In a recent National Railway Historical Society Bulletin I read that at the time of the Chicago Rail Fair of 1948, Chicago had 22 Class 1 railroads, 9 switching/terminal roads; 6 industrial railroads and 3 suburban (interurban) roads.
|A lot of the information I had was from 1964 plus a few other items so I tried to reconstruct what 1948 must have included:|
|Notes: (a- on “Shortlines of Chicago Historical Society” web page
(b- per 1964 Janes
(c- per 1964 Official Guide
(d- per 1997 Moody’s
|There are several good sources for more information on the Rail Fair:
Yesteryear Depot has some great pictures.
For those of you not familiar with railroading in Chicago, most track inside the City limits and some near in suburbs are elevated. The bridges (viaducts) over the streets are about 12 feet in Height. Current federal standard calls for 16 feet. So the viaducts, which are almost 100 years old are being replaced and raised at the same time.
Some viaducts are not being done because they are poured concrete. At Mayfair, where Montrose Ave ducks under the line, the solution was to lower the street about 2 feet.
Railroads and Rail Yards of Chicago
|Chicago’s three major terminal roads are featured prominently at many of the junctions covered on this website.|
|Chicago rail news|
|South Chicago & Indiana Harbor Railway Company|
Railroads from the Encyclopedia of Chicago
|Encyclopedia of Chicago has a big section on the railroads of Chicago.
Although barely visible in the Middle West, by the 1840s the Railway Age had already dawned. Public support contributed to making Chicago a railroad hub. Backing took the form of franchises, subscriptions to railroad securities, and grants of real estate for rights-of-way and facilities.
Chicagoans saw their first iron horse in 1848. On October 10, 1848, a 2-4-0 type steam locomotive, appropriately named The Pioneer, began to pull cars laden with construction supplies and workers over the advancing line of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. Spearheaded by several Chicago businessmen , the company formed the core of that future corporate giant, the Chicago & North Western Railway System.
Although the Galena & Chicago Union won the distinction of being the first railroad to turn a wheel in Chicago and Cook County, it soon lost its monopoly status. The Illinois Central (IC), the first recipient of a federal land grant, rapidly took shape in the early 1850s.
In 1894, six major depots served Chicago. A process of replacement terminals continued throughout the era of heavy train travel. In 1924 the last major terminal to open was Union Station, located on Adams and Canal Streets.
New York City World’s Fair Railroad Building
No, they didn’t have a rail fair, but the 1939 World’s Fair had a Railroad Building
Union Pacific Big Boy at the Rail Fair
|Narrow Gauge Deadwood Central at Rail Fair
This card is from my collection which I found in St Joseph, Michigan.
|Milwaukee Railroad Magazine|
|The railroads that exhibited at the Rail Fair promoted it too! Here’s what the Milwaukee did.|
|Chicago Northwestern Railroad Magazine|
|The Chicago Northwestern Railroad exhibited at the Rail Fair. Here’s how they promoted it.|
|Missouri Pacific Magazine at the time of the Rail Fair|
RailwayStation.com has provided a 1942 Quiz Book on Railroads and Railroading.
Here’s some interesting questions and answers:
What is meant by Class One, Class Two and Class Three railroads
and switching and terminal companies?
For statistical purposes, railroads are divided into three classes, as follows: Class One railroads, each having operating revenues above $1,000,000 a year; Class Two railroads, each having operating revenues above $100,000 and not exceeding $1,000,000 a year; and Class Three railroads, each having operating revenues up to $100,000 a year. (Roman numerals-1, II and III-are usually used in designating them.) Switching and terminal companies include local switching railroads, industrial railroads, port railroads, stockyard railroads, bridge and ferry companies, union station companies and various other local railway companies not engaged in line-haul operations.
How many railway companies are in operation in the United States?
On January 1, 1941, there were 137 Class 1; 182 Class II; 215 Class III line-haul railroads and 208 switching and terminal companies in operation in the United States – a total of 742 operating companies in the four groups.
|Souvenir from the Continental Illinois Bank made for the Chicago Rail Fair|
The Chicago Tunnel Company
|World’s Fastest Locomotive at Rail Fair
This card is from my collection which I found in St Joseph, Michigan.
