Chicago and Aurora Railroad

(Redirected from Aurora Branch Railroad)

The Chicago and Aurora Railroad was the direct predecessor of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Its original incorporation as the Aurora Branch Railroad, chartered in February 1849,[1] is cited by the BNSF as one of its two oldest predecessors[2] (along with the Pacific Railroad of Missouri, incorporated in March 1849[3]). Starting as a twelve-mile branch line, the company built tracks from West Chicago to Mendota via Aurora, Illinois, creating what would become the oldest commuter line in the Chicago area.

Aurora's Two Brothers Roundhouse

History edit

The Illinois General Assembly chartered the Aurora Branch Railroad on February 12, 1849, to build a line from the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad to Aurora.[4] According to railroad historian A.W. Newton, “The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was then under construction, passing some twelve miles to the north, and agitation started for the construction of a line from Aurora to a connection with this road, thus giving access to Chicago.” Surveying began at once, and construction started in early 1850, working southeast from Turner Junction (now West Chicago) and reaching Batavia in late August 1850. After a major celebration there, daily train service between Batavia and Chicago began on September 2, 1850. [5]

Construction to Aurora was completed on October 4, and the railroad company announced that beginning October 21, 1850, two round trips a day would be scheduled to Chicago and back. Customers paid $1.25 to travel from Aurora to Chicago, but only $1.10 to go to Aurora from Chicago.[6] This trackage is still in service as an industrial spur, though the connection in West Chicago has been removed.

The company was renamed Chicago and Aurora Railroad on June 22, 1852, and given expanded powers to extend from Aurora to a point north of LaSalle;[7] this extension, to Mendota, was completed on October 20, 1853.[8] Another amendment, passed February 28, 1854, authorized the company to build east from Aurora to Chicago via Naperville, and changed its name to Chicago and Southwestern Railroad.[9] The latter provision was never acted upon,[10] and was repealed by an act of February 14, 1855, which instead changed the name to Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q).[11] The Aurora-Chicago line was opened on May 20, 1864, by which time the CB&Q had, through acquisitions, acquired a main line from Chicago to Galesburg, where it split into branches for Burlington and Quincy.[12]

The portion of the Chicago and Aurora between Aurora and Mendota remains a main line of CB&Q successor Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. This section of track makes up part of the Mendota Subdivision, which continues south-southwest to Galesburg. The original West Chicago-Aurora branch line is now an industrial track of the Chicago Subdivision.[13]

Mendota subdivision hosts about 40 freight trains a day, and Amtrak Southwest Chief #3 and 4, California Zephyr #5 and 6, Illinois Zephyr #383 and 380, and Carl Sandburg #381 and 382.[citation needed]

It currently runs through Aurora, Montgomery, Bristol, Plano, Sandwich, Somonauk, Leland, Earlville, Meriden, Mendota, Clarion, Arlington, Zearing, Malden, Princeton, Wyanet, Buda, Neponset, Kewanee, Galva, Altona, Oneida, Wataga, and Galesburg. It interchanges with the Illinois Railway La Salle Line in Zearing, the Union Pacific Troy Grove Sub in Earlville, and the Illinois Railway Ottawa Line in Montgomery, all in Illinois.

The original Chicago-Aurora line, the oldest commuter rail line in the Chicago area, still exists today as Metra's BNSF Railway Line, operated by the BNSF Railway, which is the successor of the CB&Q through numerous mergers.

In 2017, the Mendota subdivision announced that it would become a designated quiet zone with the construction or the East Main Street underpass in Galesburg.[14]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. Corporate History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and Affiliated Companies. 1917. P. 7.
  2. ^ BNSF Railway. The History of BNSF: A Legacy for the 21st Century. N.d. P. 4.
  3. ^ Pacific Railroad. Memorial and Act of Incorporation. Chambers & Knapp, 1850. P. 3.
  4. ^ An Act Granting a Charter to the Aurora Branch Railroad Company, p. 96
  5. ^ Newton, A. W. "Early History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Illinois." The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, October 1948, no. 74, p. 8. While the Interstate Commerce Commission lists service between Aurora and Turner Junction as beginning September 2, 1850, (1927 Valuation Docket No. 715: Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, vol. 134 I.C.C., p. 1) Newton clarifies that only trains from Batavia to Turner Junction were operating at that time.
  6. ^ Newton, pp. 8-9.
  7. ^ An act to amend the charter of the Aurora Branch Railroad company, approved June 22, 1852
  8. ^ Interstate Commerce Commission (1927), Valuation Docket No. 715: Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, vol. 134 I.C.C., p. 1
  9. ^ An act to amend the charter of the Chicago and Aurora Railroad Company, approved February 28, 1854
  10. ^ Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Corporate History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and Affiliated Companies, 1917, p. 8: "A provision of the Amendment, of date February 28, 1854, which changed the name of this company to "Chicago and Southwestern Railroad Company," was never acted upon or recognized by this company."
  11. ^ An act to amend an act entitled "An act to amend the charter of the Chicago and Aurora Railroad Company," approved February 28, 1854, approved February 14, 1855
  12. ^ Interstate Commerce Commission (1927), Valuation Docket No. 715: Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, vol. 134 I.C.C., p. 1.
  13. ^ BNSF Railway, Chicago Division Timetable No. 6, in effect July 20, 2007
  14. ^ "BNSF's Mendota subdivision to become quiet zone". Galesburg Register Mail.

References edit

  • BNSF Railway. The History of BNSF: A Legacy for the 21st Century. N.d. [1]
  • Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. Corporate History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and Affiliated Companies. 1917. [2]
  • An Act Granting a Charter to the Aurora Branch Railroad Company. In Laws of the State of Illinois Passed at the First Session of the Sixteenth General Assembly, Begun and Held at the City of Springfield, January 1, 1849, Charles H. Lanphier, Public Printer, 1849. Pp. 96-99. [3]
  • Newton, A. W. "Early History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Illinois." The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, October 1948, no. 74, pp. 7-22. [4]
  • Pacific Railroad. Memorial and Act of Incorporation. Chambers & Knapp, 1850.[5]