Station Carbondale

Station Carbondale The Station Carbondale Museum is located in the historic Illinois Central passenger station. The station is listed on the National Registry Of Historic Places, and the museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the railroads of Carbondale, Illinois.

Operating as usual

05/15/2018
Celebrating With The 2500

The whistle of an Illinois Central steam locomotive was heard in Centralia, Illinois, last week when an air compressor was hooked up to 4-8-2 #2500 in Fairview Park. This video tells the story.

Illinois Central 4-8-2 #2500 is preserved at Centralia, Illinois, and is one of only three large I.C. locomotives to survive today. James Adams of Centralia ...

This portion of one of the 1938 Illinois aerial photos shows the area of the locomotive servicing facility and the junct...
04/17/2018

This portion of one of the 1938 Illinois aerial photos shows the area of the locomotive servicing facility and the junction of the various rail lines.

Visible are the roundhouse, turntable and the original wooden coal towers that stood until they were replaced in 1949.

Note the area around the wye to the right of U.S.51 and the mainline. The original route of the St. Louis Coal Railroad can be seen between the wye tracks and heading straight to the coal towers. The Coal Railroad had leased the Carbondale & Shawneetown Railroad, and built its new line straight across the Illinois Central when it constructed its route to Harrison. Exactly when this crossing was removed is unclear, but was gone by the time the engine terminal was renovated in 1918.

Toward the top of the image are the buildings of the Carbondale car repair department, which stood into the 1990s.

One other note on the west wye: this image shows the original alignment of the south leg. The original south leg had a much gentler curve than the south leg that exists today. This was the route used by trains between Carbondale and St. Louis. The current south leg of the wye was constructed when U.S. 51 was widened in 1985, and is used almost exclusively for turning Amtrak trains.

Here's an unusual historic image.In 1938, the state of Illinois was taking aerial images of the entire state.  This phot...
04/17/2018

Here's an unusual historic image.

In 1938, the state of Illinois was taking aerial images of the entire state. This photo is a composite of three of those photos, showing the north half of town and the area with the various railroad lines spreading out north of town.

The mainline and U.S. 51 can be seen side by side through the center of the image.

To the left of the mainline in the center of the image is the large railroad tie treating plant that was a fixture of Carbondale for nearly 90 years. At the northwestern edge of the tie plant yard is the wye leading to the lines to Marion and Johnston City.

Running along the south edge of the plant and continuing on a wavy path to the left edge of the image is the abandoned right of way of the original line to Marion, constructed in 1871 and bypassed around 1914.

On the west side of 51 is the wye leading to the line which split to St. Louis and Thebes across the Big Muddy River from Murphysboro. By 1880 there were two parallel lines heading west from the wye, and at the right of the image the abandoned track to Harrison Junction is visible curving northwest at New Era Road.

Essentially, this is the Google Earth view decades before the internet was even dreamed of!

There has long been concern with people walking along the railroad tracks.  Today there are media campaigns and programs...
04/14/2018

There has long been concern with people walking along the railroad tracks. Today there are media campaigns and programs such as Operation Lifesaver working to combat the problem.

Back before the dawn of the 20th Century, the issue was a concern too. This article appeared in the Carbondale Free Press on May 27, 1899.

For more information about Operation Lifesaver, check out their website at https://oli.org.

42 years ago tomorrow...
04/02/2018

42 years ago tomorrow...

In the headlines 128 years ago today.  Not listed is whether the train in question was one operated via Carbondale or Du...
03/28/2018

In the headlines 128 years ago today. Not listed is whether the train in question was one operated via Carbondale or DuQuoin.

In recent years, there have been some highly publicized incidents of trains encountering misaligned switches.  This is n...
03/27/2018

In recent years, there have been some highly publicized incidents of trains encountering misaligned switches. This is nothing new, as this article relates in the tale of a Cairo Short Line train collision on February 13, 1882.

The Cairo Short Line was the nickname for the St. Louis, Alton & Terre Haute Railroad, which operated the line from East St. Louis to Pinckneyville; Pinckneyville to Carbondale, Marion and Paducah; and Pinckneyville to DuQuoin, Benton and Eldorado. The lines were operated as the Cairo Short Line's Belleville & Southern Illinois Division, and became part of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1895.

Good morning from Station Carbondale!In this post, we look back at a not-so-good morning for the Illinois Central Gulf, ...
03/26/2018

Good morning from Station Carbondale!

