Central Electric 
Railfans' Association

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  • Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:40 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Our Next Program:

    Transit in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia by Ray DeGroote

    CERA goes international for our May program. Our resident world traveler and raconteur Ray DeGrootehas been giving his passport a workout lately, and hopes to expand your horizons as well.

    Five light rail lines opened in North Africa in the last three years: Rabat and Casablanca in Morocco andAlgiersOran and Constantine in Algeria. In addition Algiers opened a metro line, the second in all of Africa (Cairo was first.) The TunisTunisia light rail system has been in service almost 30 years and new cars are now being delivered. In addition, Tunis has two suburban lines.

    CERA members Ray DeGroote and Bruce Moffat visited Morocco last October, and Ray just returned from a trip to Tunisia, Algiers, and France. The May program will include views from all of these places, some historical notes, and even perhaps a word or two in Arabic. Be sure to join us for an entertaining and informative evening.

    Admission is free for current CERA members. There will be a $5.00 Admission charge for non-members. Passports are optional, but we do take Visa.

    Friday, May 23, 2014
    University Center
    525 S State St
    Chicago, IL 60605

    1900 hrs / 7:00pm

    Please note that CERA programs are always held on the fourth Friday of the month. There are five Fridays this May.

    At Place 1 Novembre in Oran on March 22, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Place 1 Novembre in Oran on March 22, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)


    Caroubier Depot in Algiers on March 23, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    Caroubier Depot in Algiers on March 23, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Poly Clinique in Algiers on March 20, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Poly Clinique in Algiers on March 20, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At the depot in Algiers on March 20, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At the depot in Algiers on March 20, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Gare in Oran on March 22, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Gare in Oran on March 22, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Ben Abdelmalek in Constantine on March 18, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Ben Abdelmalek in Constantine on March 18, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    Near Mentouri in Constantine on March 18, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    Near Mentouri in Constantine on March 18, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Erriadh, Tunisia, on March 17, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    At Erriadh, Tunisia, on March 17, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    Tunisian light rail at Au De Paris on March 15, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    Tunisian light rail at Au De Paris on March 15, 2014. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    SNT/TGM cars 1-44-12 in Tunis at La Corniche on July 26, 1976. (Ray DeGroote Photo)

    SNT/TGM cars 1-44-12 in Tunis at La Corniche on July 26, 1976. (Ray DeGroote Photo)


  • Thursday, May 08, 2014 3:42 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    This month, our used book list is entirely made up of original Electric Railway Historical Societypublications, printed between 1952 and 1967. We are selling the extra copies we accumulated while working on the Complete ERHS Collection DVD project.

    These have been sorted out, based on quality. If we have more than one of a certain title in that quality grade, it is noted. Not all titles are available.

    Titles are referred to by their number. When placing your order, use ERHS as a prefix, followed by the publication number, and the grade, as in “ERHS49EX.” It would be helpful to indicate on your form whether substitutions of other quality grades are OK, if the item you desire is no longer available.

    Copies of this list were sent to all current CERA Members at the beginning of this month. While the list is dated May 1st, we waited a week before posting it to the Internet. This gave the “snail mail” people more of an even chance to get their orders in. We thank our Members for their contributions.

    Used books, donated by our members, are being sold to raise money to help fund CERA programs and services. Since we are a 501(c)(3) organization, such donations may be tax deductible. Do you have used traction books that you no longer need? If so, why not donate them to the CERA Used Book Exchange?

    HOW TO ORDER – You can pay by check through the mail using this form, or online using PayPal or acredit/debit card. Please do not send your credit card information through the mail. As books are sold, we will cross them out on the online list, like this.

    You can also contact the CERA Office by telephone at 312-987-4391. If we are not available, leave a message and we will get back to you. We are generally in the office on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at the very least, and other days as needed.

    To order books online, drop us a line at ceraoffice@gmail.com and CERA will e-mail you back an invoice that you can pay using PayPal or a debit/credit card.

    All sales are final. Used books are sold without warranty or guarantee. No haggling or quantity discounts- the items here are priced to move. Please do not ask us to put items on “hold” for you. Books will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Current (2014) CERA Members in the United States get FREE SHIPPING. Other Domestic buyers pay $5 Shipping and Handling per book. International shipping is available by special request. Contact us and we will work up a quote based on actual cost.

    Books are graded as ExcellentGoodFair, or Poor. Significant damage is noted, where observed. Some amount of normal wear is to be expected in books that are “of a certain age.”

    When using the mail-in form, in the unlikely event of an overpayment, if a book you want is no longer available, please indicate whether you would prefer a refund, or a credit that can be applied to a future purchase. If you send your order by mail, keep a copy of the form for your records.

    Please note: Illinois residents must include 9.25% sales tax with payment.

    A Complete List of All 49 ERHS Buletins:

