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Missouri - Illinois Railroad History

The Missouri-Illinois was part of MoPac's family since the steam-filled days of April, 20 1929. M-I subsidiary MRBT (Mississippi River & Bonne Terre) was leased by M-I. The Missouri-Illinois was a major shortline running along both sides of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. It was wholly owned by the Missouri Pacific from July 1, 1929 after the consolidation of a number of Missouri and Illinois shortlines. The M-I served the rural parts of Missouri and Illinois - for a small railroad it was an impressive carrier of freight, mineral ore, coal, passengers, and even operated a ferryboat transfer service, all in just 200 miles of mainline.

The Missouri-Illinois was originally formed in 1921 out of the banckrupt Illinois Southern(itself the consolidation of the old Illinois Southern and the Southern Missouri Railway - both created in 1900 to build a route from Mississippi to Kansas City) The Illinois Southern suffered a major disastor when it's steamship ferry sank in 1920, literally taking half of the railroad with it, thus forcing the railroad out of business. This foreclosure brought about the creation of the M-I, which took over the line.

The Mississippi River & Bonne Terre RR (MR&BT) was the primary subsidiary of the M-I. Formed on May 11, 1888 and spreading from Bonne Terre northward to Riverside, Missouri and connecting to the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern, the MR&BT road operated over 66 miles of railline at it's peak. It's primary resource was the wealthy mineral stronghold of southeastern Missouri. The Missouri Pacific aquired a controlling interest in both the M-I and the MR&BT on July 1st, 1929. These two shortlines were then consolidated and the Missouri-Illinois ran as a subsidiary until October 25th, 1978. The small Missouri-Illinois was the last railroad to officially fall under the Mopac flag, being merged on November 1, 1978.

Reference: Cabooses of the Missouri Pacific Lines, by G. J. Michels