From Oaks, the main line continues northeast and turns north-northwest at the wye at Fulton Junction (MP 406.1), where the speed limit is 25 mph and a line north from Jackson trails in from the south-southeast. There is a large yard at Fulton, on the Bluford Cutoff, on the west side of Fulton Junction. The Bluford Cutoff leaves the mainline to the east, here, crossing the Ohio at Paducah, where ICís locomotive shops are located, and rejoining the mainline at Edgewood. The single track, ABS, main line crosses the Bluford Cutoff at the north end of the yard, with connections, and passes the Fulton station (MP 404.6), where the speed limit rises to the line limits of 79-60. CTC starts at Buda (MP 402.6), where the two main tracks reduce to single (40 mph on the turnout), and the line passes Crutchfield, turning north (70-50 on the curve) past the 10,527 ft. siding at Clinton (MP 392.1), a detector at MP 384.6, and Arlington, and curvily northwest (70-60, then 50-45, and then 70-60 on successive curves) past the 10,564 ft. siding at Bardwell (MP 378.1), Winford Junction, where a former Mobile & Ohio line once trailed in from the southwest, the large paper mill at WestVaCo (MP 372.5, 25 mph on a bridge), MP 371.3 & 371, where the speed restriction is 40 mph in the cut and on the curve, Wickliffe (MP 369.9), on the east bank of the Mississippi River just south of its confluence with the Ohio River, Fillmore (MP 368.5), where two main track start (40 mph on the turnout) at that confluence, a turn to the north-northwest with speed limit 60-40 on track 1 (the westerly track) and 60-50 on track 2, East Cairo, where a line west from Paducah trails in from the east and the speed limit become 50-40 on track 1 and 40 mph on track 2, and Ballard (MP 364.5).
At Cairo, the line turns just south of due west, and crosses the Ohio River into Illinois on a 12-span (six through truss, six deck girder), since 1951 (previously nine through truss from 1889 to 1951) bridge (speed limit 20 mph), which also crosses some former Big Four trackage on the north bank (west side at this point), to Illinois (MP 363.1), where CTC ends and ABS (Yard Limits) starts and the line turns just west of north, with speed limit 40 mph, past North Cairo, where the speed limit falls to 25 mph the former Big Four trackage trails in on the east side and there is a wye on the west side with former Mobile & Ohio trackage along the east bank of the Mississippi, to the passenger station at Cairo (MP 361.4).
The railroad is double track, ABS, speed limit 79-60, from Cairo north to Mounds Junction (MP 356.3), but single track, CTC, maximum speed limit 79-60 thence to the start of the Metra Electric suburban line, eight miles south of Homewood. IC carries much freight to and from the Ohio River barge terminals at Mound City, accessed by a short branch southeast from Mounds Junction, but symbolled by the railroad as if they were in Cairo. There was once a branch west from Mounds Junction, also. The line continues north, past some 65-40 curves, Villa Ridge, a detector at MP 351.9, Pulaski, where it turns north-northeast, Ullin (MP 344.6), where it turns northeast and a former C&EI line once crossed at grade, and then turns north (speed limit 60-40 on the curve), past the 13,664 ft. siding on the east side at Wetaug (MP 340.8)and a detector at MP 340.3, northeast past Dongola, into hilly country, curvily north (speeds 45-40) and then northwest, with speed limit 50-40 past Balcom, north and then northwest past a detector at MP 328.8 and the 10,564 ft. siding on the west side at Anna (MP 328.7), where the speed limit rises to 60-40, curvily north past Cobden (MP 323.4), curvily north-northeast with speed limit 45-40 to MP 322.8, 60-40 to Makanda and MP 318.4. and curvily north with speed limit 45-40 to MP 316.6 and then 60-40 to Boskey Dell and MP 311, and then due north, out of the hills, to MP 308.8, start of a section of two main tracks, speed limit 40 mph.
At Carbondale (MP 308.1), the passenger depot at the southern terminus of the Amtrak regional corridor in downstate Illinois is on the west side of the line, there are four grade crossings, and a branch once headed west from a still extant wye on the west side, that crosses the street running alongside the line on that side, with both legs, and branches once headed east into the Illinois coal country on the east side from a small (at least four tracks) yard on the east side, where an old coaling tower still stands and there is an extant coal loadout with a spur.
The line continues north past a grade crossing, formerly rail-served silos on the east side, MP 305.7, where single track resumes (40 mph on the turnout) with full line speeds, a dirt road grade crossing, a street to the east, a bridge over a river, Big Muddy, two dirt track grade crossings, a grade crossing in town, De Soto, where the former MP line headed east from Gorham bridges overhead on a deck girder bridge, Ward, where a spur to the Truax Traer Mines 1 & 2 once headed west, a dirt road grade crossing, Halidayboro, a road bridge overhead, a grade crossing, Elkville (MP 295.5). where a spur to the Black Servant Mine once headed west, two grade crossings, a road alongside to the east, a grade crossing, Dowell, a dirt road grade crossing, a detector at MP 293.4, a grade crossing just north of the detector, an erstwhile wye on the east side where a spur to the Kathleen Mine once headed east, Security Mine, where a spur to the New Kathleen Mine once headed west, a dirt track grade crossing, Dowell Junction (MP 290.5), where two main tracks begin again, the speed limit falls to 40 mph, and a single track IC line trails in from the coal country to the east, a spur trailing in from the east just north of the junction, MP 290, a grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, a grade crossing just south of Du Quoin (MP 287.8), where the passenger depot (Amshelter) is on the west side of the line, a grade crossing just north of the station, a grade crossing, three extra tracks to the east, and St. Johns (MP 285.4), the west side wye junction with the IC St. Louis line once used by Amtrakís River Cities, where a spur trails in from the east, there is a grade crossing and extra track to the east.