Forest Park to Ingalton

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A view of the old CGW main line at Villa Park, looking east in 1976. This section was officially abandoned by C&NW soon after this year and the tracks were removed. Just ahead, the former ROW of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad began to parallel the CGW along the right-hand side in this picture. Photo by Don Hitchcock.

This railway line was completed in 1888 as part of the Minnesota & Northwestern, which was soon renamed the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City, which subsequently became the Chicago Great Western in 1892. The CGW struggled at times, but survived until 1968, when it was merged with the Chicago & North Western.

This section of the line around Chicago was abandoned in pieces. The section between Ingalton (and crossing of the EJ&E) was apparently abandoned in the early 1970s. The section between Carol Stream and Lombard was officially abandoned in the mid 1980s. However, as seen in Don Hitchcock's pictures, much of the line between Villa Park and Lombard was out-of-service or gone in the mid 1970s. The same goes for sections of the line between Forest Park and Villa Park. All that remains of the line out to St. Charles on the west side of the Fox River is a few sections used for industrial spurs.

See also the abandoned Saint Charles-Galena portion of this CGW mainline.

Very interesting pictures and story, however may I make a few corrections and additions.

The rails were lifted between 25th st and York road about 1972.

On the west side of York road was an interesting old lumber yard that lasted a few more years before they too went out of business. There were still several tracks at this location, the remnants of an interchange with the at that time Illinois Central RR just west of this location. The two railroads still had a crossing at grade here along with the working signal lights. This segment lasted until approximately 1975 when the track was pulled back to just east of Rt 83. The Rt 83 bridge had the east runarround track switch in the middle of the bridge over the very busy highway. I was told but could never verify the story that the Ovaltine Co had signed a 99 year contract with the Great Western in the early 1930's that the C & NW had to honor. This contract was finally annulled about 1984 when the Ovaltine Co was purchased and moved to Minneapolis MN. Refrigerated box cars( usually Santa FE) were delivered daily to Ovaltine to the brick building just under the water tower in the above picture.

As the way freight would head west after switching Ovaltine, the crews would usually stop for beans at a diner I believe is called the Highview. I always thought it funny that the crew would "park" their train right on the main before continuing on their work day switching cars in Lombard ( three customers), A public siding at Main st. Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream ( several more customers), Campbells Soup at Pleasant Hill rd, West Chicago, and then heading west to St Charles a second time before tying up back in West Chicago Yards.

After Ovaltine Co closed in 1984 track was pulled back to Carol Stream where the Container corp received several box cars. Container corp went on strike I believe in 1988. Rather than settle the strike Container corp closed the plant. Rails were then pulled back to a single customer in the West Chicago industrial dist ( At that time there were still the remains of an interchange yard with the EJ&E rr). These customers were all east of the EJ&E railroad that the CGW crossed over until their bridge was condemned. At this time CNW used the "J" to the old interchange that had to be rebuilt because of 20 years of unuse.

By the way there is to this day some existing track of the old Great Western in a western Illinois town named Byron. Byron is the site of a nuclear power plant that has an unused but repairable several mile long line that crosses the Rock River on a steel trestle bridge that is very similar to the Fox River bridge in St. Charles.

Turner JT
Turner Junction :), IL
3/15/2010

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I worked for a small business in Villa Park in the summer and early fall of 1975. Once in a great while, a local working this line would s-l-o-w-l-y make its way past the back door. We'd have it open to try and catch a cross-breeze and circulate some air, so we could always hear it coming past.

One GP-7 or 9 was always sufficient as power.

Alan Fricker
Fargo, ND
8/20/2010

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The Great Western Trail now exists on much of the old roadbed between Villa Park and Sycamore and you can see some old mileposts, bridge pillars and things.

Trader Joe
Geneso, IL
5/16/2012

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During the 80's and not the 70's as posted, trains would run by lombard maybe serving Meyer cement in Carol stream, lumber store south of the tracks at Charlotte St in Lombard (now homes)among others. The paint job was the same colors as C&NW but under the cab window was marked C&GW.

Lee
Lombard , IL
6/4/2012

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I remember the Chicago Great Western: http://RailroadGloryDays.com/cgw

Glen Brewer
Villa Park, IL
12/16/2013

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/hw8
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