|Location||Hart Road near Papermill Hill Dr.,|
Batavia, IL 60510
|Original Line||Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Ry|
|Platforms||1, low level|
Hart Road was a stop on the Batavia branch of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin at the crossing of Hart Road in Batavia Township. The stop opened in either late September or early October 1902 when the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway put the Batavia branch into operation.
While there are no known photographs of Hart Road from the early years of the railroad, surviving images from this period indicate that lesser stations on the AE&C consisted of little more than short platforms at select rural crossings. Hart Road was doubtlessly no different, being nothing more than a platform constructed from wooden planks arranged perpendicularly to the rails, giving passengers a place to stand that was roughly the same height as the running rails. In the case of Hart Road, the platform was on the south side of the Batavia branch’s single track and on the west side of the crossing of Hart Road.1
Before the end of 1920, Hart Road was improved with the addition of a frame waiting station, platform lighting, and a sign. The station itself was a small structure only 5 feet 5 inches by 5 feet 8 inches and 7 feet 9 inches high to the eaves. It had a hip roof with ruberiod roofing.2 Additionally, the platform was rebuilt out of cinders and lengthened to 63 feet (slightly longer than one car). The stop was also outfitted with an elevated wooden platform for the shipment and delivery of milk containers by local farmers.3
Service to and from the station consisted of a single car operating between Batavia Junction and the Batavia terminal. This shuttle was scheduled so that eastbound cars would meet a corresponding eastbound train on the Aurora branch at Batavia Junction while westbound cars would leave Batavia Junction after picking up passengers from westbound Aurora trains. Under this system, every car in revenue service on the branch would stop any station provided that there was a passenger on the platform wishing to board, or a passenger in the car wishing to alight.
This changed with the entry of the United States into World War II. With the war effort fully underway, the nation was placed under rationing in order to conserve resources for the war effort. At the same time, the CA&E was looking to make its own reductions to improve efficiency. A survey was conducted on January 15, 1943, which was then tabulated and studied by early February. After reviewing the findings, a subcommittee of the CA&E’s Budget and Expense Committee recommend closing fifteen stops and informally brought this before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) who suggested reducing the number to twelve. At the same time they noted that station closures would require a formal public hearing and Commission approval before being able to be enacted.4
On March 18, 1943, the Budget and Expense Committee toured the railroad and reviewed the stations to be eliminated. Following this inspection, the subcommittee recommended the closure of Garden Home, Stratford Hills, Emory, Chicago Golf, Plamondon, Ferry Road, Diehl Road, Wagner Road, Hart Road, Glenwood Park, Wesley St., Pleasant Hill, Geneva Road, St. Andrews, Smith Road, and St. Charles Road. They again met with representatives of the Illinois Commerce Commission who suggested that instead of abandoning the stations outright, practically the same result could be accomplished through a new timetable with vast service reductions to the selected stations, thus avoiding the need for public hearings.5
The new timetable was drafted, but before it could be put into effect, the public found out and delayed its implementation with petitions and protests. The issue was brought before the ICC on December 3. The CA&E argued that the changes were necessary for the war effort, while lawyers representing the riding public disagreed. Following the scheduling of additional hearings, the ICC ruled in favor of the CA&E allowing two stations (Stratford Hills and Emory) to be closed, while the remainder would see reduced service. Hart Road remained open, but had its level of service slashed.
Hart Road saw further usage reduction beginning September 20, 1953. On that day, concurrent with the cessation of service over the Garfield Park “L” and into the Wells Street Terminal, the hours of service on the Batavia branch were cut to just the morning and evening rush. This left a total of seven scheduled stops at Hart Road in each direction in the morning and seven in each direction in the evening, Monday through Friday. While Batavia passengers could still make connections to Forest Park and Chicago via the Connecting Motor Coach Service (which was extended south from Geneva to the Batavia terminal when the Batavia branch was not in operation) no replacement service was provided for the intermediate stops at Bilter Road, State Road, Wagner Road, Hart Road, or Glenwood Park.
The stop was abandoned on July 3, 1957, when the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railway withdrew passenger operations in their entirety at 12:13 p.m. What little there was of the station was eventually demolished.
Today, the area around Hart Road has become well populated with the construction of numerous single-family homes. The right-of-way through the station has been preserved as part of the Batavia branch of the Illinois Prairie Path, a 61-mile multi-use trail which largely follows the route of the CA&E.