Alton Railroad

Alton Railroad

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The Alton Railroad was the final name of a railroad linking Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 to Alton, Illinois
Alton, Illinois
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois...

, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, and Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. Its predecessor, the Chicago and Alton Railroad , was purchased by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

 in 1931 and was controlled until 1942 when the Alton was released to the courts. On May 31, 1947 the Alton Railroad was merged into the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
The Gulf, Mobile and Ohio was a Class I railroad in the central United States whose primary routes extended from Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to St...

. Jacob Bunn had been one of the founding reorganizers of the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company during the 1860s.

Main lines included Chicago to St. Louis and a branch to Kansas City. The former is now part of Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

, with Metra
Metra
Metra is the commuter rail division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority. The system serves Chicago and its metropolitan area through 240 stations on 11 different rail lines. Throughout the 21st century, Metra has been the second busiest commuter rail system in the United States by...

 Heritage Corridor
Heritage Corridor
The Heritage Corridor Line is a commuter rail line provided and operated by Metra in Chicago, Illinois, and its surrounding suburbs. While Metra does not specifically refer to any of its lines by a particular color, the timetable accents for the Heritage Corridor line are printed in dark "Alton...

 commuter rail service north of Joliet
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

 (owned by the Canadian National Railway
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

 but used by UP). The latter is part of the Kansas City Southern Railway
Kansas City Southern Railway
The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

 system.

History


The earliest ancestor to the Alton Railroad was the Alton and Sangamon Railroad, chartered February 27, 1847 in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 to connect the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 town of Alton
Alton, Illinois
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois...

 to the state capital at Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

 in Sangamon County
Sangamon County, Illinois
Sangamon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 197,465, which is an increase of 4.5% from 188,951 in 2000...

. The line was finished in 1852, and as the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad extended to Bloomington
Bloomington, Illinois
Bloomington is a city in McLean County, Illinois, United States and the county seat. It is adjacent to Normal, Illinois, and is the more populous of the two principal municipalities of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area...

 in 1854 and Joliet
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

 in 1855. Initially trains ran over the completed Chicago and Rock Island Railroad to Chicago.

The Joliet and Chicago Railroad was chartered February 15, 1855 and opened in 1856, continuing north and northeast from Joliet to downtown Chicago. It was leased by the Chicago & Mississippi, providing a continuous railroad from Alton to Chicago. In 1857 the C&M was reorganized as the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad, and another reorganization on October 10, 1862, produced the Chicago and Alton Railroad. The C&A chartered the Alton and St. Louis Railroad to extend the line to East St. Louis
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...

, opened in 1864, giving it a line from Chicago to East St. Louis.

Kansas City line



Springfield-Kansas City and Godfrey-Roodhouse
  • Gateway Western Railway
    Gateway Western Railway
    The Gateway Western Railway was a Class II railroad that operated 408 miles of former Chicago and Alton Railroad track between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri...

    • 1997–present Gateway Western is a Kansas City Southern Railway
      Kansas City Southern Railway
      The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

       subsidiary
    • 1990-1997 Gateway Western was an affiliate of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
      Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
      The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway , often abbreviated as Santa Fe, was one of the larger railroads in the United States. The company was first chartered in February 1859...

      • Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
        Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
        The Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway , was a Class II railroad that operated in the midwest of the United States between 1987 and 1990...

         1987-1989

Chicago-St. Louis line

  • Union Pacific Railroad
    Union Pacific Railroad
    The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

     1996–present Chicago-St. Louis line
    • SPCSL Corporation 1989-1996 a subsidiary of Southern Pacific Transportation Company
      • Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
        Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
        The Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway , was a Class II railroad that operated in the midwest of the United States between 1987 and 1990...

         1987-1989

Early years of Alton

  • Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
    Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway
    The Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway , was a Class II railroad that operated in the midwest of the United States between 1987 and 1990...

     1987-1989
    • Illinois Central Gulf Railroad 1972-1987
      • Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
        Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
        The Gulf, Mobile and Ohio was a Class I railroad in the central United States whose primary routes extended from Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to St...

