Return of the Kettle Moraine Railway?

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Return of the Kettle Moraine Railway?
Posted by W. Dancey on Saturday, February 01, 2014 4:07 PM
Whilst browsing on google maps, I scanned over the site of the now defunct Kettle Moraine Railway in North Lake, Wi. The four mile heritage railroad used to feature two operating steam locomotives and a considerable amount of rolling stock. It ceased operations in 2001 when complaints of the "mess" started to pour in from the rapid growth of suburbia. However, the station, shop, and other buildings still exist on site, and a considerable amount of railbed is still in situ. Perhaps sometime in the future a portion of the line could be reactivated?! Does anyone in this vast network of railfans know more about the condition of the railways remains?
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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 02, 2014 9:41 AM

If complaints of whiny suburbanites closed the railroad there's very little chance of it coming back.  Personally I'd think it VERY cool to have a steam railroad in the neighborhood, and I imagine so would most of the posters on the Forum, but that's just us.

See, this is a problem all over the country as urban sprawl eats its way into the more rural areas.  Outsiders move into an area and expect the long term residents are going to bend over backwards to accomodate them.  It can be a tourist railroad, a shooting range, a hog or dairy farm, a dirt race track, or whatever.  All of a sudden those new homeowners who didn't do their homework and take a good look at the area throw their little tantrums and louse things up for everyone else.  And it does no good for the targets of the complaints to say "Hey!  Wait a minute!  We were here FIRST!"  And in the end, the only winners are the lawyers.

Sorry to vent here, but I see it happening over and over.  And it sucks.

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Posted by vsmith on Sunday, February 02, 2014 10:54 AM

Closing a RR is nothing, the whining screaming ninnies out here be-hitched and cried so much they got an entire Marine Corp airbase to shut down. MCAS El Toro for decades was out in the middle of the boonies until explosive growth in the 1980-90's saw suburban sprawl spread to the very fenceline of the base, then the complete idiots who somehow associated an active Marine Corp airstation being no busier (or louder) than a small municipal airport bought up those houses only to shocked to their senses by the roar of an F-18 taking off. So what do they do? Do they say gee we screwed up and maybe should have done our homework before buying???Oh no, they call their representatives in DC and Sacramento and gripe gripe gripe until finally in the late 1990's it closed as part of the base realignments, and all activity shifted to China Lake which hopefully  is soooo remote in the desert that the ninnies while never reach those borders. The crying idiots were a big part of the decision to close it.

The same breed of whiners are one of the reason the Top Gun naval air school moved from NAS Mirimar to Nevada.

BTW did you know there are the same whiners in Durango Colorado who want the Silverton line to shut down for the same reasons in the OP? Is there anyway to exorcise the stupid from these folks???

    Have fun with your trains

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 02, 2014 4:24 PM

Oh yeah, as an old Marine I know all about El Toro being shut down.  The only bright side is that the Marine Corps made a hell of a lot of money from the sale of the real estate.

No, there's no way to exorcise the stupid, self-absorbed, short-sighted, and just plain spoiled rotten from society.  It'll get worse before it gets better, if it ever does  God help us.

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Posted by Todd M. Taylor on Saturday, August 05, 2017 10:06 PM

There definitely won't be a come-back of the KMSRy... as of now, the entire property is devoid of any evidence of the once tourist railroad.  Crying

Apparently the depot got moved off the site in November of 2016 according to this photo:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstlight55/30602150670

If anyone knows where the depot was moved to, I'd appreaciate knowing the answer to this mystery.  I have a picture on my desk of me standing on the pilot of KMSRy engine #9 when I was probably 10 years old.  I'll forever be bitter that the train is gone!  Angry

 

 

 

Sincerely,
Todd M. Taylor
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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, August 06, 2017 7:49 AM

While it is true that the Kettle Moraine Railway was cited twice by the Village of Merton, WI.     I would not call that harrassment nor would I say the City fined the railroad out of existance.    The owner of the Kettle Moraine Railway was operating a shoe string operation at best.    In fact, revenues from hauling passengers were not covering the true cost of running the railroad.    The rail line was slowly deterioriating over time and it would have been forced into shut down eventually due to inability to pay it's bills.    As much as railfans complain, this is yet another operation no railfan stepped forwards in an attempt to save or financially contribute to.

