Click here for my Soo Line Index Page
Railroad Timetable
a TimeLine History of
The Omaha Road
A Predecessor of the C&NW
Click here for a map of 'The Omaha X'

The city of Spooner, in Washburn County of Wisconsin, was once a major hub of railroad activity in the north-western "Indianhead Country" of that state. Spooner was at the intersection of "the Great Omaha X" of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad. Four original rail lines, completed by 1883, made up the "X": A fifth line, connecting Park Falls in the east with Radisson Junction (Tuscobia) on the Altoona branch, was completed in 1914.

When construction of the Soo Line began in 1884, the first segment built began at Cameron, Wisconsin to connect Turtle Lake with Bruce. The Soo used the Omaha Road to reach from their headquarters in Minneapolis to Turtle Lake until their own connecting line was completed in 1887.

This Timeline relates the story of the city of Spooner, of Washburn County of Wisconsin, and the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad.

The U.S. Congress gives to the 8-year-old state of Wisconsin a grant of lands for use in achieving construction of a railroad line from Madison to the St. Croix River and on north to Lake Superior.
Railroad construction begins, north out of Hudson.
John Blackburn, an early logger on the Yellow River, surveys Burnett County, part of which will become Washburn County.
The War of Northern Agression (Civil War) interferes with railroad construction funding.
A railroad bridge is built across the Willow River near Hudson.
The North Wisconsin Railway builds from North Junction near Hudson to New Richmond ... The West Wisconsin completes a line from Tomah to Hudson.
The West Wisconsin erects a bridge across the St. Croix River. Trains run into St. Paul for the first time ... Regular service from New Richmond to St. Paul with a North Wisconsin Railway engine gets under way ... Congressional disinterest in land grants causes problems for the line's progress ... Leander Elwood (Dan) Thomas takes up a homestead claim on Barshaw Creek, becoming the first settler in what will become Washburn County.
Land grant possession wars between rival rail companies rage.
The Wisconsin legislature gives a land grant to the Air Line to build from Superior south to connect with the North Wisconsin, and to the North Wisconsin to build from North Wisconsin Junction to Bayfield ... North Wisconsin builds from New Richmond to Big Marsh Lake near Richardson.
North Wisconsin builds from Clayton to Comstock.
North Wisconsin completes tracks to Granite Lake, between Cumberland and Shell Lake.
North Wisconsin builds from Cumberland to a point north of where Spooner will be settled a few years later. A settlement is established there called Chandler, and railroad, commercial and residential structures are built ... Railroad crews are put on in Barronett and Shell Lake.
The Chicago, St. Paul & Minneapolis Railway Company consolidates with the North Wisconsin to form the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, and track laid by the North Wisconsin becomes known as northern Division of the Omaha ... The company builds from Chandler to Cable ... The town plat of the village of Chandler is officially certified. With reportedly 14 saloons, two gambling houses, four stores, six hotels, two blacksmith shops, a shoemaker, a railroad roundhouse, a depot, and about 20 private residences, it reportedly consists of "some 75 buildings hastily nailed together of rough boards or logs piled up with equal speed and without any special regard to beauty or system, giving evidence that few, if any, of its citizens went there to stay. It is called by visitors the "toughest place on record" ... The North Wisconsin timetable includes a departure from Chandler going south at 6 am and a departure from Shell Lake at 6:30 am, going from there to Granite Lake, to Cumberland, and on to St. Paul with 14 stops in between ... State of Wisconsin grants a patent to odd-numbered sections of land in the Shell Lake area to the Omaha Road.
Shell Lake Lumber Company opens a massive sawmill operation ... James Matthews builds the first hotel boarding house in Shell Lake. It is the second commercial building in town. Population of the community stands at 175 ... The Omaha Road builds from Cable toward Bayfield, and in another direction builds from Superior Junction (Trego) toward Itasca/Superior. Meanwhile, the Chippewa Falls and Northern builds from Chippewa Falls to Bloomer ... The passenger train departs Cable going south at 7 am, with stops in Phipps, Hayward, Stewart, Ames, Veazie, Superior Jct., Chandler, Shell Lake, Barronett, Granite Lake, Cumberland, and 16 other communities before arriving in St. Paul at 3:15 pm.
The Omaha Road arrives at the Itasca switch near Superior, while the Eau Claire & Chippewa Railway builds from Bloomer to Bear Creek (Haugen) ... The first through train from St. Paul to Superior makes its run in November ... Cadwallader C. Washburn, governor of Wisconsin from 1872 to 1874, dies in Hot Springs, Arkansas where he had gone to recover from an illness.
The Eau Claire & Chippewa Railway builds from Eau Claire to Chippewa Falls, the completed line from Eau Claire joining the Omaha Road at Chicago Junction three miles south of Chandler ... Omaha crews reach Ashland and then Bayfield ... The first freight train from St. Paul through to Superior is run in February ... Washburn County, named for former governor Cadwallader C. Washburn, is created from part of Burnett County ... Chandler railroad operations are moved to Spooner and a new town is platted where the four new spokes of the Omaha Road cross. It is named for railroad lawyer and three-time U.S. senator John Coit Spooner, a voice for railroads in the U.S. Senate for 16 years ... The village of Shell Lake is incorporated, reportedly containing 1,200 people at the original town site ... Shell Lake Lumber Company, the largest lumber mill along the Omaha Road, reportedly cuts 30 million board feet of lumber and ships 2,300 railroad carloads. The company's Crescent Springs Railroad, a narrow-guage line into the timber, is running strong, two engines making three trips each per day.

