Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bring Car 453 to IRM!

When the first St. Louis cars were delivered, 451 and 453 were coupled together
 to make the inaugural trip, as seen here.   Johnson Collection

Not only was 453 on the inaugural trip for the St. Louis cars,
it was also on the last.  Oct. 26, 1958.   Robert Heinlein photo

We have been given the exciting opportunity to purchase CA&E car 453 from the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton.  This car is essentially identical to our 451 and 460, and would give us the ability to run a five-car train of steel cars.  It was initially acquired by Gerry Brookins, but never restored or used in passenger service.  But it has been stored under cover since leaving Wheaton, and is in very good condition considering how little work has been done on it.

In 2010 it was acquired by Electric City, but they never got around to restoring it, and they need the space for more locally-based equipment, so they have generously offered it to us.

The car is complete, and the interior is actually somewhat better than either of our present cars, I think.

And all of the mechanical equipment is in place.  There are a couple of known problems which we're sure we can fix.  And it has really good wheels!

The IRM Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of this car, with an important catch: "at no cost to the Museum."  That means we have to raise the necessary money for purchase of the car, movement to Union, and track space from YOU, our friends and supporters.   Frank and I will certainly contribute, but we can't do it alone.   The total cost is estimated to be about $25,000.  If you have any questions about this project, just add a comment to this post and we'll try to answer it quickly.

You can send your tax-deductible contribution to IRM, and be sure it's clearly labeled for "Car 453".

Update:  Electric City kindly gave us permission to use pictures from their website.  That includes this nice drawing:

You will note that it was drawn for PST in 1961.  Presumably they were thinking about acquiring these cars, which would have been modified the way the Electroliners later were: remove the steps, extend the floors out, remove the poles, etc.  That would have made the cars a lot harder to restore!


Anonymous said...

Is there a time deadline to this acquisition?
C Kronenwetter

Randall Hicks said...

We would like to do this as quickly as possible, since Electric City wants to use their barn space for other equipment. But there's no hard and fast deadline approaching. Anything by the end of this week would be fine. :)

Ted Miles said...

I think the IRM would be great place to run a five-car Interurban train! It has the large amount of power available from a CA & E substation and the tracks under wire to run the cars. It would be a new record for Interurban preservation! And I am sure it would put a smile of the face of the late Julie Johnson to see another of his beloved C A & E cars go home to Illinois!

Ted Miles, IRM Member

lee wells said...

I made a contribution, as this is a worthy goal, and I'd love to see a five car interurban train, especially one of CA&E cars. For that matter, I'd love to see a FOUR car steel train, and that looks at least physically possible soon. With so much of CA&E's remaining rolling stock at IRM, I'm wondering if the cars are stored in more than one barn, to keep from having all "eggs in one basket'. Thanks again for this informative blog.

Randall Hicks said...

That's great, and our thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!

Anonymous said...

Assuming you were to get this car delivered yet this summer, Randy, is it close enough to being operable to be running on Members weekend?
C Kronenwetter

Randall Hicks said...

That's very unlikely, I'm afraid. Among other things, it has to be partly disassembled for movement, then put back together. And there are a few things to be fixed, and it needs to be painted. And beyond that, the 451 is next in line to be restored to operation. But the 453 will not be neglected, we can promise you that.

Phil Mulligan said...

You were right that PST was looking at the newest CA&E cars before they bought the Electroliners. They would have been for the ex-Philadelphia & Western Norristown Line which is Standard RR gauge and covered overrunning third rail (unlike Chicagoland's open overrunning third rail). The Liberty Liners were great to ride but really unsuited to the P&W operation while the Bullet cars were a perfect fit.

The Electric City line in Scranton uses part of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley interurban and the CA&E cars are similar to the L&WV's cars. Indeed, had L&WV bought new cars after WWII, it may well have been as an add-on to the CA&E order.

Phil Mulligan