Fox River Trolley Museum
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  • November 10, 2018 2:34 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    The car department has been working overtime on getting everything finalized on car 40, so it can be coupled to 43 (which was painted last year) and be the Polar Express!

    Fred and Jeff are finishing up the last steps of the paint, the Red White and Blue stripes.

    Every good artist signs their work

    Fred Mike and Jeff are very close to having the final roof work done. Trolley boards, and poles will be a welcome addition to this car.

    Mike G. adding some of the last touches to the roof hardware

    On November 3rd, only one month after 40 was moved inside for it's paint job, Fred L. is boarding to pilot her out for the first time with the fresh new coat of paint. YES, this all happened in just 30 days!

    MG's fired up and out she comes!

    First light of sun, you can see the beautiful job!

    We coupled all three 40's together and with three poles up, she made it up to the main without any issue.

    Fred taking a long hike up a short hill to uncouple the cars and start staging them for the fast approaching Polar Express.

  • October 28, 2018 8:34 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    KRB finished installing the last of the ceiling panels this week. The picture doesn't do it justice. Standing in this car and having the beautiful ceiling all back in, really is a testament to how strong we really are. In the face of so much additional work with the vandalism, we persevered and kept this project on track.

    All the molding above the windows had to be custom replicated. It turned out amazing

  • October 28, 2018 7:11 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Once we got the OK from Kasia, the painter, we got on the roof and installed the pre made saddles that Fred L. generously made, painted, and donated.

    Going nicely, yay, five down......

    And a whole bunch left to go

    With a second set of hands from Mike G. all the saddles got installed in one night.

    Mike and Jeff were no strangers to the roof of this car. Prior to the paint, all the metal cleats had to be attached to the roof. Now that was a lot of work!

    Fred L. and Mike G. made the Lap Joints on the boards and have them all ready to be bolted down. You can also see the main power cable has been pulled and is ready to connect both up top and underside.

    All the Midnight oil has been burned, and a very weary crew calls it a night, yet again. 


    Many sleepless nights and 400 gallons of propane later....

    Our new fancy construction heater. OH NO, some assembly required

    Looks like it was figured out, and let me tell ya, this guy makes some heat! 170,000 BTU. To compare, the average home furnace is 40-80k BTU

    After a couple different location changes, we found the best way to inflate the paint tent, and keep her nice and warm

    The heater was started in the morning around 4am and ran though out the day and into the evening for the paint to have a nice warm surface to adhere to.

    Here you can see our "paint tent" that was constructed to contain the heat

    We did also run the heat inside the car, (the trains heaters) to warm it from the inside as well.

    The paint tent took some acrobatics, but once it was complete we were able to keep the area at about 68 degrees. The outside temp was only in the 40's.

    Some body repairs done and surface prep

    Getting all taped up, 40 is ready and waiting for it's new paint!

  • October 15, 2018 9:27 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Mary W. is receiving help from Jim S. to build a clock tower for Polar Express. 

    Barb is Sidewalk supervising here, and has approved of the progress.

    Mary has given up hiding from the camera and finally gives in to it.

  • October 15, 2018 9:18 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Might not look like much, but the fact that there are over three ceiling panels installed is HUGE. 

    Cliff and Bill with KRB aligning ceiling panels and installing. I didn't get to see the next one after this go in, but it's really great to see the ceiling going back in.

    One of our newest additions to the car department crew, here is Fred B. working on the rust issues on the end walls of 4451

    While Fred is new to us this year, he has a lot of restoration experience with the 4000's at other museums. We are super happy to have him on board!


    Some body filler and patches removed, and plans being made to repair the body correctly.

  • October 15, 2018 9:02 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Following it's power wash, 40 got a late night push into the barn for further prep.

    Rylee (Written rules qualified) helping Dad (Jeff) push 40 into the barn with 5

    1030 getting moved over a track to allow for the above move. 

    Long day for Fred, Mike, and Jeff, as 1030 was no small task to move.

  • October 15, 2018 8:56 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    458 is outside for the moment, allowing 40 to be painted. We couldn't help pulling the tarp back to show off the beautiful new roof! All the custom end pieces are on hand, and will be installed soon!


  • October 15, 2018 8:49 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Here we see K-Creative power washing 40 

    As many know, a good paint job consists of 90% prep, and 10% painting! 40 is receiving a lot of body work

    We didn't grab any pictures, but Mike G. and Jeff have spent many LONG nights installing all the roof cleats, so the trolley boards can go on, and this car finally have it's own poles!

  • September 25, 2018 9:56 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    So a while back you may remember we started replacing the floor in one of the vestibules of 40. The project started a couple months ago. The goal was to get new step treads installed like you see below, as well as all new flooring material in the effected area.

    So the floors are installed here, and the leveling has been done.

    First step tread installed. Success!

    Both new treads installed.... lookin good

    Then the task of installing the very hard to find flooring.

    The piece needed to consist of two separate parts, and both parts had to be custom cut to fit correctly.

    ^ Not too bad. 

    Actually looks pretty darn good!

    We were able to get the train door diamond plating up to address the massive rust issues below.


    Diamond plate, waiting for a good sanding, which was done before the day ended.


    40 did not have trolley poles on it when we got it. They had been removed prior to our ownership. With the coming paint job we spent some time finding the original holes where the retrievers were originally mounted, and successfully mounted the new Earll flanges.

    Success on both ends!

    Trolley bases we were able to acquire in a trade deal with another museum will be fully serviced and end up on top of 40.





  • September 25, 2018 9:52 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Among many things the Lowe's of St. Charles donated was this special treated plywood, that we have used to upgrade our flooring down the entire west aisle.

    This is huge for the car department to have a clean working area where a lot of precision painting and other work is done.

    Not to mention it is a heck of a lot easier on the feet, and the eyes.


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2017

FOX RIVER TOLLEY MUSEUM'S 6000s "GO HOME!"


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..


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