Fox River Trolley Museum
  • July 14, 2018 7:52 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

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

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

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

  • July 14, 2018 7:40 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    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

  • June 30, 2018 9:05 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    4451 will be out on the rails before we know it! Paint, ceiling, roof, wiring, and windows are coming along really well, so today I had the goal of getting the batteries serviced on this car, so we can start testing controls, compressor, etc.

    The 4000 series had the battery box in the middle of the car with very limited access!

    I started with removal of the top, and folding the sides down

    Not much room for inspection and servicing

    Quickly the decision was made to remove the four battery boxes in order to service the batteries on a bench. Some contortion was required to get these out, but it was necessary!

    Good call, as this is one of the issues found

    Looks to be freeze damage, but either way, this one is toast! There was another cell found to be leaking at the bottom from rust. 

    A quick run to our storage, and two replacement cells were ready

    So now as I am servicing the cells, one at at time, I start to charge some cells. I must admit that I felt a bit like a mad scientist !

    Soon I have all the cells serviced and ready to charge the entire bank as a series, to equal 36 volts.

    So far so good. Only one cell is really weak, but we will see what tomorrow brings.


    And the fruits of the day's labor! 

    24 cells with just a little bit of a charge, were putting out about 34 volts, and lit this 38v bulb !!!  Tomorrow I will cycle these cells through some charge and discharge cycles, and hope to reinstall them into the car!

    Don't mind the lawn chair and fans, it was quite a hot one today and I sat between two fans, on the chair and just worked away! No way anything outside was happening today!

  • June 30, 2018 9:00 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Great job Chuck!

    Sometimes it's hard to tell who's more tough and versatile, Chuck, or Case!  LOL

  • June 30, 2018 8:52 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    While we all wait for the restoration of 7, tarping it is needed to help preserve it.

    Big thanks to all the folks that are getting 7 covered. 

    Whomever is out there waiting to sponsor this car's restoration, now is the time!

  • June 24, 2018 8:44 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    With all the interior lighting completely exposed, for the roof and ceiling replacement, not is the time to check and repair all the ceiling lighting.

    Before 4451 went out of service last, it has suffered a short in the interior lighting, and was not used since. 

    Today Chuck and Jeff were able to map the entire lighting system, mark everything and find the short. (both snap switches above the motorman controls were faulty)

    Careful checking of each and every wire in the system, has led us to be confident "lighting her up" once the ceiling is back in!

    Huge thanks to Fred for the wiring diagram!


  • June 22, 2018 3:46 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    In the mean time, it is being covered, by the regular dedicated volunteers...





    Chuck, Doug, Mike, and Joe have been working on tarping 7
  • June 22, 2018 3:43 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    We are very happy to have Kasia with K Creative back with us to help paint the interior of 4451. 

    Work on 4451 as observed Monday.  

    01 priming of walls & window posts.  

    02 Doug & Mike inspect carlines and window post priming.  

    3 Ceiling panels and loose windows primed both sides so they can be installed.



  • June 22, 2018 3:33 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    From the desk of Joe H.

    01 Feather flags flying on May 28th as grass is starting to grow.

    02 A visitor drives over the new driveway apron on May 28th.

    03 On June 11th the grass is taking hold along the new sidewalk.

    04 Work is continuing on 458 as backer boards go on so the tack

    molding can be installed.

    05 317 is in a new temporary storage spot on Track 0.

    09 The car barn tracks have a new look as rolling stock is stored out of the way.

    10 MUNI 1030 is now on Track 4 so stabilization work can start in earnest.

    11 With a new volunteer Mike R. working on the car, this will be the first photo on Track 4 before his efforts improve its appearance.

    2018 season has seen 1030 getting some attention to stabilize it for beginning restoration work.


  • June 04, 2018 10:21 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    During the end of 2017 and early 2018 5's number two generator was replaced. Shortly thereafter, engine number two was serviced for proper operation, as it had not been run in many years, due to the failed generator. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, 5 now has two functional generators.

    It was noted earlier in the year, when engine two was stated that a valve adjustment was needed. So here we see Jeff taking advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday, and getting nice and cozy with engine two!


    Looks like something from "Dirty Jobs" lol

    The rocker boxes (inside the top of the engine) was extremely clean. It was hard to believe, but everything looked practically new inside.


    Care had to be taken to correctly adjust the valves, as there were multiple points of adjustment, and needed to be done in the correct order.

    The helpful hand of Chuck allowed these photos to be taken, and help given when it was time to turn the engine over for the next adjustment.


    As the rocker arms, and valve bridges were adjusted to correct tension, they were marked with yellow paint, so we would know which ones were done.

    The engine room doors have been a "kick or bang" open situation for years. Four doors on engine room number two were taken apart, repaired, welded, refurbished, and cleaned. Lube was liberally applied and now the engine room doors, at least on number two, open by hand!


    Buttoning up some final things, before Jeff worms his way out. Not a very easy "in and out" maneuver! 

    Some time was devoted to trying to sync the two engines. It seems that engine two has an injection pump issue that needs to be addressed, before we can synchronize the throttles between the two engines. 


2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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