#49 – JN: Westbound near Hannah Ave. east of the B&OCT crossing.
EM: CAE 20 (Niles, 1902) which is the oldest CAE car still in existence (preserved at the FRTM), leads a consist on the west side of Laramie Av. The following car is CAE 304 (Niles, 1906).
(Here we have a real difference of opinion. However, it’s difficult to determine who is correct, since both areas were obliterated by expressway construction. Laramie seems more likely due to the presence of large apartment buildings.)
Today we have the answers to Part 2 of our recent Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban Mystery Photos Contest.
We are grateful for all your excellent submissions. I always find it remarkable just how much detail our eagle-eyed readers can find in some of these vintage images. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send in an entry or post a comment.
While there were only two complete entries, by John Nicholson and Edward Maurath, they were both excellent and comprehensive. And while there are a few photos where they have a real difference of opinion, what’s surprising to me is how much they were able to agree upon, given the obvious difficulty of identifying some of these locations 60 years on.
Based on the criteria of best overall submission, John Nicholson is the winner of Part 2. Congratulations!
He will receive a copy of our Railroad Record Club #35 and 36 compact disc, which includes vintage audio from both the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and the CTA Garfield Park “L”. You will find this and much more in our Online Store.
Mr. Maurath was the winner of Part 1, and you can find those answers here.
Both of their submissions are in the captions, with a few minor edits. To simplify matters a bit, we will refer to them by their initials (JN and EM). We have also added a few additional comments.
I feel confidant that the great majority of answers are correct, but inevitably some of them are going to be educated guesses and if additional information comes up that can clarify matters, we will update the captions accordingly.
PS- Since there are several photos here showing the Batavia branch, it’s worth pointing out that this was once considered as a location for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, as it was then called. You can read about that on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog.
Don Ross, who runs the Don’s Rail Photos website, was very much involved in IERM’s search for a new home.
Here is an article about the museum’s early days from the December 27, 1957 Chicago Tribune:
Railway Fans Ride Hobby in Old Electric Trains
Just as model electric trains occupy the time of many families at Christmas time, old electric trains take up many hours of the members of the Illinois Electric Railway museum.
The museum’s latest endeavor is one dear to the hearts of many Chicago commuters– it is to save for posterity one of Chicago’s open platform elevated cars.
Want $750 for Them
The last of the open platform cars was decommissioned recently by the Chicago transit authority. The CTA is asking $750 each for them. The museum has raised more than $460 toward buying one.
The museum was founded in 1953. It is temporarily located in the south yard of the Chicago Hardware Foundry company in North Chicago. About a dozen pieces of equipment have been collected so far.
Every Saturday museum members are on the job rehabilitating the equipment in which they have approximately $10,000 invested. Next year, the museum hopes to obtain a railway line on which to operate its cars. Among the equipment is a 60 ton air conditioned interurban car of 1913 vintage which used to run between St. Louis, Mo., and Peoria. There is a small, four wheel street car built in 1921 and a pump type hand car with both a flat and a hopper trailer.
Other Things Collected
Other pieces include a 35 ton center door interurban car built about 1917 which ran between St. Louis and Alton, an aluminum interurban car built in 1931, and two cars from the old Milwaukee Electric line.
The museum also has an old Chicago red street car it keeps in the CTA car barn at 79th st. and Vincennes av. Rail fans use it occasionally for excursions.
Approximately 50 regular members take part in museum activities, said R. Don Ross of West Allis, Wis., its publicity director. Some are railroad men, some craftsmen, and some are interested in the history of rail equipment.
#50 – JN: Westbound between Racine Ave. and Aberdeen St. Pilings for future ramp to ground level operations appear in background.
EM: CAE 205 (Niles, 1904) is westbound between Racine and Halsted on tracks that will soon be torn down for construction of the Congress Expressway. I believe the wooden posts show the beginning of construction of the ramp at the east end of the infamous “stop light express” where the Garfield PK trains (and no others) will run in a fenced off portion of Van Buren street for the next five years or so, causing what was a dream of a ride to become a nightmare. This is the same location as #41 in part one, only slightly earlier.
#51 – JN: Wells St. terminal.
EM: CAE 456 (St. Louis, 1945).
#52 – JN: Bridge over the PRR/C&NW on Garfield “L”.
EM: CAE 452 (St. Louis, 1945).
(This is the same location as photo #3 in Part 1 of this series, from a different angle.)
