Illinois' Addison Railroad

There were two Addison Railroads that operated in the United States, one in Illinois and one in Vermont, and each had no relation to the other. The Vermont Addison Railroad became part of the Rutland Railroad, and is discussed in another blog.

The Addison Railroad (in Illinois) once occupied the large easement on the west side of Addison Rd between IL-64 (North Av) to just north of US-20 (Lake St) in Addison, IL, about two miles in length.

Built in 1890, it was incorporated into the Chicago Madison & Northern Railroad, which itself became part of the Illinois Central by 1892. Under the IC, the short spur was simply known as the Addison Branch.

Addison Railroad, 1892. "Illinois Central Train in Addison on “Orphan Home Festival Day.” Courtesy Historical Museum of Addison."

"In 1890 five Addison men formed the Addison Railroad Company, Inc. These were William Leeseberg, Louis Stuenkel, Edward Rotermund, Professor Johann Backhaus, and H. Z. Zuttermeister. Stock capital amounted to $5,000. A charter was issued on July 16, 1890, for the right to a stretch of land from today’s North Avenue into Addison to build a railroad track. In agreement was made with the Illinois Central Railroad officials to provide the railroad bed and equipment and to maintain and operate the railroad for fifty years from that date. The cost of the whole right-of-way was $16,488.90. The first train came to Addison for the Orphan Home Picnic on September 12, 1890."

Despite the line's very small size, one could take a passenger train from Addison to Chicago using the branch, at least until the Great Depression, when passenger service ceased. Freight operations would continue until much later.

The line was abandoned piecemeal beginning in the 1970’s with the last segment abandoned in 1989. A quite large and obvious example of scarchitecture is visible on Google Maps of the line’s South Addison junction with the IC line, now part of CN.

Image: Google Maps

Thanks as always for reading!


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