To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just Where is Utopia?

If you enter "Utopia, IL" in Google Maps, you will be taken to the intersection of Butterfield Road and  Midwest Road (south of Butterfield Road) also called Summit Road (north of Butterfield Road). Up until the late 1950's or early 60's, this area was known as Utopia, Illinois. It's name was changed to Oakbrook Terrace.

When Sam Insull took over the Chicago Aurora and Elgin, the same style of Skokie Valley by-pass was planned for the CA&E as the CNS&M. The CA&E by-pass was to start at Bellwood on the east. As part of the by-pass, the Chicago Rapid Transit would provide "L" service to Westchester. This was to end at Roosevelt Road or Mannhein Road and 22nd St. in Westchester. 

The CA&E by-pass would travel west on the north side of what is now 22nd Street (Cermak Road) through Utopia. Hence, the CA&E besides known as the "Great 3rd Rail" was also called the "Road to Utopia". On the west end the by-pass would rejoin the original main line probably in Glyn Ellen just east of Wheaton.

We are still moving into our new home. My new work area is also ready. Tools and parts have to be sorted out so items are easy to find. One of the items rediscovered is the following drawing prepared by Mitch Markovitz. A couple of years ago we were sitting at our old kitchen table and as we talked Mitch drew this.

The drawing shows a Chicago & Utopia Ry train at the end of the line in Utopia.
It hangs on a wall in our new home.

The black and white drawing allows you to fill in the colors. The station is at Midwest Road in Utopia. It is of the typical white stucco with green trim found on the Westchester "L" line.

The train in the station looks like it's made up of a 5000 articulated or CTA 6000 manufactured as an upgraded or heavy duty suburban or interurban. The colors of the cars might be aluminum sides and ends below and above the window areas. Through the window area the car is red.

This may give you the impression the new C&U layout will be 3rd rail or both 3rd rail and trolley. When the time comes you'll be surprised to see what the prototype is for the new C&U!

But in the meantime, what does the word "utopia" mean? Utopia is "an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect." © Oxford University Press 

If you are pleased with your models and layout, you may have found utopia. The Chicago & Utopia Ry. is a play on words. It is what you want it to be. That's what It means to me!



  1. Ed,

    the new line sounds both enigmatic and exciting. Can't wait to see it!

    Also, as a side note, the west end of the CA&E bypass through Utopia would have joined the Aurora branch just north of Weisbrook Road.

  2. Don, thank you for the information on the bypass. The route to Aurora was not a branch but the main line. It was built 1st before the routes to Elgin, Batavia, and Geneva-St. Charles which were all branches.

  3. Hello Mr. Halstead,

    I came across this post and this image on google and I have fallen in love with it. I'm in college and working on a senior project for poetry and I would love to use this train sketch as my cover photo if that is okay with you and/or Mitch Markovitz. Please let me know if this would be okay. I'll be making around 30 copies of the work, to go to only my friends and family.

    Thank You,
    Emily Teitsworth

  4. Emily, you have my permission to use Mitch's drawing on the cover of your "senior project for poetry".