Illinois Terminal

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Illinois Terminal

  • When was the Illinois Terminal absorbed into the NW or NS?

    Did they run on the TPW at all in 1980, particularly in the East Peoria area?


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  • Ed: The Diesel Shop has the date as May 8, 1982. That sounds about right. It was merged into N&W shortly before that road went into NS. I remember when I lived in the area that IT ran in to Morton and then had rights over N&W into East Peoria. This N&W track was old Nickel Plate. Used to run in the woods a mile behind the house where I lived in Gardena. This line ran into East Peoria parallel to the TP&W yard. Now the question would be did this N&W running track merge with TP&Ws track for the trip over toward P&PU's Yard in East Peoria? That I don't remember, it has been too long.



    COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
  • Ed:

    I gotta slide I took in May, 1980 of a three unit IT train...cant remember anything of the details.


  • Hi Ed, and Ed,

    I'm going to make a guess that IT had their own bridge over to Peoria, but stopped serving the City during or after WW2. If you can get this book on an interlibrary loan, it should say;

    James David Johnson has compiled a book on the system, The Lincoln Land Traction (Wheaton, III: Traction Orange, 1965).

    There is a terrific article about the IT in the May and June 1981 Trains magazines. 

    This is worth a read, IT is towards the bottom-

    AS for East Peoria, IT reached it over a PRR line between Maroa, near Decatur, and Farmdale Jct, where the NKP line was reached. IT bought the PRR line in 1976.

    IT used Farm Creek Yard, along Washington Street, until 1966, when they moved to the TP&W E. Peoria yard. Trackage rights on the NKP line removed traffic from IT's 2.64% line down into the City. IT then moved to P&PU's yard during 12-69. And then during 1975 IT built Wilson Yard in Allentown, 14 miles away.

  • You're correct that the IT had their own bridge over the river into Peoria, but I don't believe the freights ran past Farm Creek Yard.  Passenger trains and express/MD cars would have gone over the bridge into Peoria, and continued to do so in the post-war era.  IT's purchase of the streamlined trains from St. Louis Car (first deliveries in late 1948) restricted their mainline passenger service to East Peoria, with one of the 400-series cars being used in a Peoria-East Peoria shuttle service for a while.

    Hope this helps! 

  • Dale:

    I just pulled my June 81 issue...the May issue is either misfiled or gone.  The June article looks really in depth and will make excellent Wednsday afternoon reading.  It is also during the time period I am interested in. 

    Let you know later.


  • Well at least you got the bigger part, 7 pages in May and 12 in June. I love those old in-depth articles on railroads. I think the last one was on WC in 2 issues during 1990.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  • Dale:

    Just finished the June article.  That was quite an operation the IT had.  One more railroad that was in my home state that I ignored!  Oh, to have a time machine.

    Interesting to me was the ADM business they picked up.  I wonder how NS and ADM feels about that now?   It is short haul business (Decatur to Granite City).  The ADM complex in Decatur is pretty interesting operations. 

    Did the first article deal mainly with the history of the IT?  Who owned it before the NW purchased it?  What remains today?  I would think only the operations in the metro East St. Louis area.  Of course the Decatur business is there (did NW serve ADM prior to the IT merger?) 

    Dale, I agree...those in depth articles on lines were very interesting.  Also, there is quite a difference in the type of articles and particularly the photographs with the articles.  Today's photography is much better (and nearly all color).  But the articles I believe were more interesting back then.



  • Before the N&W purchase, the IT was jointly owned by several railroads (IIRC 7) that didn't want anyone else to get it after it ceased to be an interurban.  It originally paralleled some of those railroads.

    The IT tracks were largely abandoned in favor of trackage rights over the parallel railroad.  It did have its own line into E. Peoria after it got off the ICG at Lincoln or someplace.

    The IT did serve one useful purpose that I recall.  We had a VP that was regarded as totally useless.  They initially gave him a nice office, a secretary, and shut off the paperwork.  When the IT needed a new president, he was manuvered into the job.

    Aside from that, what good was the IT?  It had that ADM train from Decatur.  Otherwise, it was just a short line serving a market area saturated with railroads.  And basically using their track to do it.  It finally went to the N&W, which immediately euthanized it.




    "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.
  • Dale got me digging thru the boxes to find the June 1981 issue which told the IT story.  That got me thumbing thru adjacent issues in the box and I read an April 1981 article on trackage rights by Jerry Pinkepank.  The article stated that IT was owned by several carriers.

    It is interesting to look at a 1940's OG and observe the schedules they had.  One could travel central Illinois quite well.


  • ed,

    If you get around to scanning that slide, I would love to see it... Wink [;)]Big Smile [:D]

