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Old 08-14-2007, 10:12 AM
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The C,A & E was first started circa 1903 and operated as an electric third rail system at ground level. The Eisenhower Expressway, built in 1953 or 1954 bankrupt the C,A & E system. Because people had fallen in love with cars by then.
The C,A & E was an interurban train system all over the Chicago suburbs and it also acted like a city street car. It had the capabilities of a trolley wire system that was important in suburban town areas. So I would like to talk a little about its electrical systems. My vocation and avocation is as a retired electronics design tecnician. I have six years of college and two degrees. However, I am not an electroinics engineer. So it is slightly possible that a misquote something. Since I love history and to learn, please correct me with any possible errors.
Out in the suburb sparse country side of 1903, etc - - only one interurban car was operated. And in the country, it had a third rail system. Each 'car' had four pick up shoes. Two on each side. Those shoes were all wired in a parallel electric circuit. So when the single car transversed a highway street, it was coasting and the interior lights would flicker on and off. There was also an interrupter device similar to a floating mercury switch. It's purpose was to momentarily turn off the huge motors if the car started rocking. Obvioulsy, if the speed (sometimes 70 MPH) was too high - - the car might rock and tip over.
Today, the modern CTA railroad systems are much more complex. And between three to about five cars are used. One reason is that the CTA system operates its trains at a much slower speed. So if operating one car at a switch - train line crossing, it could stall out at one of the many cross train intersections. A fascinating subject? Well, yes - - I believe so.

Carter Glass
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:41 AM
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You should have been a Professor Mr Glass,you have a wealth of info.I grew up across the street from the old "Roarin' Elgin" tracks (as we used to call them).My grandmother,who lived across the street from us and looked after the brood , told stories of how they would dress up,hat and gloves and Sunday best, and ride the line just to ride the line.She warned us all the time,not to cross the tracks because of the third rail,which terrified us and kept us in our own neighborhood,none of us dared go near the tracks.Of course, later in life we learned they had long since been clear of any electrocution danger,but Grandmother knew how to keep us close to home.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:59 AM
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The old aurora elgin I believe is now partially the fox river bike trail. The old aurora and elgin trolley line bridge is the bridge that goes over the fox river now. I can see it from my house and was told this when I moved in. And the south elgin trolley museum uses the old tracks and it now runs into the jon duerr forest preserve there in St. Charles.

If you want to ride the old electric trolleys, go to that museum there off route 31, it is a lot of fun.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:23 PM
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Default Does Anyone Remember The Coleman Stop?

Personally, I never got that far north (South Elgin) traveling on the C,A & E. However, just south of the RELIC MUSEUM in South Elgin and along IL -31... there was the old Coleman Station. And I believe it was primarily for Sunday afternoon excursions. Somewhere in that approximate area is the area called Five Islands and that was right along the Fox River. Of course, during that time period there were Fox River parks everywhere. This was Chicago's Sunday afternoon entertainment before the television came along.
Back in the 1940s - - from memory - - Chicago Sunday afternoon people would ride excursion trains on the C,A & E. The purpose of those flagged trains was to get people out to the Fox River area, quickly. For Sunday afternoon picnics on the Fox.
So as a boy, I remember watching multi - car C, A, & E trains operate with various colored flags on the front of them. So if it was an express train to Coleman, it might have had dual white flags on its front. There were other flags to. For example, Red meant that it was out of service. And green meant that it was a non-stop express train to either Aurora or Elgin. There may have been other colors, too.
The purpose of those flags was / were to indicate to the Wheaton yards switch dispatcher as to what service the train was doing and where it was headed.
Also one other interesting thing. In those days, there were no electric operated gates at the roads. So each crossing had a little spotter's shack where a man sat watching for approaching trains. When they saw one coming, the gate attendent operated pull down levers - - mechanically connected to those gates. That was to prevent cars from crossing.

Best Regards,

Carter Glass
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:13 PM
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I believe the steel cars were connected with jumpers and batteries so that the lights didn't go out at crossing gaps even for singe car trains. On the wood cars they did.

Also flags: Standard railroad flags (lights at night) displayed at the front of the train were none, indicating a scheduled train, white indicating an extra (not in the schedule) train and green indicating a following section of a scheduled train (a separate set of cars operated independently -- there could be more than one following section -- green would be displayed at the front of all but the last). To the rear red flags or lights were displayed.

CA&E trains between Chicago and Wheaton were typically about six cars. All were controlled by one moterman using Frank Sprague's multiple unit control system -- still pretty much what is used today with electric and diesel electric.

Sounds like you and I have about the same educational background. Also retired with two EE degrees.

Glen Brewer
Remembering the 'Ror'n' Elgin
'Ror'n' Elgin (http://www.homestaydenver.com/cae/ - broken link)

Last edited by rrcrossings; 12-12-2009 at 12:36 PM..
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