A not-for-profit technical & educational society, established in 1938

Upcoming Programs

  • In-person meetings have returned! Watch this space.


CERA In Person for November 2022


Live and in-person, at 899 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago, Nov. 25, 2022, 7:00 P.M. (CENTRAL)

by Norm Krentel

In November, we look back on the final days for electric freight in the Northwest corner of the United States, and Montana.

Longtime CERA presenter Norm Krentel will take us on a journey that covers the Milwaukee Road, Butte, Anaconda & Pacific, the British Columbia Hydro and the Yakima Valley Transportation Company lines.

Norm has painstakingly digitized his 35MM slides from the end days of these electric freight efforts, between 1966 and 1979.

Our in-person meetings are currently held at the club room of the 899 S. Plymouth Court condominium building. We begin promptly at 7 p.m. and meetings are open to CERA members. Bringing guests, however, is encouraged and membership forms will be available on site.

by William Shapotkin

Friday, Dec. 23, 2022 Live and In-Person 7:00 P.M. (Central Time)
899 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago IL

On June 6, 1892, the first revenue run on South Side Rapid Transit operated between Congress St Terminal and 39th St. Service was eventually extended south to both Jackson Park (originally to serve the Columbian Expansion) and Englewood (63rd/Loomis  -- later to 63rd/Ashland) and north onto the Loop Elevated. Over the years, several branches were added and, sadly, subsequently eliminated.

We will look at the South Side 'L' (as well as see where the one-letter abbreviation for the word "elevated" originated) over the first 130 years of its existence. We will travel around the Stock Yards Loop and visit Kenwood and Normal Park. Our travels will take us to 63rd and Stony Island as well as the short-lived terminal at 63rd/University (and get a view of one train that ATTEMPTED to get to Stony Island) and the present end-of line 63rd/Cottage. We will visit some long-gone stations and a few that have returned. We will even visit some of the more interesting attractions along the line!

Most of our trip will feature multiple-unit rapid transit cars, but vintage images behind steam will also be included.

Our in-person meetings are currently held at the club room of the 899 S. Plymouth Court condominium building. We begin promptly at 7 p.m. and meetings are open to CERA members. Bringing guests, however, is encouraged and membership forms will be available on site.

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Please consider donating to CERA. Our members and non-members alike help us keep providing monthly programming, annual books, periodic trips and events and more. Simply click on the donate button.


Order CERA Bulletin B-151 today!

The highly anticipated new book from CERA, Trolleys to the Boardwalk is now available. It is being shipped as a benefit of membership to all who were members in 2018.

We also have books in hand at our Chicago offices and are ready to send them. Please click on Buy a Book to order.

B-151 is a history of Atlantic City Trolleys from 1854 to 1955, written by James J.N. Henwood, who ecounts the story of trolley operation in Atlantic City, from humble horse cars to the modern Brilliners.

Originally conceived of as a seaside shipping port, Atlantic City’s developers realized its potential for summer visitors seeking an escape from crowded cities to the inviting beaches of the Jersey Shore. Resorts and other businesses burgeoned, helped by the crowds brought to the city over three railroads.

Local transportation began with a simple horsecart service as well as a steam dummy operation. It was traction Pioneer Frank J. Sprague who electrified the city railway in 1889. Under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, lines were ultimately consolidated into the Atlantic City & Shore Railroad. Over the years AC&S operated the local Atlantic City trolley service and a short interurban—the Shore Fast Line-between Atlantic City and Ocean City. There was also another electric line in the area, the Atlantic City & Suburban, that led a troubled existence and suffered an early demise.

Come on board and ride back with us in time to relive Atlantic City’s colorful trolley era.


Copyright 2018 Central Electric Railfans' Association. All Right Reserved 

Central Electric Railfans' Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 503, Chicago, IL  60690

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