Rockford to Delmar

The Gary Line

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Map submitted by Greg Harrison, Lee M.

(Forwarded from the Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary Railroad)

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A timetable from 1909 of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary Railroad. (Click for larger size.) (Submitted by Dave Kuntz)

The Illinois, Iowa & Minnesota Railway was created in 1904 and built a line north from a connection with the Milwaukee Road at Delmar that ended at East Joliet. In 1905, a second line was built from Aurora to Rockford. The construction of this line sparked a protest among residents in Rockford because of increased railroad tariffs imposed to support it; at the time, there was already more than one railroad operating between Rockford and Chicago, and the residents felt yet another railroad line was unnecessary.

The two lines of the II&M were separated between East Joliet and Aurora, so trackage rights were sought between these two points on the EJ&E, thus giving the II&M a whole route that ran in a generally northwest-southeast direction. In 1908, the II&M was renamed the Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary Railway (which is a misnomer, since the railroad never actually visited any of its namesake towns). The CM&G was leased to the Milwaukee Road in 1922, who purchased the entire railroad outright in May of 1930, and subsequently abandoned the northern-most section of track between Rockford and Kirkland. While under Milwaukee Road, the line was primarily used to transfer coal from the mines of central & southern Indiana to the Milwaukee Road mainline for powering steam locomotives, etc.

The line between Dekalb and Aurora was abandoned by the Milwaukee Road in 1947, effectively splitting the former CM&G line in two. The southern section was still accessible through extended trackage rights on the EJ&E, but was abandoned entirely on July 17, 1978; by this time, it was used seldom and for local way freight only, with light interchange with the EJ&E. The final existing segment of the former CM&G, between Kirkland and Dekalb, was abandoned on April 15, 1980, essentially removing the last physical manifestation of the Gary Line.

A crude time line of the route is shown below, running from north to south.

                      EJ&E Trackage Rights--> |-------------|
     Rockford --- Kirkland ---- Dekalb ---- Aurora xxxxxxxx East Joliet --- Delmar
===================================================================================
1904                                                        |----- Built -----|
1905    |---------- Built --------------------|
1908    |-------- Renamed to Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary Railroad --------------|
1922    |--------------- Leased by Milwaukee Road ----------------------------|
1930    |--abandoned--|------- Purchased by Milwaukee Road -------------------|
1947                              |-abandoned-|
1978                                                        |-- abandoned ----|
1980                  |-abandoned-|

Little evidence is left of this railroad line today. In Rockford, the original concrete slabs that supported the line over the Rock River are still visible in the water. Topographical maps suggest that Belt Line Road between the river and Route 251 may be sitting atop the abandoned railbed in the southern part of the city.

Thanks to Mark Atkinson and Peter Zimmerman for contributing information about this route.

Supports for the CA&D RR bridges over Blackberry Creek are quite visible from the pedestrian bridge that crosses the creek. There seem to be to distinct sets of supports, so apparently there were two bridges used during the railroad's lifespan.

Bob Dillon
Aurora, IL
1/1/2009

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Sorry, I meant to say supports for the CM&G, not CA&D.

Bob Dillon
Aurora
1/2/2009

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hwy 72 the s curves over the milwaukee road between kirkland & fairdale used to be right of way for cm&g

gary w
fairdale, IL
1/25/2009

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There are traces of this grade behind Anderson Packaging Inc, located on New Milford School Road just a couple hundred yards East of Illinois Railnet Path (Former Burlington Route)

The concrete slabs are over the Kishwaukee River, not the Rock River as mentioned above.

The line ran along Beltline road and traces of the grade are still visible on the East side of 251.

More traces are visible areas heading toward Kirkland

Mark Atkinson
South Beloit
6/25/2009

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Just to note, the slabs mentioned above are over the Kishwuakee River, not the Rock River.

Mark Atkinson
South Beloit, IL
1/1/2010

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A small portion of the GM&G exists as an industrial spur track in Manhattan, IL. About 1/2 mile of track remains in service. It is served still in 2010 a few days a week by the NS. The former right-of-way going northwest from Manhattan and most of the spur track south from Manhattan to the Joliet Arsenal are now a bike trail.

