The Illinois Central was a major carrier of passengers on its Chicago to New Orleans line and between Chicago and St. Louis. The IC reached Bloomington in May 1853 (followed by the Chicago and Alton Railroad that October.) Amtrak began operating these passenger lines in 1971. In 1972, the Illinois Central merged with the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad to form the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad (ICG).
The collection includes general histories and system maps, land sales advertisements from the mid nineteenth century, timetables, freight tariff schedules, land leases, employment applications, maintenance documents, and many internal forms.