A Midwest Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Toledo Peoria & Western Railroad

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Toledo Peoria & Western

The Toledo Peoria & Western Railroad (TP&W) is a Midwest regional short line which, during the 30's and 40's formed a bridge line between many railroads in Indiana and eastern Illinois and the western roads in western Illinois and Iowa. Traffic includes agricultural-related commodities, auto parts, coal, steel and chemicals. TPW had connections with many major railroads including the Pennsylvania, Big Four (NYC), Milwaukee Road, C&EI, Wabash, and Alton on the east end, and the Burlington, Rock Island, Wabash and Santa Fe on the west end, so It handled a high volume of bridge traffic avoiding the Chicago metropolitan area. It also served the highly industrialized Peoria area. During its early years the TP&W was a passenger carrier for the growing Midwest population. Later, during the heyday age of high speed passenger rail, its passenger service had diminished to a mixed train between Effner, Indiana and Peoria, and another from Peoria to Keokuk, Iowa. Starting in 1986 the TP&W has gone through several owners and much restructuring but remains a vital railroad to this day.

Jyly 19, 1980

History of the Toledo Peoria & Western Railroad
pre 1849 - There was a desire to link the Illinois River at Peoria to the Mississippi River at Warsaw, Illinois. Little track was laid.
1849 - The Illinois legislature granted a charter to the Peoria & Oquawka Railroad Co. (P&O) The plan was to construct a railroad from Peoria on the Illinois River to Oquawka, on the Mississippi, 45 miles north of Warsaw.
c 1849 - The people of Oquawka, refusing to aid the enterprise. The route plan was changed to target toward Burlington, Iowa, 10 miles south of Oquawka, but funds ran out building the road from Burlington to Kirkwood.
c 1850 - People of Peoria find an old charter and organize the Peoria & Mississippi Railroad Co. to build west from Peoria.
1852 - The P&O Eastern Extension was chartered to build eastward to the Indiana border setting the character of the TP&W east west line.
1851-55 - Faults in P&O charter corrected and efforts to start resume.
1855 - The Logansport, Peoria and Burlington Railroad was, built from Galesburg to East Burlington, Illinois.
1855 - The Chicago Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q) reaches Galesburg to meet with the P&O.
1856 - P&O building eastward from Peoria reaches El Paso, Ill.
1857 - P&O reaches Chenoa, IL and completes an Illinois River bridge at Peoria.
1857 - The LP&B reaches Gilman, Illinois.
1859 - P&O East reaches Indiana state line (later Effner) meeting the Logansport Peoria and Burlington.
1859 - First passenger train connects Peoria on the P&O East with Monticello, Indiana on the LP&B. The connection is made in the midst of local railroad "wars".
1861 - P&O East is renamed Logansport Peoria and Burlington (LP&B).
1862 - P&O acquired by the CB&Q.
1864 - In a foreclosure the LP&B took the new name of Toledo Peoria and Warsaw and built a yard and shops in Peoria. The railroad would never reach Toledo, OH.
1868 - TP&W reaches Warsaw on the Mississippi and jointly owned the Keokuk (IA) and Hamilton (IL) bridge giving it access to Keokuk.
1879 - During another reorgavization the Toledo Peoria and Western name first appeared.
1887 - The Toledo, Peoria & Western was finally incorporated in Illinois on March 28, and consolidated the operation of the Toledo, Peoria, and Warsaw Railway and the LP&B Railroad.
1887 - A TP&W passenger excursion train with 800 passengers was involved in the Great Chatsworth Train Wreck in Chatsworth, Illinois. 80 people died in the wreck.
1890 - Illinois River ridge at Peoria replaced.
1893 - Pennsylvania and CB&Q become joint owners of TP&W and TP&W is reduced to local traffic while Peoria industry is expanding.
1915 - Mississippee River bridge to Keokuk replaced.
1926 - At foreclosure Pennsy and Burlington relinquished ownership of TP&W. The new owners cut the interchange with the Burlington and built a new connection to the Santa Fe at Lomax, IL. Also, passenger service had been cut to mixed train service.
1928 - A new yard was opened at East Peoria. The old Peoria yard was sold to the Peoria and Pekin Union.
1928 - TP&W got out of the P&PU by-pass at Peoria by arranging trackage rights on CB&Q and Rock Island.
1929 - Mail handling discontinued.
1931-1950 - During the 30's and 40's the TP&W operated a single mixed passenger/freight train between Effner, Indiana and Peoria, and another between Peoria and Keokuk, Iowa.
1937 -The TP&W purchased six Class H-10 Northerns from Alco. These were the lightest 4-8-4 ever built for a North American railroad, weighing only 361,000 pounds. They had 69-inch drivers, 23.5 x 30 cylinders, a 250 psi boiler pressure and a tracktive effort of 51,000 pounds force.
1941 - TP&W on laaor strike.
1942-43 - TP&W is seized temporarily by the Federal Government.
1943-46 - TP&W still on labor strike.
1947 - President McNear gunned down and killed near his home.
post 1947 - Prosperous years for TP&W as east west bridge line and originator of much of Peoria industrial traffic. Many improvements were made to the TP&W infrastructure.
1951 - All mixed passenger service has been discontinued. Passengers would be seated in cabooses if desired.TP^W is basically freight only.
1950-60's - Most prosperous years for TP&W.
1955 - Pennsy and Santa Fe become joit owners of TP&W.
1960-70's - The merger years created optional routes for TP&W competitors and the Penn-Central merger in 1968 was a big blow.
1969 - In January, the ATSF & P/C gained joint control (half interests) of TP&W.
1970 - A barge tow took out the TP&W Illinois River bridge forcing the use of the P&PU for Peoria trackage.
1970 - The drailment of a CB&Q covered hopper and fire of liquid petroleum gas at Crescent City caused extensive damage to railroad, business and residential property. On the same day Penn-Central declared bankruptcy.
1970's - Passengers in caboose service is disciontinued.
1976 -The Conrail takeover of PC forced the TP&W to buy the Pennsy Effner-Logansport segment and gain Conrail trackage rights on a 6 mile portion in order to maintain a bridge connection.
p align="center"> TPW77map
Toledo Peoria & Western - 1977. Note the many connections to other roads.

