Help Us Bring These Historic Interurban Cars Back to Life
Volunteers at the East Troy Railroad are working to bring two historic interurban railroad cars back into operating condition. Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Car 761 ran on the North Shore Line between the Loop in Chicago and downtown Milwaukee from 1930 to 1963. Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Car 6 ran on the South Shore line between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana from 1926 to 1983.
The East Troy Museum acquired Car 761 from a Michigan museum in 2001 and started initial work to restore the car soon afterward. Volunteers replaced the roof, had new doors made, and purchased fabric to reupholster the seats. Efforts ground to a halt when volunteers discovered structural deterioration on the north end of the car. When a qualified welder joined volunteer team in East Troy, the Board agreed that it was time to restart the restoration work.
Work is progressing well on Car 761, which now has operating brakes, new trolley poles mounted and wired on both ends, new paneling installed inside, clean and level floors awaiting new flooring, and a rebuilt east end structure. We really need funding to pay for the flooring and seat reupholstery!
Car 6 came to the museum in 2010 via the National Park Service at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (now Indiana Dunes National Park). When the South Shore Line’s original 1920s-era cars were replaced by new equipment in 1982 and 1983, a Congressman serving northern Indiana worked to pass a bill to transfer the retired cars to the Park Service. The goal was to establish a museum at Indiana Dunes. Four of the stops on the South Shore line are at stations in or near the dunes. When the planned museum failed to gain funding, the retired cars were transferred to several other museums. The East Troy Railroad received five of the cars, including Car 33, which was restored to service in 2016.
Car 6 needs to have its wheels and trucks refurbished, needs two motors rebuilt, needs its seats reupholstered, needs new flooring, some rewiring, and much cosmetic work to restore its appearance. The pantographs above the car has recently been removed, the seats have been removed from the car, and preparations are being made for a new canvas roof. Two traction motors need to be rebuilt, which is the biggest expense for which we need funding.