#53 – JN: Throat of Wells St. terminal—portion over Franklin St.
EM: CAE 423 (Cincinnati, 1927) is crossing Franklin St on its way to Wells St. station. Looking north.
#54 – JN: Sacramento curve on the Garfield “L”
EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) leads an outbound train followed by 423, 422, and 418, all 1927 Cincinnati cars. Looking NE. At left can be seen construction of the east end ramp for the infamous “stop light express” to get CTA Garfield Pk traffic out of the way of the construction of the Congress Expressway (now know as the Eisenhower Expressway). Soon the CAE will terminate at Des Plaines Av, Forest Pk, confining it to ground level traffic only.
#55 – JN: CA&E trains passing at Western Ave. on Garfield “L”
EM: CAE 408 (Pullman, 1923) approaches Western Av station. Looking East.
#56 – JN: Westbound train at Kilbourn Ave. curve.
EM: CAE 457 (St. Louis, 1945) leads a three-car consist somewhere between Laramie and Marshfield.
#57 – JN: Batavia terminal
EM: CAE 431 (Cincinnati, 1927) sits at the Batavia Terminal.
#58 – JN: Westbound train leaving Batavia Jct.
EM: At Batavia Jct, formerly know as Eola Jct, a red and grey car heads for Aurora while the blue car at the station is ready to depart for Batavia. Looking SE.
#59 – JN: Crossing under CB&Q on Batavia branch.
EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) on the Batavia branch somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
#60 – JN: Eastbound under short stretch of trolley wire on Batavia branch.
EM: A single car travels along the Fox River in the snow.
#61 – JN: Glenwood Park on Batavia branch (by old powerhouse).
EM: CAE 406, probably on a fan trip, stops at Glenwood Park. Notice the nice new red paint job, meaning this picture is later than the picture in part 1 of 406 still painted blue.
#62 – JN: Batavia bound car having departed from Batavia Jct. (in distance).
EM: CAE 141, a car obtained second hand from the North Shore Line travels through the middle of nowhere, I would guess on the Batavia branch.
Bob Campbell says, “141 is on the Aurora branch; not Batavia branch. West of Batavia Jct. was tangent on the Aurora branch. Batavia line just west of BJ was on a curve (see photo #66).”
Bill Shapotkin writes, “While not disputing that this photo is taken on the Batavia Branch, the remark: “car having departed from Batavia Jct. (in distance)” I believe is incorrect. The reason I say that is that upon departing Batavia Jct (enroute to Batavia), the line IMMEDIATELY goes through a long sweeping curve to the N/W (as can be see in Photo 58). While I do not know exactly where this photo was taken, be assured that the distant station in photo is NOT Batavia Jct.
By the way, this is NOT “pull-in” trip of the Batavia car (enroute to Wheaton after the PM rush). If it were, the platform of Batavia Jct would be to the right (not to the left).
I believe the photo is at either one of two locations:
1. A point JUST north of Bilter Rd (as the State Rd station would be on west side of R-O-W),
2. A point JUST N/W of the sweeping curve out of Batavia Jct — approx where East-West Tollway intersects the line today (thus station in distance is Bilter Rd (which, like State Rd was located on west side of R-O-W).
In either case, believe this is a morning photo (of an E/B car) and that we are facing geographically N/W.”
#63 – JN: Batavia terminal
EM: This is a companion picture to picture 57. Same CAE 431 (Cincinnati 1927, now preserved at the IRM) and same automobile. The bridge over the Fox River is clearly visible.
#64 – JN: Glenwood Park stop on Batavia branch
EM: CAE 406 (Pullman, 1923), again painted red and grey, at Glenwood Park flag stop on its way to Batavia.
#65 – JN: Crossing under CB&Q on Batavia branch
EM: CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) on the Batavia branch. Notice how the grass is grown up in the track bed. This must be near the end when Batavia service was minimal and sometimes served by bus.
#66 – JN: Westbound car is just departing Batavia Jct.
EM: CAE 141, an ex-North Shore Line car most likely in Kane county on the Batavia branch.
#67 – JN: 427 eastbound at Gary Siding on Aurora branch
EM: CAE 427 (Cincinnati, 1927) pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Probably on the Batavia branch.
(Here we have a difference of opinion.)
Bob Campbell writes, “Photographer on the north side of Butterfield Road overpass. Not all of 427 was scrapped – I have one of the end numbers (on the right, retriever side) in my “Oklahoma Basement” (out building).”
