Saturday, July 5, 2008

309 Returns to Service

Today was the dedication ceremony marking the return to service of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 309. It was stored overnight at the west end of track 42, as shown earlier. In the morning, we did some final cleaning, and I moved the 308 over onto the west wye. The dedication started at noon. First, President Ray Pieschuk gave a brief but eloquent speech about the purpose and focus of our museum. The car itself serves as an effective podium.

Next, the Project Manager gave a brief but eloquent speech about the history of the 309 and its restoration. If I may say so myself.

Finally, General Manager Nick Kallas gave a brief but eloquent (yeah, yeah, I'm too tired to think of new adjectives) speech about the importance of volunteerism and our dedication to preserving history for future generations.

Then it was time for action! The 309 emerged from the barn and broke through the banner.

Esther helped by cutting the cake and handing out cookies. Her friend Jay took all these pictures, since I was busy.

Meanwhile, we coupled the two cars together, and Frank boarded the passengers for the first run of the 308 and the newly-restored 309. The three of us (Randall, Frank, and David) constituted the crew. We made five main-line trips today, and ridership was good.

We met some people we'd only known before via internet, such as John Cloos and Andrew Cornillie. And my friend Ray Buhrmaster and his son Bill visited. They're fans of the original Hicks Locomotive and Car Works, and told about the effects of the flood at North Freedom on car 64. Damage was bad, but will be repaired. That's good news!

The 308 and 309 will be operating again this month on July 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th. Don't miss it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Randall, Frank & team.
Congratulations to you and your team of volunteers. The workmanship and dedication to duplicating the craftsmanship of a bygone era really shines through.

I'm especially a fan of your blog writing, the posts of the last week or so noting how the lettering is so unique all around the given areas of the car really help show not only the way things used to be (from a manual, non-digital world !), to the types of efforts really needed to restore them accurately.

More of this reporting is sorely needed throughout much of the preservation and restoration world, your writings are really a model for others to follow. Insightfull, yet very readable at the same time, not always the easiest combination to achieve.

So again congratulations all around for such a fine effort.

PS - Is it even possible to take a bad picture of the 308 or 309 when they're out in the sun ? Those colors just explode off the cars !

PPS - Glad to have had a chance to meet you face to face after all this time, I promise not to be such a stranger anymore.

John Cloos