Monday, January 5, 2009

History of Car 309



Modifications Prior to Service
Conditions in Service
Modifications During Service
CA&E Paint Schemes
Installation of Steel Reinforcements
Acquisition by IRM
Preserved Relics from the 309
Appendix A
Mechanical Equipment
Appendix B
Sale of the Cars
Wheaton to North Chicago
North Chicago to Union
Appendix C
History of Car 310


Automobiles these days are so expensive that only the very rich can afford to own one, let alone hire the chauffeur and/or mechanic needed to keep it running. And with paved roads few and far between, where could you go if you had one? The Wright brothers claim to have built a heavier-than-air flying machine, but few people have seen it, and many still believe it’s a hoax. The only reliable means of transportation is the steam railroad, plus a new development: the electric interurban. Until a panic hits the financial markets later this year, people will continue to invest their money in building new interurban lines to provide more frequent and convenient service to rural areas. And the lines that have been built are prospering, so they need additional passenger equipment. The new cars, however, are still being made of wood.

The year, you see, is 1907. Teddy Roosevelt is the nation’s President, the “Titanic” is still on the drawing boards, and the railroad industry continues to grow. The Pullman plant in Chicago is producing electric cars as fast as it can: 600 streetcars for the Chicago Surface Lines, rapid transit cars in multiples of 50 for the various elevated companies, and on and on. Most of the other major builders are similarly swamped. So the Aurora Elgin and Chicago turns to a small local firm for just two new wooden passenger cars. Somehow, one of them will still be running more than a hundred years from now. And that car is the subject of this history.

This car is unique in being one of the only two interurban cars constructed by the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works. The importance of this aspect is, however, easily exaggerated. The builder supplied only the car bodies, and they were similar in most respects to the catalog-model coaches being built for steam shortline use at the same time. The main architectural differences are the enclosed platforms, an obvious requirement for interurban service, and the exposed steel side sills, which were a feature of all AE&C cars starting with the original order from Niles. The 309-310 order was the last group to have these exposed side sills, however; it was also the first order to have built-in storm windows and interior arched stained-glass windows.

As detailed below, the car was modified in several ways by the railroad during its service life. On the other hand, it was probably modified less than any of the other surviving wood cars from this road. It was selected by the Museum as its first (originally, its only) car from the CA&E to be preserved. It has been restored to its appearance about 1947, after the only major rebuilding.

It should be noted that while the Chicago Aurora and Elgin was the last American interurban to operate wooden coaches in regular service[1], these cars were generally modified much less than similar cars on other interurban lines. The Museum has several examples of wooden cars that were completely rebuilt. Some were covered with sheet metal to make them appear to be constructed of steel. (Often, the sheet metal was attached with round-head wood screws; the slots were then filled with putty to make the screws look like rivets.) Railroad (clerestory) roofs could be converted to arched roofs, doors removed or added, and single-end cars reversed in the process of making them operable by one man. Trucks, motors, and control were often changed.

The CA&E did not do any of these things[2]. While this paper tries to record every minor modification to the car, you will observe that the only major change was the removal of the streamer[3] sash in 1941. All of the road’s cars were similarly modified at that time. Otherwise, they continued to operate until the end in their original configuration, with the same mechanical equipment they had been built with.

A total of eighteen passenger cars and one work car from the Chicago Aurora and Elgin have been preserved at six museums, ten of them at IRM. All of these cars are now stored inside and well cared for. Currently, about ten of them are in operable condition; most of the others are being restored as conditions permit.

There are at least ten passenger cars built by the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works presently preserved[4]. I believe that the 309 is in the best condition, the only one currently restored and used in passenger service, and the best documented of the group.

For additional pictures, see my CA&E Photo Album here.



This picture shows the 309 soon after delivery, on a test trip. The time must be November or December of 1907. Note that it has no electrical equipment: no trolley poles, third rail shoes, bus jumpers, controllers, or underbody equipment. From the Malcolm McCarter collection.

Two cars were ordered by the AE&C from the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works of Chicago Heights on May 24, 1907 [5]. The purchase price is not recorded, but based on the current prices for steam-road coaches, I would estimate about $5,000 per car [6]. The Hicks company delivered the carbodies to Wheaton (on temporary trucks) prior to October 30 [7]. The railroad then made the following modifications to equip them for service:
1. Installation of trucks similar to Dorner in design, as modified by AE&C engineers.
2. Installation of control and brake systems, including buzzer and headlight circuits.
3. Installation of electric heat (the ERR article says nothing about heating, implying that it had not yet been installed. In particular, the conduit along the inside wall which leads to the thermostat must be a retrofit.)
4. Installation of the trolley poles, cables, and bus jumpers.

The Aurora Daily Beacon reported on October 30, 1907:



Two new cars, said to be the finest ever built for an electric line, have been received by the AE&C railroad and are now being equipped with motors in the company's shops at Wheaton. They will be ready for service on the Chicago division in about 20 days.

The cars are trimmed in mahogany and have heavy leather seats, double Pullman windows, and leaded gothic interior glass.

This is the 309, probably on a test trip early in 1908, after installation of the electrical equipment, as well as the correct pilot and whistle. Location is the Warrenville substation. Detail from a photo from the Ed Allen collection in "Aurora 'n' Elgin" by Julie Johnson.


The 309 was used in daily revenue service for nearly 50 years, from early 1908 until passenger service was stopped on July 3, 1957. By this time, as mentioned above, the Chicago Aurora and Elgin was the last interurban to use wooden coaches in regular service. The car could operate singly, of course, or in trains of up to eight cars (limited by the length of station platforms.) The 309 could train only with other wooden cars, not the steel equipment, which had different couplers and type of control system.

Before the arrival of steel equipment in 1923, this type of car was used in both local and express service over all parts of the railroad. (Except, perhaps, the Geneva branch. Pictures of this branch during the wood car era seem to show only "shorties". If so, this was probably due to sharp curves in the streets.) After that time, it was generally used only in Chicago to Wheaton service, mostly locals, and on the Batavia shuttle. A commercially available video of the CA&E shows the 309 in Batavia service. The Batavia shuttle was always a single car operation in later years; the Wheaton locals were of varying lengths, usually two to four cars. Particularly in the last few years, the car might have made only rush hour trips.

The 309 about 1940, stopping to discharge passengers at York Street in Elmhurst. Photo from "Aurora 'n' Elgin" by Julie Johnson.

In the early years, Sunday was actually the busiest day for the railroad, since many people took trips on their one day off to amusement parks and/or cemeteries served by the AE&C. Later, of course, Sunday riding fell off, and the service on that day would usually have been provided by steel cars. Saturday was a work day (or half a day) for many people until well after WWII. Finally, cars 309 and 310 were used on one of the last fan trips before the end of regular service, on May 19, 1957.

