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  • January 11, 2022 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just when you thought 316 was back burner-ed.... NO WAY

    You can see Jeff Bennett and our newest volunteer Andre Jurek removing the rotted sections, preparing the area by removing rotted hardware, and prepping metal.

    Supporting roof while removing all lower rot.

  • January 11, 2022 11:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    4288 has been put on hold for the winter, and these pictures show the progress that was made. The hold is so we can all move to the interior of 458 and knock it out in one winter. 

    We were able to finish all the metal floor repairs, as well as all, walls- sides, front, and back metal. Including all the bolster and structural frame repairs. 

    The entire spring, summer, fall, and beginning of winter encompassed this car in 2021, and as of last weekend I can safely say the car is again completely structurally sound and whole!

  • January 11, 2022 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    458 is back in the barn as of November 2021, with the goal of having the interior restored over the winter

    Now that most of the stored items in the car have been re-homed, we are working on removing the swivel, walk around seat bases and frames. Fred Biederman is working at one here.

    Looking down the car, it can be seen that Jeff Bennett and Fred Biederman have been able to remove all the seat frames and bases from the main section and are now working on the smoking sec.

    Now with the seat bases and frames out we are on to removing the luggage racks

    Mr. Biederman doing an end of day clean up, as it can be seen all the luggage racks have been removed.

    The luggage racks did not come off without a fight. Many screws broke off during removal. Here Fred is methodically going down the line, drilling and tapping the holes as needed

    James Tarbet is doing the first run by or knocking off some rust along the lower car card area, ahead of Fred's re-tapping work.

    Here we see Chief Car Officer Jeff Bennett removing the light fixtures from the ceiling, so a great paint job can be attained.

    And it's a good thing he did. The channels that house the wiring for the lights are all rusted inside. If this is not treated now, it will push through the new paint.. Never know what we will find!

    Just to prove everyone is having a wonderful time, here are some HAPPY Car Department folks

    Fred is always smiling. I don't think he's had a bad day in his life!

    I promise, James Tarbet was smiling... just missed it.

  • January 09, 2022 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Ken posing in front of AE&FRE 304 on its first run, November 27, 2009

    On December 24th, 2021 the museum lost a member when Kenneth M. Ward passed away in his sleep at his home on Woodcliff Drive in South Elgin.  Ken was the son of Clarence and Margaret Ward, born on December 3rd, 1936.  As his father was a police officer employed by the Elgin State Mental Hospital, he and his family resided on or near the hospital grounds where he was introduced to the Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Company railroad while it was still being operated electrically and as a child observed the conversion to diesel operation in 1946 with locomotive #5 and the later purchase of the railroad by former milkman Robert DeYoung.  By 1952 Bob had trained the 15-year-old Ken to not only run locomotive #5 but also operate the railroad and trusted him enough to make trips by himself to and from Coleman to interchange the empty and loaded hopper cars, when Bob had to take time off.  When the Village Board got wind of this “boy” running trains through downtown South Elgin, Bob was summoned before them where he exclaimed that Ken “operated the railroad safer than he did.”  According to Ken, after that appearance before the board, nothing more was said.  Careful, safe operation was key as the first major move on a southbound trip to Coleman was pushing a cut of empty hoppers out into the middle of State Street (Highway 31) as the interurban track was still in the center of the roadway.  Next, one had to throw the streetcar switch so the train could continue south without the engineer getting hit by passing motorists.

         His experience of operating on the AE&FR led the teenager to another more complicated job as an engineer running steam locomotives at the Chicago Gravel Company pit.  One of the engines he ran, No.18 is on display in Veterans Park in Bensenville.

         Ken enlisted in the United States Marines and after returning from active duty, he served as a South Elgin Police officer.  He became a licensed plumber, worked for a plumbing equipment company and advanced to office manager of Baumgartner Plumbing in St. Charles before transitioning as a partner in the Holtz and Ward Construction Company and finally retired from Harper College’s Physical Plant Department in 2012 after 20 years of service.