#68 – JN: 2001-2002 working CB&Q interchange at Aurora
EM: CAE 2001 and CAE 2002 (General Electric, 1920 and 1922) in the north yard at Wheaton.
(Again, here we have a difference of opinion.)
Bob Campbell writes, “Definitely the CB&Q interchange at Aurora; Aurora Avenue/Route 25 in foreground.”
Chuck Amstein adds, “I think JN is correct here. This is looking WNW from the side of Route 25, just south of the CB&Q-CA&E (double-tracked, trolley wires visible in background) crossing. The positions of the electrical tower (still there), smokestack, and water tower, plus several visible buildings in the background, match those on current or historical aerial images. Probably photographed along with #70.”
#69 – JN: Car under very short stretch of wire at State Rd. This was to help a car over the gap after it stopped at station westbound.
EM: CAE 406 (Pullman, 1923) painted red and grey, at the State Road flag stop.
#70 – JN: Eastbound crossing Aurora Ave. near CB&Q interchange at Aurora
EM: CAE 2001 and 2002 (General Electric, 1920 and 1922) pulling freight.
#71 – JN: Eastbound Aurora branch car at Batavia Jct. Note one of the clearance boards on platform has been flipped over.
EM: CAE 453 (St. Louis, 1945) at Batavia Jct, formerly known as Eola Jct. That was tough!
#72 – JN: Westbound at bridge over Winfield Creek on Elgin branch (near Lincoln Ave.)
EM: CAE 454 (St. Louis, 1945) in the middle of nowhere.
#73 – JN: Eastbound train at Warrenville. Station later served as Warrenville city hall.
EM: CAE 458 (St. Louis, 1945) at Warrenville.
#74 – JN: Aurora terminal
EM: CAE 414 (Pullman, 1923) and two Cincinnati cars along the Fox River at the Aurora station. Observe the raised trolley poles.
#75 – JN: On Cook County branch along Mannheim Rd.
EM: CAE 310 (Hicks, 1907) on the west side of Mannheim Road by a stone quarry. Most likely the same fan trip as several pictures in part one of this contest. Passenger cars did not normally use this track after 1926. Notice the raised trolley pole. the Cook county branch, a.k.a. the Mount Carmel branch had no third rails.
#76 – JN: Westbound at State Rd on Batavia branch under short section of wire to clear the gap in third rail while crossing the road.
EM: CAE 406 (Pullman, 1923) again painted red at the State Road flag stop.
#77 – JN: Westbound train crossing B&OCT east of Desplaines Ave. station.
EM: CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) crosses the B&OCTRR just east of Des Plaines Av. The branch going west along side the CAE tracks in the distance were for the Chicago and Great Western. Notice the old style crossing gate at left in the foreground. View is looking mostly west and slightly NW.
#78 – JN: Westbound car has just departed from Desplaines Ave. terminal. This section of track was moved north and rebuilt due to expressway construction. CA&E trains never operated on rebuilt track.
EM: CAE 419 (Pullman, 1923) heads west towards 1st Av. Maywood having come from Des Plaines station. Looking NW.
#79 – JN: Eastbound train has left Desplaines Ave. station and crossing B&OCT
EM: CAE 428 (Pullman, 1923) at the same B&OCTRR crossing as in picture #77, but this time it is headed east. View is looking west.
#80 – JN: Westbound nearing 1st Ave, in Maywood. Note Montana Charlie’s gas station in background.
EM: CAE 454 (St. Louis, 1945) has just crossed 1st Av, Maywood heading east. View is looking NW.
Dan Hagstrom adds, “#80 is on the main line approaching First Avenue from the east, from behind Commonwealth Edison. Again, the Refiner’s Pride gas station is visible. I was 10 1/2 years old when the Aurora stopped passenger services, so I have some pretty good memories of where the Aurora passed through Maywood. I lived about 4 blocks south on 4th Avenue.”
#81 – JN: Westbound Wheaton local at Pulaski Rd. on Garfield “L”
EM: CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) is at the Pulaski Road station on its way to Chicago. View is looking NE.
#82 – JN: Westbound near Racine Ave. (same location as photo #50). Note ramp to surface trackage now in place.
EM: CAE 52 (Stephenson, 1903) is leading a three-car consist westward at the same location between Racine and Halsted as in picture #50. The track in the foreground is about to be torn down because of Congress Expressway construction. Notice the other trains in the picture. Soon only the Garfield Pk trains will be using the tracks in the distance.