The cars were stored outside in the yard at Wheaton when not in use (or, during the day, at other locations); there was no inside storage except when in the shop. As a rule, the pumps and electric heat remained on so the cars would be ready for service. (Pictures always show a pole up when under wire.)

The car was completely resided at least once during its service life. As detailed below, it was completely repainted about once every ten years, and the roof canvas was probably replaced about as often. The upholstery fabric was replaced at least once, but the seat cushions and frames were unchanged. The exterior window frames were replaced at least once. The structural members and interior finish of the car are as built in 1907, with the exception of the platform ends. All surviving wood cars have new wood spliced into the doorposts in the vestibules.

It was the practice to turn the cars around on the loop at Wheaton once a month to equalize wear and tear on the paint job and running gear. After 1953 this was no longer necessary since the cars turned around on every trip to Forest Park. In the absence of detailed mileage records, the total mileage this car accumulated in regular service can only be estimated; it was probably between 1.5 and 2 million miles. And the car has never left northern Illinois.


1. Installation of dash lights and folding signs (c. 1911) [8]
2. Removal of window guards (between 1915 and 1925)
3. Removal of coupling chains (between 1915 and 1925?)
4. Installation of clerestory ventilators (“Utility” type), clerestory sash fastened shut (1920)
5. Removal of International fare register, installation of ticket clips (between 1922 and c.1925)
6. Sleet cutters installed on third rail beams (1923)
7. Installation of retrievers (1926)

8. Window wipers installed (1928)
9. Trolley wheels replaced by shoes (c. 1935)
10. Side doors replaced by CA&E design (1935-1940; motorman's side doors were done first)
11. Rebuilding in Sept. 1941 (removal of streamer sash, anticlimbers installed, etc.) [9]
12. Interior walls painted green, ceiling panels white (Sept. 4 to Oct. 10, 1941)
13. Pilots modified to provide better third rail clearance (second bar from the bottom was shortened, and the vertical bars were moved inward about 2"; c. 1940-1945)[10]
14. Flag/marker light brackets were moved down about 15" (c. 1950)[11]

Most of the dates for these modifications were inferred from photographs. Also, note that evidently all of these modifications were made to every surviving wooden car.

Also, the control system on all of the wood cars was modified so that one line was used for the buzzer. This change was effected by adding new interlocks on one each of the series and parallel contactors. This allows C6-equipped cars to be trained with cars equipped with C21 controllers.


There were five basic paint schemes during the car's service life:

1. Green: Entire body was Pullman Green; doors and window sash were brown; gold leaf lettering and striping. Roof color was probably buff. The vestibule interiors were also Pullman Green. All interior walls and trim were stained and varnished mahogany; ceiling was light yellow, with extensive stenciling around the edges of each panel. As built, until 1921.
  • The vestibules preserved the Pullman Green finish in good condition. This finish is extremely difficult to remove, and in most places we stripped the paint over it, sanded it down, and painted over it again.

2. Red: July 1921.  Entire body was red; doors and window sash were brown; gold lettering with black outlining. Roof color was perhaps also red, but we are still unsure of roof colors for this and the following paint scheme. There was evidently no change to the interior finish or (probably) the vestibules. Until c. 1932.

3. Maroon ("coffee and cream"): Body and window sash were maroon, except for the letterboard, end windows, and window sills that were cream; doors were light brown or tan; gold lettering with black outlining. Roof was also maroon. No change to interior or (probably) the vestibules. Until Sept. 1941.
  • Several parts of the clerestory deck preserved the maroon paint in good condition; parts from the 309 were used for determining the maroon paint used on the 321.
Car 309 in for painting and Contactor boxes 5-24-37
Scrape oil and prime spots surface Body Red lettered
Varnish outside 1 coat each 1 coat roof paint
Black on off-iron(?) [12]

4. Blue (“Early American”): Sept. 1941.  Body was dark blue; side windows and posts were light grey (not white); ends were bright red, with red stripes below the belt rail and over the windows; yellow lettering with no outlining. Roof was light grey. The vestibule interior was the same blue as the exterior. The side wall panels above the window sill were painted pastel green; the ceiling panels only were painted an off-white (the ceiling moldings remained unpainted). Until June 1951.
  • The 309 had the “Sunset Lines” herald in this paint scheme, evidently with a red background. See description of photos 12 and 13 on p. 34.
  • Note that the red is not the same red as in the final paint scheme - although it's close.
  • On this car, at least, it appears that either 1) the railroad stripped the car exterior to bare wood, or 2) the car was completely resided at this time. The wood was then painted blue without primer. If the vestibules had been painted anything other than Pullman Green, this was stripped off, and the blue was applied over the Pullman Green. I could find no evidence that the vestibules were repainted prior to the blue paint scheme (same for 308, 310, 318, and 321).
Car 309 in paint shop 9-3-41
Start burning off 9-4-41
Remove varnish interior from card rack to floor
“ “ “ Sash 1 set
“ “ “ Doors
Glaze Hd. Lining primed sections being painted
Stained sash 2 sets
“ Doors
“ others not being painted
Top White
Center Green Med Chrome Green, Chrome Yellow, Light Raw Umber
Bottom Stained + Varnished
Rack “ “
Completed 10-10-41 [13]

5. Scarlet: June 1951.  Ends, doors, and sides below the belt rail were bright red ("Pimpernel Scarlet"), windows, posts, and letterboard were a light blue-grey. Yellow lettering with black outlining. Roof was black (coated with tar), including the clerestory windowpanes. The vestibule interior was the same red as the exterior. The end bulkhead panels were painted green; the entire ceiling was painted white, including all ceiling molding strips and the clerestory windowpanes. Until end of service; car was in this paint scheme when acquired.
  • The railroad sanded down the car, but not to bare wood; a coat of brown primer was then applied over what was left of the blue paint scheme. Then this was painted red.
Paint Head Lining White
“ Capping and arm rest black
Exterior Sand putty and glazed
“ Paint Red + Gray
“ Roof painted Black Liquinoleum
Completed 6-7-51 [14]


Several minor modifications were also made, some of which may no longer be apparent due to fire damage and/or restoration work.

The car was originally equipped with a fare register system, probably “International”. The register itself was mounted on the coach side of the bulkhead; this appears in the interior view in the ERR article. The shaft ran under the 89" molding on the opposite side from the panic cord; the locations of the brackets were apparent from the holes in the moldings, although much of this molding had to be replaced in the coach section. The hole in the bulkhead where the shaft passed through was covered with small pieces of sheet metal. Also, there were coat hooks under each side light; the three holes for each of these hooks are still apparent in most places.

