1902 Crossing Dispute Between the AE&C Rwy. and the Suburban Railroad

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By David J. Fiore Sr.


At the turn of the 20th Century, the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway was in process of purchasing property for right of way, petitioning townships, villages and cities for franchises, and negotiating crossings with other railroads. Crossing negotiations were readily concluded for the most part because the AE&C usually proposed to construct either an overpass or underpass when feasible, thus avoiding crossing at grade. Where a separate crossing was not possible, the AE&C was willing to accept its share of the cost of modifications and maintenance, and to comply with reasonable terms regarding operations over the crossing. This policy of either building a separate crossing or compromise on the expense and operations of crossing at grade enabled the AE&C to finalize almost all of the crossing agreements within a year without dispute. There was one exception, The Suburban Railroad, a streetcar system operating primarily in Chicago, Cicero Township and Harlem.

The Suburban Railroad

The Suburban was organized in May 1895 by a group of New York capitalists to build a suburban and interurban electric railway in the territory west of Chicago. The company was allowed to raise funds through the sale of $1,250,000 in stock. Interurban service would be provided between Chicago and Aurora, Elgin and Joliet, while suburban business would be handled by streetcars. The Suburban also planned to connect with the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway and The Lake Street Elevated Railroad.

The Suburban Construction Company was established to build the railway and, in turn, subcontracted the project to Naugle, Holcomb & Company in November 1895. Construction started in 1896 and consisted of building a double-track streetcar line on Harrison Street from the Met connection through Austin, Ridgeland, Oak Park and Harlem to Harlem Avenue then south to 26th Street, then westward on private right of way through Riverside, Hillwood and Grossdale to end of track in LaGrange.

Trackwork was substantial and consisted of 60' lengths of 70 lb T-rail. Plate girder bridges were erected over the DesPlaines River and Salt Creek, at the west end of the line. A brick power house 96' x 100' was built on the northwest corner of 22nd and Harlem and generated electricity with three 300 H.P. boilers feeding steam to two tandem compound condensing engines which connected with generators of 400 kw and 250 kw capacity. Cooling water was drawn from a private well and stored in a brick lined reservoir behind the powerhouse. Power was distributed by trolley wire and span suspension. A brick car barn and storage yard was also built a half block north from the powerhouse, and the car barn also contained a shop and office.

While still under construction, in May 1896, the Suburban signed an agreement with the Chicago & Northern Pacific Railroad to lease and operate that company's suburban commuter service. C & NP commuter operations consisted of the Harlem Division which ran from 40th Street in Chicago, north to Randolph Street then west to Conway Park in Harlem with a branch to Waldheim Cemetery and a connecting track with the C&NP. This line dated back to 1881 when it was built and operated by the Chicago and Western Dummy Railroad (the word dummy referred to a small steam locomotive designed for street car service). Later, in 1886, it was acquired by the Chicago, Harlem and Batavia Railway, then the Wisconsin Central Railroad in 1887, and subsequently purchased by the Chicago and Northern Pacific Railroad in 1890.

The other route extended from the mainline at 45th Street south to 16th Street, west to Harlem Avenue and north on Harlem back to the C&NP mainline. This segment had been built in 1890 by the C&NP under the name Chicago & Southwestern Railroad. There was also a spur track at 13th Street and Harlem constructed in 1894, which provided service to the Harlem Race Track.

The C&NP commuter fleet consisted of 52 first class coaches, 15 second class coaches, 13 combination cars, 35 Worlds Fair cars (reported to be similar to modified boxcars with windows), and 5 small coaches from the old Chicago, Harlem and Batavia Railway. There were also 13 steam locomotives of the 4-4-4T and 4-4-0 type. However, the Suburban planed to convert the C&NP Harlem Division to an electric streetcar operation and, accordingly, the lease included equipment limited to one combination car, three coaches, and one steam engine, No. 7, a 4-4-4T built by Baldwin in 1872. This equipment would be assigned to service on 16th Street. The Suburban formally began operating the C&NP lines on November 15, 1896.

