I've removed chrome with sandblasting. I use 180 grit aluminum oxide, but I am sure 120 or 150 would work as well (probably faster)--it would just leave a somewhat rougher surface to start the plating process with. I have noticed that I'll see sparks fly for the first few seconds as the chrome coat is broken down. It gives you some idea of how durable that chrome is.
Also, I believe you can remove the chrome with a muriatic solution, and the instructions are laid out in Caswell's manual.