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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.

C&NW 411 tows the museum's three bi-level commuter cars past the main station, westbound on the IRM main line. This unit was just repainted from Metra blue into 1970's colors. All photos by Frank Hicks.

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.

Joy Manufacturing 2, a 17-ton Whitcomb, was recently repainted by the IRM Diesel Department. It's really an eye-catcher!

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.

Chicago Surface Lines "Matchbox" streetcar 1374 was one of three Chicago streetcars operating on the trolley loop. This car was recently returned to revenue service after a five-year hiatus.
Illinois Terminal center-entrance car 101, one of the famed "Alton high-speeds," loads passengers at the IRM main depot while SP 1518 makes a move further down the track.
The Illinois Railway Museum's first car, Indiana Railroad 65, loads passengers on Station Track 1. This car recently had its motor-generator set completely rebuilt, making it possible to once again run the car lights among other things.

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.

IRM is the only museum currently capable of operating a three-car wood interurban train in service. Here the museum's three Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars are stopped in front of the main depot on Saturday. All photos by Frank Hicks.
The first five-car North Shore train since 1963 is assembled on the IRM streetcar line prior to its inaugural trip on the main line. Included are cars 251, 757, 714, 160 and 749, all five built by different carbuilders and constructed over a span of 15 years.
CB&Q E5A 9911A brings the "Silver Train" into Station Track 2. This train included CB&Q sleeper "Silver Ridge," SAL diner "Birmingham," UP sleeper "Pacific Peak" and NP slumbercoach "Loch Sloy."

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.

The caboose train, with newly-restored CGW 601 at the west end, is backed into the station by recently-painted CB&Q switcher 9255. The caboose ahead of 601, BRC 223, has also recently had its restoration completed by IRM volunteers.

All in all, it was an impressive showing on the part of the museum and the weekend was greatly enjoyed by all present.