Back to the Railroads of the Illinois Central System

Illinois Central Railroad

History

   The Illinois Central Railroad was the first land grant railroad.  When its main line from Cairo to Galena Illinois, with a branch to Chicago, was completed in 1856, it was the largest railroad in the world.  The IC would continue to add to its system, and would never declare bankruptcy during its history.  Interestingly, after 1856 the IC would build very little railroad mileage itself, preferring to buy up existing railroads or form subsidiaries to do the work.  The main exception coming in 1967, with 28.5 miles of track between Valley and Redwood Junction Mississippi.  In 1972, the IC merged with its main competitor Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad to form the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.  The ICG years were bad years for the railroad, seeing most of the system dismantled piece by piece in the 1980's.  In 1988, the railroad changed its name back to Illinois Central Railroad.  In 1996, the IC purchased its former Iowa Division, which had been sold off in 1985 to form the Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad.  But this was too little too late.  Other railroads had been expanding not contracting during the 1980's, and this led to the selling out by IC's management to the Canadian National Railway in 1998.

Map

Built:  1852-1856
Admitted:  1852
Fate:

  In September 1981, Junction City to Assumption part was abandoned.

  In 1984, the Maroa to Clinton section was torn up along with the Heyworth to El Paso section part.

  In 1986, the Freeport to El Paso segment was pulled up.

  In 1990, the part between Decatur and Maroa was pulled up.

  Only a small portion of the Valley to Redwood Junction track is still in use.

 Most of the rest is still in service.

Dedicated Links:  Numerous, see here: html/Links/links01.htm

Back to the Railroads of the Illinois Central System