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Special Events
From Rail & Wire Issue 68, June 1971

Museum gets T.V. coverage: The month of July has been a prosperous month for the museum as far as publicity goes. The big event was on July 6 when T. V. newsman John Drury from channel 7 was scheduled to visit I. R. M.

At 9:30 a.m., Drury and cameramen arrived, and needless to say, the museum was ready for them. The filming took well over an hour, and the entire museum was never more alive. The main T. V. shooting was made inside of C. S. L. car No. 144. With Ray Zelinski, the motor man, and John Nicholson, the conductor, Zelinski received the comment from newsman Drury that he had that "motor man's touch." Also in the coverage there were some real good shots of our steam train, which consisted. of the C. B. & Q. coaches, and steam engine #101. Our steam crew was ready for the action, and made plenty of smoke and noise for the camera crew.

All of this hard work and picture taking lasted only 2 minutes and 5 seconds on the actual televised coverage, but the shots taken and scenes shown of the museum, the people operating, the equipment used, did great justice to both the museum and the camera crew, and to John Drury, who made the whole event possible.

Once a year the village of Union stages a celebration that increases the town's population twenty-fold. This celebration is called Schwabenfest and is the equivalent of a homecoming. The celebration is highlighted by the festivities at the park where beer and brat stands, amusement rides, contests, and many other activities are available for the public. This year Schwabenfest was held on Sunday, July 25 and as in past years, it proved to be the museum's largest day in terms of attendance and operations. The operations department prepared for the event by having the new timetable printed and distributed to the operating personnel. An informal briefing was held the night before for all the members explaining the new timetable and the next day's operation. A look of awe came over many members' faces when they looked over the number of pages in the timetable covering lust this one day's operation, but upon explanation by the operating department (Frank Jur), an air of confidence pervaded among the members. Schwabenfest Sunday entailed some movements which were new to museum operations and went off smoothly due to the new timetable and briefing. The equipment used for the occasion was: Streetcars, Chicago Surface Lines 144, Milwaukee & Suburban Transport #972, Illinois Terminal #415, Interurban cars Chicago Aurora & Elgin #431, a two-car train composed of Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee #160 & 714 (see car dept. news), and a three car elevated train with the Chicago Rapid Transit cars #1024, 1268, and 1808. The largest train in terms of cars and seating capacity was the steamtrain with the three C. B. & Q. coaches #6144, 6148, 6167, and the parlor observation car "Chief Illini" bringing up the rear. Motive power for the steam train was the Tuskegee 101 with the K. I. & L. #5 fired up for standby power.

Operations centered around the station with the steam train loading on station track 2, the interurbans (which were run in two sections), loading on station track 1, the elevated train loading on the east leg of the wye, and the three streetcars loading on the west leg of the wye. The steam train, interurbans, and the "els" made east line runs, and the streetcars made west line runs. Hotspot of the whole operation was the west switch, where everything had to be funneled through in order to get back into the station; and in the case of the streetcars, both into and out of the station. Controlling movements over this hotspot was the chief dispatcher (Frank Jur) who coordinated the whole show through the use of a field telephone set connected to the station dispatcher and train caller (Nick Kallas). Unenvied position of the day was held by Pete Schmidt who beside his official job of dispatching the streetcars, wound up directing people and answering questions. His job was made pleasant (?) though due to the location of the calliope being nearby. Communication with Pete was accomplished by standing next to him and shouting into his ear.

One of the interesting movements of the day involved the "el" cars, which would use station track #2 in order to return to the wye east leg loading area. As the steam train would be pulling out, the "el" train was pulling in behind it in order to run around the interurbans on station track #1. They would then continue on and pull out onto the main and make a reverse movement into the east leg of the wye.

In all, there were 154 scheduled train movements this day, and everything went smoothly. Patronage for a single day reached an all-time high of over 4,200 riders. The weatherman cooperated by providing a bright, clear, sunny--and depending upon where you were--hot day. The operation was a total museum project, and the success gained was due to the efforts of all of the members, regular and associate, who turned out to make this our biggest day ever.

From the Rail & Wire Issue 68, June 1971


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