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ELECTRIC FREIGHT LOCOMOTIVE
ILLINOIS TERMINAL RAILROAD NO. 1565 (CLASS B)
BUILT - 1910, ILLINOIS TRACTION SYSTEM
The Illinois Traction System (later the Illinois Terminal Railroad) was unusual among interurban electric railroads in that it was one of the few that were intended by their builders to handle carload freight. Over the years, carload freight business came to be a more important source of revenue to the railroad than its passenger business.
To handle its expanding carload freight, the Illinois Traction System built eighteen "Class B" type electric locomotives, of which 1565 was one, in its own shops between 1910 and 1918. Deceptively small in size, each "Class B" could deliver as much power as a medium size diesel locomotive. "Class B" type locomotives remained in freight service of the Illinois Terminal until the railroad ended electric operation on its mainline in 1956. By that time, however, most of the railroad's freight was already being handled by diesels.
The Illinois Terminal Railroad remained in operation until 1981 as a diesel freight line owned by its connecting railroads. Much of its trackage, however, was abandoned in favor of trackage rights over paralleling railroads. In 1981, it was acquired by the Norfolk Western Railway (now part of Norfolk Southern) and ceased to exist as a separate entity.