Illinois Central Railroad

Illinois Central Railroad

Overview
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

 and Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City is a city in Plymouth and Woodbury counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state....

 (1870). There was a significant branch to Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

 (1899) west of Fort Dodge, Iowa
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Fort Dodge is a city and county seat of Webster County, Iowa, United States, along the Des Moines River. The population was 25,206 in the 2010 census, an increase from 25,136 in the 2000 census. Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S...

 and another branch reaching Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south...

 (1877) starting from Cherokee, Iowa
Cherokee, Iowa
Cherokee is a city in Cherokee County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,932 at the 2010 Census, up from 5,369 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Cherokee County. Cherokee is also the home of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute, under the Iowa Department of Human Services...

.

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"....

 gained control of the IC in 1998, and it is now a subsidiary and part of the CN Southern Region.


Riding on the City of New Orleans

Illinois Central Monday morning rail

Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders ...

 – Steve Goodman, "City of New Orleans"
City of New Orleans (song)
"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman , describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the eponymous train for a visit to his wife's family...

, 1970


The IC is one of the earlier Class I railroad
Class I railroad
A Class I railroad in the United States and Mexico, or a Class I rail carrier in Canada, is a large freight railroad company, as classified based on operating revenue.Smaller railroads are classified as Class II and Class III...

s in the US.
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Encyclopedia
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

 and Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City is a city in Plymouth and Woodbury counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state....

 (1870). There was a significant branch to Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

 (1899) west of Fort Dodge, Iowa
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Fort Dodge is a city and county seat of Webster County, Iowa, United States, along the Des Moines River. The population was 25,206 in the 2010 census, an increase from 25,136 in the 2000 census. Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S...

 and another branch reaching Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south...

 (1877) starting from Cherokee, Iowa
Cherokee, Iowa
Cherokee is a city in Cherokee County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,932 at the 2010 Census, up from 5,369 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Cherokee County. Cherokee is also the home of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute, under the Iowa Department of Human Services...

.

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"....

 gained control of the IC in 1998, and it is now a subsidiary and part of the CN Southern Region.

History



Riding on the City of New Orleans

Illinois Central Monday morning rail

Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders ...

 – Steve Goodman, "City of New Orleans"
City of New Orleans (song)
"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman , describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the eponymous train for a visit to his wife's family...

, 1970


The IC is one of the earlier Class I railroad
Class I railroad
A Class I railroad in the United States and Mexico, or a Class I rail carrier in Canada, is a large freight railroad company, as classified based on operating revenue.Smaller railroads are classified as Class II and Class III...

s in the US. Its roots stretch back to abortive attempts by the Illinois General Assembly
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois and comprises the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. The General Assembly was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. Illinois has 59 legislative districts, with two...

 to charter a railroad linking the northern and southern parts of the state of 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,...

. In 1850 U.S. President Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States and the last member of the Whig Party to hold the office of president...

 signed a land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

 for the construction of the railroad, making the Illinois Central the first land-grant railroad in the United States.

The Illinois Central was officially chartered by the Illinois General Assembly
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois and comprises the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. The General Assembly was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. Illinois has 59 legislative districts, with two...

 on February 10, 1851. Senator Stephen Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln were both Illinois Central men who lobbied for it. Douglas owned land near the terminal in Chicago. Lincoln was a lawyer for the railroad. Upon its completion in 1856, the IC was the longest railroad in the world. Its main line went from Cairo, Illinois
Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Alexander County. Cairo is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The rivers converge at Fort Defiance State Park, an American Civil War fort that was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant...

, at the southern tip of the state, to Galena
Galena, Illinois
Galena is the county seat of, and largest city in, Jo Daviess County, Illinois in the United States, with a population of 3,429 in 2010. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S...

, in the northwest corner. A branch line went from Centralia
Centralia, Illinois
Centralia is a town located in Marion, Washington, Clinton, and Jefferson Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 13,032 at the 2010 census. The town was founded because it was the point where the two original branches of the Illinois Central Railroad, built in 1853, converged....