The Cicero Vindicator reported on December 25, 1896:

"Austin, Ridgeland, Oak Park, Harlem and River Forest on the west, and Siemens, Morton Park, Clyde, La Vergne, Berwyn, Riverside, Hillwood, Grossdale, La Grange and La Grange Park on the south and southwest, will soon have increased transportation facilities through the Suburban Railroad company. The latter corporation filed during the week a trust deed for $3,000,000 in favor of the Chicago Title & Trust company to secure the issue of gold-bonds in a like amount, running for twenty years at 5 per cent. This is the first active step on the part of the Suburban Railroad company to equip its leased lines - the old Chicago, Harlem and Batavia, and Chicago and Southwestern - with electricity and to construct some twenty-five miles of new electric road connecting the different suburbs named with each other and with the Lake Street and Metropolitan L roads, and, ultimately, though this is still reserved for future consideration - run trailers from the western termini at River Forest and La Grange Park by means of the two L roads into the heart of the city. This latter part established, the suburban towns named will have the best transportation facilities imaginable.

"John C. Mathis, president of the Suburban Railroad company, says that of the $3,000,000 bonds the amount of $1,250,000 will be issued at once for the purpose of constructing and equipping the following double-track electric roads:

"Commencing on Forty-eight street connecting with the Metropolitan L terminal station and running west on Harrison avenue to Desplaines (sic) ave. in Harlem.

"Commencing on Forty-eight and Twenty-second streets and running west on the latter to Harlem avenue, with a north line on Robinson avenue, from Twenty-second street to Harrison avenue.

"Commencing near the intersection of Harlem avenue and Twenty-second street and running westerly and southerly through to La Grange, connecting there with tracks already constructed in Hill Grove avenue.

"Then there will be a single track road on Brainard avenue in La Grange, from Hill Grove avenue to Forty-seventh street.

"Besides this new construction the two lines leased from the Chicago & Northern Pacific, known as the Chicago, Harlem and Batavia, and the Chicago and Southwestern, will be fully equipped with electricity, the big power house to be constructed on Twenty-second street and Harlem avenue, near the Des Plaines River.

"The balance of the $3,000,000 bonds will be issued as a fund from which extensions and additions will be constructed. Among these additions, Mr. Mathis says, is the probability that arrangements with the two L roads will be completed in the near future, providing for inclined plans at the termini of the L roads, so that cars of the Suburban Railroad company, as trailers to L trains, may be run right into the heart of the city."

The cost of constructing the Suburban, plus the expense of electrifying the C&NP Harlem Division, was more than the company had anticipated and by 1887 it was in financial jeopardy. The Suburban apparently had a close relationship with the Met and received some assistance from this company. However, Charles T. Yerkes, the Chicago street railway magnate, offered to provide greater additional funding, an offer that the Suburban accepted. This action placed the Suburban under Yerkes' control.

Yerkes had acquired the Suburban to prevent it from becoming a feeder line to the Met, which was a competitor to Yerks' Lake Street Elevated Railroad. The Suburban connection would have provided the Met with more patronage and additional revenue from operations over Met trackage. Now these opportunities to increase earnings would be made available primarily to the Lake Street L.

A traffic agreement was signed between the Suburban and the Lake Street L in July 1897, the same month when the Harrison Street line was completed and placed in service between La Grange and the 48th Street connection with the Met. However, Yerkes completed a north and south Suburban line that was already under construction on 52nd Street and extended it further north to a connection with the Lake Street L. When opened in October 1897, this route provided Harrison Street patrons with more frequent connections to Chicago than an hourly service offered to the 48th Street Met connection. Likewise, in November when the Suburban converted operations on Randolph Street from steam locomotive to streetcar, service to Chicago was provided by a connection with the Lake Street L at 52nd . Previously, C& NP commuter trains had continued east to 40th Street and a connection with the C&NP mainline to Grand Central Station with omnibus service into downtown Chicago. Also in 1897, the C&NP underwent a financial reorganization and was now named Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad (CTT).


