History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

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History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby braves » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:05 pm

Today, METRA has 11 Commuter rail lines, I would like to know on how many Commuter rail lines were operating in Chicago a long time ago until today when it has 11 lines, where did these lines go to, how many lines were there, where did they terminate in Downtown Chicago & what year were these lines eliminated.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby CHTT1 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:24 pm

Just off the top of my head, missing lines include:

1. Chicago and Western Indiana, Dearborn station to Dolton.

2. Chicago and North Western, McHenry to Lake Geneva, Wis.

3. Milwaukee Road, Fox Lake to a station in Wisconsin, which I forget.

4. Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee, electric interurban from downtown Loop to Milwaukee.

5. Chicago, Aurora and Elgin, electric interurban from downtown Loop to Aurora.

6. New York Central, LaSalle Street station to Elkhart, IN

7. Pennsylvania, Union Station to Valparaiso, IN.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby CarterB » Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:47 pm

[quote="CHTT1"]Just off the top of my head, missing lines include:



3. Milwaukee Road, Fox Lake to a station in Wisconsin, which I forget.


Fontana, Wisc on Lake Geneva
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby Allouette » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:57 am

Going back a bit further:

Chicago and Northern Pacific/Wisconsin Central (later B&OCT/Soo, now CSX/CN) to Thatcher Woods (River Forest) 1889-1903. Included running Suburban RR streetcars over WC from Washington Blvd. to Thatcher Woods 1898-1903.

The WC/C&NP operation also ran under the Chicago and Great Western name (not to be confused with the Chicago Great Western, which shared most of the track...) before becoming part of the Chicago Terminal Transfer, later B&OCT. WC's suburban tank engines lasted long enough to get B&OCT numbers, but the service on the Altenheim sub was gone by then.

Chicago Harlem and Batavia steam dummy operation from Pulaski and Harrison to Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park via Randolph St (now West End Ave). Later C&NP, then leased to Suburban RR (electric), subleased to Lake St. Elevated Railway, removed before Suburban merged into Chicago and West Towns.

Chicago and Evanston (Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul) Wilmette via Goose Island. Now CTA Red and Purple lines north of Wilson Avenue.

Illinois Central Iowa Div. to 1926 or so.

There is still some on-the-ground evidence of the CH&B in Forest Park and C&E lines in Chicago south of Montrose.

Chicago and Interurban Traction from CSL/CRT connection at Halsted and 63d to Chicago Heights and Kankakee. The alley where C&IT cars loaded is next to the Green Line Halsted Station.

Chicago and Joliet Electric from CSL connection at Archer and Cicero to Joliet. CTA still used the site of the off-street loop where Archer Avenue cars met C&JE interurbans.

Chicago and West Towns from CSL connection at 22nd (Cermak) and Cicero to Riverside and LaGrange.

PRR's PCC&St.L (Panhandle) had west side local service looping around from the North Side of Union Station running south near Western Avenue until about 1925.

Chicago and Eastern Illinois had a half dozen suburban tanks, which presumably provided service south to Dolton and Chicago Heights.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:04 pm

Can’t tell, but did the CGW run a local Chicago-St. Charles? Whether they did or not, it was gone by the 1955 timetable.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby Allouette » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:56 pm

You could just about use trains 1 and 2 "the Minnesotan" to commute from St. Charles or Forest Park, with a 7:30AM arrival and 6:45 PM departure. All other stops were conditionals requiring longer trips. The secondary train didn't run on a commuter schedule. If there was a CGW "commuter train" (as opposed to C&GW it was probably given up some time after the CA&E line to Geneva opened. It was certainly gone by 1948, which is when the above info was published.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby eolesen » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:10 pm

A lot of good history is here: https://www.chicagorailfan.com/mainmet.html

CarterB wrote:
CHTT1 wrote:Just off the top of my head, missing lines include:
3. Milwaukee Road, Fox Lake to a station in Wisconsin, which I forget.
Fontana, Wisc on Lake Geneva


Commuter service had four stops after Fox Lake -- Spring Grove and Solon Mills in IL, and Zenda and Walworth in Wisconsin.

Fontana didn't have a station -- it was served by Walworth.

There was also limited express service beyond to Madison, with stops in Fox Lake, Walworth on both The Sioux (daily, trains 11 & 12) and The Varsity (weekends only, trains 117 & 118).
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:21 pm

One service that I always found to be a curiosity was the C&NW one-a-day train to -- was it Peterson Ave.? Was that a remnant of what had been a longer line?
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby Allouette » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:07 pm

I assume the Peterson Avenue train hooked a right at Mayfair on the Northwest Line, headed for Skokie and Evanston. The line up that way connected with the freight line to Milwaukee at Bryn Mawr, and with the passenger line to Milwaukee near Payne Street in Evanston, about 4/10 mile north of Davis St. The freight line has been abandoned south of the belt line connection to Proviso in Northbrook. The line to Skokie stayed in service as far as the CTA Skokie Shops until around 1995. I think official abandonment was a bit later, around 2001. There was an article in First & Fastest that mentioned this service not too long ago.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:54 pm

Thanks -- that's the line I meant; it always looked like it used to extend farther northeast. I often wondered what kept it alive.
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Re: History of Chicago Commuter rail.

Postby Allouette » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:30 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Thanks -- that's the line I meant; it always looked like it used to extend farther northeast. I often wondered what kept it alive.

At one time C&NW originated local freights in their yard along the West Line (today's UP-W), running them up the Mayfair Sub next to the Belt Railway to Mayfair. At Mayfair a series of double-slip switches would allow freights to get onto the Northwest Line or cross over all the way to the freight line to Milwaukee. The Weber Sub split off at Bryn Mawr and continued to the Passenger line (UP-N). At one time there was a fair amount of local business, such as coal, oil and building materials, plus the Weber Industrial District in Skokie, which included the CRT/CTA's main shops and several industries and businesses that received shipments by rail. The Weber District was switched by the North Shore Line with C&NW paying a flat fee per car. North Shore used their two battery-electric locomotives, so most of the District did not have overhead wire. There was still enough business to justify the line after C&NW took over switching, but the traffic onto the Passenger main dried up in the 1960s and 70s, so the line to Evanston was eventually abandoned. The Freight line (relocated onto former North Shore ROW) lasted a bit longer, but almost all traffic headed there was coming from Proviso by 1990. Sometime in the 1990s C&NW or UP closed the freight yard and abandoned the line to Mayfair, and the Freght line from Bryn Mawr to Northbrook. CTA was the last customer in the Weber District, but couldn't justify the cost UP proposed to keep the line in place. I think official abandonment was in 2001.
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