Education Through Demonstration

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  • September 29, 2020 2:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s Saturday September 19th,2020 and CTA MS-65 is down at Ward’s Bridge to finally have the nose mount of its traction motor secured.  Jeff Bennett, Mike Gilles and Berny Kamenear went down to start the project with James doing the slow, 1/8 of a turn at a time, tightening of the nut on the assembly.  The tubes to lube the drive chain were also installed so the locomotive returned to Castlemuir finally complete.  Mike Gilles photo

    The next day Jeff and Fred Lonnes serviced the OB form 5 couplers on MS-65 so it could do its first task.

    And that task was coupling to CTA S-314 and coupling it up to CRT 5001 and in turn, closing the gap with W&SR 73 to discourage visitors from walking between the cars and into the path of any trains moving on Track 2.  A glitch was noticed in the control system so currently MS-65 is out of service pending the completion of resolving the issue.

    The next move was getting AE&FR 5 out of the Car Barn.  Fred and Mike are riding on the back end as Jeff operates it over the barn lead switches.

    With 5 out of the barn, Fred with the assistance of Mike piloted AE&FR 304 from its Track 5 outdoor storage position to inside the barn on Track 3.  This task was done carefully as 304 tends to ride up on frog, so the edge of the east rail is greased and the wheels are monitored as they pass through the switches.

    Here Lorrie Nevens is conducting one of her Facebook Live Streams with Jeff and Fred concerning the locomotive, its history and the details of the current project of restoring its paint and appearance. Link to facebook live video

    Locomotive 5 residing in its pumpkin orange on Track 3 South in front of the barn.

    But 5 did not stay solid orange for long as Jeff sent me this selfie while he was lettering the east side with vinyl transfers.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Here is what the “fireman’s” side looks like after Jeff was finished.  Even though the lettering was professionally made, Jeff confided that applying them is harder than it looks.  The black stripes need to be completed along with the “engineer’s” side lettering, but all in good time.

    On Saturday September 26th, James Tarbet applied the reflective white stripes to the frame.  In the mid 1950’s such reflective markings were very innovative when Bob DeYoung painted the locomotive orange.

    Our locomotive rests outside on Track 3 South awaiting the return of its radiator shutters which were taken off site to be sand blasted, primed and repainted professionally.

    All the cracked and broken windows on W&SR 73 have been replaced by LeWalt Glass of Crystal Lake as another step in improving the appearance of our rolling stock and the museum.

    On Sunday September 20th Roadmaster Chris Nelson, Art Lempke and Fred Lonnes started raising the east rail of Track 0.  Unfortunately, I never get there in time to capture them working.

    Once gain my luck failed in capturing the track crew at work but on Sunday the 27th Chris with the help of Art and Jim Gonyo raised the west rail of Track 0 and where working around the switches, cleaning them out for better drainage.

    On the CTA 4451 front, volunteer Joe Caliedo installed the walls below the new window sills.  Mike Gilles photo

    Here is Joe with metal worker John as they started working on the pneumatic door engines that move 4451’s massive sliding doors.  Just another step in getting the car restored.

    During the next week after the walls were primed, our contractor Kyle, sprayed the interior brown inside 4451.

    You have seen other pictures of the #2 end cab of 4451 but here it is finally painted in the brown but with the masking still in place.  This brown reminds me of milk chocolate.  Hopefully next season, motormen will be using this cab to take the car to Blackhawk once again.

    Checking in on 4288, more rust and corrosion where found in the frame behind the Northwest door pocket area of the car.  The pneumatic door engine and floor underneath it has been removed to survey the issue and then proceed with repairs.

    We turn to the Operating Department as CTA L-202 and IC caboose 9648 departs on a southbound trip on Sunday September 20th, the last Sunday of Caboose Train operation this season.  Because of the pandemic guidelines only eight people at a time could ride the caboose so our passengers swapped trains down at Blackhawk so more patrons could enjoy the way car experience.