The AE&C Crossings

During 1901 and 1902, the AE&C was constructing its double-track, third rail powered mainline over private right of way through Harlem, Cicero Township, and Chicago, where it would connect with the Met. The interurban would have to cross over the Suburban at three locations, which the AE&C subsequently identified by a numerical designation.

No. 1 was in Harlem, over tracks owned by the CTT and leased to the Suburban. The line was single track and had been built in 1884 by the old Chicago & Western Dummy Railway to provide service to Waldheim Cemetery. It was located on Magnolia Street and already crossed by the Chicago Great Western Railway under an agreement dated November 6, 1886.

No. 2 was in Cicero Township where the Suburban double track line turned south off of Harrison Street, just east of Euclid Avenue, crossed the CTT, and then continued west on Harrison Place.

No. 3 was in Chicago, where the AE&C would cross the Suburban north and south line on 52nd.

The AE&C planned to cross at grade and it did not believe that this method would "unnecessarily impede and endanger travel or transportation." The interurban offered to pay for all necessary trackwork as well as maintenance, and AE&C cars would stop prior to crossing over the Suburban. However, the Suburban would only permit the crossings if the AE&C constructed an overpass at each location, citing safety concerns. The interurban did not want to incur the delay and expense that would be involved in raising its tracks and constructing three overpasses. Also, an AE&C franchise prohibited the company from building an elevated connection with the Met.

Although the Suburban's concerns regarding safety were valid, there may have been another motive for their refusal to permit a crossing at grade. After all, the streetcar company operated over other crossings at grade with steam roads such as the CGW and CTT. Obviously, a collision with a CGW 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotive weighing 178,400 lbs could be just as lethal as a collision with an AE&C wood passenger car weighing 85,900 lbs.

The Suburban was aware that the AE&C, when completed, would provide the Met with more business and earnings. It was the same situation as had existed before when the Suburban planned to connect with the Met and was then acquired by Yerkes. Although Yerkes had sold his interest in the Lake Street Elevated in 1901 to an investment firm, he still retained control of the Suburban. The two traction companies continued to have a close relationship under their traffic agreement, and there was a mutual need to protect themselves from loosing business to the Met. If the Suburban could hinder and delay the proposed connection with the Met, perhaps the AE&C would be willing to use an alternative route to reach Chicago, including the Suburban and Lake Street L.

Maybe another reason was to force the Met or AE&C to purchase the Suburban in order to do away with an obstacle to their plans. Yerkes had attempted to sell the Suburban to the Met in 1901 and the offer was refused because the streetcar company was still confronted with the predicament of more debt than income. A seemingly never ending grade crossing dispute with the Suburban might force the other companies to decide to acquire it to end the problem.

In any case, the AE&C was not able to reach an agreement with the Suburban and it filed a petition with the Illinois Railroad and Warehouse Commission in February 1902. It asked the Commission to exercise its jurisdiction over railroad crossings to arbitrate the dispute. The respondents named in the petition included the Suburban, CTT, and the Lake Street Elevated.

The Commission visited the site of the proposed crossings and scheduled an appearance with the railroads to hear their concerns and issues. Shope, Mathiss, Zane & Webber and Hopkins, Dolph and Scott represented the AE&C. The Lake Street L and Suburban were represented by Clarence A. Knight, who was also the president of the Lake Street L. The CTT was represented by Jessie Barton. The Commission listened to testimony and arguments presented by the railroads and examined a number of maps and track diagrams. Afterwards, the Commission, on February 21, 1902, summarized its findings and issued a ruling on each crossing.


Commission Summaries and Rulings

The Commission made the following report on each crossing.

