IRM Times Two

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We generally try to get out to the Illinois Railway Museum at least a few times each year. Here are some pictures from two recent visits (June 18th and July 3rd).

These were “themed” days to some extent. June 18th was Chicago Day, commemorating when the last Chicago streetcar ran on June 21, 1958. July 3rd was the 59th anniversary of the end of regular passenger service on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban.

As part of that anniversary, the museum staged a “re-enactment” of sorts of the line’s quick abandonment. Once a judge had issued an order allowing the railroad to temporarily suspend passenger service, the order went out for all trains to let out their passengers and deadhead back to Wheaton.

Thousands of commuters were left stranded. In the 2016 version, two trains of CA&E cars (one steel, one wood) brought passengers out on the main line and left them there to be picked up by a steam commuter train. (In real life, steam had already been replaced by diesel on the Chicago & North Western, which ran parallel to the CA&E along part of its route through Chicago’s western suburbs.

While we did not get stranded ourselves, we did a lot of trolley riding on those two days. All photos in this post are mine. We hope you will enjoy them.

If you have not visited the Illinois Railway Museum, we hope that you will soon. It is always worth the trip. IRM is also unique in having an operating trolley bus loop. I got to ride a Chicago trolley bus for the first time in many years last Sunday. That brought back many fond memories.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have a new trolley CD– a 60th anniversary tribute to the late lamented Railroad Record Club. You will find the details at the end of this post, and, as always, the proceeds from the sale of these recordings help cover part of the cost of running this site. We thank you in advance for your support.

June 18, 2016:

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Autographed copies of CERA B-146, which covers the entire history of PCC streetcars in Chicago in voluminous detail, are available in the IRM bookstore.

Autographed copies of CERA B-146, which covers the entire history of PCC streetcars in Chicago in voluminous detail, are available in the IRM bookstore.

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July 3, 2016:

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RRC37ARRC37B

RRC #37
Railroad Record Club
60th Anniversary Tribute
# of Discs – 2

Railroad Record Club #37:
We celebrate the Railroad Record Club with a 60th anniversary tribute containing all new audio of vintage streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses, and even a bit of steam, recorded in 2016 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Electric equipment featured includes CTA PCC 4391, CSL red Pullman 144, CSL “Matchbox” 1374, CTA “L” single car units 22 and 41, CTA trolley bus 9553, and the interurbans of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line). Steam sounds are provided by Frisco 1630. Recorded with the finest quality digital equipment of today, this is a fitting tribute to the late William Steventon and the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, with all the bells and whistles, dings, and gear sounds we could fit onto a pair of CDs. The material presented here is equivalent in length to about five of the original RRC LPs.

Total time:
Disc 1- 79:38
Disc 2- 79:55

Editor’s note: This title is no longer available for purchase.


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8 thoughts on “IRM Times Two

  1. Wow. I looked at these photos and then I went back in memories when we had the museum at North Chicago. We thought we would want to do something like this, but never to this level. Wow.

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  2. Excellent photography, David. The equipment brought out for display on those days you visited appears to be in mint condition. I can’t begin to appreciate all the hard work and dedication that IRM volunteers, working behind the scenes, do to bring glorious history to life. My contribution, writing a check, seems paltry in comparison. Thanks to all of you.

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  3. Wonderful pictures. Who would have thought fifty years ago IRM would have grown like this. I’m also feeling a bit old, having ridden most of these cars in regular service.

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  4. Wonderful pictures. When I volunteered in the early 70’s, the campus was in no way as finished as it is now. The Museum has truly grown into what it is today. I now live in Florida, but will plan to bring my grandchildren to visit next year.

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  5. would like to see a picture of the Detroit Peterwitt that the club aquired a few years back. Is this possible??

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