Bloomington, midway between Chicago and St. Louis, was the location of the shops where GM&O motive power and equipment were repaired and maintained. Several vintage limestone buildings dating from the Alton Route era housed the shop and terminal facilities. In addition, a freight yard operation handled the sorting of cars going to or from local lineside industries, the main line, the Jacksonville line, or transfer to other railroads (Nickel Plate, Illinois Central or the New York Central's Peoria & Eastern branch). A small fleet of Alco switchers and road switchers performed local freight and switching chores; these locomotives could always be spotted in the yard or at servicing facilities, and usually some EMD road freight units as well.

Street overpasses both south and north of the yard afforded good vantage points for photography, easily reached via bicycle in my pre-driving days. In the era before railroads had become as sensitive as today regarding security and liability, there was relatively free access to the terminal area. In addition, my father knew one of the shop officials who hosted us in a tour of the repair facilities on at least one occasion. The photos below record activity in the Bloomington yard, terminal and shops from 1954 through 1959, with a few later views taken by my brother, the late David V. Leonard. You may bring up each page individually, or navigate through the gallery sequentially.