    CNS&M 715 makes a diversionary arrival on Track 2 after a fire extinguisher accidentally discharged in the car while it was leaving Blackhawk.  After the dust settled there were no injuries and CTA 43 covered the final two trips of the day.  Our Monday crew cleaned up 715 and it will be back in service this coming weekend.  Oh! and I finally captured the track crew standing in the clear!

  • September 15, 2020 6:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On September 23rd, the needle chipping on AE&FR 5 is all but done.

    Next masking of the windows was started along with wire wheeling all the superstructure surfaces of the locomotive on August 28th.  Jeff Bennett photo

    On August 29th the louvers from both ends had been removed as wire wheeling continued.  Mike Gilles photo

    Another view of the back end of 5 as body clean up continues.  The louver sets are surprisingly heavy and were taken off site to be sand blasted.

    The metal worker crew fabricated the missing wheel splash guard and it has been installed by August 30th.

    September 2nd, and the prepped body is getting its primer sprayed on the roof by Kyle.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Here Kyle is applying primer to the front hood of the locomotive.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Finally 5 is dressed in its coat of white primer but not for long.  Jeff Bennett photo

    The special primer dries quickly and the orange final coat goes on.  Jeff Bennett photo

    The whole superstructure is covered as the paint cures.  Jeff Bennett photo

    This orange paint also contains a sealer like all contemporary automotive paints do, which will give our locomotive a more weather resistant surface once it resides outside.  Jeff Bennett photo

    By September 4th, the orange top coat is cured enough to allow for masking so that the frame can be painted black.

    On Labor Day, Jeff is applying the second coat of black to the frame.  The couplers and air hoses are masked as under current railway standards they should not be painted.

  • September 15, 2020 5:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is Saturday August 29th, Jeff Bennett and James Tarbet are installing new pedestal liners on the journal boxes of CTA locomotive MS65.  Mike Gilles photo

    The next day James was working to install the liners or shims on the east side of the locomotive.

    He got one journal finished but was working on another that was being stubborn.

    By Labor Day all the liners were in place and the locomotive was moved over to Track 3 South.  The OB Form 5 coupler is evident that will allow MS65 to connect with any of our CTA all-electric cars like 43 up on Track 1.

    After public operations on Labor Day where over Trainmaster Damin Keenan took a brief familiarization trip to Ward’s Bridge and back and now MS65 is heading back to Track 3 South at the car barn.

  • September 15, 2020 5:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is a view taken on September 27th of the work on CTA 4451’s floor.  Mike Gilles photo

    A day later after Cliff Blanck cleaned things up.  You can see the underlayment on the east (right) side of the car awaiting more tongue and groove flooring.  Jeff Bennett photo

    One more course of flooring is needed in the area of the longitudinal seat on September 4th.

    Here is that same area completed on Labor Day.

    Now that all the wood flooring is in place it is time for the interior walls to go up and the windows to be installed so the interior painting can be started.

  • September 15, 2020 5:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The cab side panel going on CTA 4299 on August 30th.

    Here is the front corner completed and primed on September 4th.  Previous reports presented photos of this corner being rebuilt.

    This view shows the heavy side sill repair work done to replace critical steel.  The area under the side door pockets was always a location of heavy rust due to rain water flowing off the side doors when they were opened.  We hope the other three door pockets are not as bad but we now know how to deal with them if they are.

    On Labor Day September 7th, Doug Rundell made a return to active car work after surgery.  Here he is removing old horsehair insulation from the area behind the car card portion of the ceiling.

    An overall view of the interior of 4288.  It is hoped that it will not have to be torn down as much as 4451 was but there are areas where the floor will have to be replaced.  We have some seat handles but we might have to have a number of them cast up.

    This is the inside view of the #2 end where the handbrake is and is the opposite side of the first photo in this series.  The refurbished train door is in the process of being rehung with two of the three hinges installed as of September 6th.

