Why Didn't Illinois Central Build Further Into Minnesota?

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Why Didn't Illinois Central Build Further Into Minnesota?

Post by Minneapolitan » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:34 pm

Hey all ~

When I was a kid, I remember my uncle saying something about Illinois Central being denied by the state of Minnesota to build further north than Albert Lea, MN. Though my memory is hazy, the reason had to do with an event during the Civil War in which the IC was given the job of transporting a group of Union soldiers from Minnesota further to the fighting areas. IC, having large interests in the American South, intentionally left the cars of soldiers on a siding in the middle of nowhere (and if this is true, that location is also unknown). Later when IC was expanding westerly through a largely clean slate of empty prairie, they intended to build into Minnesota but were denied by the state because of this incident.

Does anyone have insight on this? Or was there another reason Illinois Central never built past Albert Lea? I'm aware that IC in the earlier years had a close relationship with the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway and likely used them as its arm into the Twin Cities, transferring freight at Albert Lea. Also at Albert Lea was the Rock Island who, I believe, used the M&StL to reach the Twin Cities before building their own line north to St. Paul. I'm also aware that the IC line from Cherokee, Iowa to Sioux Falls, South Dakota skimmed the Iowa-Minnesota border and was located on the north side for a few miles. I assume this is largely irrelevant.

What do you guys know about this?

BEFORE POSTING: I asked this question in the CN/IC/GTW section of this Forum. DON'T POST HERE. Rather, follow THIS LINK to respond to the discussion. I've added this historic discussion here in hopes of attracting those who are more historically inclined.
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.


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Re: Why Didn't Illinois Central Build Further Into Minnesota

Post by edbear » Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:45 pm

I don't have it with me, but find a copy of MAIN LINE OF MID-AMERICA by Carlton Corliss. This was the centennial history of the IC, 1851-1951 and it had the co operation of the IC management. It is quite well detailed. IC was Ameica's first land grant railroad and its original route was Freeport to Cairo; Chicago was on a branch. My boss at the Boston & Maine had an IC medallion centennial paperweight, but I guess it went with him when he retired many years ago.

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