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

Monday, September 23, 2013

CERA at 75 - A Dinner and Program, with a Booklet

On Saturday September 21, Central Electric Railfans’ Association celebrated its 75th Anniversary at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare. The event began with a cocktail hour where many friendships were renewed.
Dinner followed at 7:00. Everyone at my table was happy with the meal and the service. After the dinner the program began with Ray DeGroote as the Master of Ceremonies. He presented Myles Jarrow, Member #23, with a Founder’s Award plaque for his many years of service to CERA. Then a surprised Ray DeGroote received an award for his own years of service to CERA.

Next on the agenda was a short PowerPoint presentation by David Sadowski.  The Ghosts of Fantrips Past featured photos of CERA fantrips through the years, spotlighting the North Shore Line.

Problems with turning out the room lights and resolving computer glitches were an ironic throwback to years ago when ‘Big Bertha,’ CERA’s ancient slide projector, used to jam. But after a short delay the feature program began. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad's closure, Walter Keevil compiled and edited the 8mm and 16 mm movies of several CERA members into a DVD.  Many of these superb films were being shown to an audience for the first time.

While watching the slides and movies, I relived many of my own memories of the North Shore. The audience saluted each of the evening’s events with hearty applause.

At the conclusion of the program, every attendee received a copy of Trolley Sparks Special #1: A 75-year Retrospective.  This soft-cover book was edited by CERA Member John Marton.
The contents of the booklet include:

·         a brief history of CERA; 
·         a list and, where possible, a photo of all the Directors of CERA; 
·         a dialog about members, meetings, and special events; 
·         a list of fantrips; 
·         a list of publications; and 
·         comments concerning the future of CERA.

Sprinkled throughout the book are photos and reproductions of fantrip and special event flyers, reproductions of Bulletin covers, fantrip ticket stubs, car drawings, maps, and receipts. The first 75 members of CERA are listed. Unfortunately most of them are no longer with us.

Although photo reproduction is not of the best quality, this book features a wealth of history about CERA. You can check to see whether your own bookshelf has a complete set of CERA Bulletins. And, did you know that CERA sponsored over 200 fantrips? After looking at the photos of CERA Directors, I found myself saying, "I didn't know he was a Director!"

Next will be the Fox River Trolley Museum Inspection Trip.


Thanks goes to Eric Bronsky who edited this post.

CERA at 75 - The IRM Inspection Trip

The 75th Anniversary of the Central Electric Railfans' Association (CERA) was celebrated over September 20, 21, and 22; 2013. Everyone who reads this blog has benefited from CERA. They published many books and booklets on traction topics plus has operated many fan trips during the 75 years CERA has been in operation.

This is not a review of the books, fan trips, or the individuals involved in the 75 years. To celebrate its 75 years 4 separate events were held. I attended 3 of the 4 events.

On Friday September 20 an Inspection Trip of the Kenoska Streetcar Society was organized. I was unable to attend as I was out of town on this day in the opposite direct of Kenoska from Chicago.

On Saturday, September 21, an Inspection Trip of the Illinois Railway Museum (IRM) was organized. (Also see the blog written by Randy Hicks ) The day was beautiful!

For the CERA members IRM had train sets of CA&E, CRT, CNS&M, and CSS&SB cars in the IRM collection to ride. The cars of each Insull company were in trains. Also for the CERA members IRR 65 and one of the CSL cars were running. It was IRR 65 which was the start of IRM.

CWT 144 was originally out for viewing but was placed back in the barn. It was not available for rides since the trolley loop was blocked by the Nebraska Zepher most of the day.

Here are some of the many photos taken by me. (After reviewing all of my photos taken I realized the photos were taken from the eyes of a model builder. Not all of the available equipment was photographed. Plus the photos taken were mainly of details of the cars.)

The IRM volunteer with CRT 1024 above is Tim Peters. He is rebuilding the car back to its condition circa 1910. He gave me a personal guided tour of the car showing and explaining what had been done along with what still needs to be done to finish the car. It's work like this done by volunteers which make IRM the great Museum it is!

Finally, when the word "volunteer" and "railfan" are defined; this photo explains it all!

This is Dan Buck who along with his brother Chris are volunteers at IRM and members of CERA. Dan and Chris operate the steel and wood CA&E cars at the Museum. They regularly attend the monthly CERA meetings and events.

Next is the dinner!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cleaning-Up the Work Bench and Planning Ahead

September 2013 is a time of change for this blog. It's not that nothing is going on, but rather a time to clean-up in more ways than one after the last project.

This month is also clean-up the house to get rid of old cans of paint, old electronic equipment, and other items. We have as much as 35+ years of old paint cans stored in the basement along with 20 or so years of electronics. Our Village has special days for the citizens to turn in these items for disposal.

On a better note, there's the celebration of C.E.R.A.'s 75 years as an organization dedicated to traction. Over the years C.E.R.A. has sponsored many fan trips, monthly meetings with guest speakers,  and published many excellent books on the subject of Traction.

C.E.R.A. has a series of events planned for the weekend of September 20- 22. Check their web site for more information.

 Along with the prior mentioned clean-up, there are 3 minor projects to update existing models started. They need to be finished before the next major project starts. I can attest the next project is a major one.

As the 3 minor projects are finished, photos of the results will appear in this blog. To paraphrase a famous saying; so many things to do, so little time to do them!

One of the minor projects involved a Pittman LVT "freight motor" (also called a box motor, express car or motor, or merchandise dispatch car). Over the years, the Pittman LVT "freight motor" may have been one of most ubiquitious kits available in O scale. Even today the kit appears on EBay every now and then.

My Pittman was built as per instructions decades years ago. The only exception was the roof. The kit comes with the very flat, round LVT roof. A Walthers wooden roof was substituted which has a wide clerestory section. The finished model was painted orange.

Several years ago when a photo of the AE&FRE #1 express motor was found, the model was repainted orange and lettered for the AE&FRE. At that time the only decals available were gold. The car was orange with gold numbers and logo. The gold didn't show up very well against the orange.

Today, decals are easy to print on a home computer. Black logos were made and applied. The car's numbers were changed to black.

When my Pittman express motor was originally made into AE&FRE #1, the model was altered to look more like the prototype. Although the photo of AE&FRE #1 was not the best, I could see the windows in the side of the car, the belt rail, and the pilots on the trucks of the car. Almost everything else was an educated guess.

Grandt Line windows were used to alter my model. Grandt Line makes a number of different windows in styrene. If you use a Grandt Line window, the hole for the window can be rough cut to size. The plastic window will fit into the opening and hide the unevenness of the window opening. 

A belt rail made from 2 pieces of styrene was added to both sides. One piece was ACC'ed on its side while a second piece of styrene was laid flat and adjacent to the 1st one. Again ACC was used for glue. 

My AE&FRE #1  may not be exactly like the prototype, but it bears a close resemblance to it.

A giant word of warning about reworking an old model. What may seem like an extremely straight forward project, may be loaded with pitfalls. Watch out for everything from colors of paint, to the finish on the model, to the original glue used, etc. The original wiring of the model may be a snake looking for a place to bite!

First talk over you plans with a more experienced modeler for advice. Sometimes there are no problems, but the next time everything falls apart!

I have other old models which need up-dating. As originally built, interiors and lighting were not installed. Some also need minor parts replaced which have broken. These old models are another story.