  • August 28, 2020 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this series we start off with CTA MS-65 as James Ham and James Tarbet working on removing the journal box shims as per Chief Car Officer Jeff Bennett’s direction.   Mike Gilles photo

    James Tarbet put in a good two days removing all the shims and degreasing the four journal box areas.  The next step is to install replacement shims to square the two axles so that they are in alignment.  Jeff Bennett photo

    With the receiving of a generous donation, work was started on removing the paint from AE&FR 5 by needle scaling in preparation for priming and painting.  Jeff Bennett photo

    On Saturday August 22nd, AE&FR 304 was moved out of the car barn so 5 could go inside for prep work and eventually spray priming and painting.  Mike Gilles photo

    By Sunday the headlight bezels were removed and more than 90% of the locomotive had been needle scaled.  The radiator louvers will be a harder item to do.

    As is usual 5 was not the only project underway.  CTA 4288 continues to see progress on its restoration.

    Here John is welding up some faux rivets on some new steel on the southeast corner of the car.

    Thee is heating the steel with the torch so it can be bent around the corner.

    Here the metal is being hammered into place while heat is still being applied.  Both Thee and John are very accomplished metal workers who did the work on 4451.

    Work continues on the north end of 4288 so that the final end dash can be installed.

    Here Jeff is sorting though the wiring on the #2 end.  I recall the CTA rapid transit rosters of the 1960’s having a footnote that the #2 end cabs of the married pairs of 4000’s were sometimes disabled.  4451 was not but 4288 was so all the control wiring will have to be recreated.

    After an exterior power wash on Saturday AE&FR 304 , here passing over the Stop 54 cattle run, made a couple of trips on Sunday August 23rd.

    On Sunday August 16th Ralph Taylor, assisted by Mike Gilles, started on-site work restoring the museum’s North Shore motorcar in the Maintenance-of-Way shed.

    A replacement piston and rod were reinstalled in the Fairmount model M-9 engine and the radiator taken home for cleaning and a new gasket.

    On August 8th, Ralph installed two signal bells on CNS&M 715.  They are reproductions, manufactured in the 1980’s which Jeff had acquired to replace the makeshift bells the car came to us with.  Hopefully we will someday be able to obtain the correct Adlake bells that were used on this car, but in the meantime, we now have a reliable system for conductor/motorman  communication.

    Here 715 is climbing up out of Track 2 onto the mainline with Bruce Kuhnhofer at the controls.

    Passengers on 715 were masked and sitting apart on another journey into the past on a Sunday afternoon.

    On Sunday August 23rd Ralph put the first coat of paint on the North Shore motorcar engine after securing the head.

    The cleaned-up radiator was returned as well.  Now the ignition system needs attention before the one lug engine can be mounted back onto the car frame.

    Ralph and Mike lug the engine, which needs a second coat of paint, into the Maintenance-of-Way shed after another Sunday of progress.

    It’s August 16th and the spraying of the cream color on CTA 4451 is underway.

    Professional painter Kyle lays down the cream on the letter boards and window posts of the carefully masked car.

    Under all that masking 4451 is beginning to look like the proud rapid transit car that it is.

    During the week Cliff Blanck was installing the trim pieces for the flooring.  Jeff Bennett photo

    A week later the train doors on 4451 finally received their exterior green paint after careful masking.

    The tongue and groove flooring for 4451 has arrived and awaits installation.

    The new wood flooring is starting to be installed by Cliff from the isle towards the wall.  Mike Gilles photo

    Another view of 4451’s east side with the masking still evident.  The masking is kept in place until all painting is done.

    I never seem to get to the museum when the new flooring is not covered to protect from errant spray painting as this is what it looked like on Sunday August 23rd.

    Finally this portion of 4451 has got a good coat of paint on it.  Jeff was never satisfied with the finish he got so he passed the task onto Kyle.  Here the paint is curing into its protective, weather proof coat.  These are just some of the hundreds of steps necessary to bring the car back to operational status.



