Abandoned Peoria

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  • Member since
    April 2007
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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 11:52 AM

The Pennsylvania RR let TP&W handle most east-west traffic for them between East Peoria and Effner. The Penn Central merger in 1968 led to the diversion of the small amount of through traffic still handled by the PRR Terre Haute - Farmdale Jct. line to the Peoria & Eastern. A portion of the line between Atlanta and Waynesville was embargoed after a 1973 washout. The Maroa - Farmdale Jct. portion was then sold to Illinois Terminal on April 1, 1976. IT was a north-south oriented Regional.

Conrail closed the Olin (IN) to Crawfordsville (IN) segment of the former Peoria & Eastern (operated by New York Central and predecessor Big Four since 1890) Indianapolis - Pekin mainline in 1981 after it was discovered the Wabash River was undercutting the railroad bridge spanning it. The daily pair of manifests - INPE and PEIN - were diverted via Terre Haute. Flooding caused washouts near Mackinaw in the fall of 1983, which led to a permanent diversion of INPE and PEIN to the Norfolk & Western west of Bloomington sometime in 1984. Conrail put the "Pekin Secondary" up for sale in 1991, but took it off the block after talks with Pioneer Railcorp fell through in 1992. The lines were for sale again in 1995 and after sale to Norfolk Southern of the Bloomington - Urbana segment the following year, Conrail replaced direct service to Peoria with a haulage deal (NS handled there traffic between Lafayette and East Peoria) lasting to the breakup in 1999.

Norfolk & Western decided to close the Lafayette - Gibson City section of its old NKP line to through traffic in late 1986, rerouting everything via Decatur (not Chicago) instead. classification of Peoria and Bloomington-Normal traffic at Decatur made sense because both north-south traffic inherited from ITC in 1982 and east-west former NKP traffic could be handled there.

The TP&W served as a major east-west bridge route from 1927 to 1981. It's eastern connection with Conrail at Logansport (shifted from Penn Central at Effner in 1976, after acquiring the former PRR Effner Branch that year) was cut off after Conrail canceled joint rates that made Logansport an interchange point. Most rates included the Santa Fe as well, but TP&W interchanged much traffic generated in the Peoria area with Conrail as well. Ironically, the Conrail Transaction has somewhat restored TP&W's eastern outlet, though rather than being NS at Logansport, the shortline's major eastern interchange is with CSXT at Lafayette.

Railroads began de-emphasizing Peoria as a major Gateway following the C&NW's takeover of the M&StL in 1960. That diverted a large chunk of business away from the NKP, NYC, TP&W and even PRR. Improved connections at Chicago betwen eastern and western roads caused the CB&Q and NYC to reduce their Peoria interchange by the late 1960's. The N&W+NKP+WAB merger led to N&W trying to bypass the TP&W and interchange directly with the AT&SF at Kansas City. Reduced traffic and deferred maintenance led to fewer trains on the N&W Peoria District from 1965. A decline in perishable and meat traffic (diversion to COFC and trucks) cut out a lot of CB&Q-N&W interchange by 1970.

By 1970, TP&W was the only carrier here handling a significant amount of east-west overhead traffic. P&E and N&W were mainly (though not entirely) dependent on traffic moving to and from the Peoria-Pekin Switching District. N&W did, however, have a small, but steady amout of interchange with BN through the decade (forest products, sand, frozen foods, aluminum ingots, etc.).

With deregulation, railroads canceled joint tariffs and transit rates and closed many interchange points. Conrail expected to increase its line-haul by cutting TP&W from the eastbound routing of Caterpillar machinery and parts after after canceling rates favoring the Logansport Gateway in 1981, but instead lost that business to Norfolk & Western. CR never recovered and shortly would reduce its service to alternate days and eliminate through train service altogether c. 1992. Locals out of Danville (Hillery) made runs to East Peoria thereafter.

N&W/NS lost business when they diverted Peoria and Bloomington-Normal traffic via Decatur in 1986 but began building it back by the 1990's. Diversion of traffic via Decatur didn't stop them from shifting most BNSF interchange at Chicago to Peoria in 1995. That move doubled train service on both the NS and BNSF lines to Peoria. Unfortunately, the Conrail Transaction gave NS an alternative and the heavy BNSF traffic was diverted away from Peoria.

Norfolk Southern's service issues following the Conrail breakup led to the discontinuance of their local intermodal service, which TP&W and CN happily snatched up. The Conrail breakup led to the end of Conrail haulage service to Peoria but it increased TP&W-CSXT routings.

Currently, competitive single-line NS and joint TP&W-CSXT routings are available to Peoria area shippers. There's some limited CN traffic to and from the east, mostly Michigan and Canada. Also, joint TP&W-CN intermodal service routes Caterpillar parts to Europe via the Port of Halifax. DPJ


FWIW, I found this reply to be among the most comprehensive and informative out of the bunch, and provides a good background to answer the question in the other thread about TPW/Watseka.

Hats off again for   bn13814 

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 3,863 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 11:57 AM

Thanks, Convicted One!  That information sure helps to bring the history of the area ino a clear focus


You are very welcome samfp1943, And just to give props where they are due, thanks to Kalmbach too, for  fixing the search feature, which made digging this thread out of the bulk even possible. 

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