Education Through Demonstration

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  • August 06, 2018 8:12 AM | Anonymous

    Every bit of encouragement and support at this time is very much appreciated. Many people have been working around the clock and this was a very encouraging night. Please come visit at the museum on the weekends and come see the progress!

  • July 30, 2018 5:52 PM | Anonymous

    We had a great weekend, that carried on into today, Monday!

    At one point, there were four cars being worked on at once by six volunteers!  Between Friday and Monday we had over 17 volunteers out helping with cars and track work. As well as full operating crews Saturday and Sunday! We are alive and running on all cylinders, or should I be more appropriate and say, running on full voltage!

    I wish more pictures could have been taken, as this is just a tiny idea of what was happening. I didn't catch Fred, or much of the track crew. BUT, this was because we were all holding tools and working..... no hands for a camera!

    Here you can see Barbara (through a window opening that had been removed earlier in the day by Mary) working away at removal of the damaged windows in 316. Between her and Mary, all the damaged ones were pulled and even some that were rotted.

    4451 got it's two South marker windows removed for repair..... You can see them leaning against the car. Fred has the frosted numbered windows for this end, and has taught Jeff how to number the others.And both it's North marker windows installed! Fred and Jeff will number these soon!Mike R and his son continue their efforts to strip and prep the roof for upcoming repairs. Huge strides have been made towards roofing this car! Here we have our track maintenance crew working away at the flooring and drainage needs of the new extensions. Both Saturday and Sunday they were hopping! Full 2 - 4 volunteers all day both days! Thanks guys!

    Welcome our newest volunteer addition to the museum, Mary. HI MARY! Not only was I a bad camera man in this shot, Mary kept running away, refusing a camera shot! So humble!   LOLShe was a huge help in measuring the needed windows for 316, as well as doing the dirty work of pulling out some shattered laminated glass.

    Doug has taken on the project of replacing some rotted tack strips on 715.  As you can see here, if this is not addressed and repaired soon, we will have much bigger problems on our hands.Both East and West sides have issues in spotsMuch progress has been made in a short time. The rotted sections were surgically removed and new sections fabricated. Here you can see the fruits of the labor coming together. Once the tack strip areas that need attention are complete, the canvas will be patched and reattached. Then a complete roof painting will take place. 715 is our work horse and deserves every bit of this!Here you can see the care that was taken to section in the repair piece.458 had a dedicated Fred humming about it all weekend and into Monday! Much progress has been made removing some of the harder windows. Some of the windows are taking 4 plus hours just to remove!

    40 had floor work done, by Jeff and Justin. The floor is coming along slow but sure. It is a huge learning experience for us, but we are taking our time and learning the tricks, as we have many more 50 series cars that need floor work. So better learn now!

    And here we have Mike G. cleaning up after the remnants of a broken window sash were removed. Mike and Jeff spent some time working together to remove one set of marker windows and install another.

  • July 24, 2018 11:15 AM | Anonymous

    Steve Kezios of has taken on the task of repairing and restoring the SE door that was completely smashed. His progress so far is going quite well. He has taken this project on at a tiny fraction of the going rate! 

    We are sooooo luck to have you "on board" Steve!

  • July 23, 2018 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    On behalf of the entire Fox River Trolley Museum family, THANK YOU to all the supporters, members, new visitors, and long time friends that visited over the weekend!

    ALL tickets this past weekend were donated my an anonymous Member, so every rider got a free ticket! We had over 300 riders this weekend, and even more visitors at the barn!

    The media was again out And a huge thanks to all the media folks for helping spread the word

    Support poured out from some many wonderful people!!!

    Stay tuned! We are all juggling a lot right now, and continuing to wrap our heads around the damage. Please check in often and share our story. WE MUST REACH OUR GOAL!

  • July 18, 2018 8:59 PM | Anonymous

    This coming weekend the museum while be welcoming new volunteers and veteran members to take part in viewing and developing plans to repair the terrible vandalism. All are welcome, and it will be a very low key, come and go event.

    Jeff Bennett will be at the car barn Saturday and Sunday, from 10-4, working with visitors, guiding tours, and helping to organize our repair efforts.

    Please check in with Jeff when you arrive to say hi. This will be a very informal event, and we hope to see you there!

    Any questions about the event, please contact Jeff directly at:

  • July 14, 2018 7:58 PM | Anonymous

    Welcome Barbara Bennett to the team! She was a great help today with 304. 

    With some window work being done, it was great to have her working on the inside, while I worked the outside!

    What a great day of progress on 304, sprucing her up for River Fest!

    Thanks to all that helped, and welcome aboard Barbara!

  • July 14, 2018 7:52 PM | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    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 | Anonymous

    Great job Chuck!

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



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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