  • August 15, 2020 7:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Locomotive 5 is pulling CNS&M 756 off of Track 5 for a run around trip to Coleman Yard so it can be pushed on Track 0 for storage along with CA&E 317.  Mike Gilles photo

    This is a view CTA GE 25-ton locomotive MS-65 is sitting unused and surplus at Skokie Shops on the day Jeff Bennett and Fred Lonnes inspected the locomotive.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Jeff’s company has a low boy trailer that could hold the locomotive so he had his employee Gerrick add rails made of large steel angle plates reinforced with wooden 2 x 4’s underneath to hold the shape.  Jeff Bennet photo

    Gerrick welded two special transition pieces on the trailer to meet the rail ramps.  Jeff Bennett photo

    It’s July 15th and the trailer is in the yard of the CTA’s Skokie Shops with a CTA ramp set ready to receive MS-65.  Jeff Bennett photo

    CTA’s Shuttlewagon S-124, using work flat S-602 as an idler car, pulls MS-65 out of the shop into the daylight.  High rail Shuttlewagons now take the place of MS-65 moving cars around the shop when 600 volts is not available and have the added advantage of being rubber tired so they can be driven out of the way.  Jeff Bennett photo

    MS-65 is being pushed up the ramp onto the trailer with chain binders at the ready to secured the locomotive.  Jeff Bennett photo

    And the idler flat is used to position the locomotive in the center of the trailer for best weight distribution.  Jeff Bennett photo

    After some extra parts were loaded it was about an hour’s drive to his facility in Crystal Lake.  Missing windows had been boarded up at Skokie Shops.

    Here we see the backend of the locomotive on the trailer.  It came equipped with snow plows on both ends along with a basket containing its original MCB couplers.

    This was the only window that did not have to be boarded up.  While the operator’s side window was boarded up it was fortunately found to be intact.

    After filling in holes from the old window attachment system, the boards were taken off and the whole rig was taken to a local glass company.   Jeff Bennett photo

    The glass technicians of LeWalt Glass of Crystal Lake, cut and installed the windows with new gasket material.  The owner Ken gave us a good price on this work and materials as well.  Work was completed in just one day!!  Jeff Bennett photo

    In an afternoon all the windows are installed but now we have to wait for the tractor to come back to pick up the finished job.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Ms-65 is back behind Jeff’s facility waiting for the next steps to get it running.  Both snow plows can be seen in this view.

    The backend looks much better with the new windows in.  Jeff and his crew spent a lot of time after this picture was taken going over the Cummins diesel engine, the generator, traction motor, air compressor, handbrake and other items that make the locomotive operational.  The rear snow plow had to be removed to gain access underneath the locomotive in this process.

    It is Saturday August 8th and Jeff is giving member Connor Ladley final instructions as the now operable locomotive is ready to go to its new home in South Elgin.  Fortunately the locomotive is small enough that special permits were not needed to make all the highway moves.   Lorrie Nevens photo

    And away we go South Elgin as seen from Jeff’s tool ambulance.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Shortly after arrival at our unloading area along Highway 31 at the north end of the mainline in South Elgin on a sunny summer morning.  Now the unloading work has to begin.   Lorrie Nevens photo

    Perched on the trailer we can see one of the Ohio Brass form 5 couplers that makes this locomotive unique and useful to the museum as it can move any of our all-electric CTA cars as well as crane flat S-314.

    The museum’s shorter transition ramp is chained in place and the locomotive’s engine has been started up as the headlight is on.

    The final chain binders have been undone and now MS-65 is ready to move off the trailer onto the rail with Jeff at the throttle.