Andy
Elgin
3/10/2010

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in dekalb il... along rt. 23 there remains a 1/4 mile of main line for the cm&g. light 90lbs rail at best! it is no longer used and is owned by general electric. i'm sorry my cap locks is broken.

does anybody have info on the ca&d trolly??? aside from photos in kaneville and strechs of road bed in maple park il and bliss woods?

trolley fan
wheaton, IL
3/15/2010

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correction on my part for you folks. it's rt. 23 by pass a.k.a. "peace road" and it is owned by general electric, but not used in the last 20 years. when the milwakee aboned the dekalb to aurora line the cnw bought the 1/4 mile section to serve g.e.

it's no longer conected to the cnw (now u.p.) but still lies in the mud and trees. go to the other side of i88 s.e. from there and on the other side of the garbage dup one can see where the cm&g climbed a step grade and cut into a farmers field to get over a hill. really neat if your in dekalb/cortland.

trolley fan
wheaton, IL
3/15/2010

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No, it's not under the tollway. The ROW is still visible in places between Aurora and Dekalb. It is relatively visible in Troxel, and a few years ago someone had the station sign board on their outbuilding in Troxel. Where's Troxel, you ask? Well, it's not shown on the linked map, but if you follow County Line Rd. south of the interstate, it makes a strange diagonal jog just north of Main Street Rd; the jog is at Troxel and the jog is either on or adjacent to the location of the track.

Further southeast, the line crossed Dauberman Rd. just south of Kaneville, almost where Lasher Rd. crosses Dauberman. The former roadbed is completely plowed under, but in the spring is visible as a strip of lighter colored soil (from the gravel in the roadbed) running diagonally across the fields. There is a power line ROW here that seems to follow the old track.

The grade is actually intact on the campus of Waubonsee Junior Colledge on the east side of IL 47. Going north on 47, it can be seen running side-hill along the north bank of a small pond. It's easiest to see in winter when the leaves are down and there is snow on the ground.

About two miles further SE the grade becomes a bike path through the Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, the bike path veers of where it crosses Bliss Rd. and May Rd. is on the grade, which runs through a very identifiable cut.

East of the end of May road the land has been mined for gravel since the RR abandoned, but at IL 56 the bike path goes back onto the RR grade, and runs all the way into Aurora as the Virgil Gilman Nature Trail. It's shown on the linked map, but not labeled. The RR grade picks up again right where the "56" marker is on the map just NE of the cloverleaf with Galena Blvd. This paved train runs eastward until it becomes parallel with the CB&Q, then leaves you on the surface streets. However, east of there the trail begins again and runs through the former subway under the CB&Q, the over a bridge over the Fox River. From the map, it appears to continue east, but I've never followed it.

It used to be visible again where it crossed US34 south of Aurora, just east of where 34 and 30 intersect, but rebuilding this junction a few years ago obliterated the grade. The track then ran along the north side of US 30 on it's way to join the J.

Now, if you want a REALLY hard ROW to find, try the Chicago Aurora & Dekalb electric line. There is a picture of an identifiable location where the line was in Harter Rd. in Kaneville, but that's all I've ever found.

Dennis Storzek
Big Rock, IL
6/12/2010

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Isn't part of this line through DeKalb now a bike trail, running down near the old mattress factory on the east side?

Also, if you go to this site, http://photoman475.rrpicturearchives.net/archivethumbs.aspx?id=55254, I've posted two photos I've labeled as an MILW freight station in DeKalb. Is this correct? The buildings are long gone, but the ROW was part of the bike trail.

Alan Fricker
Fargo, ND
8/20/2010

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Well, I never said anything about there being an overpass for the gary line under I88 or rt23, but next to GE on the north side of the UP tracks close to the old coal tower... there remains track from this railroad intack.

As for the little known CA&D line... I found and maped the entire line. I photographed two bridge remains, some track, road bed and even a few insulaters. I'm in the process of writing a short piece for this line. It will be out soon via internet. As for the few photos of this trolley line already online...I have ones I took from the exact same places. 1920 to 2010. There are many remains of both the CA&D and the Gary R.R.

Trolley fan
Wheaton, IL
10/5/2010

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By the way, the Gary line never went through the property now owned by the college east of rt. 47

AS for the concret bridge abutment on the east bank of blackberry creek...that belong to the CA&D not the Gary line. Crossing rt. 47 the Gary line went threw whats now that chruch parking lot. The Bulington had a line which can sorta be seen to this day parallel to rt.47 east side as a cattle siding.

Look up land survey maps circa 1920!

Trolley fan
Wheaton, IL
10/5/2010

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To: Trolley fan

I'm not sure if you and I are talking about the same concrete bridge abutment or not. I was talking about the one south of Galena Boulevard just east of Blackberry Village, east of Barnes Road. That one was definitely the CM&G. If you use the satellite view of google.maps, you will notice that just after crossing route 56 westbound, the Virgil Gilman Trail makes a jog to the north and crosses Blackberry Creek. It then joins the CA&D ROW from there to Bliss Woods (more or less; I don't think the original ROW had as many curves, but I think part of the CA&D ROW is now on private property). However the Gilman Trail does follow the CM&G east of route 56. CA&D remained north of the creek as far as I can tell, at least past Bliss Woods, CM&G crossed by Blackberry Village (from east to west since the creek goes north and south there), and then stayed south of the creek from then on.

