Since the inception of this website in 2017 there have been a number of new projects completed on the
GM&O Railroad Heritage Trail.
First was the reinstallation of mileposts 631 and 632 as well MP 0 at Millstadt Junction. These are exact reproductions of the originals thanks to the foresight of a local resident who “rescued” MP 631 from being scrapped. He allowed us to use it to make a pattern for the reproductions. They were
manufactured by General Machine of Freeburg, IL.
Reproduction whistle posts were also added for the northbound and southbound Rueck Rd crossing as well as the southbound Locust St. crossing. The pattern for these came from an original whistle post
that a trail proponent found left partially standing for the northbound Centerville Ave./South Metter crossings. The original will be restored and returned to its former location once that section of the trail is paved. The reproduction posts were also made by General Machine.
Corporation Line Sign
A reproduction Corporation Line sign was placed in its original spot just north of the Rueck Rd crossing.The reproduction was made possible through the financial generosity of the Oerter Foundation. It was cast by Advanced Pattern Works of Collinsville IL using the slightly damaged original that was dug up near the original location by the City of Columbia Department of Public Works (DOPW) in the late 1980’s. Fortunately, one of the DOPW workers knew his brother was a GM&O RR historical buff and might want it. It was saved and restored to create the reproduction. Once the trail is paved south to Rt 3, the south end reproduction Corporation Line sign will be returned to its original location. These signs were placed by the railroad at the Columbia city limits around 1900. The southern Illinois towns of Ava, Alto Pass and Jonesboro still have their signs in place.
Rueck Rd Crossing Signals
The crossbucks and crossing signals were returned to the Rueck Rd crossing with minor modifications to alert drivers to a “TRAIL” crossing. While non-operational, the signals bring back the memories of when trains crossed this street. The plan is to return the crossbucks and signals to every street crossing (Locust, Cherry, Metter/Ferkel and Centerville) as the city acquires used signs and signals.
Millstadt Junction Trestle
Volunteers restored the trestle at MP 631.84 which had many rotted timbers. It was rebuilt using the same dimension lumber as the original as well as much of the old hardware. The rebuild required one
cap replacement along with three new stringers, a complete deck and curbing. Current code railings were also added. Special thanks to the following individuals who volunteered (in alphabetical order):
Bob and Mary Ellen Niemietz
Jon and Jack Sander
What to Expect Next
In 2021 the City will begin a Quarry Rd improvement project which will add a trail to the south side of Quarry Rd that will connect to the current trail at Millstadt Junction. The new trail will extend from Millstadt Junction east to Rueck Rd.
Also, as the Creekside Park project begins, the GM&O Trail will connect with a new Creekside Park trail via a new bridge between the two trails.
Finally, the City has applied for a grant to begin the extension of the trail south from Cherry St. to Centerville Ave. If we receive the grant, construction is expected to begin in 2022.