 (named for the railroad) to the rapidly growing city of 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...

. In Chicago, its tracks were laid along the shore of Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 and on an offshore causeway downtown, but landfilling and natural deposition have moved the present-day shore to the east.

In 1867 the Illinois Central extended its track into Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

. Throughout the 1870s, and 1880s the IC acquired and expanded railroads throughout the southern United States. IC lines crisscrossed the state of Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 and went as far as New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

 to the south and Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

 in the east. In the 1880s, northern lines were built to Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Dodgeville is the most populous city and county seat of Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 4,698 at the 2010 census, making it the 9th largest city within the Madison metropolitan area. The Greater Dodgeville Area however had a population of 6,529...

, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south...

, and Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

. Further expansion continued into the early twentieth century.

Illinois Central Gulf Railroad: 1972-1988




On August 10, 1972 the Illinois Central Railroad merged with 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...

 to form the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad . On October 30 that year the Illinois Central Gulf commuter rail crash, the company's deadliest, occurred. In the 1980s, the railroad spun off most of its east-west lines and many of its redundant north-south lines, including much of the former GM&O. Most of these lines were bought by other railroads, including entirely new railroads, such as the 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...

, Paducah and Louisville Railway
Paducah and Louisville Railway
The Paducah & Louisville Railway is a Class II railroad that operates freight service between Paducah and Louisville, Kentucky.The 270-mile line was purchased from Illinois Central Gulf Railroad in August, 1986. The 223-mile main route runs between Paducah and Louisville with a branch line from...

 and Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad
Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad
The Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad was a Class II railroad operating on the former Illinois Central Railroad mainline between Chicago, Illinois, Albert Lea, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa. The railroad was formed as a spinoff from the IC, with operations beginning on...

. In 1988, the railroad's then parent company IC Industries spun off its remaining rail assets and changed its name to the Whitman Corporation (which became PepsiAmericas
PepsiAmericas
PepsiAmericas, Inc. was the world's second-largest bottler of Pepsi-Cola products, and also contracted to produce beverages for Dr Pepper Snapple Group and smaller regional brands. PepsiAmericas had 19 bottling plants in the United States and had a presence in 11 countries in Central/Eastern...

 in 2000 and acquired outright by PepsiCo
PepsiCo
PepsiCo Inc. is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York, United States, with interests in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of grain-based snack foods, beverages, and other products. PepsiCo was formed in 1965 with the merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company...

 in 2010). On February 29 of that year, the newly separated ICG dropped the "Gulf" from its name and again became known as the Illinois Central Railroad.

Canadian National Railway: 1998-Present


On February 11, 1998 the IC was purchased 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"....

 (CN) with the integration of operations beginning on July 1, 1999.

Illinois Central Railroad Locomotives
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...



Passenger train service




The Illinois Central was a major carrier of passengers on its Chicago to New Orleans mainline and between Chicago and St. Louis. IC also ran passengers on its Chicago to Omaha line, though it was never among the top performers on this route. Illinois Central's largest passenger terminal, Central Station, stood at 12th Street east of Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Due to the railroad's north-south route from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, Illinois Central passenger trains were one means of transport during the African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 of the 1920s.

Illinois Central's most famous train was the Panama Limited
Panama Limited
The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

, a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans. In 1967, due to losses incurred by the operation of the train, the Illinois Central combined the Panama Limited with a coach-only train called the Magnolia Star. On June 1, 1971 Amtrak took over the operation of the service, but shortly afterward dropped the name in favor of the City of New Orleans
City of New Orleans
The City of New Orleans is a nightly passenger train operated by Amtrak which travels between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. Before Amtrak's formation in 1971, the train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad along the same route . The train currently operates on a 19½ hour...

, a daytime streamlined coach train that had been operated by the Illinois Central whose name was popularized by a song written by Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman was an American folk music singer-songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. The writer of "City of New Orleans", made popular by Arlo Guthrie, Goodman won two Grammy Awards.-Personal life:...

 and performed by Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Davy Guthrie is an American folk singer. Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice...

: Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

's recording of the song was #1 in 1984. Illinois Central ran several other trains along the main route including The Creole and The Louisiane.

The Green Diamond
Green Diamond
The Green Diamond of the Illinois Central Railroad was a diesel streamliner built in 1936 by Pullman-Standard and powered by Electro-Motive Corporation. It was the last streamliner built with the power car articulated with the train; future streamliners featured a matched but separable locomotive...

was the Illinois Central's premier train between Chicago, Springfield and St. Louis. Other important trains included the Hawkeye which ran daily between Chicago and Sioux City and the City of Miami
City of Miami
This article is about the streamliner. For the city in Florida, see Miami.The City of Miami was a seven-car coach streamliner inaugurated by Illinois Central Railroad on December 18, 1940. Its route was from Chicago to Miami a total distance of ....

 eventually running every other day between Chicago and Miami via the Atlantic Coast Line
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad was an American railroad that existed between 1900 and 1967, when it merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, its long-time rival, to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad...

, the Central of Georgia Railroad
Central of Georgia Railroad
The Central of Georgia Railway started as the Central Rail Road and Canal Company in 1833. As a way to better attract investment capital, the railroad changed its name to Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia. This railroad was constructed to join the Macon and Western Railroad at...

 and Florida East Coast Railway
Florida East Coast Railway
The Florida East Coast Railway is a Class II railroad operating in the U.S. state of Florida; in the past, it has been a Class I railroad.Built primarily in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, the FEC was a project of Standard Oil principal Henry Morrison...

.

The Illinois Central was always a major Chicago commuter line
Metra Electric Line
The Metra Electric District is an electrified commuter rail line owned and operated by Metra which connects Millennium Station in downtown Chicago, with the city's southern suburbs...

 operating electrified trains from its Michigan Avenue stations to the southeast suburbs until this traffic was assumed by 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...

.

After 1971 Amtrak operated the Panama Limited, later re-named City of New Orleans, over the Illinois Central mainline and the Shawnee between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. Amtrak presently runs three trains daily over this route, the City of New Orleans and the Illini and Saluki between Chicago and Carbondale. Another Illinois corridor service is planned for the former "Blackhawk" route between Chicago, Rockford and Dubuque. This service, subsidized by the State of Illinois is slated to begin in 2009.

List of Illinois Central Named Trains

  • Chickasaw
  • City of Miami
    City of Miami
    This article is about the streamliner. For the city in Florida, see Miami.The City of Miami was a seven-car coach streamliner inaugurated by Illinois Central Railroad on December 18, 1940. Its route was from Chicago to Miami a total distance of ....

  • City of New Orleans
    City of New Orleans
    The City of New Orleans is a nightly passenger train operated by Amtrak which travels between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. Before Amtrak's formation in 1971, the train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad along the same route . The train currently operates on a 19½ hour...

  • Creole
  • Daylight
  • Delta Express
  • Green Diamond
    Green Diamond
    The Green Diamond of the Illinois Central Railroad was a diesel streamliner built in 1936 by Pullman-Standard and powered by Electro-Motive Corporation. It was the last streamliner built with the power car articulated with the train; future streamliners featured a matched but separable locomotive...

  • Governor's Special
  • Hawkeye
  • Illini
  • Iowan
  • Irvin S. Cobb
  • Land O' Corn
  • Louisiane
  • Kentucky Cardinal
  • Magnolia Star
  • Mid-American
  • Miss Lou
  • Night Diamond
  • Northern Express
  • Northwestern Limited
  • Panama Limited
    Panama Limited
    The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

  • Planter
  • Seminole
  • Southern Express
  • Southwestern Limited
  • Sunchaser

Company officers


Presidents of the Illinois Central Railroad have included:
  • Robert Schuyler, 1851–1853
  • William P. Burrall, 1853–1854
  • John N.A. Griswold, 1855
  • William H. Osborn
    William H. Osborn
    William Henry Osborn was a 19th Century railroad tycoon. Born and educated in Salem, Massachusetts, Osborn became one of the most prominent railroad leaders in the United States....