At one time there was a pipe that ran up through the toilet compartment, and straight up through both parts of the roof; the patches installed when this was removed are still apparent (except where covered by canvas). This doesn't appear on any photograph that I can find. Thus, the purpose of this pipe can only be guessed at. The WABCO handbook on AMM brakes suggests that the air intake for the compressor be placed on the roof, to reduce the intake of dust, so perhaps this was it. (It’s also been suggested that perhaps this pipe was instead the main trolley supply cable from the roof, but this seems unlikely; the current arrangement with the trolley cables running into the attics appears to be original.) Also, on the floor of the toilet there is still a device that is no longer connected to anything; perhaps it is a pressure (safety) valve. This would also be connected to the compressor. However, the compressor is now located at the opposite end and other side of the car.

The swinging door between the smoker and the main compartment is double hinged, so originally it could swing either way; the hinges were not changed, but screws were placed so it only swings into the smoker, and a small metal bracket was installed to act as a stop.

There were different styles of window shade installed in the car by the end of service, both in terms of fabric and the handle mechanisms. As noted below, there was generally little or no effort at standardizing such things.

It's hard to say just how much rewiring has taken place; the electrical cabinets show evidence in several places of changes. At a minimum, the original wiring for the headlight circuit ran under the eaves on the "R" side of the car, along with a wire for the buzzer circuit; these were later disconnected, and new wiring was run in the conduit that was installed under the eaves on the other side. The original wires remained stapled to the eaves until they had to be removed for repair and restoration of the roof; a new wire was installed for the buzzer. Also, the motor fuse box on the #2 side has been located in three different places, as evidenced by mounting holes in the side sill.

This is, I believe, the only preserved CA&E car in which the toilet compartment walls are plated with galvanized sheet metal. Whether this was installed by the builders or by the railroad, probably at an early date, is not clear.

By the end of service, the folding signs were removed, and the lens in the dash light was replaced by a flat piece of either metal or wood, painted red to match the body. This change was made to nearly every car that retained its dash lights; the 308 was one of the few that escaped. Fortunately, both lenses and folding signs were preserved by the railroad and acquired with the car.

The ERR article shows the train doors as having double window panes; when this was changed to single panes cannot be determined. The outer side windows have been replaced at least once, during the rebuilding in Sept. 1941, as pictures up until that time show the 309 with ventilators in the outer sash. The inner (storm) windows are original.

Removable parts which are still original (inner windows, window shade tracks, and spacers) were numbered by the builder as follows: the number 72, followed by 1, followed by the window number (starting from the #1 end, right hand side, and continuing clockwise around the car). These numbers (in Arabic numerals) were stamped into the wood with a metal stamp. Parts from the 310 have 72 followed by 2 followed by the window number. Evidently 72 was the order number, but there were more than 71 previous orders of passenger cars, so how the numbering system worked is unclear. At some point the railroad renumbered the windows starting at the #2 end, so that windows 1-14 were renumbered 15-28, and vice versa. These numbers were incised by hand on the wood in Roman numerals.

Baggage racks and window shade boxes were numbered 1 through 14 in the same order as the windows; #1 is between windows 1 and 2 (builder’s numbering) and so on, until #14 is between windows 27 and 28. The CA&E never bothered to renumber these.

After the 1941 rebuilding the 309 was little changed (except for paint, of course), and was modified less, I believe, than any other surviving car. Modifications not made to the 309, but which were common for similar wood cars, include:
1. Rebuilding of ceiling and removal of clerestory windows (11 wood cars[14A]; only two of the preserved cars, and these were both originally acquired for parts.)
2. Removal of storm windows (several)
3. Removal of toilet compartment (several)[15]
4. Removal or replacement of the ceiling dome lights
5. Rebuilding of one or both oval windows (many)
6. Removal of dash lights (most)
7. Painting over the stained glass and interior trim (many)
8. Adding steps (grab irons) to the ends


About 1916 the AE&C presented an article that detailed how several of the cars had been rebuilt with steel braces added to strengthen the structure[16]. The railroad as originally built had 60' rails with the usual staggered joints. And since the truck centers on the cars are almost exactly 30' apart, as the joints started to sag this caused considerable torquing to the car bodies as the trucks passed over low joints on opposite rails, leading to serious structural problems. (After 1922, this problem was solved by relaying the main line with heavier rails of standard 39' length.) The article shows a picture of a car (obviously a shorty) that had its interior paneling completely removed; steel reinforcements were then applied at the corners and the smoker bulkhead. Plachno says that old shop records indicate that the 309 and 310 had this treatment applied in 1914[17].

However, I could find no evidence that any such rebuilding of the 309 ever took place. Due to fire damage (detailed below), the smoker bulkhead in particular was available for study, and there are no structural steel plates inside it or anywhere in the area. Careful examination of the attics reveals no sign of structural steel at the car ends. Whereas the 308 has many exposed screw heads and extra nails from reattaching the interior walls to the frame, there is nothing of that sort in the 309. Furthermore, it became apparent during restoration that on this car, at least, the interior paneling could not be disassembled without wrecking the wood. There are too many nails that were driven in at various angles after assembly. This remains somewhat of a mystery.

In any case, it seems ironic that cars that eventually lasted for fifty years or more should have been thought to be coming apart after less than ten years of use.


Not long after the end of service on July 3, 1957, the 309 was moved into the shop building for preservation, since at that time the roof was already in need of repair[18]. It was purchased by the Museum in 1961[19] and shipped on its own wheels via the North Western to North Chicago, on March 31, 1962[20]. At North Chicago, Bob Rayunec became the car foreman. Some work was done on the roof to keep it watertight. Connie Morrell also worked on it. It was at this time that the trolley boards and saddles were removed, and the roof was covered with tar paper[21]. (A picture of the car in transit to North Chicago clearly shows the trolley bases in place[22], while upon arrival at Union the roof was already tar-papered.) The bottom of the #2 train door had started to rot, and was patched with parts from the corresponding 310 door. This seems to be the reason the bottom of this door had a different style wedge lock.

The 309 at North Chicago, with a bad case of smallpox. Photo from Don Ross.

On Sunday, May 24th, 1964, the 309 was moved to Union, again via the C&NW on its own wheels[23]. The three CA&E cars were part of the first train of cars to be moved onto IRM’s permanent site. The 309 remained on the main line west of Olson Road for a couple of years, like the rest of the equipment, then was stored in Yard 1 until about 1970, and was then moved to the old caboose track (what is now the trolley line and tail track south of Barn #2).

The 309 on display along the main line west of Olson Road in 1966. Photo by Sheridan Smith, from Rail and Wire #195.

