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The tracks are former Chicago & Eastern Illinois mainline south from Chicago to Evansville, IN and St. Louis, MO. In 1952, the Danville segment in conjunction with the L&N hosted such passenger trains as the Dixie Flyer, The Georgian, and The Hummingbird. The C&EI was double track from Chicago to Woodland (four miles south of Watseka). Because of the many passenger trains on the Danville line, this segment received CTC in the late 50s. In 1957, C&EI rebuilt the interlocking at Watseka, IL with two GRS power switches and 6 signals and rebuilt the interlocking at Woodland, IL with five power switches and 6 signals. The C&EI came under the control of the Missouri Pacific in 1967. The MP installed CTC from Woodland to Chicago in 1967. MP retained the line from Chicago to St. Louis but sold the line from Woodland south to Danville to the Louisville and Nashville in June 1969. The L&N had trackage rights to Chicago over the MP. Work started on installing CTC on the line from Woodland to Gorham, IL in the late 60s and was finished in 1972. The C&EI was formally merged into the MP in October 1976. The line from Findlay Junction to St. Louis received signals and CTC in the 80s after MP (now UP) acquired the line between Pana and Lenox from Conrail.
Missouri Pacific train CFZ with hot trailers for Dallas and Fort Worth rumbles over the TP&W crossing at Watseka late in the afternoon on September 3, 1982. The MP had the CHZ scheduled out of Chicago at 200PM. This train became symbol CHFWZ in the Fall of 1986.
The operator at Watseka was a Missouri Pacific employee and controlled the CTC between Watseka and Woodland Junction as well as the crossing. In 1982 the Watseka office was closed and control was moved to Yard Center in Chicago. In the late 1980's Watseka Historical Society acquired the Watseka depot and moved it about 300 feet east of the original location. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Historical Society now has a small museum in two of the rooms of the depot.
Just to the south of the depot, engine 1705 rests in the late afternoon sun on the east connector with the TP&W. Engine 1705 is a GP15. Disk 113
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