A portion of the AE&FRE right-of-way is now occupied by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. Former AE&FRE car 304, sister to the 301 shown here, has found its way back to its original rails, and you can ride it at the museum. Meanwhile, the Illinois Railway Museum in Union has the largest collection of CA&E cars anywhere.
Historical color pictures are naturally more popular than black-and-white, but are naturally limited to the era when Kodachrome and other slide films were available. Personally, I find there is much to appreciate in these black-and-white photos, which often date to an older era that predates the availability of color. The original negatives were usually larger than 35mm, which means the picture has the potential of being a lot sharper than a slide.
We hope that you will enjoy this trip down memory lane. If these images inspire you to add your own insights or comments, do not hesitate to write to us, either using the “comments” function here, or to:
PS- We thank Don Ross and Don’s Rail Photos for providing much of the information on the history of individual cars via his very comprehensive web site.
#2 – A three-car CA&E train heads west over Union Station, having just left Wells Street Terminal. (B. H. Nichols Photo)
#3 – CA&E freight motor 15 at Wheaton on February 1, 1954. (Arthur B. Johnson Photo)
#4 – Aurora, Elgin & Fox River #49 at Coleman on September 1, 1940, with the Illinois Central overhead. This was one of the earlier CERA fantrips. By then, the line was freight-only, although still operating under wire. (Roy Bruce Photo)
#5 – Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric 301 in 1929. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “301 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, (order) #1308. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 301 and to Speedrail in May 1950. It was scrapped in 1952.”
#6 – CA&E snow plow 3 at Wheaton Shops. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3 was built in the company shops in 1909 as a plow.”
#7 – CA&E 10. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped.” (James B. M. Johnson Photo)
#8 – Metropolitan West Side Elevated car 800 and train at Glenwood Park on the CA&E Batavia branch on a charter. This car was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 and was renumbered to 2800 in 1913. This photo must predate that renumbering.
#9 -CA&E line car 11. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Invenstment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.
#10 – CA&E 603 at Wheaton on April 2, 1957. Don’s Rail Photos says, “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Washington Baltimore & Annapolis in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937. “
#11 – Although this is a double exposure, it does show an unnumbered wooden interurban, ex-Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee in Wheaton in 1946. It was part of the 129-144 series, the last passenger cars purchased by CA&E. Don’s Rail Photos says, “In 1936, the CA&E leased 11 surplus cars from the CNS&M. These cars were modified for service by raising the coupler height, installing electric heat instead of the coal-fired hot water heaters, modifying the control, and adding jumper receptacles and other minor fittings to allow them to train with the other CA&E cars. Since these were 50 mile per hour cars, and the CA&E cars wer 60 MPH cars, they were soon operated only in trains of their own kind rather than mixed in with other cars. In 1945 they were returned to the North Shore where they operated briefly. They were purchased in 1946 and last ran in regular service in September, 1953.”
#12 – CA&E 402 at Laramie in March 1946, with CRT 2893 at left. 402 was built by Pullman in 1923 as one of the first steel cars on the CA&E.
#13 – The Chicago & North Western station at Wheaton. CA&E paralleled C&NW in this area and its tracks are off to the left.
#14 – CA&E wood cars 310 and 309 at Batavia station on a May 19, 1957 fantrip. According to Don’s Rail Photos, 309 and 310 were built by Hicks Car Works in 1907 and modernized in October 1941. Car 309 was acquired by the Illinois Railway Museum in 1962.
#15 – Car 134 under a 90 foot stretch of trolley wire at State Road on the Batavia branch on August 31, 1941. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “134 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1907 as Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 134. It was rebuilt in 1914 retired in 1948.” When this picture was taken, this car was being leased by CA&E from the North Shore Line.
#16 – CA&E 453 at Des Plaines Avenue terminal in August 1955. Cars 451-460 were ordered in 1941 but delayed by war. They were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1945-46 and are considered the last “standard” interurban cars built in the US, although this is a somewhat debatable point.
#17 – CA&E 312 (described as “part steel”) just west of Wheaton in August 1952 on the way to Aurora. This appears to be the same location (Childs Street) as Photo #88 in Part 2 of our recent CA&E Mystery Photos Contest. Randy Hicks: “the lead car is the 309; the train is eastbound.”
#18 – CA&E 318 in Warrenville on a July 4, 1956 fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.” Randy Hicks: “the second car on this fantrip was the 300. This car was not preserved, but its seats were acquired by North Freedom and are now at IRM.”
#19 – CA&E 422 at Wheaton in February 1952.