In 1967, still on the main line. Photo by Karl Henkels, courtesy of Don Ross.

In 1970 it was decided to restore the car over the winter for revenue service in 1971, as a Car Department priority[24]. The interior would be repainted during the winter, with the exterior and roof work done in the spring. Oil stoves had been used for heating the cars since North Chicago, and one was put into the 309 so that interior painting could be done during the winter months. It was installed across the aisle from the toilet compartment, directly in front of the oval window. At this time the interior was complete and in basically good shape; probably the paint had started to peel or was otherwise deteriorated due to the almost 15 years of dead storage. Apart from the roof, the exterior wood was also in moderately good condition, although the paint had started to peel in many places, and the red paint in particular had faded to pink, a common problem in this paint scheme. The plan was to restore the car in its final red paint scheme, and leave the interior configuration unchanged. (However, the clerestory windows were stripped of paint. In the last few years, the panes of clerestory glass had been painted on the inside and tarred on the outside.) I do not believe that the wall panels were completely stripped at this time. Certainly the ceiling was not stripped, since the original (1907) paint and stenciling are still (partially) there, even today.


Photo by Phil Hehn

By March 13, 1971 (a Saturday), the interior work was nearly complete. The baggage racks and the oval window in the toilet compartment had been removed, but nearly all the rest of the interior was in place, including the seats. Two or more members arrived in the morning, and lit the stove. They then left the car and collected tools and did other things, as was the custom. It generally took about half an hour to warm up the car sufficiently for painting. During this half-hour, however, it was suddenly noticed that the interior was on fire and smoke was coming out the windows. The Union volunteer fire department was called; as it happened, they had assembled in town for a training session. Bob Kutella took a fire extinguisher into the car and started to fight the fire; he had it under control and perhaps extinguished when the firemen arrived[25].

The damage caused by the fire was as follows:
1. Ceiling destroyed beyond repair between the bulkhead and windows 6-23; all other ceiling sectors had all paint peeled off down to the original yellow paint with stenciling (which was, of course, deteriorated by this time). None of the carlines or rails was significantly damaged.
2. Wall paneling destroyed between the bulkhead and sector 24, and between the toilet and sector 6; all paneling on the coach side of the bulkhead and on the toilet compartment was destroyed. However, none of the walls was burned through.
3. The bulkhead window, bulkhead door, and toilet door burned beyond repair.
4. Clerestory window frames destroyed in the areas noted above where the ceiling was wrecked; also, every clerestory pane in the car was cracked due to the heat.
5. The oval window (cast iron frame) across from the toilet was heavily damaged.
6. The wainscoting piece from the bulkhead to sector 20 was burned beyond repair.
7. The arched window at sector 19-20 was destroyed (actually, about 2/3 of the glass survived) as well as the frame and moldings; at sector 9-10 the frame was badly charred, but the glass survived.
8. Most of the upholstery in the coach compartment was destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
9. The wiring for the side light circuits was damaged or destroyed at the bulkhead area.
10. The ceiling light fixture at sector 9-10-19-20 was heavily damaged; the glass globe was destroyed, and the brass fixture damaged beyond repair, but the light sockets and their bracket survived and are still in use.
11. The wrecking tools and their box, and the first aid box, were heavily damaged.
12. The thermometer in the coach section broke, as it was not designed to go over 130.

Photo by Phil Hehn
In addition, the firemen did some unnecessary damage of their own:
13. Three holes chopped into the ceiling of the smoker.
14. A large gash chopped into the wainscoting of the smoker at window 17-18.
15. Holes all the way through the roof in the coach section.[26]

Views of the burned-out interior, taken several years later during restoration.

Immediately after the fire, the holes in the roof were patched up. When Barn 4 was constructed in 1972, the 309 was moved inside and occupied the southeast corner for several years.


At this point, Bob Rayunec decided to continue working on the car. He and Lois Geister stripped all the remaining interior wall paneling down to bare wood (including several sections that were too badly damaged to be saved, and which were later replaced). The seats were piled up in the #2 vestibule, parts such as windows and window shade boxes were piled on the seat frames, etc. Once this work was complete, he started stripping the exterior, having decided to repaint the car to the blue paint scheme[27]. By the summer of 1975 this work was well underway, at this point being done with the help of Barbara Koziol (later Mrs. Rayunec).

The 309 in August 1975; location is the southeast corner of Barn 4. Photo by Allan Hicks.

It was then (late July) that I joined the project. I helped with stripping paint from the siding, then started on removing the roof material in preparation for recanvassing. (I did not realize this project would take another 21 years, of course.) In early September, however, I left for Boston, where I was doing work for my thesis project. I worked at the Museum on a couple of holidays, when I was back in Chicago. Mostly I helped Frank Sirinek and the others with the reroofing job on the 101, which was located next to the 309, but the Rayunecs and I also removed all of the ceiling panels under the hips in the coach compartment. It was while doing this that the Hicks Co. chisel (which had been hidden in the roof by one of the workmen after its handle split) was found.

During the spring and early summer of 1976 the roof was stripped. It had been covered with tar paper, and under this were the remnants of the last canvas job, which the railroad had coated with tar. A large quantity of nails had to be removed, along with a lot of tar. Some sections of the tongue and groove in the center section had to be replaced where the firemen had chopped holes (and temporary patches had been installed). Also, the curved ends of the center roof had much of the wood replaced. This was completed by the middle of summer. Acting on a suggestion of Dennis Storzek, as I recall, the wood in the center section was not painted, but thoroughly coated at least twice with Penta. Also, a layer of fiberglass blanket was put under the canvas, in the theory that this would prevent movement of the canvas across the wood from wearing holes in it. This practice (a suggestion by Frank Sirinek, I believe) has since been discontinued.

At the same time, the Rayunecs finished stripping the outside, and painted the car with a first (and perhaps second) coat of primer (not including windows and doors).

Photo by Steve Hyett
In the fall of 1976, I started rebuilding some of the windows, and refinishing a few of the window shade boxes. This was continued until all the removable parts in the smoker had been done. The interior walls were not started until the summer of 1979. The canvas was installed on the center section of the roof in the summer of 1977, with the saddles and trolley boards installed later that year. (Incidentally, the saddles were cut out on a large bandsaw in the shop of the Neutrino Laboratory at Fermilab.)

Electrical work started in the early spring of 1978; no problems were found with the motors, control system, or compressor. Norm Krentel supervised this project. The motors were cleaned in place, and trolley bases and poles were installed. By the Memorial Day weekend we were ready to operate the car. First operation took place on Saturday, May 26, and continued for the next two days. Operation continued for the next few years on an irregular basis. At this time the only seats were in the smoker.

