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B&O in Cass County, IL

  • Does anyone have information on the line that ran from Flora, IL to Springfield, IL and ended in Beardstown, IL?  I know that Chessie System abandoned the line in the late 70's early 80's and the tracks were ripped up.  I'm trying to find pictures of trains that traveled from Springfield to Beardstown, IL. 

    Thanks in advance.

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  • The B&O operated  the Beardstown-Springfield line until 1979.  On the south side of Springfield, the Springfield-Flora portion was operated by the Chessie until1983. That portion was operated by the Prairie Trunk for a couple more years (1985). The eastern portion from Springfield to Decatur (Boody) segment of the Beardstown line was abandoned by the Chessie System in 1984.  I remember that the tracks from Springfield to Flora were around for a few years but the two lines that were abandoned by the B&O were taken up earlier.  The bridges on those line remained for quite a while longer.  Many of those were taken out around 2000.  I remember when scrappers took out the bridge that crossed the creek south of I55 before the Route 29 exit and the cool B&O overpass that went over 29 just north of Rochester.

    As for photos, there are a few out on  Search for B&O Springfield, B&O Beardstown, Chessie Springfield and you will see a few where B&O units are waiting to cross the GM&O in Springfield in route to Beardstown.  Once it crossed the GM&O the tracks ran down the middle of Madison past the station and then split off and crossed North Walnut.  The photos are from the late 70's and the tracks and the trains look bad.  In this set of photos you can see the Chessie train from Taylorville creeping through the weed-choked tracks.  This was taken just a couple of years after the Beardstown segment was abandoned.  On the Beardstown side there are a few photos of BN operating on a segment of the old B&O line.  The line is in pretty much the same shape.

    Here is also some good info on the station that served the B&O and other roads in Springfield:

    Hope this helps.  If you find any pictures of any more trains operating on the Springfield to Beardstown segment please let me know.  I am thinking about modeling this segment in the 60's and 70's period in N Scale.

  • I lived right by the B&O tracks a few miles East of Beardstown.  As a young child I rode the last run of the motorcar, or, as we called it, "the Puddlejumper".  

    This was back in the days when the B&O still ran steam engines on that line.  I'd run out to wave at the train and sometimes, the fireman and engineer would throw me a candy bar or some gum.  My family knew who the engineer was. One year, on my birthday, they stopped the train(!!) and got off to give me a birthday present.

    The engineer was Mr. Baldwin. He lived in Springfield across from Lincoln Park on No. 5th Street.  One time he took me out to the switching yard in Springfield and I got to ride in the cab of one of the steam engines in the yard.

    Now, as I pass the old home place, I'm saddened to see that it's hard to tell there was even a railroad there.

  • being from springfield ill, I had no clue that B&O/chessie system line ran to flora, I just knew it @least 2 Taylorville and then when I got officially hired with the postal service and 1 time I went 2 paris from springfield via rt 29 and 16, I saw the old grade along rt 16 through Windsor, gays, Mattoon, Charleston, Kansas, and eventually paris.......and even better yet the track it came through paris on is still there.............CSX has several tracks on that end and just before it gets to springfield rd they all merge into 1 track which goes through paris and down to terre haute and once n terre haute, theres several lines and u can go up to indy......

  • There are a couple mid-1950's Hastings photos in Kalmbach's THE MOHAWK THAT REFUSED TO ABDICATE, showing a B&O E-27ca 2-8-0 and an I-16 caboose on the branch. 

    Several photos of B&O E-27ca 2-8-0's were taken in Springfield in the '50's, and were available several years ago from the Kochanek collection and Don Gruber.  I don't know who has those collections now.  Maybe somebody who knows can post an address. 

  • FYI:  The line you speak about that ran alongside IL Rte 16 from Paris to Mattoon was New York Central (ne:Big Four).

  • At one time the line continued South of Flora and terminated at Shawneetown, IL - this line has also been abandoned.

    Never too old to have a happy childhood!


  • I've created a web site that has information on the line from Flora to Shawneetown at