Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rock Island Southern - Maps

We have several types of maps of the Rock Island Southern system.  The best starting place is an interactive Google maps overlay developed by Frank, covering the entire system, embedded below or at this link.

We also have a selection of the historic USGS topographic maps of the area which clearly show the extent of the system during the twenties, plus some hand-drawn maps by Mr. Scalzo.


Monmouth was the center of the RIS system.  As mentioned, the two divisions met at the depot in downtown Monmouth.  Here passengers could change trains, and freight cars were transferred.  The small city system was operated as part of the Eastern Division.

First, we have a map of the entire city, with hand-drawn lines presumably by Mr. Scalzo.

The Northern Division enters at the top of the page, and proceeds south to downtown, where it curves east to the RIS depot, located on the west side of Main, south of Fourth Ave.   The Eastern Division main line continues east and then curves to parallel the CB&Q tracks all the way to Galesburg.  The city line heads north from the depot, curves around the Public Square, and then heads east on Broadway to Eleventh St. (just off this map to the right).  There it turned south and connected to the main line.

Two partial copies of early valuation maps give greater detail on the trackage downtown.


We start with the 1912 Milan quadrangle map.  The Rock Island Southern used CRI&P tracks south from downtown Rock Island, at the top of the map, to the junction at Milan.  The Sherrard line then heads west from Milan, and curves south through Taylor Ridge and Reynolds.  It then turns east towards Preemption.  A mile and a half west of Preemption is Monmouth Junction (aka Southern Junction) where the Rock Island Southern main line started.  It heads south in a fairly straight line to the bottom of the map, through Matherville.  The powerhouse for the electrification was located just south of Matherville, near the Edwards River.

On the 1923 Alexis map, the RIS line heads straight south down the middle of the map, through Gilchrist, Burgess, Alexis Junction, and Woodvale.   At Gilchrist the Aledo branch headed straight west to Aledo.  The Alexis branch went straight east from Alexis Junction to Alexis, but doesn't appear on the map because it had already been abandoned and removed in 1920.

And finally, on the 1923 Monmouth map the line heads south through the middle of the map to Monmouth.  You can actually make out the Monmouth carbarn, located on the west side of the main just north of the city.


There were major branches to Aledo and Alexis.  The line to Aledo was the last part of the system to survive.  In both of these towns, not only is the RIS long gone, but so are the steam roads.


The line to Alexis was the first part of the system to be abandoned.


Referring to the Monmouth map above, the Eastern Division starts in downtown Monmouth and parallels the CB&Q mainline east towards Cameron.  The line is labeled Galesburg and Western.

Below is the 1927 Galesburg map.  The Galesburg and Western enters the map from the west and follows the CB&Q, bending to the north, until it meets the PT line to Abingdon along route 41.

Operations in Galesburg have already been covered in a previous post about Galesburg streetcars.

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