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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The AE&C Florence

Having growing up in Chicago during WW II and afterward I was aware of the many examples of trolleys in and around the City. In the City were the CSL, CRT, CNS&M, CA&E, and CSS&SB. Outside the City were the C&WT and the 3 interurban lines mentioned in the prior sentence.

Only the streetcar lines operated single car trains, while the CRT ("L") and the 3 interurbans ran multiple car trains. Yes, they also ran single car trains but these, at least to me, were the exception.

The "L" and interurbans had a bigger impression on me than the streetcars. All this boils down to my liking multiple car trains. Furthermore, in the past few years my interest has grown to include interurban parlor-buffet and dinning car services.

As a companion car to operate with the AE&C 314, the parlor-buffet car Florence was chosen. Information on the AE&C/CA&C parlor-buffet service plus the cars used is available in the C.E.R.A. Bulletin #105 and other books and booklets written about the CA&E. Therefore, more information will not be written here other than the Florence and making a model of it.

Florance was chosen over Carolyn because Florance was a half-motor car where as Carolyn was a trailer. Since I would have a 2-car train, a full-motor car plus a half-motor car would make more sense than a full-motor and a trailer for a limited train.

Due to the AE&C office fire, few photos of the Florence exists. The plus and minus of this is, making a correct model is difficult. But then, who knows exactly what a correct model of the Florance should look like.

What did the Florence look like?  The Florence was the 10th car of an order for passenger cars from the Niles Car Co. in 1906. The passenger cars were numbered in the 300-308 series.This should mean the exterior dimensions of the Florence were the same as the other cars of the Niles series. However, the C.E.R.A. Bulletin has slightly different dimensions listed.

The ends of the Florence matched the other cars of the Niles series. The layout of the windows on the sides of Florence did not match the other cars in the Niles series.

The window pattern on one side of the Florence can be determined from the photos in the C.E.R.A. Bulletin 105, "The Great Third Rail" (hard bound copy) bottom of pages 70 and 71.

On one side of the Florence is 3 double arch windows followed by an oval window followed by 4 more double arch windows. 

For the other side of the car, photos which appeared in the "Spring Issue 1964" of "Electric Traction Quarterly" will help. The story is about "The Great Third Rail Wreck of 1922" in which the Florence was the leading car of a 3-car train. The train hit a Model T Ford. Four of the 10 photos are the only other photos of the Florence I have seen.

The other side had 2 double windows with a stain glass arch above followed by 2 oval windows followed by 4 more double arch windows. However, the set-up of the interior of the Florence is still unknown.

Before starting on the rebuilding of the scratch-built brass coach, I decided to have Jim Osborn, the owner of Midcco Models, Midwestern Train Hobby (Jim's business card appears at the bottom of the page.) design, engineer, and build a model of the Florence for me.

After consulting with Jim we decided the interior of the Florence may have looked like this. We took an educated guess on how the interior was set-up and utilized.

When consulting Jim Osborn to built a model for you, he will send to you a proposal which contains a "bill of details" plus if applicable a drawing of the model he will build. Read over the "bill of details" carefully to be sure you understand what you are getting. It is not that Jim is going to pull something over on you. He is the most "straight arrow" and trusted individual I know! It is more for you understand what the finished model will look like. 

The same is true for the drawing. Check over the measurements. If necessary talk with Jim regarding any terminology and/or questions you may have before the model is built.

Since I have extremely specific requirement as to what I want, I always telephone him to ask about what he plans to give me. This reduces any surprises!

With a quantum leap of faith, the model was built and finished in the next post.


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