28th Annual Meet held in Champaign
The 28th Annual Illinois Traction Society Meet was held in Champaign, Illinois on Saturday, April 12, 2014. A tip’o-the hat and a hearty slap on the back to Stan Rankin who was your host for this most memorable occasion. Held at the Hilton Garden Inn, the event began Friday night with 42 members attending an informal get-together at The Rib-Eye (the Prairie Fire Steak House closed unexpectedly) for great food and camaraderie as old friends met and new acquaintances were made.
At 9 AM Saturday morning, 86 members boarded two buses for a narrated tour with a photo presentation of the route of the ITS through the streets of Champaign, with a photo stop at the Illinois Traction System general offices and station building. The trip continued eastward, paralleling the main line, passing the St. Joseph depot and the C&EI/Freight yard complex at Glover. A stop was made to tour the magnificently restored Fithian Substation. A heartfelt thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Bill Trankina for opening their doors to tour the interior. The trip continued eastward, following the route through Danville and turning south to follow the Ridge Farm branch line. A cross county run was made to pass terminus stations at Catlin and Homer and return to Danville for lunch at the railroad themed restaurant “Jocko’s”. The tour concluded by passing the McKinley built hospital on the U of I campus, Urbana.At 6 PM dinner was served to 93 members in attendance. Following dinner the State of Society reports were given and an excellent evening program “A History of the ITS in Champaign and Urbana” was presented by Dr. George Friedman Jr.
Come join us for the 29th annual meet in Edwardsville!
New Resources To Be Available Soon
The internet has proven to be a great source of information for conducting railroad research as well as a means of communication for Illinois Traction Society members.
To further enhance this channel of information, the society website will add additional links that will feature access to useful information to both the modeler and historian. The Register of Freight Equipment details the freight and work equipment rosters of steam, electric, and diesel eras. Information details the car series, builder dates, length, Capacity, car data , and assignment. The Roster of Stations is an entire system list of stations by division and an alphabetically listed section. The roster lists the station distance, and information about most locations. In addition, there will also a roster of sub stations, interlockers and block signals. The Plat Maps are a complete set of 1927 system blueprint maps showing distances from each siding of the Electric Division.
The Summer 2014 issue of the Phone Booth is scheduled for delivery July 31st.The 2015 ITS Monthly Wall Calendar will be available September 1st.
The Fall 2014 issue of The Flyer is due out November 1st.
On The Property
St. Louis: Work is continuing on the former elevated structure, converted to a biking trail. The Elevated Overhead Wire Supports are undergoing a transition to “beautify and make practical” uprights. From the area south of Branch Street, the posts are retaining their original appearance.
St. Louis: Work has begun on filling in the IT’s subway between O’Fallon Street and Convention Plaza (Delmar Ave) with foam blocks. IT members in attendance to the 24th annual meet were the last group of IT enthusiasts to view this subway before this project began.
Illinois Traction Society Presentations
One of the functions of the society is the “Preservation and Presentation of ITS History” which is accomplished by presenting custom tailored programs to various groups, free of charge. Here are some of the programs that were presented on behalf of the Society:
Norfolk Southern Debuts Illinois Terminal Heritage Unit
Norfolk Southern is honoring its predecessor railroads during 2012, its 30th anniversary year, by painting 20 new locomotives in commemorative schemes that reflect the heritage of those predecessors.
On June 26, 2012, NS 1072, an
EMD SD70ACe, unit was released from the Progress Rail Services’
facility in Muncie, Ind. The heritage locomotives will be used to haul
freight across Norfolk Southern’s 20,000-mile, 22-state network.
And, late on the evening of June 26, 2012 comes this photo.