    #1 – Lightweight Interurban Cars (1952)
    #2 – Chicago City Railway Co. Book of Standard Cars (1952)
    #3 – Chicago & West Towns Railways (Story and Research by Robert W. Gibson) (1952)
    #4 – Brill Magazine, May 1927 (1952)
    #5 – Westinghouse Cars and Car Equipment (1952)
    #6 – The Northern Indiana Railways by George K. Bradley (1953)
    #7 – Brill Magazine, August 1916 (1953)
    #8 – The Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry. by James J. Buckley (1953)
    #9 – Car Plans of the Perley A. Thomas Car Company, High Point, N.C. (1953)
    #10 – Cable Railways of Chicago by George W. Hilton (1954)
    #11 – Brill Magazine, July 1915 (1954)
    #12 – A Granite State Interurban: The Story of the Concord and Manchester Electric Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1954)
    #13 – Car Plans of the Chicago Railways Company 1911 (1954)
    #14 – Cars of the McGuire-Cummings Mfg. Co. 1911 (1954)
    #15 – Brill Magazine, December 1914 (1954)
    #16 – The St. Joseph Valley Railway by Joseph A. Galloway and James J. Buckley (1955)
    #17 – Interurban Trolley Guide 1915 (Chicago to New York by Trolley) (1955)
    #18 – Cars of the St. Louis Car Company 1927 (1955)
    #19 – The Biddeford and Saco Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1956)
    #20 – Brill Magazine, March 1913 (1956)
    #21 – Cars of the Rockford and Interurban Railway (1956)
    #22 – The Rockford and Interurban Railway by Philip L. Keister (1956)
    #23 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1912 (1957)
    #24 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1925 (1957)
    #25 – The Blue Hill Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1957)
    #26 – Brill Magazine, April 1924 (1957)
    #27 – Electric Railway Journal 1912 Convention Issue (1957)
    #28 – The Evanston Railway Co. by James J. Buckley (1958)
    #29 – The Niles Car and Manufacturing Co. 1910 (1958)
    #30 – Niles Cars 1914 (1958)
    #31 – Thomas Built Cars (1959)
    #32 – The Lafayette Street Railway by David W. Chambers (1958)
    #33 – Modern Lightweight Cars (1959)
    #34 – Brill Magazine, September 1911 (1959)
    #35 – The Manchester Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1960)
    #36 – The Safety Car (1960)
    #37 – Brill Magazine, January 1917 (1961)
    #38 – Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962)
    #39 – Railway Equipments and Locomotives in the Far West (1962)
    #40 – The Sterling, Dixon, and Eastern Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1963)
    #41 – Brill Magazine, May 1925 (1963)
    #42 – The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway by George W. Hilton (1964)
    #43 – Brill Magazine, October 1912 (1964)
    #44 – St. Louis Cable Railways by Berl Katz (1965)
    #45 – Historic Trolley Guide to Suburban Electric Lines of the New York Metropolitan Area, within a 50-mile radius of New York City, as of 1914 (1965)
    #46 – 76 Years of Peoria Street Cars by Paul Stringham (1965)
    #47 – Light-Weight Cars (1965)
    #48 – The Lee County Central Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1967)
    #49 – Metropolitan Subway and Elevated Systems (1967)

    Used Book List #4, May 1, 2014 (Updated as of May 9):

    ERHS Available Titles

    EXCELLENT ($23ea.)
    1, 3, 11, 12, 13(2), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28(2), 29, 30, 31(2), 33(2), 34, 37, 38(2), 39, 40, 43, 45, 47(2), 48, 49

    GOOD ($18ea.)
    1, 4, 8, 12, 18, 19, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35, 36, 39, 42, 46, 48

    FAIR ($13ea.)
    1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 13, 15, 22, 27, 30, 40, 48

    POOR ($10):
    6


  • Sunday, May 04, 2014 3:44 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Good vibrations from the CTA’s rare operation of the historic 4000-series cars on the Skokie Swift continue to reverberate in the railfan community. Today, we are sharing some more great photos of last week’s event, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the CTA Yellow Line.

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    You can read the CTA Service Bulletin for the event here. We have also posted a few short videos, here,here and here.

    We thank today’s guest contributors Eric Bronsky and Bill Becwar, for graciously allowing us to post their photographs.

    -The Editor

    The Chicago Transit Authority has commemorated important historical anniversaries and other rapid transit milestones in the past, so I intuitively figured that CTA would sponsor some sort of event to recognize the 50th Anniversary of what is now called the Yellow Line. At least one week before the event, it was rumored that historic “brown & orange” cars 4271-72 would come out of mothballs. These vintage cars have rarely been used in recent years, but a CTA press release made this official a few days later. The rail enthusiast community was kept informed through postings on the CERA Blog and elsewhere.

    Saturday dawned unseasonably chilly, but the sun illuminated an ethereal blue sky. Only later was I informed that crews had worked feverishly to restore Skokie service after a drunk drove onto the tracks earlier that morning. Commemorative posters were displayed in the station at Oakton, which opened just two years ago. At 11:00, a crowd assembled outside the Searle Ave. entrance to the Oakton station for a brief ceremony where CTA and Village of Skokie officials were present. In the attached photos, that’s Graham Garfield sporting the vintage CTA uniform. Wearing the brown jacket is Bruce Anderson, who piloted the first Skokie Swift train 50 years ago!

    The 90-year-old rapid transit cars made 4 round trips carrying revenue passengers between Dempster and Howard. The sights, sounds and smells were wonderfully nostalgic. I was fortunate to squeeze onto the first trip but then had to leave for a prior commitment. Running into people who I hadn’t seen in ages further limited my photo opportunities (sorry, no Electropickle Productions this trip, but you’ll find others’ video coverage on YouTube).

    — Eric

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Eric Bronsky Photo

    Modern Swift sign at the newer Dempster/Skokie station, which replaced the crummy Swift fiberglass lean-to that had served for decades. Pretty nice, actually, though the Ventra card machines were typically balky. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Modern Swift sign at the newer Dempster/Skokie station, which replaced the crummy Swift fiberglass lean-to that had served for decades. Pretty nice, actually, though the Ventra card machines were typically balky. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The 4000s arrive under appropriately Insull overhead construction, even if the actual operation under wire has been gone for more than a decade now. Just east of here was the traditional change from overhead to third rail, which the North Shore did dozens of times a day, at speed and in all sorts of weather. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The 4000s arrive under appropriately Insull overhead construction, even if the actual operation under wire has been gone for more than a decade now. Just east of here was the traditional change from overhead to third rail, which the North Shore did dozens of times a day, at speed and in all sorts of weather. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old Cincinnati Car Company products are still pretty handsome at age 91. These colors are attractive enough that maybe we could convince the CTA to wrap a set of 5000s with the original color scheme to celebrate the CTAs 70th birthday in a couple of years. LA did that a few years back on the light rail, wrapping new cars in Pacific Electric livery. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old Cincinnati Car Company products are still pretty handsome at age 91. These colors are attractive enough that maybe we could convince the CTA to wrap a set of 5000s with the original color scheme to celebrate the CTAs 70th birthday in a couple of years. LA did that a few years back on the light rail, wrapping new cars in Pacific Electric livery. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Wearing the historic Swift markers from the original operation. Somewhere, George Krambles is smiling... For a minute, anyway, before demanding to know why the line wasn't extended. :-) (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Wearing the historic Swift markers from the original operation. Somewhere, George Krambles is smiling… For a minute, anyway, before demanding to know why the line wasn’t extended. :-) (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Quite the crowd! This is the second run - on the first there would have been no way to get pictures, as it looked like rush hour 1928; wall-to-wall and halfway to the ceiling. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Quite the crowd! This is the second run – on the first there would have been no way to get pictures, as it looked like rush hour 1928; wall-to-wall and halfway to the ceiling. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Graham Garfield looking spiffy in his CTA conductor uniform... Is he trying to change from overhead to third rail? (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Graham Garfield looking spiffy in his CTA conductor uniform… Is he trying to change from overhead to third rail? (Bill Becwar Photo)