    , 1855–1865
  • John M. Douglas, 1865–1871, 1875–1876
  • John Newell
    John Newell
    John David Stokes Newell, Sr. , was a Louisiana planter and lawyer who founded the Tensas Parish town of Newellton, which he named for his father, Edward D...

    , 1871–1874
  • Wilson G. Hunt, 1874–1875
  • William K. Ackerman, 1876–1883
  • James C. Clarke, 1883–1887
  • Stuyvesant Fish
    Stuyvesant Fish
    Stuyvesant Fish was president of the Illinois Central Railroad.Fish was born in New York City, the son of Hamilton Fish and his wife Julia Ursin Niemcewicz, née Kean. A graduate of Columbia College, he was later an executive of the Illinois Central Railroad, and as its president from 1887 to 1906...

    , 1887–1906
  • James T. Harahan, 1906–1911
  • Charles H. Markham, 1911–1918
  • Charles A. Peabody, 1918–1919
  • Charles H. Markham, 1919–1926
  • Lawrence A. Downs, 1926–1938
  • John L. Beven, 1938–1945
  • Wayne A. Johnston
    Wayne A. Johnston
    Wayne A. Johnston was president of Illinois Central Railroad from 1945 to 1966. When he stepped down from the presidency of the railroad, he was named Chairman of the Board for IC, a position he held for a year...

    , 1945–1967
  • William B. Johnson, 1967–1969
  • Alan Stephenson Boyd
    Alan Stephenson Boyd
    Alan Stephenson Boyd is an American attorney and transportation executive who led several large corporations and also served the U.S. Government in various transportation-related positions. He was the first United States Secretary of Transportation, appointed by Lyndon Johnson. Additionally, he...

    , 1969–1972
  • Harry J Bruce, 1983–1990
  • Edward Moyers, 1990–1993
  • E. Hunter Harrison
    E. Hunter Harrison
    E. Hunter Harrison is a Tennessee-born railroader who served as the president and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian National Railway through the end of 2009.-Life:...

    , 1993–1998

Preservation




Some historic equipment owned and used by Illinois Central can be found in museums across the United States, including:
  • 201
    Illinois Central 201
    Illinois Central 201 is a steam locomotive, originally owned and operated by Illinois Central Railroad. In 1949, the locomotive was operated at the Chicago Railroad Fair as part of the "Wheels A-Rolling" pageant. It is now on static display at Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois....

    , a 2-4-4
    2-4-4
    In Whyte notation, a 2-4-4 is a steam locomotive with two unpowered leading wheels followed by four powered driving wheels and four unpowered trailing wheels.-Equivalent classifications:Other equivalent classifications are:...

     tank locomotives that participated in the "Wheels A-Rolling" pageant at the Chicago Railroad Fair
    Chicago Railroad Fair
    The Chicago Railroad Fair was an event organized to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of railroad history west of Chicago, Illinois. It was held in Chicago in 1948 and 1949 along the shore of Lake Michigan, and is often referred to as "the last great railroad fair" with 39 railroad companies...

    . Preserved on static display at Illinois Railway Museum
    Illinois Railway Museum
    The Illinois Railway Museum is the largest railroad museum in the United States and is located in Union, Illinois, northwest of Chicago...

    .
  • 764, a 651 class 2-8-0
    2-8-0
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels...

     donated to the Museum of Transportation
    Museum of Transportation
    The Museum of Transportation of the St. Louis County, Missouri, United States Parks Department is a museum located in the Greater St. Louis area. It was first founded in 1944 by a group of individuals dedicated to preserving the past and has a wide variety of vehicles from American history...

    , 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...

     in 1956.
  • 790. Preserved on static display at Steamtown National Historic Site
    Steamtown National Historic Site
    Steamtown National Historic Site is a railroad museum and heritage railroad located on in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the site of the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad . The museum is built around a working replica turntable and a roundhouse that is...

