Log in

Education Through Demonstration

Log in

Members Only

  • August 20, 2021 9:13 PM | Anonymous member

    For the last three months most of the heavy work in the car barn has centered around the IC caboose but now that the metal work, welding repairs and fabrication is essentially complete our forces have turned back to CTA rapid transit car 4288.

    On May 9th, 2021, when CTA 4451 returned to service there was a void in the car barn which was soon filled with Illinois Central caboose 9648.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    4288 sits a little forlorn in the barn with some of its parts stored on the shelving next to it.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    While most of the efforts were focused on its sister 4451 some work was always being done in 4288 as here, we see seat frames being detached and heaters being disconnected.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    But on Saturday August 14th work restarted in earnest as our crew shifted from the IC caboose to 4288.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    We find John VanPaseuth and Bill Wright busy removing insulation from interior walls below the window sills.   Jeff Bennett photo

    This removal will aid in replacing the side sheets and expose the carlines for inspection.  Eventually the insulation will be replaced with modern material as the goal is to make the car usable in all seasons.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Thee has been removing the last of the heaters under the longitudinal seat and marking the connections for the units as well as connections for the door engine.   Jeff Bennett photo

    By the time I got on the scene the debris was starting to pile up from the insulation removal process.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Bill had mastered the art of insulation removal as he and John are on their last sections.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The last batten of 1922 horse hair insulation just before its removal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    One of the door engines awaiting removal for overhaul and to allow for floor removal and replacement.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the work bench we find one of the door engines from 4288.  The part in the red box is the cylinder and piston assembly which actually opens one of the car’s side doors.  Jeff took it apart, cleaned it up and reassembled it with the goal of swapping it out for one that is leaking air on 4451 so he can service the leaking unit.  The Skokie shop tag states this door engine was last overhauled in May of 1957.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Meanwhile in the back of the barn Mike Gilles is taking apart the heater elements which will be replaced with modern units just as was done on 4451.   Joseph Hazinski photo 

     While clearing out all the seats in 4288 all the heat shields on the bottom of the cushions were salvaged and here Jeff is applying heat resistant paint to the primed panels.  When dry they will go into storage until it is time to install them on the reupholstered cushions.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Assorted vestibule ceiling panels are hanging from the car awaiting either cleanup or use as patterns for replacements as necessary.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Another productive day winds down as we view the #2 end of 4288 which will one day couple with 4451 to make a two-car train.   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • August 17, 2021 4:53 PM | Anonymous member

     It has been a while since we last posted an update on the caboose restoration and repainting project so let’s get right into it.

    With all the assorted efforts going on Barb Bennett take some time to reorganize and clean up in the car barn.  Jeff Bennett photo

    It is June 26th and Mike Gilles is using an electric UV paint stripper on one of the side doors to the caboose in the back of the car barn.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Joe Caliendo and Thee VanPaseuth smile for the camera next to Thee’s work on replacing a side panel on one corner of the car.   Jeff Bennett photo

    John is welding in the area of the patch while his brother Thee is drilling a hole for another faux rivet.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    Working on the west side, John is getting ready to weld while Thee wire wheels the aluminum window frame next to the conductor’s desk.  Thee is working from a rolling scaffold which came from the CA&E Wheaton shops.  This view was possible because 304 was out being run for Rails To Victory.   Jeff Bennett photo

    It’s July 4th and the plated over window next to the stove fuel tank has been opened up and is waiting for an aluminum window frame to be installed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The day before, July 3rd, Fred Lonnes and Jeff Bennett installed refurbished Emergency and Service portions to the air brake system.  The air reservoir got new gaskets and a new mechanical slack adjuster were all applied followed by a successful air brake test.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The next weekend finds Thee grinding the edges of one of the many metal patches applied to the roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

    If you look closely one can see some of the patches and metal patch material which was welded over large rust holes in the roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

    To do the patching, all the roof walk grating was removed so every hole could be patched or weld repaired.  The roof has not looked like this since the caboose was built in 1959.   Jeff Bennett photo

    With face and hearing protection, James Tarbet is using a wire cup brush wheel to remove all the paint around all the details of the south end platform on July 18th.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    This view was possible because 20 was in service.  Jeff Bennett is applying paint remover to the deck and step treads while our painter has taken a break from priming the roof and cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is feathering the edges around the patch on the north west corner of the caboose.   Mike Gilles photo