|Chessie Train at Rail Fair|
Historical Shortline Railroads of Chicagoland
Aurora Elgin & Fox River – Became part of RELIC (Fox Valley trolley museum)
Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal – Merged into CSX
Bridgeport & South Chicago – absorbed by Chicago Terminal Transfer
Burlington South Chicago Terminal – Purchased by Chicago & Western Indiana
Calumet Hammond & Southeastern – Absorbed by Chicago Short Line
Calumet Western – Purchased by Chicago Rail Link
Central Wisconsin – Operations taken over by Wisconsin & Calumet
Chicago & Calumet River – industrial line – abandoned
Chicago & Calumet Terminal – Merged into Chicago Terminal Transfer
Chicago & Illinois Eastern – Proposed
Chicago & Illinois Western – Merged into Illinois Central
Chicago & Indiana – Went out of business
Chicago & Waldheim – operated before 1880
Chicago & West Ridge – track taken over by C&NW
Chicago & Western – (1880-1885)
Chicago Attica & Southern – Abandoned
Chicago Aurora & Elgin electric line – Abandoned
Chicago Central & Pacific – Regional Line – Purchased by Illinois Central
Chicago Central – Purchased by Chicago Terminal Transfer
Chicago Freeport & St Paul – Proposed
Chicago Hammond & Western – Merged into Chicago Junction
Chicago Heights Terminal Transfer – Purchased by Missouri Pacific
Chicago Junction – Purchased by Chicago River & Indiana
Chicago Lake Geneva & Pacific – never built
Chicago Lake Shore & Eastern – absorbed by Elgin Joliet & Eastern
Chicago Madison & Northern – Merged into Illinois Central
Chicago Madison & Northern – Operations taken over by Wisconsin & Southern
Chicago Millington & Western (1870-1879) Narrow gauge (3 foot)
Chicago Missouri & Western – Regional Line – Bankrupt – sold to Southern Pacific and Gateway Western
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee – electric line – abandoned
Chicago Palatine & Wauconda – abandoned
Chicago Produce Terminal
Chicago Short Line – Purchased by South Chicago & Indiana Harbor
Chicago Terminal Transfer – Purchased by Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal
Chicago Terminal Co – Proposed
Chicago Tunnel – Narrow gauge (2 foot) – abandoned
Chicago Union Station – Purchased by Amtrak
Chicago West Pullman & Southern – Merged into Chicago Rail Link
Comrail International Industrial Line
East Chicago Belt – became Indiana Harbor Belt
Elgin Joliet & Western – Owned by Elgin Joliet & Eastern
Elkhorn & Walworth – Operations taken over by Wisconsin & Calumet
Erie Western – Operations taken over by Chicago & Indiana
Freeport & El Paso – Proposed – Outlying
Gateway Western – Regional Line – Purchased by Kansas City Southern
Hammond Belt Line – (1910-1929) abandoned
Hanover – Abandon – Outlying
I & M Rail Link – Regional Line – Purchased by Iowa Chicago & Eastern
Illinois & Rock River – Proposed – Outlying
Illinois Midland – abandoned
Illinois Northern – absorbed by AT&SF (BNSF)
Illinois Railnet – sold to Illinois Railways
Illinois Terminal – This was a proposed line that would have done the local switching on the lines of UP (ex-C&NW) and CPrail (ex-soo, ex-CMST&P) in Chicago. Not to be confused with the Illinois Terminal that was absorbed by the N&W
Joliet & Valparaiso – Proposed
Joliet Junction Operations discontinued 1997 – becoming bike trail
Joliet Union Depot
La Salle & Bureau County – Name changed to Chicago Rail Link
Lyons Belt Line
Midlothian & Blue Island – abandoned
Morris Terminal Rwy – Owned / absorbed by CRI&P
New Jersery Indiana & Illinois – Merged into Norfolk & Western – Outlying
North Shore & Western – electric line – abandoned
Palatine Lake Zurich & Wauconda – Reorganize as Chicago Palatine & Wauconda
Plymouth Short Line
Pullman – Purchased by Chicago Rock Island & Pacific
SPCSL Corporation – Paper Road – owned by Southern Pacific- Merged into Union Pacific
Union Stock Yards & Transit – Part of Chicago Junction
Wisconsin & Calumet – Purchased by Wisconsin & Southern
Wisconsin Chicago Link Wholley owned subsidary of Wisconsin Central RR
Wisconsin Central – Regional Line – Purchase by Canadian National
Attractions at the Rail Fair
There were lots of attractions to see and souvenirs to buy!
You could get a replica to the 1869 Golden Spike.
C&O Railroad exhibited “Train X” ( Robert Young’s dream) while Electro-Motive Division of General Motors displayed the “Train of Tomorrow”. New York Central displayed a 6000-class Niagara plus several modern cars.
Historical equipment included the Stourbridge Lion, the Dewitt Clinton, Locomotive 999.