Sunday, January 1, 2017

Report of 1920

In November 1919, the Illinois Public Utilities Commission ordered the Rock Island Southern to make several immediate improvements to the railroad.  On February 1, 1920, O. N. Posegate, an engineer working for the Commission, made an inspection to see what, if anything, had been done:

In compliance with your verbal instructions of recent date, I made a careful examination of all of the bridges, tracks, pole line, cars, etc. of the Rock Island Southern Railway Company with a view of determining what action, if any, had been taken by this Company toward complying with the provisions of the order of the Commission dated November 17, 1919.

This inspection was made Sunday, February 1, in company with the Walsh brothers, Superintendent Quackenbush, Track Supervisor Gannon and other officials, the trip over the road being made in a Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific coach attached to a Rock Island Southern engine.

I found that the only showing made was repairs to Bridge No. 13, which have been made in a satisfactory manner.

While the ground is frozen, there, of course, is much less danger either to bridges or track, but as soon as the alternate thawing and freezing comes in the Spring neither the bridges or the track will hold up properly.

On January 11, the Rock Island Southern Railway Company ceased operation entirely and did not resume traffic until January 26, at which time the company commenced operating a steam train between Rock Island and Aledo through some kind of a working arrangement with the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company.

I understand that the C.R.I.&P. Ry. Company were induced to allow their engine to operate over this line principally as an accommodation to themselves in order to get coal for their own road from the mines on the RIS, the latter company receiving no compensation whatever for the use of their right-of-way or rails, and any revenues accruing must go to the cost of operation.

The RIS Railway Company were preparing to go before the Federal Court on Monday, February 9, at Peoria, and ask for a receiver favorable to themselves, but I believe that it was Mr. Culver's intention to file a cross petition for receivership and request the court to name a receiver who would be favorable to the minority and to the public rather than to the Walsh brothers, so that the public might at least have a chance of getting some kind of satisfactory service.  Assistant Engineer Wood was there at the time and advised Mr. Culver relative to the Edwards River Power Company plant at Matherville, service there having been discontinued for some days back, and the plant being in a very dilapidated condition.

It appears that the Walsh Brothers want to discontinue the operation of electric cars on their line and also the furnishing of power to various industries on their line in the villages.

It appears also that they want now to operate nothing but steam cars over the line and possibly abandon the Alexis branch entirely.

Under the working arrangement with the CRI&P, the train, which has been put on between Rock Island and Aledo, runs into the 20th Street Station, Rock Island, thus abandoning the old 5th Street Station, temporarily at least.

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