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I posted this in 3 rail with no response(s)-so I will try here. Looking for some info/experts on the Peabody Coal Company/ Peabody  Railroad/ Peabody Short Line Railroad. The web is a bit sparse and confusing. Clearly the Peabody Short Line ran in /around East St Louis-and was eventually acquired by the Illinois Central. I've read that it did not use cabooses. How did this short line railroad relate to the Peabody Railroad-I would think that both served the Peabody coal mines. Did they utilize other companies hoppers-or did they pull only Peabody hoppers, what  hopper car type(s) were  most commonly utilized and did other railroad(s) pull Peabody hoppers? Lots of questions ( sorry). Thanks in advance.  turtle7

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Difficult to say.  I've never seen a prototype Peabody hopper, in spite of the fact that just about every model company has produced one.  I'm sure the cars wandered off property as well as other railroad's cars being loaded.

I did find these 1971 photos of Peabody hoppers, which look nothing like the hoppers modeler have come to know:

Hoppers Peabody Coal 1971

Hopper Peabody 1242

I don't think the Peabody was a railroad in the usual sense, more like a big industrial spur.  Peabody had several mines in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky and a variety of locomotives.  I found this page showing some of the locomotives, some of which also had the local mine name painted on the sides.  I would guess the locomotives switched the mines and shuttled cars to the interchange of the connecting railroad.



Images (2)
  • Hoppers Peabody Coal 1971
  • Hopper Peabody 1242
Last edited by Rusty Traque

It appears the Peabody Short line was wholly owned by the Peabody Coal Company. 

Some research has turned up an article in the February 1960 Trains Magazine, which mostly concerns itself with the yellow hopper cars.  From what little I can determine, the line apparently ran 18 miles from the Peabody coal mine in Freeburg, IL to the interchange with the TRRA at East St. Louis.  Apparently, cars with PSL reporting marks interchanged to other railroads while cars with PCCX reporting marks cars went only to the barge loading dock at East St. Louis.


Last edited by Rusty Traque

There were Peabody Coal locomotives and then there were Peabody Short Line locomotives.  The short line locomotives were part of a common carrier railroad and therefore were required to be equipped and maintained to pass (at the time) ICC inspections.  The mine railroad Peabody locomotives were not so tightly regulated.

If I remember correctly, Peabody Short Line used Alco-GE RS2's.

When I was young I remember Peabody laying the track for the PSL from a Barge Loading Facility on the Mississippi River in East St. Louis to the Tipple at Freeburg, Illinois. The Tipple was there to serve the River King Strip Mine at Freeburg. (Peabody River King had several Pits, including Freeburg, New Athens and Lensburg, Illinois) It ran along the SW edge of Belleville, Illinois and in the process, near my Sister's home, so I got to see a lot of it. The railroad was primarily a coal hauler, but on occasion they would haul heavy machinery to the mine. Their main motive power, as I recall, were Alco RS locomotives. Later on I worked for Peabody at Freeburg, but by that time all coal transport was handled by the IC. I was told that the main reason for the PSL in the first place was that Peabody initially was unable to negotiate a reasonable contract with the IC for haulage to the barge terminal. Much of the ROW has disappeared, but there is still evidence of its' existence as driveways to homes, and in one case the "tunnel" under Highway 15 near Belleville is being used by the Illinois Department of Transportation for storage of materials. 

Ray, there is a link above to photos of various Peabody locomotives. Are there any that are similar to what you remember ran at Freeburg? I would like to model one that ran in Freeburg.

I was stationed at Scott AFB from 92-95 and we lived in Freeburg. I used to run by the mine but it was closed by then and I was disappointed I did not get to see the operation or the trains. By the way, we loved living in Freeburg and the friends we made. We were sad to leave but the Air Force had other thoughts.

colorado hirailer posted:

Peabody did not exist in steam era, and owned no steamers?

According to the Bluford Shops LLC Peabody hopper page:

"Peabody Short Line was launched in 1956 when the Peabody Coal Company purchased the St. Louis & Belleville Electric Railway, a common carrier that linked Peabody’s River King Mine in Freeburg with East St. Louis. The jaunty yellow and green paint followed soon after. While the PSL would ultimately be sold to Illinois Central, Peabody would go on to run 10 more railroads scattered from Kansas City in the west to central Kentucky before the last one was sold in 1993."


Rusty Traque - the 1971 photos of the Peabody cars was taken at Freeburg and they don't represent the cars used in the early years on the PSL. By 1971 the IC Railroad was handling the Peabody shipments to East St. Louis. The cars in the picture were most likely those used between the Randolph County Preparation Plant and the Baldwin Power Plant - no idea why they were in Freeburg, unless possibly there was an outage at the prep plant. The overhead conveyor that you see in one of the pictures is coming from the River King #1 Underground Mine, that was on the same general site as the tipple you see in the background of the first photo.

Turtle7 - The PSL that I remember from the late 50's primarily used their own hoppers, and I want to say, at that time, they did use a caboose (although I wouldn't stake my life on it). That line from Freeburg to ESL was used exclusively by Peabody for coal transport and only occasionally saw other traffic when they were hauling machinery to the mine site. I seem to recall seeing components for Big Paul, one of their huge stripping shovels, being hauled on the PSL.

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