In this post, we look back at a not-so-good morning for the Illinois Central Gulf, when on May 28, 1984, northbound piggyback train #52 rear-ended New Orleans to Chicago freight NC-6 just north of Boskydell Road on Carbondale's south side.

While the collision made a mess and shut down the railroad for ten hours, the crews involved escaped serious injury.

We now have the online Gift Shop open at Station Carbondale.We have both a booklet on the history of Carbondale and the ...
03/16/2018
The Gift Shop

We now have the online Gift Shop open at Station Carbondale.

We have both a booklet on the history of Carbondale and the Illinois Central, along with the DVD documentary "Carbondale, The Railroad And The Old Depot" available for purchase.

Can't make it to the museum but interested in either of these? No problem! Just click on the order form and order by mail!

Stop by the museum and pick up a copy for a $20.00 donation to the museum, or click on the order form below to order a copy by mail.

A new page has been added to the Station Carbondale website, bringing together a number of videos showing the Illinois C...
03/14/2018
The Video Room

A new page has been added to the Station Carbondale website, bringing together a number of videos showing the Illinois Central from 1938 to 1991.

Also included is a video custom produced for the museum, visiting a number of sites in the region where the Illinois Central used to run. The video is called "Ghost Hunting The Railroads Of Carbondale."

Enjoy!

This video was produced for the Station Carbondale Museum in conjunction with the DVD “Carbondale, The Railroad And The Old Depot.” Come along as we visit many of the locations mentioned in that DVD as they are today.

A beautiful March morning down at the depot!
03/13/2018

A beautiful March morning down at the depot!

We have added a new photo gallery to the Station Carbondale website.  This one covers the "new" Illinois Central of the ...
03/12/2018
Gallery_3_1990s

We have added a new photo gallery to the Station Carbondale website. This one covers the "new" Illinois Central of the 1990s.

GP11 #8741 leads a southbound work train toward Carbondale just south of the Big Muddy River on a snowy December 28, 1988

We have been conducting an overhaul of the Station Carbondale website.  This is the latest page to be worked on, coverin...
03/02/2018
A History Of Carbondale’s Railroads

We have been conducting an overhaul of the Station Carbondale website. This is the latest page to be worked on, covering the history of the railroad in Carbondale from 1852 to the present day.

The city of Carbondale was founded on a site chosen because of the Illinois Central Railroad, which was being constructed through southern Illinois. The location was chosen because it was located roughly halfway between Makanda and DeSoto, both of which had already been planned as the sites of stati...

Carbondale historically is closely linked with the Illinois Central Railroad.  Rightly so.  Almost forgotten, however, i...
03/01/2018

Carbondale historically is closely linked with the Illinois Central Railroad. Rightly so. Almost forgotten, however, is the electric interurban railroad that once called here.

The Murphysboro & Southern Illinois Railroad was an outgrowth of Murphysboro's streetcar line. The line opened between Carbondale and Murphysboro on September first, 1917, to great fanfare.

Timing and fate were not with it as three years after it opened, the state built Highway 13 between the two cities. Compounding the loss of ridership the new highway caused was damage to the property in Murphysboro by the Tri-State Tornado in 1925. A decade after the line opened it was gone, torn up and the steel sold for scrap in 1927.

Today, a few signs remain of the line; if you know where to look.

We are doing major construction on the Station Carbondale website.  Keep checking in over the next week or so as new thi...
02/28/2018
Station Carbondale —

We are doing major construction on the Station Carbondale website. Keep checking in over the next week or so as new things are added!

http://stationcarbondale.org/

Station Carbondale was established in 1995 for the purpose of restoring the 1903 Illinois Central Railroad passenger station in Carbondale, Illinois, and to establish a railroad museum preserving the history of the railroads of Carbondale. Station Carbondale began as the Station Carbondale Restorati...

The St. Louis Division office building was first constructed in Carbondale in 1899.  It would be expanded twice over its...
02/26/2018

The St. Louis Division office building was first constructed in Carbondale in 1899. It would be expanded twice over its first three decades, as operations over hundreds of miles of railroad were controlled within its walls.

August 31st, 1982, was the last day it served as the division headquarters. The next day, the St Louis Division was abolished and most of its territory became part of the Midwest Division, which was headquartered in Champaign.

The first two photos show Illinois Central Gulf trains passing the building in the last years of its existence.

