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The Kenosha Transit Electric Streetcar Line 6/24/2004

by Chris Guenzler

As I exited the Kenosha Metra station I was met by Ron the Operator Supervisor of Kenosha Transit Streetcar System and Harold a trolley lover from New York. We put my luggage in the back of Ron's pickup truck and drove along the trolley line so I could get a feel for it. I had contacted Lew Brandrup of my upcoming visit to Kenosha so he could arrange for me to be met. We went to the McCarthy Transit Center which houses the five PCC Cars the city owns. Each of the Kenosha streetcars has a name and colors scheme that represents the legacy of streetcar transportation in the United States. They have a car in Johnstown {Kenosha} orange, Toronto maroon and cream, Chicago green which was operating on my trip, Cincinnati yellow and green and Pittsburgh red and cream. Kenosha had electric rail from 1903 and 1932. On June 17th, 2000 Kenosha welcomed back quiet, pollution free vehicles that came from Toronto. They run the cars on the April 5, 2004 to January 2, 2005 Monday-Friday 11:05 AM to 7:05 PM, Saturday-Sunday 10:05 AM to 5:35 PM. Holiday schedules are announced in the local media. The fare is just a quarter.

I toured the shops after bringing my luggage inside and photographed with my tripod the 4 PCCs that were inside. The shop is very modern and extremely clean as Kenosha Transit takes pride in their operations. It was so kind of them to let me tour their excellent facility. I met mechanic Brad who was extremely helpful during my visit.

Now it was time for my ride. I walked out to the waiting PCC car meeting Carl, the operator of this Chicago Car. Already aboard were Carol and Tom from the last rare mileage trips I was on in the Pacific Northwest. It is sure a small world? The streetcar ran a counter-clockwise loop of 1:88 miles. We left running along the east side of 54th Street for three blocks where we turned south onto 11th Ave in front of the Metra Station. At 56th Street we turned east and ran down a grassy median lined with trees. We passed the County Building, Court House, Civic Center Building and Post Office. We stopped at red signals and paused at stop signs. At 3rd Ave the Southport Marina came into view to the southeast with Lake Michigan beyond. We passed Fountain Plaza to the north with the Kiwanis Clock and Wallace Fountain to the south. Kenosha also has a Harborwalk that came into view and would be in sight the rest of my trip. The PCC next came to the only passing track on the entire loop. We turned to the north to loop back to the west passing Celebration Place with two small lighthouses on our side of the channel and a nice large red lighthouse across the channel to Kenosha Harbor to the north. We ran north along 54th Street with views of Kenosha Harbor, the Southport Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters now very much inland and Navy Park. My Holiday Inn Express sat at the north end of Kenosha Harbor.

We returned to the Transit Center and I thanked Carl for a great ride.

At this point I needed a new roll of film so as I was doing that, Ron came up with a great idea. He would have Gary stop the PCC wherever I wanted so I could get some nice pictures. Once we got back near the Southport Marina Gary and I worked as a team making 6 photo stops along the way.

I would like to thank Kenosha Transit for the excellent tour of their Streetcar operations. I thanked Gary for the excellent trips and back in the shop both Ron and Brad. Bob drove me over to the Holiday Inn Express ending my fantastic tour of the Kenosha Electric Street Cars.

Kenosha 6/24/2004

Once I checked in it was laundry time so I watched Mash and listened to Black Sabbath Live with Ronnie James Dio as the singer. I called Trainweb to check in and later my mom. I walked over to get a Subway roast beef sandwich.

I had a Harborside view and manage to get a picture of the trolley across Kenosha Bay. I watched my Cal State Fullerton Titans beat South Carolina 4-0 to advance to the College World Series. I called it a night after another fantastic day and got a good night sleep.

Metra 316 6/25/2004

After a great continental breakfast, I walked back to the Metra station and waited for Metra 316 to come out of the overnight yard. I boarded Cab Car 8452 for my trip back to Chicago on a beautiful clear morning. The Metra Trains run almost always in with the engine pushing the train to Chicago. We had Cab Car 8452, Coaches 7243, 7256, 7797 and 7781 with F-40PH 128 as our power. This train runs more or less as an express train from Waukegan skipping eleven stops which are covered by train 318 which is following us.

We arrived into Chicago early and I walked over to Walgreens on my way to Chicago Union Station.

Click here for Part 4 of the story.