A Peabody Connection

During the early 1900s, the East St. Louis & Suburban interurban railway provided passenger and freight service in and around southwestern Illinois. It fell victim to the Depression, as did scores of other U.S. traction companies of the period, and ceased operations in 1932. Interestingly, its subsidiary St. Louis & Belleville Electric had found a niche hauling coal from Peabody Coal Company's River King Mine near Freeburg, Illinois to a Mississippi River transload facility outside of East St. Louis. That business arrangement enabled the 18-mile-long short line to survive for another decade and a half.

It was not until 1949 that the electric railway turned-off the overhead juice and embraced diesel technology; their first internal-combustion engine locomotive was a four-axle road switcher which arrived that year from American locomotive Co. In contrast to the company's standard light olive drab color scheme, the new 1500-hp RS2 (#700) from Alco wore a light yellow and green attire. It was not long afterward that ownership of the coal-hauling rail line was shifted to Union Electric Co. (of St. Louis), which already owned a pair of RS2s bought the year prior.

Lastly, industrial giant Peabody Coal Company outright purchased the strategic coal line in 1956; the small fleet of 244 V12-powered Alcos remained intact and went to work under the banner of newly created Peabody Short Line. By the close of 1961, the Schenectady-built trio were working for their third owner - Illinois Central - which had acquired the PSL property and equipment. Reportedly, one of the Alcos was patched briefly with a green diamond logo. It is thought that all of the four-axle Alcos eventually wore IC's black garb and sported the green logo.

Note: A summary roster of one-time parent Peabody Coal Company's eclectic locomotive fleet can be viewed by clicking on the bottom right photo.

XXXX A Photo Review

General Electric 50-Ton Steeple cab

George Krambles photo (Krambles-Peterson Archives)

  • Original owner - St. Louis & Belleville Electric #550
  • Other Owner - Union Electric Co. (1949)
  • Serial Nmbr - ??
  • Year Built - 1926
  • Power - 600V with four GE69 traction motors
  • Disposition - Retired in 1952, and sold ?

Westinghouse/GE 80-Ton Steeple cab

Jack Kuiphoff photo

  • Original owner - St. Louis & Belleville Electric #5??
  • Other Owners - Union Electric Co. (1949) > INCO #117 (1952)
  • Serial Nmbr - 10005
  • Year Built - 6/1926
  • Power - 600V; 640-hp
  • Disposition - Retired in 2000 and scrapped

St.Louis Car Co. 80-Ton Steeple cab

George Krambles photo (Krambles-Peterson Archives)

  • Original owner - Illinois Central #11000
  • Other Owners - St. Louis & Belleville Electric #550 (1938) > Union Electric Co. (1949)
  • Serial Nmbr - ??
  • Year Re-Built - 6/1938
  • Dual Power - electric/gas-electric
  • Disposition - Sold to Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting (1952)

American Locomotive Co. RS2

xxxJ. David Ingles photo (Classic Trains Magazine - Pinterest collection)

  • Original owners - St. Louis & Belleville Electric 700
  • Original owners - Union Electric Co. 601 & 602
  • Serial Nmbrs - 76805; 75694, 75695
  • Year Built - 4/1949; 3/1948
  • Power - 1500-hp; upgraded later to 1600-hp
  • Other Owners - Peabody Short Line 701-703 (1952) > Illinois Central 701-703(1961)

American Locomotive Co. RS2

Lou Schmitz photo (Chuck Zeiler collection)

  • Final owner - Illinois Central 701-703
  • Disposition: To EMD in 1967 as trade-in units
  • Peabody Coal Roster

    xxxx Al Miller photo (R. Craig collection)

  • Location - Lenzburg, Illinois
  • Date: 22 July 1972
  • Sources and Credits

    • Historical Guide to North American Railroads by George H. Drury
    • Flickr.com
    • Krambles-Peterson Archives
    • RR Pictures Archives.net
    • Railway Preservation News
    • Contributors: Art Peterson, Gareth MacDonald, Mark Nilges, Tim Fennell, and Norm Carlson

    New: 1 May 2024

    Formatted by; R. Craig

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