Illinois Terminal Railroad

Illinois Terminal Railroad

infobox SG rail
railroad_name = Illinois Terminal Railroad
logo_filename =
logo_size =

map_size =
map_caption =
locale = St. Louis, Missouri and central Illinois
marks = ITC
start_year = 1928
end_year = 1982
successor_line = Norfolk and Western
hq_city = St. Louis, Missouri
gauge =

The Illinois Terminal Railroad was a terminal railroad in Illinois, United States. It operated from 1928 to 1982.


It was a successor in interest to a series of interurban railroads that were consolidated in the early 1900s by businessman William B. McKinley into the "Illinois Traction System" (ITS), an affiliate of the Illinois Power and Light Company. The Illinois Traction System, at its height, provided electric passenger rail service to 550 miles (900 km) of tracks in central and southern Illinois. The system's Y-shaped main line stretched from St. Louis to Springfield, Illinois, with branches onward from Springfield northwest to Peoria and eastward to Danville. A series of affiliated street-level city trolley lines provided local passenger service in many of the cities served by the main line. The longest-lived segment of the line descended from an Edwardsville-Alton interurban line bought by the Illinois Traction System in 1928.

With the Great Depression, the Illinois Traction System staggered. The ITS relinquished many of its city street trolleys in the 1930s, and was forced to cut its ties with an affiliated firm that provided electrical utility services. The passenger railroad reorganized in 1937 as the "Illinois Terminal Railroad" (ITR) and continued to provide electric-powered, long-distance passenger service through downstate Illinois for almost another two decades. In the 1950s, however, with the final dominance of the automobile, the ITR's passenger service became hopelessly unprofitable. In March 1956 the Illinois Terminal Railroad ended its passenger service; the remains of the railroad was acquired in June 1956 by nine Class I railroads, which collectively continued to operate the railroad as a diesel-powered short line to carry freight in the Metro-East area. The reorganized Illinois Terminal Railroad took down its power lines and abandoned much of its trackage. For the following 25 years (1956-1981) the ITR continued to operate diesel-powered trackage north and east of St. Louis, shunting freight cars between the main lines of the freight railroads that owned it.

The Norfolk and Western Railroad purchased its partners' interests in the Illinois Terminal Railroad on September 1, 1981, and officially merged the ITR into the N&W on May 8, 1982.cite book
last = Jenkins
first = Dale
year = 2005
title = The Illinois Terminal Railroad: The Road of Personalized Services
publisher = White River Productions
location = Bucklin, Missouri
id =

The Illinois Terminal Railroad today

The McKinley Bridge across the Mississippi River, originally built in 1910 to carry the Illinois Traction System's trolley cars over the river to St. Louis, survives to this day. Some sections of the Illinois Terminal Railroad and its affiliated lines have become rail-trails, such as the Interurban Trail south of Springfield.

The Illinois Traction System's generating plants also sold electricity to customers in many towns and cities serviced by the electric railroad. In the 1930s, the railroad and the electrical utility separated from each other; the formerly-affiliated electrical utility was spun off from the system to form the "Illinois Power and Light Company". "Illinois Power" provided electrical service to much of central and southern Illinois before its acquisition by Ameren and consolidation into the parent firm in 2004.


External links

* [ Illinois Terminal Railroad heritage society]
* [ Sample Illinois Terminal PCC]

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