Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric #49
"Cab on Flat" work motor
(Don Idarious Photo, 1938)
The Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric could be typified as primarily a passenger line, but there was a reasonably healthy freight business as well. Far and away, the primary freight customer was the state mental facility which until the early 1970's used southern Illinois coal, shipped in hopper cars by the Illinois Central and interchanged at Coleman (just south of South Elgin) to feed their boilers and provide heating.
This freight traffic (and other businesses) kept the line in business from when the passenger operations shut down in 1936, for over 60 more years.
At the time of the passenger service shut-down, the freight service was handled by two homebuilt "cab on flat" work motors. Essentially flat cars with motorized trucks, and a centered operators cab, the AE&FRE 49 and 23 operated all electric freight operations until the line was finally dieselized in 1946 with AE&FRE 5, a 45 ton center cab, side-rod diesel unit. This diesel finished out the railroads operations in 1972 and was sold to a local quarry. This unit was well maintained and has since been recovered by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, returning it to it's "home rails"
Of the two, the "49" is the easier locomotive to model, and quite frankly, I have far more detailed photos of it than it's sister, the 23. So, once again, we start hacking and slashing otherwise innocent sheet styrene in the quest to replicate something in 1: 24 scale.
One afternoon of effort has gotten us thus far :
More to come !