         He also participated in sports, playing on and managing several 12” softball teams including founding the St. Charles Merchants 12” Softball Team which won several Illinois State Tournaments.  Ken was also an Elgin Peewee Football League coach for twenty-plus years.  Ken participated in his parish’s “Light of the World” retreat program and “That Man is You” men’s support activities.

         Back on the railroad front, he was an active member of the North American Railcar Operators Association (NARCOA) along with museum member Fred Lonnes and former South Elgin resident Mike Mitzel.  He rescued the Illinois Central’s Coleman motorcar and then completely restored it.  At the museum he and his business partner Cecil Holtz completed the back interior of the car barn and rebuilt the roof of Soo Line caboose 130 during a slow period for their construction company.  He was also part of the effort to repatriate #5 to the museum from the gravel pit after it closed in 2001.

         Ever since this author’s association with the museum back in the mid 1970’s, we have always called our steel deck bridge, “Wards Bridge” as it is close to his home on Woodcliff Drive.  This is a most fitting memorial to a man who was a link from our line’s historic past to the present educational museum operation.  Our condolences to Ken’s wife Carolyn, his children and their families.

    Link to Ken's obituary

     Joseph Hazinski

  • December 11, 2021 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Activities at the museum have centered around the POLAR EXPRESS trains and Doug Rundell has shared some photos from Saturday December 11th operations. 

    In an email to the Museum from Warrenville Park District, who charters two trains every year, the Park District complimented the Museum on this year's experience as being the best ever.   Thanks to all of the volunteers, staff, and people behind the scenes for their efforts.

    Here is the service crew for one car posing with the Conductor actor before the first trip.

    Once underway the serving of hot chocolate and cookies begins.

    Upon arrival at the North Pole (Castlemuir) Elf Rebecca assists Santa as he visits one car at a time.

    Then jolly Mr. Claus himself addresses each and every child in the car.

    Singer Ian drums up enthusiasm among the riders.

    Guitarist Jonathan strums down the aisle as the crowd uses their own copies of the words to join in.

  • November 05, 2021 9:08 PM | Anonymous

    One of our new operators this season is Tom Albright standing next to newly restored 4451 at Blackhawk Station in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    A very red IC caboose 9648 was finally pulled out of Track 4 in the car barn on August 21, 2021.  Mike Gilles photo

    The next day I caught a view of 9648’s east side prior to final exterior improvements such as lettering and one missing cupola window.  You can also see the window added on the north east side of the unit.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    September 12th finds the exterior letter applied to the caboose with efforts going on to get the way car ready for passenger service.  The restored side window is clearly evident on the west side.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff Bennett is applying paint to the interior wooden framing of this new window which took some extra effort to install as the interior wall paneling had to be cut open instead of just being un-plated.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the same day, Jeff, Fred Lonnes and Mike Gilles are installing the new ladder guard on the south or B End of the caboose.  This new design is less obtrusive and can easily be unlocked when access is needed to the roof.  This allows the car to be used as a work platform for overhead work when the need arises.  Of course, the wire cannot be energized because of the metal roof which is why we have these safety guards in place.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    September 19th found 9648 in service with CTA L-202 pushing on the north end instead of its usual place on the south end.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here a mother and son take advantage of the unique side window to enjoy the view of the Fox River during the “Caboose Day” operations on September 19th.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    On Members Day, October 2nd, Katie Moulton and her mother put out specially decorated cookies for the annual event.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here Katie poses with a 4451 cookie in front of the car.  She also had a cookie depicting 715 and a third one that commemorated the day.  She likes to bake and during the pandemic started a custom cookie business, making cookies decorated for special events.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    This is one of the three replica end signs for 4451 introduced to the membership.  The other side of this sign reads HOWARD which celebrates the Evanston shuttle service the 4000’s covered prior to the arrival of the 1-50 series cars in 1959.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On Members Day, October 2nd, 2021, Klaudiusz Kruszecki and his son enjoy a ride in 9648’s cupola. Joseph Hazinski photo

