Bloomington, Illinois has a rich railroad history. For more than a century, Bloomington-Normal factored prominently in the operations of a number of railroads. The Chicago and Alton, Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, and Illinois Central railroads have all had a significant presence in the area.
From the 1850s through the 1960s, massive railroad repair and maintenance shops were located on Bloomington's West Side. In the early 1920s, more than 1800 people were employed in the area just at the Chicago and Alton shops-- nearly 3% of the total population of McLean County. The Illinois Central track bisected the two communities straight down the middle, crossing the Chicago and Alton/GM&O tracks in downtown Normal. The very first Pullman railroad coach was built in the Bloomington shops.
On July 14, 2012, the Town of Normal opened a new Multimodal transportation facility in Normal, Illinois that will combining passenger rail, local bus, charter bus, shuttle, taxi, and intercity bus transportation. Bloomington-Normal is currently the 4th busiest Amtrak station in the Midwest with nearly a quarter of a million passengers served each year.
Time Lapse Construction Video
For more information on Bloomington-Normal's railroad history, visit the McLean Country Museum of History photographic archives.
Clayton Hartford from Alger WA on July 30, 2012:
Very interesting hub, great writing.