Showing posts from February, 2019

Get Your Kicks On...Route 129!

Illinois Route 129 is hardly unique among State Routes in that it is a former alignment of US Route 66, specifically the 1940 realignment, but it is an interesting both for its time as The Mother Road, and a more modern case study in deteriorating infrastructure in this country, as is used to be much more robust than its current 4-mile alignment between I-55 and IL-113 in Braidwood. For those looking to traverse Route 66, however, you'll find many more roadside attractions on the adjacent Route 53, like the  Polk-a-Dot Drive In  in Braidwood, or the  Gemini Giant  in Wilmington. Former bridge over railroad tracks at Braceville on IL-129 (Formerly US-66). Image:  Library of Congress But today's blog is on IL-129. It's a product of the Interstate System, as it  gained its number in 1960  when US-66 was rerouted onto a new freeway slightly west of the 1940 realignment, in anticipation of what would become US-66's replacement, I-55, which is what it is today. IL-

Poor's Manual of Railroads of the United States

Before the days of the internet, the only way to get information on the railroad industry was through documents, photographs, maps and books on the railroad industry. One of the most comprehensive books on the industry came from Henry V. Poor, of what is now Standard & Poor's , or S&P. Poor began publishing a manual on railroads in 1868, which was geared toward investors at the time, and included information railroad companies and their capital, rolling stock, expenditures, and other financial information on any particular railroad in the United States. The Poor Manuals remained in annual publication until 1924. A 1909 Volume I own, in relatively bad shape, but as old and large as the book is, I'll take it! I discovered the Poor Manuals in my search for abandoned railroads , as they include a treasure trove of information on even the most obscure railroads. Many of the editions are digitized and available in eBook format for free on Google Books . Reprinted edit

The Forgotten Industrial Railways of Plainfield

Growing up in the next town over, I can safely say that Plainfield, IL has had (and continues to have) a much more interesting railroad history than Bolingbrook . Plainfield is the home of a Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway junction (now run by CN), and once had interurban railway service via the Aurora Plainfield and Joliet Railroad. I have discussed and photographed some history of each of these lines on my Facebook page, including the EJ&E caboose  on display off of IL-126. But today, we're going to talk about the most obscure railroads in Plainfield, the Material Services Railroad and Chicago Gravel Company, both of which helped create many of the lakes in the Plainfield area. The ice ages beginning 1.8 million years ago left many stone deposits in the land of northern Illinois. Quarrying is active even today along the DuPage and Des Plaines Rivers, and many spent quarries have been converted into Forest Preserve land. Such is the case with  Lake Renwick . Materi