Maps are an important component when profiling railroads a particular region. And the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission’s June 1977 report scores well on that one. Maps of railroad yards (and supporting facilities) situated in Peoria’s north valley, Lower Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin were included. Another map shows yards in the region outside the immediate urban area. I’ll dedicate a post to each. The Commission’s information is in bold; my comments are below.
1. C. R. I. P. CAP. 200
“C. R. I. P.” stands for “Chicago Rock Island & Pacific,” or just “Rock Island.” This is the North Limit Yard, which had six tracks running between Lorenz to Sloan streets. It was used for receiving inbound freight trains (No. 90 from Blue Island and No. 92 from Silvis), which were broken up and classified by local switch engine crews.
2. C. R. I. P. CAP. 44
The Commission’s document calls this two-track facility located between Hayward and Caroline streets the “Ice House Yard,” indicating the CRI&P once had local facilities for icing reefer cars carrying perishables. These were long gone by 1977. If these tracks were still in service at the time, they probably helped switch crews work local industries.
3. C. R. I. P. CAP. 490
The main Peoria Yard, was also known as the “Levee Yard.” A good photo of this 14-track facility can be found in PEORIA MEMORIES III: The ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The railroad’s diesel shop was located here, as was a steam-era turntable that still exists in the riverfront park off Morton Street. I’d guess freight train Nos. 93 (to Blue Island) and 95 (to Silvis) were made up here by local switch engine crews.
4. C. R. I. P. STATION
The venerable depot at Liberty and Water streets handled its last passenger train on September 28, 1967. The next day, a new combination depot and yard office opened at Morton Street. Ironically, both depots, long retired from their intended purpose, still exist. In 1977, the Peoria Rocket depart for Chicago each morning and returned in late evening, however, freight trains were given priority and the lightly-patronized trains’ schedules were not always adhered to. A single locomotive and two coaches sufficed for each run.
5. C. R. I. P. T. O. F. C.
The Rock Island’s original single-car ramp was at Morton Street. Probably built in the late 1950s, rising piggyback business soon required a larger facility, which was built on the Levee Yard’s south end (date unknown). It was still a busy operation in 1977.
NOTE: Not included in the Commision’s report is the “Glen Street” (Glen Avenue) Yard, which had three tracks and a 90-car capacity. Located at Peoria Heights, the yard was used to support local switching at the Pabst Brewing Co. plant there. A two-shift switch engine worked out of Peoria Heights each weekday. The morning crew would make a transfer run to the Levee Yard and return. The evening crew would switch Pabst and work north to Pioneer Industrial Park when needed.
Next: Lower Peoria Yards
- David P. Jordan