Thursday, March 12, 2015

CB&Q's Illinois Grand Trunk Railway

Source: 1991 Map, ©, used with permission and is authorized for this site only.
The early history of some of the CB&Q branches is murky because the records got destroyed by the 1971 Chicago Fire. As is rather typical of railroads in the 1800s, the Illinois Grand Trunk (IGT) name was used for more than one corporation. The IGT corporation that was organized June 1, 1859 at Mendota, IL was the consolidation of the Camanche, Albany & Mendota Rail Road (CA&M) and The Joliet and Terre Haute Railroad (J&TH). The CA&M was incorporated July 31, 1856. It did not build anything, but "it did considerable preliminary work and acquired a right of way from Mendota, Illinois, westerly to Albany, IL. The J&TH was incorporated on June 23, 1852. It did nothing concerning its charter, but it did acquire a right of way from Mendota easterly toward Joliet, IL. The IGT1 organizers obviously envisioned building a line from the Mississippi River to Joliet. It probably did some grading between Mendota and Albany before it went bankrupt. The second IGT corporation was incorporated on February 28, 1867 with the assets of the first IGT. IGT2 completed and opened the line from Mendota to Prophetstown, IL on May 14, 1871. In the meantime, CB&Q leased IGT2 in October, 1870. The CB&Q opened the line from Prophetstown to East Clinton, IL on July 23, 1872. CB&Q started an extension from East Clinton to Fulton, IL in October, 1882 and opened that line on January 10, 1883. (CorporateHistory, pp. 37-42)

BNSF Track Segments, Segment 9, indicates the route from Mendota to Denrock, IL was abandoned in 1985. Denrock is what I have seen referred to as a "country junction."

The route branched from the CB&Q mainline to Colorado on the southwest side of Mendota. To the west there is a long driveway on the RoW and some tree lines near La Moille so the abandonment is pretty easy to follow. West of La Moille, it turns northwesterly to Van Orin to where it turns west. There are tree lines and access roads for wind turbines, so it is easy to follow the RoW to Ohio, which has a rather large isolated grain elevator. Thanks to several tree lines and a slight angle, it is easy to follow to where the RoW curves up into Walnut. It leaves Walnut to the NWbW, and then turned more westerly before it got to Deer Grove. From Deer Grove, it went straight to Tampico. Between Tampico and Prophetstown, the trace is gone except for some diagonal fields (another) that indicate the RoW was also a straight between these two towns. Northwest of Prophetstown, it crossed the Rock River, and it is easy to follow the RoW the short distance to Denrock Junction next to Moline Road.

Satellite plus Paint

BNSF Subdivisions
The route from Denrock to Fulton is now the northern "jog" of the Barstow Subdivision. I noticed the gray line on the BNSF subdivisions map corresponds rather closely to the old IGT route. Does that mean that BNSF rail banked it rather than abandoned it? No because there is a new building in La Moille along US-34 that is built on the old RoW.
Update:  Note that this map labels the route "ILLIS G. TR".
LoC: 1874

1 comment:

  1. I worked on the Burlington Northern Denrock section in the 70's these lines existed to some extent at that time. The branch that was the main line to East Clinton terminated in Garden Plain. Where it branched from the now Barstow Sub at a station called Lass above Fenton and served some customers at that time.