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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is It Better to Leave Things as They Are? (Part 1)

For our honeymoon, my bride and I went to a vacation resort on one of the many small lakes west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of the days were sunny, warm, and beautiful. On a day which was was cold and rainy, I talked by bride into going to Milwaukee supposedly to go shopping and sightseeing.

In the back of my mind was a plan to visit the Walthers shop at 1245 N. Water St. If you're my age you may recognize the address and be able to tell how long ago this was. The store was small with some of the many models built from the kits Walthers offered for sale displayed.

One of the display cases had a car from a kit almost completely assembled. Only the painted, finished sides were left off.  In case you are not aware, the way Walthers passenger car kits (including their interurban kits) were to be assembled - the floor, ends, and roof were to be attached and painted. The interior was to be added next. The sides were painted and lettered. After the window material was added, the sides were to be attached to the model with glue and if needed nailed onto the floor and roof.

I wanted a souvenir of our visit to the Walthers store. At the time the Walthers interurban kits didn't interest me. One kit which did interest me was a short, Lionel size, executive or business car. It was about the size of a steel South Shore car before lengthening. The kit would make a great business car to be run on a trolley line although it was wider than most interurban cars.. 

A couple of years after purchase, the kit was assembled with a Walthers interior kit used. The almost standard Wagner Baldwin 8440 power and trail trucks were installed. The only alterations were a motorman's door at the front right of the car, the cutting of 2 windows into the front end, and installing a door in the center of the front end. Trolley poles were installed on the roof. The balance of the car had appropriate traction items added.

The model was paint traction orange with a black roof and underbody. Now the question came! What to name the car? The executive decision was to name the car after my wife, "Lois Ann".

Fast forward to today -  the "Lois Ann" was starting to look a little old. The paint was very dull and the interior looked its age. I wanted to paint the letter board maroon so the car would be orange and maroon. The name of my railway, the "Chicago & Utopia Railway" was to be on the letter board. 
The process of taking the car apart has started. The trolley poles have been removed and the roof is loose from the body.

The model was taken apart. Alterations were made and the interior was upgraded. The letterboard was maroon with a new railway name in gold letters. There was a rebuilt interior. Then "things" didn't go as planned! When a coat of Glosscoat was applied to the car body, one side of the car was blotchy!

The only way to correct the problem was to completely repaint the car. BUT, with a simple repaint over everything would  give an uneven finish with the outline of the old decals showing. This called for a striping of the old paint off and restarting the painting process.

The repainting is in the next post.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CERA at 75 - The FRTM Inspection Trip

On Sunday, September 22 CERA scheduled an Inspection Trip to the Fox River Trolley Museum (FVTM) ( in South Elgin, IL.The weather was fantastic!
All of my tickets ended up being folded.

Before any trips stated about a dozen Museum volunteers; motormen, conductors, and ground crew; gathered around the dispatcher to hear instructions. All the CERA members present were given a schedule of trips for the day.

All rides at the Museum are from Castlemuir, South Elgin, to Coleman and then on to Blackhawk Station in the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve. For CERA the schedule was set-up so cars would meet at Coleman where a passing siding existed. At Coleman CERA members could exit cars for photos. We had a choice of getting back on the car we had just exited or take another car.

The cars in operation were:
  • 304, AE&FRE 1923 St. Louis lightweight interurban
  • 43 & 45 CTA 1959 St, Louis rapid transit car
  • 715 CNS&M 1926 Cincinnati Car Co. steel interurban
  • 20 CA&E 1902 Niles Car Co wood interurban
Other equipment in the Museum were available for viewing and if possible enter for inspection. My photo taking was centered on 4 reasons for going to the Museum. 
  • To meet Joseph Hazinski and show him my model of AE&FRE 49.
  • To photo and ride AE&FRE 304.
  • To photo and ride CA&E 20.
  • To see and photo the CSL 6 the street railway Post Office car.
Joe Hazinski is the fellow from the Museum who shared plans and info regarding AE&FRE 49. The model was the subject of prior posts in this blog. I had brought my model of 49 along to show to Joe. He liked the model!

Here is Joe Hazinski with 304. Joe operates 304 and has been working on the car along with other volunteers. 304 is painted in Shaker Heights Rapid Transit colors. Eventually the Museum will repaint it in AE&FRE colors.

The smoker section of 304 showing the interior bulkhead separating the 2 sections of the car.

The operator's controls for 304. The blue "thing" is a set of plastic steps to be used at Colman where the grade was below the normal platform level for loading 304.

CA&E 20 waiting for brake test before going to its run.

An interior photo of 20 taken from the smoking section. Note the bulkhead. All the bulkheads had sliding pocket doors. The original CA&E woods came without a lavatory. The length of this series of cars was about the same as a Metropolitan "L" car.

A scheduled meet between AE&FRE 304 and CA&E 20 at Colman.

The CSL 6 street railway Post Office car. This car was built in 1891 by the American Car Company. It looks like it needs a new coat of paint!

The graphics on this car are fantastic!

Other cars are the Museum include CA&E 458, the exterior of which is being painted a little at a time.

CTA 45, which is reotinely run with CTA 43, at Coleman.

AE&FRE 5 which was the topic of a prior post in the blog.

Since the FRTM is less known than IRM, some comments are warranted. You need to visit the museums web site to read about the museums history and other information. The museum is small and short in track length. The original ROW was the Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Railway.

The museum has less income sources both in riders and donations. The museum can use your help with manpower and money!

Also interesting to note the museum does not cross any streets, probably due to insurance costs, and has no track connection to a railroad. The only track connection was removed by the railroad to which it was connected.