The City of Merton had a point with it's Junk Ordinance and I don't think it was a bunch of yuppies or Nimby's leading the charge.    The problem was the owner of the Kettle Moraine Railway built a small yard in North Lake which wasn't originally part of the operation and slowly proceeded to fill the small yard with broken down or dipliated railway equipment.    Now to the owner this equipment was a future preservation effort.   To surrounding residents it looked like rat infested hole  as some of the equipment was surrounded by heavy brush or weeds, broken windows on some of the coaches, etc. 

All this guy had to do, was get rid of the dipilated equipment he was storing outdoors (easily done as I believe he still had a connection with ex-C&NW or get the buyer to truck it away) clean up the weeds and brush around the buildings on his lot and put a fresh coat of paint on some of the sheds.    The bottom line was he did not have the money to do this and nobody was willing to step in and help.......he was also getting old with nobody to turn the operation of the railroad over to (as it was losing money and not even a break even proposition).    While it is true the City of Merton could have helped instead of push a failing operation over the edge.   The City's goal was compliance with the code that residents were complaining about.   The citations were merely a soft slap on the hand compared to what the City could have done.

The Kettle Moraine Railway was surviving in part on state funds and state aid to keep the track in reasonable enough shape the FRA would not close them down.   So largely, the full cost of track maintenence was not even being paid for by the owner..........the taxpayers were springing for it.     Now if you rode the train and talked with the owner he was a railfans dream full of hope about the future.    Heck I asked him about starting up freight service again and his answer was "Well we have done feasibility studies on doing that but have not found that it would be economically feasible to do so".     Bottom line really was he didn't want to bother because with only 7 miles of line, what could he charge?    There was plenty of opportunity to locate a major business on his line if he extended the effort because his railroad was in one of the fastest growing counties in the state.   The State was already helping the guy with track maintenence they would have been happy to assist with business relo or search.   The fact he didn't want to go that route is telling of where the railroad was eventually headed.    

Additionally, he had the opportunity to extend the line eastward towards WSOR at Granville via purchase of the abandoned portions of the line.    He choose not to do that either.........again I think it was lack of money but only he knows the real reason.   East of Merton on the line at Lannon was one of the most famous stone quaries in the state, the Lannon quary, known for Lannon Stone which many in the construction business prefer to build and finish with.    Could have struck up a business relationship with them if he wanted to.    Further East in Sussex he could have struck a business relationship with railfan Henry Quaddrucci of Quad Graphics for potentially some traffic.     Nope, it was maintain the status quo as much as possible and maybe one day create a nice little museum like IRM where at his leasure he could run trains in full scale and collect admissions.

If you have an owner unwilling to expand the business beyond where it is today and it is losing money today.    You do not need to be a rail genius to predict what will eventually happen.   Maintaining the status quo is not a healthly ongoing business plan.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, August 06, 2017 8:53 AM

Thanks CMStPnP, that was interesting.  And a lesson as well.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Sunday, August 06, 2017 11:39 AM

CMStPnP

While it is true that the Kettle Moraine Railway was cited twice by the Village of Merton, WI.     I would not call that harrassment nor would I say the City fined the railroad out of existance.    The owner of the Kettle Moraine Railway was operating a shoe string operation at best.    In fact, revenues from hauling passengers were not covering the true cost of running the railroad.    The rail line was slowly deterioriating over time and it would have been forced into shut down eventually due to inability to pay it's bills.    As much as railfans complain, this is yet another operation no railfan stepped forwards in an attempt to save or financially contribute to.