    "All Aboard!" So much better than the bland "The doors are about to close..." (Bill Becwar Photo)

    “All Aboard!” So much better than the bland “The doors are about to close…” (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Howard Street stop.. Looking back down the train to be sure no one is being dragged in the classic conductor pose between cars. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Howard Street stop.. Looking back down the train to be sure no one is being dragged in the classic conductor pose between cars. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Back at Skokie on what will always be the North Shore Line for some of us. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Back at Skokie on what will always be the North Shore Line for some of us. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old and the new together near Howard Street... Irony, since the Swift was run mostly with 5000s at one time (The articulateds back in the 1970s, though). (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old and the new together near Howard Street… Irony, since the Swift was run mostly with 5000s at one time (The articulateds back in the 1970s, though). (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Passing through Howard Street's storage tracks - quite a different track and station configuration than in North Shore or original Swift days. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    Passing through Howard Street’s storage tracks – quite a different track and station configuration than in North Shore or original Swift days. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old cars leaving Dempster for Howard Street... (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The old cars leaving Dempster for Howard Street… (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The regular service cars on the Swift today were the new 5000s - but with the original style Swift signs. (Bill Becwar Photo)

    The regular service cars on the Swift today were the new 5000s – but with the original style Swift signs. (Bill Becwar Photo)


  • Thursday, May 01, 2014 3:49 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Today’s post is by guest contributor and MCERA Vern Hallas, who shares his pictures from last Saturday’s 4000s trip with us:

    My name is Vern Hallas. I submitted some pictures I took on 4/26/2014 of the 4000 series cars running on the Skokie Swift. Mr. Sadowski requested I write about my experience that day. Please note: I will not even attempt to match the wit, wisdom, and eloquence of Mr. Sadowski. I will do my humble best and hope it’s suitable.

    When I saw these cars would be running on the Skokie line, I was thrilled. I haven’t ridden a 4000 series car for many years. However, doing this would be a slight problem as I work nights. I read the last run would be around 2 p.m. and figured I could make it there just in time.

    Saturday I followed the train tracker on the CTA site and figured the last run would leave Dempster around 1:40 p.m. I left my home just after 1, I thought this would work. It turned out traffic was much heavier than I anticipated, this wasn’t looking good! I arrived at Dempster right at 1:40 and saw the train leaving the station. I was sure this was the last trip and I missed it!

    I will not write here what my exact thoughts were at that time. If I did, I’m sure I would be permanently banned from posting on CERA forever! I walked up to the station and asked an employee if that was the last run. He told me the event had been extended and the train would run till about 4. Needless to say, this was great news!

    Just after 2 p.m., I heard the crossing gates start south of the station start ringing. I grabbed my camera and headed out to the platform. Even at this later time, there were many train enthusiasts like myself there with their cameras rolling. When the train pulled up to the platform, there was a rush of people for the front of the train. I didn’t even try to get a seat up there. Instead I sat at the very end of the train. I figured that I’d have a great spot to take video on the return trip from Howard.

    When I was seated, I looked around and noticed the vintage advertisements. I liked this a lot, it reminded me of the last day of the 2200s where they did the same thing. It really gave me a feeling of how things were back in the day. I found it ironic that there was an ad for the North Shore Line. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.

    Then I heard the 2 buzzes which meant “all clear” and the doors slid closed. When the train started moving, it was just as I remembered from years back. I could hear the air compressor chugging away and the train made a sort of groaning noise as it started moving. The old train ran very well, they didn’t push it for obvious reasons but we did around 35 mph or so. In a short amount of time we were at Howard.

    During the trip, I chatted with a man seated in front of me. He was a retired bus driver and used to drive the Marmon-Herrington trolley buses. As I live near Belmont av, I rode these a lot, we had a very nice time reminiscing. The train stopped at Howard to let people exit then pulled forward to prepare for the return trip. As I had hoped, the motorman switched ends to return to Dempster. I now had a great spot to take video.

    After a few minutes, we again got the “all clear” signal and we were off to Dempster. Near Skokie shops there must be a slow zone as the cab signal sounded and he had to slow down. Hearing a cab signal in a 4000 was very unusual to me. I know it’s necessary but it seemed out of place in a vintage train. I also forgot just how LOUD the air horns are, I think the motorman was having a good time blasting the horn at every opportunity. I know I would have been.

    After a stop at Oakton, we were soon back at Dempster and I reluctantly exited the train. When we left Howard, they announced the train would return to Howard, then go to the Skokie yard. Otherwise I might have taken another ride.

    DSC02976

    DSC02977DSC02975DSC02974DSC02965DSC02963DSC02962DSC02961DSC02960DSC02959DSC02958DSC02957DSC02956


  • Sunday, April 27, 2014 3:52 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    On Saturday, April 26th, the Chicago Transit Authority commemorated a half-century of service on the Skokie Swift, aka the Yellow Line. CTA’s 1920s-era historical cars 4271-4272 made four revenue trips between Dempster and Howard, running from about 11 am to 3:30 pm.

    Your roving reporter grabbed a camera and a windbreaker (the weather was brisk, with temps in the mid-40s, and hazy sun) and ventured forth to document the event. This photo essay captures the spirit of the occasion. For a few hours at least, the Swift hosted a fantrip- the first time the general public could ride these cars in regular service in many years.

    P1010969

    We ran into many old friends on the train, some of whom we had seen just the night before, at the Ken Spengler’s April CERA program. Even if you could not be there, we hope that you can experience the event through these pictures.

    -David Sadowski

    The historic cars wait in the Dempster pocket track. The regular service train will be arriving shortly and head out in front of the fantrip train.

    The historic cars wait in the Dempster pocket track. The regular service train will be arriving shortly and head out in front of the fantrip train.

    CTA 4271-4272 were built circa 1923 by the Cincinnati Car Co.

