Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway

Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway

Overview
The Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway (CM&W), was a Class II railroad
Class II railroad
A Class II railroad in the United States is a mid-sized freight-hauling railroad, in terms of its operating revenue. , a railroad with revenues greater than $20.5 million but less than $277.7 million for at least three consecutive years is considered a Class II railroad...

 that operated in the midwest of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 between 1987 and 1990. Never financially stable, less than a year after it was created it was bankrupt and sold off its lines piecemeal to other railroads in 1989 and 1990.

The Chicago and Alton Railroad had built and operated lines between Chicago, Illinois, Springfield, Illinois
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...

, 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
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...

 until that 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...

 in 1947.
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Encyclopedia
The Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway (CM&W), was a Class II railroad
Class II railroad
A Class II railroad in the United States is a mid-sized freight-hauling railroad, in terms of its operating revenue. , a railroad with revenues greater than $20.5 million but less than $277.7 million for at least three consecutive years is considered a Class II railroad...

 that operated in the midwest of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 between 1987 and 1990. Never financially stable, less than a year after it was created it was bankrupt and sold off its lines piecemeal to other railroads in 1989 and 1990.

History


The Chicago and Alton Railroad had built and operated lines between Chicago, Illinois, Springfield, Illinois
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...

, 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
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...

 until that 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...

 in 1947. The GM&O itself was merged into the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad in 1972. When the ICG began spinning off its redundant lines, the Chicago, Missouri and Western Railway purchased the lines from the ICG on April 28, 1987.The line struggled financially, leading to deferred maintenance on the track, and the company was bankrupt within the year.

Parent Company


Venango River was formed by former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe managers to purchase the legendary South Shore Line from the Chessie System
Chessie System
Chessie System, Inc. was a holding company that owned the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway , the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad , the Western Maryland Railway , and several smaller carriers. It was incorporated in Virginia on February 26, 1973, and it acquired the C&O on June 15...

. The South Shore acquisition met with modest success, but whether the success correlated with management skill is still up for debate. The Chessie had all but neglected the railroad, making success easy to come by. Further, the Chessie equipped the South Shore with ten new locomotives idea for shortline railroading, leading to low maintenance costs. Flush with success, Venango River purchased the CM&W from ICG with the South Shore as guarantor of the loans at Citibank. President John Darling had grand dreams of serving three steel mills belonging to National Steel
National Steel
National Steel has several meanings:* National Steel , a defunct steel production company in the United States* National Steel Company , part of the 1901 merger that created U.S...

, one in Detroit, one in Burns Harbor (on CSS), and one near St. Louis (on CM&W).

Failure


Collective insight suggests Venango River overpaid for the railroad, and could not service the debt with revenues. While South Shore revenues were directed toward servicing CM&W debt for a time, when the state of Indiana failed to adequately subsidize South Shore's passenger trains, the house of cards fell. The affair was not helped by the dilapidated ex-Western Pacific locomotives acquired for CM&W. Only a few were repainted for CM&W. The Chicago-Saint Louis line was acquired at bankruptcy sale by Southern Pacific's Cotton Belt (SSW) subsidiary and, as a result of the UP buyout, is now part of Union Pacific. The Kansas City route was purchased by Gateway Western Railroad, eventually coming under Kansas City Southern control.

Notable Service and Trackage Rights

  • Piggyback service from South Shore's Burnham Yard to St. Louis
  • Amtrak's Chicago-St. Louis service
  • Chicago Terminal trackage rights to connect CSS and CM&W and other area railroad yards, including Proviso (still held by CSS)
  • Run-through steel coil shipments between CM&W, CSS, and GTW (for National Steel)
  • Business trains featuring bright orange CSS locomotives and business cars as well as other leased business cars