    Our professional painter Kyle Kunzer is putting down the first coat of red paint on the roof of the cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On July 25th, Jeff is spraying the special white primer as Thee has just finished up installing the new aluminum window frame on the east side of the car.   Mike Gilles photo

    Kyle is spraying the first red coat on one of the primed side doors.  Three coats eventually were put on both wooden doors which will receive a lot of wear being opened and closed.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    The roof walks await installation after Kyle took them to his shop for blasting, priming and painting.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here is the opening for the window that is to be added to the west side of the car.  A cut out will have to be made in the interior wall which was left intact while the red was sprayed on this outside.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    Thee is grinding to top of the bracket which once supported a walkway around the cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Brother John is welding the ledge portion to one of the three original brackets.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here John is welding another one of the brackets while Jeff leans out of the cupola to hold a piece of metal to keep it square.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    This is the walkway Jeff and John fabricated.  The grating is welded to the L iron for secure footing.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is finishing up the welding of the walkway to the brackets and the roof.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    And this is what the installed walkway looks like and the end of another productive day.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is August 1st and we see the east side in white primer.  The west side had been primed and painted earlier in July.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the south end, Jeff is spraying gray primer on the underside of the roof hangover.  Gray was used because our paint supplier ran out of white primer.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Meanwhile on the north end Kyle is applying the red finish coat.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Later in the day we see the east side which is now completely red.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Kyle is working the red into and around the stove fuel filler area as he works to complete the painting of the north end wall.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here we see the first of two ladder guards in place.  Kyle took it back to his shop for blasting and painting before John and Thee could fabricate the second one.  The guards are to prevent trespassers from climbing up on the roof and coming in contact with live trolley wire.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Just before car 20 returns to the barn we have a view of 9648 with its red east side.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    I missed a weekend at the museum when all the exterior red spraying was completed.  On August 14th the caboose was pulled out of the barn by L-202 for inspection in the sunlight to find defects in the paint.  It was promptly returned and Jeff did the touch ups.   Mike Gilles photo

    On August 15th the exterior painting was complete as work starts to move towards finishing the interior.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here is an interior view of the window opening that was added to the west side of the car.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is the end of another weekend as the lights are turned off on the south end of the car.  If you look carefully, you can see the white lengths of the hand brake chain.  This was a practice of the Illinois Central so it could be easily seen that a hand brake was off.  Many tasks remain but the punch list is getting shorter.  One thing that is clear, 9648 is really red!   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • June 21, 2021 1:48 PM | Anonymous member

         Members and regular visitors may ask “Where did the red caboose go?”.   The next group of photos will help answer the question as Illinois Central 9648 undergoes rehabilitation and repainting.

    After CTA rapid transit car 4451 was completed there became room in the car barn for our next project so here on May 9th, locomotive L-202 pulled 9648 down the car barn lead.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    AE&FR #5 then came up behind to couple onto the caboose.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Then L-202 uncoupled and headed out of the way onto Track 3 south so #5 could push the caboose into the barn.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    The caboose is on Track 4, the center track in the barn so work can start on its rehabilitation and total exterior repainting.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The Monday crew started needle scaling the exterior, a slow and noisy process.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    One of the damaged corner panels has been replaced with new sheet metal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    May 30th finds Thee on the CA&E rolling scaffold needle scaling the roof edge.  Most of the east side has been needle scaled, the first step in paint removal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    John is needle scaling on the west side while Joe Caliendo is up on the roof working to remove the metal grate walkways to allow prep work on the roof to proceed.  Nuts and bolts, rivets and welds all had to be removed to free up the walkways which will be reinstalled after the final painting is completed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the east side Thee is heating up the old lettering with a hand torch to make it pliable.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Then using a razor scrapper he is able to remove the vinyl letters along with the paint underneath.  We have the official lettering diagram so new lettering can be correctly located once painting is completed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Its Sunday June 13th and with AE&FR 304 out to work the Rails To Victory charter a more complete picture of the west side could be taken.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    While the RTV battles rage on volunteer Joe Caliendo is needle scaling the roof of the cupola a process that took many hours.  The noise during this work is intense so hearing protection is required just to be in car barn.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    In this view the east side is mostly down to bare metal after the use of wire wheels showing the progress as of Sunday June 13th.   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • June 18, 2021 9:58 AM | Anonymous member

    CTA rapid transit car 4451 is now in the museum’s operating pool.  Here are some photos that show the final efforts that led to the car being in service.

