Saturday, February 24, 2018

CA&E Power House and Batavia Branch

Batavia Depot Museum added two photos with the comment: "The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin RR Power House was located approximately where Funway is today. It provided electrical power for 75 miles of track for the railroad. The building was razed in 1965."

[In the background, past the road, is the track of the first segment of the CB&Q that went between Aurora and West Chicago/Turner Junction.]

[That is the widest belt I remember seeing.]
The tracks on the west side of the power plant is the Batavia Branch that continued north to just south of Wilson Street.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Remnants of whatever crossed the river still exist.
I studied some 1939 Aerial Photos to find the routing of the Batavia Branch before I discovered that it has been preserved as Illinois Pairie Path - Batavia Spur until it got close to I-88.
I decided I better save a copy of the treeline that shows were the branch curved to meet the Aurora fork because that land is close to a relatively new exit off of I-88 for Eola Road, and development will probably wipe out that treeline. A data center as already built over where it joined the Aurora fork.
CB&Q Railfans shared
Paul D. French That was a different era. Look at that third rail, there is not even a fence to keep people from coming in contact.
Matthew Linhart Paul D. French. This was the early 1900's and inaccessible to the public. This was the power station next to the Fox River in Batavia. There was a wire closer to the downtown of Batavia.

In addition to a powerhouse, they would have several substations along the route to stepdown the voltage and create Direct Current. Since transformers cannot be used with DC, and rectifiers (vacuum tube and then solid state) were a long ways from being invented, they used rotary converters. Specifically, the powerhouse current would run a motor that is hooked to a generator that produced the Direct Current.

David Moorman commented on a posting
David Moorman I have this picture labeled as the CA&E West Chicago Depot, and it looks like an entirely different building. Anyone recognize it?
Richard A. I. Carlson That is the Prince Crossing Road substation. The West Chicago depot was on Washington Street, I think where the library is now. The old freight house still stands across the street.
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. A street view shows it still exists:!3m6!1e1!3m4...
The Prince Crossing Road substation was also a depot on the branch to Elgin.
Mark Llanuza commented on a posting
Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1953 [unknown photographer ] captured the CA&E coming into Prince Crossing road station in [West Chicago IL ] I went back again in the year 2012 to line everything back up again.This was a station and sub station for the CA&E and still stands today .The last i had heard there was a Salt Creek Model Railroad club inside .This was the main line to Elgin.
Jason Simon If memory is correct the CGW parallels at this point.
John P Simanton Yes, it did.
Tom Negele Nice example of old semaphore signal too!
Clintonville was also a combination substation and depot.
Mark Llanuza posted
Its the year 1958 a charted CA&E fan train from a church group ran one of three fan trips on the CA&E after normal operations shut down in 1957 .The B&W photo [taken by unknown photographer ] captured everybody at the Clintonville sub station and train station .I went back in Spring of 2018 to line everything all back again .Today the station is the South Elgin modal railroad club.
[It is now called the Valley Model Railroad]

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