    CTA 4271-4272 were built circa 1923 by the Cincinnati Car Co.

    Apparently, a switch had to be thrown to allow the regular service train to go ahead of the 4000s.

    Apparently, a switch had to be thrown to allow the regular service train to go ahead of the 4000s.

    A sign at the Dempster station.

    A sign at the Dempster station.

    The open area underneath the 1920s electrical tower was necessary, since at one time there was a track running directly underneath.

    The open area underneath the 1920s electrical tower was necessary, since at one time there was a track running directly underneath.

    Fans enjoying the special trip. CERA Board member Irwin Davis is visible at left.

    Fans enjoying the special trip. CERA Board member Irwin Davis is visible at left.

    Fans documewnt the occasion with their handheld video cameras.

    Fans documewnt the occasion with their handheld video cameras.

    Graham Garfield looks spiffy in one his period CTA uniforms.

    Graham Garfield looks spiffy in one his period CTA uniforms.

    Fans prepare to board the special train at Howard. Adam Kerman is at right with backpack.

    Fans prepare to board the special train at Howard. Adam Kerman is at right with backpack.

    It was a great day for taking pictures.

    It was a great day for taking pictures.

    The historic train enters the turnback track at Howard.

    The historic train enters the turnback track at Howard.

    Coming out of the pocket track.

    Coming out of the pocket track.

    The 4000s are ready for the return trip to Skokie. The trolley poles are a vestige of a time when overhead wire was in use on portions of the rapid transit system.

    The 4000s are ready for the return trip to Skokie. The trolley poles are a vestige of a time when overhead wire was in use on portions of the rapid transit system.

    P1010959

    Longtime CERA member Charles Tauscher enjoys the ride.

    Longtime CERA member Charles Tauscher enjoys the ride.

    The historic cars are filled with photographs and period advertisements.

    The historic cars are filled with photographs and period advertisements.

    P1010963

    At Dempster terminal.

    At Dempster terminal.

    Ready to embark on trip #2.

    Ready to embark on trip #2.

    P1010971

    The 400s at Asbury in Evanston.

    The 400s at Asbury in Evanston.

    A regular service train heads east at East Prairie Road.

    A regular service train heads east at East Prairie Road.

    Another view at East Prairie Road, looking east.

    Another view at East Prairie Road, looking east.

    A regular train heads west at East Prairie Road.

    A regular train heads west at East Prairie Road.

    The 4000s heading east at East Prairie Road.

    The 4000s heading east at East Prairie Road.

    The special train prepares to cross Oakton in Skokie.

    The special train prepares to cross Oakton in Skokie.

    Crossing Oakton, heading into the station, which opened about two years ago.

    Crossing Oakton, heading into the station, which opened about two years ago.

    A regular train heading north into the Oakton station.

    A regular train heading north into the Oakton station.

    The Oakton station is a welcome addition to the Swift/Yellow Line.

    The Oakton station is a welcome addition to the Swift/Yellow Line.

    The 4000s heading south at Oakton.

    The 4000s heading south at Oakton.

    Crossing Oakton.

    Crossing Oakton.

    Going into the Oakton curve.

    Going into the Oakton curve.

    Approaching the grade crossing at Main in Skokie. This was trip #4, and I assume the train deadheaded back to Skokie Shops after dropping off passengers at Oakton.

    Approaching the grade crossing at Main in Skokie. This was trip #4, and I assume the train deadheaded back to Skokie Shops after dropping off passengers at Oakton.

    Our last shot of the 400os as they cross Main.

    Our last shot of the 400os as they cross Main.

    A regular service train westbound at Ridge in Evanston. By this time, the historical cars were back at Skokie Shops.

    A regular service train westbound at Ridge in Evanston. By this time, the historical cars were back at Skokie Shops.

    Officials handed out two commemorative pinback buttons on the special train, with the old and new CTA logos.

    Officials handed out two commemorative pinback buttons on the special train, with the old and new CTA logos.


  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 3:54 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    This just in: CTA will commemorate 50 years of Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) service by running the two1920s-era historic cars on the line this Saturday, April 26th.

    It will be held at the Skokie-Dempster station starting at around 11:00 am and running until about 2:00 pm or so. The CTA’s two historic cars 4271-4272 will be operating every 25 minutes.

    The cars will follow normal service cars as a second section. They will run to Howard, turn around in the track #5 pocket without unloading or loading at Howard, and run back out to Skokie. It’s not yet known whether the cars will stop at Oakton-Skokie, but it’s very possible. You won’t be able to get off or on at Howard Street.

    Regular CTA rail fares apply, but your monthly pass will work, too.

    The top speed on these cars is about 45 mph, but they will probably reach 55 going downhill. It has been several years since the general public has been able to ride these cars, which are now over 90 years old.

    CTA will hand out two different buttons, one with current CTA logo and one with the old 1964-vintage “Metropolitan Transit” CTA logo.

    We will post further information as it becomes available.

    -The Editor

    Update: here is the CTA press release about the event.

    scan569




  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:57 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Our Next Program:

    Chicago Rapid Transit in the 1950s and 60s by Ken Spengler

    Although the rapid transit system has seen continual changes from its start in 1892 until the present, the ’40s through the ’60s brought about many interesting developments – the subways, the modern cars, several abandonments, center reservations in expressways, etc. Longtime MCERA Ken Spengler will offer up a slice of history that our older members will remember and the younger ones should find interesting.

    Ken will concentrate on both the lines and route changes. We will see a lot of material on the Lake Street elevation and the changeover from Garfield Park to Congress. Come join us for what promises to be a very informative and enjoyable program.

    Admission is free for current CERA members. There will be a $5.00 Admission charge for non-members.

    Friday, April 25, 2014
    1900 hrs / 7:00pm
    University Center
    525 S State St
    Chicago, IL 60605

    The old meets the new at Kimball on a late 1950s CERA wood car fantrip. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    The old meets the new at Kimball on a late 1950s CERA wood car fantrip. (Ken Spengler Photo)


    A two-car train of wooden "L" cars at Francisco on the Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) in the 1950s. The historic 1907 clapboard station house was preserved in the 2006-2007 station renovation. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    A two-car train of wooden “L” cars at Francisco on the Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) in the 1950s. The historic 1907 clapboard station house was preserved in the 2006-2007 station renovation. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    A single wooden "L" car on the Stock Yards branch was typical in the 1950s, when this picture was taken by Jim Windmeier.

