The Joliet, Aurora & Northern Railway Co.
was incorporated on April 30, 1884, to construct a line from
the Indiana state line westerly through Joliet and Aurora to
the banks of the Mississippi River opposite Dubuque, Iowa. However,
the company managed only to construct a line between Joliet
and Aurora and actual operations began two years later in 1886.
In 1887, Morgan interests decided to construct
a line, which would bypass Chicago, from Valparaiso, IN, westward
through Joliet, Ill., and thence northward to a connection with
the Milwaukee Road near Elgin, Ill. Two separate railroads were
incorporated for this purpose in both Illinois and Indiana,
respectively. The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. of
Illinois was incorporated on March 18, 1887, and the Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. of Indiana was incorporated
on April 13, 1887.
The EJ&E Railway Co. of Illinois built its
line westward from the Illinois-Indiana state line towards Elgin,
and utilized the already completed section of the JA&Ns
line between Joliet and Normantown. The new line was completed
and made a connection with the Milwaukee Road near Elgin in
1888, and in October of that same year, the EJ&E Railway
Co. of Illinois acquired the Joliet, Aurora & Northern Railway.
Meanwhile, the EJ&E Railway Co. of Indiana
had been building its line eastward from the Illinois-Indiana
state line through Griffith and Hobart and it reached McCool,
IN, in late 1888.
The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company
came into existence on December 4, 1888, when the Indiana company
was formally merged into the Illinois one. The new company officially
began operations on January 1, 1889.
Two years later, in January 1891, the EJ&E
acquired the Waukegan & Southwestern Railway Co. This company
had built a line southward from Waukegan to near Elgin. About
the same time the EJ&E also acquired the Gardner, Coal City
& Northern Railway Co., which consisted of a line from Caster
(Just south of Coal City) northward through Minooka to a connection
with the EJ&Es main line at Walker Junction. Two years
later in 1893 the EJ&E extended its main line further eastward
from McCool, IN, to a connection with the LS&MS at Porter,
Thus, by 1893, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern
Railways line stretched in a 130-mile arc from Waukegan,
Ill., through Elgin (Spaulding) and Joliet to Porter, IN
In 1894, the EJ&E negotiated trackage rights
over the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago Railways
line between Dyer and Hammond in order to gain access to the
street railways and the rapidly growing industrial district
of Hammond, East Chicago and Whiting. (The LNA&C was the
predecessor of the Monon.) In 1897, the EJ&E purchased a
small company called the Western Indiana Railroad Co. This small
road consisted of only about one mile of track in Hammond and
the EJ&E soon extended it to East Chicago and Whiting still
using its trackage rights over the future Monon in order to
reach the newly acquired but disconnected property.
Another company that would form an important part
of the EJ&E was the Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway.
In 1889, the North Chicago Rolling Mill Company
merged with the Union Steel Company and purchased the plant
of the Joliet Steel Company to form the Illinois Steel Company.
Very soon after, the new steel corporation incorporated several
new switching and terminal railroads in Illinois to construct
many miles of industrial tracks in Chicago, South Chicago, and
Joliet, and to also operate existing ones. These were the Chicago
& Kenosha Railway Co., the Calumet & Blue Island Railroad
Co., the Chicago & Southeastern Railway Co. of Illinois,
and the Joliet & Blue Island Railway Co. (One new company
was also incorporated in Wisconsin; the Milwaukee, Bay View
& Chicago Railroad.) In July 1894, the Calumet & Blue
Island Railroad leased all four of the other ISC-owned railroads.
On April 1, 1896, the Chicago, Lake Shore &
Eastern Railway Co. of Indiana completed a line from Illinois
Steels great South Works in South Chicago through Indiana
Harbor to a connection with the B&O and LS&MS at Clarke
Junction. A new company, the Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern
Railway Co., was incorporated on February 7, 1897, to consolidate
its former namesake company together with the Calumet &
Blue Island Railroad and its four leased lines.
In 1898, the EJ&E and CLS&E both came
under the ownership and control of the newly created Federal
Steel Company headed by Judge Elbert Gary. In order to dispense
with trackage rights over the Monon and to physically
connect the two properties, the Griffith & Northern Railway
Co. was incorporated to build a 7.5-mile line from the EJ&E
at Griffith to the CLS&E at Clarke Junction. Construction
of the new line commenced in 1899 and at about the same time
the EJ&E also constructed a short connecting line from Shearson
on its Hammond-Whiting line to a junction with the new line
The United States Steel Corporation came into
existence in 1901 acquiring the Federal Steel Company and control
of Illinois Steel, and with these came ownership of the EJ&E
and control of the CLS&E. Construction of the huge steel
mill in the new city of Gary commenced in 1906, and in the following
year the CLS&E completed a short extension from Clarke Junction
to Gary in order to serve the new plant. Kirk Yard on the new
extension was laid out in 1908.
Despite being physically operated by the EJ&E,
the Chicago, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway remained a nominally
independent company on paper until June 1, 1909, when the EJ&E
formally leased it. The CLS&E was finally merged into the
EJ&E on December 30, 1938.
In December 1988, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern
Railway became a part of a newly created holding company called
Transtar, Inc (TRANSTAR).
- Epilogue -
Throughout the Twentieth Century, the United States
Steel Corporation owned and controlled several other major railroads
as well as the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern. Amongst these were
the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, the Duluth, Missabe &
Iron Range Railroad, the Union Railroad, and the Birmingham
& Southern Railroad.
By the 1970s the United States Steel Corporation
was finding the steel business tougher going mainly because
of rising costs and foreign competition and it decided to diversify.
In 1982, the company bought Marathon Oil, and four years later
it purchased Texas Oil & Gas. Also, in 1986, to reflect
its smaller role in the steel production business, United States
Steel renamed itself USX Corporation.
In 1988, as part of its continuing reorganization,
USX decided to also slough off its railroad and transportation
businesses and Transtar, Inc (TRANSTAR), a new railroad holding
company, was born. USX sold off 55 percent of its transportation
interests to Transtar Holdings LP - an affiliate of the Blackstone
Banking Group - but it did retain the remaining 45 percent interest
in the newly created TRANSTAR.
Twelve years later, USX and the Blackstone Group
decided upon a divorce and to both go their separate ways. On
October 4, 2000, an announcement was made to the effect that
Transtar Holdings LP (the Blackstone affiliate) and USX had
decided upon yet another reorganization and had struck a deal.
The deal was that the Blackstone Group, through
its affiliate Transtar Holdings LP, would exchange all of its
shares (55 percent) in TRANSTAR and would get complete 100 percent
ownership of four of the TRANSTAR subsidiaries. Namely: Bessemer
& Lake Erie Railroad Co., Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range
Railroad Co., Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Co., and USS Great
Lakes Fleets, Inc.
In return, USX would get 100 percent of everything
that was left of TRANSTAR i.e. Elgin, Joliet & Eastern
Railway Co., Birmingham & Southern Railroad Co., Union Railroad
Co., McKeesport Connecting Railroad Co., Lake Terminal Railroad
Co., and etc.
The deal went through on March 23, 2001, and the
four old TRANSTAR companies, B&LE, DM&IR, P&C Dock
Co., and USS Great Lakes Fleets are now under the umbrella of
a newly created Blackstone affiliate called Great Lakes Transportation
The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway, together
with all of the remaining TRANSTAR companies now continue to
operate under the old TRANSTAR umbrella - the difference now
being that the wheel has turned full circle and TRANSTAR and
all the remaining railroads are again 100-percent-owned by USX.