Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pennsy's Terre Haute & Peoria Railroad

"Illinois Midland" is another one of those railroad corporate names that has been used in different places during different times. Its current usage is for a Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary that operates the route built by the Chicago & Illinois Midland Railroad. But the usage of interest here is that the Illinois Midland Railway evidently built a railroad from Terre Haute to Peoria via Farrington, Paris, and Decatur in the early 1870s because in the late 1880s the Terre Haute & Peoria bought all of the segments of the Illinois Midland that were sold under foreclosure proceedings. The TH&P purchase included the joint use of the IC between Decatur and Maroa. And it had joint use of the Toledo, Peoria & Western from Farmdale to Peoria. On October 1, 1892, the Terre Haute & Indianapolis leased the TH&P for 99 years. Then TH&I became part of the Vandalia Railroad, which became part of the Pennsy. [CorpHist] The TH&P used the mainline of the Vandalia between Farrington and Terre Haute to avoid the expense of another bridge over the Wabash.

My 1928 RR Atlas marks the route as Pennsy.  My 2005 SPV Map shows Pennsy as the original operator of the Vandalia, including the TH&P. I learned of the TH&P corporate ancestry from Bridge Hunter.

Note the line on this Pennsy map going between Terre Haute and Peoria.

Map 9 from Mark D. Bej's CentHistCopyleft

The following undoes the modification that Blogspot does when I upload a file and makes the map readable.

An excerpt from the above map at downloaded file resolution.

The segment between Decatur and Peoria was the first to go because it was abandoned by Pennsy. Penn Central abandoned the eastern end between Farrington and Paris. Prairie Central Railroad (PACY) was formed by Craig Burroughs and acquired the route between Decatur and Paris. PACY also acquired the former Big Four Egyptian Line between Paris and Lawrenceville where it could connect with the CSX/B&O. But the PACY was abandoned by 2005. So none of the TH&P route remains today.


  1. Very interesting post about a part of the PRR/PC that is not mentioned much. The part of the line from Decatur to Peoria was sold to the Illinois Terminal upon the startup of Conrail. It lasted until the early 1980s when the IT was sold to the N&W.

  2. Another short line, the Wabash Valley Railroad, operated the former PRR line from Paris to Decatur after the PC abandoned it and prior to the Prairie Central. I don't have details on the WVRR but I recall an article in TRAINS magazine about the line. I grew up in Hindsboro, IL near this line when it was the PRR in the 1950's and 60's.