    A single wooden “L” car on the Stock Yards branch was typical in the 1950s, when this picture was taken by Jim Windmeier.

    A rare night shot of a North Shore "Silverliner" in Chicago's Loop. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    A rare night shot of a North Shore “Silverliner” in Chicago’s Loop. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    A classic view of the North Shore Line downtown terminal at 223 S. Wabash in the late 1950s. A two-tone blue 1957 Buick Century drives into the Peerless parking garage. Nearby, Dario Toffenetti's restaurant offered a simple menu of food prepared well, at affordable prices. (Ken Spengler Photo)

    A classic view of the North Shore Line downtown terminal at 223 S. Wabash in the late 1950s. A two-tone blue 1957 Buick Century drives into the Peerless parking garage. Nearby, Dario Toffenetti’s restaurant offered a simple menu of food prepared well, at affordable prices. (Ken Spengler Photo)


  • Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:59 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    It’s hard to believe for some of us “of a certain age,” but the CTA Skokie Swift has now been in service for 50 years as of today. Yes, weekday service began on April 20, 1964. To this author, it seems like only yesterday.

    What started as an experiment, a “demonstration project,” has been a great success by any estimation, even as the Swift (today’s Yellow Line) has changed and adapted over the years with the elimination of overhead wire and the addition of a station at Oakton.

    This is something where I have a bit of personal history, as I recall riding the Swift on the weekend prior to the beginning of regular service, when CTA was showing it off to the public for the first time. It was a thrilling and exciting ride, as the “spam cans” exceeded 60 mph on the five mile run between Dempster and Howard.

    The story has been told many times before. When the North Shore Line abandoned service in January 1963, the Chicago Transit Authority needed 2.5 miles of its former Skokie Valley right-of-way to access Skokie Shops. It would be easier to justify the purchase if this could be turned into revenue trackage.

    We can lament how only a small portion of the North Shore Line was saved; but at least some of it was actually saved, and is still with us today.

    CTA rushed ahead with plans for a high-speed service between Dempster, where a large parking lot was built, and Howard, where riders could change trains to continue Downtown or to Evanston and Wilmette.George Krambles, CERA’s Member #1, headed up the project.

    The latest issue of First and Fastest magazine, put out by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, offers an excellent account of how this all came about. We humbly offer our own contribution in this first in a two-part series.

    By the end of the 1950s, CTA felt that it had done all that was possible to economize, and yet had learned that fares alone could not cover all the costs of transit. The Swift was one of the first instances where Federal money helped pay for mass transit improvements. Therefore, the success of the project was a high priority for CTA.

    It was so important, in fact, that CTA officials actually announced to the press that they would go ahead with it, even if Federal money was not forthcoming. CTA had been experimenting with high-speed railcars since 1955, and had been adding park-and-ride lots near CTA stations since about the same time; the Skokie Swift was the culmination of these efforts.

    The line was designed to attract suburban riders who did not want to fight traffic on the nearby Edens expressway. Ridership estimates were originally based on North Shore Line traffic. The North Shore Line had not been marketing this type of service effectively, and therefore actual ridership greatly exceeded expectations once the Swift began service in April 1964.

    The first timetable (reproduced below) went out the window within a few minutes, and the CTA scrambled to keep up with the demand. Over time, additional railcars were pressed into service to go along with the original 1-4 high-speed PCC single car units. The four experimental articulated cars (originally 5001-5004, later renumbered 51-54) became stalwarts of the Swift fleet, even though they could not match the top speeds of the other cars. Along with these, some additional single car units from the 1-50 series were converted for Skokie service over the years.

    In 1968, CTA issued a final report for the demonstration project, which you can read here. I am glad to report that years ago, George Krambles sent me a copy. For the rest of his life, he was justifiably proud of the project.

    We offer here a selection of photos taken of this portion of the Skokie Valley Route over the years. In addition, you will also find below a copy of Skokie Swift timetable #1, and the service bulletin for the first inspection trip on the Swift, which took place on February 12, 1964.

    At that time, the Dempster terminal had not yet been built, so the inspection train could only go as far as Niles Center Road. A rail grinder was hard at work on one track, while the inspection train used the other. This trip probably took place as soon as the CTA was able to restore electric power to the overhead wire west of Skokie Shops. There is a photo in the final report dated February 11, 1964, showing workers repairing a rectifier.

    We hope that you will enjoy this slice of transit history. Our second installment in the Skokie Swift series will appear in the next few days.

    -David Sadowski

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    In this late 1940s photo, we can see how sparsely developed the area around the Dempster station still was, twenty years after service began on the CRT Niles Center branch. (CERA Archives)

    In this late 1940s photo, we can see how sparsely developed the area around the Dempster station still was, twenty years after service began on the CRT Niles Center branch. (CERA Archives)

    The Insull-owned CRT instituted Niles Center service in hopes that development would follow. Eventually, it did, after WWII, but not fast enough to save this branch line. (CERA Archives)

    The Insull-owned CRT instituted Niles Center service in hopes that development would follow. Eventually, it did, after WWII, but not fast enough to save this branch line. (CERA Archives)

    A Niles Center car in the 1940s. (CERA Archives)

    A Niles Center car in the 1940s. (CERA Archives)

    Rapid transit service on the Niles Center branch ran from March 28, 1925 to March 27, 1948, before being replaced by the CTA 97 bus. Here, a southbound car leaves Dempster in this winter view. (CERA Archives)

    Rapid transit service on the Niles Center branch ran from March 28, 1925 to March 27, 1948, before being replaced by the CTA 97 bus. Here, a southbound car leaves Dempster in this winter view. (CERA Archives)

    An Electroliner in the Evanston open cut in July 1962. (CERA Archives)

    An Electroliner in the Evanston open cut in July 1962. (CERA Archives)

    A three-car train of North Shore "Silverliners" in the Evanston open cut in May 1955. (CERA Archives)

    A three-car train of North Shore “Silverliners” in the Evanston open cut in May 1955. (CERA Archives)

