CERA’s Chicago PCC Weekend went off without a hitch, and we thank all our Members who took part. This is the first of three posts recapping those events.
On Sunday, September 28, we visited the Illinois Railway Museum, where we chartered three different cars- the CTA “Green Hornet” PCC 4391, Chicago & West Towns 141, and Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 36 (which ran by itself for the first time at IRM, instead of in a train).
The people at IRM could not have been nicer. In particular, we have to thank our operators Joel Ahrendt (4391), Frank Sirinek (141), and Randy Hicks (36), who made sure everything ran smoothly. Thanks also go out to both Nick Kallas and Joe Stupar, who made all of this possible. We also need to give a shout out to MCERA Vince Allen, who piloted our chartered bus between IRM and the Crystal Lake Metra station.
We have something of a mutual admiration society going on with the Hicks Car Works blog, and if you would like to read a bit about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at IRM, that’s a good place to start. Our trip on the 36 gets mentioned in this post.
Our photos will give you a taste of what our trip was like. The weather couldn’t have been much better, with comfortable temps and lots of sun. We ran the 4391 and 141 for a few trips on the trolley loop, and then boarded the 36 at the 50th Avenue “L” station (which I remember using when it was still in Cicero) for a trip out on the main line, including a “run by” at Seeman Road.
CA&E 36 is 112 years old, so the fact it can still run under its own power is pretty remarkable. It has only been a few years since it came to IRM from the Trolleyville collection, and now has a bright future ahead of it. Interestingly, both the 4391 and 141 owe their survival to the Electric Railway Historical Society.
At Friday night’s CERA meting, we saw rare movie footage of C&WT cars 140 and 141 being used as storage sheds in Lisle during the early 1950s. To actually be able to ride the 141 today, lovingly restored using parts scrounged from all over the world, is nothing short of miraculous.
We have included some pictures of the regular service equipment at the museum that day, which included the CSL streetcar 3142 on the trolley loop, and Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 714 and 749 on the main line.
Boston (ex-Dallas) double-end PCC 3334 made a cameo appearance at 50th Avenue. This car is not part of the IRM collection, but has been stored there for the McKinney Avenue crowd down in Dallas. I understand the car will be moved to Dallas soon where it will be lovingly restored. That’s fortunate, because the car is in sad shape currently, with just about every window broken, and the car covered in rust.
Once again, we tip our hats to the dedicated volunteers at IRM, who could not have been any more gracious and helpful. If you have not visited the museum lately, it’s worth the trip.
PS- Watch this space for additional posts about our Chicago PCC Weekend events. All the photos here were taken by David Sadowski.