The Illinois Railway Museum has been given the opportunity to purchase an historic interurban car from the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway. The interurban car, CA&E 453, was built in 1946 by the St. Louis Car Company. It ran between Chicago and the western suburbs from 1946 until July 1, 1957, when all passenger service on the CA&E was abruptly terminated. After that the car was acquired by Trolleyville USA, a privately-owned trolley museum on the outskirts of Cleveland, where it was stored in original condition for some 40 years. The car was sold in 2009 to the Electric City Trolley Museum of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which has stored the car indoors since that time.
Car 453 is complete and in original condition, still wearing its 1950s paint job applied by the Wheaton shops of the CA&E. Needing only minor repair work and cosmetic restoration, it is expected that the car can be put into public service on IRM’s main line. Car 453 will join four other CA&E steel cars in the museum’s collection. With the acquisition of this fifth car, IRM will be able to recreate the five-car “Cannon Ball” high-speed express train for which the CA&E was famous.
The acquisition of car 453 is dependent on whether funds can be raised to pay for its purchase and transportation home to Illinois. The total cost is expected to be roughly $25,000. All contributions to the acquisition of this historic car are greatly appreciated.