    A view of the Dempster station as it looked in October 1961, with just over a year of North Shore Line service remaining. To the south of the Insull-era building, you can see the remnants of the high-level platform that would have been used for CRT Niles Center service. These were removed by CTA and a new, very basic platform was built for Swift service. (CERA Archives)

    A view of the Dempster station as it looked in October 1961, with just over a year of North Shore Line service remaining. To the south of the Insull-era building, you can see the remnants of the high-level platform that would have been used for CRT Niles Center service. These were removed by CTA and a new, very basic platform was built for Swift service. (CERA Archives)

    The speed of this North Shore "Greenliner" single car is evident in this photo from May 1955. (CERA Archives)

    The speed of this North Shore “Greenliner” single car is evident in this photo from May 1955. (CERA Archives)

    CNS&M "Silverliner" 251 (now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum) is at the rear of a two-car train approaching Howard. (CERA Archives)

    CNS&M “Silverliner” 251 (now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum) is at the rear of a two-car train approaching Howard. (CERA Archives)

    An Electroliner "at speed" in the Evanston open cut. (CERA Archives)

    An Electroliner “at speed” in the Evanston open cut. (CERA Archives)

    A CNS&M Electroliner speeds through the open cut in Evanston. The former Asbury station is visible in the background. (CERA Archives)

    A CNS&M Electroliner speeds through the open cut in Evanston. The former Asbury station is visible in the background. (CERA Archives)

    The derelict North Shore right-of-way at Crawford Avenue in July 1963. The wire is up, but the rails are rusty after not having been used in several months. (CERA Archives)

    The derelict North Shore right-of-way at Crawford Avenue in July 1963. The wire is up, but the rails are rusty after not having been used in several months. (CERA Archives)

    Another view of the derelict North Shore right-of-way at Crawford Avenue in July 1963. This station and some others were removed within a few months of the Swift's opening. (CERA Archives)

    Another view of the derelict North Shore right-of-way at Crawford Avenue in July 1963. This station and some others were removed within a few months of the Swift’s opening. (CERA Archives)

    CTA experimental high-speed car 2 heads up a Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) train in December 1962. Less than two years later, the four high-speed cars would start service on the Skokie Swift. (CERA Archives)

    CTA experimental high-speed car 2 heads up a Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) train in December 1962. Less than two years later, the four high-speed cars would start service on the Skokie Swift. (CERA Archives)

    A pair of CTA high-speed cars, making up part of a train in this August 1960 view at Howard. Cars 1-4 would be the first used in Swift service in 1964. (CERA Archives)

    A pair of CTA high-speed cars, making up part of a train in this August 1960 view at Howard. Cars 1-4 would be the first used in Swift service in 1964. (CERA Archives)

    From 1961 to 1973, CTA operated PCC single car units in Evanston service with trolley poles. Some of these cars were eventually adapted for use in Skokie service. Here we are opposite Calvery cemetery. (CERA Archives)

    From 1961 to 1973, CTA operated PCC single car units in Evanston service with trolley poles. Some of these cars were eventually adapted for use in Skokie service. Here we are opposite Calvery cemetery. (CERA Archives)

    One of the four articulated 1947-48 "L" cars, signed for Evanston service, as it looked prior to being fitted with pantographs for Skokie Swift service. (CERA Archives)

    One of the four articulated 1947-48 “L” cars, signed for Evanston service, as it looked prior to being fitted with pantographs for Skokie Swift service. (CERA Archives)

    CTA 24 at the northern end of the line in August 1967. (CERA Archives)

    CTA 24 at the northern end of the line in August 1967. (CERA Archives)

    Skokie Swift trains at Howard in May 1964. (CERA Archives)

    Skokie Swift trains at Howard in May 1964. (CERA Archives)

    The Dempster terminal in May 1964. (CERA Archives)

    The Dempster terminal in May 1964. (CERA Archives)

    CTA 4269, 4270, 4281, and 4282 outbound at Kostner on July 3, 1966 on a fantrip. (CERA Archives)

    CTA 4269, 4270, 4281, and 4282 outbound at Kostner on July 3, 1966 on a fantrip. (CERA Archives)

    A Swift "artic" shares space in Howard yard with 6000s on June 20, 1966. (CERA Archives)

    A Swift “artic” shares space in Howard yard with 6000s on June 20, 1966. (CERA Archives)

    A fantrip train of 4000s, near Skokie Shops in August 1972. The sign hanging on front says, "This train stops at 35 for White Sox baseball today." (Rex K. Nelson photo - CERA Archives)

    A fantrip train of 4000s, near Skokie Shops in August 1972. The sign hanging on front says, “This train stops at 35 for White Sox baseball today.” (Rex K. Nelson photo – CERA Archives)

    A CTA single car unit in Evanston service heads southbound approaching the Howard terminal in this July 17, 1965 view. One of the 51-54 series articulated cars used on the Skokie Swift is parked in the yard. (CERA Archives)

    A CTA single car unit in Evanston service heads southbound approaching the Howard terminal in this July 17, 1965 view. One of the 51-54 series articulated cars used on the Skokie Swift is parked in the yard. (CERA Archives)

    One of the four "artics" at Oakton in October 1968. (CERA Archives)

    One of the four “artics” at Oakton in October 1968. (CERA Archives)

    4000s at Dempster in fantrip service. (Rex K. Nelson Photo - CERA Archives)

    4000s at Dempster in fantrip service. (Rex K. Nelson Photo – CERA Archives)

    CTA 30 outbound near Oakton on August 12, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo - CERA Archives)

    CTA 30 outbound near Oakton on August 12, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo – CERA Archives)

    A train of 4000s at Dempster on a fantrip in July 1971. (Gerald H. Landau Photo - CERA Archives)

    A train of 4000s at Dempster on a fantrip in July 1971. (Gerald H. Landau Photo – CERA Archives)

    CTA 25 is southbound from Dempster on March 16, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo - CERA Archives)

    CTA 25 is southbound from Dempster on March 16, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo – CERA Archives)

    The Swift crosses the North Shore Channel on July 27, 1964. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo - CERA Archives)

    The Swift crosses the North Shore Channel on July 27, 1964. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo – CERA Archives)

    CTA single car unit 29 is northbound approaching Dempster on February 3, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo - CERA Archives)

    CTA single car unit 29 is northbound approaching Dempster on February 3, 1968. (Stephen M. Scalzo Photo – CERA Archives)

    One of the four CTA articulated "Doodlebugs," now fitted with pantographs, at Dempster in July 1966. (CERA Archives)

    One of the four CTA articulated “Doodlebugs,” now fitted with pantographs, at Dempster in July 1966. (CERA Archives)

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  • Friday, April 18, 2014 1:09 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)

    Early CERA bulletins were generally very short in length, some just a single sheet of paper, but gradually grew longer over the years. Late in World War II, the Trolley Sparks periodical, started in 1944 by Barney Neuberger, was brought into the CERA fold and continued for a while as a separate publication. You can read more about that early history here.

