Saturday, February 23, 2019

IC: Maps, First Segments and Employee Pamphlet

I started this IC history years ago. I came across this timetable map that I want to record somewhere in my notes. So I decided to add the map to this draft and publish what I had written.
Bill Molony posted
From the March 30, 1969 timetable.
I have researched some of the branches that were discarded by ICG in the 1980s.
As early as 1833 plans for a north-south railroad through Illinois were considered as a part of an internal improvement. But the Panic of 1837 put those plans on hold until 1850 when Illinois was awarded the first land grant authorized by Congress. Illinois Central received 2,005,095 [La Salle History, p35] acres of land. [ChicagoHistory indicates 2,600,000 acres.] The IC was charted in 1851 to build a line up the center of the state (thus the name of the railroad) from Cairo to the north at  Freeport, IL, and then turn West to Galena. The I&M Canal had just opened in 1848 and Galena, a river town, was still more important than Chicago. But with the advent of the canal and the Galena & Chicago Union RR, Chicago was quickly growing to be more important. So the IC also built a "branch" from Centralia to Chicago. The originally chartered trunk line was also known as the "Old Main" and the "Gruber line".

The trunk was completed in September 1856 at 705 miles, and the branch had been opened in 1855. When completed, the IC was the longest railroad in the world [tdf23]. Given the completion dates, I speculate that by the mid 1850s, it was already recognized that the originally chartered route was a mistake but it was finished to avoid loosing the land grants. The railroad operated a steamboat line between Cairo and New Orleans. [IChistorical]

Pre-1967 plus Paint
The map on the right is a summary. The yellow line is the chartered route, the green line is the branch, and the orange line is the first two segments constructed by the IC described below by La Salle History, p35.

The Illinois Central was chartered in 1851. The La Salle-Bloommgton line of the railroad was surveyed in the summer of 1851 under the general direction of Colonel Roswell B. Mason, chief engineer, and under the immediate direction of Timothy B. Blackstone, division engineer, who later figured prominently in railway developments in Illinois. Mr. Blackstone, a native of Connecticut, was one of the organizers and the first president of the Union Stock Yards and Transit Company of Chicago, the company which was largely instrumental in making Chicago the world's largest livestock and meat packing center. The Blackstone Hotel, Blackstone Avenue, and the Blackstone Memorial Library, all of Chicago, perpetuate his memory. In 1854, Mr. Blackstone was elected the second mayor of La Salle; he served one term.
Among the young men who came from New England with Mr. Blackstone was Grenville M. Dodge, who later became an outstanding general in the Civil War. Mr. Dodge also d'rected the building of many of the Western railroads including the Union Pacific, the first railroad to span the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Dodge, when he was in La Salle with the Illinois Central, was a young man of about twenty years of age, and the Illinois Central was his first railway employment. He married Miss Anne Brown of Peru.
The Illinois Central through La Salle is a part of the original main line which was opened between the Illinois River and Bloomington on May 16, 1853, and between the Illinois River and Mendota on November 14th of the same year. The opening of the line between La Salle and Bloomington marked the beginning of Illinois Central train service. The conductor in charge of that first train was A. D. Abbott who also served as United States mail agent handling the mail in bags between La Salle and Bloomington. Mail was heavy over this route because it formed a part of the first rail route for mail between Chicago and St. Louis, and it carried the mail also between Chicago and down-river points including Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans. The sixty-mile run between La Salle and Bloomington required four hours.

Today the "branch" still exists, but the Old Main was abandoned by 1990. A small segment near La Salle, including the impressive bridge across the Illinois River Valley, is still operational because a cement company bought it.

Satellite plus paint
(Unfortunately, I did not record my reference for this information.)
  • Red: In September 1981, Junction City to Assumption part was abandoned.
  • Purple: In 1984, the Maroa to Clinton section was torn up along with the Heyworth to El Paso section part.
  • Black: In 1986, the Freeport to El Paso segment was pulled up.
  • Blue: In 1990, the part between Decatur and Maroa was pulled up.
Below are some references I came across while researching the IC. Since it is obvious that I won't write more history myself, I simply record the references.

Detailed history: https://archive.org/details/historyofillinoi00rail

What's left system map: http://www.trainweb.org/icrr/sysmap/sysmap.htm

Track Profiles: http://www.illinois-central.net/profiles/profiles99.pdf

1980 tonnage: http://www.illinois-central.net/1980_ton_miles.php


















Repeating the key to reduce the amount of scrolling needed to interpret the southern abandonments:
  • Red: In September 1981, Junction City to Assumption part was abandoned.
  • Purple: In 1984, the Maroa to Clinton section was torn up along with the Heyworth to El Paso section part.
  • Black: In 1986, the Freeport to El Paso segment was pulled up.
  • Blue: In 1990, the part between Decatur and Maroa was pulled up.
Bill Molony posted
This map of the Illinois Central Railroad is from 1921.
Raymond Barr No Edgewood Cutoff yet!
Raymond Barr Carbondale was the heart of Southern Illinois lines.
Dave Durham posted an employee pamphlet dated June 20, 1921.
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