#83 – JN: Westbound train at Austin Ave. near B&OCT interchange.
EM: CAE train of two St. Louis cars with CAE 451 (still in existence at IRM) at the rear approaching Hannah station. View is looking NW. Hannah station was somewhat unusual for the CAE in that both platforms were on the same side of the cross street.
(Editor’s note: I believe this is Austin and not Hannah. Hannah was a “B” station near the end, while this station, and Austin, were “A.” And while the cityscape has changed a lot due to expressway construction, there would be single family homes near Hannah and not the large apartment buildings we see here. The Austin station did have both platforms on the same side of the street.)
#84 – JN: Aurora terminal
EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) is at the end of a four-car consist sitting at the Elgin Terminal by the Fox River. View is looking SW.
V. Hallas writes, “Picture # 84 is definitely Aurora. I Googled American Well Works, they started there in 1869. I also say this as the train is facing north on the east side of the river. if this was Elgin, it would be facing south.”
Bob Campbell adds, “Definitely Aurora terminal.”
#85 – JN: Wells St. terminal facing east
EM: In the caverns between the tall buildings of downtown Chicago looking east at the Wells Street Terminal. At the time this picture was taken, and for quite a few years earlier, this terminal was used only by the CAE. CTA trains turned south after crossing the river to Van Buren street to enter the loop at this time.
#86 – JN: View west of 11th Ave. in Maywood
EM: Station at 11th Av. in Maywood. The red railings show that this is a late picture, since they were painted green when the CTA trains of the Westchester branch stopped here for the last time December 8, 1951. Notice the newer automobiles crossing 11th Av.
Dan Cluley adds, “the cream colored convertible is a 1957 Olds. So given the bare trees this must have been taken in the Winter or early Spring of ’57.”
#87 – JN: Freight at Wheaton yard by new dispatcher’s tower
EM: East end of the Wheaton yard. Notice the “new” dispatch tower.
#88 – JN: Westbound train on Aurora branch at Childs St., Wheaton
EM: Now this is truly a “mystery” photo! The street crossing looks like something out of the 1920’s, but the Pullman car is painted in the last livery! Someone else will have to explain this one!
Bob Campbell writes, “Agree Childs Street, Wheaton looking east.”
#89 – JN: Eastbound train at Bellwood.
EM: CAE 433 (Cincinnati, 1927) is headed for Chicago having passed under the Indiana Harbor Belt RR. View is looking NW.
Bill Shapotkin adds, “While the captions “Eastbound train at Bellwood” and that: ” CAE 433 (Cincinnati, 1927) is headed for Chicago having passed under the Indiana Harbor Belt RR. View is looking NW.” are both correct — the location should be specified as being at 25th Ave (which IS in Bellwood), which is the first grade xing east of the IHB/B&OCT overcrossing.”
#90 – JN: Eastbound train departing Glenwood Park and heading towards CB&Q underpass.
EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) travels along the Fox River near Batavia, headed for Chicago. Notice that it is running with third rail power.
#91 – JN: Eastbound train departing Batavia terminal at Wilson St.
EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) still is running under wire along the Fox River. It has just left the Batavia station, headed for Chicago. View is looking NW.
#92 – JN: Eastbound car crossing under CB&Q on Batavia branch. Old powerhouse can be seen on right through trees.
EM: CAE 460 (St Louis, 1945) is on track curving away from the Fox River on the Batavia branch.
#93 – JN: Westbound on Batavia branch under short section of overhead wire.
EM: CAE 457 (St. Louis, 1945) is traveling under wire along the Fox River.
#94 – JN: Train on outbound platform at Desplaines Ave. Note “baldy” heading to Chicago in background.
EM: CAE 401 (Pullman, 1923) leads a two car consist at the new (1953–1957) station on the west side of Des Plaines Av. At this time the CAE trains turned around without crossing Des Plaines Av. The CTA trains discharged all passengers at this station. Those who want to go further west boarded a CAE train here and paid another fare. The green and cream train in the background has just come from their station (color-coded green) on the other side of the loop where the CAE trains discharged all their passengers. Those wishing to continue east had to pay another fare to the CTA. the loops did not cross at grade, there was a wooden structure to carry the CTA trains above the tracks of the CAE. All the tracks east of Des Plaines Av, formerly owned by the CAE as far as Laramie Av, were sold to the CTA.