    , believed to be in good condition that restoration to operations is feasible.
  • 2500. A 2500 class 4-8-2
    4-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     preserved on static display in the Age of Steam Memorial in Centralia, Illinois
    Centralia, Illinois
    Centralia is a town located in Marion, Washington, Clinton, and Jefferson Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 13,032 at the 2010 census. The town was founded because it was the point where the two original branches of the Illinois Central Railroad, built in 1853, converged....

    .
  • 2542. A 2500 class 4-8-2
    4-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     preserved on static display at McComb, Mississippi
    McComb, Mississippi
    McComb is a city in Pike County, Mississippi, United States, about south of Jackson. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 13,644. It is the principal city of the McComb, Mississippi, Micropolitan Statistical Area...

    .
  • A yard office and unique coal-fueling tower remain at the Illinois Central yards in Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Council Bluffs, known until 1852 as Kanesville, Iowathe historic starting point of the Mormon Trail and eventual northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trailsis a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States and is on the east bank of the Missouri River across...

    .
  • IC 8408 GP10 locomotive/IC 9426 caboose static display Homewood, IL
  • IC-333, a 0-6-0
    0-6-0
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 0-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of no leading wheels, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels...

     steam engine, and several passenger cars are on display just outside the historic Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company Depot
    Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company Depot
    The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company Depot is located at 100 South River Road. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was also known as the Illinois Central Railroad Station. The building currently houses the Louisiana Art and Science Museum....

     in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

    .
  • I.C.R.R. 1518 Mikado [2-8-2] steam locomotive in Riverfront Park, Paducah, Kentucky
  • Illinois Central GP11
    GP11
    The EMD GP11 is a four-axle diesel locomotive rebuilt by the Illinois Central Railroad’s Paducah shops. It is very similar in appearance to the GP8 and GP10....

     #8701, along with an IC caboose, preserved on static display at the Carbondale passenger station in Carbondale, Illinois
    Carbondale, Illinois
    Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

    .
  • Illinois Central GP11
    GP11
    The EMD GP11 is a four-axle diesel locomotive rebuilt by the Illinois Central Railroad’s Paducah shops. It is very similar in appearance to the GP8 and GP10....

     #8733 preserved at the Monticello Railway Museum
    Monticello Railway Museum
    The Monticello Railway Museum is a non-profit railroad museum located in Monticello, Illinois...

     in Monticello, Illinois
    Monticello, Illinois
    Monticello is a city in Piatt County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,138 at the 2000 census, and 5,374 at a 2009 estimate. It is the county seat of Piatt County.-Geography:Monticello is located at ....

    .
  • An Illinois Central caboose and banana car are preserved at the Casey Jones Railroad Museum in Water Valley, MS
  • IC combine #892, IC Day Coaches 2920 2855 2612, IC Business Car #7, IC 10-6 sleeper #3531 "Council Bluffs", IC Dorm-baggage #1906, IC #518 (MAIL STORAGE),IC Panama Limited Observation "Gulfport", ICG cement hopper #100040, IC #65018, IC bridge crane #X238,IC #X1957 Boxcar, IC #X2000 Idler Flat, IC #'s X4342 and X4352 tenders, IC X9151 Jordan Spreader, and IC cabooses 9926 9831 9880. All of which are restored and displayed at the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello Illinois.
  • Illinois Central SD40-2 #6071 (Ex-Gulf, Mobile and Ohio) at the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello Illinois
  • Illinois Central Gulf GP8 #7738 at the Bluegrass Railroad Museum in Versailles Kentucky

Mississippi Central (1852-1878)


The original Mississippi Central line was chartered in 1852. Construction began in 1853 and the line was completed in 1860, just prior to the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, from Canton, Mississippi
Canton, Mississippi
Canton is a city in Madison County, Mississippi. The population was 12,911 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Madison County, and situated in the northern part of the metropolitan area surrounding the state capital, Jackson....

 to Jackson, Tennessee
Jackson, Tennessee
Jackson is a city in Madison County, Tennessee, United States. The total population was 65,211 at the 2010 census. Jackson is the primary city of the Jackson, Tennessee metropolitan area, which is included in the Jackson-Humboldt, Tennessee Combined Statistical Area...

