Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad Company incorporated in 1851, answering the call for private capital to take advantage of an 1850 charter using public land for railroads. Its first railroad would run diagonally northwest with a branch to Chicago.
In Champaign, a Power House was built on Wabash with barns for housing and repairing trains nearby, the freight house was located off Neil, the tower was put east of the freight house and along the Belt Line and the station was on University st.
In Urbana, the depot was on Broadway with its powerhouse off Main.
After the Civil War connections with the South, especially New Orleans became more prominent for the railroad.
The railroad continued to expand until the Depression, when it was forced to downsize operations.
While World War 2 necessitated more rail service, the increasing adoption of automobiles and airplanes led to railroads becoming less than necessary.

For more information see:
Whistle in the Night,by Illinois Central Railroad Company 1949;
Illinois Terminal: The Electric Years by Paul H. Stringham, published 1989 by Interurban Press;
The Illinois Central Railroad and Its Colonization Work by Paul Gates, republished 1968 by Johnson Reprint Company;
From the Lakes to the Gulf: The Illinois Central Railroad Story by Alan Lind, published 1983 by Transport History Press
52 photos · 300 views