Bob Dillon
Aurora, IL
1/5/2011

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To the east of Terry Ave, just north of Jericho Rd and the C&I mainline there are still tracks which used to be a yard for the CMG and I believe were used for a short time by the EJE. the area mentioned is about 200 yards east of Terry Ave.

Tom Whitt
Plano, IL
1/23/2011

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Sites visible near Rockford: concrete supports can be seen in the kiswaukee river in New Milford. roadbed used to be seen along south side of belt line road near airport in Rockford. roadbed and concrete supports can be seen in farm field off of Irene road in Dekalb county. roadbed used to be visible (now quarry entrance) crossing Kilbuck road at baxter road near Rockford

Jim
Dekalb County, IL
3/5/2011

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Another interesting little tidbit: Along the current bike path, just south of Joliet, if you look closely in the trees to the east of the line, you can find telegraph poles and even an old YARD LIMIT sign.

Josh Reynolds
Downers Grove
10/23/2011

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there's a neat old overgrown grade crossing in dekalb behind the Old World Millworks factory. There's even some old track still on the ground and overgrown with weeds. I believe this is where the CA&D crossed the Sycamore & Dekalb trolley. I could be wrong though. Anybody know what this crossing is?

Trader Joe
Geneso, IL
5/16/2012

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@Trader Joe:

If you are referring to the same crossing I am thinking of, it was actually the crossing of the Gary Line with the CNW's Beloit division. If you extrapolate downward to the UP main on Google Earth, you can make out where the line would have crossed over and still goes south today. There's a stub portion of the line left just north of the UP west mainline used for MOW equipment. There was also a CGW spur that went from Dekalb to Sycamore. My 102-year-old railroad atlas says they were only a few hundred yards apart, but I've never found any sign of it!

Dave K.
West Chicago, IL
5/19/2012

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@Dave K.

Excellent! You've got me intrigued now, I'd love to find that CGW spur from Sycamore to Dekalb! And yes I think you're right that crossing does appear to be where the CNW and Gary Line crossed, thanks!

Trader Joe
Geneseo, IL
6/15/2012

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link to picture of the crossing here: http://ts1.hostoi.com/garylineCNWcrossingdekalb.jpg where the power lines cross is where the lines used to cross. CNW to the right (north), gary line straight ahead (nw).

Trader Joe
Geneseo, IL
6/15/2012

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sorry, 1 more picture (facing southeast): http://ts1.hostoi.com/garylineCNWcrossingdekalb2.jpg

Trader Joe
Geneseo, IL
6/15/2012

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My interest started with an Ebay auction of a 1906 Rwy Age artical with a large map, about the II&M. The seller stated the road was part of the EJ&E which just didn't look right. Here are a few things I have heard about the lines in question. First the Milw. owned mines serviced by this line in the Illinois river valley that experanced a major disaster with a great lose of life that shut the works down. Second I have an interest in the lines of the old coal road (C&IC) that had a major yard conecting to the C&EI Main at Momence. Third in the late 1960's the PC experenced an up surge in traffic on the Kankakee belt so they leased the Gray's parallel trackage between Delmar and Momence to be used as a passing siding. And final when the Milw. droped the handles on track from Momence west a retired milw. engine operated his own shoe string short line service for a while. By the way this is all antidotal.

John Meade
Benton Co. , IN
11/27/2012

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1937 topo map seems to show the route thru troxel as someone above pointed out. See map here: www.historicaerials.com/mobile/index.php

Trader Joe
Geneseo, IL
12/28/2012

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Raised on a farm on Lasher road, 1 mile west of Dauberman rd. Welch creek ran through the farm. 1/2 mile north of lasher road was the location of the (Gary) line bridge over welch creek.

The cement support can still be seen in the middle of the creek. (SPENT MANY,MANY DAYS AT THAT LOCATION).

Dennis Erckson
Kaneville area., IL
2/9/2013

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The old depot of the CM&G still exists in Kirkland on 6th street. I also have Sidwell maps that were printed in the 70'a that show the row through Franklin Twp.

Charllie Fruit
Kirkland, IL
4/8/2013

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There's evidence of the Gary Line in the form of a concrete creek crossing and short stretch of visible right-of-way in NE Ogle County. It is at the NE corner of the intersection of Willoughby and Kingsbury Roads. Our old Sidwell aerial tax parcel maps show a dark area in spots cutting across the corner of the County from southeast to northwest crossing Perryville Road just below the Winnebago Co. line.

The 1918 topo (http://www.historicaerials.com/) shows the Gary Line paralleled the CB&Q from New Milford after crossing the Kishwaukee River on in to Rockford. There looks to be a long existing siding that may have been a part of that original line. It is older and slightly farther east than a normal siding would appear to be. This is in the neighborhood of Samuelson and Airport Roads, near the Rockford Airport.

