Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fox River Trolley Museum 11/28/09

Fox River 304 just south of the main museum campus at Castlemuir

A busy afternoon at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, Ill.

The museum spent a busy day rearranging their collection in order to provide indoor storage for recently acquired Fox River #304, a car original to the museum's mainline/right of way.

First things first of course, which included a number of test runs down the right of way, the first real runs of the car since it got back on home rails 11/3/09. The car operated smoothly and the ride is noticeably smoother than with the heavier interurban cars. As was noted,, "What did you expect, after all, the car was designed to ride on these rails !"

Fox River 304 headed south on the mainline

After the runs, time for work. The most notable highlights of the day's plan called for clearing the western most track of the museum's small three track carbarn. That track held, until earlier today, Chicago Surface Lines RPO mail car #6, Chicago Aurora & Elgin line car #11, and Johnstown Traction streetcar #362. The museum has made the decision to deacession the 362 so that room and resources can be better spent on the Fox River car.

The first car out was the mail car. The mail car is a small single truck car which has not had motors in it for sometime. The car has been pushed by manpower out of the barn numerous times over the years, and is often manned by the South Elgin Post Office for special events with a special RPO cancellation. Once out of the barn, it was switched to another track out of the way.

Chicago Surface Lines RPO Mail Car #6
Next out was CA&E line car #11. This was a noteable event in and of itself, the line car has not been outdoors or touched by sunlight in some 25 years. Even more exciting than seeing it outside, it operated under it's own power ! The car needed to be stingered as that track of the barn is not currently powered, but it moved under it's own power via stinger to get to live overhead, and then up went the pole, and it motored without problem to the north end of the property.

CA&E Line car #11
Pole up, and under way
Things were going smoothly at that point, and apparently too smoothly. Next out was the Johnstown car, which also has not seen the light of day for roughly a quarter century. Fox River #5, the line's only diesel locomotive which the museum brought back to home rails a bit less than 10 years ago, pulled the car out, only to have the south truck jump the rails at the first switch.

The AE&FRE #5, and Johnstown #362

An hour was lost getting the car back on track, but things seemed to move smoothly after that.

The Johnstown 362 will remain outdoors until a new home can be found for it, while Fox River 304 is safe and secure within the carbarn. A lot of effort by the folks at FRTM who included Ralph Taylor, Fred Lonnes, Joe Hazinski, and Chuck Galitz, along with several others. These folks will continue to need your support to rehab the 304 (as well as CA&E 458 which should be coming soon). Contact the museum through their website

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