#20 – CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch in 1954.
#21 – CA&E 404 and 453 at Forest Park sometime between 1953 and 1957.
#22 – CA&E 460 at Lakewood in 1954.
#23 – CA&E 10. This car was wrecked on September 10, 1948 so this photo must predate that. Randy Hicks: “the 10 is at the end of the train; the next car is the 320. I doubt this was a fantrip, as I’ve never seen five (or more) cars used for this purpose.”
12 thoughts on “The CA&E in Black-and-White”
What a delight. I never tire of looking at pictures of my favorite railway, “The Third Rail”, which is what everyone in Elgin called it. Two minor points: 1), #2 photo has the Main Post Office in the background, and the train is on the nearest track, so it is presumably westbound, going away from Wells Street Terminal. 2) #15 photo is at State Road flag stop, which is not near Glenwood Park.
#4 photo is on one of the earliest CERA fantrips. How fortunate that an IC train was passing overhead on the bridge over the Fox River. In later years, my young nephew liked to climb up and play on that bridge, having inherited a daredevil attitude from his father.
I will update the captions, thanks!
In these two cases, the information used came from the back of a photograph, and as we all know, this can sometimes be wrong. This is especially true if the photographer was from out of town.
I believe that photo #15 is State Road on the Batavia Branch. There are two other crossing stops between State Road and Glenwood Park. There is a similar photo in James Johnson’s book Aurora ‘N’ Elgin at the beginning of the chapter on the Batavia Branch
Thanks for posting these, they’re great! In photo #17 the lead car is the 309; the train is eastbound. In #18 the second car on this fantrip was the 300. This car was not preserved, but its seats were acquired by North Freedom and are now at IRM. And in #23 the 10 is at the end of the train; the next car is the 320. I doubt this was a fantrip, as I’ve never seen five (or more) cars used for this purpose.
Thanks.. I’ve changed the captions accordingly. Could it be that #23 shows a funeral train?
Line Car 11, to my knowledge, was at South Elgin since the beginning of museum operations there. RELIC was being transitioned out of the picture, and the non-profit Fox River Trolley Museum was being phased in, during the 1980s. They must have transferred title at that time. I am not sure if RELIC still exists with title to the right-of-way. The Fox River Eastern was the original operating entity that RELIC was intended to create. It was to be an electric railroad, much like the Iowa Terminal, using the outer portion of the Elgin Branch, running between an interchange with the Milwaukee Road and some gravel pits and industrial operations near Dunham Road. It would have been interesting to see, and would have allowed interurban operations past the extant South Elgin CA&E substation.
RELIC included Wendell Dillinger, who operated the Iowa Terminal, and had a small steeplecab there painted in CA&E colors. I don’t know if there was a chance this was done for the Fox River Eastern operation, or his own interest. That, and the two open cars that were at South Elgin, now reside at his museum in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
I think the AE&FRE side rod switcher was sold to those gravel pits south of Elgin, and used for a time there. Perhaps a coincidence as well.
This from Bill Shapotkin:
A few observations about the above post:
1. Not one, but two pix of CA&E #10 w/baggage compartment. From what I have seen, pix of this car, while not exceedingly rare (after all, I have seen them), they are not common. Kuddos.
2. While not exactly a CA&E pic, the photo of the Wheaton C&NW station is priceless! Pix of this facility are floating around, but this is the first I can recall showing a view THRU the station.
3. Great shot of the tower at Laramie Ave. Sure, pix showing the tower have “made the rounds” over the years, but this is BY FAR the best view of same I can recall ever seeing.
Great stuff, as always!
Cassy Beary writes:
Regarding picture number 4 – Aurora, Elgin & Fox River #49 at Coleman on September 1, 1940, with the Illinois Central overhead. Would you happen to know where Coleman station was located in 1940?
Thanks for writing.
Coleman would appear to be a neighborhood name for a portion of South Elgin. According to the map, it is in the vicinity of where the Illinois Central crossed the AE&FR (and where it still crosses over the tracks of the Fox River Trolley Museum today).
Regarding photo #18: Car 319 was sold to the fledging Indiana Railroad Museum in 1962. As the group specialized increasingly in steam road equipment, the 319 was sold to the East Troy museum in late 60s/early 70s. It at that time it was wrecked in transit on bad Penn Central track in Indiana.
Regarding my previous post of a few minutes ago: Car 318 was the Indiana Rilroad Museum possession sold to East Troy and wrecked in transit.
[…] The CA&E in Black-and-White (July 31, […]