    And onto the ramp, the scariest moment of all. Live Video available on our Facebook Page

    Coming down the ramp onto the rails of its new home.  Lorrie Nevens photo

    Heading across the driveway for the first time.  Connor took the air horn apart, cleaned it up ahead of time, so it could sound the grade crossing signal.  Unfortunately, the bell disappeared years ago at Skokie Shops so now we have to find a replacement.

    This is the engineer’s side of the locomotive.  The window cranks down just like an old automobile on our 1942 locomotive.

    And this is the blind side.  The cab is not very roomy as the engine compartment protrudes into it on this very compact “critter”.

    The lowboy trailer was next moved to the parking lot where CTA S-314’s crane was fired up to remove the rear snow plow from it.

    Next came an extra set of Ohio Brass form 5 couplers, modified to fit MS-65, just like the ones currently on it.

    Finally the basket containing the MCB (Master Car Builder) or railroad couplers that came with the locomotive when it was built for moving standard freight cars.  All these items are stored on S-314’s deck for the time being.

    After all the unloading was done it was time to take a first trip on the locomotive.  We went down to the Stearns Road Bridge and back as Jeff didn’t want to run it too much since the chain lubrication system was not in place.  It has since been installed.  A large chain transfers power from the rear axle to the front axle.

    The brakes seem to be a little abrupt and after an in-yard test run the unit was tied up on Track 5.  Some journal box shims, which appear to be worn, are causing the wheels to be a little out of tram or alignment, which in turn is causing the brakes to pull more on one side then on the other.  One shim was removed for use as a pattern for more to be made up to remedy this problem.

    MS-65 is not the only show at the Museum as work continues on CTA 4288.  The #2 cab controls have been removed by Jeff so that the new metal skin can now be attached.

    The lower side sheet of 4288 has had the green paint removed.  Repairs will go on section by section instead of the whole side after lessons learned on 4451.

    Here Fred Lonnes is explaining about camber to metal technicians John and Thee who have been fabricating and making the repairs to the car body, frame and doors.

    Ralph Taylor has removed the south controller from CA&E 316 as he continues his work to rebuild the end floor.

    This shows you how much rot has taken place and why this project is so important to car 316.

    On CTA 4451 Cliff Blanck has laid down the second layer of plywood sub floor through out the car.  The next step is to start putting in the hardwood flooring the seats sit on.

    In this view you can see the kingpin cover and large bolt heads associated with the bolster which supports the center bearing of the truck.  The final layer of floor will cover the bolts but the kingpin cover will remain visible.

    The sub floors are in on both vestibules and here we see the #2 end cab controls back together waiting for the final flooring and then the interior painting.

    Sunday August 9th saw the first operation of AE&FR 304 this season.  This was made possible in part by moving CA&E 317 from Track 4 in front of the barn to Track 0 so CA&E 458 could be moved from Track 3 to Track 4 and thus finally enabling 304 to make it out of the barn.   Mike Gilles photo

  • August 07, 2020 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1. Jeff Bennett is spraying body filler on a section of the west side of 4451 to make the surface more uniform before sanding it and applying more primer and green paint.

    2. The south end of 4451 is masked in preparation for spraying the cream color.  It takes planning and skill to mask and paint the different colors inside and out.

    3. Sheets of plywood stand at the ready to be installed as sub flooring in 4451.  Two layers of the plywood go down to be followed by tongue and groove lumber to make up the finished floor.

    4. Cliff Blanck has put the first layer of plywood down over the metal subfloor during the week of July 19th.

    5. Throughout the car the first layer is installed except over the two truck bolster areas which get covered by the second layer.  All this has had to be replaced because of rot caused by water leaks into the car before restoration was started.

    6. This is the southeast door in the #2 end vestibule of 4451 in white primer waiting for the brown interior paint.  The amount of priming and painting necessary is impressive.   

    7. Out back behind the barn Jeff is priming wood spacers needed to install the sides windows in 4451 so the next interior and exterior colors can be applied.        

