History of Effingham County Railroads

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An Effingham County train wreck on a postcard!

"Here is a photo my Grandmother gave me. Her family is from the Effingham area. Daryl Brown, Enid, OK"  . He thinks it is around the 1915 time frame or there about.   The card came from a Rueben Taylor and his brother was Shannon Taylor.

    Can anyone identify this wreck?  I know that there was one near Dexter, Illinois somewhere near this time frame.  I also know there were Taylors living near Dexter at this time. I do not know if this is the wreck or not or if there is a connection to the Taylor family.  Judging from the rolling stock which is mostly wood it may be of an earlier vintage.

Thanks Daryl!


The Illinois Central Railroad (Chicago Branch)

The Illinois Central was the first railroad through Effingham County. It enters the county from the North near Green Creek and runs to Effingham then on to Watson, Mason and then Edgewood and from there divides into two branches heading South with the main branch heading to Centralia and the other called the Edgewood Cutoff heading to Blueford, Illinois.

The first regular passenger train, on schedule time passed over the road from Chicago to Cario on January 1, 1856 but freight trains had begun earlier. The little station at Mason, Illinois had its name changed from Mason to Clio Station after a train wreck. It was claimed that the engineer in the dim light of the cab could only make out the 'son at the end of the dispatch. He thought the track was out at Mason not Watson and wrecked the train. The Illinois Central then changed the name to Clio Station to prevent confusion. The good folks of Mason never accepted the change and the town is still called Mason. There are twenty-five miles of line in Effingham County.

The St. Louis, Vandalia and Terre Haute Railroad

On the 10th of February 1865 the charter was granted for building the St. Louis, Vandalia and Terre Haute Railroad. The road enters Effingham County from the East at Montrose and passes through Teutopolis, Effingham, Funkhouser, Keptown, Dexter, and exits the county at Altamont. The Railroad was leased for 999 years to the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad Company. The first regular passenger train ran the length of the line from Terre Haute to St. Louis on June 12, 1870. The line latter was bought by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which later became the Penn Central Railroad and then Conrail. The line is double tracked from Teutopolis to Funkhouser. The road has twenty-five and a half miles in Effingham county.

The Chicago & Paducah Railroad

The Chicago and Paducah Railroad entered Effingham County from the North and went to Shumway, Illinois. From there it split into two branches one going on to Altamont, Illinois and the other going to Effingham, Illinois.

The Altamont branch ran regular service from Streator to Altamont on June 29th, 1874. In February 1876 regular service was begun to Effingham. The Chicago & Paducah was bought by the Wabash Railroad on April 5th, 1880. The line was abandoned in 1936 from Effingham to Bement. The Altamont to Shumway branch had been abandoned earlier. The road had nineteen and three fourths miles in Effingham County.

The Springfield & South-Eastern

The Springfield and Southeastern was chartered in 1869 to run from Springfield to Shawneetown. The Line enters Effingham County at Beecher City then to Moccasin, Altamont, Gilmore, then through Edgewood. In 1875 the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad acquired the line. Still later it was acquired by the Baltimore & Ohio South-Western where it remained until it was sold to the Prairie Trail Railroad and then abandoned in 1985. There were twenty-two and a half miles in Effingham County.

The Springfield, Effingham & South-Eastern

The Springfield, Effingham & Southeastern was started 1876 and passed through several construction firms until it was completed in 1881. The Springfield, Effingham & Southeastern begins at Effingham and heads East and Southeast to the community of Dieterich. This railroad was a narrow gauge railroad in 1893. The road was completed and trains began to run between Effingham and Robinson in January 1881. Later the line was acquired by the Illinois & Indiana Southern and still later by the Illinois Central Railroad. There are 11 miles of track in Effingham County.

The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad

The Chicago and Eastern Illinois enters Effingham County from the North at Holland and then goes to Moccasin, Altamont where it turns West and leaves the county. It was sold to the Missouri Pacific Railroad and it in turn was sold to the Union Pacific Railroad.

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