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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

AEFRE 49 - #1 Introduction

The Aurora Elgin Fox River Electric Railway #49

This model is being built in honor of John Cloos. For those who don't know John, he was the owner of the Interurbans of the Fox Valley blog listed under “My Blog List” to the right. The last posting of the Interurbans of the Fox Valley was months ago when John died. When you have a chance look through John's blog.

I first met John a few years ago at a model train show where he had a display relating to both the Chicago Aurora and Elgin and the Aurora Elgin Fox River Electric trolley lines. His models were interesting and he often displayed them in dioramas. The dioramas were much like the photos seen in books relating to the CA&E or the AEFRE.

John modeled in HO, O, and 1/2" scales. Most of his scratch built models were made from styrene. Besides model making, John was active in other activities related to model railroading. He would often display his dioramas at non-model events. John would receive positive comments from those who attended the events. Individuals would approach John telling him of the photos or other items they had related to the trolley lines of the Fox River Valley. Because of this John was able to collect a large number of memorabilia related to the AEFRE.

About 3 years ago John, in e-mails, asked if the color of a trolley car could be determined from a black-and-white photo. I told him this would be almost impossible to do. Over the years different film and processes had been used to develop black-and-white film and print pictures. The processes used sometimes caused light painted items to be printed dark and vice versa.

John sent me a picture of the trolley car he was interested in. The photo turned out to be the Aurora Elgin Fox River Electric # 49 cab-on-flat locomotive. This is the model to be built in these posts when the loco was painted red.
In red paint John Cloos Collection

I had known #49 to have been painted at one time orange and then a red. The orange color had been used at least until September 2, 1940 when the Central Electric Rail Fans Association had had an inspection trip of the line.
In orange paint John Cloos Collection

#49 was painted red sometime after this date according to information printed in books. My best guess is the red was a dark red also called barn red(?). Caboose red would be too light of a shade of red to use. There are many shades of boxcar red. Perhaps a good shade of red could be obtained from mixing boxcar red and caboose red.

There was an article printed in the June 1996 issue of Railroad Model Craftsmen. In the article written by James Tangney are HO scale drawings of #49. The article will not appear in this blog. You can still obtain this issue of RMC on your own.

In the RMC article, the model is shown with 1 trolley pole. If you compare the photos of #49, you should notice there are 2 trolley poles. In any photo I’ve seen of #49, it always had 2 trolley poles. The author of the HO scale model article probably used only one trolley pole due to the lack of space on the roof of his model. As it is, the prototype locomotive had 2 different trolley pole bases – 4 spring horizontal and Ohio Brass Form I (also known as springs backward) trolley bases due to the lack of space.
Joseph Hazinski has offered his redrawn plans of #49 for use in this blog. His drawings are of #49 in its later (1932-1946) years. With Joe’s permission, his drawings have been used with "corrections" by me to reflect the locomotive as shown in the photo with red paint. Changes will be shown in red ink. The major changes will be the removal of the snow removal equipment and the use of 2 trolley poles.

I am very thankful of Joe's permission to use his drawings. It saved me many hours of making drawings. Plus, my drawings would not have been as good as his!

Here are the 2 sides -

Here is a top down view.

This is a end and bottom up look at the locomotive. Notice the snowplow equipment has been scratched out.

The AEFRE #49 was built at an unknown date by the AE&C. The Aurora Elgin and Chicago R.R. was in existence from 1901 to 1922 when it became the Chicago Aurora and Elgin R.R. #49 was probably built in the Wheaton shops. It had Peckham 30 trucks with 4 GE 67 motors and 2 GE K35C controllers. The locomotive was 30’ 0” long and 8’ 0” wide.

The Peckham 30 trucks had originally been installed on the 1st passenger cars the AE&C had. These trucks did not work out well for high speed passenger service and were soon replaced. The building of 49 turned out to be a good use for the Peckham trucks.

In looking at the photos of #49, the construction methods used were very simple. The locomotive is a flat car with a wooden structure built on it. The wooden structure was built using early construction methods. For example, the windows are of a drop sash construction.

It seem like all of the photos of #49 are taken from one side, the west side of the locomotive. The probable reason for this is the location of the railway itself in close proximity to the Fox River. Trying to get photos of the east side of #49 would mean standing very close to the river bank if not in the River itself.

Information and maps about the AEFRE can be found in C.E.R.A. Bulletin 105 The Great Third Rail. After abandonment of passenger service on the AEFRE, the freight service continued for many years.

As a freight only railway, the AEFRE was a side of the road operation about 3.3 miles long moving 2 to 3 freight cars at one time. At the north end were the Elgin State Hospital and Kerber Packing Co. At the south end was the interchange with the Illinois Central.

Elgin State Hospital received coal hoppers with coal for heat and the removal of ash. Kerber Packing Co. required packing material and box cars for packaged products to be taken to market.

The AEFRE still exists today as the Fox Valley Trolley Museum  Unfortunately the 49 no longer exists. But you can ride some of the same trolleys which are riding on their home rails in the Fox Valley.

The model made in this blog will be #49 as it was in its final years - painted red without snow removal equipment. This makes an easy model to make requiring average skills.

One item I tell individuals who ask about scratch building and/or upgrading a model is to get a very good photo of the car you desire to build. This you have in the photo above. Make an 8 x 10 print. Then starting in one corner of the prototype car start going over the photo and write down the parts and unusual things you see. This will become your parts list and a sort of "punch list" of things to include in the model.

The hardest skill required, depending upon what the modeler wishes to do for power and trail trucks, includes soldering brass. The cab and outer parts of the frame will be made from styrene. Styrene flexes. Therefore, an inner frame needs to be made from brass soldered together. There will be some other parts made from brass soldered together - the roof boards and the headlight holders. Many small parts will be commerically available brass castings.

#49 would have been used during daylight hours. There will also be no lighting in the cab or headlights. MV lenses will be used in the headlight castings. This simplifies the wiring of the model.

In scratch building models, you'll discover, I'm not one for the exact model with every nut and bolt as you'll find in magazines about building a scale model of XX. I make as many errors as the next guy. When starting a new model, for me, sometimes it's same learning curve as the prior model. 

A question comes up when 1st starting the model. It will be answered in the next post.


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