Keith Meacham's Christmas
Keith sez:

"A couple of views from the Christmas Present given to me by Jon Ruesch. Much of what is on this CD are views Jon shot, in this particular case, when Jon was attending (not certain if he was learning) the UW in Madison. These should make Mr. Schoneman have personal problems all over the place.

Joe and Nate, have a rag ready to wipe off Roberto's chin (er, "Chins?"), will you??


This is Milwaukee Road's PDC (Prairie Du Chien) Patrol returning to Madison after running out to PDC and back, 9-21-76. Milwaukee hasn't hit bankruptcy just yet, but things aren't looking too promising. Check out the r-o-w under the caboose.

Jon Ruesch photo.

From Jon Ruesch, the head-end of the PDC Patrol entering Madison, crossing University Avenue, 8- 21-76.

Nate, Joe, go get the straight-jacket (XXXX Size) for Roberto.

Quick! Is it Colonie Shops? Is it Binghampton, NY? Nope, this is ALTOONA, Wis, in April 1973, and the D&H C628's are, I believe, leased to C&NW to ease one of their chronic motive power shortages caused by export grain to Russia.

Nate and Joe, you'd better get the tranqiulizer gun to use on Roberto.

Another shot by Jon Ruesch. I'd bet the brace of C&NW GP-30's to the left will lead 471-X back to Marshfield via Merrillan and Neillsville.

A little Illinois Central Gulf, anyone? From the ready lens of Jon Ruesch, the ICG Madison (Wis.) local arrives in Madison, December 1975. The well-known Editor or RAILFAN, Jim Boyd, worked this local in his brief Railroad career with IC, pre-"G". Boyd was long gone by the time Jon shot this, and was guiding the fortunes of "FLYING MODELS", another Carstens publication.

The IC's Madison line didn't have much life left as an ICG holding by the time Jon shot this. Another 6 years?

Bob Welke, do you think train frequency on the ICG Madison Branch was three days per week yet at the time of this photo?

Note the local has two of everything except cabooses--two Paducah Geeps, to cars, only one caboose, and a antique at that, yet.

From the ready-lens of Jon Ruesch, slightly lightened up in PSP7, a proud Milwaukee Road Fairbanks-Morse H-10-44 Switcher in what Jon has titled as "MILW 764 & Local", although I know not what Local (Patrol in Milwaukee Road parlance) this is nor where it is headed. Perhaps a switch job going out of Yard Limits?

Obviously, # 764 isn't long out of Milwaukee Shops---note her paint is all Sparkly and Shiney.

Alf, was THIS the F-M you jumped over the Mississippi River and Savanna? 8^D

A REAL find, something I never knew Jon had shot (Richie Peters, control yourself), the C&NW "Road Freight", # 471-X, headed west of Marshfield about 6-1/2 miles out at the point where the C&NW had turned to the west-southwest and crossed County Highway ' H ' as the railroad headed towards Chili, Granton, Neillsville and, eventually, Merrillan.

Note the engine Consist---mostly GP30's, with an ex-M-K-T repowered Baldwin AS16 cut in behind the first unit. There are at least 4 units on this train this day. It wasn't unusual to see up to EIGHT (8) units powering this train on a given day, all under load.

Out of sight in the brush to the right is the C&NW bridge over the creek that runs here, the nane of which escapes me. Might be the north branch of the Yeller River, can't think of it right now.

The date is June of 1976; this line had only 3 more months to survive as a through route before the C&NW cut through service between Opal (a siding in the midst of McMillen Swamp north of Marshfield) and Oak Avenue in Marshfield.

This consist is unusual in that it isn't broken up by either ex-Frisco Geeps C&NW bought cheap second hand or brand-new and sparkly GP15-1's which invaded this line on this train not long before the end.

Yes, yes, here we go, the Chicago & North Western Transportation Company's EXCELLENT r-o-w west of Marshfield at what appears to be Robin Road, 5 miles west of Marshfield on the line to Merrillan, a companion to the photo Jon Ruesch took of C&NW # 804 in the last shot I sent. In fact, that's # 471-X's headlight in the distance.

