John Speller's Web Pages Chicago & Alton Railroad

John Speller's Web Pages - US Railroads
Chicago & Alton Railroad
The Alton & Sangamon Railroad, now part of the Amtrak route from Chicago to St. Louis, Dallas and San Antonio, was chartered on 27 February 1847 to build a railroad connecting Springfield, Illinois, with Alton, on the east bank of the Mississippi River 20 miles north of St. Louis. The railroad opened in 1851 and during the next ten years it was extended north through Bloomington to Joliet and was renamed the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad. The company reorganized in 1861 as the Chicago & Alton Railroad, and in 1864 leased the Chicago & Joliet Railroad giving it access to Chicago. In 1870 the C&A leased the Louisiana & Missouri River Railroad, which together with the Kansas City, St. Louis & Chicago Railroad (Mexico, Missouri - Kansas City, Missouri), leased in 1878, gave it a through route from Chicago to Kansas City. Various other lines were added over the years. The company went bankrupt after the Wall Street crash of 1929 but was purchased in foreclosure by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which reconstituted it as the Alton Railroad in 1931; however, following another bankruptcy and reorganization, the B&O sold it to the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad in 1947.
Map of the Chicago & Alton Railroad in 1885. Click here to enlarge
The Chicago & Alton Railroad's prototype "Pacific" No. 601, built in 1903, shown here with the local National Guard. Weighing in at 93 tons without tender, the locomotive was claimed to be the largest in the world at the time it was built. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Chicago & Alton Railroad 4-4-0 locomotive No. 501, built by Brooks in 1899 and one of the largest 4-4-0s ever built. It was probably a very rough running engine having a tractive effort way beyond what its chassis could support. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
The station at Dwight, Illinois, on the C&A's Chicago to St. Louis main line. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
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