Updated February 22nd, 2015.
by Joshua Bauer
It wasn't long for a town to form when US-24 and US-45 run through the town, along with the Illinois Central mainline to New Orleans railroad having a major junction with the Toledo, Peoria, and Western in downtown. It is true, Gilman is a large town among the many that sprung up - yet it has yet to reach the height of Kankakee. Likely may never catch up. Nonetheless this town of the crossroads has a great purpose if we talk railroad wise. Incobrasa Industries makes a huge presence, the Gibson City line also funnels into the Chicago Sub here. It comes in from the southwest and heads north into the Chicago Sub. Today, it remains an active railroad location despite suffering from the Illinois Central scale back in track and signals and having the TP&W dropping out from its heyday... things could be on the verge of building back up however. With improvements to the TP&W under G&W ownership and new traffic on the CN line, this spot could become busier.
The Illinois Central railroad has a yard north of downtown Gilman. The yard also featured steam servicing facilities. The coal towers still stand to this day, but lack features once sported including an overhead conveyor? The town also had a few signal gantries as did all towns on the Illinois Central. One was north of the coaling towers south of East 2000 Road. Two more stood south of 6th Street. One immediately south off of 3rd Street crossing. All gantries have since been removed. The downtown ones have been replaced with wayside signals recently. They lasted into the CN age, while the one north of town was taken down during the re-signalling during the "Death Star" era of the Illinois Central. (cira 1980s) Two grain elevators command attention. A small one north of town seems to be an original with the dated design of the elevator. While a much bigger one resides just shy of US-24. This one is much bigger and has an old ALCO locomotive for switching. Incobrasa Industries has a large factory that is mostly serviced by rail. TP&W and CN both service this industry.
The TP&W railroad runs east and west through Gilman making interchange connections with the Canadian National Chicago and Gilman Subdivisions. The TP&W is currently run and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Incorporated. TP&W and CN both share Incobrasa Industries as a customer. Canadian National has control over the interlocking. TP&W used to have passenger train service to Gilman, which stopped well before Amtrak years. The depot located in the northwestern corner of the junction diamond was shared by ICRR and TP&W.
IC Railroad Crossings
East 2nd Street
This crossing is also the entrance to the CN Engineering Department located in Gilman, IL. This crossing has since been upgraded.
This crossing now has lights, bells, and gates. It access a farm and the substation only.
US Route 24 Road
East 3rd Street
Only other crossing in downtown Gilman... it is right next to the northern elevator. This crossing has since been upgraded and replaced.
East 600 N Road
First grade crossing of the Gilman Subdivision heading southwest out of the junction. This shot shows the Gilman local turning a train around on the wye, coming down enough to activate the crossing.
Below are images of the second signal rehab in Gilman, IL. These signals (with the exception of the dwarf LED 2 light) have been replaced with a different arrangement. Previously, Illinois Central used three gantries to display the US&S Tri-light and Color-Light signals which governed junction routing via CTC. The new installation has signals at a similar design, having the signals lined up at points, but at wayside rather than gantry still controlled by CTC.
IC Track Profile
These were all taken at the B street crossing. You can tell where the tracks ran. The ICRR maintained a 3 track presence typically and the evidence is held by a large RoW today. This area is a single-track main, but a siding appears shortly to allow passing south of Gilman. The yard and junction are north of the diamonds, and a wye is created using TP&W shared trackage south of the diamonds which connects into the Gilman Subdivision.
Originally passengers were taken care of at the depot that remains on the northwest corner of the diamond. Now that that is the CN Engineering Department building, this was built to offer the service to passengers. In Gilman, the railroad reclaimed the depot from passengers and there was a small shelter purpose-built for Amtrak. This is just north of US-24 grade crossing. Amtrak trains 58 and 59 "City of New Orleans" service trains do not stop in Gilman.
Central street is the crossing that catches the most attention. It sports a US&S teardrop bell from the early days of its installation. The crossings here are gateless for the most part, and the traffic is very light. This is just to the east of the junction.
TP&W Track Profile
TP&W used to maintain three tracks in Gilman, only one crossed the
Similar to the rest, but with a different bell.
The TP&W signals are controlled by the Canadian National railroad who oversees the junction in Gilman. The signals include two approach signals on each end of the town with a CN-controlled home signal on either side. These signals have since be replaced. The new signal stands on the western side of Central Street, closer to the junction.
Industries in Gilman
Ludlow Co-Op Gilman Facility
Likely one of the original elevators in Gilman, IL - this industry is part of a chain of elevators owned along the CN line by Ludlow Co-Op out of Ludlow, IL. This one features the original elevator with concrete expansion silos and a larger set of metal silos. It seems to be dead most times I visit but of course is busy during harvest time.