Then, on January 10, 1986, an arsonist set fire to the upper floor and attic of the building. The fire spread quickly and while nobody was injured, all the fire department could do was to make sure the fire spread to no other nearby buildings. The third shot shows the building ablaze, while the last shot shows the building two days after the fire.

The remains of the building were demolished soon after the fire, and many priceless historical records went up in smoke.

02/21/2018

In mid-December work was completed on a documentary for the museum, telling the history of railroading in Carbondale. The documentary covers the period from the beginning of the Illinois Central through the end of the 20th Century.

In addition to the I.C., railroads that would become part of the Illinois Central such as the Grand Tower & Carbondale, Carbondale & Shawneetown, and Cairo Short Line are covered. The electric line that once ran between Carbondale and Murphysboro also is featured.

The program features photos, maps and artwork going back to the nineteenth century, as well a movie film and video from the thirties through the nineties.

The program runs 47 minutes.

If you happen to be passing through Carbondale, stop by the museum and check out the renovations. And for a $20.00 donation to the museum, you can pick up a copy of "Carbondale, The Railroad And The Old Depot."

We appreciate your support in preserving the history of the railroads of Carbondale and the Illinois Central Railroad!

The railroad was big new in Carbondale at the turn of the last century.  This article appeared in the Daily Free Press o...
02/20/2018

The railroad was big new in Carbondale at the turn of the last century. This article appeared in the Daily Free Press on January 21, 1899.

This little bit appeared in the Carbondale Daily Free Press on April first, 1899.  It reports on the progress erecting t...
02/20/2018

This little bit appeared in the Carbondale Daily Free Press on April first, 1899. It reports on the progress erecting the St. Louis Division office building in Carbondale.

Work continues updating the displays in the museum!  Watch this space and we'll announce when the renovations are comple...
02/13/2018

Work continues updating the displays in the museum! Watch this space and we'll announce when the renovations are completed.

We usually think of Carbondale as the location where several branches departed the mainline before the abandonments of t...
02/06/2018

We usually think of Carbondale as the location where several branches departed the mainline before the abandonments of the seventies and eighties. Before 1895 however, Carbondale was the junction of three different railroad companies.

In 1907, the Jackson County Atlas still showed the layout of the junction as it existed in the days when the Illinois Central,Chicago & Texas, and Cairo Short Line crossed just north of town.

This graphic is modified from a scan of the Atlas provided by the Jackson County Historical Society. It shows the junction as it was before the Illinois Central acquired the other two companies.

Today, the only piece of the junction that remains is the north leg of the wye used to turn Amtrak trains.

We built a light to illuminate an old switch lamp on Friday and installed it this morning.  It sits alongside the headli...
02/05/2018

We built a light to illuminate an old switch lamp on Friday and installed it this morning. It sits alongside the headlight of Illinois Central Mikado #1740.

This morning we fixed the wiring in the headlight of Illinois Central Mikado type steam locomotive (2-8-2 wheel arrangem...
02/02/2018

This morning we fixed the wiring in the headlight of Illinois Central Mikado type steam locomotive (2-8-2 wheel arrangement) #1740. Standard light bulbs illuminate the number boards on the sides, while a 7.5 watt bulb lights up the headlight without being overpowering.

The accompanying photo shows locomotive #1704, a sister engine of #1740.

We were hard at work hanging new displays at the museum today.Work continues tomorrow, and we hope to get the headlight ...
02/02/2018

We were hard at work hanging new displays at the museum today.

Work continues tomorrow, and we hope to get the headlight from Illinois Central Mikado #1740 to illuminate (with a low-wattage bulb so it is not too bright).

This brief note ran in the Cairo Bulletin on December 31, 1879.  It references the construction of the St. Louis Coal Ra...
01/30/2018

This brief note ran in the Cairo Bulletin on December 31, 1879. It references the construction of the St. Louis Coal Railroad from Carbondale to Harrison, northeast of Murphysboro.

Before building any track, the new company had leased the Carbondale & Shawneetown Railroad that was opened between Carbondale and Marion in 1872.

In 1881, the St. Louis Central would build from Pinckneyville to Harrison and Murphysboro. Subsequently leased by the St. Louis Coal Railroad, it would form a through route to St. Louis via its connection with the Belleville & Southern Illinois Division of the St. Louis, Alton & Terre Haute Railroad at Pinckneyville.

