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Chicago & Alton Railroad, The: The Only Way
Gene V Glendenning
Northern Illinois Press
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Date Listed:
2013-11-25 20:50:46
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Chicago & Alton Railroad, The

The Only Way

by Gene V. Glendinning.

Cloth with dust jacket, 8.5x11, 283 pages, 80 photos, illustrations, notes, index. 2002.

"An excellent history of a short but vital Midwest railroad."—Mark Reutter, editor of Railroad History

"The first railroad to connect the Mississippi River with the Great Lakes, the Chicago & Alton Railroad played a key role in the economic development of the Midwest. From humble beginnings in 1847 as transport for farm produce, it grew to link three key midwestern cities - Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City - and set the standard for efficient service and luxurious passenger travel.

"Such famous personages as Abraham Lincoln, Marshall Field, Timothy Blackstone, and Samuel Insull were associated with the Chicago & Alton. Lincoln had been among the first to buy stock in the company, and the Chicago & Alton carried his funeral train on the last leg of its journey to Springfield, Illinois.

"The introduction of George Pullman's first sleeping and dining cars enhanced the Chicago & Alton's reputation for elegant style and comfort. The company initiated a number of innovations in rail travel, including the installation of the first steel railroad bridge. It was also the first to bring streamliners and diesels into the highly competitive Chicago - St. Louis corridor.

"Events that shaped America, from the Civil War to World War II, impacted the Chicago & Alton. During the tumultuous years of its business expansion, frequent shifts of power threatened to destroy the railroad. Edward Harriman, for example, rebuilt and reequipped the Chicago & Alton only to lose it in one of his few mistakes. The federal government later seized control during one of the Chicago & Alton's weakest periods, but relinquished it after a devastating coal strike. Even criminal manipulations of the railroad's stock and bonds by a New york financier played a role in the company's turbulent history.

"Illustrated with eighty photographs, many of them never before published, The Chicago & Alton Railroad is the first complete history of one of America's most famous small railroads.

"Gene V. Glendinning is past editor of the GM&OHS News, the official publication of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Historical Society, and has published numerous articles on railroad history."

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. The State Sets Its Course
  • 2. A Railroad Emerges from the Prairie
  • 3. Deception and Default
  • 4. The Courts Decide the Future
  • 5. From Calamity to Prosperity
  • 6. The Triangle Is Closed
  • 7. Defeat at Kansas City, Decline at Braidwood
  • 8. The Harriman Era
  • 9. The Hawley and Union Pacific Takeovers
  • 10. The Long-Anticipated Receivership Arrives
  • 11. The B&O and the War Years
  • Epilogue
  • Railroads and Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index