Thursday, March 12, 2015

IV&N: CB&Q's Illinois Valley and Northern Railroad

I studied the Illinois Valley and Northern Railroad (IV&N) because the western portion was used by the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Railroad. I learned the names of both of these railroads from some Facebook postings concerning Zearing, IL. The yellow line is still in service (Illinois Railways, LaSalle to Zearing) and the red lines are abandoned. Of special interest is their bridges.

CB&Q Map
Source: 1991 Map, ©, used with permission and is authorized for this site only.

Freight was handled on this branch by trains #85 and #86 that went between Cicero and Zearing via Streator.

First Page of Incorporation
IV&N was incorporated on May 25, 1887. While it was being constructed, CB&Q leased it January 2, 1888 and bought it on June 1, 1899. (CorporateHistory, pp. 66-67)

Between June, 1886, and September, 1887, the Star Coal Company constructed a track from a connection with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company at Streator northwesterly at a point near the village of Ripley. This track was purchased by this company and extended
to Walnut. Construction commenced at connection near Ripley in August, 1887, and the road was completed between Streator and Walnut June 1, 1888, a total distance (first main) of 59.9 miles. (CorporateHistory)

The town of Ripley must have been located near Streator in 1888 instead of the current location southwest of Peoria.

BNSF Track Segments has the abandonment information:
61. Streator-Zearing

History:        1888 by CB&Q
Abandoned: 1946-Kasbeer-Walnut (connected to segment 9 at Walnut)
                     1977-L&S Jct-La Salle
                     1980-L&S Jct-Streator
Sold:             2004-Illinois RailNet
Note that Illinois RailNet became Illinois Railways (IR) on May 1, 2005.

The eastern terminus of the IR Zearing-LaSalle segment is just before Bucklin Street. The IV&N RR Bridges posting follows the abandoned route across the I&M Canal and the Illinois River. The land scar becomes obscure south of IL-351. So I looked at some aerial maps. First of all, 03035 confirms the IV&N bridge location. Photo 03083 shows that it followed the Vermillion River very closely around its first two bends. Photos 03096 and 03144 show that it then headed south to just northeast of Tonica. It is then easy to follow on satellite images because it cuts diagonally across fields. I see there is a rather large grain elevator in Leonore that is now isolated. My Streator, IL posting traces the route in that town.

The western terminus of the IR Zearing-LaSalle segment is a connection with the BNSF mainline to Colorado --- the Mendota subdivision. The reason the original western terminus was Walnut, IL is because that was a connection with CB&Q/Illinois Grand Trunk Railway.
It is hard to trace the remaining segment to Walnut, IL. This makes sense since this part was abandoned during the middle of the 20th century instead of after the 1980 Staggers Act. Based on the circled (actually, ovaled) diagonal land scars, I assume it was a straight line between Zearing and Kasbeer, which has an isolated grain elevator. When I zoomed into the only obvious evidence of a RoW between Kasbeer and Walnut, I found land scars still visible in tilled fields.

Satellite plus Paint
West of Kasbeer, the scars appear along a straight line until it gets to a tree line. Actually, there are a couple of tree lines. The yellow line denotes the CB&Q/Illinois Grand Trunk Railway (IGT) to which the IV&N connects. I used the aerial photo 4b018 to confirm that the IV&N (red line) did follow the IGT for a couple of miles before it connected with the IGT, which was built in 1871-2.

Michael Matalis posted in Facebook
Update: In this map, Ill 4A would be the CB&Q mainline whereas Ill 9A would be the IV&N route. Note that the roundhouse and a few spurs were owned by the NYC/Chicago, Indiana & Southern/Indiana, Illinois & Iowa, which had trackage rights from Ladd, IL.
Don Crimmin posted in Facebook
Don's comment:

Eastbound Illinois Railway job returns from Zearing, IL, to La Salle, IL, behind CF7 No. 5 and Great Western Railway GP20 5625. 5625 was originally one of the EMD demonstrator set for the GP20 model. The Brush Creek trestle is located west of Ladd, IL, on the former CB&Q - BN branch. January 5, 2012.

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