No. 1
Here the AE&C would pass over track owned by the CTT and leased to the Suburban which subleased it to the Lake Street L. Evidenced showed that the Suburban operated very few cars over the line and these cars contained only a few passengers. The Commission decided that this fact plus the location on level ground with nothing to obstruct the view for several hundred feet each way, made an overpass unnecessary, and it would only serve to place a "great hardship" on a new company. Accordingly, the Commission approved crossing at grade.

There were several conditions attached to the grant. The AE&C would pay all of the cost to install and maintain the crossing, and the installation would be under the direction and supervision of the Suburban. During construction, Suburban operations would not be delayed or interfered with. The AE&C would place protection boards over the third rail where located on CTT right of way, and there would be a minimum of 10' of clearance between the third rail and the outer rails of the Suburban. The underground cables used for connecting the third rail across the break would have to be located within 3' of the AE&C tracks.

The interurban would indemnify the Suburban, Lake Street L, and CTT from liability for any accidents caused by the AE&C at the crossing. To prevent a collision, the AE&C was instructed to stop within 50' of the crossing and to send "some fit and competent person" to see that the crossing was clear. The Suburban would have right of way at all times and the AE&C was prohibited from crossing if a Suburban car was approaching and within 200'.

No. 2
The Commission noted that the Suburban double-track line at this location was used very frequently by cars on each track running in opposite directions and hauling many passengers. Train movements increased during the racing season when the Lake Street L operated racing specials over the Suburban to the Harlem Race Track. The L started this service in May 1899 and the specials typically consisted of eight five-car trains that traveled at high speed and carried "thousands of passengers each way every day." The Commission decided that the great amount of travel on the Suburban justified a separate crossing and the AE&C was ordered to build an overpass and have it service by January 1, 1903.

The Commission also authorized the AE&C to cross at grade until the two companies were ready for the interurban to install the overpass. Prior to start-up, the Suburban would relocate its crossing with the AE&C and CTT to a temporary location on Oak Park Avenue. This crossing would be used while the overpass was under construction. The same provisions governing operations over crossing No. 1 would also apply to the No. 2 crossing at grade and, later, the temporary crossing.

The AE&C could not begin the task of building the overpass until after the racing season was over or November 1, 1902. It was required to notify the Suburban when ready to start and the streetcar company would then cease operations at this site and divert cars to the Oak Park Avenue crossing. The interurban would have to complete construction within 30 days. The Commission specified a minimum of 14' of clearance between the bottom of the overpass and the top of the rails of the Suburban. In order to meet this requirement, the Suburban would have to reposition its tracks and have this part of the project completed before November.

No. 3
The Suburban also operated frequent train service on 52nd which ordinarily would necessitate an overpass. However, since the Met connection with the AE&C was immediately east of 52nd, it would not be feasible to construct an overpass unless the Met also elevated its tracks. The Met extension from their terminal at 48th to 52nd was at grade and it had just been completed. It was not likely that the Met would now replace this new segment with an elevated structure. Besides this problem, the AE&C informed the Commission that the ordinance issued by Harlem on April 7, 1900 required it to connect with the Met at grade. An overpass would require an elevated connection with the Met and force the AE&C to violate the terms of the franchise.

The Commission took these issues under consideration and also noted the crossing was situated on "open prairie" with no obstructions to block the view of approaching train crews. Accordingly, the Commission decided to allow a crossing at grade but controlled by an interlocking plant to be operated by the AE&C.

The interurban could build a "half-interlocker" that would only control its movements, with the Suburban having right of way at all times. It would have to feature a device that would derail an AE&C train if it attempted to cross without clearance. The AE&C would have to obtain the approval of the Suburban regarding the type of interlocking device and installation.

A special stipulation required the AE&C not to cross 52nd if a Suburban or Lake Street L car was on the viaduct over the CGW Chicago Transfer Yard, headed north. The viaduct was approximately 900' south of the crossing and, apparently. motormen on the Suburban would close the controller and use the downhill momentum to coast for some distance after descending. If the AE&C preferred not to wait, then they could install a full interlocking device that would display a Stop signal to the approaching Suburban car.

