Doors Open On the Left...At Lombard?

By Karl Klockars in News on Feb 23, 2008 3:00PM

chicagoeloldma022208.jpgIf the RTA extended the Blue Line out to the Yorktown Mall in Lombard, would you go? The Sun-Times reported yesterday that possible improvements to the city's transit system could include a longer trek on the Forest Park line, new bus routes on major expressways, and a north-south train between Midway and O'hare, among other things.

But did you know that the CTA used to run all the way out to Aurora? It did...kinda. It was called the inter-urban rail system, and in 1905, the Chicago Aurora & Elgin (also known as the Great Third Rail) railroad started sharing rails into the city proper with the CTA, allowing passengers direct access to the El from towns like Aurora, Batavia, Geneva and Westchester. According to Chicago-l.org, in 1953, the CA&E ceased operation past Des Plaines, forcing riders to make the switch to CTA trains there. In 1957, they shut down entirely at noon with no warning, stranding passengers downtown.

The track was torn up and eventually became part of the Congress Street Expressway (later renamed the Eisenhower) and parts of the rail line ended up as Prarie Path trails. Another bit of trivia: when the CTA purchased the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in October of 1947, it cost the city $12 million. The Sun-Times says that these magical wish-list items could run up to $8 billion.

Image from Chicago-l.org. A much larger version of the image can be found here.