Chicago and Aurora Railroad

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The Chicago and Aurora Railroad was an early predecessor of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad that built a line from West Chicago to Mendota via Aurora, Illinois.


The Illinois General Assembly chartered the Aurora Branch Railroad on February 12, 1849 to build a branch of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad to Aurora,[1] which it opened on September 2, 1850.[2] The company was renamed Chicago and Aurora Railroad on June 22, 1852, and given expanded powers to extend from Aurora to a point north of LaSalle;[3] this extension, to Mendota, was completed on October 20, 1853.[2] Another amendment, passed February 28, 1854, authorized the company to build east from Aurora to Chicago via Naperville, and changed its name to Chicago and Southwestern Railroad.[4] The latter provision was never acted upon,[5] and was repealed by an act of February 14, 1855, which instead changed the name to Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q).[6] The Aurora-Chicago line was opened on May 20, 1864, by which time the CB&Q had, through acquisitions, acquired a main line from Chicago to Galesburg, where it split into branches for Burlington and Quincy.[2]

The portion of the Chicago and Aurora between Aurora and Mendota remains a main line of CB&Q successor Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which calls it the Mendota Subdivision. The original West Chicago-Aurora branch line is now an industrial track of the Chicago Subdivision.[7] It hosts about _ freight trains a day, and Amtrak Southwest Chief #3 and 4, California Zephyr #5 and 6,Illinois Zephyr #383 and 380, and Carl Sandburg #381 and 382. It currently runs through Aurora, Montgomery, Bristol, Plano, Sandwich, Leland, Earlville, Meriden, Mendota, Clarion, Arlington, Zearing, Malden, Princeton, Wyanet, Buda, Neponset, Kewanee, Galva, Altona, Oneida, Wataga, and Galesburg. It interchanges with the Illinois Railway La Salle Line in Zearing, the Union Pacific Troy Grove Sub in Earlville, and the Illinois Railway Ottawa Line in Montgomery, all in Illinois.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ An act granting a charter to the Aurora Branch Railroad Company, approved February 12, 1849
  2. ^ a b c Interstate Commerce Commission (1927), Valuation Docket No. 715: Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, 134 I.C.C., p. 1 
  3. ^ An act to amend the charter of the Aurora Branch Railroad company, approved June 22, 1852
  4. ^ An act to amend the charter of the Chicago and Aurora Railroad Company, approved February 28, 1854
  5. ^ Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Corporate History of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company and Affiliated Companies, 1917, p. 8: "A provision of the Amendment, of date February 28, 1854, which changed the name of this company to "Chicago and Southwestern Railroad Company," was never acted upon or recognized by this company."
  6. ^ An act to amend an act entitled "An act to amend the charter of the Chicago and Aurora Railroad Company," approved February 28, 1854, approved February 14, 1855
  7. ^ BNSF Railway, Chicago Division Timetable No. 6, in effect July 20, 2007