Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company
|Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric|
|Locale||Fox River Valley|
|Line length||40 miles (64 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||45 miles per hour (72 km/h)|
The Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric (AE&FRE), was an interurban railroad that operated freight and passenger service on its line paralleling the Fox River serving the communities of Yorkville, Montgomery, Aurora, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, South Elgin, Elgin, Dundee, and Carpentersville in Illinois. It also operated local streetcar lines in both Aurora and Elgin.
Predecessor companies opened service in 1895 between Carpentersville and Elgin; in 1896 between Elgin and St. Charles and Aurora and Geneva; in 1899 between Aurora and Yorkville; and in 1901 between St. Charles and Geneva. In the era 1901-1906 it was known as the Elgin, Aurora & Southern Traction Company.
Service typically operated on one-hour headways between Elgin and Aurora, with connecting service between Carpentersville and Elgin, and between Aurora and Montgomery. The EA&S merged with the Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railway in 1906 and became the new Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railroad's Fox River Division. The company was separated by order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 1923, when the Fox River Division assumed the AE&FRE name, and the rest of the AE&C (the Third Rail Division) became the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad. Passenger service ended March 31, 1935, except on a short stretch of track used by the CA&E in St. Charles and Geneva, where passenger service ended December 31, 1937. Freight service continued on a three-mile stretch of the line between Coleman Yard and the Elgin State Hospital under electric power until 1947, and by diesel until 1972. At that time, the remnant of the line was sold to its current museum operators. Rail remaining between the current museum site in South Elgin and the State Hospital was removed in 1978.
Elgin and Aurora streetcar systems 
By 1900 both Elgin and Aurora had electric streetcars on lines radiating out from downtown. Elgin had 12 miles of track, the downtown area was double tracked in the 1920’s. Many Elgin lines started in a central “square”. Aurora had 18 miles, with double track in most of the downtown area by 1900. Aurora’s lines were often “through routes”, entering downtown on one line and exiting on another. Since 31 March 1935, when rail passenger service was discontinued, routes in Aurora have changed, by 2013 under successor Pace little of the early city lines remained. In Elgin, by contrast, most streetcar lines are now part of longer bus routes.[a]
Elgin to Aurora interurban line 
The interurban line left Elgin going south on State Street (Route 31[b]), past the State Hospital (a.k.a. Asylum)(mile 1.8), then down the side of LaFox Street through Clintonville/South Elgin (mile 3.1). Curving east onto private right of way the line went through the freight interchange at Coleman (mile 4.5)[c], across the river on its own bridge, and continued south to an intersection with Fifth Avenue in St. Charles. Street running started there, south to Main Street, then west across the river to Third Street, and south again into Geneva on Anderson Boulevard. At State Street the line turned east and went to Third Street (Chicago Junction[d], mile 11.6), where it turned south, then east, jogged south on Route 31, then onto private right of way between Route 31 and the river. A mile further south the line returned to Route 31, Batavia Avenue, street running through Batavia (mile 14.6), then on the east shoulder through North Aurora to the Aurora city limits. In Aurora the interurban used the Lake Street streetcar line on to the terminal. In 2013 Pace Route 801 Goes from Elgin to Geneva, although largely on a more western alignment. From Geneva to Aurora Pace Route 802 follows the original interurban line very closely.
- Examples in 2013 include the east side “Dundee” line, part of Pace Route 543, and west side “Highland” line, part of Pace route 549.
- By 1940 Illinois had designated Route 31 running north and south along the west side of the Fox River. For convenience this modern number is used here.
- The section of track between the State Hospital and the Coleman interchange continued in use until 1972.
- The section of track between Fifth Avenue and Chicago Junction was used by AE&C then CA&E shuttle cars until 1937, after the rest of the interurban service had been discontinued.
- The Great Third Rail. Central Electric Railfans’ Association. 1961. pp. 6–7,.
- Peffers, Hopkins Stolp (1993). Aurora-Elgin Area Street Cars and Interurbans v.1: Fox River Division. American Slide-Chart. pp. 9–11. ISBN 1-883461-01-4. LCCN 93-70779.
- C.E.R.A.(61), pp. 5, 20-22
- Peffers (1993), pp. 102, 103, 115, 116, 130.
- C.E.R.A.(61), pp. 6-7
- Peffers (1993), pp. 41, 68, 99.
- Plachno, Larry (1986). Sunset Lines The Story of the Chicago Aurora, & Elgin Railroad: v.1: Trackage. Transportation Trails. pp. 127, 131. ISBN 0-933449-02-X. LCCN 86-30751.
- C.E.R.A.(61), pp. 11, 75, 76, 78, 79, II-5
- Peffers (1993), pp. 50-71.
- C.E.R.A.(61,) pp. 12, 75-79, II-7
- Peffers (1993), pp. 12-49.
- "Pace Bus". RTA System Map. Pace Suburban Bus. 2012. Retrieved 10April2013.
- C.E.R.A.(61), pp. 4-5, 22-24,II-2, 3, 4, 6
- Peffers (1993), pp. 10, 12, 74-99, 136.
- Central Electric Railfans' Association (1961). The Great Third Rail. Chicago, Illinois: CERA.
- Fox River Trolley Museum owns car 304
- Northern Ohio Railway Museum owns car 303
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