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

Upcoming Programs

  • Friday, June 28, 2024, 7:00 PM CT In Person Only

What's new at CERA?

CERA Zoom Programs June 2024

Friday, June 28, 2024

Birth and Growth of the

Illinois Railway Museum 

7:00 PM by Norman Ktentel Live, In Person Only

899 S. Plymouth Court

Chicago, IL

Norm's non-zoom in-person meeting on June 28, 2024 will describe growth of the Illinois Railway Museum from its origin based around acquiring a single Indiana Railroad “Highspeed” car (IR 65) and failed efforts to run the car on North Shore Line fan trips.

Indiana Railroad acquired 35 of these lightweight Highspeeds, with 21 straight Coach- Baggage cars coming from Pullman, and the remaining Coach - Parlor cars coming from AC&F’s Jeffersonville, Indiana plant.

The program will begin by tracing the interesting path chosen to get the Pullman built cars from their Chicago birthplace down to central Indiana.

Facing an eviction from our North Chicago home on the property of the Chicago Hardware Fountry was announced at the museum’s October 1963 annual meeting. Few options for preserving the collection were presented; everyone present at that meeting was tasked with finding buildings with tracks inside where the cars could be stored. I recall Warren Cobb saying he would be talking with the Burlington about possibly using their then vacant Aurora shop buildings, Leo Bullard and I looked into using an out of service Rock Island shop building in Blue Island. Those were dark times.

5.6 miles of former Elgin & Belvedere Electric Company right of way had been acquired in 1958 by paying the unpaid back taxes. Of the other potential site options this quickly became our most practical choice.

Photos from the late Ed Mizerocki document condition's we faced when arriving at Union. Sadly, in the end we couldn’t move everything from North Chicago to Union; Hyman-Micheals, who was scrapping the North Shore at the time of our move, offered us ex. Oregon Electric locomotive 458, but, because of our status we were unable to accept the donation.


If not, visit the "Join" section of the CERA website where you can renew online or print off a renewal form to send back in the mail.

Thank you for your continued support.


Questions? Send us an email at ceraoffice@gmail.com



The latest CERA book, Bulletin 152, is no longer available. Due to its popularity only a few are left and those are being reserved for CERA Members who had not renewed their 2019 Memberships but are now doing so!

If a reorder for more books is placed news of that will be displayed here.

A companion piece to B-145, Transit in the Triangle Volume 2 continues "A Century Look at Pittsburgh Public Transit" covering the Port Authority Years from 1964 to 2014. 

It has being shipped as a benefit of membership to all who were members in 2019.

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


It's that time of year again. Please send your 2024 dues renewal in today. And if you're not a member, what are you waiting for?

Since 1938, Central Electric Railfans’ Association has presented programs, published books, and hosted fan trips.

In 2023 CERA continued its successful online programs on Zoom, offering both “open-to-all” Zoom programs and programs marketed exclusively to members and prospective members. We also returned to our in-person programming at a new location and hosted a fan trip to the Fox River Trolley Museum and Illinois Railway Museum as part of our 85th Anniversary Weekend.

We very proudly edited, published and produced the critically received Transit in the Triangle, Volume 2 which was mailed to all of our 2019 Members. Our goal now is to get out two books in the next 16 months to 2020 and 2021 members!! 

We plan on making 2024 even better. Look forward to new things on Zoom and in our in-person programming, news on upcoming CERA-penned books and other featured products in our store and special deals on older titles in our inventory.

Please consider contributing to these efforts by renewing your membership, or becoming a new member. You can pay for your membership by check or credit card and online via our web site: www.cera-chicago.org/join. We accept PayPal.

CERA 2024 members will receive a hardbound book on an electric railway subject as a membership benefit. You can count on our publications to continue a long tradition of excellence in historical and contemporary electric railway research, while also being both informative and entertaining.

Questions? Send us an email at ceraoffice@gmail.com

Remember, CERA's second Friday of the month Zoom programs are open to all.

But we'd still love to have you as a member. If you aren't a member, please consider joining and visit https://cera-chicago.org/join

Or let us know by email if you have questions at:


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.



An amazing Fan Ride In trip was completed on Saturday, June 15, 2024 from Chicago to Milwuakee to explore their excitng, expanded HOP transit system.  

Over a dozen CERA members joined with a few former 20th Century Railroad Club members for a terrific day of riding the trolley, visiting the Art Festival, and some of us even having an early dinner at Maders Restaurant.

Particiapation was slightly limited as quite a few members and guests who had put off buying tickets unti they got to Union Station discovered the AMTRAK trains to Milwuakee that morning were SOLD OUT.  

Stay tuned for more trip information along the South Shore Line this Fall and perhaps up to Minneapolis early next summer.

We are even in the beginning phaes of looking at a Fan trip to Cleveland, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona !!

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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