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NRHS 2021 East Troy Electric Railroad and NRHS Banquet 8/25/2021



by Chris Guenzler



I woke up and went to Dunkin' Donuts again and worked on my story from yesterday. Elizabeth went to the hotel's restaurant for the buffet breakfast. I worked until 7:30 AM before I went downstairs and was the first person on the bus after they tore off my ticket. We drove for about 45 minutes to East Troy, the bus parked and turned us loose.

East Troy Electric Railroad History

The East Troy Electric Railroad is an interurban heritage railroad owned and operated by the East Troy Railroad Museum. Passenger excursions run on a 7-mile stretch of track from East Troy, Wisconsin to Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

The line dates back to 1907, when it was a part of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company line from East Troy to Milwaukee.

The East Troy-Mukwonago segment was purchased by the Village of East Troy in 1939, when the remainder of the line to Hales Corners was abandoned. Under terms of the purchase, it was operated by TMER&L crews for ten years. In 1949, TMER&L declined to renew the agreement for another ten years and the village hired its own crew and operated the railroad from 1950 until 1985. This is when the railroad became the Municipality of East Troy Wisconsin Railroad and adopted the reporting symbol METW. In 1985 the village approached the Wisconsin Trolley Museum and asked them to take over the operation of the railroad. They agreed to do so, and moved their collection of trolleys to East Troy.

Museum operations began over the line as early as 1967 when The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society relocated its collection of electric railway equipment from North Freedom, Wisconsin to East Troy. TWERHS operated over the line using a trackage rights agreement with the village until 1984, when the trackage rights agreement ended and the Wisconsin Trolley Museum began to operate the line as the East Troy Electric Railroad. The Friends of East Troy Railroad Museum, Inc. purchased the rail line from the village and also purchased the trolley collection of Paul Averdung between 1995 and 2000 in stages.

Current operation

The East Troy Railroad Museum operates a museum and just over 7 miles of track offering rides on a weekly basis during the spring through fall season. The original substation building in East Troy, Wisconsin is used as a ticket office and museum, and visitors can purchase rides to the Elegant Farmer store at Phantom Woods, and to Indianhead Park in Mukwonago. A collection of approximately 30 pieces of electric railway equipment is kept in storage barns in downtown East Troy and at Phantom Woods. The museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation run by volunteers. The substation, located at 2002 Church Street in East Troy, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Route description

The railway itself is a standard gauge common carrier railroad that operates in interchange with Canadian National Railway (formerly a connection to Wisconsin Central Ltd.). This gives the East Troy electric railroad the ability to pick up and deliver freight (including fertilizer for the Farmers Co-op, sand for the local Ready-Mix, and lumber and steel tubing) to the village of East Troy. However, the railroad has not been used to carry freight for at least ten years.

Much of the track is original and the rail bed was refurbished during the mid-1990s. The line is completely electric, utilizing a 600 V direct current system. Power is supplied to trolleys and interurban railroad cars through overhead wires. The original 500 kW rotary converter motor-generator is no longer used and is on display at the museum.

Our Visit

I walked off the bus and said hello to my good friend Steve Berry before beginning my photography here.





Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad 761 Steel Interurban built in 1930 by the Standard Steel Car Company. This car was the most recent car that has restored to service.





Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company Street Car 846 built in 1920 by the St Louis Car Company.





Chicago Elevated 4420 {CTA} Rapid Transit Car built in 1924 by the Cincinnati Car Company.





The car barn in East Troy.





Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad 761 and the Lauber Ice Cream Parlor building.





The Historial sign about the East Troy Railroad.





The story of the Canadian National delivering the South Shore Cars here to East Troy.





The East Troy former Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company substation now a museum and gift shop.





My motorman for my first ride.





The route from the car barn in East Troy.





The control stand in the B end of the car was not in use on this trip. I received permisson to stand and take pictures as we went down the line eastbound.





The NRHS members listening to the conductor's safety briefing he does before every trip. Now let's sit back and take a trip on the East Troy Trolley museum to the east car barn at the Elegant Farmer Deli.

































































The trip down the tracks to the Elegant Farmer Deli to where the train normally takes you.





The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company line car D-23 built in 1927 by the TMER&L.





Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company Street Car 846.







Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad steel interurban 30 built in 1929 by the Standard Steel Car Company.





Two views of Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee 761. I next visited Elegant Farmer before returning trackside.





