James Brown 464 Pages hardcover
The Illinois Divison of the Santa Fe Railway provides an informative and lively account of the story of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in Illinois, from the charter of predecessor Road Chicago & Plainfield in 1859 through merger with Burlington Northern in 1995. Although the Illilnois Division ultimately stretched to Kansas and Oklahoma, the geographic scope of this book is confined to the Illinois Division as it existed for over half a century: from the bumping post at Dearborn Station to Fort Madison, Iowa. Chapters on the Pekin branch and the Toledo, Peoria & Western - which for a brief time in the 1980s became part of Santa Fe's lines in Illinois, are also included. Arthor James A. Brown's narrative places the Santa Fe in Illinois in its historical and geographic contexts. For the first time the full story of the route selection and construction of the airline to Chicago is told. The shuffling of passenger consists at Dearborn, transfer and local jobs out of Corwith and Joliet, the demise of the doodlebug and other passenger service, freight train operations and the shift of the Kansas City - Chicago mainline to a high speed intermodal corridor are all revealed in great detail. The book also contains insiders' accounts of the transformation of Willow Springs into one of the nation's largest intermodal facilities. Indeed, lengthy first-hand accounts of railways employees fill the book. These stories are the fruit of interviews with 30 former Santa Fe employees - conductors, engineers, roadmasters, station agents, and senior management - whom the author interviewed for this book. Stories of how those employees came to the railroad and their career progression are included in a solid oral history chapter, "Hiring Out." at the end of the book. The interviews, plus author Brown's meticulous research, provide informatoin on the Santa Fe that is simply unavailable elsewhere. The Illinois Division of the Santa Fe Railwy is also lavishly illustrated with hundred of photographs dating from the 1880s through the end of the 20th century.