This key is a fine example from the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, an important railway operation in midwest U.S.A. states, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
It is strongly stamped ICGRR in an arc on the bow. Very likely it was made by Keline, but there is no maker mark. The color is an attractive, deepening brass. This key is a great display with light use apparent. The bit edges and barrel end are just nicely rounded, documenting service.
BACKGROUND: The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad emerged from a 1972 merger of the famous Illinois Central Railroad and the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad. By the end of 1980, the ICG operated on 13,532 miles of track; that year it reported 33,276 million ton-miles of revenue freight and 323 million passenger-miles. Later in that decade, the railroad spun off most of its east–west lines and many of its redundant north–south lines, including much of the former GM&O. Most of these lines were bought by other railroads. In 1988 the railroad's then-parent company IC Industries spun off its remaining rail assets and changed its name to the Whitman Corporation (which became PepsiAmericas in 2000 and was acquired outright by PepsiCo in 2010). On February 29, 1988, the newly separated ICG dropped the "Gulf" from its name and again became the Illinois Central Railroad.
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Vintage Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Brass Switch Key