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Bilter Road

Location Bilter Rd. near Charter Oak Dr.,
Aurora, IL 60502
EstablishedSeptember/October 1902
Original LineAurora, Elgin & Chicago Ry
RebuiltTBD
Previous NamesN/A
Tracks1
Platforms1, low level
Flag stop

History:

Bilter Road was a stop on the Batavia branch of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin at the crossing of Bilter Road in the far northwestern corner of Naperville Township. It opened in late 1902 when the Batavia branch was placed into operation by the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway. The exact date is unknown, but it is believed to have been between late September and early October.

The stop consisted of a single, low level platform on the west side of the Batavia branch’s single track and on the south side of the crossing of Bilter Road.1

Photographs of local stops on the early AE&C are understandably rare and there are no known photographs of Bilter Road from this period. Surviving images of the era depicting other local stops demonstrate a uniformity in construction. Stops of this class were very simple structures consisting of little more than short platforms made of wooden boards arranged perpendicular to the direction of the rails in the vicinity of the crossing of unimproved rural roads. Bilter Road was doubtlessly no different.

Prior to the end of 1920, the stop benefitted from several minor improvements in the form of platform work and the installation of a sign. The original platform was removed and replaced with a cinder platform 94 feet in length (approximately the length of a two car train).2

As with other stations on the Batavia branch, service at Bilter Road was provided by a single car shuttling between Batavia Junction and the Batavia terminal. The shuttle was scheduled to arrive or depart Batavia Junction to facilitate connections with trains on the Aurora branch in the direction of travel. As there was no ticket office at this location, passengers paid for their tickets after boarding.

Concurrent with the cutback of service from Wells Street to Forest Park was a reduction of the operating hours on the Batavia branch. As of September 20, 1953, the Batavia branch was only in operation during rush hours. At all other times, the Connecting Motor Coach service was extended south from Geneva to the Batavia terminal. (No replacement service was provided for Bilter Road, State Road, Wagner Road, Hart Road, or Glenwood Park.) Service to Bilter Road consisted of seven cars in each direction in the morning, and seven cars in each direction in the evening.

This level of service was maintained until July 3, 1957, when the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railway ended passenger service at 12:13 p.m.

Today the Illinois Prairie Path, a 61-mile multi-use trail that lies predominantly on the right-of-way of the CA&E, runs through the site of the Bilter Road stop, but there is little indication that there was ever a transit station there.

Sources:

  1. The Great Third Rail. Central Electric Railfans’ Association, p. IV-12.
  2. “COST TO REPRODUCE NEW LESS DEPRECIATION BASED ON INVENTORY AND COSTS AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1920: INVENTORY QUANTITIES AND VALUES.” Chicago Aurora and Railroad Company, n.d. p. 229.