Train

The Midlothian & Blue Island Railway

by Larry Plachno

PDF File of Article Available


In the 1890s, golf, the national game of Scotland, became popular in the United States. Several prominent Chicagoians founded the third such country club in the suburban Chicago area on January 22, 1898. It was located on a plot of land in a remote area about 18 miles southwest of Chicago and named the Midlothian County Club from the Sir Walter Scott book The Heart of Midlothian.

Since there were no paved roads in the area, transportation became a major issue. Several business leaders joined together to build a railroad to provide transportation to their new country club. The railroad was originally planned to connect the country club with Blue Island, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago and the nearest location having a railroad station with an agent. However, the Rock Island Railroad met with the railroad builders and changed their mind. The Rock Island not only promised to provide satisfactory service to what they called Rexford Crossings for these prominent Chicagoians but also agreed to build the railroad on a "cost plus" basis.

The resulting short railroad was initially steam powered and most likely could boast of having the greatest number of millionaire owners per mile of track. In later years the railroad was operated electrically and was probably the only railroad ever owned by a country club. It continued in operation until roads in the area became paved.

Click on the link below to download a PDF file covering the history of the Midlothian & Blue Island Railway.

Midlothian & Blue Island Railway

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Last updated 07/25/2014