Chicago Elevated 4420. We took this car back to East Troy.





The Elegant Farmer station. The east car barn was now open so I walked back down there to photograph what was in there.





The only diesel this group ones Plymouth CM.





Chicago Elevated {CTA} Rapid Transit Car 4439 built in 1924 by the Cincinnati Car Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad steel interurban 6 built in 1926 by the Pullman Car Company.





The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company 50 steeplecab locomtive L9 built in 1944 by TMER&TETER Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Steel Interurban car 23 built 1927 by the Pullman Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Steel Interurban car 33 built 1929 by the Pullman Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend trailer 203 built in 1927 by the Pullman Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend combine car 107 built 1927 by the Pullman Company.





The view from the Chicago Elevated Car 4420.





The interior of Chicago Elevated Car 4420. We returned back west to East Troy.





The former substation as we arrived in East Troy.





Out of the car barn peeked the lunch train I would be taking.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Diner 24 "Beverly Shores" and 25 "Ravenswood".





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Diner 24.





Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee 761 returns to the car shop.





Chicago Elevated 4420 returns to near the car barn.







Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Diner 24 "Beverly Shores" and 25 "Ravenswood" and rebuilt into a diner in 1940 by ETER.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Diner 24 "Beverly Shores" built in 1927 by the Pullan Company and rebuilt into a diner in 1940 by ETER.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Diner 25 "Ravenswood" built in 1927 by the Pullan Company.



The train headed to the boarding area where I boarded my lunch train at East Troy.





NRHS members in this unique Car 24.





NRHS members at my table as our conductor took the picture.





The other NRHS members sitting diagonally opposite from our table. I had meatloaf which was excellent and lemonade to drink.











The Lower Phantom Lake was near the east end on the railroad where thry interchange with the Canadian National Railroad. We stopped for twenty minutes here and I used the bathroom at Indian Head Park.





On the way back to East Troy, another of their buildings was passed before we arrived. Now I would visit the East Troy car barn.





Two of the three cars they operated this morning.





Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee 761 now in the car barn.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend steel interurban 13 built in 1926 by the Pullam Company.





Chicago Elevated {CTA} Rapid Transit Car 4453 built in 1924 by the Cinncinati Car Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend steel interurban 9 built in 1926 by the Pullman Company.





The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company utility crane car L-6 built in 1911 by the St. Louis Car Company.





Chicago, South Shore and South Bend steel interurban 33 built in 1929 by the Pullman Car Company.





East Troy Trolley Museum transfer caboose C-1 01738.





Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company 50-ton steeplecab locomotive L-8 built in 1935 by the TMER&L.





Sheboygan Light Power and Railway wooden interurban 26 built in 1908 by the Cincinnati Car Company.





East Troy Electric Railroad single truck open car 21 built in 1927 by the ETER.





Twin Cities Rapid Transit double truck streetcar 1583 built in 1921 by the TCRT.







The lunch train was being put away into the East Troy car barn. I enjoyed an ice cream cone then ate it before I could board the last train to the end of the line.





4420 that would take us to Indian Head Park and 846 would run to Elegant Farmer.





The inside of the car 4420. We were having a good trip until a piece of the wire about three miles out snagged the wire and broke the cord that leads to the power which moves the car. Our trolley pole was straight up in the air. The crew called for a truck with a ladder to come out and fix the car. One of the volunteers arrived and twenty minutes later we were on our way to Indian Head Park and the end of the line.





Rolling into Indian Head Park.





This shows you just how close we came to the end of the wire. We returned but had to stop where the wire had snagged. By the time we returned to East Troy, Bus 1 had already left so I boarded Bus 2 and forty-eight minutes later, we arrived at the Double Tree hotel. Elizabeth proofed two of my stories and I watched the news before heading to the NRHS Social Hour before the banquet. I sat at table two with Elizabeth (Bus Host Coordinator), John Goodman (Convention Chairman) and Julie Ulrich, Al Weber (NRHS President) and his wife Eileen as well as Kevin P. Keeefe, the banquet speaker and his wife Allison. I had the London Broil and Elizabeth and had Chicken Victoria, then we enjoyed cheesecake before Kevin showed his program of David P. Morgan and Milwaukee Railroad highlights in the Milwaukee area in the 1950's. This program was excellent and the evening was a big success for the NRHS. Donations were requested to benefit the Heritage Grants Program and just under $1,300 was raised. We then returned to the room and called it a night.



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