The City of Merton had a point with it's Junk Ordinance and I don't think it was a bunch of yuppies or Nimby's leading the charge.    The problem was the owner of the Kettle Moraine Railway built a small yard in North Lake which wasn't originally part of the operation and slowly proceeded to fill the small yard with broken down or dipliated railway equipment.    Now to the owner this equipment was a future preservation effort.   To surrounding residents it looked like rat infested hole  as some of the equipment was surrounded by heavy brush or weeds, broken windows on some of the coaches, etc. 

All this guy had to do, was get rid of the dipilated equipment he was storing outdoors (easily done as I believe he still had a connection with ex-C&NW or get the buyer to truck it away) clean up the weeds and brush around the buildings on his lot and put a fresh coat of paint on some of the sheds.    The bottom line was he did not have the money to do this and nobody was willing to step in and help.......he was also getting old with nobody to turn the operation of the railroad over to (as it was losing money and not even a break even proposition).    While it is true the City of Merton could have helped instead of push a failing operation over the edge.   The City's goal was compliance with the code that residents were complaining about.   The citations were merely a soft slap on the hand compared to what the City could have done.

The Kettle Moraine Railway was surviving in part on state funds and state aid to keep the track in reasonable enough shape the FRA would not close them down.   So largely, the full cost of track maintenence was not even being paid for by the owner..........the taxpayers were springing for it.     Now if you rode the train and talked with the owner he was a railfans dream full of hope about the future.    Heck I asked him about starting up freight service again and his answer was "Well we have done feasibility studies on doing that but have not found that it would be economically feasible to do so".     Bottom line really was he didn't want to bother because with only 7 miles of line, what could he charge?    There was plenty of opportunity to locate a major business on his line if he extended the effort because his railroad was in one of the fastest growing counties in the state.   The State was already helping the guy with track maintenence they would have been happy to assist with business relo or search.   The fact he didn't want to go that route is telling of where the railroad was eventually headed.    

Additionally, he had the opportunity to extend the line eastward towards WSOR at Granville via purchase of the abandoned portions of the line.    He choose not to do that either.........again I think it was lack of money but only he knows the real reason.   East of Merton on the line at Lannon was one of the most famous stone quaries in the state, the Lannon quary, known for Lannon Stone which many in the construction business prefer to build and finish with.    Could have struck up a business relationship with them if he wanted to.    Further East in Sussex he could have struck a business relationship with railfan Henry Quaddrucci of Quad Graphics for potentially some traffic.     Nope, it was maintain the status quo as much as possible and maybe one day create a nice little museum like IRM where at his leasure he could run trains in full scale and collect admissions.

If you have an owner unwilling to expand the business beyond where it is today and it is losing money today.    You do not need to be a rail genius to predict what will eventually happen.   Maintaining the status quo is not a healthly ongoing business plan.

 

sadly that the case with so many rail fans. They have no problems chasing steam excursions creating traffic issues, trespassing  on private property, but when it comes to buying a ticket, or making a donation they are no where to be found. If your going to play you need to pay. 

Many rail fans will be the first to jump in and complain that they closings down an operation.  But they have no first hand knowledge of the situation but many harden opinions of why the poor operator was forced out of business. The villian isn't always the ninnies or the people paying the property taxes.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, August 06, 2017 12:09 PM

ROBERT WILLISON
sadly that the case with so many rail fans. They have no problems chasing steam excursions creating traffic issues, trespassing  on private property, but when it comes to buying a ticket, or making a donation they are no where to be found. If your going to play you need to pay.  Many rail fans will be the first to jump in and complain that they closings down an operation.  But they have no first hand knowledge of the situation but many harden opinions of why the poor operator was forced out of business. The villian isn't always the ninnies or the people paying the property taxes.

The tragedy was he had a wealthy railfan in Henry Quadrucci that I am more than sure would have helped him out.......if he even asked but he didn't ask.    Heck, Qaud even had a private mini-streamliner stored next to his Sussex plant and was shipping a lot of paper over Soo, WC and now CN.   So the guy had a history of frivoloous spending on rail equipment he didn't need.