ITS Brewster Green Paint Available
The Illinois Traction Society still has an ample supply of custom-made Brewster green paint available for the modeler! The paint comes in a 1oz. plastic bottle and is matched to the Brewster green formula devised by William Clouser. It is an easy-to-use acrylic paint compatible with Badger Modelflex. Available now for $6.50 each (limit of four per order) plus $2.50 per order for shipping and handling. Allow two-three week delivery via USPS. Make your check or money order payable to Illinois Traction Society and send to:
Michael D. Fortney
ITS BG Paint
9089 Hardesty Run
Bloomington, IL 61705-6975
The IT IN Miniature
For Illinois Terminal modelers, Bluford Shops is decorating their “Version 1” (short-body bay window all-steel) caboose. This should be a nice stand-in for the wood-bodied, steel bay window prototype. It will be available in 2 road numbers. HO Scale: 31090 Illinois Terminal #805; 31091 Illinois Terminal #804. N Scale: 21080 Illinois Terminal #805; 21081 Illinois Terminal #804. Several Illinois Terminal locomotive runs have been produced in both scales in recent years by multiple manufacturers.
For further information, see http://www.bluford-shops.com/bluford_93_035.htm or contact Bluford Shops Sales Office: Ph. 618-822-6833 BlufordSteve@gmail.com or Production Office: Craig@bluford-shops.com or their Mailing Address: Bluford Shops, P.O. Box 152, Bluford, IL 62814
Inter Mountain: Available November-December, Modified 1937 AAR Boxcar, lettered Illinois Terminal with white oval emblem. The six car numbers are; 6304, 6327, 6323, 6412, 6459 and 6473. To order; “HO” 45826 ($29.95) and “N” 65826 ($19.95). POB 839, Longmont, CO 80502, phone 800-472-2530 www.intermountain-railway.com
On The Trail
Word has been announced that an agreement has been reach with
grant permission to build a hiking/biking trail between Sherman and
Williamsville north of Springfield. Speculation is that an
additional trail will be built south from Lincoln to connect at
Williamsville. The eventual goal will be to have a trail from
downtown St. Louis to Lincoln, in part restoring the former IT right of
Illinois Terminal Sign Restoration
The St. Louis Museum of Transportation Trolley Volunteers (MTTV) have undertaken the restoration of the Illinois Terminal Central Terminal Building sign which hung over 12th Street for many years. This sign is significant not only as memorabilia from the Interurban Age, but also as an early use of neon in advertising displays. The Trolley Volunteers will clean and stabilize the sign structurally and restore the neon lettering on both sides of the sign. It will then be permanently displayed undercover in The Roberts Building near the trolley stop at the East end of the Museum grounds with an interpretive sign. In the shadow of the Roberts' Building, the sign will glow warmly even on the brightest days.
It is estimated that the cost of this project, including the electrical to light the sign, is about $4000. Anticipating an enthusiastic response from the local railfan community, we are already proceeding with this project. We expect to complete the work by November of this year. If anyone has information on the history of the sign, we would like to hear from you. We do not have accurate data on when the sign was installed or removed. The Trolley Volunteers would welcome any financial contributions to this effort. Neil Norkaitis is the co-ordinator of this restoration effort and for additional information or to make a contribution, please send to:
Donations Sought for ITC GP7 Restoration
The Illinois Railway Museum, Union, Illinois, is home of the only surviving Illinois Terminal GP7, No. 1605, formerly 1506. A new traction motor and generator have been obtained to place this locomotive back in service, but funding is lacking to complete the restoration. All labor is a volunteer effort. If work can be completed, the unit will be part of the “Take the Throttle” of the 25th ITS annual meet, April 30, 2011. Please send your donation payable to Illinois Railway Museum and notation marked “ITC 1605” and send to:
Illinois Railway Museum
IRM a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax deductible.
The Reincarnation of the IT’s 2301
For those in attendance of the Illinois Traction Society 24th Annual Meet, they were surprised with the unveiling of a replica of the Illinois Terminal No. 2301. This magnificently painted locomotive rolled into a grassy, open area to the delight of the oohhs and ahhhs of the 88 members present. To further thrill the crowd, ITS Secretary and engineer Judy Jenkins revved up the motor, resulting in the sounds of applause and group approval of this revived Illinois Terminal heritage. The event was concluded with a group photo and memories for a lifetime. However, as Paul Harvey would have said, “…and now for the rest of the story”.
Last summer, Terry Respondek, President of the Respondek Short Line Railroad and a member of the Illinois Traction Society, expressed an interest to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Illinois Terminal, but in a unique manner. As an IT fan and former employee (engineer), his fleet of locomotives bears resemblance to the Illinois Terminal heritage of green and yellow; with stripes. From this the idea was presented to paint a Respondek locomotive in the original delivery scheme.
