|The original charter under which this company operated was granted February 27, 1847, under the name of the |
Chicago & Mississippi Railroad. Various amendments and reorganizations were made from time to time and the
present company (1874) was organized under an Act passed February 16, 1861 and amended February 16, 1865.
The company and various portions of its line, have had several different names from time to time; among them
which have been Alton & Sangamon, Joliet & Chicago, St. Louis, Jacksonville & Chicago, St. Louis, Alton & Chicago
and Alton & St. Louis Railroad Company, now consolidated all or into or operated under lease by the Chicago &
Alton Railroad Company.
The Alton & Sangamon line was to connect the Mississippi River town of Alton to the state capital at Springfield
in Sangamon County. The line was finished in 1852, and as the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad extended to
Bloomington in 1854 and Joliet in 1855. Initially, trains ran over the completed Chicago and Rock Island Railroad
The Joliet and Chicago Railroad was chartered February 15, 1855, and opened in 1856, continuing north and
northeast from Joliet to downtown Chicago. It was leased by the Chicago & Mississippi providing a continuous
railroad from Alton to Chicago. In 1857 the Chicago & Mississippi was reorganized as the St. Louis, Alton and
Chicago Railroad, and another reorganization on October 10, 1862, produced the Chicago and Alton Railroad.
The Chicago & Alton chartered the Alton and St. Louis Railroad to extend the line to East St. Louis,
opened in 1864 giving it a line from Chicago to East St. Louis.
The Alton Railroad was the final name of the railroad linking Chicago to Alton, Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri and
Kansas City, Missouri. Its predecessor, The Chicago & Alton Railroad, was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio in
1931 and was controlled until 1942 when the Alton was released to the courts.
On May 31, 1947, the Alton Railroad was merged into the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
The line to Alton and St. Louis is now mostly part of the Union Pacific Railroad system; the line to Kansas City is
part of the Kansas City Southern Railway system. Metra's Heritage Corridor provides commuter rail service on
the old main line, now owned by the Canadian National Railway through its Illinois Central Railroad, between
Chicago and Joliet, Illinois.