Thanks to Chris for opening up this topic. The period from the late 1800s to the 1920s was the great 'Interurban Era' in the United States. Although there is a definite criteria to what constituted a trolley line and what constituted an interurban line, not all interurban lines were the same, either. One aspect of the Illinois Traction that seperated it from other lines was that it was built to standard railroad specifications. By using heavy rail, rock ballast, block signal equipment, large electric locos, passenger cars that rivaled steam railroad equipment, and freight rolling stock, the IT became a railroad and not a trolley line. The IT's passenger service included sleeping cars for overnight trains to St. Louis such as the 'Peoria' shown in the card below. The freight capabilities were just as impressive. The IT had a series of grain elevators on-line, built class-1 railroad rolling stock, and backed up the traffic with locos built to handle the load. The two cards below give you an idea of IT freight equipment. Another feature of the IT was the use of block signal equipment and control including the use of phones. This was important not only because of the regularity of collisions at that time, but the reluctance of regularly traveling passengers to ride anything but the most advanced and safest railroads. The card below shows a crew checking in with the dispatcher for train orders. As time went on, the automobile and steam roads made interurban lines irrelevant and, many being operated on tight budgets folded either prior or during the Depression of the 30s. The heavier-built roads that branched out into freight and operated with volume commuter traffic, the Pacific Electric, the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend, the Chicago, North Shore, & Milwaukee, the Illinois Terminal, survived into the post WW2 years. Not only was the 'Interurban Era' an important and fascinating apect in American railroading, railroads 'under the wire' were just as common a sight as steam railroads and makes for an aspect of model railroading that definitely 'stands out of the crowd'.