I followed the story in the local papers as it developed he did blame Merton but he also said the operation was no longer economically viable (so he was honest at least at why they went out of business).     This operation could have easily been saved with just a little help.    His only attempt to seek help other than State of Wisconsin grants was a few last min articles in the local press.    Not sure what year he went out of business but I think he should have made the moves in the 1970's at making his operation more self sufficient.    He made the decision to ride it into the ground and that is what happened.

As for the Bug Line (going off memory for a lot of this), it was originally built as a railroad apart from the Milwaukee Road and it was named something like Milwaukee, Menonominee Falls & Superior. The original line construction was financed by two multi-millionaires, one made his fortune in crop futures and another in stone.    Their original target for traffic was the many stone quaries along the line (including the Lanon Quary).    They also served a huge cannery in Sussex I think.   Anyhoo, Milwaukee bought them out and merged into the Milwaukee road 1895 or 1900ish.    Traffic largely disappeared by 1970's and I think that is when the Milwaukee filed for abandonment (1976 or 1977?).      It was called the Bug Line because the route zigs and zags like a bug in flight on it's way to North Lake.

Believe it or not North Lake was a famous C&NW stop, though I can't see on former timetables that trains stopped there.    The historical crew at the Fontanne Mansion in Genesee Depot insists that Hollywood Stage Artists like Paul Lynde, Milton Burle, George Burns would detrain in North Lake from the C&NW to travel to visit the Fontanne Family Estate (link below).   My guess is because of the UP Streamliner Connection with C&NW.    Between 1870's and 1930-1940, the Lake Country area was an advertised resort stop on C&NW, TMER&LCO, as well as Milwaukee (Hartland, Pewaukee, Nashotah, and Oconomowoc depots were pretty big on the Milwaukee Road line).   Lots of Lake Hotels, Cottages and even an amusement Park on one Lake (Waukesha Beach) drew the tourists in.

http://www.tenchimneys.org/    <<<------ Fontanne Mansion.

The KM Passenger Cars I believe went to Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom.    Not sure on the Steam Engine (he probably had multiple offers on that obviously).    The Depot I think was to be preserved somewhere but I don't remember where they moved it either.     It was the most substantial depot on the line I believe.    The Sussex depot looked like a broom closet with two windows.   Lannon Quary was a little larger but not much.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, August 06, 2017 12:25 PM

If your ever in the Lake Country just West of Milwaukee, here are two former resort hotels that eventually became excellent eating places.

Red Circle Inn - Where the plans for the Hiawatha Streamliner were first sketched out on a napkin during a power dinner with the Milwaukee's Chief Engineer.    Across Highway C and down the street from the Inn are the Remnants of the former Milwaukee Road Nashotah Station which was built into a hill, second story street level, first story was train level.    Used as a private warehouse last I checked.

http://www.redcircleinn.com/

Seven Seas - One of the best Friday Night all you can eat Fish Fry's in the Midwest, a little pricey but you can't beat the lake views or the Sunset on the lake.   You can easily see why this was once a hotel, then became an asylum now a restaurant run by the hard-working Wiessgerber Family (German of course).

http://www.sevenseaswi.com/

There are more but above two are good representative samples.

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, August 07, 2017 11:15 AM

Who had removed the hair (depilated) from the equipment? Smile

Oh, you meant "delapidated?"

Johnny

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, August 07, 2017 12:31 PM

Probably it will become another rail trail.

My city use to have a railroad through it. Pioneer Valley Railroad. Now a rail trail but we still have the station and a rail trail to two other cities.

The railroad still exist but is a sixteen mile shortline connecting with the CSX in a nearby city.

Rich

N

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Posted by RME on Monday, August 07, 2017 10:01 PM

Deggesty
Who had removed the hair (depilated) from the equipment? Smile

Oh, you meant "delapidated?"

No, Johnny, that would involve removing stone from it.  He meant 'dilapidated'.

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 8:50 PM

Firelock76

Oh yeah, as an old Marine I know all about El Toro being shut down.  The only bright side is that the Marine Corps made a hell of a lot of money from the sale of the real estate.

