21.11.16

WILMA TOLLEY TAKES THE TROLLEY.

Bloomington's Pantagraph, a title that itself suggests electric traction, offers a retrospective of a story filed by a reporter who rode the Illinois Terminal from Bloomington to Peoria and return.  It took her about three hours.  These days, a connecting bus service calls at Peoria in the course of connecting a number of the Amtrak routes radiating out of Chicago to cities off the Amtrak map, or should a passenger prefer to go, for example, from the St. Louis route to a West Coast route without going into Chicago.  I wonder if anybody goes joyriding on a bus?


Mackinaw Junction, Illinois, September 1950
Wilma Tolley photograph retrieved from Pantagraph on 21 November 2016.

What's interesting is that the depopulation of the Farm Belt was under way so soon after the War, long before globalization and deindustrialization and the information economy became the Big Phenomena.
The Illinois Terminal’s days as a passenger carrier were coming to an end, as the railroad could not overcome larger social and economic changes sweeping the Corn Belt, mainly those involving the intertwined issues of depopulation, school consolidation and the rise of the automobile. Tolley knew this, as did the train crew and most passengers.
The interurban is gone, the mail and the nursery stock no longer travel on the electric cars. Some tracks remain in the streets of Bloomington's warehouse district (itself a casualty of just-in-time logistics?) where truckers obstructed the passage of the cars.

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