The following information is from the 1883 edition of Poor's. I note with interest that the reference to Stillwater, Wis. is in the original:

Line of Road. --Elroy, Wis., to Omaha, Neb. 595.35miles
Branches: River Falls: River Falls to Hudson, Wis.12.21
Stillwater: Junction to Stillwater, Wis.3.81
Menomonie: Menomonie Junc. to Menomonie, Wis.3.01
North Wisconsin: Junction to end of track, Wis.150.00
Superior: Superior Junc. to N. Pacific RR.60.43
Chip. F. & N. Ry: Chippewa Falls to Chicago Jc. 69.10
Blue Earth: Mankato to Blue Earth City, Minn.44.00
Sioux Falls: Worthington to Sioux Falls, D.T.98.00
Black Hills: Huron Lake to Woodstock, D.T.44.00
Rock River: Luverne to Doon28.00
Niobrara: Coburn Junction to Jackson, Neb.15.82
South Stillwater: Stillwater to L. St. Croix, Wis.4.39
Eau Claire: Eau Claire to Lumber Mills, Wis.2.74
Neillsville: Neillsville to Merillon, Wis.14.00
Norfolk: Emerson to Norfolk, Mo.46.50
Cedar Falls and Northern Ry.: 2.01
Branch sub-total598.01
Total length of lines (owned, 1,168.16; leased, 25.02) operated: 1,193.36miles.
Sidings, etc., 150 miles. Gauge, 4 ft. 8-1/2 in. Rail (steel, 596.42 miles), 56 lbs.

This company was organized June 1, 1880 by the consolidation of the Chicago, St. Paul and Minneapolis, the North Wisconsin, the St. Paul and Sioux City RR. Companies, and their branches. By the terms of consolidation the company was authorized to issue bonds, not exceeding $15,000 per mile; preferred stock, not exceeding $10,000 per mile; and common stock, not exceeding $15,000 per mile, for any RR. thereafter acquired. Under these conditions the St. Paul and Sioux City and Sioux City and St. Paul RRs. were bought; and an issue of consolidated bonds to the amount of $5,000 per mile was made on the 608 miles thus acquired, in addition to the $10,000 per mile St. Paul and Sioux City bonds already outstanding. In the consolidation, the lines of the Covingron, Columbus and Black Hills and the Omaha and Northern Nebraska RRs. were acquired, and are now a part of the system. Subsequently the company acquired the St. Paul, Stillwater and Taylor's Falls RR., from Minnesota State Line to St. Paul, 13 miles. Included in the main line are 5.20 miles from St. Paul to Mendota, which are owned jointly with the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Ry. Co. Of the mileage as given, 25.20 miles of the Illinois Central RR., from Le Mars to Sioux City, are leased and operated jointly with that company.

