Thanks to a land grant from then President Millard Fillmore, the Illinois Central was chartered in 1851 to build a line from Cairo, Ill., to Galena, Ill. And during its long history, IC made its mark on the nation as a vital transportation route through the heartland of America – the “Main Line of Mid-America.”
By 1870, the network reached Sioux City and, in 1878, it reached the Gulf of Mexico. On Aug. 10, 1972, the Illinois Central merged with the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, creating the Illinois Central Gulf. In 1999 IC merged with CN, becoming the only railroad in North America to reach three coasts: Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
“The history of Illinois Central is the story of extending the reach of customers,” CN President and Chief Executive Officer Paul M. Tellier.
“The merger of IC with CN redrew the railroad map of the continent,” Tellier said. “Together, we have become North America’s railroad. Since the merger, reliability has improved, transit times have improved, and we run a tightly scheduled railroad over the entire CN-IC network. The merger of IC and CN has created what is arguably the best railroad in North America.
He added: “The success of the merger is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Illinois Central’s employees, and their commitment to respond to new challenges of the future.”