. The southern terminus of the line connected to the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad at Canton. It also connected to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad
Memphis and Charleston Railroad
The Memphis and Charleston Railroad, completed in 1857, was the first railroad in the United States to link the Atlantic Ocean with the Mississippi River. Chartered in 1846 the railroad ran from Memphis, Tennessee to Stevenson, Alabama through the towns of Corinth, Mississippi and Huntsville,...

 at Grand Junction, Tennessee
Grand Junction, Tennessee
Grand Junction is a city in Fayette and Hardeman counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The population was 301 at the 2000 census, and is currently 321. Grand Junction runs along Tennessee State Route 57, and is bordered to the west by Tennessee State Route 18 . Approximately ten miles to the...

 and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad
Mobile and Ohio Railroad
The Mobile and Ohio Railroad was a railroad in the Southern U.S. The M&O was chartered in January and February 1848 by the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It was planned to span the distance between the seaport of Mobile, Alabama and the Ohio River near Cairo, Illinois...

 at Jackson, Tennessee. The Mississippi Central was the scene of several military actions from 1862–1863 and was severely damaged during the fighting. Company president, Absolom M. West
Absolom M. West
Absolom Madden West was a Southern United States politician, soldier, railroad president and labor organizer.-Biography:...

 succeeded in repairing the damage and returning it to operating condition soon after the end of the War. The original Mississippi Central line was merged into the Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 subsidiary Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad in several transactions finally completed in 1878.

Mississippi Central (1897–1967)


A line started in 1897 as the "Pearl and Leaf Rivers Railroad" was built by the J.J. Newman Lumber Company from Hattiesburg
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Hattiesburg is a city in Forrest County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 44,779 at the 2000 census . It is the county seat of Forrest County...

, to Sumrall
Sumrall, Mississippi
Sumrall is a town in Lamar County, Mississippi, United States. It is part of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,005 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Sumrall is located at ....

. In 1904 the name was changed to the Mississippi Central Railroad . In 1906 the Natchez and Eastern Railway was formed to build a rail line from Natchez
Natchez, Mississippi
Natchez is the county seat of Adams County, Mississippi, United States. With a total population of 18,464 , it is the largest community and the only incorporated municipality within Adams County...

 to Brookhaven
Brookhaven, Mississippi
Brookhaven is a small city in Lincoln County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 9,861 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lincoln County...

. In 1909 this line was absorbed by the Mississippi Central.

For a short time during the 1920s, the line operated a service named "The Natchez Route", running trains from Natchez to Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 through trackage agreements with the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad
Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad
The Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad was a railroad in the Southern United States. The first World War had forced government operation upon the company; and in 1919, when it became once more a free agent, it chose Ike Tigrett to charter its new course...

. At Natchez, freight cars were ferried across 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...

 to connect with the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway
Louisiana and Arkansas Railway
The Louisiana and Arkansas Railway was a railroad that operated in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. The railroad's main line extended 332 miles, from Hope, Arkansas to Shreveport and New Orleans...

 to institute through traffic into Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana. It is the principal city of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana and is the 109th-largest city in the United States....

. In 1967 the property of the Mississippi Central was sold to the Illinois Central Railroad.

See also


  • David L. Gunn
    David L. Gunn
    David L. Gunn is a transportation system administrator who has headed several significant railroads and transit systems in North America....

  • Tammany Trace
    Tammany Trace
    The Tammany Trace is a rail trail in Louisiana occupying a former Illinois Central Railroad corridor.It has been developed into a asphalt trail for hiking, cycling, and wheelchair use with a parallel equestrian trail....

     Rail Trail
  • Billups Neon Crossing Signal
    Billups Neon Crossing Signal
    The Billups Neon Crossing Signal was a prototypical grade crossing signal installed at a dangerous Illinois Central crossing on Mississippi Highway 7 in Grenada, Mississippi....

     A unique railroad crossing signal erected in Grenada, MS

External links