Chicago and Alton Railroad

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Chicago and Alton Railroad Soundex Code R463

Wikipedia page about the Chicago and Alton Railroad

The Chicago & Alton Railroad (C&A) was organized in 1861.

In 1864 C&A leased the Joliet and Chicago Railroad (J&C) to gain access to Chicago. Timothy Blackstone, president of the J&C, became president of the C&A. In 1870 the C&A leased the Louisiana & Missouri River Railroad (Louisiana, Missouri, to the north bank of the Missouri River opposite Jefferson City. Missouri) and in 1878 it leased the Kansas City, St. Louis & Chicago Railroad (Mexico, Missouri-Kansas City Railroad), creating the shortest Chicago-Kansas City route. (The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway line, 20 miles shorter, was not opened until 1888.

The Alton had a long and colored history with many name changes along the way.

The initial charter was for the Alton and Sangamon Railroad issued on Saturday, February 27, 1847 for a line from the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois to the state capital at Springfield, Illinois. This line was finished in 1852.

The line extended to Bloomington, Illinois in 1854, as the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad, and to Joliet, Illinois in 1855, where it ran over the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad to Chicago the La Salle Street Station.

The Joliet and Chicago Railroad was chartered on Thursday, February 15, 1855 and opened in 1856. It was leased by the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad creating a continuous line from Alton to Chicago. Two more reorganizations formed the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad and then the Chicago and Alton Railroad by Friday, October 10, 1862. On Monday, December 28, 1863 the Alton and the Pittsburgh Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railway completed an agreement for the Alton to move from the Illinois Central Railroad depot, where they had been briefly, to the PFW&C depot on Madison Street, later to become the Union Station, where the Alton resided until it’s demise. (Amtrak does, however, use the old Alton line, now part of Union Pacific Railroad and Canadian National Railway for passenger service to St. Louis, Missouri).

In 1864 the Chicago and Alton Railroad chartered the Alton and St. Louis Railroad to complete its line to East St. Louis, Illinois.

The Kansas City line grew from the leasing, 1n 1870, of the Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad running from Louisiana to Springfield, Missouri, and the leasing, in 1878, of the Kansas City St. Louis and Chicago Railroad running from Mexico to Kansas City, Missouri.

So by 1878 all the essential main lines of the Chicago and Alton Railroad were established.

1906-1931 – Chicago and Alton Railroad controlled at various times by the Union Pacific Railroad, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad and Nickel Plate Railroad.

1931-1947 – Chicago and Alton Railroad – subsidiary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

1947-1972 – Chicago and Alton Railroad merged into Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad

1971 – Passenger service taken over by Amtrak

1972-1987 – Chicago and Alton Railroad merged into Illinois Central Gulf Railroad

1987 – Chicago and Alton Railroad Joliet-St. Louis line sold to Chicago Missouri and Western Railroad

1989 – Chicago Missouri and Western Railroad acquired by Union Pacific Railroad

1990 – St. Louis (& Springfield) to KC sold to Gateway Western Railroad

1998 – Canadian National Railway purchases Joliet-Chicago portion of old Alton. Passenger service operated by Metra

1997 – Kansas City Southern Railway obtains St. Louis-KC line from Gateway Western Railroad

Technological Advances by the Chicago and Alton Railroad

The Chicago and Alton Railroad was the first railroad to install a sleeping car designed by George Pullman and built in the C&A’s Bloomington, Illinois shops.

This went into service on the Chicago to East St. Louis, Illinois line on Thursday, September 1, 1859.

The Chicago and Alton Railroad was the first railroad to install a dining car, the Delmonico, in regular service. It, too, was built by George Pullman in the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s Aurora, Illinois shops. Two more dining cars, the Tremont and the Southern were also built and leased by the Chicago and Alton Railroad, providing dining car service on all of its Chicago to East St. Louis, Illinois trains.

In 1932 the Chicago and Alton Railroad was the first Chicago-St. Louis Railroad to install air conditioning on its passenger trains. The Chicago and Alton Railroad was the leading Railroad in Chicago to St. Louis service.