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Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin

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Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin
Posted by Ringo58 on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 10:49 AM

I'm currently working on modeling southern wi and northern Il in the late 70s early 80s but I'm loose on the time. I'm curious as to what trains you would see durning this time. I know CNW is a major one along with SOO and milw but woould you see them runing togeather? or other roads common during this time?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 11:17 AM

Not sure what you mean by running together?  

Besides the roads you mentioned, the BN and Amtrak, and the EJ&E.  The MILW., by the early 80's would have been in steep decline.  The SOO took over in 1985.

Mike.

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 11:34 AM

In terms of railroads that were in BOTH northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, by which I mean, trains would cross the border which I assume is what you are asking about:

the obvious ones, Chicago & North Western, Milwaukee Road, and Soo Line had their north/south main lines on the eastern sides of both states.  Chicago commuter trains came up to Kenosha WI on the C&NW.  They still do (on the UP),.

Milwaukee Road and C&NW also both had other main lines that intersected the south central part of Wisconsin and the north central part of Illinois.  Beloit and Janesville and Lake Geneva in Wisconsin for example.  There were Chicago commuter trains to Lake Geneva into the mid 1970s.

Less well known, but it was there and pretty busy, was an Illinois Central line that came north through Freeport IL and up into Madison Wisconsin up maybe 1980 or so.  They used to bring coal to the University of Wisconsin's power plant, which was near the football stadium.

The Chicago Burlington & Quincy line to the twin cities runs along the western border of Wisconsin (that is, the Mississippi River).  In passenger train days the NP and GN also ran their passenger trains on that CB&Q route.  "Where Nature Smiles for 300 Miles" according to CB&Q passenger train advertising.  It is still a busy BNSF line.

Dave Nelson

PS.  Yes the Grand Trunk Western served Chicago and Milwaukee, and the Chesapeake & Ohio served Chicago and Milwaukee.  But not the same trains, and they did not cross the llinois/Wisconsin border.  Both Grand Trunk Western and the C&O ran trains into Chicago via land routes.  Both had trackage and small yards and locomotives in Milwaukee, but their service to Milwaukee was by great lakes car ferries.   

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 12:11 PM

If you can get your hands on a book titled A Railroad Atlas of the United States in 1946, Volume 4 by Richard C. Carpenter, it is a highly detailed set of maps ranging from broad areas of the states down to highly localized maps within the states.

Volume 4 is devoted to Illinois, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. The maps clearly trace track routes for all of the railroads crossing the Illinois-Wisconsin border and illustrate the routes throughout the states of Illinois and Wisconson in addition to the upper peninsula of Michigan. Although 1946 is the baseline, very little changed during the late 70s and early 80s.

C&NW, Milwaukee Road and the SOO Line dominate the eastern-most portion of the border between Illinois and Wisconsin.

Rich

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 1:28 PM

It depends on which part of the border you're talking about, as it's around 160 miles long. The trains you'd see in "Chicagoland" in the east edge aren't necessarily what you'd see running between Madison WI and Rockford IL in the middle, or along the Mississippi across from Dubuque IA in the west.

FWIW I spent a long weekend in Milwaukee in early 1982. You'd think in Milwaukee you'd see a lot of Milwaukee Road stuff. I think I was one Milwaukee engine working, everything else was Chicago & NorthWestern.

Stix
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 5:55 PM

wjstix

It depends on which part of the border you're talking about, as it's around 160 miles long. The trains you'd see in "Chicagoland" in the east edge aren't necessarily what you'd see running between Madison WI and Rockford IL in the middle, or along the Mississippi across from Dubuque IA in the west.

Quite true. The CB&Q runs across the western most side of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, paralleling the Missisippi River.

Rich

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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, April 16, 2020 8:49 AM

I assume the Chicago Great Western was long gone by that time period and too early for Wisconsin Southern and Wisconsin Central.   CGW ran trains with multiple F units. WS had BL-2s and WC ran pristine Sd45s

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, April 16, 2020 11:03 AM

The WSOR started in 1980, so that would fit in his time line, and the WC official start was Oct., 1987.  

The SOO took over the MILW. on Feb, 1985, and started running on the MILW. double track, that it (CP) uses now, so the SOO would still be running on their original line, in the OP's time line, later taken by the WC, and now the CN.  

Mike.

 

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Posted by Lakeshore Sub on Thursday, April 16, 2020 11:27 AM

Before you had the WSOR you had the WICT,  Wisconsin and Calumet that took over the MILW branches running through Janesville and Madison that would eventually become the WSOR. That would would have been in the 70's. Like Dave I also remember the ICG still running trains into Madison from the south into the 70's. 

Scott Sonntag  

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, April 16, 2020 1:58 PM

ndbprr

I assume the Chicago Great Western was long gone by that time period and too early for Wisconsin Southern and Wisconsin Central.   CGW ran trains with multiple F units. WS had BL-2s and WC ran pristine Sd45s 

I am no expert on CGW, far from it. But, from my book of train routes, it does not appear that CGW crossed the Illinois border into Wisconsin. Instead, it crossed the Illinois border into Iowa just below the Wisconsin border and then headed up north-northwest into Minnesota.

Rich

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, April 16, 2020 7:59 PM

richhotrain

 

 
ndbprr

I assume the Chicago Great Western was long gone by that time period and too early for Wisconsin Southern and Wisconsin Central.   CGW ran trains with multiple F units. WS had BL-2s and WC ran pristine Sd45s 

 

 

I am no expert on CGW, far from it. But, from my book of train routes, it does not appear that CGW crossed the Illinois border into Wisconsin. Instead, it crossed the Illinois border into Iowa just below the Wisconsin border and then headed up north-northwest into Minnesota.

 

Rich

 

Slightly OT here, but there generally isn't much opportunity to talk about the Chicago Great Western. 

I was born in the Chicago suburbs to parents who were both from Dubuque Iowa.  Made trips across northern Illinois along US highway 20.  Loved to look at the beautiful rolling hills scenery between Rockford IL and East Dubuque IL, that is during the few moments I could keep my attention away from my leadfoot father passing cars in between hills on that two lane road. 

An aunt and uncle lived in Oelwein IA.  CGW had a big shop operation there and they took me to see the trains a couple of times.  This would have been in the late 60s, probably just after the C&NW merger, but there was still a lot of CGW colors around.

From Dubuque, we could see Milwaukee Road painted locos running the rails that ran along the east side of the Mississippi River, along WI/IL.  Not sure if that was the 80s.  May have been the 70s.

- Douglas

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