A detailed logbook of all restoration activities was started in December of 1978. The rest of this section will therefore merely summarize the restoration process. Since 1993 the log has been kept in electronic form.

In operation about 1988. Note all the things that still need to be done: the roof, the lettering, clerestory windows, belt rail, etc. Photo by Tom Nixon, courtesy of Don Ross.

Restoration of the smoker interior started in the fall of 1978 and continued until the summer of 1980; some touch-up work was done later. In early 1980 restoration of the main compartment started, and this continued, with interruptions, until about 1992. Completion of the roof was restarted in 1994 and finished in 1996; Jeff Obarek and John Houk helped with much of the canvassing. During these years the car was usually operated for the Trolley Pageant on July 4th and Members' Day in the fall, and occasionally at other times.

Member's Day, 1989, with the 321

The 309 was moved into Barn 2 in early 1981, at first on track 21, later on track 24. In 1985 it was rejoined by the 321. In October of 1993 both cars were moved to track 73. The 309 spent some time in Barn 4 during roof work, but returned to track 73. In May of 1996, it was noticed that one of the contactors was defective; this could not be replaced until September of that year, so for most of that time the car was not available for service (although it could be moved under its own power on two motors when needed). More touch-up work was done on the car over the winter, and in the spring of 1997.


By the weekend of July 4th, 1997, it was declared completed and released to the Operating Department. After two days, on July 6th, during one of the many high-speed fan trips the operators were indulging in, motor #1 developed an armature short. At that time, the car was officially withdrawn from service. In June 1998, however, the 321 was made operational, and it was available to push-pull the 309. This enabled us to run a two-car train with a total of six traction motors. However, the 321 still had many problems, so service was limited.

In the next year or two, the toilet compartment was completely restored, and more work was done on repainting the underbody equipment and third-rail beams. New car cards were installed. In December of 2000 the two cars were then moved to track 84, where they joined the 308.

Work was then concentrated on restoring the 308 and making it operational. The 308 and 309 were operated on July 4, 2002, for revenue service. They were then withdrawn again while work continued on the 308.

In 2002 the Museum was able to provide us with sufficient funds to have two GE66B motors rebuilt; two spares from the 318 were used. In December the car was jacked up[28] and the #1 motor truck was removed so the old motors could be removed, and the truck itself inspected and repainted. The rebuilt motors arrived in April 2003, and in early May they were put into the repainted truck and put back under the car. We also replaced some grid boxes with new ones that Frank had assembled. After some testing, the 309 was again available for operation with all four motors. Starting on Memorial Day Weekend, 2003, the two car train (308/309) was operated for revenue service about one weekend per month.

During the winter of 2003-2004 the corner post at the #2L corner was disassembled, since both the bottom of the post and the flooring beneath were badly rotted. The wall here had always been loose, basically hanging from the roof. New wood was installed. During 2004, 2005, and 2006 the 308 and 309 were operated in revenue service, on average about two weekends per month.

Once the 308 had been essentially completed in July 2006, I had planned to begin a complete refurbishing of the 309’s interior after Members’ Day, intending to complete this work in 2008 for the car’s 100th anniversary. On Members’ Day, it was discovered that motor #4 had failed, and the commutator had suffered some severe damage. The car was withdrawn from service, but the planned interior work proceeded. All seats were removed, all windows were removed and inventoried, and work started to fix problems that had never been completely solved. The car was moved back to Barn 4 on track 42 in November to facilitate the project.

In June 2007, motor #4 was replaced with old motor #2, which had been removed from its truck in 2002. This motor was cleaned, inspected, and tested, but no rebuilding was done. The car was then able to operate on four motors while interior refinishing continued. The car returned to track 84 at this time also.

The second restoration in 2006-2008 included the following items:
1. Installation of ceiling trim over the clerestory windows, and replacement of bad ceiling panels.
2. Installation of correct inlay strips on the toilet and bulkhead walls.
3. Installation of new linoleum where it had been damaged in the fire.
4. Arm rests, window sills, and baggage racks were stripped of their black paint, then stained and varnished, as based on paint shop records.
5. Painting the floor, both vestibules and compartments.
6. Complete repainting and varnishing of all interior surfaces, including all windows.
7. Complete repainting of the exterior, with new lettering that includes the correct black outlining. Frank helped with the exterior painting and did most of the lettering.

Views of the interior after completion of the second restoration in 2008.

On July 5th, 2008, we held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the car's 100th anniversary and the completion of the second restoration. Pictures are here and some video clips here. Since that time the car has continued in revenue service.


Generally, it was the goal during restoration to use as much of the original fabric of the car as possible; due particularly to fire damage, many parts could not be reused. The following items, however damaged, have been saved for their historical and research value:
1. Parts of the oval window frame (across from the toilet) that could not be reused when it was rebuilt in 1990.
2. Fragments of the center ceiling globe fixture (about 75% of the whole).
3. The glass thermometer tube (bulb missing).
4. The first aid box, with contents (badly burnt, cover missing).
5. Many pieces of green glass from the clerestory windows.

6. Sections of interior molding of each type, including windowsill (R).

7. Door handle and mechanism for the toilet door.
8. The handle of the saw from the wrecking tool box (badly burnt).

9. Chisel with broken handle, found in ceiling (R).

10. Pieces of linoleum from the aisle.

11. The arched stained glass window from sector 9-10 (inner surface of frame badly charred).

12. Piece of galvanized sheet metal from the toilet interior (partially burnt through).

13. One of the brackets from the end windowsill that held the classification signs. (After use of the folding signs was largely discontinued, they were replaced by small metal signs about 3" x 12" that would be mounted on two L-shaped brackets fastened to the window sill in front of the motorman. Unfortunately, it appears that only one of the brackets and none of the signs was preserved.)


Motors: 4 GE-66B, 125 HP
Motor Brushes: 16 BB557
Control: GE type M -- Two complete groups, three boxes each
Contactors: 26 DB-15
Reversers: 2 DB-20
Controllers: 2 C6 (One C6A, one C6K)

Grids:  1. CG-8A10-6A8    2. CG-6A4-4A14   3. CG-6A18   4. CG-4A10-7B8  5. CG-8A7-6A5-7B6

Motorman’s Valves: 2 M15-B
Triple Valve: 1 M2-A, located under seat #10
Feed Valve: 1 WH C8, located under seat #1
Compressor: 1 D3-EG, 8.44 HP
Governor: 1 WH Type J, located under seat #28
Brake Shoes: 8 G4678

Walkovers: 22 Hale and Kilburn #197

Notes: The electrical equipment of the 309 and 310 represents a step backward; the 200 and 300 series cars, such as the 308, had later style contactors (DB-131), but for some reason the two Hicks cars were equipped with the same DB-15/DB-20 system as the first order of cars. The mechanical equipment was never updated in any way, and the railroad was still operating in 1957 with equipments of 1902 design, not to mention Armstrong window wipers, the world’s worst trap door design, etc., etc.

