Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad
The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad linked Chicago to Evansville, Indiana, and served as a connecting line for passenger service on the "Dixie Route" from Chicago to the southeast and Florida. A separate line extended from Danville to St. Louis, and a third line from Findlay to Chaffee, MO. The C&EI was organized in 1877 as a consolidation of three earlier railroads. In 1902 the Frisco gained control of the C&EI; this association lasted only a decade before the C&EI regained its independence as a result of the 1913 financial collapse and receivership of the Frisco.
Missouri Pacific began to purchase C&EI stock in 1961 and eventually sought Interstate Commerce Commission permission to acquire control of the railroad. The merger was approved in 1967, although MP continued to operate the C&EI under its own name for several years thereafter. One of the stipulations of the merger was that MP would sell the Woodland Junction (Danville, IL) to Evansville line to the L&N, with joint ownership and operation of the line from Danville to Chicago. Other assets such as locomotives were also split between the MP and L&N. Units that were no sooner being renumbered for the MoPac roster found themselves going to the L&N system.
Acquisition of the C&EI was a major expansion for Missouri Pacific, giving Mopac direct access to Chicago from the West and Southwest. The C&EI also provided a direct line between the major Chicago and St. Louis terminals. MoPac beagan a rebuilding program on the C&EI almost as soon as it took control of the road in 1967. New shops, yard and terminal expansions, upgrading to heavier weld-rail, CTC installation, bridge rebuilding, and purchases for both new motive power and freight cars changed the appearance of the railroad. The C&EI, along with the Texas & Pacifc, were formally merged into the MoPac railroad on October 15, 1976. This merger completed MoPac's major goals of assembling all of its component railroads into one 12,000-mile rail system.
C&EI 3639 (MPHS Collection)
C&EI E7 #27 leads T&P(MP) Train 22 at Dallas, ca. June 1968. Photo by Murrel E. Hogue.
Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer
The Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer has been and remains today as the switching road in south suburban Chicago Heights. C&EI purchased an interest in the line in 1927, with C&EI and the Kilgallen family holding ownership. Ownership has now passed to Union Pacific, although the CHTT reporting marks are still being used.
The "Terminal" was an interesting operation that from overhead looked just like a giant model railroad. It made a complete oval. You could actually start from point A and head west and return to point A coming back in from the east. There were and still are numerous industries along the line including the still very active Ford Motor Company Chicago Heights Stamping Plant.
There was a two stall roundhouse that was active and in use until the early 80's. A fuel track was also located there and a Machinist was stationed there five afternoons per week until 1981 when the job was abolished and he transferred to Yard Center Diesel.
The CHTT which was also referred to as the "Hack Line." (thanks to 'Tuch' Santucci)