Sunday, February 21, 2021

BNSF/CB&Q Aurora-Batavia Branch West of Fox River

Southern End: (Satellite, joins the mainline)
Northern End: (Satellite, the bridge over I-88 is now gone)

Matt Buhlig posted
BNSF’s NIFA job creeps south through a short section of street running in Aurora after spending a few hours switching a few miles north. 2/20/21.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Matt's post
It is more like alley running. But that is an interesting urban scene for a Class I railroad.

Because of the waterpower, Batavia was an industrial town in the 1800s. I knew CB&Q had a branch on the east side of the Fox River because CB&Q's founding route was from Aurora to the G&CU. This Aban RR Map shows that CB&Q also served the west side of Batavia up to McKee Street.
RR Aban Map

Zooming in on Aurora, we can see the CB&Q had four industrial spurs in the 1950s. I also noticed that C&NW had a route along the west side of the river.
1950 Aurora North and 1954 Aurora South Quadrangles

Starting from the south, the "scar" of an industrial spur still exists on the satellite image down by Rathbone Ave.

However, when I clicked the Gordogan Clark & Associates, it appears that at least some of those industrial buildings have been, or will be, gentrified.
Street View

The next industrial site north still exist, but they are no longer rail served. I put a red rectangle around the curve in a building that shows where the spur used to be.
Satellite plus Paint

Up around Plum Street it is easy to see where the spurs used to be. The southern one is no longer used. The northern one was added since the 1950s, and it still has its turnout.
Satellite plus Paint

The spur north of Illinois Avenue still has industry and some track, but the turnout has been removed.

Some industries have been added since the 1950s. Poly USA Inc obviously receives plastic pellets because we can see a covered hopper parked on their facility at the north end of this excerpt.

The main customer today are at the north end because there are fourteen covered hopers parked on the siding. To capture those hoppers is why I included so much of the housing development. Taking another look at Matt's photo, we see the train consists of just covered hoppers. However, I have learned that Dart Container is no longer rail served.

However, Berry Global is still rail served. And the Cyl-Tec building was rail served.

The crossing in Industrial Drive is still intact to what appears to be the modern equivalent of a team track for the industrial park building.
Street View

Comments on Matt's post

Dennis DeBruler commented on Matt's post
Judging from a Google Earth image, the RoW north of I-88 was gone when this Mar 1996 image was captured. The bridge is in an Oct 2008 image, but gone in the next image of Oct 2009. Per Wesley's comment below, only Berry Plastic still receives covered hoppers.
Wesley Fane: Dennis DeBruler only Berry Plastic is served on that stub track today.

1 comment:

  1. The reason the CB&Q had a bridge over I88 was because it used to countinue up to Mooseheart, serving it with a station (now a post office) and supply Mooseheart with coal until the EPA stopped it. The line went even further to serve a factory on Main Street Batavia, before going even more North to connect to the C&NW's Aurora-Batavia branch, and then finally connecting to the Metra UP-West line in Geneva.