Fox River Trolley Museum
  • 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


  • April 23, 2018 10:17 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Well if nothing else, I sure learned a lot about the U4 Triple Valve !!!

    The work continued this weekend on getting 458's brakes to work correctly. We started to realize that the little wasps the make mud clumps to lay larvae, had worked much farther into the Triple valve, than first thought. Last work session on this problem we had found the main bracket exhaust port completely plugged. We were continuing to find dirt contamination in parts of the system that we just cleaned. This led us to believe that there was more contaminates, farther up in the circuit. We also took apart the emergency valve much farther than ever before, and found a broken piston ring. SOOOO, cleaned everything out, AGAIN, replace the ring and lift those big heavy suckers back into place. During one of final installations of the emergency valve I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, a 1/4in exhaust port that we had not found on the diagrams, and did not know existed. Upon looking into this vent hole, it was noted that it was packed full of wasp mud!  Down comes the valve again, and careful cleaning of this port took place. We have now also learned to make sure the contaminates get broken up, and then shot out, not pushed back up into the works. This vent was also really plugged back very far.

    Once we were all satisfied that the cleaning was as good as it was going to get, back up the valve went. With much anticipation while waiting for the compressor to build air, we were all hoping for positive results. WE GOT EM! 458 now has a completely functional braking system!!! We all did a little happy dance, then took turns applying and releasing the brakes.

    This is just one more small step towards getting this car into revenue service!   

    Big huge thanks to all that have put up with this problem, and have worked so hard to fix it!

  • April 23, 2018 9:45 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    As an organization, we have committed to not letting another car waste away. 1030 is a really neat car, and has needed someone to keep her on her wheel so to speak, for some time. This past weekend we had Mike R., who is a recent addition to our volunteer roster, secure some of the windows. We are developing a plan of attack on this car, and will have a much better looking SF street car before the season is out! Keep your eyes open, and watch for some cosmetic improvements, soon to come.

  • April 17, 2018 5:44 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    As some may know (Bob), 304 has had some wiring issues from it's compressor to it's governor. Well, thanks to Chuck, we now have a complete new conduit run from compressor to governor, with new wires and connections. LATE Sunday, you can see Chuck confirming his work, and yep all is good!


  • April 17, 2018 5:39 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Looks like Fred likes to play on the internet too! He has had 84 in wide rolls of canvas and burlap coming in like CRAZY! 

    HOLY CANVAS.... We are gonna need lots of help to canvas some roofs real soon! If you want to join in the fun, let me know directly, Jeffb60md@aol.com.

  • April 17, 2018 5:36 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

    Now who went and told Jeff about Ozark????  Having an account with them can be dangerous !!!!   

    We certainly have enough flooring material to do some serious repairs!!!



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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