1979 - The TP&W was acquired by the Santa Fe.
1980-81- The TP&W operates the Amtrak passenger train the "Prairie Marksman" between Chenoa and Peoria, 44 miles. This train ran from Chicago to Peoria starting out on the IC (former Alton). It lasted only until Octoer 1981.
1983 - . TP&W was merged into ATSF on December 3. The Santa Fe built an intermodal lift at Remington, IN but it failed due to Chicago competition.
1986 - The Santa Fe sold the La Harpe, Warsaw, Keokuk portion to short line Keokuk Junction.
1989 - The ATSF sold the TP&W main line, on February 3, to new investors, headed by Gordon Fuller, who reused the TP&W name; TP&W was an independent railroad again.
1995 - TP&W gains rights to Galesburg from the Burlington on the old P&O trackage.
1996 - TP&W main sold by Fuller interests to Delaware Otsego
1996 - Pioneer Railcorp buys Keokuk Jct. Railway, that operates a common carrier railroad line within the City of Keokuk, Iowa, from Keokuk to LaHarpe, Illinois, former TP^W, (Santa Fe) and a branch line from Hamilton to Warsaw, Illinois, a total of approximately 38 miles.
1998 - TP&W had revenues of approximately $13.4 million and moved over 59,000 freight carloads and intermodal units.
1999 - TP&W sold to RailAmerica (RA) on September 3. It now runs from East Peoria east to Logansport, and from East Peoria to Galesburg. It is still operated as TP&W.
2001 - On December 19 the KJRY purchased 12.1 miles of track from LaHarpe to Lomax, former TP&W and was assigned trackage rights from Lomax, Illinois to Ft. Madison, Iowa, 15.5 miles over the BNSF, allowing the KJRY to interchange traffic with the UP. The KJRY also interchanges with the BNSF at Keokuk.
2004-5 - KJR acquires the assets of the west end of the TP^W, which added 76 miles from LaHarpe to Peoria, Illinois.

Toledo Peoria & Western - 1931

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April various editions
TP&W: Illinois Comeback Kid, J. David Ingles, Classic Trains Magazine - Vol 12 issue 4
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks


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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, May 1, 2009, revised Nov. 3, 2011