Imagine commuting to Chicago by train in the morning only to discover without warning that same afternoon that your Metra line had closed and would never operate again.
Derailing a Railroad
A History of Reliable Service
Car 401 of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad eastbound at Winfield Road.
In 1900 in an era known for powerful railroads and businessmen, a woman named Lydia Rose Gary, widow of Jude Gary, decided she wanted to use the railway to sell dairy products in Chicago. In return for a small strip of land, she skillfully negotiated with the CA&E to add a stop near her property called the Gary Siding stop (now St. James Farm), guaranteeing a minimum of five daily trains traveling each direction to stop for her use.
The Ghost of the CA&E
So the next time you walk, run, or ride through St. James Farm or on the Illinois Prairie Path, remember the CA&E Railroad, Lydia Gary, and that fateful July day when so many commuters had to walk the entire rail line home.
* Banner photo courtesy of Bill Volkmer
* Photo under headline: Car 418 of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad at Diehl Road on Nov. 1, 1952. Photo by John F. Humiston