Abandoned GM&O Line

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Abandoned GM&O Line

  • GM&O had a line that ran from the main line at Dwight Il. (now UP) to the Illinois river at Lacon,there was also a spur that ran down to Washington.Does anybody know when this line was abandoned?May have had something to do with the IC merger since it crossed IC's old main line (also now torn up)at Wenona Il. Ron
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  • Ron,
    From what I can remember thisline was abandoned in the 70's right as I-55 was being built. Too little traffic doomed the line. The entire line was hndled by an RS2 (I think) up unit the end that was based out of Washington. Dwight-Washington was the main branch with the spur instead going to Lacon. From my understanding the area by Dwight was the last part of Interstate-55 to be built and they didn't even wait until the rails were pulled up, instead excavating right over them. Two short areas aound Wenona were serviced until the IC was bandoned through there in the 80's.

    Tom
  • Thanks Tom, I thought somebody out there might know a little more info about this.I used to travel Rt.17 and Rt.89 along whats left of the right of way and I always wondered how long it had been abandoned.There are still quite a few culverts and small bridges left and also a stray telegraph pole here and there. Ron
  • Sorry this is such a late response but I was searching for posts on this branch and thought someone might still be interested. I grew up two miles from this branch in Toluca IL, and my first ride  on a locomotive occurred on this line in 1977 (age 12), on an ICG Paducah rebuild, at Evans Station, which is essentially a grain elevator between Wenona and Varna. I have a copy of the abandonment notice that was printed in the local paper  (I believe in 1978), all trains stopped running in 1979, and the track was pulled up beginning in 1980. Very little still remains unfortunately, and not one rail is still in use.

  • DwightBranch

    Sorry this is such a late response but I was searching for posts on this branch and thought someone might still be interested. I grew up two miles from this branch in Toluca IL, and my first ride  on a locomotive occurred on this line in 1977 (age 12), on an ICG Paducah rebuild, at Evans Station, which is essentially a grain elevator between Wenona and Varna. I have a copy of the abandonment notice that was printed in the local paper  (I believe in 1978), all trains stopped running in 1979, and the track was pulled up beginning in 1980. Very little still remains unfortunately, and not one rail is still in use.

    Dwight Branch:

    First of all Welcome here! Welcome  Hope you enjoy your visits.

             Just Curious. Did this branch continue South from the Varina area and cross the Ohio Rive in the area of Cairo,Il   OOPS!  I had my spellings confused! Varina is in Iowa and Farina is in South Central, Illinois...My mistake.Crying

      The line then went thorough Columbus,KY, on through Union City Tn, Jackson,Tn.  IT was a t Jackson,Tn that the line split into two parallel  railroads down to the Gulf Coast.

     The GM&O when merged into the ICRR in 1973 or so, pretty much found itself the poster child for redundant, and was in large part rationalized out of the ICRR system by  salvage and sale to other railroads.

    Sam

    "...THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE HAVE TOO MANY FOOLS, IT IS THAT THE LIGHTENING IS NOT DISTRIBUTED RIGHT..."

    MARK TWAIN

     


     

  • No, it was a true branch (originally of the Chicago and Alton) off of the main line at Dwight, and ran from roughly 75 miles south of Chicago to Peoria, all of the track in Central Illinois. That is roughly 150 miles from Cairo IL or Kentucky.

  • I worked several times on that branch.  It ran from Dwight to Varna where there was a wye.  One leg went to Lacon, the other to Washington, IL where it crossed the TP&W.  Until the line was sold to the B&O, it had trackage rights on the TP&W and thus its passenger trains could continue to Peoria. 

    The line terminated at Washington and never ever continued southward.

    At one time the Chicago and Alton provided service from Chicago, via Dwight, through Streator down to Washington, over to Peoria, using trackage rights to Pekin, and using its own tracks to San Jose, IL, and then using its own tracks to Kansas City,

    Art

     

  • artschlosser

    I worked several times on that branch.  It ran from Dwight to Varna where there was a wye.  One leg went to Lacon, the other to Washington, IL where it crossed the TP&W.  Until the line was sold to the B&O, it had trackage rights on the TP&W and thus its passenger trains could continue to Peoria. 

    The line terminated at Washington and never ever continued southward.

    At one time the Chicago and Alton provided service from Chicago, via Dwight, through Streator down to Washington, over to Peoria, using trackage rights to Pekin, and using its own tracks to San Jose, IL, and then using its own tracks to Kansas City,

    Art

    http://www.gmohs.org/SecondaryPages/Maps.htm

    To Art S. and Dwight Branch:

                                                   I thought the above link would be appropriate to add here. It is a part of the GM&O Historical Society's website and contains enlargable maps..  (click on appropriate map to enlarge)

    Sam

    "...THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE HAVE TOO MANY FOOLS, IT IS THAT THE LIGHTENING IS NOT DISTRIBUTED RIGHT..."

    MARK TWAIN

     


     

  • artschlosser

    I worked several times on that branch.  It ran from Dwight to Varna where there was a wye.  One leg went to Lacon, the other to Washington, IL where it crossed the TP&W.  Until the line was sold to the B&O, it had trackage rights on the TP&W and thus its passenger trains could continue to Peoria. 

    The line terminated at Washington and never ever continued southward.

    At one time the Chicago and Alton provided service from Chicago, via Dwight, through Streator down to Washington, over to Peoria, using trackage rights to Pekin, and using its own tracks to San Jose, IL, and then using its own tracks to Kansas City,

    Art

    http://www.gmohs.org/SecondaryPages/Maps.htm

    To Art S. and Dwight Branch:

                                                   I thought the above link would be appropriate to add here. It is a part of the GM&O Historical Society's website and contains enlargable maps..  (click on appropriate map to enlarge)

    Sam

    "...THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE HAVE TOO MANY FOOLS, IT IS THAT THE LIGHTENING IS NOT DISTRIBUTED RIGHT..."

