East Peoria to Maroa

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Map submitted by Lee M.

This line was opened November 30, 1874 as part of the Illinois Midland Railroad, which ran from Terre Haute through Paris, Decatur, and to Peoria. It was renamed the Terre Haute and Peoria Railroad in 1887, then came under the control of the Vandalia Railroad in 1905. The Pennsylvania Railroad took control in 1917, and this portion was sold to the Illinois Terminal Railroad on April 1, 1976.

It was abandoned December 29, 1988.

Thanks to Lee M. for contributing information about this route.

This line was a former Pennsylvania Line. It was abandoned not in 1953 but in the early 1980's. The illinois Terminal purchased the loine in 1978 after their Peoria to Lincoln Line was severed due to a derailment on the bridge at Mackinaw. Pennsylvania line had position light signals at interlockings in Kenney, Atlanta and peoria. It shared with Illinois Central from Decatur to Maroa. That line now exists only from Clinton to Heyworth. It has stopped short of former US 136 crossing.

Mackinaw once had three railroads, P&E, Pennsylvania and Illinois Terminal but now has ony the former Illinois Terminal depot, a tea shop.

Another abandoned Illinois Terminal line was the Peoria to Lincoln line, the last major stretch of original Illinois terminal trackage. Only an abandoend depot at Union is left. The line from Gillespie to Carlinville is gone, since a trestgle in Goat Hollow was burned. That line had street runningb in Gillespie and Carlinville. Norfolk and Western Boiught out IT and some tackage rights agreements as from Decatur to De Long, are no longer in force. Only industrial trackage in Decatur and St. Louis areas remain.

George Carlisle
Urbana, IL
2/16/2013

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I believe tp&w runs part of this line believe Morton ok

austin
morton, IL
6/29/2013

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TP&W may have a small portion of the old Pennsylvania line, but mostly the line the TP&W bought is the old Santa Fe Pekin Branch, from Pekin Junction to Morton. This serves the Caterpillar plant and others in the area.

George Carlisle
Urbana, IL
10/12/2013

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This line never went to Heyworth the line we are talking about here was different than the IC line that continued nort to Clinton and Freeport. The IC line was the orginal IC main line built in 1854.

Cribbs
Decatur, IL
10/19/2013

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cat quit working with tp&w so did Libby's ok

austin
morton , IL
10/25/2013

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with IDOT replacing bridges around the state, theyre doing the bridges on 55 at Atlanta and with that, theyre not replacing the bridges that went over these now non-existent tracks, theyre filling in the holes............hurts 2 see that happen but also why waste money on steel and concrete for something that's not there anymore.....

emanuel
springfield, IL
8/2/2014

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IT had a line that ran from bloomington south to clinton and i believe at one time ran to decatur and that went through heyworth but the line in heyworth still in use was the old IC, owned by that evil CN.

Tim C
Mclean county, IL
5/13/2016

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I saw one of the last trains on this line from my grandparents backyard. I seem to remember an N&W Geep (GP35?) leading a short train of mostly little white tankcars. They were moving very slowly, rocking down the rickety track. It was the only train I ever saw on that line. I've read that it took more than a full day to make a trip from Decatur to Peoria because of the slow speed leading up to abandonment, not to mention frequent derailments due to the condition of the track.

On new US 51 outside of Maroa, there may still be a repaved section of roadway where the Vandalia line crossed. There was once a small bridge beside the road, but that has been removed and the land regraded. The tracks crossed just north of the highway bridge over the creek. 15 years ago it was easy to spot. Now you have to really look to see the ROW.

In the town of Maroa, the PRR used to cross old US 51 with a bridge. The ITC interurban ran down the middle of the street and went under the PRR at the bridge. There was quite a dip in the road to get under the bridge. The bridge was removed after abandonment, but for many years the concrete abutments remained. This area has since been regraded with a new road and less evidence of the ROW remains.

I remember hearing that the Illinois Terminal and subsequently the N&W were compelled to operate the line for 10 years from the 1978 purchase date. I can't swear that it's true, but if a rehabilitation grant was used in 1978 to put the PRR line back in working order, it's possible that it did have a service time stipulation. In practice, the line was a quick-fix to keep the IT in East Peoria and that need was nullified with the absorption into the Norfolk and Western in 1982. N&W already had a much better maintained route to East Peoria which is still in use. After that, it appears that the Vandalia route was serviced as-needed. The IC had abandoned their line between Freeport and Centralia in the mid-1980s, but kept the Decatur-Maroa section in service so the N&W could continue to access the Vandalia line.

Tyler Bundy
Decatur, IL
4/24/2017

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