Yates City to Dunfermline

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The abandoned line crosses another active railroad line, formerly the Toledo, Peoria & Western, in Canton, IL. Photo by Jan Smith, February 2010.

This abandoned railway shows up as a Chicago, Burlington & Quincy line as early as 1895, and runs from Yates City to Vermont, Illinois. The section between Yates City and Dunfermline (near St. David, IL) was abandoned around 1994 by BNSF.

Today, the section of line from Dunfermline/St.David to Vermont is still in use thanks in part to Duck Creek Power plant. From Canton north through Farmington to Yates City, the right-of-way is in bad shape. A small portion of the tracks and the connecting wye at Yates Center was used for car storage as late as 2001.

The map above also shows a couple of abandoned spurs/branches along the still-active portion of the line between Dunfermline and Vermont.

Thanks to Jan Smith for contributing information about this route.

I remember being 3 or 4 around 1983 my dad taking me for a drive in the station wagon driving between Locust & ash street in Canton that runs next to the rr tracks of this line. A train bnsf train was pressing north through town next to us. I was up against the window looking at it with wonder. The engineer waved at me. Dad said that made my day that day.

Then around 1994 when i was like 13 & riding my bike. I was near the south end off town & seen 2 bnsf engienes heading towards south of town (Canton). I was racing them to the edge of town on my bicycle. I didnt know it that it was the last or one of the last bnsf trains to pull through Canton. Thats about the year that portion of the line was put up for abandonment.

Tracks still remain but poor condition in Canton up to Yates city in spots. The line that still remains from dunfermline to vermont is still used to haul coal to duck creek power plant. I seen several trains last winter coming up through Lewistown towards the plant.

Jan Smith
Cuba, IL
4/23/2010

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My grandmother lived in Canton and I saw quite a few trains on this line in the 70's and early 80's. I remember at one time a wig wag was the grade crossing on Linn St. I used to ride my bike down there whenever I would here a train.

Quite a few of the grade crossings received upgraded signals in the middle 80's. Kind of funny since the tracks were only in service for less than 10 years after that. The last time I was in Canton which was in April 2009, most of the crossing signal boxes still had power to them. No way a train could even get to the crossings because the tracks are severed where the cross the KJRY tracks (the former TP&W tracks).

Chris
Springfield, IL
10/13/2010

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I have wondered for years why they would keep the signals active if their never going to use the line. Why bother?

I keep hoping one day they are going to reopen the lines but with little business along the line i wouldnt get hopes up to high. I know a few years ago Hitchhock scrap yard & this place near Brereton north of Canton had some intrest for Keokuk to get rights to the line but i think Keokuk has since withdrew it's application to gain trackage rights.

The track is in terrible shape all throughout Canton & they paved over a former crossing at the former IH plant to make way for Maple Street to pass through. Not Sure if any track has been removed from that area as i havent been to that part of Canton in a while but next time i go Ill drive by to check it out. I know the Daily Ledger reported paved over the former tracks but im not sure if they removed them or just paved over.

Who knows maybe if they ever build that Interstate 336 in the area it may attract business & the line may be resurrected. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Jan Smith
Cuba, IL
10/15/2010

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Went up to Farmington today, well through it, and the train tracks for this line were torn out & nolonger a crossing at rt 116 & the right of way up to yates city lookslike the tracks were torn out. Wonder when this happened? There goes any hope of the line getting reactivated. I wonder if they'll tear out the tracks from Norris to Canton?

Jan Smith
Cuba, IL
12/3/2011

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Lived in Lewistown (IL) from 1973 to 1985, and remember seeing BN trains south of Canton loaded with Red IH plows. My dad worked for IH and knew he was helping to build them, the ones I would see on flatbed rail cars pulling south out of canton. Every morning at around 8AM I would have to wait on my bike for the north bound BN train carrying coal to the duck creek power plant. That was 1984/1985. In the early 80s, you werevery likely to bewaiting on atrain by IH.

Jeremy Cole
Norris, IL
1/7/2012

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I heard a rumor thecityof Cantonistearingout the northern part of the former CB&q/bnsf line to make a walking trail. I have personally seen that they have removed the crossing signals and the tracks on Locust

Jan Smith
Cuba, IL
4/3/2012

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KJRY wanted to buy this line, but BNSF won't see it to them for some unknown reason. Also they wouldve been BN engines you saw in 1994 because BNSF didn't exist until September 22, 1995 and no BNSF engines were painted or built until sometime in 1996.

Wyatt
Elmwood, IL
5/26/2012

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Bnsf finally filed to abandon the line from farmington to Dunfermline. Rumor has it KJRY is still intrested & may file something but its too soon to tell since the flining was within the past week or so. http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/ba7f93537688b8e5852573210004b318/8531229b1d16c27285257ae9006a3879/$FILE/233623.pdf

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
1/11/2013

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In reply to Wyatt it could of been 1996 when I seen the train I just remember it being in the mid 90's & I was riding my bike. The engienes were heading south towards Dunfermline way out of Canton. Not sure where their destination was as I was only a kid. Sorry cant remember the exact year other than mid 90s.

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
1/11/2013

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Before the article link I seen above I already thought this line was already put up for abandonment.

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
1/11/2013

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I don't know why they're putting it up for abandonment. They still use the south part of Canton for car storage. I don't know who's going to walk to the Junction and back...I was hoping at least they would build a spur into Hitchcock's so they can deliver scrap metal, then there would be more trains line the line besides the coal train that comes through at least 3 times a week. Sometime in November I think, (I think that's what's in my notebook), they pulled in about 50 TTX flat cars in and placed them on the line. The should be taking them back soon, but it's a shame they're doing this.

Scott Shaw
St.David, IL
1/20/2013

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The diamond was removed on Feb. 17, 2000. It was found to have critical defects and was no longer worth investing money. It was removed and the BNSF was notified later that day. They were upset because they reserved this line as en emergency detour route. TPW agreed that if they needed to run a train, MOW forces would remove TPW rails and temporarily straight rail it for BNSF movement. To my knowledge, that request has never been made.

Zoshuwa
Peoria, IL
2/6/2013

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The last train to run through Canton was shortly before the diamond removal. The BNSF thought is would be a good idea to advise the TPW dispatcher that a train had departed Yates City bound for Lewistown. The TPW would then advise any trains in the area to watch the gate closely for cross traffic. Aside from this train, the BNSF ran several slow moving MOW machines across this line. This was done in order to keep the main line fluid.

I know for sure that BNSF patroled the track once a week through at least 2003. Anyone with a scanner could hear the track inspector copy a track warrant

Zoshuwa
Peoria, IL
2/6/2013

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Hitchcock has filed to purchase part of this line from chestnut street in Canton to Dunfermline. The last I heard bnsf asked for specifics on what they want to purchase & Hitcock filed for what I listed in the last sentence. Now it's the waiting game to see what happens.

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
4/16/2013

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Jan Smith, what are they planning to do there at Hitchcock then?

Scott Shaw
St. Davis, IL
6/7/2013

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I guess the scrap yard (Hitchcock) would ship out scrap metal,ect or receive. Not too sure on all they're plans other than they are trying to acquire a 5 mile section.

Jan Smith
Canton, IL
6/9/2013

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http://www.youtube.com/user/perfectpitch999 I record this line all the time.

Scott Shaw
St. David, IL
9/12/2013

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