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

Monday, April 1, 2013

Work on CA&E 312 Continued

My reasons for re-building this beautifully constructed model are many. Unfortunately I either failed to take many photos of the reconstruction or the photos which were taken have been lost.

This post contains many tidbits about the operation of the CA&E, particularly the early years. They are the basis for my decisions regarding how my brass model was handled. For further information read many of the books, booklets, and pamphlets about the CA&E. 

My rebuilding of the model took the following into account. The early history of what eventually became the CA&E is incomplete. Many facts are known but due to a fire in the 1910's in the home office, photos and other written history were lost.

The model 312 was in a series of 6 cars (311-315) built by the G. C. Kuhlman Car Co. in 1909. The 311 and 312 were half motors. That is, they had 2 motors instead of the normal 4. Half motors were run in trains with full motors to reduce electrical costs while maintaining normal operating speeds. The half motors were used in trains with 1 or more full motor cars.

The original name of the CA&E was the Aurora Elgin and Chicago RR (AE&C). The railroad was originally built with the idea of competing with the CB&Q for traffic between Aurora and Chicago. The track from Chicago to Wheaton to Aurora was the main line. Any track to another location was a branch. Therefore, although Elgin later became as important as Aurora, the track to Elgin was a branch, called the "Elgin Branch"!

Parlor-buffet service was initiated in 1904. The parlor-buffet car Carolyn, although built after the original series of cars, was built much to the standards of the original cars. The Florence was built in 1906 and was slightly longer then the cars built before it. The Carolyn was a trailer while the Florence was a half-motor. Due to the aforementioned fire few photos of either cars exists. Most of the photos of the Florence were taken after an accident involving the car in 1919.

One thing to note - the caption for the photo on the bottom of page II-40 in the C.E.R.A. Bulletin 105, "The Great Third Rail" is misleading. The Florence is NOT the leading car of the 2-car train. The Florence is the second car of the train. Count the number and type of  windows in the sides of both cars. The number and style of the second car match the number and style of the Florence.

The caption for the photos of the Florence on the bottom of page II-41 of the same booklet is correct. Note the number and style of windows showing. Compare your count of windows to the photo on the prior page.

If you look at the AE&C's passenger equipment, with each order of cars the AE&C was learning and ordering "better" equipment. The original equipment was the same length as a MET "L" car and without a lavatory.. The word "better" was used since the AE&C order cars while being longer the additional length was used to have a lavatory and/or more seats. The AE&C was learning how to deal with curves on the "L" and the effects of the curves on the length of their equipment.

At the same time the AE&C was experimenting with methods of showing the public what the destination and class a particular train was. Most interurbans used destination signs to accomplish this. The AE&C used other methods with their wooden cars. One set of cars came from the builder with a small rectangular box below the motorman's window. 

The 1909 Kuhlman cars of which my brass model is, came with a small white lamp below the motorman's window. Installed above and below the lamp were metal panels hinged so to act as flip panels. One the panels were printed the destination and the class of the train. The purpose of the small white lamp was to illuminate the metal panels. How well this worked is questionable. 
This is a photo of the finished model. Lighting at the time the photo was taken caused unusual color distortions. The reason for the reasons for the destination and class of train will be covered later. Notice the door knob plus the small step on the door frame to reach the 600 v buss.

So my brass model came with the white lamp and the non-working flip panels. The panels were soldered to the end of the car. I could not remove them and therefore had to deal with them in any choice of re-working the model.

Another items I had to deal with was a headlight soldered to the lower portion of the end door. I had no intention of removing the headlight and rebuilding the door panel. This is what the door panel looked like on the back of the model. 
This is a photo of the finished model. Lighting at the time the photo was taken caused unusual color distortions.

The headlight meant the train was to be run after sunset and before sunrise. The AE&C did not run train with headlights while the sun was up unless the weather warranted it, for example, during days of heavy clouds and thundershowers.

One more consideration was my model was made with the upper arched sash as the car was delivered.

Considering all the above my model had to painted in the colors of the AE&C, dark green with mahogany doors and window sashes. The headlight and destination/class lamp had to be working. The car could not be numbered 312 unless it was in a train with cars having 4 motors. Therefore, my model was renumbered 314.

After looking at the photo on the bottom of page II-40 in the C.E.R.A. Bulletin 105, "The Great Third Rail" I decided to make my brass model one of the 2 cars in the photo. All I would need is a model of the Florence. The train would be a full motor car plus a half motor.

More to come. Cheers,



  1. > the photo on the bottom of page II-40
    > in the C.E.R.A. Bulletin 105

    My hardbound copy of "The Great Third Rail" ends at page II-30.

    I notice it says Third Printing, March 1970 on the Title page - were there additional pages in other editions?



  2. Let's see if the problem can be rectified. My original Bulletin 105, the soft cover one, which has lost both its front and rear covers; has the photos on the pages as noted in the post.

    My hard bound Bulletin 105 is a "Third Printing March, 1970, has the photos in question on pages 70 and 71. All the pages are consecutively numbered starting with the title page.

    If you can find these sub-chapter headings "PROPOSALS FOR REVIVAL" and "NOW FINALLY, THE OFFICIAL CONSENT". These appear on page 69. The next 2 pages are 70 and 71. The 2 photos on the bottom of these pages are the ones to which I refer. The photo on the bottom of page 70 is the one which is misleading.

    Thanks for bringing this problem up. You have helped other readers who may have had the same question.


    1. Thanks Ed, I did find them, as you indicated, on pages 70 and 71!