Railroad Details Scale HO Status Active Superintendent Nancy & Scott Stearns Subdivision Chicago - Aurora - C&I Interchange Harbor Belt, EJ&E, CNW, Milwaukee, Locale Northern Illinois Era Early to mid 1960s Layout Size 30x50 - two levels Control Digitrax Dispatching Verbal - going to CTC in the future Communication Phone Clock Speed tbd Forwarding Car Card/Waybills Crew Size 20-25
Our version of the CB&Q Chicago & Aurora Divisions is based around the childhood memories of its co-creator, Scott Stearns. The time is the early 1960s. Having been raised in Aurora, IL, Scott has many fond memories of the Burlington Zephyrs, Commuters (Dinkies in “Q” lingo), the Aurora shops and the freight traffic (local, way and through) that passed through the Aurora area via Eola Yard.
Our goal is to recreate the memories mentioned above as accurately (within reason) as possible. This will be accompanied by first-hand knowledge of several friends who experienced life on the “Q” in the area. Our layout will run from the “East End” of the “Q” system – originating from either Chicago Union Station (passenger) or Cicero Yard (freight), through Aurora and on to Savanna, IL. Aurora will be the centerpiece of the layout with focus on the main yard (Eola), the Aurora shops, local switch jobs and the Aurora depot.
Aurora was a very busy place for the CB&Q. All traffic through town was under the control of the Aurora Tower Operator located along the mainline at the Aurora Depot. From the east, the “Q” ran it’s famous triple mainline – known as the “race track”. This was to maximize the movement of the (up to 40) through passenger trains (Zephyrs, etc.), commuter traffic between Aurora and Chicago, movement of the through freights and the multiple local switching jobs that originate at Eola Yard.
Aurora was also the first major division point of the CB&Q west of Chicago. Just to the west of the Aurora depot, the triple mainline split – with Track #1 (northern-most track) splitting off and becoming the C&I (originally the Chicago & Iowa) that headed for the Twin Cities. Tracks #2 & 3 became the double mainline that headed for Galesburg, Streator and all points west.
To make the CB&Q come alive, we are expecting a full crew to be around 25 operators. The railroad will be able to scale itself down for smaller sessions.
Photos from the CB&Q – Chicago-Aurora-C&I