    Jeff Bennett has reinstalled the battery charging resistance and is now getting the charging system back together in this March 28th view.   George Barreto photo

    By April 7th the roof saddles were in place having been screwed to the wood carlines underneath after being “buttered” with sealant.  The area that will be underneath the trolley boards has been painted with the final finish rubberized top coat which will eventually cover the whole roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

     After sealing the edges of the roof openings with finish roof paint and sealant we catch Jeff installing one of the roof ventilators on April 11th, each of which were sand blasted, primed and painted off site.   Mike Gilles photo

    The two trolley poles have been cleaned up, primed and repainted awaiting their turn to be installed after their paint cures.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is Tuesday April 13th, and time to swap the positions of 4451 and 4288 on Track 4 of the car barn so eventually 4451 will be able to propel itself out of barn.  The plastic on the car is used to protect the sides and ends as the roof coatings were applied.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Dan Kelly and James Tarbet are installing one of the trolley bases on Saturday April 17th.   Jeff Bennett photo

    While they are working on the bases, Joe Caliendo is fastening the drip rails at the end of the car.   Jeff Bennett photo

    By the end of the day the trolley bases are installed and wired up with the poles up on the roof awaiting installation.   Jeff Bennett photo

    It’s Sunday April 18th and 4451 has powered itself out of the barn by use of a stinger.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff installs a whistle as we are going to try to test the car.  Note that roof mounted headlight is yet to be installed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    4451 is out under the wire (The cable over Track 4 is not energized as it is a fall protection line insulated from the trolley frog.) as James Tarbet raises the pole while Mike Gilles looks on.  The car made it to the Track 2 platform but we were unable to get the south controller to function so we could not make a test trip on the line.  Joe Hazinski operated the north controls guided by radio commands from Jeff at the south end to get the car back into the barn.  Needless to say, everyone was disappointed but the car moved under its own power.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    James Ham of the Monday April 17th crew is seen cutting the rubber floor for the isle.  Monday work parties were very helpful in getting tasks done to make the car operable.   Doug Rundell photo

    We jump to Sunday May 2nd, and efforts are fast and furious to get the rubber flooring down.  In the intervening time it was found that some wires in the south controller had not been connected and static testing indicated that the issue had been resolved.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff with the help of James Tarbet is installing the rubber flooring in the north vestibule.  The new 100 lb. linoleum roller and another roller tool are in evidence in this picture.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is time to pump up the car for another attempt at a shake down run.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is trimming the edges of the rubber flooring under the glow of the interior lights powered by 600 volts.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Pulling up the masking tape which protected the wooden floor from the adhesive.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Framed by the north train door Mike Gilles is at the stinger as we are finally ready to try to get out of the barn for a second time.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    We made it to Blackhawk! as Jeff raises the pole for the return trip to Castlemuir.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The gang mills around the Blackhawk platform before we head back to South Elgin.  Everyone is encouraged that we might make the May 9th opening day goal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Only a few sample seat cushions and backs are on hand and installed as the others were still at the upholstery shop in Chicago.  Trainmaster Damin Keenan is testing one of the seats.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    4451 heads south towards Switch 54 on another shake down run.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    All three shake down trips were made on May 2nd and here we see the car back after the last one before the car went back to the barn.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On Wednesday May 5th Fred Lonnes is assembling one of the all new Adlake shades to be installed in the car while everyone is waiting for the remainder of the seats.   Mike Gilles photo

    A happy Jeff Bennett is carrying a seat cushion up from his ambulance on Thursday May 6th as now the car can be made whole and be placed into service on opening day May 9th.   Mike Gilles photo

    All the shades are all in place and the backs and cushions are waiting to be installed over the next two days.  The car debuted on Mothers Day as planned.  It has had some teething problems but the Car Department is addressing them one by one and crew members are being qualified.  Little details are being attended to as well but it is sure nice to have 4451 back in the operating fleet.   Mike Gilles photo

  • March 23, 2021 5:07 PM | Anonymous member

    Many thanks for all the photos contributed to make this edition of the web site news possible.  There has been a lot going on at the museum and this is just a sampling of what has been happening since the last installment.   Work has been going full bore on CTA 4451 all winter even as the museum grounds are awakening from a snowy winter.  It is heartening to see and hear of new faces joining in our efforts to improve the museum.   Joseph Hazinski - editor

    Mike Gilles provided me with a security camera view of the snow at the museum on February 19th, 2021 so you can get an idea of how much snow there was at the site this winter.

