The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway (EJE) is, sadly, yet another fallen flag now part of the burgeoning Canadian National system. The railroad was a Class
II, regional based in Joliet, Illinois and had been in
operation since the late 19th century. Today the former EJ&E serves
the area and region surrounding Chicago to the northwest and southwest and its strength always lay in its ability to provide switching operations to the dozens of once major Class I systems that reached the Windy City as well as acting as a bypass around it. During this time the line almost always remained a profitable, albeit rather small, operation. Canadian National, after a long, drawn out fight with neighboring communities finally purchased the EJ&E in early 2009 for this very reason. Today, while the road's main line is now an important asset in the CN system classic orange and green locomotives are disappearing in favor of ubiquitous red, white, and black.
Some of the EJ&E's more powerful models are seen here; two SD38-2s lay over at the engine terminal in Joliet, Illinois during August of 1978.
railroad itself saw a lot of history happen around it throughout its
years of operation. For example, because the railroad is located in
the area once served by dozens of granger roads it has seen the passing
of famous names (a number of which it had connections with) such as the
Milwaukee Road, Chicago & North Western, Chicago Great Western, and
Rock Island. Also because the EJ&E was
located in the Chicago area it had connections with numerous railroads
including nearly all of the major Class Is. These include CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF Railway, now-parent Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific.
The EJ&E became a hotbed for railfans when it purchased Baldwin's unique and monstrous transfer switcher, the DT-6-6-2000. Seen here is #920 rolling through Griffith, Indiana with a caboose on December 31, 1964. After being re-engined these units remained in service on the railroad for many years.
To give a brief history of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, the
railroad has its official beginning dating to December 4, 1888 although
its history actually goes all of the back to 1884 when the Joliet,
Aurora & Northern Railway was incorporated to connect Aurora and
Joliet with the Mississippi River. Although the railroad only made it as far as connecting both cities
(Aurora and Joliet) its segment was picked up by the Elgin, Joliet &
Eastern Railway Company of Illinois which connected Valparaiso, Indiana
with Joliet, Illinois and then built to Elgin, Illinois to interchange
traffic with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (The
Milwaukee Road). The other half of the EJ&E was the Elgin, Joliet
& Eastern Railway Company of Indiana which connected Griffith
and Hobart, Indiana with McCool. These two lines were merged on
December 4th of 1888 to form the modern-day EJ&E.
As is typical with railroading of that time, the EJ&E grew and
expanded through ownership and takeovers of smaller systems. Some of
these systems included the Waukegan & Southwestern Railway; Gardner,
Coal City & Northern Railway; Western Indiana Railroad; and the
Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway. In total the railroad's
system stretched to reach points such as Waukegan, Dyer, Hammond,
Caster, and Chicago, Illinois; and Porter, Indiana. In all, the EJ&E system map formed a rough "L" shape, bypassing
downtown Chicago and connecting points east like Porter, Illinois with
Joliet to the west and Elgin/North Chicago to the north. Due to the
railroad’s age it had an interesting and diverse locomotive fleet over
the years. It no longer rosters any steam locomotives although it does
still retain a number of classic diesel models such as Alcos and Baldwins. It's unclear whether these will be retained by CN or sold off. For much more information regarding the EJ&E's history please click here.
Diesel Locomotive Roster
Please note this roster does not list all former owners of these locomotives, several of which were purchased used by the EJ&E over the years.
403-443, 446-452, 454-455, 458
1949, BLW Demos
1949, BLW Demos
802, 804, 809, 811, 813-815, 818, 820
Witnessed here is another of the J's Baldwin models, DRS-6-6-1500 #501 pulling a single boxcar and caboose through Joliet on September 1, 1969.
A trio of newer power on the EJ&E, two SD38s and an SD38-2, power a freight at speed through Schererville, Indiana on July 23, 1987.
Finally, for more reading on the EJ&E consider the book Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railway by authors Paul Jaenicke and Ralph Eisenbrandt. Typically the "Images
of Rail" series by Arcadia Publishing is more noted for its fabulous
historic photographs than in-depth information so if you're looking for
the latter you may not be interested in the book. However, if this is
not really of great concern to you, you should very much enjoy the book.
In any event, if you are interested in perhaps purchasing this book please visit the link above which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com.