The Railroads of Will County
The Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific was constructed across Custer, Wesley, Florence, Wilton, Manhattan, New Lenox and Homer Townships in 1880 as part of a through route between Decatur and Chicago. Stations were established on this line at the Will County communities of Marley, Steele, Manhattan, Symerton, Ballou, Ritchie and Custer Park. The Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific was reorganized as the Wabash Railroad in 1889.
The Wabash was merged into the Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1964. Intercity passenger train service on this route was discontinued in 1971. The Norfolk & Western was merged with the Southern Railway in 1982 to form the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Norfolk Southern abandoned this line from Manhattan down to Gibson City in 1991.
In 2006, Metra extended its SouthWest Service from 179th Street n Orland Park to Manhattan, building new commuter stations at Laraway Road in New Lenox and at Sweedler Road in Manhattan.
The Forest Preserve of Will County now owns the former Wabash right-of-way south of Manhattan and has redeveloped it as the southern half (combined with a stretch of the former Milwaukee Road between Joliet and Manhattan) of the Wauponsee Glacial Trail.