     Work was able to continue in the car barn after the snows but operation on the railroad was not possible.  As the snowpack began to melt Fred Lonnes and Patrick Storm were able survey the line and determined that there were several points where the snow was still too deep to operate the CTA all-electric cars.  After some track switches were shoveled out at Castlemuir a crew was formed on Saturday March 6th to take CNS&M 715 down the line to shovel these drifts out.  Here the crew is working on one of those drifts in the shadow of the Stearns Road bridge where highway plowing added additional snow onto the track and the shadow of the bridge “protected” it from the sun.    Tom Albright photo

    Here 715 has pulled up to the north crossing in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve so the crew can work on another drift that built up adjacent to the hill to the east.    Russ Friend photo

    Turning 180 degrees we see volunteers shoveling out the rails and the space between so as not to affect the traction motors on the CTA cars.  The crew consisted of Damin Keenan, Doug Rundell, Art Lempke, James Tarbet, Patrick Storm, Russ Friend and Tom Albright.    Russ Friend photo

    Now we go back to February 20th in the car barn where work continued on CTA 4451.  When the roof was reconstructed the passageways between the roof vents and the interior were not constructed so Jeff Bennett devised a work around.    Jeff Bennett photo

    He was able to make up sheet metal boxes to form a mini duct to keep the passages open once the exterior roof vents are installed.   Jeff Bennett photo

    After all the vent ducts were installed the crew installed the interior air regulators.  All these regulators were sandblasted off site so they could be primed and painted.  As each one was installed, they were individually adjusted so that each could be opened and closed as needed just like they could be when they were new in 1924.    Mike Gilles photo

    The next day we see Jeff Bennett assembling the rebuilt battery charging resistor, part of another sub system needed to make 4451 operational.    Mike Gilles photo

    As part of the Monday crew, Berny Kamenear is cleaning up apart from a controller handle from 4451 inside the car itself.    Doug Rundell photo

    The roof of 4451 is ready for its canvas on March 7th.  The wooden roof has been covered with ice and water shield, a 21st century innovation to protect it from rot.   Mike Gilles photo

    Jeff was able to find a vacant heated space to wash the sizing out of the new cotton duck and then dry it before taking it to the museum.    Jeff Bennett photo

    A piece of burlap is bring cut off for the ends of the roof before the canvas is set in place.  The burlap underlayment helps smooth out the area where there are compound curves.   Mike Gilles photo

    Next it was time for the Monday crew to hoist the precut, pre seamed canvas cotton duck to the roof and then roll it out.  Sean Collins, James Tarbet, Doug Rundell and Mike Gilles were instrumental in getting this task completed on March 9th.   Mike Gilles photo

    Jeff was pleased to find the canvas laid out when he arrived at the barn on March 10th.   Jeff Bennett photo

    One of our standard reoccurring views of 4451 with the loose canvas in place before the next step in process.    Jeff Bennett photo

    For the big stretch these clamps were made up ahead of time to be pulled with the straps to bring tension to the canvas.   Jeff Bennett photo

    The first step is to stretch the canvas end to end.  You can see how the clamps are attached to the canvas in this view.    Jeff Bennett photo

    The start of the stretch from above.    Jeff Bennett photo

    This is how the straps were tied off to CTA 4288 on the north end.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Once the ends are taught it is time to start stretching from the sides.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Jeff is attaching one of the clamps to the canvas on the side of the car.  Battery powered drills make this task a little easier but there still is a lot of up and down the ladder activity.    Mike Gilles photo

    Here is a detailed view of one of the clamp-strap arrangements on the east side of the roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Both sides must be clamped down and the west side is done in this view.  Lots and lots of adjustment of the straps all around get an even pull on every edge.    Jeff Bennett photo

    Finally, after hours of work the first stretch is done.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Now it is time to go underside to start working on the switch group that makes the car move and accelerate.   Jeff Bennett photo

    There are contact actuators that must close and open as the car accelerates with electrically triggered pneumatic cylinders called magnet valves doing this task.  All of them were taken down, disassembled, cleaned up and readjusted.  This photo is after the removal part of the process.   Jeff Bennett photo

    On the outside of the switch group the arc chutes have been removed.  The red cylinder on the end is part of the motor cut device which suggests the car can run on one or the other motor (it has two) should a problem arise.    Jeff Bennett photo