     8.  On 4288 we have been fortunate that the side sliding doors have limited rust damage that only require spot repairs.

    9. Here two patches have been laid out and await careful welding in place on the northwest door of 4288.  Care must be taken so that the heat of the welding process does not warp the door surface.

    10. This is the steel subfloor at the north or #2 end of 4288.  If you look carefully you can see the layers of wood flooring in the bulkhead doorway to the main seating compartment.

    11.  Ralph Taylor has removed the air brake and sleet cutter piping from the south cab of 316 as he makes progress in his task to rebuild the floor and end of the car.

    12. Chris Nelson is using the Case tractor to pick up the remaining ballast in the pile in the parking lot.

    13. Here he is coming up the driveway to unload the stone into the EZDumper.

    14. Once all the stone is loaded it will be taken to finish ballasting Track 0 which then can be used to store cars currently parked on the car barn leads.

    15 A rain barrel has been installed by Jeff Bennett under the downspout of the maintenance of way building rain gutter.  This water is used to keep the freshly planted ornamental grass healthy as it takes root and propagates to cover the area between the mainline and Track 0.

  • July 22, 2020 8:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First we take a look at photos of the progress on CTA 4288.  It is June 28th and work has started on replacing the #2 end body panels.

    All the corner and door posts need replacement and was easier to replace the whole lower end panel than trying to patch the rusted out bottom panel.

    On July 5th the new panel is in place.

    Here we see the inside with the handbrake staff back in place as well as a new sub floor which required replacement of some underlying frame members as well.

    The motorman’s side is off on July 19th as efforts move along.

    The side door was taken down and it only needed a little repair along the bottom edge, a welcomed relief, especially compared with 4451’s side doors.

    Later on the 19th the panel was cut and fitted but now needs permanent fastening to the car’s frame work, a job for another work session.

    A change of pace.  A neighbor’s phone call to the depot on Saturday July 11th reported a tree limb down on the feeder cable just north of the IC bridge.  Damin Keenan photo

    Jeff Bennett and Mike Gillis along with Damin Keenan took the motorcar train down to the site with the necessary tools.  Damin Keenan photo

    First they haul the large step ladder into the downed foliage.  Damin Keenan photo

    Next Mike grabs the chain saw off the push cart.  Damin Keenan photo

    Carefully Jeff cuts the offending limb from the still standing tree.  Damin Keenan photo

    Finally the limb is free of the tree but more work is necessary to clear the track zone.  Damin Keenan photo

    Now the limb and its branches have to be cut in manageable pieces.  Damin Keenan photo

    Then the pieces have to be dragged out of the way.  Damin Keenan photo

    The track and feeder are finally clear but some more clean up needs to be done before the crew can return to Castlemuir and the line reopened for operation.  Damin Keenan photo

    CTA 4451’s #2 end gets it first coat of green paint.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Here Jeff is masking the inside of 4451 so another color can be sprayed.

    The east side is in dark primer waiting the spraying of the green.  Jeff Bennett photo

    Here the #2 end is getting sanded down for another coat of green as Jeff is pretty particular about how the finished surface should look.

    Inside the window trim has been sprayed after the ceiling was covered with plastic.  Jeff Bennett photo

    The lower west-side and #1 end are now in green.  Jeff Bennett photo

    The interior is masked in preparation so the next interior and exterior colors can be sprayed.

    A week later the #2 end and side door are in their final green colors.

    Ralph Taylor is starting to disassemble the south end of CA&E 316 so that the floor timbers can be replaced just as he did the north end many years ago.

    With the help of others Jeff got the engine cover back on CTA S-314.  Here he is installing the air filter for the diesel.  Several controls had to also be reconnected during this process as well.

    Its boom fully extended and fully raised; it is easy to see that S-314 will be handy in setting line poles.

    AE&FR 5’s #2 engine has been troublesome so Jeff with Mike’s help are attending to the problem.

