Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rail travel from Bloomington IN to Monida Pass in Idaho/Montana in 1880

From: "Stephens, Larry V"

I'm working on a book that includes rail travel from Bloomington, Indiana to Monida Pass in Idaho/Montana in 1880.

From what I've found so far there was track from the Mississippi River west to Utah and the then Utah & Northern ran up to the pass where it stopped (in 1880). I believe it was the U.P. that it connected with (I found new material today I've not had a chance to review).

I've also found material that tells me there was track from Chicago west that would link with the U.P. Was this the Illinois Central? Were cars switched between trains (i.e., you were not forced to unload cargo and reload it on another line's cars, were you?)?

What I can't find (so far) is track from Bloomington to link all this up. I believe the IC and perhaps the Monon went through Bloomington at that time. Can you point me to some information about this?

Also, if it's not asking too much:

How long would it take you to ride a train from Blomington to Monida Pass in 1880? 4-5 days?

How many loaded cars could an engine pull then? Did they ever link engines for more power?

—Larry V. Stephens


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I'll address a few of your questions, and leave it to others to address the rest.

The Utah Northern became a Union Pacific subsidiary about 1878, so it was related to the Union Pacific at the time. However, it was also narrow gauge, while the Union Pacific and other lines in your story were standard gauge. This would require a change of cars for both freight and passengers in Ogden, Utah.

In 1880 there were several railroads that connected Chicago with the Union Pacific at Council Bluffs/Omaha. These included the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago & Northwestern, the Chicago Burlington & Quincy (and associated railroads), and the Chicago Milwaukee & St/ Paul (although this last was a less direct line). The Illinois Central did not connect with the Union Pacific.

Passengers would change cars to Union Pacific cars at Council Bluffs. Freight would go through in the same car, I think. There is an excellent account of Robert Louis Stevenson traveling from New York to San Francisco by train in 1879 in the Amateur Emigrant. It includes traveling by regular train between Chicago and Council Bluffs, and then changing to an Emigrant Train on the Union Pacific.

As to the Bloomington connection to Chicago, I really don't know which lines made that connecton, although I think some did.

—Kyle Wyatt

9/07/2006 5:41 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The best source I have on the CI&L (Monon) is the book by Gary W. and Stephen F. Dolzall called "Monon" and subtitled "The Hoosier Line." It was published by Interurban Press in 1987. In chapter 2 (Indiana's own railroad, origins of the Hoosier line, begins page 28 in my copy) the authors trace the step by step creation, expansion, bankruptcies and mergers that led to the line through Bloomington, IN to Chicago, IL. Much too detailed for an e-mail so I will let you read it on your own. I think this is a pretty reliable history and will give you the material you want. The ISBN is 0-916374-78-5. I don't think you will have much trouble finding a copy.

If you just want a quick answer the New Albany & Salem reached an agreement for trains into Chicago with the Michigan Central in 1851. It reached Bloomington (from the south) in 1853.

—Dick Izen

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

9/08/2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Thornton Waite"

The Utah & Northern reached Monida, at the Idaho-Montana state line from Utah in 1880, and reached Butte the following year. It was narrow gauge line, and the trucks were changed from under the cars. When the Oregon Short Line (part of the UP) reached Pocatello in 1882, the car trucks were changed out there using a Ramsey Transfer. The line was changed to standard gauge in 1887 in one day.

I am not sure how long the entire trip would take, but a timetable from 1882, when the line was still narrow gauge, shows that the train leaving Pocatello at 5:45 AM reached Monida at 1:35PM (128 miles) and Butte (260 miles) at 10:30 PM.

I'd have to research the times for the OSL from Granger to Pocatello.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

9/08/2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Russ Davies

Also recommend George Hilton's Monon Route, Howell-North Books. As always with Prof. Hilton, well researched.

—Russ Davies

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

9/10/2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Mitsutomo Mizushima"
Subject: Question from Tokyo

A librarian at New York Public Library's chat service, told me your email address. May I ask you?

Could you please tell me how long it took from the Central Station to Riverdale, Cook County Illinois by the train of the Illinois Central Railroad as of 1886? I learned that the Central Station was located at Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue, Chicago. I suppose that the distance between the Central Station and Riverdale was about 17 miles. I learned that it takes more than 30 minutes now.

I am a Japanese journalist in Tokyo, writing a Japanese book on the history of Universal, an American film company. Founder of Universal, Mr. Carl Laemmle would go from Chicago to Riverdale to sell newspapers as a sideline every Sunday when he was young. I would like to describe that. ...

—Mitsutomo Mizushima

7/29/2012 2:06 PM  

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