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Third rail distribution of power to trains was the hallmark of the CA&E, the "Sunset Lines." It had little overhead trolley except in street-running, which was confined to the west terminals and West Chicago.
From the 1930s it experienced heavy commuter traffic along the double-track Chicago-Wheaton main stem. At Wheaton, the multiple unit trains were divided, sending cars to Aurora, to Elgin and to the storage yard. After 1937 motor coach service to St. Charles-Geneva was integrated with the train schedule, replacing other through cars. Batavia was served mainly by a shuttle car.
Though it installed all-steel cars in 1923-45, right until the end of service the rush hours saw trains of wooden equipment, the oldest dating from 1902.