Monday, March 23, 2015

Dick Lukin and the CTA

Our good friend Dick Lukin recently read my post looking for information on CSL 2843 and sent me a letter with a great story about the car which he gave me permission to post.  -Frank

The E223 being unloaded at North Chicago; photo courtesy Charles S. King

Dick writes:

I noted your request for pix or information on the two 2800s languishing in our barns.  I DO have color pix and perhaps some B&W pix of the 2843.  In 1956 when I got out of the army, I wanted to buy that car for the museum.  The TA quoted me a price of over eight hundred bucks for the car... reason, it had four motors (keep this in mind).  Well I did NOT have eight hundred bucks to spend, but since I was always interested in sweepers, we saw that the E223 was in excellent condition having been kept inside a carbarn all these years.  It was a complete operational car... ready to run!  Cost on this car was only $407.  Why so cheap... the TA listed it as having only two motors.  What the hell did the "Mart" know about cars... not a damn thing.  These sweepers do have four motors... two traction motors and two for the brooms... ha ha, plus the entire frame is of iron or steel, while the 2843 is WOOD.  So easy decision... I cut a check from my savings account at the First National Bank of Chicago for the $407 and sent it to the CTA at the Mart.  For freight to the IERM site in North Chicago, Carl Gustafson paid Helder's trucking invoice.

Later on... the boys from Downers Grove bought the 2800s, the F305 plow and the X4 crane, the Matchbox, etc.  What was a surprise to me was that in the lineup of cars going to the fire pit at 77th Street hops later in 1958 were cars which we thought had been destroyed long before... there was a 5650 car... one of the St. Louis built cars from the Southern Railway, the long bodied car.  I had NEVER ever saw that car in service (during WWII) or later in prowling around various barns.  Why all of us had never spotted the car in the burn line is still a mystery to me.  That car would have been a special attraction.

Dick Lukin

For a photo of a 5650-series "Crete suburban car" click here.

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