No, there's no way to exorcise the stupid, self-absorbed, short-sighted, and just plain spoiled rotten from society.  It'll get worse before it gets better, if it ever does  God help us.

 

A lot of former bases have closed over the years because they became surplus, not needed in today's military, not ncessarily because of NIMBY neighbors.

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 9:28 PM

CMStPnP

If your ever in the Lake Country just West of Milwaukee, here are two former resort hotels that eventually became excellent eating places.

Red Circle Inn - Where the plans for the Hiawatha Streamliner were first sketched out on a napkin during a power dinner with the Milwaukee's Chief Engineer.    Across Highway C and down the street from the Inn are the Remnants of the former Milwaukee Road Nashotah Station which was built into a hill, second story street level, first story was train level.    Used as a private warehouse last I checked.

http://www.redcircleinn.com/

Seven Seas - One of the best Friday Night all you can eat Fish Fry's in the Midwest, a little pricey but you can't beat the lake views or the Sunset on the lake.   You can easily see why this was once a hotel, then became an asylum now a restaurant run by the hard-working Wiessgerber Family (German of course).

http://www.sevenseaswi.com/

There are more but above two are good representative samples.

 

Thanks!!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 4:50 PM

schlimm
 
Firelock76

Oh yeah, as an old Marine I know all about El Toro being shut down.  The only bright side is that the Marine Corps made a hell of a lot of money from the sale of the real estate.

No, there's no way to exorcise the stupid, self-absorbed, short-sighted, and just plain spoiled rotten from society.  It'll get worse before it gets better, if it ever does  God help us.

 

 

 

A lot of former bases have closed over the years because they became surplus, not needed in today's military, not ncessarily because of NIMBY neighbors.

 

Not in this case.  In addition to the NIMBY's there were quite a few politically well-connected developers salivating over the property. 

As I said, in the end it worked out.  The Marines did make a ton of money selling the property which they put to good use elsewhere. 

Anyway the Marines aren't like the other services, there's no Marine bases or facilities surplus to their needs, the Corps' not that big.  At any given time there's only 180,000 to 190,000 Marines.  Three divisions, three air wings.  That's all.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, August 10, 2017 6:56 AM

Does the Marine Corps really serve a role anymore that can't be served by the other Uniformed Services?

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:51 AM

As a veteran who reads the American Legion magazine regularly, my comment is that the Marines are somewhat specialized for water-born attacking that requires a Navel operation primarily but involves land operations momentarily.  For example, if the USA were to invade a country by sea, the analogy would be the Normandy Landing, involving infanty.  But if the USA were to disable a particular hostile military installation at a port or otherwise approachable by sea, without actually occuppying the land, then the Marines would be the logical force to do the job.  They are specialized.  The navy's Seals are similarly specialized, sort of Marines with a dose of engineering and underwater ability.

Simiarly, while the USA Air Force handles all air stratigic matters, the Army and Navy also have aircraft for tactical support. 

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Posted by schlimm on Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:33 AM

Seals are relatively small, Special Ops forces used for surgical strikes, often deep in hostile territory.  They go anywhere and are very highly trained in combat, beyond most other services.  

Marines are an outgrowth of finding a new role (beyond boarding) for onboard troops in the late 18th C., starting with Tripoli. They were not used on D-Day because the scale was massive and they were mostly in the Pacific theater, being the primary invasion forces on most of the islands. I think Marines still have their own aviation force.

Canada went the route of totally combining all forces for efficiency.  I think Japan did also.

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:20 PM

I will be totally honest here.

Myself, and any Marine (former or active duty) will tell you that yes, a lot of things done by the Marine Corps could be done by any other service.

The reason we still have a Marine Corps (aside from their general excellence) is because the American people WANT a Marine Corps.

And the taxpayers DO get an awful lot of bang for the buck besides.

