Stewart Avenue near Ash Street, Village of Lombard
- Address: TBD
- Established: 1902
- Original Line: Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Ry
- Rebuilt: TBD
- Previous Names: East Lombard
- Flag stop
- (View location)
Stewart Ave. was a local station on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin’s main line at Stewart Avenue between Ash and Hickory Streets in Lombard. The station opened in late 1902 as East Lombard, and was one of a number of stations that went into service shortly after the Aurora, Elgin and Chicago Railway opened.1
Upon opening, East Lombard was a typical AE&C local stop; the station consisted of a pair of wooden, low level, side platforms in the middle of the open prairie. A painted board mounted at one end of the platforms identified the location. As was common on the AE&C, the platforms were built on opposite sides of the unpaved crossing; the eastbound platform was on the east side of Stewart Avenue and the westbound platform was on the west side.2
By 1920, the stop had been renamed and upgraded with cinder platforms3 and the addition of lighting for the westbound platform.4 It would seem that at this point in time the majority of the station’s boarding passengers were bound for points west on the line (toward the Fox River Valley) as the eastbound platform was 66 ft. long5 (a little more than the length of one car) while the westbound platform had been lengthened to 137 ½ ft.3 (almost the length of a three-car train). Eventually a wooden passenger shelter was added to the eastbound platform.
All local stations on the CA&E were flag stops. Each platform was equipped with a flag stop semaphore which was activated with a pull chain. People wishing to catch a train pulled the chain raising the semaphore (the “flag”) which was notification to the motorman to stop. If the flag was not raised, the train did not stop even if it was listed as a stop for that train on the timetable. A passenger onboard a train wishing to alight at Stewart Ave. had to notify a conductor of his or her intention to disembark.
With the cutback of service from Wells Street to Forest Park due to the construction of the Congress Street Superhighway [Eisenhower Expressway (I-290)] in 1953, passengers abandoned the CA&E in droves making the financial situation of the railroad untenable. In response, in 1956, the Chicago Transit Authority reviewed two similar plans for assuming operation of the line between Forest Park and Wheaton. Under both schemes A/B skip-stop service would have been implemented with Stewart Ave. becoming an “A” station.6, 7 Neither of these plans came to pass and on July 3, 1957, the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin abandoned its passenger service. Eventually the stop was razed, most likely when the railroad was scrapped in 1961, leaving only the abandoned platforms in place.
Today the Illinois Prairie Path runs through the site. The platforms (though deteriorated from decades of neglect) remain, though there is little indication that there was ever a railroad station at the location.