The Illinois Railroad Association was formed in December of 1950 at a meeting of the Chicago Railroad Presidents’ Conference.
Since the early 1900s, the Chicago Railroad Presidents’ Conference, which was made up of the presidents or general counsels of the largest railroads operating in Illinois, monitored state and federal legislative activity through a committee called the Illinois Legislative Committee. The Conference also had a Tax Committee and a Railroad Operating Committee.
The Illinois Legislative Committee was charged with the responsibility of testifying at legislative hearings, sending copies of legislation and journals to member railroads, preparing weekly updates and progress reports on legislative activity, and reporting on any bills that were ultimately enacted into law.
By 1950, the leaders of the Chicago Railroad Presidents' Conference decided that a more structured, independent, full-time organization should bear the responsibility for monitoring state and federal issues that have a direct impact on the railroad industry. Railroad associations had already been established in other states around the country.
On February 1, 1951, the Chicago Railroad Presidents’ Conference reorganized its Illinois Legislative Committee and created the Illinois Railroad Association with an initial annual budget of $30,000 and with the ten largest members of the Chicago Railroad Presidents’ Conference serving on the Executive Committee.
Dramatic changes in the railroad industry over the years have had a positive effect. The industry is safer, more shipper-oriented and more profitable.
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