Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boomtime Blue in Peoria!

After some time of mulling over layout designs and visiting the prototype, I believe I have a construction plan for the Rock Island Peoria Branch.  Rock Island's Design Team is looking to develop the Washington Street area along the Illinois River.  New industries expected to go online will include S. Lucas & Sons Steel, Peoria Cordage Company, Peoria Journal Star and Wayne Feeds. 

The track will follow the river (backdrop, but not modeled) into town.  There will be a main and siding with a short lead for run around moves.  A secondary track will be installed to access Wayne Feeds and the locomotive storage facility behind the station.

The Peoria Rocket will originate here as well as a RI Davenport mixed freight.  The second section of the Peoria Rocket out of Chicago arrives late morning with mail and passengers, returning mid-afternoon. 

You will notice an absence of the Caterpillar Plant in my design.  The section desginated for Peoria is a small shelf rougly 7ft by 14" wide.  To model the Caterpillar plant would be impossible.  The plant is located across the Illinois River in East Peoria.  I found the Washington Street riverfront area more appealing to model.  I will most likely create waybills for various materials inbound to Peoria for the CAT plant.  I'm still contemplating modeling loads of CAT vehicles outbound on flat cars.

I have exercised my modeling license regarding Peoria Journal Star and S. Lucas & Sons Steel.  The Peoria Journal Star is not physically located in this area, but it is a short distance up the river off Galena Rd.  It was served by the Rock Island railroad.  S. Lucas & Sons Steel is actually A. Lucas & Sons Steel, but changed the name to reflect my friend and boss Sam Lucas.

Thanks to Bing maps, below are photos of three industries:

Peoria Cordage Company

Peoria Journal Star
You can see the former Rock Island right-of-way behind the facility. 

S. Lucas & Sons Steel

Rock Island Station, Peoria, IL

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rock Island Technical Society

Progress has been nil for the past month.  Traveling, summer schedule, etc. has got me out of my routine.  Hopefully when school starts back up in a few weeks I will get back into my groove working on the layout.

Today, I joined the Rock Island Technical Society.  I have considered it for a while, but mainly after exploring Peoria, IL in person, I got the bug to learn more about the ROCK.  I'm looking forward to seeing what information I can absorb.  At some point, I would like to start decorating my layout room with Rock Island memorabilia.

Today at lunch, I was reading an article from the Peoria Star dated January 4th, 1960 (provided by my adopted Aunt Carol).  At this time in history, Peoria was the fifth largest railroad center in the country and third of the major Midwest gateways.  Chicago handled 33 railroads, St. Louis 21 and Peoria 15.  The advantage for Peoria was that freight could be moved through there east to west much quicker than through Chicago or St. Louis.  In 1960, around 15,000 cars originate and terminate in Peoria each month, but is only a fraction of the traffic moving through there

The fifteen railroads include: Peoria & Pekin Union, Chicago & Illinois Midland, Chicago & Northwestern, Minneapolis & St. Louis, Illinois Central, New York Central (Peoria & Eastern), Nickel Plate, Pennsylvania, Gulf Mobile & Ohio, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Illinois Terminal, Rock Island and Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe.

Thanks Carol for the tour of Peoria and information researched.  It is greatly appreciated!