Fox River Trolley Museum
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  • August 13, 2018 5:13 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    As many are aware, the museum suffered a terrible loss at the beginning of July, when two young boys burglarized the car barn and vandalized each and every car inside. 304, an original car to our line, was not spared. As you can see the remains of a door that was beaten almost to death!

    Thanks to Steve with WindowRepairGuy.com, here you see the door fully restored, and ready for installation. Quite a difference from the picture above huh!  Thanks so much Steve! The door was successfully installed this past weekend and looks fantastic!

    Here we can see Strother Purcy, of Chicago Window and Door Solutions installing the custom arched Florentine glass. This was truly like watching an artist!

    Here you can see a custom piece of wood be made from scratch with only hand tools, to fit the side of the car. This is how it was done 95 years ago when this car was built! Sue is making sure everyone has exactly what they need.

    Greg is fitting one of the side windows they ordered. He makes it look so easy!

    Here is all the custom laminated, etched glass the was 100% donated by One Source Glass, and WindowRepairGuy.com. Several of these pieces were installed in 458 this weekend.

    One of the arch window openings being prepared to get it's new custom window installed. If you look close in the reflection in the glass below it, you can see a reflection of 458, with on of it's broken windows.

    If we didn't know better you would think we were running a glass company with all the glass trucks at the museum on Friday

    Chicago Window and Door Solutions has been instrumental in getting 304 back together! Thanks so much Greg, and Sue !!!

    With out Steve from WindowRepairGuy.com, we would not have the repaired door for 304, or ALL the glass for 458!

    Two extra arched pieces left for future needs.... let's hope we never need them!

    Greg, here again, with the watchful eye of Sue, using the tricks of the trade. 

    Greg and Strother ever so gently placing the new arched window.

    So much attention to detail to steam and form every little bit of the trim wood.

    So Friday was the day that Steve delivered the door for 304 and the glass for 458, and Greg's team worked the entire day installing the windows on 304.

    Saturday and Sunday consisted of sanding the upper cream colored part of the car on both sides, caulking the needed areas, and painting the whole thing, both sides. The interior got a good cleaning, as it was a mess. The windows even got a good washing!

    There are two windows left to install and that is happening tomorrow. EVERYTHING else is done, and our beauty is ready for next weekend!

    There were dozens of people involved in making this happen and everyone played a part. We would not have 304 back together without all the help from everyone, so the museum owes a huge thanks to all for their donations and efforts!

  • August 11, 2018 9:04 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    This was a challenging but productive week!

    This is rather detailed but gives a flavor for the sheer hours and effort put into this progress....We do need more volunteers for just about everything... 

    Last weekend the compressor on ...car 715 was tagged out of service due to excessive knocking noise. Wednesday and Thursday night, a change out of the compressor with the one recently rebuilt took place. A semi truck, a skid steer, a forklift and the ambulance made the job not terrible. It is done, and the car is ready for full service. The poles were changed out on the car this week as well. The newly installed poles extend past the coupler, so care needs to be taken when close moves are made.

    The tack strip is being spot repaired, and this job is on going. Wood is being replaced, then canvas repairs. Following this it needs to be painted before the end of the season. This is very important! Roof painting volunteers needed!

    Car 304 had Chicago Window and Door Solutions  312windows.com , working on it all day today, with a three person crew. They are DONATING a massive portion of the materials and labor! All upper florentine glass is installed, with several pieces of new wood, and massive amounts of wood frame restoration. One broken window in the NE door was replaced, and one East side window was replaced. These two were not vandal damage, and the company doing the work offered to replace these... this is so wonderful... thank you! 

    The SE motorman drop sash window was painted, and will be installed tomorrow. There were a fair amount of mechanicals in the way of removing that window, so that will all be put back together today. The two arched sashes on the East side, closest to the doors, required more detail work, and will be installed early next week. The SE door was delivered today, completely rebuilt by Steve at Window Repair Guy   http://www.windowrepairguy.com/  HUGE THANKS STEVE  It is the same door, just all fixed up, with all new glass (correct wire glass in the bottom) 

    Tomorrow the door will be installed, and the upper arch area will be sanded, caulked, and painted. The car will need a thorough cleaning during the week, next week, after the final windows are installed. Volunteers needed!

    Car 458 has had a ton of time invested into removing all the windows that were damaged. Most are now out, but not all.

    One Source Glass Inc in Joliet www.onesourceglass.com DONATED custom laminated, cut, and spec etched, glass for the entire car!   The windows on this car are very difficult to get in and out, and much more time will be needed. 458 had the final roof ribs installed down the middle, with cross bracing at the points they meet at top. Today the company that is making the very intricately cut end ribs was out for several hours making templates. Correct window glass was found in our parts stock to match the square pattern window for the bathroom.

    Car 4451 had two of the four marker windows delivered. The end roof ribs had patterns made so ribs can be replicated.

    Car 316 had all the side windows removed that were damaged. All side windows are coming out to have all new sashes made. This will be continuing this weekend.

    Car 5 continues to have issues with the first contact point picking up correctly. The battery charger is also not functioning correctly. I have removed the timer from the circuit for the battery charger. Since the charger is a float charger, and has a battery sense feature that is functional, no timer is needed. The batteries will not over charge. This needs to be monitored to make sure the batteries stay fully charged.

    Com Ed has had a third party contractor trimming trees along our line. I ran the line on Wednesday with the speeder to check for damage to our track or line. It turns out the tree company is manually climbing the trees from Stop 53 to DeYoung siding. No heavy equipment is near or on the line, so we are good.

    Contractors and members have been working on plans to feed the campus with a better power supply. Options are being compiled. Minimally speaking, upped amperage to the barn will be happening.