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    Eventually, the Trolley Sparks series became CERA bulletins, issued on an irregular basis, and requiring a separate subscription from CERA membership. As our publications grew longer and more detailed, this arrangement became unsustainable. And so it was that CERA announced on August 10, 1951 that the Trolley Sparks series would be discontinued with Bulletin 95. (This letter is reproduced in our 2013 book Trolley Sparks Special #1, on page 68.

    By this, they meant it was being discontinued as a periodical, since the Trolley Sparks name continued to be used on the cover of CERA bulletins through number 100. These later issues were book-length volumes issued more or less annually, however.

    Some active CERA members, believing there was a continuing need for short-length traction publications, organized the not-for-profit Electric Railway Historical Society in January 1952.

    You can read a comprehensive history of ERHS here. Besides the short publications, ERHS was instrumental in acquiring and preserving several historic streetcars, now part of the Illinois Railway Museum collection, including CTA 4391 and Chicago & West Towns 141. We posted some pictures of 141 being moved to the ERHS barn in Downers Grove here.

    Between 1952 and 1967, ERHS put out 49 bulletins. Many were reprints of trade publications from Brill, St. Louis Car Co., and other streetcar manufacturers. But there were also valuable original works by such noted authors as James J. BuckleyGeorge W. HiltonPaul StringhamO. R. CummingsGeorge K. Bradley, and many others. Over the years, all of these publications have gone out of print and are very hard to find.

    ERHS was dissolved around 40 years ago, and never had an extensive membership. Most of the people who were active in it are no longer with us.

    CERA was granted permission to reprint the ERHS bulletins many years ago. However, it took some time before we could reach a consensus on the best way to do this.

    Throughout its 15-year publishing history, ERHS maintained a very high level of quality in their output. We feel that it is important to give these works new life in the digital age.

    Therefore, CERA is excited to announce the availability of the Complete ERHS Collection in digital form, starting May 1, 2014.

    Since there would probably be a very limited demand for any one title in the series, we decided it would be best to make all 49 bulletins available for readers and researchers on a single disc that can be viewed on a computer, using Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free program that most people already are using. We are offering this for the bargain price of just $29.95, with domestic shipping included. This works out to a cost of just 61 cents per book.

    It took some time and effort to acquire a complete collection of all 49 ERHS bulletins in excellent condition. For nearly all bulletins, multiple copies were studied and the ones in the best quality were chosen for high-resolution scanning. Each bulletin is an exact facsimile of the original.

    The disc includes an introduction as well as an index to all 49 bulletins, which can be viewed separately, plus some additional bonus features.

    Other than doing just what we did, and painstakingly assemble a complete collection yourself, which could take years, this is the next best thing. Why not purchase your copy today?

    Making these historically important works available to the public once again is fully in keeping with CERA’s mission “to encourage study of the history, equipment and operation of urban, suburban and mainline electric railways.” CERA is fully committed to expanding our publishing activities to include shorter works as well as full-length volumes in the future, honoring the spirit, the example, and the legacy of the Electric Railway Historical Society.

    -Your CERA Directors

    A Complete List of All 49 ERHS Buletins:

    #1 – Lightweight Interurban Cars (1952)
    #2 – Chicago City Railway Co. Book of Standard Cars (1952)
    #3 – Chicago & West Towns Railways (Story and Research by Robert W. Gibson) (1952)
    #4 – Brill Magazine, May 1927 (1952)
    #5 – Westinghouse Cars and Car Equipment (1952)
    #6 – The Northern Indiana Railways by George K. Bradley (1953)
    #7 – Brill Magazine, August 1916 (1953)
    #8 – The Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry. by James J. Buckley (1953)
    #9 – Car Plans of the Perley A. Thomas Car Company, High Point, N.C. (1953)
    #10 – Cable Railways of Chicago by George W. Hilton (1954)
    #11 – Brill Magazine, July 1915 (1954)
    #12 – A Granite State Interurban: The Story of the Concord and Manchester Electric Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1954)
    #13 – Car Plans of the Chicago Railways Company 1911 (1954)
    #14 – Cars of the McGuire-Cummings Mfg. Co. 1911 (1954)
    #15 – Brill Magazine, December 1914 (1954)
    #16 – The St. Joseph Valley Railway by Joseph A. Galloway and James J. Buckley (1955)
    #17 – Interurban Trolley Guide 1915 (Chicago to New York by Trolley) (1955)
    #18 – Cars of the St. Louis Car Company 1927 (1955)
    #19 – The Biddeford and Saco Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1956)
    #20 – Brill Magazine, March 1913 (1956)
    #21 – Cars of the Rockford and Interurban Railway (1956)
    #22 – The Rockford and Interurban Railway by Philip L. Keister (1956)
    #23 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1912 (1957)
    #24 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1925 (1957)
    #25 – The Blue Hill Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1957)
    #26 – Brill Magazine, April 1924 (1957)
    #27 – Electric Railway Journal 1912 Convention Issue (1957)
    #28 – The Evanston Railway Co. by James J. Buckley (1958)
    #29 – The Niles Car and Manufacturing Co. 1910 (1958)
    #30 – Niles Cars 1914 (1958)
    #31 – Thomas Built Cars (1959)
    #32 – The Lafayette Street Railway by David W. Chambers (1958)
    #33 – Modern Lightweight Cars (1959)
    #34 – Brill Magazine, September 1911 (1959)
    #35 – The Manchester Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1960)
    #36 – The Safety Car (1960)
    #37 – Brill Magazine, January 1917 (1961)
    #38 – Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962)
    #39 – Railway Equipments and Locomotives in the Far West (1962)
    #40 – The Sterling, Dixon, and Eastern Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1963)
    #41 – Brill Magazine, May 1925 (1963)
    #42 – The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway by George W. Hilton (1964)
    #43 – Brill Magazine, October 1912 (1964)
    #44 – St. Louis Cable Railways by Berl Katz (1965)
    #45 – Historic Trolley Guide to Suburban Electric Lines of the New York Metropolitan Area, within a 50-mile radius of New York City, as of 1914 (1965)
    #46 – 76 Years of Peoria Street Cars by Paul Stringham (1965)
    #47 – Light-Weight Cars (1965)
    #48 – The Lee County Central Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1967)
    #49 – Metropolitan Subway and Elevated Systems (1967)

