Alton & Southern

Alton-logo  as logo


The Alton & Southern Railroad was charted June 28, 1910 to operate a switching and terminal line in the East St. Louis area.  All capital stock was owned by the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa).  The 1914 Poor's Manual reports this line as having 0.91 miles of track, two locomotives, 1 boxcar, 2 flatcars and 8 coal cars.  Most officers were also officials of Alcoa, located in the company headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.  The line was originally formed when Alcoa became dissatisfied with switching service provided by Southern Railway and decided to build their own line to provide a second source of raw materials and coal.

Alton & Southern operations expanded from this small beginning, eventually growing to 100 miles of track.  The company advertised itself as "the Speed Belt" providing expedited service between connecting carriers as an alternative to the Terminal Railroad of St. Louis.  In the 1940s, Alton & Southern proclaimed itself as "the biggest little railroad in America," after the A&S had become the dominant carrier of a group of five railroads owned by Alcoa.  Three of the other four railroads (Bauxite & Northern, Point Comfort & Northern, and Rockdale, Sandow & Southern) also connected with Missouri Pacific or MP subsidiaries.




Alton & Southern 0-8-0 No. 12 was purchased from Alco in 1926. The locomotive was preserved and is now located at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation.



Alton & Southern advertisement from August 1955 Official Guide of the Railways


Missouri Pacific and Chicago & North Western purchased the Alton & Southern on May 9, 1968.  Locomotive paint schemes were redesigned as a combination of the two railroads, utilizing yellow hoods, blue frames and cabs and a new Alton & Southern herald which was a hybrid including elements of each of the parent road's heralds.  From a start handling 12,600 cars in 1913, the railroad grew to handle 550,000 cars in 2010 and continues to operate under Union Pacific.