    Now the east side is tight as all the clamps have been installed.     Jeff Bennett photo

    The big stretch is underway, and we wait another day for a general retightening of the straps all around.   Jeff Bennett photo

    On March 11th while going round the car to put more tension on the canvas Jeff got this view of the clamps and straps on the south end hooked up to the Soo caboose.   Jeff Bennett photo

    It is Saturday March 13th and CTA 43-40 were being exercised for training with a trip to Blackhawk.    George Barreto photo

    Also, on tap for the Operating Department was decorating the cars for the Bunny Trolley which was to be run the following Saturday.     George Barreto photo

    Not only were the decorations installed but so were recently acquired CTA route maps donated by member Russ Friend were installed in the car card areas of the two cars.  Thank you to Russ Friend for this enhancement!     George Barreto photo

    After it was determined that the canvas was as tight as it could be it was time to start tacking down to the roof.  A chalk line was snapped, and the process was started putting down one row of tacks.  Instead of tacks, small nails were used with a nailing gun.  Tacks only come in short lengths and Jeff was concerned that they would not hold due to the added thickness with the ice and water shield underlayment.  After the first row of tack nails is in the canvas must be trimmed and then turned under so the bottom row of fasteners can be nailed in.   Jeff Bennett photo

    By the end of Sunday March 14th both sides and both ends where in place.  Mike Gilles spent most of the day gathering up the clamps and straps to store them for the next roofing project.   Jeff Bennett photo

    On St. Patrick’s Day March 17th attention returned to the interior and the pneumatic door engines.  Over the winter Fred Biederman has been working on installing them and now Jeff and his crew are working on making them functional, one engine at a time (there are four, one for each side door).    Jeff Bennett photo

    The innards of each engine have various degrees of muck in them and some damaged parts.  Fortunately, we have replacement leather packing cups for the pistons and a couple of spare door engines as a source of other spare parts.    Jeff Bennett photo

    Once a door engine becomes pneumatically functional it is time to install the interior wall lining.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Also, during the week, the motorman’s windshield on the south end was installed complete with new safety glass.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Not only that but the opposite window which is an opening two pane affair was also put in finally enclosing the whole car for the first time in two years.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Door latches have been installed including those on the interior cab door panels which swing out to make up the enclosed motorman’s area when it is not used as an entrance for passengers.   Jeff Bennett photo

    A graphics company has made the windowsill safety message stickers that were a part of every 4000 during their last days of operation on CTA.    Jeff Bennett photo

    On Saturday March 20th, the first of the rubber door edges was installed.  We think we have found a solution to this unique problem so let us keep our fingers crossed.   Jeff Bennett photo

    The restored and repainted fix extinguisher case was fastened to the bulkhead.   Jeff Bennett photo

    New wooden saddles for the trolley boards on the roof have been made up and predrilled ready for priming, painting, and placement one the canvas has been painted.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Also installed was this center ceiling sign frame.  I do not recall that we had this in place when the museum previously operated the car but with the new carlines it will be sure to stay in place.   Jeff Bennett photo

    The glass with the fleet numbers has arrived for installation in the window frames which will make it clear what car 4451 is!    Jeff Bennett photo

    On Sunday March 21st, plastic was put up to protect the cars finish when it comes time to paint the roof.  We are awaiting specially formulated paint and warm enough weather to start treating the canvas.  It is expected that the paint will be watery and require several coats to be sure the canvas is weather tight.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Back to Saturday March 20th and the first of three days of Bunny Train operation.  Here, car host Cheici Barreto and Trainmaster Damin Keenan mug for the camera before the first trip.    George Barreto photo

    After the train leaves Blackhawk, the loading point, it stops in Coleman Yard so passengers can detrain to search for Easter eggs in the “Bunny Burrow”.     Mike Gilles photo

    Two cars are used as we are limited to twenty passengers per car under current Illinois Covid-19 guidelines.  After the train reloads and heads towards Castlemuir, our yard crew restocks the burrow with more plastic eggs, keep on hand in 715 which is on the siding.   George Barreto photo

    Passengers are masked up and social distanced as they wait on the train to meet the Easter Bunny at the museum grounds.   Lorrie Nevens photo

    Every child in each family gets to meet with the well masked Easter Bunny while the train is at Castlemuir.   Lorrie Nevens photo

    This gives the adults a chance to get a picture of their children with the Easter Bunny.  After every family group has visited, the bunny exits the train which then makes an express trip back to the starting point in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve for sanitizing and the next group of pre-ticketed visitors.  It was a successful and safe day.    George Barreto photo

  • February 17, 2021 8:51 AM | Anonymous member

          It has been a while since the NEWS has been updated but that does not mean that nothing has been happening.  With the help of others, I will try to update what has been going on at the museum even though of late it has been snowy and cold.  Thanks to Doug, Jeff and Mike for their photos.

