Thursday, March 30, 2017

Big Four's Peoria and Eastern/Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western

The Danville, Urbana, Bloomington and Pekin Railroad was incorporated on August 28, 1866 and built a road between Pekin and the eastern boundary of Illinois. It merged with a line in Indiana to form the Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western Railway (IB&W or I Better Walk) and opened for traffic on October 1, 1869. The IB&W became the Peoria and Eastern Railway and then on February 22, 1890 the Big Four assumed control. In the 1920s, the official name changed back to the Peoria and Eastern but NYC retained ownership.

In Urbana, the P&E shared a depot with the Wabash. In Champaign their depot was located near Neil and Randolph. The last passenger train passed through Urbana in 1959.

[CUMTDBrehm, Kara, “Peoria & Eastern Railroad, 1866,” ExploreCU, accessed March 30, 2017, http://explorecu.org/items/show/202.]

Map from OminousWeather. also ExploreCU
As with many railroads built in the 1800s, a bigger part of the story is what became of the route in the 1900s. Since the NYC retained ownership, this route became part of the Penn Central and Conrail issue. According to Abandoned Rails, the last train to run from Bloomington to Danville was a Conrail train in 1999 just before Conrail was split. NS immediately mothballed the line. The line between Bloomington and Mansfield is a light blue (below) because it is "embargoed and STB discontinued...playing keep-away with CN-IC with it." ["mudchicken" in Trains]  (Update: NS has formally filed for abandonment.) The segment between Mansfield and Champaign is dark blue because the track still exists. The rest is medium blue because the rail is gone, but NS has rail banked the RoW. A remnant exists in Farmer City to connect a grain elevator to CN/IC and in Mansfield to connect an elevator to the NS/Wabash.

Above map plus Paint


Satellite
The green segment is the Vermillion Valley Railroad (VVRC). (The 2005 SPV Map labels this segment WRC. But WRC is not in the Appendix.) The remainder of the Indiana route is abandoned because some of the piers for the bridge across the Wabash were compromised. It looks like the VVRC exists not because of a grain elevator, but because of an auto-part manufacture --- Flex-N-Gate Covington.

1 comment:

  1. At least one former Peoria and Eastern unit has been preserved. #8905 later ended up on the Reading and Blue Mountain. It was then purchased by the B&O RR Museum in Baltimore. Another SW7 was lost to the pages of time around 1966. #8907 started out as a bare bones SW7 with no M.U. receptacles. By the time of the PC merger, #8907 was an NW2 with MU plugs.

    As it turns out, SW7 #8907 was involved in an incident on the Indiana Harbor Belt RR. It was apparently rendered beyond repair. IHB then gave P&E their oldest NW2 which became the new 8907.

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