The last runs of the North Shore Line occurred in January of 1963. Local preservation railroads offered their commemorations under more favorable weather conditions.
A former museum group operating out of East Troy, Wisconsin, once had a fleet of operable North Shore steel cars. The current operating group recently acquired 761 from a museum in Michigan. It's not ready to operate, however, it was rolled out for inspection on 22 June. Preservation railroads are a good place to come to grips with allocating scarce resources among competing uses, a particular challenge with rolling stock often pushing the hundredth birthday and Fordist era technology.
Corrosion at the anti-climber is common on North Shore cars, which dealt with Milwaukee road salt each winter, and a weekly exterior washup with muriatic acid. The car was converted to a Silverliner, although the decorative skirting has been stripped away, correct for the Greenliner colors.
The largest collection of North Shore stock is at the Illinois Railway Museum. This past weekend featured their Trolley Pageant on Saturday and a North Shore commemoration on Sunday.
At the conclusion of the trolley pageant, it's total recall, with a five car Milwaukee Limited sharing a high level Chicago Transit Authority platform with an Electroliner.
The next day, to handle additional large crowds, the Silverliners ran as a Milwaukee Limited in its common north-of-Edison Court formation of two cars, while the green cars ran as a Waukegan Local via the Shore Line Route.
The interurbans made a side trip from the main line into the L station to allow patrons a look at the Electroliner, which still requires extensive electrical, mechanical, and interior work. Scarce resources and competing uses, again.
Museum volunteers were giving talks about the North Shore Line and the Electroliner in one coach section, and the tavern-lounge, both of which had chilled air piped in. An air-conditioned train with malfunctioning air conditioning is no place to be on a hot day, and the weekend's heat identified another competing use, the air conditioning in parlor-observation Juno on the Nebraska Zephyr, which was also running that weekend.
A few North Shore cars that don't ordinarily operate were in use. The Milwaukee Limited used combination car 251 and coach 757, once operated at East Troy. Inside 251's baggage compartment, those trunks are overflow seating capacity as well as props.
The car was badly damaged in a grade-crossing wreck in Wisconsin and rebuilt as a Silverliner (one of only three with the upper window sash, the other two being converted diner 409, also damaged in a derailment, and tavern-lounge 415, the spare diner used when an Electroliner was in the shop). Inside, the seating sections of 251 and the 757 in background reflect the lowered ceilings of the Skokie Valley and Silverliner modernizations.
On the Waukegan Local, one of the more recently restored steel coaches, 749, was operating. The usual North Shore Line local is the 160-714 when the schedule calls for a North Shore train. The 749 was never rebuilt as a Silverliner, although it has the lowered ceiling of the Skokie Valley modernization program.
The Electroliner looks pretty good on the outside, during a quiet moment.
Some North Shore Line veterans are present for the occasion.
There's more North Shore Line preservation from the past fifty years to report on, probably before the fall semester begins.