  • It is true most original IT trackage was abandoned in favor of trackage rights over nearby parallel railroads in the 1970s- IT lived in the shadow of the L&M/CNW from Madison to Gillespie- the GM&O from Carlinville to Lincoln- the Wabash from Springfield to Monticello- and the IC from Lincoln to Peoria.  It was found that the old interurban infrastructure didn't hold up too well under the weight of fully loaded modern freight trains- necessitating the move to trackage rights also. The Pennsy Secondary to Peoria was acquired from PC only after the IT's own Mackinaw River bridge collapsed under the weight of a loaded IT grain train some time around 1975. Other lesser used segments were vacated even sooner than that for rights on nearby lines or abandoned entirely (like Champaign-Danville). The only notable remaining IT trackage I can think of currently is the former Troy and Eastern from Granite City to Roxana- used by the NS to serve the refineries in Roxana and Hartford, as well as other customers in the area (such as A.O. Smith in Granite City)- the other notable segment that exists of true original IT interurban trackage is the Montererrey Mine spur north of Gillespie- used by both UP and NS to load coal trains. As far as I recall the old Loveless substation was still standing along the ROW just shy of the mine. Other snippets of teminal trackage exist in some shape or form also in Carlinville, Springfield, Alton, Lincoln and Decatur. The majority of original IT main though has long since been reverted back to nature- although ghosts of pole lines and abandoned substations still dot the Illinois countryside.
  • "The Pennsy Secondary to Peoria was acquired from PC only after the IT's own Mackinaw River bridge collapsed under the weight of a loaded IT grain train some time around 1975."

    Actually, the Pennsy Secondary was acquired on April 1, 1976 and the ITC derailment that destroyed the bridge carrying the original traction mainline over the Mackinaw River took place on August 7, 1977.

    Despite ITC's dependence on trackage rights in its last years, the railroad served a number of major industries: ADM's East Plant, West Plant and North Plant in Decatur; Borden Chemical in Illiopolis; Fiat-Allis in Springfield; American Steel Foundries, A. O. Smith, Granite City Steel and Bulk Services Tri-City Port  in Granite City; Conoco, Shell and Clark refineries in the Hartford/Roxana/Wood River area; and Owens-Illinois Glass in Alton. The ITC controlled the routing of much of this traffic, especially since it was the sole-serving carrier at a number of them.

    ITC had a major interchange with the Rock Island at Peoria (via P&PU) in which each railroad pre-blocked each other's interchange traffic. Some bridge traffic was handled between the Rock Island at Peoria and St. Louis area connections such as the Frisco, Cotton Belt, Southern, L&N, TRRA, Alton & Southern, Katy and MoPac. Well into the 1970's, Madison, IL to East Peoria, IL manifests 200 and 203 had heavy consists of 80 to 100 cars on some days. Much St. Louis-area traffic was routed up to Peoria area interchanges then either east (TP&W), north (C&NW and Rock Island) or west (Burlington and TP&W) from there. They also handled traffic for customers located on the Peoria & Pekin Union Railway - Allied Mills, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Hiram Walker & Sons, Keystone Steel & Wire, etc.

    ITC handled "transit" business, i. e., the slow-moving traffic billed to then stored in a holding yard until a broker sells it.

    The ITC abandoned its original line into East Peoria on August 1, 1966. TP&W's East Peoria Yard became the road's area terminal. ITC reached it via trackage rights on the Pennsylvania RR's Peoria Secondary from Allentown to Farmdale Jct. and on Norfolk & Western's ex-Nickel Plate line Peoria District from Farmdale Jct. to the N&W-TP&W interchange tracks at "Farmdale." This lasted until December 1969 when ITC extended its trackage rights on the N&W to the P&PU's East Peoria Yard. The ITC's would have used the TP&W's "West Main" to pull Train 200 off the N&W and then back into the TP&W yard and to back out Train 203 then pull it onto the N&W.

    Norfolk & Western acquired all ITC from its other owners, gaining control of the railroad on September 1, 1981. On May 8, 1982, the operational merger between the two roads took place and the ITC was no more. The N&W mainline from the TP&W crossing to the junction with P&PU at the Farm Creek Bridge was abandoned in 1983 in favor of trackage rights on the parallel TP&W's West Main.


  • "Actually, the Pennsy Secondary was acquired on April 1, 1976 and the ITC derailment that destroyed the bridge carrying the original traction mainline over the Mackinaw River took place on August 7, 1977."

    You're right- I had made the mistake of guesstimating a date without my Trains backissues handy- I remembered the photo in the news section of the grain cars piled up in the river, but not the exact date. I had recalled the IT got the Secondary in the Conrail carve up since CR didn't need two Peoria lines- but forgot that they worked at a turtle's pace to get the line in operating condition again- only when the bridge on the original line failed did they have to speed up the process, truly finalizing the move over to the old PRR (with a spell of ICG trackage rights into Peoria in the interim until the PRR was ready to go...)

    The move you describe by train 200/203 in Peoria sounds alot like the way the IT got the Machens coal trains from Monterrey mine off the CNW at Leclaire Tower and onto the old T&E to Roxana- by replacing the diamond with a pair of switches, a back up move utlizing power on either end got the train headed in proper direction to the BN at Alton and eventually Machens.

  • Fuzzy:

    If I could ever figure out how to save it, then post it, I would.  As I have lamented many times, I am very technolgically  challenged. 

    The shot itself of the IT is not very good.  It was a grab shot, taken at a bad angle a train passed by unexpectedly.

    It was however, one of 38 slides taken on a one day trip from NW Indiana to Peoria and back in 1980 to view the NKP765 which was being serviced at the TPW.  The 765 didnt run that day, except within the TPW terminal and ended up in an enginehouse.

    What is fun about the stack of slides is the variety of trains that day:

    1. MILW recrewing at Morocco, In.

    2.  TPW at Effner Il

    3.  765 at East Peoria being serviced.

    4. TPW freight with Alco's smokin it up.

    5.  ATSF at Edlestein (houlahan's curve)

    6.  IT at East Peoria

    Looking back it was quite a day.