Santa Fe Railway Depot (Galesburg, Illinois)

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Former ATSF and Amtrak passenger rail station
Sept. 1985, Galesburg Sante Fe Amtrak station.jpeg
The station in September 1985
Location N. Broad Street at BNSF Railway tracks
Galesburg, Illinois
Owned by Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (1888–1971), Amtrak (1971–1996) (depot) Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (1887–1996), BNSF Railway (1996–) (tracks)
Line(s) Former services:
Platforms 1 side platform, 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Structure type at-grade
Parking yes
Opened 1888
Closed 1996
Rebuilt 1966
Preceding station   Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe   Following station
  Former services  
toward Los Angeles
Main Line
toward Los Angeles
Main Line
Major stations
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward Los Angeles
Southwest Chief
toward Chicago

Galesburg Santa Fe Station was a railway station in the west central Illinois town of Galesburg. The station was along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway's main line and served trains such as the Super Chief and El Captain. After Amtrak took over intercity rail in the United States, it was served by trains such as the Lone Star (1971–1979) and the Southwest Chief (1971–1996).

Although train service ended in 1996 and it has been demolished since, the site is still used if derailments cause trains to use the Chillicothe Subdivision instead of the Mendota Subdivision.[1]



The first railroad to arrive in Galesburg was the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in December 1854.[2][3][4] The railroad served passengers at a large depot at South and Seminary streets. Galesburg was also a major junction for the CB&Q, since it was the point where many branch lines crossed the Chicago—Denver main line.[5][6][7] Also in Galesburg was the railroad's roundhouse and hump yard,[8] the latter still used with BNSF.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe[edit]

The Santa Fe Railway was originally planned to bypass Galesburg 10 to 12 miles to the southeast.[9][10] The railway was trying to build on the straightest line possible between Kansas City and Chicago—Galesburg was not on this line.[11] Led by Clark E. Carr, the townspeople tried to persuade the railway to build through Galesburg. A guaranty—signed by many citizens of Galesburg—was telegraphed to the Santa Fe's headquarters in Boston.[12] It offered 20 acres of land for a depot, as well as the right-of-way through town.[13][14] To save money, the railroad used the right of way closely following the Cedar Fork Valley.[15]

Station houses[edit]

First built in 1888, the station was made out of red sandstone.[16] The two-story building had a slate roof and an octagonal tower facing the tracks. A unique feature of the station was that it had two different waiting rooms, one for men and one for women.[10]

In 1964, the building was demolished and replaced in by a smaller, one-story building.[17] The razing and construction of the new depot received mixed reactions by the residents of the town—many of them thought that the depot could be restored.[18] The railway asked the city of Galesburg to remove the grade crossing with Cedar Street, directly west of the depot. In return, the Santa Fe would build the new station, and use the space where the old depot stood for parking.[18]

It was not the only Amtrak station in Galesburg – the other station, located on South Seminary Street, served the Illinois Zephyr and the California Zephyr.[19]


In 1995, the Santa Fe and Burlington Northern railways merged to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.[20] To allow trains to switch freely between lines, a connector outside Cameron, Illinois (southwest of Galesburg) was built.[1] This connector (known as the Cameron Connector) allows the Southwest Chief to switch to the ex-CB&Q, ex-BN track, where other Amtrak trains already operated. This combined with the amendment of track vital getting to Chicago Union Station,[9] causing Amtrak to move all operations in Galesburg to the present station. This move also made stations in Chillicothe and Streator, Illinois lose service.[1][9]


The site of the former station. The creek that follows the railway through town is visible to the right. 
Postcard of the original station 
Postcard of the original station 


  1. ^ a b c John R. Pulliam (December 21, 2009). "Galesburg Amtrak service detoured". Galesburg Register-Mail. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ Wilson 1999, p. 5
  3. ^ City of Galesburg 2007, p. 8
  4. ^ "A brief history of the BNSF Railway". Galesburg Register-Mail. October 20, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ Wilson 1999, p. 7
  6. ^ Wilson 1999, p. 49
  7. ^ City of Galesburg 2007, p. 7
  8. ^ Robison 2000, p. 66
  9. ^ a b c Rex Cherrington (June 20, 1996). "Did Galesburg businessmen really need to pay to bring the Santa Fe Railway to Town?". The Zephyr. Galesburg, Illinois. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Robison 2000, p. 72
  11. ^ Marshall 1945, p 202
  12. ^ Perry 1912, p. 613
  13. ^ Bryant Jr. 1974, p. 136
  14. ^ Marshall 1945, pp. 203–204
  15. ^ City of Galesburg 2007, p. 10
  16. ^ John R. Pulliam (May 2, 2009). "House on Lake a work in progress". Galesburg Register-Mail. Retrieved April 16, 2011. People who remember the old red, sandstone depot on North Broad Street... 
  17. ^ Linroth 2009, p. 170
  18. ^ a b Tom Wilson (June 25, 2011). "Railroad depot's gone but will long be remembered". Galesburg Register-Mail. p. 2. 
  19. ^ "Illinois Service Timetables". Amtrak. April 1, 1990. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  20. ^ Bloomberg Business News (July 21, 1995). "Rail Giants Santa Fe, Burlington merging". Wilmington Morning Star. 


  • Bryant Jr., Keith L. (1974). History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. New York City: Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0-02-517920-9. 
  • Linroth, Ralph W. (2009). A History of the CB&Q Illinois Pea-Vine. ISBN 978-1-4507-1388-7. 
  • Marshall, James (1945). Santa Fe: The Railroad That Built an Empire. New York City: Random House, Inc. 
  • Perry, Albert James. History of Knox County, Illinois: its cities, towns and people, Volume 1. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 
  • Robison, Carley (2000). "Where the Railroads Cross". Galesburg Illinois in Vintage Postcards. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0762-8. 
  • Wilson, Jeff (1999). Burlington Route Across the Heartland. Kalmbach Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89024-337-9. 
  • "North Seminary Street Report" (PDF). City of Galesburg. December 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2011.