In particular, the hand brake is very poorly designed, and indeed appears to be unusable. The main shaft binds, and can be turned very little. If the chain were ever tightened, it would crush an armored cable carrying the 600 volt control circuits. The chain then goes up at an angle and is hooked on a rod which is held to the subfloor with small brackets, each held by one wood screw. These brackets would presumably be pulled out of the floor if the chain ever tightened. The 321 has a similar system, which must be seen to be believed. The 308, on the other hand, has a better design that might actually be functional some day. The 309 has a hand brake lever only at the #1 end; the other two cars have hand brakes at both ends.

The 309 and 310 were evidently the last cars to be equipped with 78” wheelbase trucks; the later cars all have 84” wheelbases.

The control fuses in the #2 electrical cabinet are labeled incorrectly: from left to right the stencils say REV, SER, PAR but they are actually Series, Parallel, Reverse. (The ground fuse for the accelerating circuits is combined with the reverse fuse.)

Finally, it should be noted that as minor repairs and replacements were made, there was little or no effort made to preserve uniformity of parts. Typically, if there’s four of anything, they’re of three different types. Examples:
1. The controllers are of different types: at the #1 end is a C6A, at the #2 end is a C6K.
2. The gauge light switches at either end are of two completely different types, in different locations.
3. The latches on the electrical cabinet doors are different.
4. The latches for the folding signs on either end are different, and mounted differently.
5. The four wedge latches on the train doors are of three different types[29].
6. Three or four of the seat backs are a different design (no headroll) from the others. The arm rests are of three different designs, one of which has turned posts (the only wood on the car that was turned on a lathe.) The brass seat handles are of at least two different types.
7. The eight journal box covers are of five different designs. (One of them has “AAR-1947” cast into it in large letters, which provides a terminus a quo for the restoration.)
8. The axle caps are of at least two different types.


Part I: Sale of the CarsQuoting verbatim from 1962 IRM Annual Report, page 18:

309 Report

It has not been without a great deal of difficulty that the Illinois Railway Museum finally possesses an example of the interurban car builder's art from the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railway Company. Since the first check was given to the CA&E as a deposit on #309, the Museum has had one difficulty after another in obtaining its desired unit. Originally, it was decided to obtain one car from the CA&E as a Museum project. However, due to the desirability of obtaining suitable control equipment for the TM cars, it was decided to obtain another car. Additionally, a private group within the Museum became interested in yet another car. Until the beginning of 1962, three deposit checks were being held by the CA&E, waiting for the final abandonment order which would permit final sale.

One day in late December, the car 309 Fund Chairman was notified by a member of a mutually interested organization that our deposit checks were being returned by the CA&E. It was their contention that returning the checks would release the railroad from the obligation to sell the cars to the Museum. Further conversations brought to light the fact that the CA&E Railway had sold ties, rail, overhead and rolling stock to a scrap dealer: Commercial Metals, Inc of Dallas, Texas. Commercial Metals had purchased all the assets of the CA&E, including all rolling stock, which, of course, meant that the cars promised your Museum would be scrapped. (The land and buildings belonged to the Aurora Corp., not the CA&E Ry.)

Your Chairman reported this attempt to "renege" to the Board of Trustees and requested an allocation of $150.00 from the 309 car fund for the purpose of hiring an attorney to proceed with legal action, if necessary, to preserve our right to the 309. Contact had been made with the Chicago office of Commercial Metals, and they quoted a figure of $2,000 for each car, regardless of type or condition. This figure is only four times the price agreed upon by the CA&E Railway. Since the Museum had received a firm letter of commital on both the #309 and the #321, it was decided that the attorney would represent both of these cars for the Museum. The entire situation was discussed with those persons interested in purchasing the third CA&E car, and they decided not to pursue their car and so accepted the returned deposit check. (At a later date another group was able to save CA&E #36). Upon presentation of our letters of contract to counsel, he gave the opinion that our option to purchase the cars was firm and he agreed to represent the Museum in this matter.

It might be well to note here that your Museum was not the only group that found itself in this difficulty. In short order the attorney was representing five other organizations.

After several weeks of negotiation between the CA&E and our counsel, the President of the CA&E agreed that our right was incontrovertable. A bill of sale was drawn up and on February 15, 1962 it was signed and the final payment checks were turned over to the CA&E Ry.

Submitted at the IRM Annual Meeting, October 21, 1962

Part II: Wheaton to North Chicago

Quoting verbatim from Rail & Wire, issue 19 (Warren Cobb, editor):

Saturday, March 31, 1962 was the day. The Museum received a shipment of a quarter dozen cars: Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Nos. 309, 431 & 321. But the last chapter of this story begins eleven days before.

Tuesday, March 21: EJ&E diesel locomotive #212 was delivered to Commercial metals Co. at Wheaton, Illinois for use in dismantling the CA&E.

Wenesday, March 21: All cars were removed from the Wheaton Shops, including our #309.

Saturday, March 24: A crew of Museum members arrived in Wheaton. Howard Odinius and Bob Bruneau concentrated on removing motor brushes and oiling bearings of the trucks of cars #309 and #431. The two finally emerged rather black with grease, but the job was finished. George Clark, Jim Fox, Larry Goerges, Gorgon Geddes and Warren Cobb removed the 3rd rail beams from #309 and put a new side roof of 30 lb felt paper on the “south” side of the car, which had deteriorated during the long years of storage. Other cracks in the roof were fixed with fresh roof mastic; the roof may be waterproof for another year. Early that morning the cars belonging to “RELIC” and “FREEWAY” (#11, #20, #317, #316) were moved to the interchange track, picked up by a C&NW diesel and left Wheaton.

Monday, March 26: George Clark Contacted Mr. R. W. Heron, General Supt. Of Transportation of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway to arrange a similar movement for our cars. Mr. Heron was very affible, he agreed to run the special for the Museum.

Tuesday, March 27: Tom Jervan, as head of the group purchasing #321 for parts for ME 1129, was contacted. Tom had been attempting to arrange a trade with Commercial Metals whereby car #321 would be exchanged for the motors, etc. from car #413, these parts having been completely rebuilt but never used. Unfortunately, Tom had little success. The junk dealer hemmed and hawed, then finally put restrictions on the exchange which Tom was unable to meet.