         It is October 25th, 2020, the last operating day of our pandemic shortened season.  715 rests down on the Track 2 platform waiting for passengers.   Doug Rundell photo

         The outside temperature was enough that the heat had to be turned on in 715.  The museum is fortunate that the Car Department has been able to keep this important feature operable in the North Shore car as that is not the case in cars 20 and 304.   Doug Rundell photo

         A young visitor has discovered the signal cord as masked passengers and conductor Dan Kelly look on.   Doug Rundell photo

        Store manager Laura Taylor took the opportunity on the last operating day to pack up the store with the help of Janet Gonyo.   Doug Rundell photo

       Here is some of the merchandise stacked up on the baggage cart awaiting transport for the museum to off season storage.   Doug Rundell photo

         I caught a view of the “reference” window in 4451 on November 11th as we were blessed with mild fall and early winter weather.   Joseph Hazinski photo

         By November 29th the temperature was getting lower and here we see a “tent” set up at the end of an empty looking 4451.   Joseph Hazinski photo

         Inside the tent we see Jeff Bennett assembling brand new, specially ordered heater strips on new brackets made up for us by our neighbor Leo Metz.  Just assembling the strips and brackets took over three eight-hour days.   Joseph Hazinski photo

       With an electric powered radiator at hand, Jeff is now finally putting the heater strip assemblies into their housings.  This had to be done carefully as each case holds one low heat and one high heat strip which have to be in the right position.    Joseph Hazinski photo

       On December 11th, Mike caught a photo of one of the Chicago Door and Window crew installing new siding on CA&E 316 after a complete new window sill had been installed on the west side.   Mike Gilles photo

       Here is what 316’s side looked like on December 19th.  It was too cold to prime but this is a step necessary for installing all the new side sash windows.  Fortunately, we have a set of arch windows salvaged from Wheaton Shops in 1961 and the plan is to install them on the exterior of the car, back dating it properly to the early 1920’s era of the car’s existence.   Mike Gilles photo

       On December 19th it was still warm enough for exterior body work to continue on 4288 as we see work being done to install a side sheet seam plate.   Mike Gilles photo

      We jump back to December 6th into 4451 as we see the heater units spread out on the floor.  It turned out that wiring in the heaters needed to happen before the seat frames could be installed.  The Monday crew did a good job of cleaning up and painting the metal heat deflectors that go on each seat with a heater, just one of the many tasks needed to complete this aspect.  Joseph Hazinski photo

       I also noticed that parts for the sliding windows in each train door at the ends of the car have been collected.   Joseph Hazinski photo

      Back to December 19th daughter Rylee and her dad Jeff Bennett after careful measurement, are installing seat frames and then hanging the heater casings to the bottom of the frames.   Mike Gilles photo

      The next day we see the progress of the seat frame and heater installation on the weekend before Christmas.  The plastic covering on the window openings helps keep the heat in, which is provided by the propane fired furnace Jeff has procured for just such service.   Mike Gilles photo

      Here we have our contractor Kyle in Delavan in his shop showing off one of the window frames that he has stripped, primed and painted.   Our crews disassembled all of the brass standee and opening sash windows before Jeff took them to Kyle.   Jeff Bennett photo

     Because of water leakage over the years almost all of the window frames were split so Kyle revived the old art of lead repair to restore them using about 17 pounds of lead to do so.  Lead once used as auto body filler before the advent of products like Bondo.  A stack of completed frames are seen in the background.   Jeff Bennett photo

      After the frames were finished in Delavan, off they went to LeWalt glass in Crystal Lake for glazing.  Here we see Cliff assembling a window while Ken finishes up a piece of new glass.  Fortunately, Ken had the right gasket material while Jeff was able to obtain all new screws and barrel bolts to assemble the frames.   Jeff Bennett photo

      On December 27th we see the interior of 4451 with all of its walk over seat frames installed.  Yes, the crew did take Christmas off!   Mike Gilles photo