    And this is the view from the cupola as we pull into Blackhawk with CA&E 20 and AE&FR 304 ahead of us during Members Day operations.  This time AE&FR 5 is doing the pulling.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    A view of Castlemuir from 9648’s cupola as Members Day activities winds down.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    The clincher of Members Day operations was a passing thunderstorm, who’s lightning dictated that the 600-volt power be shut down.  With the bulk of the operating cars at Blackhawk, locomotive #5, which had been towing the caboose, came to the rescue by towing L-202 and 715 back to South Elgin while pushing 9648.  Traction power was restored after the storm passed so everything could be sorted out at Castlemuir.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Back on September 11th, as soon as 9648 came out of the barn CA&E 458 went inside on Track 4, berthed next 20, one of the first CA&E cars.   The well-worn temporary tarp was removed and discarded in the dumpster.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    With car 20 making some regular demonstration runs we are able to get a view of 458, one of the last CA&E cars constructed.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    With the impending Ghost Story Train weekends, the Kruszecki family did their annual decorations of the interiors of CTA cars 40 and 43 on September 25th.  Photographer unknown

    I was intrigued by this spider themed display in Car 43.  Each car had its own unique decorations to help get riders in the mood for our special event trips to hear the spooky tails told at the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve.  Thanks to the Kruszecki family for their efforts.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It’s Saturday October 16th and the first Ghost Story Train unloads at Blackhawk Station in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve under the watchful eyes of a skeleton.   George Barreto photo

    Our story teller spins her scary yarns to a spellbound audience.   George Barreto photo

    And of course after the spooky tails it is time to make Smore’s over the fire.  Additional photos taken at Blackhawk can be seen on the museum’s Facebook page.   George Barreto photo

    On October 23rd, Fred Biederman along with Jeff started the process of removal of the seat frames from 458.  Along with removing the seats, the baggage racks are also coming down so that efforts can be started to prepare, prime and repaint the interior of the car.  After that the next step will be to replace the linoleum flooring.  Fortunately, the wood underneath appears to be in solid shape unlike the CTA 4000 cars.   Jeff Bennett photo

    458’s interior as of October 31st, with only three seat frames left that need to be detached, once the temporary work table can be put on saw horses.  Canvas is on hand to cover both 458 and CTA 4288’s roofs.  The encouraging thing about 458 is that all the necessary seat backs and seat cushions have been recovered and are in storage.  With enough volunteer help to install the canvas and roof appliances, renew the interior and repaint the exterior, the museum can add another operating car to the fleet.  The car can be heated during the winter season for inside work.  Contact Jeff Bennett, Chief Car Officer, to find out when and how you can help.   Joseph Hazinski photo   

  • August 20, 2021 9:13 PM | Anonymous

    For the last three months most of the heavy work in the car barn has centered around the IC caboose but now that the metal work, welding repairs and fabrication is essentially complete our forces have turned back to CTA rapid transit car 4288.

    On May 9th, 2021, when CTA 4451 returned to service there was a void in the car barn which was soon filled with Illinois Central caboose 9648.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    4288 sits a little forlorn in the barn with some of its parts stored on the shelving next to it.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    While most of the efforts were focused on its sister 4451 some work was always being done in 4288 as here, we see seat frames being detached and heaters being disconnected.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    But on Saturday August 14th work restarted in earnest as our crew shifted from the IC caboose to 4288.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    We find John VanPaseuth and Bill Wright busy removing insulation from interior walls below the window sills.   Jeff Bennett photo

    This removal will aid in replacing the side sheets and expose the carlines for inspection.  Eventually the insulation will be replaced with modern material as the goal is to make the car usable in all seasons.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Thee has been removing the last of the heaters under the longitudinal seat and marking the connections for the units as well as connections for the door engine.   Jeff Bennett photo