Based on company records, the original paint color was matched and lettering decals were created using original IT blueprints. Former Union Pacific/C&NW 3086, an SD40-2, (the IT 2301 was an SD39) was used for repainting.. A crew of volunteers converged on the locomotive and in a short time, had reincarnated 2301. The June 2010 (Number 373) issue of Railroads Illustrated pages 16-17 provides an interesting article with photos about the effort to place this unit in service.
Articles Published in Trains Magazine
The July 2012 issue of TRAINS magazine features an article “From Desk to Diesel: One Engineer’s Story” written by ITS Secretary Judy Jenkins. The 6-page story describes the training and related events for Judy to train to become an FRA Certified Class I engineer. This is a most interesting story to capture the spirit to fulfill a lifelong dream as she puts you in the engineer seat for an experience of a lifetime.
The February 2012 issue of TRAINS Magazine, page 9, features a story covering the Illini Terminal Railroad dedication at Litchfield, Illinois. The article briefly describes the story of the operation of the line and the history of the Illinois Terminal clad paint scheme locomotive. The Fall 2011 issue of the FLYER, page 46, also offers further insight to this Illinois Terminal revived heritage road with photos and story.
Best described as the misadventures of an Amtrak On Board Service Director, the July and August 2010 issues of TRAINS magazine is publishing an article written by ITS Editor Dale Jenkins. In 1974, this writer resigned his position as Special Agent for the Illinois Terminal to pursue a career with the fairly newly created Amtrak as an On Board Service Director. What followed was series of true misadventures in the performance of his duties. Near the end of that year, reorganization would end the dream/nightmare and return Dale to the home rails of the Illinois Terminal.
Illinois Terminal 277 Runs Again!
Illinois Railway Museum resident passenger motor 277 has once again come to life as her wheels churned over the rails of the museum, pulling the life giving power from the overhead wire to excite every railfan's interest for the first time in 29 years. On October 4, 2008, 277 with trailer 518 in tow made four round trips on the main line of the IRM. This special event was the official makeup day for the rained-out Member's Showcase Weekend activities of September 13-14. Thanks goes to Rod Turner, Electric Car Department Curator, and his talented staff of volunteers whose work started on the 277 earlier in the year and continued throughout the summer with a goal of operating the 277 and 518 for Member's Showcase Weekend. Overall, the car was not in too bad of shape, but some of the air and electrical components needed to be cleaned and "exercised" to overcome nearly 20 years of "sit-itis". Contactors were cleaned, fuses replaced, bearings polished and lubricated. One of the most vexing problems was an air brake problem that caused the 277 to go into emergency application and then make it nearly impossible to "recover" brake pipe pressure. The problem was found and corrective measures were taken.
While the interior of 518 is in decent condition, much of the interior of the 277 is disassembled from an aborted restoration project that was started years ago. The original canvas roof is leaky and needs replacement and a proper restoration would entail the inspection, removal, renewal and refinishing of literally hundreds of metal and wood parts on both cars. If any ITS members would like to support the continued care and further restoration of these cars, a donation can be sent to the Museum and stipulate that it go specifically to the IT 277, 518 or any other IT piece of equipment in IRM's collection.
Illinois Railway Museum
The museum is a 501 (c)(3) charitable
organization. All donations are tax deductible.
Illinois Terminal 170 "BosenBirney" Safety Car
Recently an interesting and important development has
come to light. A group in Northern Texas has taken the lead,
obtained all important grant funding, to help with the research and
pattern work to have new journal boxes cast for the Brill 79E type
truck used under many of the "Birney" single-truck streetcars.
"Progress and support for this idea has been remarkable, and not just from the friends and members of the electric car department. As of this evening (ed., 11/15/2006), we have donations and pledges for donations from 22 people. You know who you are and a heartfelt thanks. If you have pledged a donation but not yet sent it, please do so as soon as you can. Timing is very tight to draft an IRM check and get the deposit down to Texas.
