The Macomb and Western Illinois Railway was chartered on October 26, 1901. The railroad was built south along Johnson Street in Macomb, Illinois, to nearby Industry and Littleton by local financier Charles V. Chandler. It was open for service on January 1, 1904. It ran for about twenty-five years.
Charles V. Chandler endeavored to form the Macomb and Western Illinois Railway (M&WI) to carry passengers to and from locations between Macomb and Littleton, to give farmers a way of transporting grain and livestock to Macomb, and to eventually connect Macomb with larger railroads. Originally the railroad was planned as an electric interurban but sufficient capital to electrify was not available, and the railroad began service with a primitive - and marginally useful - gas-electric locomotive.
The railroad encountered problems from the start. Many people were opposed to the expansion of Chandler's business empire and of his influence as the town's leading Republican. Many who before had helped fund similar projects pulled out. The railroad's president and C. V.'s business partner sold his interest in the business within two years to Chandler. A year after service began the railroad's engine house burned down, destroying its gas-electric locomotive. The local Illinois coal hauled from Littleton by the railroad was found to have too much sulphur to be effective. The tracks were lightweight, and derailments were common. Property owners along Johnson Street in Macomb... Read More