Education Through Demonstration

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  • September 25, 2018 9:36 PM | Anonymous

    Thanks to a recent addition to the car barn roster, Andy has started to work on removing layers, and layers of paint, filler, and rust, on the exterior of 4451. The goal is to stabilize the end walls, that have rotted away from the floor.

    One of the windows damaged during the vandalism was this motorman's windshield. Here you can see it has been removed and the sash is currently waiting for the custom ordered glass.

    This may be one of the most exciting things we have to report! 

    LOOK, you can see the first ceiling panel being reinstalled ! 

    Being that this car started the season with a completely rotted roof, and ceiling fallen in, to here, with it's roof structure completely restored to the point that panels can be reinstalled, we are doing the happy dance! The Car Department has not at all let the vandalism stifle our progress on 4451. If anything, just the opposite! 

    Hear on the left, going down the side of the car above the windows, the newly custom made trim is installed. This trim was all severely rotted out from water intrusion, and this very detailed trim pattern was not a small order to recreate. 

    Huge thank you to Fred L. for supplying 4451 with two marker windows! Here you can see one being installed.

    A quick shot of the roof above with all the completed center roof ribs..... so clean and straight !

  • September 25, 2018 9:31 PM | Anonymous

    Thank you to everyone who has continued to donate and keep our vandalism repairs going!

  • September 25, 2018 8:17 PM | Anonymous

    All hands on deck to get 458 buttoned up to go outside for a bit, and give up it's inside spot so 40 can get it's scheduled paint job.

    Here you can see the custom ordered tongue and grove for 458's roof. Hope the next time we show a picture of this wood it will be on the top of the car!

    The center section of the roof has all the roof ribs done, all the insulation stabilizing wire installed, insulation and vapor barrier installed. This roof has been a huge project, and we really want to have the center section done within the next week or so.

    All these below pictures are reflecting the hundreds of hours Mike G. and Fred L. have devoted to the glass repairs on this car. ALL side windows have been replaced. Most of the interior glass has been replaced, and they have even sourced and installed new glass for the gauges that were damaged.

  • August 28, 2018 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    Visit our You Tube Channel for videos and subscribe!

    Michael J. Fox is the star of the 1985 movie “Back to the Future”, and its sequels, in which a specially outfitted DeLorean automobile is able to travel backwards and forwards in time upon reaching a critical speed of 88 miles per hour and using a fusion power generator. He also suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.

    Volunteers from the Foundation brought their DeLorean, appropriately modified to resemble the movie car, to a convention of DeLorean owners and collectors being held in Saint Charles, IL. Through a contact with one of the Museum members, they inquired about operating their car on our tracks, raising funds through offering rides simulating the rail running depicted in later movies. We were able to accomodate them.

    The car was highway driven to the Museum, where the regular tires were removed, and railroad flanged wheels were attached. They made multiple trips up and down the line. Riders in the car could donate (or not) as they wished.

    Fox River personnel were on hand to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all involved.

    The car never reached 88 miles per hour, and thus always remained in the present time.

  • August 23, 2018 9:33 PM | Anonymous

    Well we all know that 5 is scared of NOTHING! So in the barn it went to retrieve 6.

    US Postal Car 6 is being pulled out of the barn to sun bathe for the first time in four years!

    Justin above is quite happy to have helped with this project! He's looking forward to the day that he can take the controls.

    Mike G. below is diligently manning the brakes on 6, while Jeff pulls it out with Loco 5. 

    6 was not spared in the recent vandalism, and this past weekend Mary was able to remove several of the broken windows. We will be working towards these glass replacements soon.

    Project plans are underway to restore the beautiful paint work on 6 as well. Bringing out the car for all to see it's beauty and luster will hopefully spur some this project along.

  • August 23, 2018 9:09 PM | Anonymous

    As our broad museum family knows, 304 was severely vandalized a little over a month ago.

    You sure wouldn't know it by the radiating beauty of her new glass!

    Juliana is applying the correct Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Company logo, that has been missing since this car came home to us in the 90's.

    Every trip 304 made during the River Fest weekend, the car was full! 

    Dozens of people and businesses pulled together to make this all possible, with only a very short time to make repairs.


    The museum, it's volunteers, and supporters, made a vow to get her back on the rails, "Come Hell or High Water", in time for River Fest, and WE DID IT!

    A huge heart felt thank you to everyone that made this possible. This truly was a project that took each and every person we had!

  • August 23, 2018 8:46 PM | Anonymous

    Here you can see half the car has it's carlines adorned with new roof ribs. Cliff with KRB Construction is diligently working along to clamp the five piece carlines together, then fastening them with 4 inch nuts and bolts. The wood roof ribs were all CNC cut, and donated by Fred L., and the fasteners was all donated by Eagle Fasteners of Crystal Lake. 

    This is such a beautiful sight! Just a few months ago, we were looking a pictures of this roof caved in!

  • August 13, 2018 5:13 PM | Anonymous

    As many are aware, the museum suffered a terrible loss at the beginning of July, when two young boys burglarized the car barn and vandalized each and every car inside. 304, an original car to our line, was not spared. As you can see the remains of a door that was beaten almost to death!

    Thanks to Steve with, here you see the door fully restored, and ready for installation. Quite a difference from the picture above huh!  Thanks so much Steve! The door was successfully installed this past weekend and looks fantastic!

    Here we can see Strother Purcy, of Chicago Window and Door Solutions installing the custom arched Florentine glass. This was truly like watching an artist!

    Here you can see a custom piece of wood be made from scratch with only hand tools, to fit the side of the car. This is how it was done 95 years ago when this car was built! Sue is making sure everyone has exactly what they need.

    Greg is fitting one of the side windows they ordered. He makes it look so easy!

    Here is all the custom laminated, etched glass the was 100% donated by One Source Glass, and Several of these pieces were installed in 458 this weekend.

    One of the arch window openings being prepared to get it's new custom window installed. If you look close in the reflection in the glass below it, you can see a reflection of 458, with on of it's broken windows.

    If we didn't know better you would think we were running a glass company with all the glass trucks at the museum on Friday

    Chicago Window and Door Solutions has been instrumental in getting 304 back together! Thanks so much Greg, and Sue !!!

    With out Steve from, we would not have the repaired door for 304, or ALL the glass for 458!

    Two extra arched pieces left for future needs.... let's hope we never need them!

    Greg, here again, with the watchful eye of Sue, using the tricks of the trade. 

    Greg and Strother ever so gently placing the new arched window.

    So much attention to detail to steam and form every little bit of the trim wood.

    So Friday was the day that Steve delivered the door for 304 and the glass for 458, and Greg's team worked the entire day installing the windows on 304.

    Saturday and Sunday consisted of sanding the upper cream colored part of the car on both sides, caulking the needed areas, and painting the whole thing, both sides. The interior got a good cleaning, as it was a mess. The windows even got a good washing!

    There are two windows left to install and that is happening tomorrow. EVERYTHING else is done, and our beauty is ready for next weekend!

    There were dozens of people involved in making this happen and everyone played a part. We would not have 304 back together without all the help from everyone, so the museum owes a huge thanks to all for their donations and efforts!

  • 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!



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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