       Berny Kamenear of the Monday crew developed a way of cleaning up the light fixtures on a drill press, using a brass wire wheel revealing the brass finish.  Mike and Jeff cleaned renewed the actual bulb sockets, installing new wire leads for each fixture.   Doug Rundell photo

      It is January 10th and Jeff is making up a test board to check the values need for a new battery charging resistor.  The original one just fell apart when Jeff opened it up and this key component needs to function so the batteries can be charged as they provide the low voltage DC power for the control system, the emergency interior lights, the sensitive door edges, buzzer system as well as the headlight and marker lights at the #1 or front end of the car.  After determining the proper values with the test board and consulting with Fred Lonnes, he was able to order the correct heating strips that are needed to make the charging system functional.   Mike Gilles photo

        On January 23rd, Thee and John strung the conductor’s valve cord.  The heaters have been tested and work fine after Jeff serviced and tested the relays and thermostat.  In the lower right hand corner seat frame you can see one of the heat deflectors which is mounted above the heater case.  While I have no photos, Fred Biederman has been gradually setting up each door engine, making them functional and connecting them to the sliding side doors.   Mike Gilles photo

     The next day Sunday, January 24th Barb Bennett, Jeff’s mom worked on final cleanup of the light fixtures in the warm confines of 4451.   Mike Gilles photo

      Also, on the 24th a number of standee windows were installed, the first rebuilt units going in.   Mike Gilles photo

      February 6th, one of Jeff’s employees, Sean Cross wires up a light fixture in 4451.   Jeff Bennett photo

        Mike Gilles and James Tarbet are busy at work inside of the heated 4451 in spite of the cold outside February 6th weather.   Jeff Bennett photo

     The fruits of his labor, in place window sashes, after Mike’s work to install them on the 6th.  With the windows in place the plastic comes down from the open spaces.    Jeff Bennett photo

      James Tarbet installs the door latch on one of the train doors as the effort to enclose 4451 goes on.   Jeff Bennett photo

       With the work lights turned off towards the end of the day all the light circuits are tested with 120-volt AC.  And they all worked!  The next step is to cover all the splices with heat shrink tubing and then fasten the fixtures to the ceiling.   Jeff Bennett photo

      Jeff is coming down the aisle reviewing the progress of the day.   Mike Gilles photo

     Jeff takes a selfie with the “reference window” just before it is to be removed from 4451.  It was the only window to stay in place during all that work that has been done to the car to date.   Jeff Bennett photo

      One more look at the “reference window” before it is to be removed and replaced with one of the rebuilt sashes.  It had notes on it to assist in the reinstallation of the heaters and lights.   Jeff noted it was a major milestone as now the air brakes, electric heaters and interior lights are now functional.    Jeff Bennett photo

      The next day February 7th, John and Thee install the second of four ceiling mounted handhold bars.   Jeff Bennett photo

      James Tarbet installs the latch to the second train door as work continues on Sunday the 7th.  Jeff Bennett photo

      Mike and James continue with the window sash installation.  There are several windows that will need some adjustment before they can go back in so 4451 is all but enclosed.   Jeff Bennett photo

      The crew continues to work on many tasks until it is time to quit for the day.   Mike Gilles photo

       A satisfying look at the east side windows with a view to 316 out of them.  Next up will be the special sign box windows at every corner.   Jeff Bennett photo

       Now that all the wire splices have been heat shrink covered, all the light fixtures have been fastened to the ceiling with slotted screws.  The regulators for the ceiling air vents are being cleaned up, repaired as needed and professionally refinished along with their paired exterior roof vents.   Jeff Bennett photo

      It is the end of the day on February 7th 2021 just before the lights are turned out.  Much has been accomplished and work will continue with the goal of 4451 being ready for service in the Spring of 2021.  Challenges remain but so much has been accomplished to date.   Jeff Bennett photo

  • November 16, 2020 10:07 AM | Anonymous member

    "It has been a busy time the last several weeks and now I finally have a chance to catch up on the news at the museum." Joseph Hazinski

    This was the sight that greeted members and guests on Saturday October 10th, 2020.  The Stars and Stripes hanging from CTA S-314 was courtesy of Jeff Bennett.   CA&E 20 made its only operating appearance this season while our recently donated Fairmount MT-14 motorcar with its all-weather cab was also on display.