    By the time I got on the scene the debris was starting to pile up from the insulation removal process.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Bill had mastered the art of insulation removal as he and John are on their last sections.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The last batten of 1922 horse hair insulation just before its removal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    One of the door engines awaiting removal for overhaul and to allow for floor removal and replacement.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the work bench we find one of the door engines from 4288.  The part in the red box is the cylinder and piston assembly which actually opens one of the car’s side doors.  Jeff took it apart, cleaned it up and reassembled it with the goal of swapping it out for one that is leaking air on 4451 so he can service the leaking unit.  The Skokie shop tag states this door engine was last overhauled in May of 1957.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Meanwhile in the back of the barn Mike Gilles is taking apart the heater elements which will be replaced with modern units just as was done on 4451.   Joseph Hazinski photo 

     While clearing out all the seats in 4288 all the heat shields on the bottom of the cushions were salvaged and here Jeff is applying heat resistant paint to the primed panels.  When dry they will go into storage until it is time to install them on the reupholstered cushions.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Assorted vestibule ceiling panels are hanging from the car awaiting either cleanup or use as patterns for replacements as necessary.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Another productive day winds down as we view the #2 end of 4288 which will one day couple with 4451 to make a two-car train.   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • August 17, 2021 4:53 PM | Anonymous

     It has been a while since we last posted an update on the caboose restoration and repainting project so let’s get right into it.

    With all the assorted efforts going on Barb Bennett take some time to reorganize and clean up in the car barn.  Jeff Bennett photo

    It is June 26th and Mike Gilles is using an electric UV paint stripper on one of the side doors to the caboose in the back of the car barn.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Joe Caliendo and Thee VanPaseuth smile for the camera next to Thee’s work on replacing a side panel on one corner of the car.   Jeff Bennett photo

    John is welding in the area of the patch while his brother Thee is drilling a hole for another faux rivet.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    Working on the west side, John is getting ready to weld while Thee wire wheels the aluminum window frame next to the conductor’s desk.  Thee is working from a rolling scaffold which came from the CA&E Wheaton shops.  This view was possible because 304 was out being run for Rails To Victory.   Jeff Bennett photo

    It’s July 4th and the plated over window next to the stove fuel tank has been opened up and is waiting for an aluminum window frame to be installed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The day before, July 3rd, Fred Lonnes and Jeff Bennett installed refurbished Emergency and Service portions to the air brake system.  The air reservoir got new gaskets and a new mechanical slack adjuster were all applied followed by a successful air brake test.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The next weekend finds Thee grinding the edges of one of the many metal patches applied to the roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

    If you look closely one can see some of the patches and metal patch material which was welded over large rust holes in the roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

    To do the patching, all the roof walk grating was removed so every hole could be patched or weld repaired.  The roof has not looked like this since the caboose was built in 1959.   Jeff Bennett photo

    With face and hearing protection, James Tarbet is using a wire cup brush wheel to remove all the paint around all the details of the south end platform on July 18th.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    This view was possible because 20 was in service.  Jeff Bennett is applying paint remover to the deck and step treads while our painter has taken a break from priming the roof and cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is feathering the edges around the patch on the north west corner of the caboose.   Mike Gilles photo

    Our professional painter Kyle Kunzer is putting down the first coat of red paint on the roof of the cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On July 25th, Jeff is spraying the special white primer as Thee has just finished up installing the new aluminum window frame on the east side of the car.   Mike Gilles photo

    Kyle is spraying the first red coat on one of the primed side doors.  Three coats eventually were put on both wooden doors which will receive a lot of wear being opened and closed.  Joseph Hazinski photo

