Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rock Island Southern - Eastern Division

HISTORY OF THE EASTERN DIVISION

The initial segment of the Rock Island Southern was incorporated as the Western Illinois Traction Company in 1902, intending to build a 16-mile interurban line between Monmouth and Galesburg parallel to the CB&Q.  This company laid two miles of track in Monmouth and then failed.  It was reorganized by the Walsh Brothers as the Rock Island Southern Railroad in 1905 and resumed construction of the interurban line to Galesburg.  The powerhouse and carbarn were located at Cameron, about halfway between the terminal cities.  In Galesburg, the final 2½ miles of the route used tracks of the People's Traction Company (PT).  Service between Monmouth and Galesburg started on May 30, 1906.   Power was the usual 600V DC with simple suspended trolley wire.

Initial rolling stock consisted of three interurban combines of standard design, plus one box motor. Two ex-New York Elevated cars were added in 1908, although little information and no pictures of them are available.

 With this limited roster, regular service at first consisted of 19 round trips daily on hourly headway.
In the early years, cars coming into Monmouth from Galesburg paralleled the CB&Q to Eleventh St. and then turned north on Eleventh to Broadway, where the line turned west to Public Square.  The cars looped around one corner and then headed south to the ex-CB&Q depot, where they terminated on the north side of the building, while Northern Division cars terminated on the south side.

  The Cameron carbarn burned down on Aug. 6, 1918, reducing the roster to two cars and destroying the substation.  The company went into receivership on July 7, 1918, and was then reorganized as the Galesburg and Western Railroad on Nov. 26.  The name was changed to avoid confusion between the Rock Island Southern Railroad (the Eastern Division) and the Rock Island Southern Railway (the Northern Division.)  On Dec. 1st, 1918, the G&W was leased to the Rock Island Southern Railway.

By 1921 only 8 trains a day were operated, barely more than the 6 trains operated by the CB&Q on the same route.  About this time, the city tracks in Monmouth were abandoned, and the track was rerouted at Eleventh St. so the cars ran along the CB&Q all the way to the depot, and terminated on the south side of the depot.  By now the AC electrification of the Northern Division had been removed, so there was no conflict.  The local highway was paved in 1924 and the G&W ended passenger service soon thereafter.   

By 1925 only two daily freight runs remained and by 1931 this was reduced to one.  A succession of second-hand freight motors were used as motive power, and gradual deterioration of the tracks and bridges reduced service to one through train a week by 1949, plus local switching at the terminal cities.  By 1951 the only operational motive power was a Differential dump car from Kansas City, and service finally ended on March 29.


EASTERN DIVISION ROSTER


No.
Built
In svc
OOS
Type
Builder
Notes
PASSENGER EQUIPMENT
201
1906
1906
1918
Wood Combines
52'

St. Louis
Burned in Cameron fire 8/6/18
202
1934
Rebuilt to locomotive c. 1920;
not scrapped until 1951
203

Burned in Monmouth fire c. 1931
240
1904
?
?
City car – Monmouth?
St. Louis
Ex-Tri Cities #240, renumbered #2 (?)
130
1878
1908
?
Ex-New York Elevated cars
Wason

193
1878
?
Gilbert

FREIGHT EQUIPMENT
301
1907
1907

Box motor
St. Louis
Burned in Monmouth fire
800

1940
c. 1947
Locomotive

Acq. from Moline, rebuilt streetcar
2012
1920
1934
1940
Box motor
Kuhlman
Acq. from Eastern Michigan Rwy.;
not scrapped until 1951
0035

1947
1951
Dump car
Differential
Acq. from Kansas City




THE ST. LOUIS COMBINES


Car 201 in Monmouth

Car 201

Car 202 at Monmouth





Two-car train at Cameron






Car 203 at Monmouth, 1915


FREIGHT EQUIPMENT



Car 202 after rebuilding as a locomotive


Car 202


202 (SDM)


Locomotive 800 (not 202) at Monmouth in 1948 (Don Ross)


Locomotive 800 at Monmouth in 1949


Car 2012


Car 2012 in Monmouth in the late 30's (Dave Mewhinney)


At Monmouth, probably late 40's  (Don Ross)



Dump Motor 0035 in 1948

Dump Motor 0035 in 1948 (Don Ross)

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