Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad

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  • Member since
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  • From: near Chicago
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Posted by Chris30 on Saturday, April 30, 2011 9:54 AM

There's another post on this site in regards to Illinois Aerial Photos. It's aerial photos of Illinois @1938-1941. I was thinking about it when this post came back up. Linked below is a partial photo of Palatine, IL from 1938 (BWQ 04-013).

Even though the PLZ&W has been gone for fourteen years by the time of this photo you can still clearly make out the right of way. The town (partial) is in the lower right-hand corner. Quentin Road is the main road that runs straight through the middle of the picture north to south. The Chicago and Northwestern enters the picture in the lower right-hand corner running northwest out of Palatine. The PLZ&W right of way comes out of Palatine running parallel to the CNW and Colfax (in 1938 it might have been Northwest Hwy / Rt 14). A little more than half-way between Palatine and Quentin Rd the PLZ&W turns right, crosses Colfax, the proceeds straight north just east of and paralleling Quentin Rd. It crosses Baldwin Rd and / or NW Hwy Rt 14 then crosses Dundee Rd (Rt 68) before entering what is now Deer Grove Forest Preserve. The right of way veers to the northwest crossing Quentin and then exits the picture. If you zoom in it's to spot the ROW. Also, use the site to find maps of the ROW into Lake County.


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Posted by Falcon48 on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 9:57 PM

There are a couple of old ICC decisions on it, but I don't have access to them at home.  If you have access to a good law library, look up the name of the railroad in the "Hawkins Digest" of ICC decisions, and then go to the ICC reports to see the decisions.  Just off the top of my head, I recall that this line went through a couple of name changes and, at one time, was supposed to be an electric line (it may even have had the word "Traction" in one of its names), although that never happened.  I've also seen the CNW real estate valuation maps for Palatine, which shows the PLZ&W's terminal and interchange facilities quite clearly (real estate valuation maps are great for showing a "snapshot" of rail facilities around 1917 or so).

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Posted by RR Rob on Monday, April 25, 2011 3:38 PM

I don't know of anyone living that saw it first-hand, but there is an out of print book on it. I've found many parts of the old right of way, and I've found lots of artifacts; like spikes, trackbolts, a fishplate, and a ball peen hammer. The most apparent spot of where the tracks were is at the remains of an old trestle east of Quentin RD, and on the north side of Dundee RD.

  • Member since
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  • From: DeKalb, IL
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Posted by senshi on Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:55 PM

Its a short segement but it talks about it for a few minutes and there are a few pictures shown in WTTW (Chicago PBS) "Northwest of Chicago" hosted by Geoffrey Baer, Illinois Railway Museum also has a short segement in the show as well.

Watching the show is were I first heard about the railroad.

Go Huskies. Forward Together Forward

Fan of - C&NW - Milwaukee Road - CGW -

  • Member since
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  • From: Marengo, IL
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Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad
Posted by Krazykat112079 on Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:05 PM
In a recent talk with my uncle, who grew up in Wauconda, he mentioned the PLZ&W RR and talked a bit about the remains that he was able to see.  Does anyone have any memories, stories, or other such information about this railroad?  The Lake Zurich community guide has a nice write-up at this site:, but I am interested to hear what else people may know about this short-lived rail line.

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