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Western Railroad Discussion > St. Mary’s Cement Dixon IL

Date: 03/17/23 18:47
St. Mary’s Cement Dixon IL
Author: kevink

I found myself in Dixon IL late this afternoon. I made a quick detour to the ild St. Mary’s Cement plant east of town. This rather large facility has been idle for some time. From time to time, one hears of efforts to “save” the old Alco switcher still parked on site.

1 & 2. Two views of the Alco switcher
3. interesting modified hopper car

Posted from iPhone

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 18:51 by kevink.

Date: 03/17/23 18:47
Re: St. Mary’s Cement Dixon IL
Author: kevink

4. View of facility. It was a little strange standing so close to a large facily and hearing nothing but the wind. 
5. Back in town, there is a nifty hydroelectric power plant on the Rock River, one of four hydroelectric power plant along the river in Wisconsin and Illinois. 

Posted from iPhone

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 18:57 by kevink.

Date: 03/17/23 18:54
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: miralomarail

I took this photo in Oct 1980 as Medusa Pertland Cement
Tom Hirsch
Cherry Valley, Ca.

Date: 03/17/23 19:11
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: Gonut1

Did Ste Mary's go out of business because they ran the source limestone dry or the facility became financially unproductive? I'm always surprised that the cement industry in and around Allentown and Bethlehem, PA has always managed to thrive. It certainly morphs, but it is still very large and busy with new digs and have outlasted many railroads that served them, such as Lehigh & New England, Lehigh Valley, Lackawanna/E-L, Northampton and Bath, Reading, Jersey Central & Ironton. all of this amongst a growing residential and commercial region of intermodal and warehousing/distribution facilities now. Today Norfolk Southern (who would ever have thought a southern based railroad would dominate the area?) serves the Cement Belt today.
Neat old Alco pix! 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 19:12 by Gonut1.

Date: 03/17/23 21:47
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: wabash2800

Thanks for sharing. The Alco switcher looks intact.

There's some coverage of operations with photos, maps and text on Dixon, Illinois operations of the IC and C&NW plus the Medusa Cement Plant in Jim Boyd's Monday Morning Rails book. Dixon was his hometown, as it was with his childhood friend Chet French. Note that there was some street running to get to the cement plant. It's great book that is mostly on the Illinois Central but includes C&NW, Milwaukee Road, CB&Q and CGW, among other roads. Most of the photos are in color that include plenty of freight and long gone passenger trains. Jim worked on the IC before moving on to a shorter than planned stint with EMD. I highly recommend the book. In addition to the great photography, it's fun to read, railroaders included.

Victor Baird

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 21:52 by wabash2800.

Date: 03/18/23 07:45
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: IC_2024

I have slides of that switcher running there in summer ‘78– it was an R/C loco and I remember the operator “standing in the gauge” of the track as he brought the engine to him, and casually got on one of those Pilot footboards that had been outlawed years before as he talked to us — very unsafe move. If you missed the footboard, it would run right over you and we were shocked to see it. This was on a railfan trip where my youth Pastor, Jim McKay, took me and a couple of buddies to see the famed North Western Steel and Wire ex-GTW 0-8-0’s in Sterling and we stopped here on our way. On the way back, we checked out the MILW RD at Savanna, IL— what an awesome day!

Date: 03/18/23 16:25
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: mp51w

I like that power plant shot!  It doesn't need a train.

Date: 03/18/23 17:01
Re: St. Marys Cement Dixon IL
Author: brc600

Ex Nickel Plate Alco S-2

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