One of the reasons, if not the main reason, the Marines weren't used in Europe during World War Two was, quite frankly, the Army didn't want them there!  Al lot of army brass was still annoyed about all the press the Marines in Europe got during World War One.  Anyway, it made sense, there was more than enough work to do in the Pacific for the Marines to do.

 

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:08 PM

Firelock76
Anyway the Marines aren't like the other services, there's no Marine bases or facilities surplus to their needs, the Corps' not that big.  At any given time there's only 180,000 to 190,000 Marines.  Three divisions, three air wings.  That's all.

Heard that before but not entirely true.    That is Marine PR they use in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee when they are called to testify.   Because the Marines train on the bases owned by the Army, Air Force and Navy.    The assertion is not exactly 100% accurate and is misleading.    It is true the Marines have less garrison bases though than any armed service but that is to be expected since they spend their time on the Naval Fleet at sea and rely very heavily on Navy logistics.

So they do need more bases than they own it's just an accounting game why they are not counted as Marine bases.     Marines train alongside Army for Artillery (Ft. Sill, OK), EOD (forget where that is), Air Traffic Control (USAF), etc,     In many cases it is from the same training manual.     Other cases slightly different.

Marine Infantry is different and trains at a Marine base.    Why is this so?   Because as stated the Marine Infantry squads are structured differently than Army Infantry squads and they generally have more firepower because they are intended to be used in a heavy assault role.    The Army Infantry is also used in assault roles but the Army is also intended to HOLD what they gain (Marines are as well to an extent but they HOLD less and assault more).    To the average TV watcher, all they see is Marine Infantry and Army Infantry and in their heads they say......well, they are the same, what a waste.    Not true though the Marines have the heavier weapons of the two forces, Marines use slightly different tactics and Marine squads and platoons are structured differently.    A trained eye can spot it.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:17 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Does the Marine Corps really serve a role anymore that can't be served by the other Uniformed Services? 

Since Defense Secretary Bob Gates asked that very same question.    The Marines have been changing their missions and role to differentiate more from the Army.   One thing to remember is the Marines were used in a largely non-traditional role in Iraq and Afghanistan because we were short on troops due to past DoD cutbacks.   A lot of Marines were used as augments for the Army in those two wars.

Anyways the new role for the Marines emphasizes more their use as an assault force and they are paired up more with the Special Forces community such as Navy Seals and Army Special Forces because they are easier to slip into most foriegn countries being partnered with the U.S. Navy.     The Army needs an airbase to land it's logistics in most cases........the Marines only need the Navy offshore.     So your going to see the Marines used a lot more in the future for small country conflicts in which the country which they operate has no real infrastructure to support the Army and it has to be done via the Navy offshore.............which is the original Marine Mission from before WWII.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:23 PM

daveklepper

As a veteran who reads the American Legion magazine regularly, my comment is that the Marines are somewhat specialized for water-born attacking that requires a Navel operation primarily but involves land operations momentarily.  For example, if the USA were to invade a country by sea, the analogy would be the Normandy Landing, involving infanty.  But if the USA were to disable a particular hostile military installation at a port or otherwise approachable by sea, without actually occuppying the land, then the Marines would be the logical force to do the job.  They are specialized.  The navy's Seals are similarly specialized, sort of Marines with a dose of engineering and underwater ability.

Simiarly, while the USA Air Force handles all air stratigic matters, the Army and Navy also have aircraft for tactical support.  

So yes basically it.   Marines assault and then leave shortly after objective secure.   Army does assault and occupy (HOLD) and secures the objective itself instead of turning that over to someone else or just leaving.    Marines carry more heavy mahine guns, rockets and missiles due to their assault mission.     Army provides it's own logistics chain and so siezure of an airbase is always part of the plan.     Marines rely on Navy logistics and do not need an airbase for logistics for most of their operations.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, August 12, 2017 4:00 PM