The St. Louis Coal Railroad would eventually be taken over by the larger St.L.A.&T.H., which would complete a route to the Ohio River by building south from Marion through New Dennison, Creal Springs, Reevesville, and Metropolis to reach Brookport (then known as Brooklyn) opposite the Ohio from Paducah.

In the winter of 1895-96, the B&SI Division would be acquired by the Illinois Central.

This little blurb appeared in the Chicago Tribune on April 30, 1872.The Carbondale & Shawneetown Railroad had just recen...
01/23/2018

This little blurb appeared in the Chicago Tribune on April 30, 1872.

The Carbondale & Shawneetown Railroad had just recently opened after constructing a line from Carbondale to downtown Marion. The eastern terminus of the railroad was at the location of the Crab Orchard & Egyptian's office today.

The C&S was founded with grand designs of building all the way to the Ohio River in Hardin County, but never built any further than Marion.

The C&S would eventually be leased by the St. Louis Coal Railroad and then become part of the Cairo Short Line, which would continue the line south of Metropolis and Brookport on the Ohio River opposite Paducah.

After its acquisition by the Illinois Central, it would be known as the Carbondale District. Today's Crab Orchard & Egyptian is all that remains.

The Mount Carbon Coal Company built a railroad from Grand Tower to Mt. Carbon (across the Big Muddy River from Murphysbo...
01/22/2018

The Mount Carbon Coal Company built a railroad from Grand Tower to Mt. Carbon (across the Big Muddy River from Murphysboro) in 1865 and 1866. The railroad was later continued on to Carbondale, with the first train arriving in Carbondale on February 4, 1868.

This note appeared in the Chicago Tribune two days later.

Largely forgotten today is that Carbondale and Murphysboro were once linked by an interurban electric railroad.A century...
01/09/2018

Largely forgotten today is that Carbondale and Murphysboro were once linked by an interurban electric railroad.

A century ago the Murphysboro & Southern Illinois had been opened for business for only a few months, after making its first public runs on September 1, 1917.

This article appeared in the Carbondale Daily Free Press on July 14, 1917, as M&SI construction crews reached the Carbondale city limits.

Illinois Central 2-6-0 #439 poses with shop workers on the Carbondale turntable around 1915.  This turntable and the ass...
01/02/2018

Illinois Central 2-6-0 #439 poses with shop workers on the Carbondale turntable around 1915. This turntable and the associated roundhouse would soon be replaced with larger examples. The roundhouse would last until the sixties, and the turntable would see use into the nineties.

100 years ago, in January 1918, the railroads were under the control of the United States Railroad Administration due to...
01/02/2018

100 years ago, in January 1918, the railroads were under the control of the United States Railroad Administration due to their inability to meet the demands of traffic caused by World War I. Carbondale was the home of the St. Louis Division headquarters, so any changes were considered front page news.

This article appeared in the January 5th edition of the Carbondale Daily Free Press.

This is a view inside the display room in the depot.  We will be working to update the museum over the next couple of mo...
12/25/2017

This is a view inside the display room in the depot. We will be working to update the museum over the next couple of months.

This blurb appeared in The Southern Illinoisan after GP11 #8701 was placed on display outside the depot.  The article ap...
12/25/2017

This blurb appeared in The Southern Illinoisan after GP11 #8701 was placed on display outside the depot. The article appeared on December 12, 2000.

This article appeared in the Carbondale Daily Free Press on April 21, 1936.  It tells of the Illinois Central's first st...
12/25/2017

This article appeared in the Carbondale Daily Free Press on April 21, 1936. It tells of the Illinois Central's first streamliner, the Green Diamond, making a display stop in Carbondale on its publicity tour before going into service between Chicago and St. Louis.

Illinois Central GP11 #8701 and caboose #9425 stand by on display at the old Illinois Central passenger station at Carbo...
12/25/2017

Illinois Central GP11 #8701 and caboose #9425 stand by on display at the old Illinois Central passenger station at Carbondale, Illinois, on November 9, 2017.

Amtrak's Saluki passes #8701 and the old station as it departs Carbondale for Chicago on November 8, 2017.
12/25/2017

Amtrak's Saluki passes #8701 and the old station as it departs Carbondale for Chicago on November 8, 2017.

Address

111 South Illinois Avenue
Carbondale, IL
62901

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(618) 364-7638

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Illinois Central #8701 7/30/2015 (Shelby Meyer Photo)