Sunday, July 2, 2017


Today was our CA&E day, and everything went well until a little after noon, when we all got a nasty surprise.  Nobody could have seen this coming, but... wait, let's back up.

We started off with the three blue cars (36, 308, and 309) running on the main line, along with the 409 and 460.  It was a bright sunny day, and we had a good crowd of passengers.

And here's our crew.  Regular readers should be able to figure out who we are.

Meanwhile, the 319 was running the Batavia shuttle.

Here is the steel car train loading for its next trip.  The blue cars are in the distance.

Crowds of commuters are boarding the cars as usual.  (The 460 is not on fire, that's the 1630 behind it.)

And people are enjoying their trip on the CA&E as usual...

When all of a sudden....  service is cancelled!   Everybody has to get off the train!   The platform is crowded with angry passengers, furious at their shameful treatment.  It's a good thing Joel knows how to quiet an angry mob (thanks to his many years of working with the rest of us) or there might have been violence.

But orders are orders.  The motorman puts up white flags and runs the empty train back to the shops.

Of course the stranded passengers were quickly picked up by the North Western, which was prepared for such an emergency, it seems.  And since I was busy in train service, I didn't have an opportunity to take many pictures.  We're banking on Chuck Amstein to fill in the gaps.

But since Frank and I were out of a job, we both decided to head down to Mexico to see if we could find work on an electric line there.  Luckily, we got a job running an open car in Vera Cruz, which was entertaining, although quite different from running a train of heavy interurban cars.  Unfortunately, los federales confiscated my camera at the border, so I don't have any pictures of it.  Maybe someone else can fill in, along with pictures of the North Shore cars and IT 101, which were also running during the afternoon.

Frank adds...

I meant to take more photos, and even brought an actual camera, but I was so busy most of the time I just didn't get around to it. Fortunately, as shown above, I didn't need to. But I did end up with a few images from around the property on Sunday.
Zach Ehlers was conductor on the 319 during the morning, with Jeff Obarek as motorman. Zach sent this image of the car in Yard 8 just before going into service.
And another photo from Zach: here it is at 50th Avenue, where the shuttle trips into Union were departing. Red flags are properly posted, of course. Just like Batavia!
I was lucky enough to get a lift out to IRM in style, thanks to our conductor, Greg Ceurvorst, and his 1950 Dodge pickup. We need to get some photos of this beauty in front of the CA&E train at some point.
I also briefly spoke with Tim Peters, who is working on Chicago Elevated Railway 1754 despite a recent bicycle "incident." The tongue-and-groove siding on the right is the first to go onto the car during this restoration project, though Tim pointed out that it's a temporary installation and will be removed prior to a new end beam being installed. I foolishly didn't get a picture but he pointed out the strange way that the door pockets on the car were built; on the outside of the door pocket is a sizable steel plate (now somewhat rusted) with wooden sub-siding boards affixed to the outside of that by means of screws driven in from both the outside and inside. Why did that seem like a good idea? Only Jewett craftsmen would know.

Overall it was a great day; everything seemed to go well and it seemed like we had a good crowd. At one point in the afternoon I was struck by how unique IRM is as I sat in the open car at Depot Street and watched a pageant passing in front of me. The steam caboose train was westbound on the main, the F7 and bi-level set departing on a trip eastbound from Station 1, and the North Shore cars were moving up a few car lengths on Station 2. What a great place. And we'll do it all again Tuesday!


Stephen Karlson said...

A little more here. Stephen Karlson, passenger.

Bob Davis said...

Bob Davis OERM 253: If you were stopped by the Federales, did you ask to see their badges? ("Treasure of the Sierra Madre"/Al "Jazzbo" Collins reference). And the abrupt shutdown of the CA&E came to mind last week when chain of bridal shops filed for bankruptcy and left brides-to-be in anguish because the stores with their wedding gowns were locked up.