Freeport to Centralia
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I will start by saying i love trains,i lived in the Forreston,Leaf River,Il area most of my life.enjoyed the steam engines,then the diesels. saw many train wrecks. other kids laughed, cause i would drop every thing and run to see train go by.it was sad during the mid 80's to see the track south of Freeport, il disappear!! I do wish that Forreston could have kept the depot! thank you, wish i had pics for you,but was going through a tough divorce.
Part of this line is in operation. From somewhere north of Decatur, south to Assumption, the tracks remain. Just the other day, I saw a short train on the tracks near Decatur. The engines pulling the train were marked "Pioneer Lines."
There is also a section of this still operating from the cement plant in Oglesby across the "mile long bridge" over the Illinois River to what's left of IC's Lasalle yard where they interchange with the Iowa Interstate.
In Amboy, A Grand Trunk Western 0-8-0 is next to the original depot. A caboose is behind the engine. A freight house also sits nearby. It is now a museum. Also the Northern Illinois Interurban went through town. I think the powerhouse is still up.
Much of the old right of way is visible just to the west of US51, from Pana south to at least the small (and decrepit) small town of Shobonier
Does anyone know if one can cut trees for firewood on abandoned. R. R sites when there is no track or RR
Steve, I'd say no. Even though it may no longer be in use as a railway, that is still private property.
Several miles of track extend north of Clinton, IL, to the grain elevators at Wapella and Heyworth. The CN shoves grain trains to Heyworth to be loaded. In Clinton, the site of the large yard north of town became Thrall Car, and later Trinity. They were recently building large windmills at the site. The line extends south of the CN main (Gilman District) a short distance to serve local customers and connects to the remains of the Havana District, which is the cross section in the middle of the map. The IC Havana District ran from Champaign to White Heath and split, with one route to Decatur and the other to Havana, IL, on the Illinois River.
In Decatur, the line is abandoned north of Mound Road, used as a tail track for the north end of the CN Yard. For many years after the line was abandoned elsewhere, the section north of Decatur remained to connect with the (in order of succession) NS/N&W/ITC/CR/PC/PRR Vandalia line to Peoria. The PRR and successors had joint-trackage rights on the IC from Hervey City, IL, through Decatur to Maroa, IL, where it accessed it's own ROW. The IC line was in place to Maroa, IL, until the early 1990s, IIRC. The section north of Mound Road to the I-72 bridge lasted longer, and was used for car storage. The bridge over I-72 has been removed. Much of the ROW north of Decatur to Maroa has been reclaimed. There appear to be rails in the pavement at the Illiniwick Rd. crossing in Forsyth, IL. The joint section from Hervey City to Maroa featured Automatic Block Signals, and the few line poles still visible once held many wires. There were two sidings in Forsyth, a long passing siding north of Illiniwick, and a short one to the south. A short distance north of Forsyth, there was once a connecting track between the IC and Illinois Terminal main so the IT could access their customers after abandoning their old main line to Bloomington.
The line is in place through Decatur, IL, as the CN yard is part of this line. At one time, this now-abandoned route was THE main line! How fortunes change. A baggage room from the old IC station is still standing near the Wabash Depot, as well as the IC freighthouse on Eldorado St. The track is owned by CN to Decatur Jct., just south of Southside Drive. South of there, I think Pioneer may own the line to Elwin, and a CO-OP of elevators own the tracks south to Assumption, with Pioneer Railcorp's Decatur Junction as the operator. The track is right next to US 51 along most of the route to Assumption. South of Assumption, the line is abandoned in full, and the highway is some distance from the ROW.
A few miles of track exist north of Vandalia, IL. This, too, is operated by Pioneer as the Vandalia Railroad.
Interlocking signal towers still stand in Pana, Ramsey, and Vandalia. The burned shell of the Vandalia depot might still be standing, with an ICG transfer caboose (GM&O?) on display.