While the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway Co. might best be remembered in history for its imposing Union Station and its adjacent train shed (detailed in Transportation Chapter), its major impact on the community and the area has been, and continues to be, its function as the Peoria Gateway. This concept grew out of the confusion created by the massive entanglement that existed 100 years ago when the railroads in Peoria and Pekin ran through and around the towns in a virtual fishnet pattern. From the tangle of trackage, the Peoria and Pekin Union created an orderly flow with an efficiency and logic that remain to this day.
The Railway was founded in 1880 when Peoria was a busy river town with a population of 29,249. It has remained through the great age of railroading and into the present as a vital link in the transportation of raw materials and finished products in this important Central Illinois market.