Wenesday, March 28: Tom Jervan made a last attempt to reach an agreement with the junk dealer. It met with failure. That night Tom approved moving the #321 with #309 & #431. George Clark organized a working party for the following night to prepare #321 for the trip, and Larry Goerges told the junk dealer to get #321 out to the “ready track”.

Thursday, March 29: The junk dealer broke a coupler on #309 while moving a string of cars in the yard. Undaunted by a light rain, chill winds and darkness, the working party consisting of George Clark, Bob Bruneau, Jim Fox and Warren Cobb went to work on #321 at about 7PM. Jim Fox removed the motor brushes while the others removed the 3rd rail beams. The bearings were oiled before the crew left – and our thanks to the Skelly Service Station in Naperville for providing the used oil for the bearings.

Friday, March 30: George Clark phoned Mr. Heron to make the final arrangements for the movement.

Saturday, March 31: Larry Goerges and Warren Cobb arrived in Wheaton at 7 AM to replace the broken coupler on #309. Shortly after Ted Allen arrived to help finish the job. At 8 AM the cars were moved to the interchange. At 9:30 AM the Chicago & Northwestern Railway diesel locomotive (#1650) arrived. The brakes were checked by the C&NW crew, which included a trainmaster. At 9:50 AM the train departed for West Chicago, the nearest siding to the west where the diesel could run around the train. Train “mechanics” for the trip were George Clark, Larry Goerges and Gordon Geddes. At 10:20 AM the special roared past your Editor’s waiting camera and soon into the pages of the Wheaton Paper. At 11:30 AM the train arrived at the Northwestern Station (Madison St.) in Chicago with your Editor in hot persuit. The special layed over in the dark cavern of the station while crews were changed and the “mechanics” had lunch. The faded red and grey cars made quite a contrast with the bright yellow and green C&NW cars.

At 12:40 PM the special moved northward again over the Milwaukee Division, C&NW #1650 the “escort” locomotive again. Your Editor was in hot persuit again. (Why does everyone in Chicago have to be on the Northwest Expressway on Saturday?) At about 2 PM the special arrived in North Chicago, having followed a suburban train. The road crew set the cars out on the siding in North Chicago and left for home. In about 30 minutes the way-freight (consist: one hopper, one boxcar) showed up and moved our cars inside the Chicago Hardware Foundry property. Howard Odinius, Bob Bruneau and others had worked all day Saturday moving the rest of the collection to make room for these cars. CHFX #2 with Howie at the “throttle”, moved the CA&E cars to the Museum yard at 4:00 PM. #309 was in the lead, #431 next and #321 just ahead of #2, grinding along in the rear. The hopes, plans, dreams of five years had come true. Our Museum now includes the best from the CA&E, the “Great Third Rail”.

Ray Neuhaus, our General Manager, informs me that #309 is without a car foreman (a regular member to take charge of the car) to keep it in the good condition it now is in. Any member interested is urged to see Ray.

Comments by the author:

1. From the standpoint of fifty years later, it’s amazing how fast everything moved. A special movement is arranged five days in advance (thanks to the “affible” Super) and runs on time. A mere three days beforehand, when last-minute attempts to make a trade with the “junk dealer” have failed, it is decided to take the 321 along with the other two cars, and IRM members make the necessary preparations the next night. When a coupler on the 309 breaks, it is fixed the morning of the move. The Diesel shows up at 9:30 am, and twenty minutes later the C&NW crew have checked the brakes on the train and are on their way.

2. Of course, it’s also surprising that in those days the C&NW would accept a train of cars with non-standard couplers, non-standard brakes, wooden bodies, cast steel wheels, etc. without hesitation.

3. “Freeway” is a nickname for the Fox River and Eastern Electric project (a.k.a. “Free Line”), which involved several of the same people as Relic. This was the official owner of car 11.

Part III: North Chicago to Union

Unfortunately, the account of the move from North Chicago to Union in Rail & Wire, issue 29, is too long to quote verbatim. The three CA&E cars were moved in the first “hospital train” on May 24th, 1964. This train also included the four CRT wooden cars and the steam locomotive, PS #7. (The locomotive developed hotboxes and had to be set out at West Chicago.) The most preposterous part of this move is that the track the cars sat on had to be disassembled, trucked, and reassembled at the Union site in a few hours while the train was in motion. In the morning, the cars were switched off the storage tracks at Sherwin's foundry, then the rails were taken up and moved to Union. And at that same time, most of the ties were still in the ground at a gravel pit in Algonquin. All of this material was moved to Union and assembled while the cars were en route. By the time the special arrived at 9 PM, the track was ready for the cars to be switched onto the property, onto the same rails they had been sitting on that morning. This was possible partly because the special moved so slowly. John Horachek reported that they were traveling between 10 and 15 MPH even on the center (express) track of the North Western’s west line to West Chicago.

Some of the members put in an unbelievable level of effort that summer to make the move. The list of active participants includes those from the 1962 move, with the addition of some familiar names, such as Bob Rayunec, Jeff Brady, Norm Krentel, and Nick Kallas. Bob Bruneau, in particular, seems to have worked like a madman for several months to accomplish all the tasks required[30].


This section relies on photographic evidence, plus the physical evidence of the remaining parts.

The modifications prior to service were no doubt identical for the two cars. Modifications during service to the 310 included all of the 309 items, plus the following:

1. At some point before 1940 (well before the rebuilding that removed the streamer sash), the 310 had its clerestory blocked off; this must have included at the same time the rebuilding of the ceiling into a flat configuration similar to the 321’s.
2. The interior was repainted in a light tan color; this included all interior trim and the stained glass windows. (Probably about 1950)
3. The dash lights were removed.

These extra modifications are undoubtedly the reason the 309 was selected for preservation. The 310 did not have its oval windows rebuilt, toilet removed, or storm windows removed. Probably the center ceiling globes had been removed before the end of service, as unfortunately none of them were preserved.

The 310 was used on several fan trips over the years, and gained the distinction of being the last car on the railroad to return to Wheaton on July 3, 1957, as it had been assigned to the Batavia shuttle that day and was stored at the junction[31]. Pictures of the 310 near the end of service are here and here.

Note: The text and photo captions in Plachno say that the 310 was used with the 319 on the last fan trip in December 1958, but the photos clearly show this to be in error[32]. The cars used were actually 319 and 320.

