In January of 1996, I received a phone call from my friend Chris Rose, traffic manager of the Keokuk Junction Railway. "The KJ's been sold," she said. The news came as a surprise to me. Pioneer Railcorp, the short line group based in Peoria, Illinois, had purchased the Keokuk Junction Railway.
I worked at the KJ from 1991 until 1994 as Assistant Agent. During my time with the company, I became a part of the KJ family. The atmosphere there was unlike any other short line I had visited or worked for. From the bright orange locomotives (and trolley cars!), to the efforts to restore the Keokuk Union Depot, to the office car "Chief Keokuck"--there was a touch of class about the place.
On Wednesday, March 13, 1996, Pioneer Railcorp forces moved in to take over the railroad. Several employees were fired, crews were reduced, wages and benefits were cut, and the Keokuk office was all but emptied. It was then I decided to prepare this web page as a memory of the time I spent at the KJ and a tribute to the good people I worked with, most of whom have since left the company. I hope you enjoy the photos.
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