The Commission also authorized a temporary crossing at grade on 52nd until the interlocking plant was in operation. The same rules that controlled operations over crossing No. 1 would also apply to the temporary 52nd crossing.

A final condition applicable to all crossings was that any overhead electric wires required by the AE&C would have to placed 7' above the Suburban catenary.

The ruling was made by J. S. Neville, Commission Chairman, and approved by L. J. Wolf, AE&C President, Jesse Barton, CTT attorney, Clarence A. Knight, Suburban attorney and Lake Street L president, and L. S. Owsley, Suburban president.


The Summer of 1902

Meanwhile, due to non-payment, Chicago Title and Trust filed a bill with the Cook County circuit court to foreclose on its trust deed with the Suburban. The streetcar company was placed in receivership in July and L. S. Owsley was appointed receiver.

The following month, on August 25, the AE&C started passenger operations between Aurora and 52nd Avenue, Chicago.


Interlocking Dispute

The AE&C decided to install a full interlocking device at 52nd but the two companies could not reach an agreement on the specifications. The AE&C once again submitted a petition to the Commission to intervene. The Commission agreed and, in October 1902, determined that the plans as submitted by the AE&C were acceptable. The interurban was ordered to proceed and have it in operation by December 1, 1902. The AE&C acted quickly and the interlocking plant went into service at Noon on Thursday, November 6, 1902.

A Serious Problem Over At Crossing No. 2 And Another Dispute About The 52nd Avenue Interlocking Plant

The AE&C and Suburban began to install the temporary crossing on Oak Park Avenue in October 1902. The Commission and railroads apparently did not realize the crossing was in the Village of Oak Park, perhaps because the Village had just been incorporated earlier that year. When the Village found out about a temporary railroad crossing on Oak Park Avenue, the board of trustees decided to make a demonstration of their authority over grade crossings within the Village limits.

The Oak Park Oak Leaves reported in the Friday, October 31, 1902 edition what happened:

"The Oak Park Village Board hastened through its session on Wednesday evening (October 29), took a long ride on the Westward Ho bus, impressed into service for the occasion, and at about midnight, with the aid of the police department and a newspaper man or two, tore up the tracks of the Suburban Railroad at Oak Park avenue and Harrison street, where the company had been attempting to steal a march on the village and change the location of its crossing of the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago line without first getting the necessary permit from the village authorities.

"Intimation of the purpose of the Suburban people came to the trustees during their session in a petition of protest signed by W. R. Townsend and others, stating that the Suburban line was attempting to move its crossing from its present location between Euclid avenue and Oak Park avenue where it was proposed to cross the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago obliquely in the very center of the street, making it a very dangerous intersection which would become more dangerous when the latter road was raised upon an embankment, as was alleged to be a part of the plan, so as to shut off the view of both the electric cars and of the trains of the Chicago Terminal Transfer line, which runs just south of Harrison street at this point. The board referred the question to the committee of the whole and after a brief consideration passed a resolution directing the president to stop the work, using the police force if necessary, until the matter could be investigated.

"President Ray had set the police at work on the case at the first alarm, and when the board members arrived on the scene Lieut. Schwass already had officers Pottker and Downs on guard. The work of putting in the crossing was found to be about half completed, and the village authorities (decided to remove it); enough so that it would be impossible for the company to finish the crossing until the village could get action in court to protect its rights. President Ray drew the first spike and Trustees Sperry, Macomber, McHugh, Dungan, Holden and Cuthbertson, Attorney Pringle and Commissioner of Public Works Carpenter each took a turn at the task with many a gibe at the road and at each other and with an exuberance of spirits that would have done credit to a crowd of youngsters on a Hallowe'en lark.

"The police department was left on guard all night and when the company's workmen came to complete the job in the morning, ordered them away and were obeyed. At an early hour in the day Attorney Pringle had the company called before Judge Hanecy, who at once granted an order restraining the road from further procedure for the time being.

