Fox River Trolley Museum
  • May 16, 2018 7:58 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    From the desk of Joe H.

    1 The sidewalk has been completed.

     2 The Village replaced the driveway apron as part of the project.

     3 The edges were contoured and now the grass has got to grow.  The feather flags were moved to the east, several times, by Chuck

    4 Jeff Bennett with stinger in hand consults with Chuck Galitz.

    5 On Monday Mike Gilles brought out a pipe vise which was set up to hold trolley poles so the harps could be removed for the straightening process.



  • May 08, 2018 9:32 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    This set shows the sidewalk installation being done for the Village to give Cambridge residents a safe walk towards downtown South Elgin.  We start on Sunday evening when the forms are in place, Monday after the concrete pour and then late Monday after the forms were removed.  Because the grade has to be steady there are places where our undulating property has to be beveled to the edge of the sidewalk.  This will be interesting to see how this turns out.





  • May 08, 2018 8:48 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    This shows some of the work on straightening some of the used SEPTA trolley poles.  The hole in the car barn post allows us to take out the big bends.  The idea comes from an old trade publication where it was published as a shop tip.  Most of these poles have a little bend at the harp end which was why they were declared surplus.  By bushing the bending hole we are able to straighten this bend but first we have to take the harps off and this can be a challenge.  Joe and Mike are working on this but had some help from Patrick Storm and Chuck Galitz.  The harps will be reinstalled and the poles cleaned up, primed, painted and installed on a couple of cars. 


  • May 07, 2018 5:39 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    The upper body where the side of the car stops, and the roof begins, has been scraped, and wire brushed. Then paint applied, and finally the wood that the tack strips will attach to is mostly installed all the way around.


    And some of us can remember a couple years ago, the Main Resv. pipe on the South end rotting out at the floor. Well this weekend it was removed, and the line run back to the copper tubing.


    Years of rot, had made the pipe a bit smaller...

    Next weekend the pipe connections will be completed most likely.

  • May 07, 2018 5:35 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Well with all the flooring vinyl now out, the doors work like a charm!!!



    Next the plywood is coming up. It is bolted down with elevator style bolts, and nuts must be removed from under the car prior to removing the wood. I got several of them, but not all. more next week, then the wood comes out. We are learning a lot as we go, and hope the next door vestibule will be quicker!

  • May 07, 2018 5:24 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    What a beautiful weekend it was. I bet a lot of us were out watering! Some of us watering flowers, some watering batteries!


    Loco 5 only needed a nip, as the batteries are quite new


    40 took about a half gallon across the board.....    Check out this super awesome battery filler that Fred had!

    43 also was about a half gallon


    Now 45 was a different story. First of we found this, upon opening the compartment


    It was holding on by one strand, and moving the box was enough for it to snap off! BEST time to find a problem like this, while doing regular maintenance!!!  45's batteries took over a gallon.


  • May 07, 2018 4:57 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)


    Fred has put a great deal of time into sanding down Hollywood, and is planning a complete paint job for it this season!

  • May 04, 2018 12:15 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Joe H. was overseeing some of the last weekends work on 40 and has provided us with more detailed photos! Thanks Joe, keep them coming!!!


  • May 03, 2018 9:13 AM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    The first step (learned from Fred L.) was to remove the outer thresholds that are a separate molded piece. Then under that is a piece of stainless, then the frame. All this held together with lots of glue of some sort.

    Then the vinyl was heated with heat lamps and pulled from the plywood.

    Basically the whole problem, as it would seem right now, with these doors being cranky, is they are hitting all over the floor. The seam between the vestibule vinyl and the threshold is right where the passengers enter. Water gets down that seem and rots the wood, causing expansion. The expansion binds the bottom of the doors.

    More work this weekend on this vestibule and I hope to make some good progress.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!  

  • April 23, 2018 10:35 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    As many of us know, 40, as well as 43 and 45, have all had door issues in the winter. Some have had these problems in the summer even. The quick fix to get the doors to open and close with enough power, has been to jumper out some of the resistance, to give the motor more power. Well the last night of PEX one of the door suffered a situation, where even with the extra power we were giving the doors, on set on 40 did not quite open all the way. This caused the motor to continue to try to push the door open. Eventually the heat generated, caused the motor to smoke, quite a bit. For now it seems the motor is workable, but it definitely did not help it's overall health.

    This weekend Fred took a long time to help us diagnose the root cause of this issue. THE FLOOR! The doors are sweeping all over the raised floor. The floor is raised, and rising, due to the plywood under the rubber flooring swelling with water. At first glance it didn't look like a big deal, but upon further careful inspection, it can be seen that the blinker doors are riding all over the floor at the threshold area. There is a seam there, and water entry over the years swells the wood. This extra friction caused the doors to simply not work correctly. So we cut out the section of flooring that was the worst, and retested the doors. With NO JUMPER IN, and NO EXTRA POWER given to the doors, they worked very nice. I was amazed!

    So since we now have on hand many rolls of the correct rubber flooring, the door vestibules on all the cars will getting removed and replaced. Keep your fingers crossed that this will bring an end to our fussy doors!

    We are going to need some help pulling these floors out, so if anyone would like to join in, please let me know directly.



    Jeff

    Jeffb60md@aol.com



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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