By the early 1850's railroad fever had spread across the Midwest as promoters clamored to reach the growing metropolis of Chicago, the future railroad capital of America.
The G&CU was chartered in 1836 and had opened from Chicago to Elgin by January of 1850.
Without strong financial backing the ABRR was forced to rely on its directors going door-to-door to sell stock subscriptions individually.
Such tactics usually have mixed results but the group was successful enough that actual construction began within a year.
While the CB&Q did operate many secondary, agricultural branches it also boasted important through corridors to the Twin Cities, Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, southern Montana, and even reached the Gulf Coast!
The Burlington was also quite close with the communities it served and highly visible in the public eye.
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