    Jeff is removing the fuel pump/governor for repair.  It loses its prime from the fuel tank and starves the injectors of fuel which in turn shuts down the prime mover.

    And here is the device.  While they were plentiful and common in the 1980’s it now takes someone with special skill and experience to repair and rebuild them and Jeff hopes he has found that person.  5 deserves to be healthy and up to full strength once again.

    CNS&M 715 running as an extra on July 19th as train operation is returning to a more regular pattern.  Face masks for all and cleaning of the cars after every trip continue to be requirements for the foreseeable future.  New rule qualified operators are starting their practical training.

  • July 13, 2020 2:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is a sign printed and placed on the building:

    This is the WAYNE station of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban and originally was located on the west side of the right-of-way, which is now the Illinois Prairie Path, at its crossing of Army Trail Road in the Village of Wayne.  It went into service on May 26th, 1903 when the Elgin branch of the original Aurora Elgin & Chicago high speed, third rail powered interurban from Wheaton was placed into service.  While the CA&E called all is passenger structures “stations” this building was actually a waiting shelter as there was no agent on duty as one would purchase their ticket at a station with an agent or from the conductor on the train.  This structure is a little more elaborate than most CA&E waiting shelters with its unique roof line and finished interior.  After the CA&E freight operations were shut down in 1961 and the railroad salvaged, the shelter was moved to a residential back yard for use as a shed.  Fortunately, it was only slightly modified in this capacity.  A member tracked down this building and found that it was destined to be destroyed as the new owners of the property no longer wanted it.  Arrangements were made to purchase it and move the building to the museum to beat a removal deadline.  The museum is currently researching how to best interpret this historic gem and raising funds for its stabilization and restoration.  Photos and recollections of the shelter when it was on the CA&E are appreciated.

    1- This photo shows the WAYNE station about 1903 when it first went into service on Aurora, Elgin & Chicago with a car headed to Wheaton and eventually Chicago.  Alfred W. Johnson photo

    2-      Here car 401 heads towards Elgin around World War II.  The passenger semaphore and platform light are visible in this view by an unknown photographer.

    3-      Here is the repurposed shelter early in 2020 in a backyard as member James Slattery found it.

    4-      Our neighbor Leo Metz took this photo the day of its arrival at the museum.

    5-      Unfortunately, the depot was set down facing the wrong direction in relation to our trackage.  Leo Metz photo

    6-      A head on view of the side which faced the CA&E Elgin branch the first time I saw the building.

    7-      It was set on timbers awaiting its final placement.

    8-      An end view when the decorative “shutters”, placed there by the last owner, have been removed along with the flower box, another post CA&E add on.

    9-      Here Cliff and Jeff are working on jacking the shelter up so it can be temporarily placed on a trailer to rotate it 180 degrees.  Mike Gilles photo

    10-   Jeff is carefully turning the shelter around in the parking lot as it is perched on his company trailer.  Mike Gilles photo

    11-   WAYNE sat on the trailer for a week while a deck was constructed to accept it.

    12-   The deck stands ready to accept the shelter as the Case tractor stands by.

    13-   It was pulled off the trailer in steps as cribbing was built up for it to side on.

    14-   The backhoe was used to slowly pull the false frame constructed around the base.  In this photo the shelter is finally on the deck.  The tractor had to be reset several times to get it on all the way.

    15-   Part of the all-day project to get the shelter on the base was cleaning up all the blocking and false work so the trailer could be removed.

    16-   As WAYNE stands in its new home at the museum where it is being studied to determine how to best restore the shelter accurately and use it as an educational tool.

    17-   This is a little taste of the inside which was finished with interior walls and a ceiling, a rarity for CA&E stop shelters.

    18-   The door is original and if it could talk, the stories it could tell, having outlasted the interurban line it was built to serve.  All our CA&E cars passed this shelter countless times and once again they will have that opportunity.

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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:
(847) 697-4676

365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, IL 60177           

P.O. Box 315

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