When the 309 was acquired by IRM, the Museum was allowed to remove the following parts from the 310 in the fall of 1962, since they had no value as scrap:

1. All ten doors. Part of one train door was used to patch the bottom of the 309’s #2 train door at North Chicago. The smoker bulkhead door and toilet door were installed in the 309 during restoration after the fire. The rest are still in storage.
The 310’s side doors were of a different design than the 309’s: the drop sashes are about 2" wider[33]. One drop sash was cut down and used on the 309 for several years.
2. All three bulkhead windows. The smoker bulkhead window was installed in the 309; the others are in storage.
3. All 14 arched stained glass windows from the interior[34]. Two of these were used to replace the windows at 9-10 and 19-20; the rest are still in storage.
4. About six side windows, mostly outer sash. A few of these were rebuilt and used in the 309; two or three more are still in storage. Like the 309’s, the outer windows are generally deteriorated, and many are patched along the bottom.
5. All or nearly all of the window shade boxes. Since many of these on the 309 were damaged or destroyed, several of the 310’s were stripped of their tan paint and installed during restoration. Also, a large number of the 310’s window shades were used.
6. The car’s elevated license.
7. Miscellaneous parts, such as vestibule fittings, electrical cabinet hardware, and grab irons; generally still in storage.

The car was then scrapped at Wheaton along with the rest of the cars not preserved, in March or April of 1962.


[1] The best and most comprehensive treatment of this railroad and its operations is found in: Plachno, Larry Sunset Lines (2 vols.), American Bus Trader (publ.), 1986 (vol. 1), 1989 (vol. 2). Note that until 1922 the company name was Aurora Elgin and Chicago (AE&C).
[2] With the exception of two parlor cars which were covered with sheet metal and thereafter used with the steel car fleet.
[3] “Streamer” sash is CA&Ese for the exterior leaded glass windows. The etymology of this term is unknown.
[4] Hicks, Randall History of the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works.
[5] Hicks, ibid.; App. A
[6] A typical price at this time was about $5,800 for a somewhat larger car, including trucks.
[7] Electric Railway Review, Vol. XVII, No. 20; Nov. 11, 1907, pp. 782-784.
[8] Plachno, op. cit., Vol. 2, pp. 257-259
[9] CERA (Central Electric Railfans' Association) Bulletin #105: The Great Third Rail, 1961, p. 90 (out of print)
[10] Frank has surmised that this was done after some CA&E cars were used in wartime service on the North Shore. Curves on the elevated structure leading to the loop were slightly sharper, and the pilots had to be modified. This was done to all cars, even though the wood cars were never actually used on the North Shore.
[11] We find that it can be difficult to install and remove the heavy oil marker lights with the brackets in the original position, which is presumably why they were lowered. The flags, of course, are no problem. No one else seems to have noticed this change; all other restored cars still have the brackets in their post-1950 position.
[12] Paint Shop Ledger fromWheaton Shops, 1937-1956 (unpublished manuscript from the Ralph Taylor Collection), p. 9.
[13] Ibid., p. 101.
[14] Ibid., p. 228.
[14A] Cars 24, 38, 201, 300, 307, 310, 311, 312, 313, 317, and 321.
[15] The shorties, of course, were built without toilets, but several later had them installed. It seems likely that the toilets were removed from all of the shorties by the end of service. Cars 20 and 36 both seem to have undergone this process.
[16] Electric Railway Journal; see Plachno, op. cit.
[17] Plachno, ibid., p. 265.
[18] This is clearly shown by the numerous pictures taken on the fan trip of May 19, 1957. See Plachno, ibid., pp. 430-432.
[19] Fundraising letter (by Larry Goerges) in the Hicks Locomotive and Car Works collection, here.
[20] Rail and Wire Issue #19, June 1962. See Appendix B.
[21] Robert E. Bruneau, private communication.
[22] Plachno, ibid, p. 480
[23] Rail and Wire Issue #29, June 1964.
[24] A note in Rail and Wire mentions that after the fire, the Museum’s only other way to have a two-car train was to restore a second North Shore car to service, work that started immediately. This implies that the intention had been to train the 309 with the 431 somehow, since the 321 was hardly available for passenger service. Such a train, of course, would have been completely unprototypical. Rail and Wire Issue #66, Apr. 1971.
[25] Rail and Wire Issue #66, ibid.. Robert Kutella comments:

My recollection of the oil stove is that it had a stovepipe vent out the side of the car through a window blank installed for that purpose. But that did not always preclude fumes and back venting depending on the wind. It usually took some time for the car to warm up to working temperature, so a stove might be started to get that process going while the necessary tools, supplies and other prep work was pursued.

But the car was unattended for a time and somehow some of the fuel oil had leaked or otherwise ignited. Those old oil stoves had a habit of being blown out by a gust of wind down the stovepipe; and if they were really hot, a puddle of oil could form in the firepan (gravity feed from the fuel tank) and could vaporize into a very flammable mist or cloud, and reignite, sometimes explosively, upon contact with hot metal somewhere else in the stove or vent. While there was a lot of blistered paint, and some charring and blistered upholstery, we were also obligated to do some damage (in retrospect) by opening up wall cavities to assure there was no fire there. It was evident there was a lot of heat built up inside the car and there was smoke or steam wisping out of cracks and sill openings everywhere after the main fire was out. A painful memory, mitigated somewhat by your work in undoing the damage and restoring the car.
[26] Author's note: To my knowledge, the Museum never made an official finding on responsibility for this disaster; the majority opinion seems to be that it was the result of lax practices by the Museum in general, not a particular individual. In any case, the Museum immediately moved to ban oil stoves, and nothing similar has recurred.
[27] Witold S. Rayunec, private communication.
[28] This must have been the first time the car had been off its trucks since it left Wheaton.
[29] At least they were when I started. On the #2 end train door, the upper latch rotated in the opposite direction to the others, and tended to lock itself in service. The bottom of the door had a rotating handle on the door frame, of the same type used on the 321 – probably because this door was rebuilt at North Chicago. In 2004 I decided to replace them both with the same type used on the #1 door and the 308, since this is probably the original configuration, and because it’s easier for the operating crews, including myself.
[30] This has nothing to do with the 309, but is too good not to quote:
April 19th: R. Bruneau, R. Rayunec and others were moving the rails donated by Fan Steel Company into the foundry grounds when Bruneau noticed that one length of rail was placed very precariously. As he watched, it began to fall. Using keen observation and brilliant deduction, he instantly placed his right foot at the exactly correct place to cushion the falling rail, thus preventing its total destruction by being dashed against the hard pavement. In recognition of his heroic efforts, Bob was granted a three-week vacation at home, with the privilege of watching his foot un-swell. (Warren Cobb, Rail and Wire issue #29, June 1964)

[31] Plachno, ibid, p. 439.
[32] Plachno, ibid, p. 461.
[33] These doors, of course, were built and installed by the railroad at various times during the 1930’s, which accounts for the difference.
[34] A note in Rail & Wire says: “They got the whole set. This means that some day the 309 can be restored to its original condition.” Perhaps not everybody realized that the outer windows had been a completely different design.

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