This railway line was completed in 1888 as part of the Minnesota & Northwestern Railroad, which was soon renamed the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railroad, subsequently becoming the Chicago Great Western in 1892. The CGW struggled at times, but survived until 1968, when it was merged with the Chicago & North Western, who abandoned this line soon after the merger. This line constitutes a majority of the CGW mainline within the state of Illinois.
The most recent abandonment of this line was in 2011, a short spur known as the Saint Charles Industrial Lead, in Saint Charles, by the Union Pacific.
See also the abandoned Ingalton-Forest Park portion of this former CGW mainline.