    We will be posting a video about our progress here in the next few days...

    But a HUGE thank you to all our volunteers who have been hands on for many hours in the heat and doing whatever it takes to keep us up and running!

    Our Volunteers are working extremely hard we need more volunteers!


  • August 11, 2018 8:49 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    www.instagram.com/foxrivertrolley - Please Visit and Follow!

    And of course we have our facebook page at www.facebook.com/FoxRiverTrolleyMuseum/ - Visit and Follow there as well and we love it when you post your pictures and tag yourself there!

  • August 06, 2018 8:12 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Every bit of encouragement and support at this time is very much appreciated. Many people have been working around the clock and this was a very encouraging night. Please come visit at the museum on the weekends and come see the progress!


  • July 30, 2018 5:52 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    We had a great weekend, that carried on into today, Monday!

    At one point, there were four cars being worked on at once by six volunteers!  Between Friday and Monday we had over 17 volunteers out helping with cars and track work. As well as full operating crews Saturday and Sunday! We are alive and running on all cylinders, or should I be more appropriate and say, running on full voltage!

    I wish more pictures could have been taken, as this is just a tiny idea of what was happening. I didn't catch Fred, or much of the track crew. BUT, this was because we were all holding tools and working..... no hands for a camera!

    Here you can see Barbara (through a window opening that had been removed earlier in the day by Mary) working away at removal of the damaged windows in 316. Between her and Mary, all the damaged ones were pulled and even some that were rotted.

    4451 got it's two South marker windows removed for repair..... You can see them leaning against the car. Fred has the frosted numbered windows for this end, and has taught Jeff how to number the others.And both it's North marker windows installed! Fred and Jeff will number these soon!Mike R and his son continue their efforts to strip and prep the roof for upcoming repairs. Huge strides have been made towards roofing this car! Here we have our track maintenance crew working away at the flooring and drainage needs of the new extensions. Both Saturday and Sunday they were hopping! Full 2 - 4 volunteers all day both days! Thanks guys!

    Welcome our newest volunteer addition to the museum, Mary. HI MARY! Not only was I a bad camera man in this shot, Mary kept running away, refusing a camera shot! So humble!   LOLShe was a huge help in measuring the needed windows for 316, as well as doing the dirty work of pulling out some shattered laminated glass.

    Doug has taken on the project of replacing some rotted tack strips on 715.  As you can see here, if this is not addressed and repaired soon, we will have much bigger problems on our hands.Both East and West sides have issues in spotsMuch progress has been made in a short time. The rotted sections were surgically removed and new sections fabricated. Here you can see the fruits of the labor coming together. Once the tack strip areas that need attention are complete, the canvas will be patched and reattached. Then a complete roof painting will take place. 715 is our work horse and deserves every bit of this!Here you can see the care that was taken to section in the repair piece.458 had a dedicated Fred humming about it all weekend and into Monday! Much progress has been made removing some of the harder windows. Some of the windows are taking 4 plus hours just to remove!

    40 had floor work done, by Jeff and Justin. The floor is coming along slow but sure. It is a huge learning experience for us, but we are taking our time and learning the tricks, as we have many more 50 series cars that need floor work. So better learn now!

    And here we have Mike G. cleaning up after the remnants of a broken window sash were removed. Mike and Jeff spent some time working together to remove one set of marker windows and install another.

  • July 24, 2018 11:15 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Steve Kezios of WindowRepairguy.com has taken on the task of repairing and restoring the SE door that was completely smashed. His progress so far is going quite well. He has taken this project on at a tiny fraction of the going rate! 

    We are sooooo luck to have you "on board" Steve!


  • July 23, 2018 3:30 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    On behalf of the entire Fox River Trolley Museum family, THANK YOU to all the supporters, members, new visitors, and long time friends that visited over the weekend!

    ALL tickets this past weekend were donated my an anonymous Member, so every rider got a free ticket! We had over 300 riders this weekend, and even more visitors at the barn!

    The media was again out And a huge thanks to all the media folks for helping spread the word

    Support poured out from some many wonderful people!!!


    Stay tuned! We are all juggling a lot right now, and continuing to wrap our heads around the damage. Please check in often and share our story. WE MUST REACH OUR GOAL!


  • July 18, 2018 8:59 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    This coming weekend the museum while be welcoming new volunteers and veteran members to take part in viewing and developing plans to repair the terrible vandalism. All are welcome, and it will be a very low key, come and go event.

    Jeff Bennett will be at the car barn Saturday and Sunday, from 10-4, working with visitors, guiding tours, and helping to organize our repair efforts.

    Please check in with Jeff when you arrive to say hi. This will be a very informal event, and we hope to see you there!

    Any questions about the event, please contact Jeff directly at:

    Jeffb60MD@aol.com

  • July 14, 2018 7:58 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Welcome Barbara Bennett to the team! She was a great help today with 304. 

    With some window work being done, it was great to have her working on the inside, while I worked the outside!

    What a great day of progress on 304, sprucing her up for River Fest!

    Thanks to all that helped, and welcome aboard Barbara!

  • July 14, 2018 7:52 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Today, working on the SE door of the car, it was noticed that the floor inside the car had a metal area in front of the door, with a hinge on the inner edge. Where there's a hinge, there's something to open... Who could resist!

    As you can see the is a spring loaded switch under this panel. Once all the gunk was cleaned out, and the mechanism freed up, it was easy to see that this metal floor area just in front of the door, has an automatic door control! How cool! When you stand on the metal plate now, you can hear and feel a click of the switch, which I can only assume, under the right circumstances would open that door. 

    We have many other things to address with the car, but I had no idea this was here, and I look forward to it working correctly someday!

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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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