The consolidated mortgage is for $30,000,000, to be used, in part, in retiring all the outstanding issues. The bonds are limited to $15,000 per mile of completed road, $7,700,000 of these bonds to be used to retire the mortgage debts of the Companies forming the consolidated company, and $6,080,000 to retire an equal amount of St. Paul and Sioux City issues.

In February, 1882, the Legislature of the State of Wisconsin transferred to this company the land grant of the Chicago, Portage and Superior RR. Co. to the amount of 453,000 acres (granted March 4, 1874 by the Legislature to the Chicago and Northern Pacific Ry. Co., afterward C.P. & S. RR. Co.), on condition that its extension would be completed to Superior by the 1st or December, 1882, which provision was duly complied with.

Rolling Stock, December 31, 1882. -- Locomotive engines, 161. Cars -- passenger (1st class, 50; 2d class, 10; dining, 2; sleeping, 2), 64; baggage, mail, and express, 34; freight (box, 3,059; platform, 1,273; stock, 210; caboose, 87), 4,629 -- total, 4,727.
Also, 2 officers', paymasters', etc.

Spooner depot agent P.R. Young marries Mary MacIntee as Spooner records its first wedding
Wood-burning engines start coming off the Omaha Road and standard hand-fired coal-burning engines debut ... Construction of the Washburn County Courthouse in Shell Lake is completed.
The Omaha Road's Day Express, numbers 61 and 62, are joined by the Night Express, numbers 63 and 64, carrying Pullman sleepers on the "Royal Route" between Minneapolis and Duluth ... The Omaha Road donates a half block on the west side of today's Badgerland Civic Center block for construction of a two-room school in Spooner to replace the town's first school, a 14 X 16 (or 20)-foot board shanty built in 1884.
Refrigerator car service is inaugurated between St. Paul and Superior ... The Night Express hits an open switch at Cumberland, and the train crashes. Engineer John Donahue and fireman George Webster are scalded to death.
The population of Spooner reaches 400.
Fire sweeps Shell Lake's main street, destroying approximately 14 businesses.
Water works are installed at Shell Lake.
A newspaper report says Spooner has "a large roundhouse and machine shop and is headquarters for the northern division of the Omaha Railroad, with large switch yards where four engines are required to do the work. It is also the terminal point for trains from Duluth and Superior, Ashland, Washburn, and Bayfield, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls."
A massive forest fire sweeps into the region, leveling Barronett; gone are its depot and other railroad structures, the large lumber company, all the businesses -- everything except two residences. The blaze moves north to Shell Lake, where it threatens the depot and lumber company and destroys dozens of structures, including a reported 53 homes.
Shell Lake Lumber Company secures timber lands southeast of what is now Sarona and builds another narrow-guage railroad to reach them, passing under the Omaha Road at Bashaw Station near the present site of Sarona. (Originally crossing the tracks, it is reported, the narrow-guage's engine no. 2 struck two Omaha passenger coaches after missing a flag and thereafter was not allowed to cross at this point.)
The town of Sarona is settled by the German-Russian Christian Social Association who build three large "colony" homes in the cutover near the Bashaw stop on the Omaha line ... The railroad puts in a side-track and platform there.
Shell Lake Lumber Company's Crescent Springs Railroad hauls its last load on September 17; company sawmill shuts down ... Six passenger trains are running through Barronett, three from the north and three from the south, and five side tracks anda passing track about a half-mile long are built near the depot there. The freights pass at Barronett. Brickmakers Martin Peterson and Peter Larson have side tracks running into their yards ... The Soo Line and the Omaha Road race to build what will become Birchwood, the Soo from Rice Lake and the Omaha east from Radisson Junction (Tuscobia). The Soo arrives there first and plats the new village of Birchwood.
