Old railroad passes can be fun to collect and I have acquired a number of them over the years. These passes could be purchased to provide passage on a railroad's passenger trains, but more often they were simply given out as tokens to railroad executives, employees and special guests. For the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis, these passes also chronicle the various changes in ownership and administration over the years.
At the top is an 1893 pass, shortly after the CP&StL was extended into St. Louis by William Hook. Hook and his family also controlled the Jacksonville Southeastern Railway and operated both railroads, although the minority shareholders from the JSE blocked him from merging the two lines together. Still, the pass from 1893 signed by Hook clearly shows the JSE connection and a map of the entire system.
By 1896, the fortunes of the CP&StL had changed. Now in receivership, all JSE references were removed from the 1896 CP&StL pass, although the railroad adopted the old JSE herald, albeit in a somewhat clumsy fashion IMO.
In 1897, the railroad was still in receivership, but now had been acquired by the creditors and renamed the "Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad of Illinois", as shown on the pass above.
With the loss of its leased section between Litchfield and Springfield, the CP&StL turned to the St. Louis, Chicago & St. Paul Railway, better known as the Bluff Line, to connect to its northern trackage. The Bluff Line was also in receivership, but the creditors saw potential in the northern section of the CP&StL and both lines were administered jointly in 1898 until they were purchased and merged together in 1900. The 1898 pass reflects this period of joint administration.
After the Bluff Line and the CP&StL combined, the CP&StL name was retained, which is shown in this 1905 pass above. This version of the railroad would continue until it too went bankrupt in 1924.
The history of the railroad is a complicated one, but it is shown clearly in the passes issued over the years.