Middle Grove to Peoria

The Elm Industrial Lead

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(Forwarded from the Peoria-Farmington Railroad)

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A lone "Distant" signal stands guard over the abandoned right-of-way. Photo by Howard E. Espravnik, December 2008.

This abandoned railway line was originally built by the Peoria-Farmington Railroad around 1882, and has since been under ownership of the Chicago and North Western and Union Pacific Railroads. It is also known as the Elm Industrial Lead.

In the summer of 2008, UP filed to abandon the section of the line between Middle Grove and Peoria, IL. The 24.7-mile segment is from mile post 461.5 near Middle Grove to mile post 486.2 at Molitor Junction in Fulton and Peoria Counties. As of December 2008 it had not yet been decided if the line will be rail banked and used as a trail, or if UP's abandonment request will be granted. Web postings said that some Hanna City residents did not want the line turned into a trail.

On September 30, 2008, Keokuck Junction Railway, a subsidiary of Peoria, IL-based Pioneer Railcorp withdrew its application to acquire and operate the line.

Thanks to Howard E. Espravnik for contributing information about this route.

These are some really excellent pictures! It's really sad to see so many old railroad lines ending up like this one, but at least it makes for some exciting adventures for us abandoned railroad enthusiasts.

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY
12/23/2008

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The rails are being removed [as of 4/3/2009]. Between maxwell road and camron lane there is nothing left but rotten ties.

scott
peoria
4/3/2009

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Rail workers are working on (removing?) these abandoned tracks behind my house right now. Thanks, Scott, for the update!

Sarah
Hanna City, IL
5/7/2009

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Would've loved to have seen this line in use, but I was too young! The old heads I used to work with on the UP had some colorful stories about this line!

Paul
Havana, IL
6/30/2009

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Union Pacific must still feel that rail service may be in the future for the first mile or two of this line. The rails look to be still intact from Creek road to the industries at the top of the hill near Maxwell road. The bridge that carries Airport road over the line between Creek & Maxwell roads is being expanded from 2 lane to 4 lane and I am unsure as to what impact that had. From what I can tell everything from Maxwell road west to at least Farmington is gone.

scott
peoria, IL
1/19/2010

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I wouldnt hold your breath as they tore out the line all the way from Peoria to Farmington on any revival. Now its just a mess of rails,wood & ties. I sent the pictures I took yesterday to the administrator of this site. I lived in this area my whole 28 years & though I do not remember trains on this line I will miss the rails being there.

I was hoping Keokuk junction would of been able to save this line but it's not meant to be.

Jan
Canton, IL
2/20/2010

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UPDATE 2/22/2010 They have statred removing the rails at Kickapoo creek road moving west. The equipment was setting near the crossing at Kickapoo creek road late this past thursday night and as I passed the same location this morning the rails were already gone.

scott
peoria, IL
2/22/2010

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I've never seen a train on this since the last train was probably in the 1970's before I was born in the Farmington area. My dad worked at the Midland coal mine in the Trivoli area & he said there was a train spur off of that route that went up to the mine.

So I know at some point in the 80's a part of this line was still in use as the mine closed around 1985. If thats the case the official last train from Peoria to Trivoli had to be in the mid 1980's.

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
2/26/2010

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From what I am told the last train was in the early 90s. It was just a single car of, if I remember right, LP gas and it was delivered somewhere around Farmington.

Hopefully the right of way will be preserved with trail use. If they build the Peoria to Macomb interstate, towns like Farmington and Canton could grow fast and again need railroad service. A trail would atleast keep the path for the tracks intact incase they are needed in the future and provide recreation in the meantime.

scott
peoria, IL
3/25/2010

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Thats true. If they do build that interstate here they may need rail service again. Theres suppose to be a mine built around Canton within the next few years & i have heard of atleast another intrest in these areas so you never know. Both would have an economic boost around here as would the interstate which would attract business these areas so desperatley need.

Still weird driving through the Farmington area & not crossing exempt tracks. The mine my dad worked at off the elm industrial lead closed in 1984 & the middle grove one in 1986 (I was recently of the exact years they closed.).

Jan Smith
Cuba, IL
4/29/2010

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now the other half can be added ok

austin
morton, IL
7/5/2013

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Pic #11 ...wasn't there a bar right across the street? I drank there ONLY to catch a train(pic) there...lol

Paul Gronemeier
Chicago/Peoria/Albuquerque, IL
4/7/2014

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