A not-for-profit technical & educational society, established in 1938

Upcoming Programs

  • In-person meetings have returned! Watch this space.


JANUARY  Annual Membership Meeting and

NORTH SHORE LINE presentation.
Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 at 7 p.m. (Central)

The annual membership meeting of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association will be held on Friday, January 27, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. CST at 899 S. Plymouth Court (9 th and State) in Chicago. We plan on making this a hybrid Zoom and in-person meeting,

Results of the Board of Directors election will be announced and the new board members will be introduced. Also, at this time, any concerns of the members may be brought to the attention of all for discussion and possible action.

In observance of the 60th anniversary of the abandonment of the North Shore Line, a PowerPoint program will be presented by MCERA John Nicholson. The program will be for around 90 minutes in what we hope will be a fitting tribute to what for many was our favorite interurban.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible so we can get 2023--the year of CERA’s 85th anniversary--off to a rousing start. CERA and its activities are made possible only through the participation and contribution of its many members. Contact our office if you have ideas for a live or Zoom program or suggestions for future publications.

Join the Zoom Meeting at www.tinyurl.com/CERAonZoom

About our Jan. 13 Zoom program:

  By John D. Horachek

Reprised and Presented on ZOOM by Eric Bronsky

 Friday, January 13, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. CST 

The CERA Zoom program on Jan. 13 was a loving reprisal of a CERA program originally presented nearly 30 years prior, on January 28, 1983. MCERA Eric Bronsky held more than 250 Zoom participants enthralled in what was clearly one of the best programs CERA has aired to date on Zoom. 

At the time of the original 1983 program,  observing that the North Shore Line had been gone for 20 years, John D. Horachek offered the following description for the meeting notice: "Our association with the North Shore Line was pleasant and close, and frequently the occasion for many enjoyable meetings and outings.  This month, our meeting reflects the many traditions that made the North Shore Line an industry leader.  Among the features to be presented will be the association with other transit properties and hitherto obscure aspects of history and operation."

CERA will have a recorded video of the presentation up at this website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please remember to join our Jan. 27 program, either at our Plymouth Court meeting room or virtually, by Zoom.


Our in-person
December meeting, originally scheduled for Dec. 23rd, but postponed to Dec. 30, 2022 was a great success. 

William Shapotkin took us on a trip across 130 years of South Side 'L' lines.

Attendance of more than 30 in-person, and nearly 40 online for our first hybrid program. The slide show recording will be edited and posted in the future.

CERA is also at work editing other recent Zoom programs and re-editing previously posted videos which will be posted again on the site in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Our in-person meetings are currently held at the Club Room of the 899 S. Plymouth Court condominium building. We begin promptly at 7 p.m. and meetings are open to CERA members. Bringing guests, however, is encouraged and membership forms will be available on site.

For more railfan programming listings, visit:


Please consider donating to CERA. Our members and non-members alike help us keep providing monthly programming, annual books, periodic trips and events and more. Simply click on the donate button.

CERA mourns the passing of one of its members

Longtime CERA Member Gerald "Jerry" Martin McManamon, formerly from Chicago, passed away on January 3, 2023.  He was 76 years old.  Jerry was a long-time CTA employee, avid train lover and die-hard Notre Dame and Chicago sports fan, according to his obituary.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 22 from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
at Cooney Funeral Home located at 625 Busse Hwy. in Park Ridge.

Funeral Monday, January 23, 11:00 a.m., service at Cooney Funeral Home.  Interment All Saints Cemetery.

For information please call 847-685-1002 or visit www.cooneyfuneralhome.com


Order CERA Bulletin B-151 today!

The highly anticipated new book from CERA, Trolleys to the Boardwalk is now available. It is being shipped as a benefit of membership to all who were members in 2018.

We also have books in hand at our Chicago offices and are ready to send them. Please click on Buy a Book to order.

B-151 is a history of Atlantic City Trolleys from 1854 to 1955, written by James J.N. Henwood, who ecounts the story of trolley operation in Atlantic City, from humble horse cars to the modern Brilliners.

Originally conceived of as a seaside shipping port, Atlantic City’s developers realized its potential for summer visitors seeking an escape from crowded cities to the inviting beaches of the Jersey Shore. Resorts and other businesses burgeoned, helped by the crowds brought to the city over three railroads.

Local transportation began with a simple horsecart service as well as a steam dummy operation. It was traction Pioneer Frank J. Sprague who electrified the city railway in 1889. Under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad, lines were ultimately consolidated into the Atlantic City & Shore Railroad. Over the years AC&S operated the local Atlantic City trolley service and a short interurban—the Shore Fast Line-between Atlantic City and Ocean City. There was also another electric line in the area, the Atlantic City & Suburban, that led a troubled existence and suffered an early demise.

Come on board and ride back with us in time to relive Atlantic City’s colorful trolley era.


Copyright 2018 Central Electric Railfans' Association. All Right Reserved 

Central Electric Railfans' Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 503, Chicago, IL  60690

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