Concordia Cemetery and Waldheim Cemetery
Village of Forest Park
- Address: TBD
- Established: June 19, 1905
- Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated
- Rebuilt: TBD
- Previous Names: n/a
The Concordia Cemetery and Waldheim Cemetery stops were two separate stops built by the Metropolitan West Side Elevated on sidings of the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago main line. These stops were not intended for regular service, but for chartered funeral trains heading to either Concordia Cemetery or Waldheim [Forest Home] Cemetery in suburban Forest Park.
On March 11, 1905, the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway and the Metropolitan West Side Elevated began operating under the terms of a previously signed a reciprocal trackage agreement. This agreement enabled the interurban line to operate east over the “L” tracks to the Fifth Avenue Terminal in downtown Chicago. In exchange for this, the elevated company extended its rapid transit service west over the interurban tracks to the east side of the Des Plaines River.1
Using the specific wording of the reciprocal trackage agreement to their advantage, the Metropolitan quickly constructed a pair of stations on the east side of the Des Plaines River a few hundred feet west of the existing station at Desplaines Avenue to serve Concordia and Waldheim cemeteries which were adjacent to the line.
Unlike the other stations on the Metropolitan "L" lines, there was no regularly scheduled service to these stations. Instead they were used on an as-needed basis for chartered funeral trains. The stations were constructed on short sidings2 off of the AE&C main line so that stopped funeral trains would not interfere with the passage of regularly scheduled service. Funeral service began Monday, June 19, 1905.2
Paved roads at this time were scarce and a trip from the city to a suburban cemetery via a horse drawn carriage was not only uncomfortable and slow, but during inclement weather roads were potentially impassible. A trip in one direction could sometimes take upward of several hours. Travel by train was fast and comfortable and the service quickly became quite successful.
By the early 1930s, the conditions that had made the service profitable (mainly the lack of paved roads in the area) were gone and the number of chartered trains trailed off. The stations ceased to see any service and the platforms and sidings were dismantled.