Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad

Carl Venzke posted
Lonely stop for coal and water on the M&St.L
I like this picture, but Carl didn't specify where this service stop was. So I'm using it as a motivation to study the M&StL. I've seen reference to it while reading about railroad stuff around Peoria.

Some Minneapolis businessmen wanted to play with trains in 1870 so they formed the M&StL. A significant part of the railroad was the absorbtion of the Iowa Central. As a 1912 map indicates, They had lines in western Minnesota and Iowa. The map is confusing because they show some other lines such as the Rock Island to Chicago with bold lines. But the line that interests me is the one that went south to Oskaloosa, IA and then east to Peoria. They never did make it in Missouri, let alone St. Louis.

They tried marking themselves as the Peoria Gateway to bypass the congestion in Chicago. But that was long before the invention of unit trains and runthroughs between western and eastern railroads, so that did not seem to work. They struggled with bankruptcy even during the roaring twenties. They C&NW bought them in 1960 and, as they did with the CGW, rather quickly tore up a lot of the track. In this case, it was a railroad built with businessmen egos rather than a real purpose. If it had troubles before good roads and trucks were built, it certainly was obsolete by 1960.

[r2parks, cnwhs]

Focusing on the Illinois part of the M&StL, it crossed the Mississippi River at Keithsburg, IL. and went east to Seaton, and then south to Monmouth. In spite of what the 1912 map indicates, it did not go to Galesburg. According to the 2005 SPV Map, it passed south of Galesburg at Abingdon. Then it turned southeast to London Mills and then erdmy generally east to the Peoria area. A pier still stands in the Spoon River as a reminder of this railroad. UP still owns the track from a little west of Middlegrove to Peoria, but it is marked "o/s," which I assume means out-of-service. And a line still exists on Google's road map, but if I zoom in on a satellite image, the track is gone.

There used to be a branch that went from Middlegrove to connect with the CB&Q at Fairview. Both the branch and the CB&Q are long gone. The branch did pass Fairview Mine, The land scars of a strip mine are still visible.

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