023 5:48 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    It's all hands back on deck in 316. Jeff, Barbara, and John are each addressing some bit of detail work. 

    This was Barbara’s first time using an orbital sander. She did great, and we love the extra hands!

    Here is a great close up of how detailed the sanding is. The woodwork is so detailed and every bit of it must be sanded so the refinish job takes correctly. The wood is sooooooo soft that it must be done, inch by inch, by hand!

    Ben confirms that this a difficult task, showing off the parts of his finger tips that are worn away from all the sanding.

    And good ol' Johnny! He got a headlight from Santa!

  • February 15, 2023 8:45 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    With the floors now freshly sanded in 316, a layer of protective matting is installed while the rest of the work is done.

    Outside, we have Mike and Mike working away on 458. Here they are unwrapping the parts from the painter and placing them where they need to be installed.

    The upper trim was installed and all the fasteners for the luggage rack on one side are now in.

    The heater box grates are all back from being painted as well.

    Jeff snuck away from floor sanding to install a few heater grates.

  • February 13, 2023 8:31 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    Once Andre had John on the big machine he tended to some spot repairs.

    Fred B. on the left is spot sanding around the some tight areas and Thee on the right is using the hand operated edging sander. Working with this machine is like trying to hold down an angry alligator!

    Yet somehow Andre handles the “angry alligator” with a smile!

    Passing out new sanding material as needed and watch everyone closely. Andre managed the floor finishing quite well.

    And here’s a shot of the finished floor. The light doesn’t do it justice, but these two guys are glad it’s over! What a physically demanding job.

  • February 11, 2023 9:14 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    Finally all the work is done and the floors are ready to be sanded. We rented an industrial floor sander and Andre, who turned out to be an old pro at this, started the process and taught John how to use the big sander. Here you can see John getting a lesson from Andre.

    It’s a very difficult machine to handle and if you make a mistake it’s not forgiving!

    Soon, though, John had the hang of it.

  • February 10, 2023 3:25 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    Well now that we are back from the land of the north, it's time to get back to business on Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin (CA&E) Car 316.  The custom made mahogany wall panels have been picked up from Classic Woodworking and taken offsite to be stained. Here Jeff and Andre begin the process.

    As the panels are stained, they are being laid out in a warm area to cure.

    And a few days later Andre and Jeff are back at it. An industrial floor clear coat is being applied over the cured stain. This stuff is the same quality as what's used on basketball courts and roller rinks. It's heavy duty stuff. Once it’s mixed and activated, it’s some potent stuff. Even Jeff put on goggles; it was that strong.

    One side of finished panels which caught the light in this selfie Jeff took so you can see the shine!

    Andre is applying the clear coat to the second row of panels. There is quite a lot of skill needed to get this clear coat to to lay down correctly, and luckily for us Andre was a pro!

  • February 09, 2023 5:20 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

    So most sound minded folks take a holiday trip somewhere warm and lay on a beach…but not us at Fox River! Chief Car Officer Jeff had been talking with a recent addition to his team Eric Zabelny who also volunteers at East Troy, about North Shore car 228. It’s an interesting car that’s basically a box car with boxcar side doors. Anyway, Eric has been working to restore this car and was at the point of needing to work on the curved ends of the roof. Since we have done several of these over the last few years, we knew all the tips and tricks.

    One thing led to another and over the Christmas and New Years holidays, Jeff, Connor and Eric were able to get both ends of the car done.

    One end of 228 done, now on to the next.

    Always something new to learn. This is the first car we did where the interior would not have a ceiling. The roof and carlines would be exposed. This meant they had to look good not only from the top, but also from the bottom. For every other roof we have done, it didn’t matter what the underside looked like, so if a nail missed a carline or an added piece of support wood was needed, no big deal… Well that was not the case on this job. It had to be pretty, top and bottom, we learned.

    And here’s Jeff signing off after just finishing the second end of 228! Now come on home!

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Ever since CTA began to assemble its 21st Century Heritage Fleet, rail enthusiasts have expressed hope that 'L' cars of decades past could be returned from museums or private owners to enlarge the fleet.

Thanks to CTA and the Fox River Trolley Museum, those hopes have come true.

The museum has re-sold cars 6101-02 to CTA for Heritage Fleet operation. The Fox River board approved the sale at its July 8 meeting. CTA signed off on the terms in late July and moved the cars from South Elgin to CTA Skokie Shops Aug. 9-10.

"We've done our part for historic preservation, which is our mission," said museum President Edward Konecki. "Now it's time for them to go home."

The married pair, built by the now-defunct St. Louis Car Co. in 1950, features a set of outside conductor's controls and twin headlights, which makes them unique among surviving 6000-series cars.

Fox River has long-term preservation in mind. CTA once had a Heritage Fleet of streetcars and rapid transit equipment that was disbanded in the 1980s.  Today's Heritage Fleet is its second.  The re-sale contract includes a clause that gives the museum a 90-day right of first refusal to regain possession of the cars, should CTA decide to terminate its current Heritage Fleet program. If returned, they must be in fully operable condition. The cars were never used in public operations at Fox River because of restrictions written into the contact between the museum and CTA in the 1990s. Essentially, Fox River could not carry paying passengers on the cars. That clause will not be included should the cars revert to Fox River.

CTA hopes to unveil the cars to the public in time for its 70th birthday party in October.

CTA, created in 1945 by the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act to take control of the city's mass transportation providers, bought the 'L' from the receivers of the bankrupt Chicago Rapid Transit Co. Oct. 1, 1947.  Today it is one of the three operating agencies that compose the Regional Transportation Authority.  

The Fox River Trolley Museum is a not-for-profit, founded in 1961, dedicated to the preservation Chicago's electric railway heritage and interpretation of the lines' colorful history. All workers at the museum are volunteers.  The museum operates its demonstration railway, a remnant of the old Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Co. interurban (inter-city) rail line, on Sundays from Mother's Day through the end of October, Saturdays in July and August and on three major in-season holidays -- Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day..

Contact us:

General Information (847) 697-4676

Event and Ticket questions (847) 380-6121

365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, IL 60177           

P.O. Box 315

The Fox River Trolley Museum is an IRS 501(c)(3) Illinois Not for Profit Corporation.
Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

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