Sunday, October 29, 2017

Steep CGW Industrial Spur in St. Charles, IL

I don't normally do postings about industrial spurs, but this one is interesting.

Dave Kuntz posted the comment: "I'm reading about a steep siding that ended up on St. Charles' Main Street and had several runaways in "The Chicago Great Western Railway" pictorial book."

Jerry Hund commented on Dave's posting
Here's the most famous runaway in St. Charles.
Dave Kuntz Trolley Tracks on street?
Jerry Hund Dave Kuntz yes, they belonged to the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River RR until 1935. Also, the CA&E Geneva Branch ended a short distance past this area.
Jerry Hund Notice the empty lot on the corner. The Arcada Theatre would be built here. Air Supply is playing there tonight.
I suspect the curve in the building marks the location of the industrial siding that served a, possibly water powered, industry in the 1800s. The tracks were probably gone before the building was built, but the property lines for the lot would have been defined by the railroad right-of-way.
Satellite plus Paint
A street view shows the tracks are elevated to remain level across the Fox River Valley.

Street View
I'm sure the siding made its descent to river level using just the embankment they had to build anyhow for the mainline approach to CGW's bridge across the river. And this 1939 view confirms that the curve in the building marked above is where the siding ran.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Or maybe it was more like this.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP


  1. Dennis, My family came to St. Charles from Sweden in the 1890's. I grew up by the golf course at Pottowattomie. When I was a kid, (early 1960's) there used to be several sets of stairs and concrete lamp posts in the area of the Indian statue along the river. The stairs were a railroad coach car apart to give people riding the train to the Fox River stop on the Chicago Great Western access to the trail that goes under the the railroad bridge to the park. If you can find an old enough time table for the Chicago Great Western you can see that Fox River stop listed between St. Charles and Wasco but there's no arrival time listed for it. that's because the trains that went down the "hole in the wall" siding to that stop were special excursion trains to the park.

  2. I've seen a second photo like the first one above, except the locomotive is lying on its side in front of the building. Does anyone know where I can find that photo? The address is 11 E. Main St. in St. Charles.