RyPN Briefs September 24, 2006
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IRM Members Day Weekend
The weekend of September 16-17 was the Illinois Railway Museum's annual Members Day Weekend, also known fittingly as Museum Showcase Weekend. This year the event featured quite a few rarely-seen pieces of equipment as well as a couple of debuts for the museum.
The highlight of the museum was the debut of IRM's recently repainted Chicago & North Western F7A number 411. It was unveiled in dramatic fashion in front of the main station around noon on Saturday, pulling a matching three-car set of C&NW bi-level commuter cars. The restoration of this locomotive to its 1970's appearance gives IRM one more fully authentic trainset. The bi-level train operated through the remainder of the weekend in service.
Another debut was Joy Manufacturing 2, the diminutive Whitcomb switcher that was recently painted and is currently being lettered. It was on display for much of the weekend and operated at night on Saturday as well.
A variety of electric cars ran in continuous operation. CTA "L" cars operated throughout the weekend, and the streetcar line was an all-Chicago operation as three Chicago streetcars ran in service. Illinois Terminal center-entrance interurban car 101 was in operation as was Indiana Railroad 65, the first car ever acquired by IRM back in 1953. A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood interurban train operated briefly on Saturday and IRM's steel CA&E car ran in service as well. On Saturday night, a five-car train of North Shore interurban cars was assembled and operated on the main line to the amazement of those watching the ammeter in the IRM substation. It is thought that this was the first operation of a functional five-car North Shore train since the railroad shut down in January 1963.
Several unusual trains operated on the main line in addition to the C&NW commuter train. Burlington E5A 9911A pulled a four-car train of postwar stainless-steel cars in service. These cars, which were used in the filming of the movie "Flags of our Fathers" a year ago, have seen extensive interior work in recent years. A demonstration freight train was towed for photography purposes by the first SD7 ever built, SP 1518. A caboose train was also run for visitors; this train included two recently-outshopped cabooses, Chicago Great Western 601 and Belt Railway of Chicago 223. Finally, a four-unit lash-up of F7's was used to pull an impressive eight-car heavyweight coach train including an RPO, combine, and of course the requisite open-platform observation car on the tail end.
All in all, it was an impressive showing on the part of the museum and the weekend was greatly enjoyed by all present.
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