In the late 1840's the Aurora Branch Railroad was built to better connect Aurora with Chicago. The railroad maintained important repair shops and roundhouses at Aurora. Its connection at Aurora to Galena, on the Mississippi River was the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. These railroads were early parts of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
The lines were renamed, first in 1852 as the Chicago & Aurora Railroad and later in 1855, after linking with the Illinois Central, as the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
The Illinois Central Railroad was a successful railway which connected the northern states with the southern states. It began in the early 1850's with a land grant for a line to run from the top of Illinois to the bottom.
In the 1860's the Illinois Central added a line leading into Iowa.
Later in the 1870's and 1880's the railroad acquired existing lines in southern states, expanded connections, and eventually covered more than 3,000 miles, with lines crossing Mississippi from New Orleans to Louisville, and in the north, expansion westward through Wisconsin and the Dakotas to Omaha, Nebraska.
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Illinois Central Railroads were two of the most popular railroads of the 1880's.
This detailed map of the midwestern states shows relief by hachures, drainage, cities, towns and counties. Railroad network is color-coded. Displayed are portions of Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. It was published in 1883 by Rand, McNally & Co.
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