cnw cowboy line question

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  • Member since
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cnw cowboy line question
Posted by CNW_4009 on Friday, November 17, 2017 6:01 PM

The CNW  cowboy line (otherwise Known as the Western  Division) was abandoned, but I have heard that the Neb-Kota Railroad purchased it.   Is this line still active?

Thank you

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Posted by Falcon48 on Sunday, December 03, 2017 10:50 AM

This is strictly from memory, so someone else may have more specific  information.  But here goes:

1.  There wasn't just one "Cowboy Line" abandonment - there were several.  One of the first segments to go was the segment east of Norfolk towards Omaha, abandoned in favor of trackage rights over UP (I believe it was in the 1970's or early 80's). The largest segment of the Cowboy line to be abandoned on one step was the Norfolk-Merriman segment. A disconnected segment running west from Crawford to the point of connection with the segment retained for the PRB line was abandoned shortly before the Norfolk-Merriman segment due to a severe washout which destroyed much of the line in the White River Canyon.  The segment west of the PRB line to Casper was abandoned later (much of it was on BN trackage rights, which had replaced CNW's own line, possibly around WWII).  The segment between Casper and Lander had also been abandoned much earlier.

2.  Nebkota acquired the portion of the Norfolk-Chadron line running between Chadron and Merriman.  An affiliate of DM&E purchased the line from Crawford through Dakota Jct and then to Rapid City.  Nebkota had trackage rights over the latter line between Dakota Jct (near Chadron) and Crawford (BN connection).  The Nebkota line was not successful and was abandoned in segments.  I believe that all that's left today is a small amount of trackage around Chadron.

3.  The rest of the Norfolk-Chadron line (i.e. the segment between Merriman and Norfolk) was never a part of Nebkota. It was sold (I believe to the state) for trail use.


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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, December 03, 2017 7:17 PM

Chadron east is gone except forsome tail track beyond the east siding switch. After a grain car derailment, that is even shrinking. The "new" brick CNW division headquarters building is now the local power company headquarters,

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, December 03, 2017 7:52 PM
Chicago & North Western abandons line across northern Nebraska
from Trains April 1993  p. 26

Issue still available for $5.99 - click on the "Train April 1993" part. 

- PDN. 


"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by MarknLisa on Monday, December 04, 2017 4:51 PM

Interesting story in Nebraska Live publised in '13


  • Member since
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Posted by CNW_4009 on Monday, December 04, 2017 8:35 PM
Thank you for the information.

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