Another one of the minor railroads in the Illinois Valley was the Santa Fe. Starting in the 1890’s, the Santa Fe travelled south and west from Chicago through Lemont and Joliet en route to Peoria, St.Louis and points west. In the Chicago–Denver route, it stopped once at Coal City and Lemont and Joliet 5 times. The Chicago–Peoria–St.Louis route travelled several times a day between Chicago and Joliet.
The railroad was chartered in 1859. It was originally organized to connect Atchinson and Topeka in Kansas and Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was originally known as the Atchinson & Topeka Railroad. After, the completion of its original route, it’s name was changed to the Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe
It expanded both east and west. It reached Needles,CA. in1883; Los Angeles in1885; San Fracisco in 1900. It continued its growth through mergers and new construction. In 1888, it reached Chicago. By the early 1900’s, it spread south providing service to multiple cities in Texas and Western Louisiana.
It became efficient in rapidly moving freight between Chicago and other Midwestern cities and cities on the west coat.
It became known for its rapid and efficient passenger service. Lines were known as a the Chief, the Super Chief, Texas Chief, San Francisco Chief, and El Capitan.
The railroad was quick to embrace new technologies such as autotracks (railroad cars with multiple levels to haul automobiles), piggyback service (trailer on a flat car), inter modal service.
In 1994, the SantaFe merged with Burlington Northern.