Aside from the battered condition of the rail (mostly 90#), mud over the ties and the ties themselves, this track in in exceptional condition. Certainly good enough to run 100+ car freight trains on it 7 days per week. Ye Gods.

It also looks good enough to support the weight of U30C's, SD40's and SD40-2's, none of which were anywhere CLOSE to the weight limits set by C&NW on this line---286,000 lbs. The engines I just mentioned all weighed in at considerablt MORE than the weight limit. Most C&NW SD40's, for example, tipped the scales at 310,000. The ex-Chicago Great Western SD40's were C&NW's heaviest---326,000.

Now, you don't think that disparity had anything to do with the spectacularity of the wrecks the C&NW had between Marshfield and Merrillan, do you????

And, yes, there IS a pretty good grade right here. We are looking eastwards towards Marshfield from Robin Road, 5 miles out. To Jon's left, a 1/2 mile (or less) away is the Soo Line's Greenwood Branch.

Today, Larry Markow's sister-in-law has built a home not far from this spot. You can see this roadbed from her home.

An Amcrash "Pooch", anyone? Another Jon Ruesch shot, I'd guess the occasion to be Illinois playing the Badgers at Camp Randall, September 1976.

*I hope the Badgers won*, but, judging by the date, we still sucked big time yet. This must be C&NW Trackage judging from the look of it.

Here's something---if I'm oriented right, looking south as the weekend C&NW train to Madison (has to be---those are Commuter F's on the point---they only used them on freights on the weekends) leaves Madison crossing Lake Monona. Can't be too far from Doc's house.

Another Jon Ruesch shot, October 1974.

Another IC Paducah rebuild, anyone? Not sure what part of Madison this is in. Taken in August 1974 by Jon Ruesch.

Track looks as bad as that the C&NW operated on in Marshfield!

We are in Wausau, Wis., on August 1971, and, if my knowledge of this particular pictured area is right, this is a Westbound C&NW Train headed, eventually, to Marshfield after they thread their way through Wausau itself.

As I recall, that bulk fuel oil dealer was on the west side of the C&NW Tracks at this point, so the train, judging by the angle of the sun, would be headed to Marshfield.

Headed by F-M "Baby" Trainmasters, once a regular feature around here. They weren't just hauling Iron Ore all the time. These units, and the C&NW's small fleet of SD7's & SD9's, were the only six-axle power I ever saw venture east of Marshfield with regularity.

Jon Ruesch photograph.

A regular feature on the C&NW in Marshfield---Repowered Baldwin Switch Engines. Here is one engine who's uniqueness is only in that in 5 months she will close out the Switch Job on Marshfield on September 30, 1976. Jon Ruesch caught # 1037 in Marshfield, mouldering away on track # 3 behind the Scale House in April of 1976.

Which is ironic, because Joe Stauber caught 1037 sitting in about the same place 4 months earlier in January the same year. Well, it wasn't unusual for the C&NW to assign a locomotive for more than a month here. # 1044 was in Marshfield from June of 1973 until September that same year without changeout. 1037, however, was spelled in 1976 by # 1240 and # 1246 before she rotated back to Marshfield in late August, and was here until the end of through service.

Today, 1037 would be sittiing in the Rentals section of Hiller's Hardware store. All this wonderful yard trackage is gone 20+ years already. Only the warehouse to the left remains, and the City is squeezing the owner to get rid of it. Looks kind of odd there anyhow without the Railroad there to service it.

Credit Jon Ruesch for being in the right spot at the right time: One of C&NW's Fairbanks-Morse Switchers is handling the afternoon switch in Wausau at the 3M Roofing Granule Plant, but the cars behind the stalwart F-M are carloads of WINDOWS from Kolbe & Kolbe AND Crestline---Crestline's Factory is that tan-ish building poking up in between 3M's buildings.

Very possible that Conner Lumber Co. may have some traffic in this cut, as well, since their building sat across the street from Crestline.

This is how I prefer to remember Wausau; F-M's on the C&NW, Alco's over on the Milwaukee Road.

And anyone with a rail spur still got serviced yet. This means Marathon Electric was still a heavy Railroad Customer when Jon shot this.


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