Rockford Area Railroads
Railroads were key to Rockford's rise as a thriving manufacturing and commercial center. With an area population of over 200,000 residents and a reputation for manufactured goods, Rockford had a critical need for railroads into the bust years of the 1970s. Eventually four railroads rose to prominence in Rockford, all of them Class 1 carriers: the Chicago and North Western; Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific (the Milwaukee Road); and Illinois Central. For nearly a century, these four roads--all of them esteemed Midwestern railroads--carried the bulk of freight and passengers arriving and departing Rockford, Davis Junction, and Loves Park by rail. Two other smaller railways, the Chicago, Milwaukee and Gary and the Rockford and Interurban, also played a part in Rockford's railroad history and are spotlighted in this volume.
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American Freedom Train Amtrak arrived in Rockford Belvidere Brian Landis building built Burlington C&NW Camp Grant CB&Q Chicago and North Chicago Union City CM&G CM&StP Corn crew crossing Davis Junction diesel downtown Rockford Dubuque eastbound Eleventh Street engine Freeport freight house G&CU Galena and Chicago Hawkeye IC's Iowa Jerry Pyfer KD Line Kenosha Kent Creek KR&RI Land Leave Rockford Loves Park main line meat train merged Midwest Hiawatha Mike Schafer Mike Schafer collection Milwaukee Road Milwaukee Road freight North Western Illinois passenger train Photograph by Jerry Photograph by Mike Photograph by T. V. Pioneer rail passenger service Railway Road's Rochelle Rock River Rock River bridge Rockford branch Rockford Public Rockford Station Rockford yard Rockford's railroads Rockfordians route Roy Peterson collection scene scheduled service to Rockford shown South Main Street steam locomotives streamlined switcher T. V. Maguire Tinker Swiss Cottage tracks U.S. railroads westbound Winnebago Street Bridge Zephyr