Mark Miller
Oregon, IL
5/12/2013

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I have several short pieces of track with Gary cast in the web. Could these be from this line?

gary pearson
bedford, TX
11/26/2013

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Speaking of remains of the CM&G in the Rockford Area, there are still tracks present in the road - a private crossing. Located 2 blocks south of the former Harrison Avenue Wye, there is a private service road for Rockford Products, which is accessible from Willis Avenue & 8th Street. This private road services a few businesses, and eventually leads into the southeast parking lot for Rockford Products. The tracks are located 200 feet east of Rockford Product's parking lot entrance, and can be clearly seen with Google Satellite. Happy Hunting!

Paul Alpiser
Rockford, IL
4/10/2014

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Just wanted to add that if you drive north on Rt1, Dixie Highway, out of Momence, you will ride over C,M&G rails still in the highway at Industrial Drive. Further northwest up the line there are remnants of the line's timber bridges over a creek and road just before Whitaker. By the time it gets just south of Peotone at Rt 50 and the Illinois Central, the bed has risen unmistakably to go over both. The remnants of that trestle are on the east side of Rt 50 where fill dirt is being reclaimed from the bed. Going further, the line crossed I 57 under an overpass that now appears to be a bridge over nothing. At first, I thought it was for a farmer whose farm was cut in two by the interstate, but it was for the C,M&G.

David Worth
St Anne, IL
12/5/2014

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In an article published in the Rockford Republic on Saturday, December 8, 1922, the news got out on that day the owner of the former CM&G track was planning to abandon the 16-mile stretch of track between Camp Grant (Rockford) and Kirkland Junction. The reason given for the abandonment was that the stretch of track was useless to the present owner.

In an article published in the Rockford Morning Star on Sunday, October 28, 1923. a great push was made by farmers around the abandoned CM&G right-of-way to force the CM&StP, the former owner, to reopen the track so that the local farmers can transport their harvest to market. They also wanted to stress to the CStP&P that at least two passenger trains a day were needed badly to run on this line.

Dean McMakin
Rockton, IL
3/25/2015

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If you check on 11st and Harrison in rockford il their is an old section of track that stops at the road. And according to some maps their was a yard their. The open space (if you look to the right of the track) was most likely the yard. They also had a wye down to the south you can find by looking at some path pavement on satellite west of that site. It looks like it ran along the CB&Q before it broke off ( This was the II&M link btw)

Will
Argyle Il
4/27/2016

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With reference to the 1906 map submitted by John Meade, does anyone know what the dashed line is from Peotone to Michigan City? Was it a proposed line? Was any of it ever built?

Interestingly, Great Lakes Basin Railroad is planning to build a new line from near Michigan City to Wisconsin passing near Rockford. http://glb.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=b8fdc7ca41f94755bb954d8343214d70

DAVID WORTH
St Anne, IL
4/27/2016

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I grew up in Andres along the line that ran between Joliet and Momence, the tracks ran right through our backyard. Service was shut down in 1978 when I was only 3-years-old. My first memories are of the trains parked out there and the crossing lights on Route 45. Was interested in trains ever since. As kids we would hike up and down the abandoned tracks before they would eventually be plowed up to become part of the corn fields. Being the nostalgic type I recently started searching for any photographs or info on this line, but I'm coming up pretty empty. This page is the best thing I've found so far and it's nice to see a couple of others talking about this line. I'll post if I find anything interesting. Thanks.

Andrew Cline
Chicago, IL
6/23/2016

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Part of this line is now a bike trail starting at Mills Rd. / Mancuso Cheese Co. and going to Manhattan. It crosses Laraway Rd. near Chicagoland Speedway. There were still railroad crossing signs and markings there 'til the road was widened for the race track. My Uncle had built a house in Manhattan near the N&W (also abandoned) diamond in the early 70s. I clearly remember seeing a short freight led by a MILW F unit on this line. There is a guy on Trainboard that has intentions of modelling this line in N scale. His avatar is a GP9 crossing the N&W diamond. Andrew Cline, since the RR is gone there are only two reasons to stop in Andres. 1) It's always been a speed trap !!! 2) The Pepsi machine in front of the grainery !!!

Dave Eriksen
Joliet, IL
7/23/2016

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I remember seeing a train on the trestle bridge which crossed the former IC tracks and IL Rte 50. It was a short train with several cars and a caboose.

I also remember crossing the line in Andes, Mr Cline. I was about eleven or twelve as my grandfather was still alive and would take us for a ride to see relatives in Bourbonnais IL.

There is little to remind us of this line other than the right of way still being visible in some places.

LB
Chicago, IL
11/12/2016

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