    Fred Lonnes assisted in the attendance of Ken Ward (seated) and his wife Carolyn seen here with President Ed Konecki and James Tarbet for the reveal of AE&FR #5.  Ken was a substitute operator of #5 when Bob DeYoung, the owner of the AE&FR, was away.  In later years Fred Lonnes also served in that capacity.

    After Track 2 was cleared, #5 with Fred Alford at the controls came up from the car barn to reveal its new paint job.  Mr. Alford, who is the grandson-in-law of Bob DeYoung, and son-in-law to Mr. DeYoung's oldest daughter Jane DeYoung/Anderson, donated the funds to paint the engine, has fond memories of seeing #5 coming down LaFox Street with empty hoppers in tow for the IC interchange.

    Jeff Bennett addressing the members and DeYoung family guests, relating the past and most recent history of #5 with great appreciation of Mr. Alford’s kind donation.

    One of the features of the repainting and our current restoration is the installation of the whistle, which was a standard, as delivered, GE feature, and two sets of two bell horns as installed shortly after the locomotive arrived back in 1946.  The locomotive bell has also been restored.

    With the 4000’s out on display and 304 in service on Members Day the car barn looked a bit empty but it certainly is not spacious for the work that has been done inside in close quarters.  There was a lot of effort to clean up this area with the cars outside for the day.

    CTA 4451 is looking good in its new paint.  Current emphasis is on rehabilitation all the brass framed windows.  The plan is to finish the car in 2021.

    CTA 4288 shows off some of the degree of work being done to repair the frame and sides.  It seems that this may be the only saved 4000 that demonstrates the modernization program that the rapid transit division started by replacing the old-style brass sah windows with aluminum framed units.

    A little more than a week later on October 18th #5 rests outside the barn awaiting the restoration of final details and other adjustments.

    New member Austin Harvey is behind the step ladder while sanding down 4288 in preparation for priming.  Just another example of the many unseen tasks that need to be done to bring a car back to operating condition.

    Here is one of 4451’s brass sashes waiting to be taken apart.  All the glass has been saved while the frames await professional blasting, priming and painting so they can be reassembled and installed in the car.

    Also on October 18th, Mike Gilles helps Ralph Taylor install the engine into the Fairmount North Shore Line motorcar in the Maintenance-Of-Way shed. 

    Up on Track 3 Fred Lonnes changes the headlight bulb on the back end of CTA MS-65 while Jeff Bennett was inside changing a bulb on the instrument counsel.

    A week later on October 24th, Thee’s father finishes up welding the bell onto MS-65. 

    At the end of the day three quarters of the museum’s locomotive fleet is lined up on the car barn leads.  CTA L-202, AE&FR #5 and CTA MS-65, which replaced L-202 are at rest.  Warren & Saline River 73 is resting at the north end of Track 3.

    As of November 1st, the air brake components inside CTA 4451 were being installed with the goal of getting the brake system to function.

    Fred Biederman has put all four door engines in place and connected them to the air system, a necessary step in testing the air system.  The arms have to be attached to the doors, sensitive edges installed on each sliding door and then the electrical wiring installed so door testing and adjustment can begin.

    Here Thee is heating up the barrel nuts on a window frame for 4451 so it can be taken apart for repair, blasting, priming and painting.  I think all disassembly has been finished.

    CTA 4288’s frame and bolster repairs at the #2 end were completed by November 1st.

    On November 8th Thee and his father are welding a seam on the siding that covers the area where the frame repairs are made.  The next step is to start opening up the side sheets in the area of the #1 end doors and bolster area to determine what repairs need to be done there.

    Ralph Taylor and Mike Gilles made adjustments to the hub where the starting crank goes on the North Shore Line motorcar and also hooked up the drive belt tensioner.  In this picture you can see the crank in its storage position.  The next task is making up and installing the ignition points so the one lug Fairmount engine can operate with its characteristic hit and miss “putt-putt” sound.

    Art Lempke of the track crew trims back brush along Track 1 West in an effort to beautify the area.  Roadmaster Chris Nelson is considering what types of cover to plant to stabilize the embankment.

    The last motorcar trip of the day is almost ready to leave to disburse the cut brush into natural areas along the right-of-way where it can decompose and return to nature.

    The Way and Structures Department also finished repairs to the 54 cattle pass bridge by sealing the repair to the cracks in the concrete deck and installing a drain tile system for water to run off into the natural creek bed underneath.

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

    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

    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

    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.



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

Follow us on

Facebook  Instagram

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. 

Copyright 2023 - Fox River Trolley Association, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software