    The roof walks await installation after Kyle took them to his shop for blasting, priming and painting.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here is the opening for the window that is to be added to the west side of the car.  A cut out will have to be made in the interior wall which was left intact while the red was sprayed on this outside.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    Thee is grinding to top of the bracket which once supported a walkway around the cupola.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Brother John is welding the ledge portion to one of the three original brackets.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here John is welding another one of the brackets while Jeff leans out of the cupola to hold a piece of metal to keep it square.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    This is the walkway Jeff and John fabricated.  The grating is welded to the L iron for secure footing.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is finishing up the welding of the walkway to the brackets and the roof.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    And this is what the installed walkway looks like and the end of another productive day.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is August 1st and we see the east side in white primer.  The west side had been primed and painted earlier in July.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the south end, Jeff is spraying gray primer on the underside of the roof hangover.  Gray was used because our paint supplier ran out of white primer.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Meanwhile on the north end Kyle is applying the red finish coat.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Later in the day we see the east side which is now completely red.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Kyle is working the red into and around the stove fuel filler area as he works to complete the painting of the north end wall.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here we see the first of two ladder guards in place.  Kyle took it back to his shop for blasting and painting before John and Thee could fabricate the second one.  The guards are to prevent trespassers from climbing up on the roof and coming in contact with live trolley wire.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Just before car 20 returns to the barn we have a view of 9648 with its red east side.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    I missed a weekend at the museum when all the exterior red spraying was completed.  On August 14th the caboose was pulled out of the barn by L-202 for inspection in the sunlight to find defects in the paint.  It was promptly returned and Jeff did the touch ups.   Mike Gilles photo

    On August 15th the exterior painting was complete as work starts to move towards finishing the interior.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Here is an interior view of the window opening that was added to the west side of the car.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is the end of another weekend as the lights are turned off on the south end of the car.  If you look carefully, you can see the white lengths of the hand brake chain.  This was a practice of the Illinois Central so it could be easily seen that a hand brake was off.  Many tasks remain but the punch list is getting shorter.  One thing that is clear, 9648 is really red!   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • June 21, 2021 1:48 PM | Anonymous

         Members and regular visitors may ask “Where did the red caboose go?”.   The next group of photos will help answer the question as Illinois Central 9648 undergoes rehabilitation and repainting.

    After CTA rapid transit car 4451 was completed there became room in the car barn for our next project so here on May 9th, locomotive L-202 pulled 9648 down the car barn lead.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    AE&FR #5 then came up behind to couple onto the caboose.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Then L-202 uncoupled and headed out of the way onto Track 3 south so #5 could push the caboose into the barn.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    The caboose is on Track 4, the center track in the barn so work can start on its rehabilitation and total exterior repainting.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The Monday crew started needle scaling the exterior, a slow and noisy process.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    One of the damaged corner panels has been replaced with new sheet metal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    May 30th finds Thee on the CA&E rolling scaffold needle scaling the roof edge.  Most of the east side has been needle scaled, the first step in paint removal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    John is needle scaling on the west side while Joe Caliendo is up on the roof working to remove the metal grate walkways to allow prep work on the roof to proceed.  Nuts and bolts, rivets and welds all had to be removed to free up the walkways which will be reinstalled after the final painting is completed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On the east side Thee is heating up the old lettering with a hand torch to make it pliable.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Then using a razor scrapper he is able to remove the vinyl letters along with the paint underneath.  We have the official lettering diagram so new lettering can be correctly located once painting is completed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Its Sunday June 13th and with AE&FR 304 out to work the Rails To Victory charter a more complete picture of the west side could be taken.    Joseph Hazinski photo

    While the RTV battles rage on volunteer Joe Caliendo is needle scaling the roof of the cupola a process that took many hours.  The noise during this work is intense so hearing protection is required just to be in car barn.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    In this view the east side is mostly down to bare metal after the use of wire wheels showing the progress as of Sunday June 13th.   Joseph Hazinski photo

  • June 18, 2021 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    CTA rapid transit car 4451 is now in the museum’s operating pool.  Here are some photos that show the final efforts that led to the car being in service.

