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  • August 11, 2018 9:04 AM | Anonymous

    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 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 , 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  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 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 | Anonymous - Please Visit and Follow!

    And of course we have our facebook page at - 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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    Steve Kezios of 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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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:

  • July 14, 2018 7:58 PM | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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!

  • July 14, 2018 7:40 PM | Anonymous

    LIGHTS !!!!

    All that time and effort paid off with the Edison Cells on this car. They are all now in tip top shape. Today we connected trolley power to the car, and tested some things. We ran the compressor and made sure the batteries were charging. Also I couldn't resist, I had to turn on the marker lights! Progress folks!

    Even did a standing brake test. We have some mud wasps to evict, but over, what a great day for 4451!

    Cliff, with KRB Construction, is finishing up installing the new tack strips onto 4451. As you can also see in this picture, 458 has all of it's tack strips installed along the sides. There is a method to the madness here! We want to keep each car at the same stage, in an effort to continue to learn and work with the set up from one car to the next



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us:

General Information (847) 697-4676

Event and Ticket questions (847) 380-6121

365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, IL 60177           

P.O. Box 315

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

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