Warrenville Then & Now: Biking Along the Old Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Train Line

As Warrenville and area residents take part in the sixth annual Warrenville Bike Rodeo Saturday, May 14, the Warrenville Historical Society remembers the electric trains that used to run along the Prairie Path.

After a decades-long struggle to acquire access to the ever-expanding train lines out of         Chicago, Warrenville got its railroad in 1902.  The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (CA&E) made its way through Warrenville and brought with it visitors from the Chicago region and the ease of rail travel to Warrenville residents.  Warrenville’s public high school students used the CA&E train to get to school in Wheaton, using a monthly ride ticket given to them by the School Board.  The train made four stops for Warrenville students-Williams Road, the downtown depot, Winfield Road, and Wiesbrock Road.

As travel by car increased and the East-West Tollway construction expanded, the CA&E passenger service declined after World War II.  Warrenville residents protested the CA&E proposed closing, but after years of threatening service stoppage, on July 3, 1957, at noon, the train no longer made its way through Warrenville.  Commuters who had ridden the train to work that day were left without a ride home.  The rails continued to be used for freight until 1959.  In 1962 the rails were removed making way for the Illinois Prairie Path that marks the trails of the long forgotten CA&E.  

After service ended, the CA&E depot was used by Robert and Dorothy Kelly, first as Dot’s Bargain Shop and then as the Dunk-It Coffee Shop.  After the City government was established in 1967, the old train depot was converted into the Warrenville City Hall until a new City Hall was constructed across the street and the old building was taken down.

To learn more about the CA&E in Warrenville visit the Historical Society’s display in City Hall and stop by the Warrenville Historical Museum & Art Gallery during our open gallery hours Sundays from 1:00-4:00p.m.  We are located at 3S530 Second Street.  For more information see our website http://www.warrenvillehistorical.org.  As your city museum, we are here to serve you.  Please contact us with any questions, suggestions or comments at (630) 393-4215 or email us at info@warrenvillehistorical.org.  To keep up to date with all the exciting things we have going on you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for posting this nice article!

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