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Fox River Trolley Museum 5/19/2018



by Chris Guenzler



I drove Interstate 80 to Interstate 55 to US 30 then IL 31 to the Fox River Trolley Museum where I parked. I met the crews working at the engine passed out my business cards and was told just be careful as you walk around to take your pictures.

Fox River Trolley Museum

The Fox River Trolley Museum is a railroad museum in South Elgin, Illinois. Incorporated in 1961 as R.E.L.I.C. (Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Co.), it opened in 1966 and became the Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984.

Location

The museum grounds are located at 361 South LaFox Street (Illinois Route 31), approximately two blocks south of the intersection of LaFox and State Streets.

Collection The museum maintains a collection of 30 antique electric trolleys, railroad cars, and locomotives which range in construction dates from 1887 to 1959. The majority of the museum collection is focused on railways and electric transit lines of the Chicago area. One of the most exceptional cars in this collection is the wooden interurban (inter-city) Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad car 20, purchased directly from CA&E after that railroad discontinued passenger service. Car 20 was constructed in 1902 and is the oldest electric interurban car operating in the United States. The most recent collection acquisitions include the interurban electric railway car, Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Co. 304, that was built for the Fox River Line in 1923, and ran in daily service between Elgin and Aurora until March 1935. Between 1935 and 1954, it operated in Cleveland over the line best known as the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit. The car was then sold, with three other ex-Fox River Line cars, to real estate entrepreneur Gerald E. Brookins, whose family operated Trolleyville USA, in Olmsted Township, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland, until 2002. AE&FRE #304 made its first run over its original railroad on August 21, 2010, over 75 years after it last ran on the line.

Heritage railroad

Since 2002 the museum has operated a heritage railroad over a 4-mile line along the banks of the scenic Fox River to the Jon J. Duerr (formerly Blackhawk) Forest Preserve. Visitors can board at the Castlemuir depot, on the museum grounds at the north end of the line in South Elgin, or at Blackhawk station, at the south end of the line, adjacent to the picnic grove of the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve. Blackhawk station is handicapped-accessible. The museum's right-of-way was originally part of the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric interurban railroad. The track leaves Castlemuir southbound and passes through Coleman, a former interchange with the Illinois Central Railroad. This is part of the last operating section of the interurban, closing in 1972. The track then continues south over a section closed in 1935 and then onto a new alignment that curves into the Forest Preserve. The museum operates its trolley excursions from Mother's Day to the first Sunday in November every Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During July and August, the museum excursions operate on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Non-profit organization

The Fox River Trolley Museum is operated by the Fox River Trolley Association (FRTA). The FRTA is an educational, member-based 501(c) tax exempt Illinois not-for-profit corporation. The museum gratefully accepts donations to support its operations, exhibits, programs, research, preservation and public interpretation.

My visit



Chicago Transit Authority L-202 steel electric locomotive built by the Chicago City Railways in 1908 and rebuilt by the CTA in 1958, it was used in switching service at CTA shops and material handling yards.





South Shore Line 7 built by Pullman in 1925.





South Shore Line 14 built by Pullman in 1926.





Chicago Transit Authority Rapid Transit Car 45 built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1959.





Illinois Central side door caboose 9648 built in 1957 by Illinois Central.





North Shore Line 715 built by Standard Car Company in 1930.





Chicago Transit Authority Rapid Transit Car 43 built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1959.





Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company 45 Ton Diesel Electric Locomotive 5 by General Electric in 1946.





Chicago Transit Authority steel rapid transit car 4451 built by Cincinnati in 1924.





San Francisco Railway PCC Car 1030 built by St Louis in 1953.





Chicago Transit Authority flat car with crane S-314 built by CC Railways in 1907.





Wilson Car Lines refrigerator car 2014.





Chicago Transit Authority steel rapid transit car 4103 built by Cincinnati in 1914.





Chicago Transit Authority Rapid Transit Car 40 built by St. Louis Car Company in 1959.





North Shore Line 756 built by Standard Car Company in 1930.





Chicago Rapid Transit 5001 built by Pullman Standard in 1947.





Warren and Saline River 70 ton switcher 73 built by Whitcomb in 1949.





Museum scene.





Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin wood car motor 20 built by Niles in 1902.





Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin wood car motor 316 built by Jewett in 1913.





Swift's Premium refrigerator car 25032.





Swift's Premium refrigerator car 25010.





Unknown flat car.





Museum scene.





Concrete whistle post.





Museum imformation board.





Map of the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company and information.





Map of Chicago transit service.





Chicago Surface Car lines.





Trolley car power.





Another view of North Shore Lines 715.





Museum view.





Another view of Chicago Transit Authority L-202.





Another view of Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company 45.





The Castlemuir Station. The track crew returned on the track speeder and when they had returned from their duties I asked if they could give me a ride down the length of the railroad. They went to the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company 45 where they were holding training and a few minutes they returned with good news that they could give me a ride.



Click here for Part 2 of this story!