I lived in Bloomington, Illinois, during my high school and college years, 1954-1960. Although I was a steam fan, steam was virtually gone from central Illinois by the end of 1957 and I was reduced to photographing diesels and other railroad subjects. Bloomington's major railroad was the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio's former Alton Route, featuring the shops and yard, the junction with the line to Kansas City via Jacksonville, and the fast Chicago-St. Louis passenger trains such as the Ann Rutledge (discontinued 1958), Abraham Lincoln and Alton Limited (after 1958 simply The Limited). Click here to view the 1956 Chicago-St. Louis and St. Louis-Chicago passenger schedules, which will open as PDF files in a separate window.

I never expected these scenes to be of much interest five decades later, but they are presented here for the enjoyment of "fallen flag" GM&O fans. A few of these images were shot in the 1960s or later. To my original collection I have added a number of photos that are the work of my brother, the late David V. Leonard, and my father, Dr. R. D. Leonard, as well as a few from the collection of Gary Thompson of Normal, Illinois. These are so identified. Of special interest is a set of photos my father took on a 1960s cab ride from Bloomington to Chicago.

Below are images from the main line with brief descriptions. Click on a selections for the full-sized version with more commentary, or page through the gallery from photo to photo. And explore the links in the navigation panel at left.