Also the Marines are used at every Embassy overseas as guards.  The number of Marines overall may be small however what we have is considered one of the hardest hitting armed forces in the world.  There is an old joke that goes like this.  The Navy softens up the Beach the Marines take it the Army comes in and takes the territory and the Air Force comes in last and throws up the Officer's club and takes all the glory.  In WW2 82 Marines earned the Medal of Honor and 332 men in the US Army won it in WW2.  Now here is the comparison in the size of the forces in WW2 in comparison with over 8 million men in the US Army in 1945 compared to 475 thousand Marines in 45.  Like Chesty Puller said at Chosin in 50 when he heard they were surrounded by the Chinese he said those poor Bastards and he meant the Chinese army.  Or look at Guaudacanal where the 1st Marines understrength held on for months with next to no supplies against the best the Japanese could throw at them.  The Marines have always been elite and hard fighting.  My brother in law is an ex-Marine and the man can still out work most men half his age.  When there is a crisis the first 2 things the JCS asks anymore is where are the carriers at and where is my closest Marine Amphib group at and then get them in the area if needed.  

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 6:18 PM

Thank you Ma'am!

And give Shadow the Cat a pet (and maybe a cat treat!) for me!

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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 9,064 posts
Posted by dknelson on Friday, September 01, 2017 12:29 PM

CMStPnP
Believe it or not North Lake was a famous C&NW stop, though I can't see on former timetables that trains stopped there. The historical crew at the Fontanne Mansion in Genesee Depot insists that Hollywood Stage Artists like Paul Lynde, Milton Burle, George Burns would detrain in North Lake from the C&NW to travel to visit the Fontanne Family Estate (link below). My guess is because of the UP Streamliner Connection with C&NW. Between 1870's and 1930-1940, the Lake Country area was an advertised resort stop on C&NW, TMER&LCO, as well as Milwaukee (Hartland, Pewaukee, Nashotah, and Oconomowoc depots were pretty big on the Milwaukee Road line). Lots of Lake Hotels, Cottages and even an amusement Park on one Lake (Waukesha Beach) drew the tourists in.

I wonder about that information you were told -- North Lake would be about as far removed from the (now fully restored) "Ten Chimneys" estate as one could imagine while still being part -- a far northern edge - of what is called "Lake Country," compared to other depots on the Milwaukee Road or C&NW lines to Madison.  Those famous guests would have had a lengthy ride over rough country roads back then.

Tem Chimneys is located in the town of Genesee Depot which was named for a railroad depot on the Milwaukee & Mississippi, later i think Milwaukee Road and now WSOR.  That would be have been the more likely arrival station.  Even assuming the celebrities took UP streamliners to Chicago, that itself would not dictate that they take CNW trains north, and if they did, the CNW offered passenger service west that went closer to Genesee Depot (Waukesha) than the line that goes near North Lake.

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 2,679 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, September 04, 2017 5:49 PM

dknelson
Ten Chimneys is located in the town of Genesee Depot which was named for a railroad depot on the Milwaukee & Mississippi, later i think Milwaukee Road and now WSOR.  That would be have been the more likely arrival station.  Even assuming the celebrities took UP streamliners to Chicago, that itself would not dictate that they take CNW trains north, and if they did, the CNW offered passenger service west that went closer to Genesee Depot (Waukesha) than the line that goes near North Lake.

OK so the Paul Lynde trip they mentioned on the tour was probably circa 1946-1950.   The travel booking of Mr. Lynde probably would have been made by his agent and my guess it was an all First Class routing which narrows the routes to Milwaukee Road or C&NW 400 route.    I would think he would prefer a cross-platform transfer vs. changing train stations in Chicago.   So it made sense to me.  State Highway 83 (a countuation of  Illinois route 83) was paved back then with asphalt as well which was the main connection between North Lake and Genessee Depot.   Originally Highway 83 was first paved in 1924 according to Wiki-pedia.

The C&NW line from Waukesha, I believe was using a Gas Turbine self-propelled railcar back then for local stops I believe and I am pretty sure Milwaukee to Waukesha routing was a mixed train at best......I don't think either offered First Class accomodations.    The closest C&NW depot to Genesee Depot was Wales, WI. also off Highway 83 as was the North Lake Depot.

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