To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sunset NSL Silverliners #10A – 415 Introduction & Operation

The history of the 415 when it was operating on the NSL is well known and can be read in books. When the NSL ceased operation, the car was purchased by the Fox River Trolley Museum. Unfortunately the car was kept outside in the weather. In need of more operating equipment Fox River traded the 415 to the Seashore Museum who had hoped to operate it as a small diner. During operation as a diner a lightning strike near the 415 destroyed almost all the electrical wiring in the car. Seashore was in the process of backdating the car to its pre-Silverliner appearance. Today it sits in a barn out of the weather, nonoperational and not restored.

On the NSL 415 was operated with the #1 end (the kitchen end) on the north or Milwaukee end of the railway. This had to be done so passengers could be rapidly loaded from high platform stations on the Chicago “L”. The car was never turned and from what I can tell always operated in this direction.

The need to operate 415 with the #1 end facing north came into being when the car was made into a tavern-lounge car. At this time the door from the dining area to the vestibule (#2 end) was moved to one side with the door opening outward into the vestibule. If this door was next to the “L” platform the side passenger door could not be used. If this happened passengers could get into the 415 only from 1 door, at the #1 end, instead of both side doors.

I’ve been told the diaphragms and removable step plates were placed in use north of Howard St. in Chicago and south of Harrison St. in Milwaukee. The curves on the “L” and streets were too sharp for the use of the diaphragms. Only when the diaphragms and step plate were in place were passengers able to freely walk between the cars. If only 1 side door was available for loading the “L”, passengers in the lead coach would have to wait until after Howard St. to go to 415.

In response to one comment I heard, the 4 steps wells were retained on the 415 mainly for yard and shop men to be able to enter the car from the ground.

Some of the photos of the 415 are large and some are small. We'll have to make do with what is available. The photos are from a number of individuals. Many of these photos have never been in print. They have been held in private collections. The photos have been taken by or are in the collections of Eric Bronsky, Terrell Colson, Greg King, Tom Matola, Curt Seeliger Jr., and perhaps others. I will do my best to get the citations correct. Note well the comments at the bottom of this blog page regarding ownership of property!

Since I do not plan on making the interior of the kitchen and lavatory areas, you will see only those photos relative to what can be seen through the Dutch (stable) door to the kitchen. The 2 windows in the kitchen are glazed with frosted glass. Only the parts of the kitchen near the Dutch door can been seen therefore there is no need for a complete kitchen interior in the model. Here is a photo of the kitchen windows from inside the kitchen. The interior of the kitchen is currently very rough looking.
Curt Seeliger Jr. Photo, Greg King Collection.

After looking at the photos so much, I feel I've actually been in the car. There are few interior photos of the car in service. Most of the photos were taken after the car was taken out of service in 1963. The photos I do have, I believe, where the car is in service are these. Take note of the color of the walls and the furnishings. The color of the walls looks like a very light mint green. The floor plan in CERA Bulletin 108 is correct with regards to most of the interior of car with the exception of the kitchen.
Peter Busak Collection

The individual pictured in the photo is George Krambles.
Krambles-Peterson Archives

The following photo was probably taken during a fan trip on the NSL. Note how the attendant is dressed and the light green of the interior and the tan colors of the table tops. Also note the "mural" on the wall of the plates. In later years this "mural" was painted on the wall separating the kitchen from the dining area of all NSL diners and travern-lounge cars.
Eric Bronsky Collection

For another photo with the 415 in service on the NSL see page 87 of Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railway Volume 2: Point of No Return by Geoffrey H. Doughty.

The following 2 photos were taken at the Fox River Trolley Museum. The young man is Curt Seeliger Jr. with his mother. The color of the furniture is similar to the color of the seats in the coaches. These photos help to understand the design of the J-shaped couch.
Curt Seeliger Jr. Photo, J. Terrell Colson Collection

Curt Seeliger Jr. Photo, J. Terrell Colson Collection

This is the color of the vestibules - the normal NSL mint green.
Curt Seeliger Jr. Photo, Greg King Collection

To be continued in the next post


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