"The finest passenger depot between Duluth and Chicago" is built in Spooner. It is 288 feet long, 32 feet wide with sheds 20 feet wide. The basement contains the steam heating plant, the first floor the waiting rooms and operator's, express, and baggage rooms. The second story will be occupied by the roadmaster and other officials ... The town of Spooner is incorporated as a village.
An ornate railroad restaurant, The Beanery, opens in the southern section of the new Spooner depot, serving food 24 hours a day and capable of seating 83 in the dining room and 82 at the counter ... The Spooner roundhouse is expanded to accomodate larger engines now on line.
Fire destroys the "heart of the city" in Spooner, leveling or damaging more than 20 businesses in the downtown area. Citizens fight to protect the new depot and other railroad buildings from burning embers that threaten the new Omaha complex.
A depot is built in Sarona, open around the clock.
The village of Spooner attains city status, and railroad engineer James W. "Tug" Wilson, village board president, becomes mayor to serve until the first city election in April. In April, Spooner Advocate owner Frank Hammill becomes the first elected mayor of Spooner ... Cooperative telephone line built by farmer shareholders joins Sarona and Long Lake.
Town of Sarona is created from Shell Lake territory ... A tornado rips through Spooner, doing extensive damage. At the Omaha Road passenger station about half of the slate roof on the west side is blown off and two stalls at the round house are unroofed ... Two young people from Drummond -- Nora Lee and Julius Olson -- are killed when they are struck by a helper engine running backward while they are riding a velocipede (railroad bicycle) on the track near Drummond. The helper had pushed a freight train as Cable and was returning to Ashland backing up. The engineer did not see the velocipede nor know it was there, he said, until he heard the engine hit something.
The state builds a fish hatchery operation in Spooner ... Mikado engines (2-8-2) are put to work on the Omaha.
The Omaha Road arrives in Park Falls ... The town of Madge is set off from the town of Long Lake.
The population of Spooner hits 2,000 ... The number of saloons and churches standing about even, Shell Lakers vote to prohibit the sale of liquor ... A new 90-foot turntable weighing 39-1/2 tons is placed in position at the Spooner roundhouse.
Sixteen passenger trains are passing through Spooner daily ... The villiage of Birchwood gets electric service.
The 127 local soldiers of Company E leave for Camp Douglas on a "special" train. More than 500 people from Shell Lake, Trego, Springbrook, Spooner and elsewhere are on hand to see them off at the depot ... All passenger trains are annulled on the Omaha Road for one day in early February -- the first time in memory -- as the mercury hits 20 below and a 40-mil gale freezes the snow into ice, making it impossible to keep the trains moving ... Train 65 from Ashland is wrecked in the Spooner yards near the pickle factory. The smoking car and day coach are badly damaged when a switch is left unlocked. Although the train was well filled with passengers, only two or three slight injuries are reported ... Robert Peterson, Spooner yard foreman, loses both feet when he falls between two cars as he and his crew are switching the coaches that came in on train 65 and were to go out of the Spooner yards as train 66 ... Frank Cox is appointed traveling engineer for the Northern Division of the Omaha Road, replacing George Budge who has been transferred to Eau Claire ... Former Spooner resident and Omaha Road dispatcher Ben Nixon goes to Russia, where men from the Omaha are helping to put the railroads there in good working order ... About 150 carloads of pulpwood are shipped out of Spooner by September ... Two years ago the Baldwin Locomotive Works were building nine locomotives a month. Now they are building nine locomotives a day.
Spooner citizens vote their city dry, stopping the sale of liquor in 13 saloons ... Sarona ships 30,000 bushels of potatoes by rail ... L.J. Perry, second trick operator at Trego for some time, is appointed depot agent at Minong ... A new passenger train is added in Birchwood ... The U.S. government announces that after the war it proposes to use airplanes for mail and freight carrying.
