Sunday, September 22, 2013

CERA 75th Anniversary Visit

This year marks 75 years for the Central Electric Railfan's Association, and on Saturday they visited IRM.  Several special trains were run, and our staff photographer, Chuck Amstein, was there to record the action for you.

These images are copyrighted by the photographer and may not be reproduced without permission.

First, here is the video.

The South Shore cars were running for the public for the first time in many years.  Chuck says he had never ridden them at IRM, so he was especially glad to be able to ride them again after about 40 years.

Jeff Obarek was the motorman.

And here's my old friend Jerry Kosinski, perhaps the biggest South Shore fan I know, whom I hadn't seen for several years.


Bruce Duensing said...

I have a question that arose from the wonderful photos of the CA&E steels cars in the operating consist.

From the books I have on this road, one of the issues that allegedly led to cessation of service was the CTA decision to ban wood cars.

Did the CA&E roster of steel cars at that time provide enough capacity for schedules to be maintained without wood cars?

From a historical perspective, I have never found this question answered.

Randall Hicks said...

Bruce: I am usually reluctant to try answering this type of question because there's no sure way to know what might have been if conditions were different. There are so many ramifications. But since you ask, here goes:

I suppose that a reduced level of service could have been provided with only the steel cars if management had really wanted to continue rail service. For instance, you would probably want to end all passenger service west of Wheaton. That might enable service east of Wheaton to be continued at nearly the same level.

But the line would have continued to lose money under any circumstances. And management was determined to terminate rail service by any means necessary, and the CTA wanted them gone and had no incentive to be cooperative, so when permission to abandon was granted, it took about 15 minutes to put it into effect. That shows you how strongly they felt about it.

So the only way service could have been continued in 1957 was for a government agency to take over, and that wasn't going to happen given the political landscape at that time. So the question of being able to run wood cars on the CTA is really inconsequential: abandonment was inevitable.

My opinion only. Not an official ruling by IRM.

Bruce Duensing said...

Thank you. I suspected the service could have continued with the steel cars, but , as you say, this was a moot point in the larger picture.

There are enough "ifs" to fill an encyclopedia as with it's sister road, the North Shore Line.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I agree with your comments regarding the CTA. Once the City took over the CRT, there was a definite change of attitude and they were no longer interested in hosting "tenant" railroads such as the CA&E and North Shore.