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  • Sunday, April 06, 2014 1:11 PM | Ed Graziano (Administrator)
    Today, we have a “guest” article by CERA MemberTom Sharratt, who is an active volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum:
    IRM TO RESTORE ELECTROLINER IN TIME FOR ITS 75TH ANNIVERSARY

    The story of the North Shore Line’s Electroliners is well known and was featured in Passenger Train Journalissue 255. Recently, Rock Hill Trolley Museum returned its former Electroliner, preserved as a Liberty Liner, tooperating condition although much restoration work remains. IRM’s Electroliner (801-802) was restored to its original exterior appearance about 25 years ago when it returned to Illinois. This restoration included removing two doors that were added for service in Philadelphia to speed loading/unloading, reinstalling trolley poles and applying a high quality paint job. But when the train was taken out for operation, it immediately had motor problems. As a result, the Liner was moved to “temporary” storage in IRM’s Barn 4 where it remains today – well protected, but not open to visitors, not operable and not restored on the interior. It has been taken out on rare occasions for photo opportunities and to tease enthusiasts, but no work has been done.

    IRM Electroliner 801-802 on display July 4, 2013 - Initiation of the current fundraising campaign - Tom Sharratt Photo

    IRM Electroliner 801-802 on display July 4, 2013 – Initiation of the current fundraising campaign – Tom Sharratt Photo

    That is changing. Last Spring, several IRM members gathered to develop a plan to restore the train to operating condition, inside and out, in time for its 75th Anniversary in January 2016. One of those members was Barbara Lanphier, whose father worked for the North Shore Line and who was born the same year as the Electroliners. For her, this project has a very special meaning. For the others, memories of riding and photographing the car is a driving motivation. They realize that while IRM has many priceless historic pieces in its collection, most people consider the Electroliner to be one of the three pieces most commonly associated with the museum. The others are the Nebraska Zephyr and Frisco Decapod 1630. Those two are operational. It is time to complete the restoration of the Electroliner so that it can once again operate and show the public its beauty and demonstrate the contribution it made in the effort to offer fast, comfortable and modern rail transportation during the 1930s and 40s.

    A realistic analysis of what needs to be done showed that this project will not be easy – or cheap. The first and most critical job is to remove all eight traction motors and have them inspected and repaired as necessary by a qualified professional electric contractor. Based on past experience, it is estimated that this alone will cost $150,000. IRM wants to start this part of the project this summer. Once the motors are reinstalled, a Photographers’ Special will be held on a day that the museum is not open to the public – with premium priced tickets being used to continue the restoration. The second phase will involve replacement of the air conditioning system – essential to operation since the train is a sealed unit. This is estimated to cost $75,000. While the trains were in service in Philadelphia, the electric griddles were removed. An Electroliner without an Electroburger is unthinkable, so IRM will have to install a replacement – estimated cost: $10,000. The third phase involves reupholstering the seats, cleaning and painting as necessary. This will cost an estimated $100,000. And finally there are the unknown, but anticipated problems, that will occur when a 75 year old train that hasn’t operated in approximately 35 years is powered up. Electrical wiring and control systems, the brake system, plumbing and other problems yet to be determined will need to be repaired or replaced. It is estimated that these may cost up to $135,000. IRM volunteers are starting work on the interior as warmer weather arrives.

    There is good news: just over $100,000 has been raised as of the end of March! Grants are being submitted, but the heavy lifting will have to come from individuals. As soon as $150,000 has been raised, the motor work will begin – and that needs to be done this summer to meet of goal of January 2016!

    Visit the IRM website to check on progress and to make tax deductible donations at the museum store. Or, send a donation to: Campaign for the Electroliner, Illinois Railway Museum, PO Box 427, Union IL 60180. There are incentives for those giving at various levels – for details, contact Tom Sharratt at tssharratt@mwt.net. For these incentive programs, cumulative giving is used – donations over a period of time will qualify for the various levels. For frequent updates, photographs and more, visit the Electroliner Facebook Page .

    Total needed: $500,000. Even if IRM had that much today, the work needs to be done and the clock is ticking. YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW! Please contribute something today, and regularly until the Electroliner is again rolling on the museum’s mainline and Electroburgers are being served in the tavern lounge.

    -Tom Sharratt

    This shows the bar July 2013, Tom Sharratt photographer

    This shows the bar July 2013, Tom Sharratt photographer

    This shows the interior July 2013, Tom Sharratt photographer

    This shows the interior July 2013, Tom Sharratt photographer

    Interior of the motorman’s cab, July 2013, Tom Sharratt photo

    Interior of the motorman’s cab, July 2013, Tom Sharratt photo

    Electroliner Train # 805 NB at Ryan Road Jun 13, 1962 - note speeder on SB track. Tom Sharratt photo

    Electroliner Train # 805 NB at Ryan Road Jun 13, 1962 – note speeder on SB track. Tom Sharratt photo

    Electroliner Train #805 (801-802) NB College Avenue 12 Jun 1962 - Tom Sharratt photo (some blur, but that reflects the speed of the train . . . at least I like to think so.)

    Electroliner Train #805 (801-802) NB College Avenue 12 Jun 1962 – Tom Sharratt photo (some blur, but that reflects the speed of the train . . . at least I like to think so.)

    Electroliner Train #800 (803-804) SB at 5th and Chase in Milwaukee, June 14 1962 - Tom Sharratt photo

    Electroliner Train #800 (803-804) SB at 5th and Chase in Milwaukee, June 14 1962 – Tom Sharratt photo


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