         1947-1972
        • Alton Railroad 1931-1947 Subsidiary of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
          Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
          The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

          • Chicago and Alton Railroad 1906-1931 took over line from Peoria-Springfield
            • Chicago and Alton Railway 1900-1906 controlled by UP & Rock; later NKP
              • Chicago and Alton Railroad 1861-1900
                • Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago Railroad 1878-1950 leased by Alton RR Mexico-Kansas City
                • Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad 1870-1950 leased by Alton RR Louisiana-Springfield, Missouri
                • Joliet and Chicago Railroad 1864-1950 leased by Alton RR Joliet - Chicago
                • St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad c.1857-1861 Alton - Joliet
                  • Alton and Sangamon Railroad 1847-c.1857 Springfield - Alton

Passenger service notables


The first sleeping car
Sleeping car
The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured...

 designed by George Pullman
George Pullman
George Mortimer Pullman was an American inventor and industrialist. He is known as the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car, and for violently suppressing striking workers in the company town he created, Pullman .-Background:Born in Brocton, New York, his family moved to Albion,...

 was built in the C&A's Bloomington shops and introduced on September 1, 1859 on the Chicago-St. Louis route. Sleeping cars were operated over most routes between Chicago, Peoria, Bloomington, St. Louis and Kansas City in principal train consists. Successor Gulf, Mobile & Ohio operated Chicago-St. Louis sleeping car service until December 31, 1969, the last railroad to do so between the two cities.

The first dining car
Dining car
A dining car or restaurant carriage , also diner, is a railroad passenger car that serves meals in the manner of a full-service, sit-down restaurant....

, the Delmonico, named for the famous New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 restaurant, was built by Pullman in the Aurora, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois
Aurora is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the 112th largest city in the United States. A suburb of Chicago, located west of the Loop, its population in 2010 was 197,899. Originally founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits have expanded greatly over the past...

 shops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was a railroad that operated in the Midwestern United States. Commonly referred to as the Burlington or as the Q, the Burlington Route served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri,...

. The car first appeared in regular service over the C&A's Chicago-St. Louis mainline. Two other Pullman diners built at the same time, the Tremont, and the Southern, were leased, providing dining car service on all three principal C&A Chicago-St. Louis trains. Dining cars were a part of Chicago-St. Louis train consists until May 1, 1971, with the takeover of passenger service by Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

.

Notable passenger trains

  • The Alton Limited
    The Alton Limited (passenger train)
    Early History: The Alton Limited was the Chicago & Alton Railway's flagship service between Chicago and St. Louis. It was introduced in 1899, and reequipped in 1905, and in 1924...

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Ann Rutledge
    Ann Rutledge (Amtrak)
    The Ann Rutledge was a passenger train service operated by Amtrak running between St. Louis, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri as part of the Missouri Services brand...

  • The Hummer
  • The Midnight Special

Stations in Chicago


First entry of C&A passenger trains from Joliet into Chicago was over the Chicago & Rock Island to that railroad's depot (later La Salle Street Station). Briefly, passenger trains were moved over to the Illinois Central depot. On December 28, 1863, the leased J&C and Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway
Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway
The Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway was a major part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system, extending the PRR west from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via Fort Wayne, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois...

 came to an agreement where the J&C would use the PFW&C's terminal at Madison Street
Madison Street (Chicago)
Madison Street is a major east-west street in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to human intervention, the Chicago River emptied into Lake Michigan at the present day intersection of Madison Street and Michigan Avenue....

, later becoming a tenant of Union Station, which opened in 1881. In 1924, with the completion of a new Union Station
Union Station (Chicago)
Union Station is a major train station that opened in 1925 in Chicago, replacing an earlier 1881 station. It is now the only intercity rail terminal in Chicago, as well as being the city's primary terminal for commuter trains. The station stands on the west side of the Chicago River between Adams...

 between Adams and Jackson streets, C&A became a tenant and its successors used Union Station until the takeover by Amtrak.

Company officers


Presidents of the Alton Railroad have included:
  • Timothy Blackstone
    Timothy Blackstone
    Timothy Beach Blackstone was a 19th century railroad executive, businessman, philanthropist, and politician. He is descended from one of the earliest British settlers of New England, William Blaxton. Blackstone worked in the railroad industry for most of his life after dropping out of school...

     1864–1899.
  • Samuel Morse Felton, Jr.
    Samuel Morse Felton, Jr.
    Samuel Morse Felton, Jr. was an American railroad executive. He was a 1873 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity.-Railroad career:...

    1899–1908.


External links