The Railroads of Will County
The Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary/Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern)
The Illinois, Iowa & Minnesota was built southeast from Joliet through Manhattan, Wilton, Peotone and Will Townships to Delmar in Kankakee County in 1904 and 1905. Station were established in the Will County communities of Joliet, Manhattan, Wilton, Andres and Peotone. In 1908, the Illinois, Iowa & Minnesota changed its name to the Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary Railway. In its early days, this railroad offered both passenger and freight service, but soon became freight only. In 1922, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway (better known as The Milwaukee Road) began operating the Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary, and in 1930 acquired owner ship of it.
The Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern was completed through Crete and Washington Townships in 1907 as part of a route between Chicago and the coalfields of southern Indiana. Its route was just to the east of Steger, Crete, Goodenow and Beecher. Those communities were already served by the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, which had been built 40 years earlier. The "Southeastern" had always been freight only and no passenger service was ever offered on this line. In 1921, the CTH&SE was leased to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific. The lease only lasted 27 years and The Milwaukee Road completely absorbed it in 1948.
The Milwaukee Road went into bankruptcy in 1977. The former CM&G line from Joliet to Delmar was abandoned in 1978, and the former CTH&SE line from Chicago Heights to Terre Haute was abandoned in 1979. The Milwaukee Road itself ceased to exist in 1985 when it was absorbed into the Soo Line Railroad.
The Forest Preserve of Will County now owns the former right-of-way between Joliet and Manhattan and has redeveloped it as the northern half (combined with a stretch of the former Wabash Railroad between Manhattan and Custer Park) of the Wauponsee Glacial Trail. The Crete Park District now owns about two miles of former right-of-way in Crete Township and has redeveloped it as a recreation trail.