Highlights From CERA@75, Part 1

Cars 304 and 20 bask in the sun at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Cars 304 and 20 bask in the sun at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Here is the first of three posts from CERA’s 75th Anniversary weekend. On Sunday, September 22, 2013, we journey to South Elgin to visit the Fox River Trolley Museum.

This was my first trip to South Elgin since the line was extended south to Blackhawk in 2002. The museum has about 35 pieces of equipment and offers a nice ride along the scenic Fox River.

In 2009, the museum acquired ex-Aurora Elgin & Fox River car 304, which once ran on these same tracks from 1924 to 1935. The museum is the last surviving remnant of that interurban.

The basic mode of operation was to run a car from Castlemuir (the north end) every 20 minutes with a meet at the passing siding (Coleman) in the middle of the line. There were short photo stops there and at the ends before another car departed. There were four trains in service on Sunday, three of which could be juggled at any one time (the two ends plus a siding). It makes for a nice ride, and the weatherman cooperated, providing some sun. A fine time was had by all our attendees.

This trip followed our 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program the night before, which was a sold out affair. We were treated to rare North Shore Line films presented by longtime CERA Member, Director, and President Walter Keevil. Thanks to Mr. Keevil’s generosity in sharing these movies with us, it was almost as if the North Shore Line was brought back to life again, however briefly, on the screen, 50 years after it last ran.

It was a memorable event, and one that we will remember for many years to come. As the expression goes, you had to be there.

-David Sadowski

AE&FR car 304, back on home ground after many decades in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

AE&FR car 304, back on home ground after many decades in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

715 and 304 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

715 and 304 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

North Shore 715 at the high-level platform at Blackhawk. The museum line was extended here in 2002. (Photo by David Sadowski)

North Shore 715 at the high-level platform at Blackhawk. The museum line was extended here in 2002. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CA&E wood car 20 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CA&E wood car 20 at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Cars 20 and 715 meet at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Cars 20 and 715 meet at Coleman. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Fox River's collection includes Chicago streetcar RPO 6. In the early 1900s, trolleys collected mail en route and some sorting and cancelling happened on board. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Fox River’s collection includes Chicago streetcar RPO 6. In the early 1900s, trolleys collected mail en route and some sorting and cancelling happened on board. (Photo by David Sadowski)

At the helm of car 304, which ran on the AE&FR from 1924 to 1935. (Photo by David Sadowski)

At the helm of car 304, which ran on the AE&FR from 1924 to 1935. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Moving the headlight to the front of car 304 as it changes ends at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Moving the headlight to the front of car 304 as it changes ends at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

AE&FR 304 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

AE&FR 304 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 is decorated with period advertisements such as this. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 is decorated with period advertisements such as this. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of AE&FR car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of AE&FR car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The conductor of car 304. The museum is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The conductor of car 304. The museum is staffed by a group of dedicated volunteers. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The controls of car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The controls of car 304. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CTA single car units 43 and 45 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CTA single car units 43 and 45 at Blackhawk. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 at Coleman. It is always very gratifying when a car returns to run on its home rails. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 at Coleman. It is always very gratifying when a car returns to run on its home rails. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CA&E 458 will run at Fox River someday. (Photo by David Sadowski)

CA&E 458 will run at Fox River someday. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Preserving a sign like this helps keep the memory of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin alive. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Preserving a sign like this helps keep the memory of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin alive. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of a CTA single car unit- a sight familiar to Chicago commuters for more than 30 years. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The interior of a CTA single car unit- a sight familiar to Chicago commuters for more than 30 years. (Photo by David Sadowski)

North Shore Line 715 prepares to depart Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

North Shore Line 715 prepares to depart Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Once modern, CTA cars 43 and 45 are now vintage. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Once modern, CTA cars 43 and 45 are now vintage. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 at Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Car 304 at Castlemuir. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The front end of CA&E 458 looks really good, but the rest of the car needs work before it can run at Fox River. It was acquired from the defunct "Trolleyville USA" operation in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The front end of CA&E 458 looks really good, but the rest of the car needs work before it can run at Fox River. It was acquired from the defunct “Trolleyville USA” operation in Ohio. (Photo by David Sadowski)

The scene at Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

The scene at Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

In this scene, it is apparent how badly CA&E 458 needs that paint job completed. (Photo by Diana Koester)

In this scene, it is apparent how badly CA&E 458 needs that paint job completed. (Photo by Diana Koester)

The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by Diana Koester)

The interior of CNS&M 715. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A ride along the Fox River offers a picturesque view. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A ride along the Fox River offers a picturesque view. (Photo by Diana Koester)

The low-level boarding area at Blackhawk. (Photo by Diana Koester)

The low-level boarding area at Blackhawk. (Photo by Diana Koester)

Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

Castlemuir. (Photo by Diana Koester)

2013-09-22 10.59.31 HDR

A panoramic view of the north end of the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A panoramic view of the north end of the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A large and enthusiastic crowd attended CERA's 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

A large and enthusiastic crowd attended CERA’s 75th Anniversary Banquet and Program on September 21, 2013. (Photo by David Sadowski)

Master of Ceremonies Ray DeGroote at the 75th Anniversary Banquet/Program. (Photo by Diana Koester)

Master of Ceremonies Ray DeGroote at the 75th Anniversary Banquet/Program. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A panoramic view of our banquet hall. (Photo by Diana Koester)

A panoramic view of our banquet hall. (Photo by Diana Koester)



Categories: 75th Anniversary, CERA Programs, Chicago Area, Interurbans, Preservation

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  1. 2013 In Review @CERA « CERA Members Blog

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