Illinois & St. Louis

Layout Description

The “I-and-Saint-L” is an Upper Midwest “also-ran” carrier that, like other railroads of the early 1960s era, exhibits lots of operational scenarios left over from the Age of Steam, but minus steam. Picture if you would a giant “X”, with the Twin Cities at upper left and Indianapolis and Cincinnati at lower right; then Chicago at upper right and St. Louis at lower left. These two principal I&StL main lines cross at the famous Peoria Gateway where there’s lots of block-swapping and interchange.

The I&StL is one of the few remaining railroads that still puts its best foot forward in providing passenger service with trains such as the premier Domeliner Mid-American (Minneapolis–Cincinnati), the Streamliner Chicagoan, and the Dreamliner Prairie Sentinel (Chicago-St. Louis). For passenger-train fans, there’s lots of switching at Peoria Union Depot (PUD).

For those into freight-car forwarding and switching, there are four major yards and several minor ones. Lots of industrial switching, including the new G.U.S. Belt at Peoria and, possibly by the time of Amrail, the new Pekin Branch. The I&StL is a pioneer in run-through operations, primarily with Erie Lackawanna (I&StL’s principal connection to the Northeast) but also Chicago Great Western. Lots of interchange traffic with the likes of Nickel Plate, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Indiana Harbor Belt, Belt Railway of Chicago, Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, B&O, C&O, Monon, C&EI, CB&Q, Santa Fe, and even a couple of neer-do-well stragglers like the Chicago, Peoria & Southern.

First-generation diesels abound, but nifty new second-generation diesels — like I&StL’s Alco Century 628s that will make you moist — have just been delivered. But exotic first-generation diesels, such as EJ&E center-cabs and F-M H10-44s are still hard at work. And then there’s F-units — lots of them!

Layout Details

Layout Owner

Mike Schafer


Lee, IL



Layout Size

60 ft x 28 ft

Mainline Size

1000 ft



Crew Complement

12 - 22


Track: 90%
Scenery: 40%
Electrical: 70%

Control System


Communications System

Wayside phones

Dispatching Method


Car Forwarding

Car Cards/Waybills

Fast Clock


Health and Safety


Yes - Dog, kept upstairs during sessions