Education Through Demonstration

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  • January 18, 2019 4:53 PM | Anonymous

    With the ceiling done, it is time to move to the floors. All the seats were removed and have been sent out to be sand blasted.

    All the heaters are out being blasted and brackets made to house modern designed heat strips.

    Door engines (extremely heavy mechanism the opens and closes sliding doors) have been removed, and in this picture you can see the last of the walls being removed.

    With the walls out, and the first two layers up flooring up, we are tackling the last two layers of flooring.... Yes four layers of flooring, not including the final metal bottom.

    As can be seen in these above and below pictures, the flooring was so rotted that is was the consistency of wet landscaping mulch. Most of it just came out by grabbing hand fulls of wet mulch and getting in bags.

    This past week was a very productive one. Here you can see five guys working on the car at one time! (well the guy holding the camera was working before he thought a selfie with this background couldn't be missed)

    All the wood flooring is out, the walls are striped. The wet all insulation is out. Most all of the rotted metal floor is out. In the picture above everyone is working on cutting out rotted sections, or grinding imperfections flat, in preparation for the new floor.

    Stay tuned,  the goal is to have all the metal walls and current floor treated and ready for new flooring by next Wednesday. Then have two days to work on installing new metal flooring!

  • January 18, 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous

    During the removal of the original side walls of the car, we came across this

    A 1925 News Paper from the Cincinnati area 

    Here you can see the newspaper carefully folded and tucked between the interior and exterior walls. 

    The work crew on this believes this to have been put here by one of the original builders. The car is said to have been built in 1924, but could it really have been finished in 1925? Did a worker from 1925 put this here as a time capsule for us to find 94 years later?

    Another interesting finding, is the newspaper is completely intact. The entire paper is there, and looks like it had never been opened or folded or even read.

    This was obviously put here, in between the walls when the car was built . How cool !!!

    We plan to have the paper preserved and displayed in the car, with the neat story.

    So here is out other find of the day.... The car was really talking to us! So here we are, working our fingers to the bone to fight all the screws out of this door slider bracket. The door needed to be adjusted to slide correctly. Much time and care was taken to get all the screws out without breaking or damaging anything.

    The last screw is out, and we slide the bracket to the side and this is what we see....

    Too funny.

    The last interesting thing that came out during this week's work, was the obvious pride the last person had in their work.

    This was found on the back/underside of one of the more recent floor repairs.

    Not sure who G.H. is, and also not sure on R.C.A. either.

    3/1998 this car would have long been in the museum's care. I hope someone can shed some light on this. 

  • January 16, 2019 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    Hi folks, 

    While we have been a little lacking in the updates on line, we certainly have made up for that in production!

    In no particular order, here is the process of new custom door doors being made and installed in our work horse, 715!

    715 Is rolling with all new coach doors, correctly installed, painted, and working fantastic.

    We are seeking donations to replace the train doors!

  • November 10, 2018 2:34 PM | Anonymous

    The car department has been working overtime on getting everything finalized on car 40, so it can be coupled to 43 (which was painted last year) and be the Polar Express!

    Fred and Jeff are finishing up the last steps of the paint, the Red White and Blue stripes.

    Every good artist signs their work

    Fred Mike and Jeff are very close to having the final roof work done. Trolley boards, and poles will be a welcome addition to this car.

    Mike G. adding some of the last touches to the roof hardware

    On November 3rd, only one month after 40 was moved inside for it's paint job, Fred L. is boarding to pilot her out for the first time with the fresh new coat of paint. YES, this all happened in just 30 days!

    MG's fired up and out she comes!

    First light of sun, you can see the beautiful job!

    We coupled all three 40's together and with three poles up, she made it up to the main without any issue.

    Fred taking a long hike up a short hill to uncouple the cars and start staging them for the fast approaching Polar Express.

  • October 28, 2018 8:34 PM | Anonymous

    KRB finished installing the last of the ceiling panels this week. The picture doesn't do it justice. Standing in this car and having the beautiful ceiling all back in, really is a testament to how strong we really are. In the face of so much additional work with the vandalism, we persevered and kept this project on track.

    All the molding above the windows had to be custom replicated. It turned out amazing

  • October 28, 2018 7:11 PM | Anonymous

    Once we got the OK from Kasia, the painter, we got on the roof and installed the pre made saddles that Fred L. generously made, painted, and donated.

    Going nicely, yay, five down......

    And a whole bunch left to go

    With a second set of hands from Mike G. all the saddles got installed in one night.

    Mike and Jeff were no strangers to the roof of this car. Prior to the paint, all the metal cleats had to be attached to the roof. Now that was a lot of work!

    Fred L. and Mike G. made the Lap Joints on the boards and have them all ready to be bolted down. You can also see the main power cable has been pulled and is ready to connect both up top and underside.

    All the Midnight oil has been burned, and a very weary crew calls it a night, yet again. 

    Many sleepless nights and 400 gallons of propane later....

    Our new fancy construction heater. OH NO, some assembly required

    Looks like it was figured out, and let me tell ya, this guy makes some heat! 170,000 BTU. To compare, the average home furnace is 40-80k BTU

    After a couple different location changes, we found the best way to inflate the paint tent, and keep her nice and warm

    The heater was started in the morning around 4am and ran though out the day and into the evening for the paint to have a nice warm surface to adhere to.

    Here you can see our "paint tent" that was constructed to contain the heat

    We did also run the heat inside the car, (the trains heaters) to warm it from the inside as well.

    The paint tent took some acrobatics, but once it was complete we were able to keep the area at about 68 degrees. The outside temp was only in the 40's.

    Some body repairs done and surface prep

    Getting all taped up, 40 is ready and waiting for it's new paint!

  • October 15, 2018 9:27 PM | Anonymous

    Mary W. is receiving help from Jim S. to build a clock tower for Polar Express. 

    Barb is Sidewalk supervising here, and has approved of the progress.

    Mary has given up hiding from the camera and finally gives in to it.

  • October 15, 2018 9:18 PM | Anonymous

    Might not look like much, but the fact that there are over three ceiling panels installed is HUGE. 

    Cliff and Bill with KRB aligning ceiling panels and installing. I didn't get to see the next one after this go in, but it's really great to see the ceiling going back in.

    One of our newest additions to the car department crew, here is Fred B. working on the rust issues on the end walls of 4451

    While Fred is new to us this year, he has a lot of restoration experience with the 4000's at other museums. We are super happy to have him on board!

    Some body filler and patches removed, and plans being made to repair the body correctly.

  • October 15, 2018 9:02 PM | Anonymous

    Following it's power wash, 40 got a late night push into the barn for further prep.

    Rylee (Written rules qualified) helping Dad (Jeff) push 40 into the barn with 5

    1030 getting moved over a track to allow for the above move. 

    Long day for Fred, Mike, and Jeff, as 1030 was no small task to move.

  • October 15, 2018 8:56 PM | Anonymous

    458 is outside for the moment, allowing 40 to be painted. We couldn't help pulling the tarp back to show off the beautiful new roof! All the custom end pieces are on hand, and will be installed soon!



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

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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