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December 1985 - Page 22


f ascinating s tretch i n r ugged n orthwest I llinois ( rugged b y I llinois n orms , a nd n ot c oincidentally , t he focus f or o ur m odel) t he s ingle-track l ine i s a p lain-Jane G ranger r ailroad. T ypically f or a G ranger, t he r e gion s erved b y t he ICG I owa D ivision i s p ure f armland w ithout e qual ; t he s cenery s imple a nd t imeless . A n a rea w here o ne IC p assenger t rain w as c alled t he L and 0 ' C orn, a nd t he C ity o f N ew O rleans n othing m ore t han g ood m usic b y G uthrie , N elson o r D enver.

A b it o f h istory
C ontrary t o t he n ormal h istorical p attern o f r ailroad c onstruction i n n orthern I llinois, t he l ine w hich e ventually b ecame t he ICG I owa D ivision w as n ot b uilt f rom C hicago w estward. N or w as i t o riginally i ntended t o b e a n e ast-to-west r ailroad. T he o riginal c harter o f t he I llinois C entral , i ssued i n 1 851 , c alled f or a 7 05-mile l ine , e ntirely w ithin t he s tate o f I llinois. I t w as t o b e a Y -shaped affair , r eaching t he e xtremities o f t he s tate: C hicago a t t he n ortheast , D unleith ( later, E ast D ubuque ) a t t he n orthwest , a nd C airo a t t he f ar s outh. T he j unction o f t he Y w as , a ppropriately e nough , n amed C entralia . I n 1 856 , w hen t his c harter IC w as c ompleted , i t w as t he l ongest r ailroad i n t he w orld . T he f uture I owa D ivision s egment o f t his o riginal IC, f rom F reeport t o t he M ississippi R iver t own o f D unleith ,

Left: Recent trackwork is in e vidence as a n eastbound ICG freight train noses out o f the tunnel a t East Dubuque, III. The unused ICG/ BN station is b ehind the photographer a nd the ICG tracks cross the BN a t the west p ortal o f the tunnel. Below: A C hicago-bound train passes the a bandoned d epot a t Freeport, III., in May of 1982. The size of the structure reflects its importance in earlier years.

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