For those of you able and willing help with this effort, the immediate need is to GET THE JOURNAL BOXES. Checks may be made payable to "Illinois Railway Museum". The funds should be noted on the memo line or with a cover note that they are to be considered a RESTRICTED donation to the IT 170 or to the fund R170, for those accounting types. The address for IRM is:
The museum is a 501 (c)(3) charitable
organization. All donations are tax deductible.
Go to http://www.irm.org/cgi-bin/rsearch.cgi?estreet=Illinois+Terminal+Railroad=170 to see this car on the Illinois Railway Museum web site With our help, this car can once again run in the Illinois countryside!
The ITS Trail Committee Inc. is a not-for-profit organization composed of dedicated volunteers from Staunton, Sawyerville, Benld, Gillespie, Carlinville, Edwardsville and St. Louis. Although the organization only came together in January, 2006 it has already garnered the endorsement of many organizations, municipalities and governmental agencies in the area. Since the trail from Worden to Staunton is already approved and funded and the trail from Benld to Gillespie has been in existence for several years, this project will provide the key missing link between the two. It is reported that the Madison County Transit District is planning to connect Worden with the closest trail which ends just southwest of Hamel.
The next major goal is to raise $15,000 to pay for a preliminary engineering study the results of which will be used in a grant application for funds to complete the construction phase of the trail. As a fund raiser, the group is inviting donors to advertise on a Safety Vest which is bright yellow with reflector strips. These vests provide excellent visibility for Morning walkers during dark winter morning walks and runs. They are also a good idea for bicyclists in almost any weather and are available for $35 each. Polo shirts are also available in sizes S/M/L for $23 and XL/XXL for $26.00. These tastefully done polo shirts and vests will make great Christmas presents for your loved ones! For additional information, to join, or to order a vest or polo shirts visit the group's web site at http://www.its-trail.org/.
Sam Nagy Wins State Contest For IT Drawing
Each year the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Coal Development sponsors a contest for all Illinois Junior High School science students. The students are to create poster size drawings of some aspect of history and importance of Illinois coal mining. Thirteen winners are chosen to have their art put on the annual Office of Coal Development calendar.
Sam Nagy, son of ITS member Frank Nagy, was one of the 13 winners out of 1,500 entries to have his drawing put on the 2011 calendar. Sam’s drawing depicts a 1940’s era coal mine in the background with coal hoppers being loaded at the tipple. The tracks lead to the mine are under wire, and an Illinois Terminal Class “D” freight motor sits in the foreground waiting to pick up the loaded hoppers.
The thirteen winners were honored at a reception on May 7th at the Governor’s mansion in Springfield. Each one received a fifty-dollar savings bond and a certificate of achievement signed by Governor Quinn.
It is fitting that the Illinois Terminal be represented on the coal mining calendar because of the railroad’s long association with the coal industry in Illinois. A tip o’the hat and a hardy slap on the back with hearty congratulations to Sam!!
Announcing the new Illinois Central Railroad Heritage Association
Excitement is building around the formation of the new Illinois Central Railroad Heritage Association! The ICRHA is dedicated to preserving and disseminating the history of the Illinois Central Railroad, its predecessors and successors including the Chicago Central & Pacific, Illinois Central Gulf, Paducah & Louisville, Mid-South, and IC lines now operated by Canadian National.
Everyone is invited to join and share the benefits of membership which include the Mid-American, an excellent full-color quarterly journal, an annual calendar, an annual convention, and more. Regular membership costs only $34.00 per year. Sustaining membership is $65.00 and includes the annual calendar (to be published for 2008). Members with addresses outside of the United States pay $58.00 and $89.00 respectively. Join now and the first issue of the Mid-American will be sent to you right away (while supplies last). Articles in the premier issue focus on the Paducah & Louisville Railroad, the Seminole, and the Dodgeville, Wisconsin branch.
The ICRHA is not affiliated with the Illinois Central Railroad, its successors or parent companies, or any other historical society. It is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation chartered in the state of Illinois. Checks or money orders in U.S. dollars should be sent to: ICRHA Membership Services P.O. Box 47 Bucklin, MO 64631.
©Illinois Traction Society, This Page Updated July 1, 2014