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Home > Books > Arcadia (Short, illustrated historical paperbacks)

Mattoon & Charleston (IL) Area Railroads

Part Number 2208
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Mattoon & Charleston (IL) Area Railroads
Mattoon & Charleston (IL) Area Railroads
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The New York Central System by Michael Leavy

Railroads essentially founded and developed Mattoon and Charleston, twin cities located in Coles County in east-central Illinois.  The railroads enabled both cities to become regional centers for agriculture, industry, and commerce. The Illinois Central Railroad and NEW YORK CENTRAL SYSTEM (Big Four) maintained shops, yards, and offices in Mattoon, while the Nickel Plate Road had shops, offices, and a yard in Charleston.  Hence, railroads were major employers in the twentieth century’s early decades.  Dozens of passenger trains stopped at the local stations.  But, the phase-out of steam locomotives following World War II led to the closing of shops in both towns.  Mergers and route consolidations starting in the 1960’s led to further diminishment of Matoon and Charleston as rail centers.  Today, both towns serve as crew change points only. 

Author Bio: Craig Sanders, a Mattoon native, was a keen observer of the local railroads while growing up and attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.  Now a resident of University Heights (Cleveland), Ohio, he is also the author of Akron Railroads.  Sanders teaches journalism at Cleveland State University.  

 Be aware that the accuracy of some of Arcadia’s home-spun histories is sometimes questionable. Hence, your NYCSHS directors would be interested in reviews by knowledgeable members. Published by Arcadia Publishing, this softcover retails for $20, with NYCSHS members paying only $16.00. Shipping is extra and Ohio residents must add 8% Ohio sales tax. 

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