Editor's note: We received this letter from Jim Flynn of Rutland commenting on an article on MinonkTalk about a railroad between Rutland and Toluca in 1929.
The Toluca, Magnolia, and Northern RR, nicknamed "The Coal Line", ran from Rutland west to Toluca, then north to Spring Valley. There was a depot in Rutland, north of today's Ruff grain facility. Mary Lawless was agent. There was no connection to the Illinois Central.
On the right side of the 1929 aerial photo shown below, the I.C. is seen leaving town in a northerly direction. The still visible TM&N roadbed departs from nearly the same point and curves west, where it crosses U.S. 51 in the center of photo. One small section of this roadbed, overgrown with brush and trees, still exists near Toluca. Otherwise, gravel is still seen mixed in the topsoil where it once passed.
Every Sunday, my grandmother used to board this train with Dad and his brother, then kids, to visit her family in Toluca. Later they rode it back home. In summer the tall weeds in places were so close to the passing cars, that one dared not to extend an arm out the window.