"It appears that the question of this crossing had already been taken up by the railroads in question before the State Railroad and Warehouse Commission and that for the sake of making a crossing more convenient for the roads, the Suburban company had agreed to move the crossing to Oak Park avenue by November 1. But there is no doubt expressed on the part of the village fathers that the state commissioners' authority stops short of the disposal of the streets of Oak Park. It is not unlikely that the crossing will be made eventually at the chosen point, but not until a permit has been secured from the village and the public has been safe-guarded from injury in the matter."

During November, the Village of Oak Park considered an ordinance allowing the AE&C and Suburban to temporarily cross on Oak Park Avenue. Representatives of the railroads attended hearings but they were unable to convince the board that crossing would be safe for pedestrian and vehicles. The Oak Leaves noted in the Friday, November 21, 1902 issue that the AE&C was represented by its lawyer, Fred A. Dolph, who was also a law partner of Congressman Hopkins.

Since no one could predict the outcome, the Suburban did not reposition its tracks at the present crossing by Euclid and, instead, both railroads continued to maintain operations as before.

Meanwhile, the January 1, 1903 deadline to have the overpass in operation was approaching but the AE&C could not proceed without an approval from Oak Park to build the temporary crossing on Oak Park Avenue. Attorney Dolph filed yet another petition with the Commission asking for an extension.

The AE&C also took this opportunity to request a decision on dividing the cost of operating the 52nd interlocking plant. The interurban felt that since the Suburban had agreed with the installation of a full interlocking device that controlled the movement of its cars, the streetcar company should also share in the cost of operation. The AE&C, perhaps aware that the Met would be crossing 52nd on the interurban track at some future time, also suggested the Met share in the expense. Some preliminary discussions on this subject among the three companies failed to develop a consensus on the issue, and once more, the AE&C sought relief from the Commission.

On November 28, 1902 the Commission extended the deadline to build the overpass at crossing 2 to March 1, 1903. It also ordered the three railroads to share the expense of operating the 52nd Avenue interlocking plan with the AE&C to pay 7/38ths, the Suburban 8/38ths, and the Met 23/38ths.


The Final Agreement

The disputes involving crossing Nos.1 and 3 had been resolved through Commission orders and the only remaining issue was construction of an overpass at No. 2, which was delayed by the restraining order. The railroads, especially the Suburban, which was still in receivership, could not continue to afford more litigation. A compromise was necessary and, on December 24, 1902 an agreement was signed between the AE&C, the Suburban, CTT, and Lake Street L pertaining to crossing No. 2.

As compensation for crossing at grade, the AE&C would pay the Suburban $7,500 and relieve the streetcar company from sharing in the cost to operate the 52nd Avenue interlocking plant. Crossing No. 2 would continue to be at grade near Euclid Avenue until the Suburban relocated it to a new site adjacent to Scoville Street. Apparently, this relocation was a safety measure. At the Euclid Avenue location, Suburban cars turning south from Harrison would be on the crossing almost immediately. At Scoville, there was sufficient room for the car to complete the turn and, if necessary, stop before crossing.

The AE&C agreed to install the new Scoville Street crossing at their expense under the direction of the Suburban and have it ready for the streetcar company to make connection by May 25, 1903. Also, as a further safety measure, the interurban would install hand derailing devices that would "constantly leave the tracks of the Aurora company broken, excepting when said device is used to place tracks in position for the crossing by the cars of the Aurora company over the tracks of the Suburban company..." And Suburban cars would continue to have right of way over the AE&C.

The agreement was approved by the Commission as well as the Village of Oak Park, which passed an ordinance that, as reported in the Oak Leaves on December 19, ordered the AE&C and Suburban to "put Oak Park avenue back in proper condition and to make its crossing practically as heretofore." The restraining order, "Village of Oak Park vs. Suburban Railway Co., Aurora, Wheaton & Chicago (sic) Rwy Co., was subsequently dismissed.