    Jeff Bennett has reinstalled the battery charging resistance and is now getting the charging system back together in this March 28th view.   George Barreto photo

    By April 7th the roof saddles were in place having been screwed to the wood carlines underneath after being “buttered” with sealant.  The area that will be underneath the trolley boards has been painted with the final finish rubberized top coat which will eventually cover the whole roof.   Jeff Bennett photo

     After sealing the edges of the roof openings with finish roof paint and sealant we catch Jeff installing one of the roof ventilators on April 11th, each of which were sand blasted, primed and painted off site.   Mike Gilles photo

    The two trolley poles have been cleaned up, primed and repainted awaiting their turn to be installed after their paint cures.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is Tuesday April 13th, and time to swap the positions of 4451 and 4288 on Track 4 of the car barn so eventually 4451 will be able to propel itself out of barn.  The plastic on the car is used to protect the sides and ends as the roof coatings were applied.   Jeff Bennett photo

    Dan Kelly and James Tarbet are installing one of the trolley bases on Saturday April 17th.   Jeff Bennett photo

    While they are working on the bases, Joe Caliendo is fastening the drip rails at the end of the car.   Jeff Bennett photo

    By the end of the day the trolley bases are installed and wired up with the poles up on the roof awaiting installation.   Jeff Bennett photo

    It’s Sunday April 18th and 4451 has powered itself out of the barn by use of a stinger.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff installs a whistle as we are going to try to test the car.  Note that roof mounted headlight is yet to be installed.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    4451 is out under the wire (The cable over Track 4 is not energized as it is a fall protection line insulated from the trolley frog.) as James Tarbet raises the pole while Mike Gilles looks on.  The car made it to the Track 2 platform but we were unable to get the south controller to function so we could not make a test trip on the line.  Joe Hazinski operated the north controls guided by radio commands from Jeff at the south end to get the car back into the barn.  Needless to say, everyone was disappointed but the car moved under its own power.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    James Ham of the Monday April 17th crew is seen cutting the rubber floor for the isle.  Monday work parties were very helpful in getting tasks done to make the car operable.   Doug Rundell photo

    We jump to Sunday May 2nd, and efforts are fast and furious to get the rubber flooring down.  In the intervening time it was found that some wires in the south controller had not been connected and static testing indicated that the issue had been resolved.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff with the help of James Tarbet is installing the rubber flooring in the north vestibule.  The new 100 lb. linoleum roller and another roller tool are in evidence in this picture.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    It is time to pump up the car for another attempt at a shake down run.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Jeff is trimming the edges of the rubber flooring under the glow of the interior lights powered by 600 volts.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Pulling up the masking tape which protected the wooden floor from the adhesive.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Framed by the north train door Mike Gilles is at the stinger as we are finally ready to try to get out of the barn for a second time.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    We made it to Blackhawk! as Jeff raises the pole for the return trip to Castlemuir.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    The gang mills around the Blackhawk platform before we head back to South Elgin.  Everyone is encouraged that we might make the May 9th opening day goal.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    Only a few sample seat cushions and backs are on hand and installed as the others were still at the upholstery shop in Chicago.  Trainmaster Damin Keenan is testing one of the seats.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    4451 heads south towards Switch 54 on another shake down run.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    All three shake down trips were made on May 2nd and here we see the car back after the last one before the car went back to the barn.   Joseph Hazinski photo

    On Wednesday May 5th Fred Lonnes is assembling one of the all new Adlake shades to be installed in the car while everyone is waiting for the remainder of the seats.   Mike Gilles photo

    A happy Jeff Bennett is carrying a seat cushion up from his ambulance on Thursday May 6th as now the car can be made whole and be placed into service on opening day May 9th.   Mike Gilles photo

    All the shades are all in place and the backs and cushions are waiting to be installed over the next two days.  The car debuted on Mothers Day as planned.  It has had some teething problems but the Car Department is addressing them one by one and crew members are being qualified.  Little details are being attended to as well but it is sure nice to have 4451 back in the operating fleet.   Mike Gilles photo



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:

General Information (847) 697-4676

Event and Ticket questions (847) 380-6121

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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