The Alton Railroad
was the final name of a railroad
to Alton, Illinois
, St. Louis, Missouri
, and Kansas City, Missouri
. Its predecessor, the Chicago and Alton Railroad
, was purchased by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
in 1931 and was controlled until 1942 when the Alton was released to the courts. On May 31, 1947, the Alton Railroad was merged into the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad
Main lines included Chicago to St. Louis and a branch to Kansas City. The former is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad system, with Metra Heritage Corridor commuter rail service north of Joliet (there owned by the Canadian National Railway but used by UP). The latter is part of the Kansas City Southern Railway system.
The earliest ancestor to the Alton Railroad is the Alton and Sangamon Railroad, chartered February 27
, in Illinois
to connect the Mississippi River
town of Alton
to the state capital at Springfield
in Sangamon County
. The line was finished in 1852, and as the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad extended to Bloomington
in 1854 and Joliet
in 1855. Initially, trains ran over the completed Chicago and Rock Island Railroad
The Joliet and Chicago Railroad was chartered February 15, 1855, and opened in 1856, continuing north and northeast from Joliet to downtown Chicago. It was leased by the Chicago & Mississippi providing a continuous railroad from Alton to Chicago. In 1857 the C&M was reorganized as the St. Louis, Alton and Chicago Railroad, and another reorganization on October 10, 1862, produced the Chicago and Alton Railroad. The C&A chartered the Alton and St. Louis Railroad to extend the line to East St. Louis, opened in 1864 giving it a line from Chicago to East St. Louis.
Railroad family tree
Kansas City line
Springfield-Kansas City and Godfrey-Roodhouse
Chicago-St. Louis line
Early years of Alton
Passenger service notables
The first sleeping car
designed by George Pullman
was built in the C&A's Bloomington shops and introduced on September 1
, over the Chicago-East St. Louis mainline. Sleeping cars were operated over most routes between Chicago, Peoria, Bloomington, St. Louis and Kansas City in principal train consists. Successor Gulf, Mobile & Ohio operated Chicago-St. Louis sleeping car service until December 31
, the last railroad to do so between the two cities.
The first dining car, the Delmonico, named for the famous New York restaurant, built by Pullman in the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Aurora, Illinois, shops, first appeared in regular service over the C&A's Chicago-East St. Louis mainline. Two other Pullman diners built at the same time, the Tremont, and the Southern, were leased, providing dining car service on all three principal C&A Chicago-East St. Louis trains. Dining cars were a part of Chicago-St.Louis train consists until May 1, 1971, with the takeover of passenger service by Amtrak.
Notable passenger trains
Stations in Chicago
First entry of C&A passenger trains from Joliet into Chicago was over the Chicago & Rock Island to that railroad's depot (later La Salle Street Station
). Briefly, passenger trains were moved over to the Illinois Central depot. On December 28
, the leased J&C and Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway
came to an agreement where the J&C would use the PFW&C's terminal at Madison Street
, later becoming a tenant of Union Station, which opened in 1881. In 1924, with the completion of a new Union Station
between Adams and Jackson streets, C&A became a tenant and its successors used Union Station up until the takeover by Amtrak.
Presidents of the Alton Railroad have included: