CB&Q makes its way to Jacksonville

    Thanks to the steam locomotive’s insatiable appetite for coal and the dismal failure of a couple of other railroads, Beardstown’s position as a railroad city was secured.
    Rails arrived in Beardstown in 1870 with the opening of the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad. Long on hype and short on cash, this company was acquired by the St. Louis, Alton & Rock Island in 1876. Three years later, the StLA&RI came under the control of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and later was completely absorbed into the CB&Q.
    Meanwhile, the Illinois Farmers’ Railroad opened a 13-mile line between Jacksonville and Franklin in 1870. The following year, the Jacksonville North Western & South Eastern Railway put its 17.1-mile line from Franklin to Virden in service, and then acquired the Illinois Farmers’ on July 10, 1872.