    MARK TWAIN

     


     

  • artschlosser

    I worked several times on that branch.  It ran from Dwight to Varna where there was a wye.  One leg went to Lacon, the other to Washington, IL where it crossed the TP&W.  Until the line was sold to the B&O, it had trackage rights on the TP&W and thus its passenger trains could continue to Peoria. 

    The line terminated at Washington and never ever continued southward.

    At one time the Chicago and Alton provided service from Chicago, via Dwight, through Streator down to Washington, over to Peoria, using trackage rights to Pekin, and using its own tracks to San Jose, IL, and then using its own tracks to Kansas City,

    Art

     

     

    I have a 1970s ICG timetable somewhere that showed the P&PU yard in East Peoria as the terminal where the locals tied up. The last year it was a once a week train running east from Dwight to Varna and then south to Washington, and then as normal on trackage rights on the TP&W into East Peoria, Saturday morning around 7 or so at Evans/ Varna. I was 11 or 12 then but a big railfan already, and I wish I would have been more willing to get on my bicycle and ride the two miles to Evans at 6 or so on Saturday morning to see it, I would ride my bike from Florida now to see it. Very, very little traffic, Evans had piles of corn cobs that were loaded in antique 40 ft. high gondolas to be used to make perfume I believe, but as I recall even the elevators didn't ship grain because of competition from barge traffic on the Illinois River only 18 miles away. We didn't like the ICG because they ripped up all of their track in Marshall, Woodford, Livingston, La Salle etc. counties in 1980-1990 or so, including the Dwight branch, the former IC Charter Line (Amboy District, which crossed the Dwight Branch in Wenona), the Pontiac District, etc., but I doubt the GM&O would have been able to keep the Dwight Branch either. I have been unable to find the ICC abandonment application anywhere online (I have a copy for the Amboy District) but would love to see one, it would tell who shipped what and how many cars in the last year or so before abandonment. My guess is that Metamora Woodworking, which made displays for Hallmark Cards, would be the only major shipper/ receiver of any size on the line, everything else was a car or two of fertilizer per year, etc.

  • @ artschlosser:

     

    When did you work on the Dwight Branch (I am guessing out of Bloomington)? Do you have any photos?

  • artschlosser

     

    At one time the Chicago and Alton provided service from Chicago, via Dwight, through Streator down to Washington, over to Peoria, using trackage rights to Pekin, and using its own tracks to San Jose, IL, and then using its own tracks to Kansas City,

    Art

     

    I'll give a congratulatory salute to anyone who knows the correct pronunciation of "San Jose", IL.

    There's a short history of the Dwight branch in Glendining's "The Chicago and Alton Railway."  I'll look it up and post.   My 1926 Official Guide shows no through service from Chicago via Peoria and Glendining doesn't mention such service.  But,  the guide does show a Chicago-Kansas City overnight passenger train that left the main line at Bloomington and ran through San Jose, Mason City, Petersburg, and Jacksonville rejoining the KC main at Roodhouse, IL.

    The train picked up two Kansas City  sleepers at San Jose that had been forwarded from Peoria.  Two ex C&A lines crossed at San Jose.  They're both gone now.

    "By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
  • The town in Illinois is pronounced San JO-See, the town on IC's Iowa Line near De Kalb (Genoa) is pronounced Je-NO-uh, etc., etc., etc.  Illinois is full of butchered place names.

    Paul The commute to work may be part of the daily grind, but I get two train rides a day out of it.
  • The line abandoned officially June 19, 1979 under Interstate Commerce Commission Finance Docket FD-26764 (Federal Citation 360ICC188)

    The reason the line survived as long as it did was because it had few bridges, long tangents and was flat. I know the last Division Engineer for the GM&O at Bloomington and when they pulled the plug on the line, it was horribly light rail (70#; the newest was laid in 1900) with Weber joints (Ick!) and an adventure to run on. The IC had access into Peoria via a different route (Old PD&E), so the line went away at merger into ICG.

    Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • As has been mentioned, the main route used by the C&A/ GM&O to serve Peoria was a combination of the Jacksonville District (the original main line to St. Louis south of Bloomington, the south end of which is still used by KCS to reach St. Louis from Kansas City) and the Peoria District (part of a bankrupt line the Alton bought), which crossed at San Jose. Up until the ICG merger a train a day left the big yard in Bloomington for the P&PU yard in East Peoria.  I think the latter, the district from Springfield to Peoria, crossing at San Jose,  is what you are mentioning as having bad track. In the late 80s when I was a student at ISU in Bloomington/Normal there were still former GM&O operating employees out of Bloomington who had worked that line and they also talked about the bad track. The Dwight Branch on the other hand had been an Alton line all along, and was laid with 90lb. rail as I recall. There was one large bridge that needed replacement, crossing the Vermillion River in Streator, and for that reason the line was restricted to four-axle power. The Dwight Branch was the shortest distance for cars to travel between Peoria and Chicago on the C&A/ GM&O/ ICG, but the longer route via Bloomington was more convenient. Here is a photo of what is likely a  Le Tourneau/ WABCO earth mover out of Peoria (Cat's are made in Decatur) moving north on the Dwight Branch as evidence of some interchange business:

    http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=574350

    BTW thanks for the ICC number. Now, does anyone know how to find the application for abandonment for the Dwight Branch online? So far it has been extremely frustrating trying to find it in the Federal records database.