The crossing dispute between the AE&C and the Suburban had finally ended.



Chicago city limits had moved further west through annexation and the CTT - Suburban 40th Street operations were eventually subject to the jurisdiction of the City Council. The Suburban only provided service on 40th between Randolph and Taylor, with one daily round trip. The City wanted to expand service and decided to issue a new franchise to another company. However, the CTT still held the 40th Street franchise issued by Cicero Township in 1881 to the Chicago and Western Dummy Railroad. The problem was solved when the City Council determined that the franchise had expired the previous year, on July 1, 1901, and the CTT and Suburban no longer held rights to operate on 40th or Randolph.

On July 25, 1902 the City removed the Suburban tracks from 40th and, later that year, the Suburban terminated its lease of the Harlem Division. Some operations continued on Randolph while the railroads challenged the expiration issue in court. The case was eventually heard by the Illinois Supreme Court, which affirmed the expiration in a ruling issued in November, 1903. The Suburban stopped service on Randolph the following month and then resumed a limited shuttle service in Oak Park for the Lake Street L. The CTT began to remove sections of track on Randolph in 1904 and took out the last segment in July, 1905. Presumably, Suburban operations over crossing No. 1 had ended by December, 1903 followed by track removal in 1904 and now only AE&C tracks remained in service at this location.

The AE&C experienced another crossing dispute early in 1906 with another railroad, when planning to build the Cook County & Southern Railway to provide service to Mt. Carmel and Oak Ridge cemeteries. The CC&S would have to cross the Illinois Central Railroad in Hillside and requested permission from the steam road. The IC objected and it filed a petition with the Commission on February 9 to prevent the crossing. The interurban, however, quickly settled the matter by agreeing to build an underpass at their expense and the petition was dismissed.

In 1912, the City Council assigned the property and operation rights of the Suburban in Chicago to the Chicago Railways Company after finding the Suburban in default of a Rehabilitation Ordinance passed in 1907. The Suburban ceased operations on 52nd in 1913 and the CRys. took over. Track south of Harrison was abandoned that year because the viaduct over CGW Chicago Transfer Yard was in poor condition and unsafe. Former Suburban tracks were removed from crossing No. 2 and the interlocking plant was taken out of service.

Also in 1912, on February 27, the County Traction Company had acquired the Suburban and service on certain routes was subsequently discontinued, including Harrison Street in Oak Park. The tracks here and at crossing No. 3 were abandoned and removed by 1913, leaving the AE&C and CTT lines free to operate here without fear of collisions with Suburban streetcars.



I would like to sincerely thank the following institutions for helping me prepare this article: Forest Park Historical Society, Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest,

Illinois State Archives, Northwestern University Libraries, Oak Park Public Library, and The Shore Line Interurban Historical Society.




Hopkins Stolp Peffers, Aurora - Elgin Streetcars & Interurbans, vol. 3, The Third rail Line, Chicago Aurora & Elgin R.R. (Wheaton, Ill. : American Slide-Chart, 1993).

The Great Third Rail (Chicago: Bulletin 105 of the Central Electric Railfans' Association, 1961).

The L: The Development of Chicago's Rapid Transit System, 1888 - 1932 (Chicago: Bulletin 131 of the Central Electric Railfans' Association, 1995).

R. L. Gibson Chicago & West Towns Railways (Chicago: Bulletin 3 of the Electric Railway Historical Society, 1952).



Cicero Vindicator

Oak Park Oak Leaves



The Sentinel (Publication of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society. May/June 1993 issue).

The Soo (Publication of the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society. January and April 1984 issues).


Regulatory Commission Findings

Thirty-Second Annual Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission of the State of Illinois - Railroads For the Year Ending June 30, 1902.

  Map of Crossing #1. View Larger  


  Map of Crossing #2. View Larger  


  Map of Crossing #3. View Larger  




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