William Jacobs reportedly ships 1,800 carloads, or 72,000 tons, of ice from Shell Lake out over the Omaha Road during the winter of 1918-1919 -- though his average ice harvest is 2,000-3,000 tons. It has been a mild winter down south.
The Omaha Road announces that it has added 12 new engines and 700 new boxcars to its operation.
The population of Spooner is 2,800, and nearly three-fourths are railroad employees and their families.
The blizzard of 2/22/22 shuts down the railroad -- and practically everything else -- as drifts bury the tracks, trains, and towns in the region.
David Windsor, Prince of Wales and future King of England, makes a short stop in Spooner, enroute by train from Duluth to Chicago to tour meatpacking plants. He steps outside his railroad car long enough to nod to the crowd.
Fire destroys a protion of the railroad roundhouse in Spooner, seriously damaging several locomotives and causing $30,000 in damages to the building.
The first ranger station is built in Spooner to bring forest fires protection to the area.
While 22 passenger trains once passed through Spooner daily, 14 are running every day this year.
The Omaha Road puts automatic stokers on its locomotives.
The Soo Line runs its last train out of Birchwood ... It is reported that 132 trains struck cars or were hit by automobiles at grade crossings in Wisconsin during 1936, and 44 people were killed.
Locomotive engineer Milton L. Garland, a citizen of Spooner for many years, is fatally injured in a wreck on the Hannibal branch line of the railroad when his locomotive and six cars leave the rails and overturn ... One of the worst wrecks in the history of this division of the Omaha Road occurs at Sweden, about four miles north of Drummond on the Ashland line, when both engines of a double-header train are derailed by a sun-kinked rail and plunge over an embankment. H.T. Ellison, 42, fireman on the second locomotive, dies as the result of being severely scalded, while James Sidders, engineer, and T. Raland, brakeman, are severely injured. All men are from Spooner ... The Railroad Pension Act becomes effective ... Ole Overson, 62, of Barronett, is instantly killed when a south-bound freight train of the Omaha Road strikes his car, which had stalled on the track near the Barronett crossing ... The first air express parcel ever to be received in Spooner is delivered to the Spooner Advocate office by William Rand, agent for the Railway Express Company. The parcel travels by rail and express plane from Philadelphia in a little over 24 hours ... In an attempt to rekindle passenger service, threatened by the depression and proliferation of automobiles, the Omaha Road inaugurates a three-car, gas-electric train called the Namakagon. It is known as the 361 and 364 over the Hudson-Ashland line and makes a turn each day out of Minneapolis.
Among those holding top rank on the Omaha Road's eastern division-second district seniority list are James W. Wilson, engineer, hired in 1889; Mike Cavanaugh, fireman, hired in 1894; H.C. Schulze, conductor, hired in 1894; and brakemen L.J. Tanberg, M.H. Bobb, A. Randall, and J.E. Hassell ... Wisconsin Indian Head Country puts on a new special weekend fisherman train, which leaves Chicago at 1 pm on Friday afternoon and terminates in Drummond at 9:50 pm, returning to Chicago by 8 am on Monday. It stops at Spooner at 8:35 pm on Fridays.
The restaurant ("The Beanery") owned and operated by the Union News Company in the Spooner railroad depot is closed on June 1, due to the decrease in railroad travel.
A patent is procured on a new device called the Triple Track Tool, a combination rail-lifter, track aligner, and tie spacer. Names on the patent include David Rich, E.H. Grewe, A.J. Lemke, C.E. Falk, and Garnet McKeever. All but Grewe are from Spooner. It is being marketed to nearly all railroads in the U.S. and Canada.
The Rural Electrification Administration builds through Washburn County, putting the countryside on line for electricity.
The Barronett depot is closed.
An Omaha Road wreck south of Haugen piles up 53 cars -- 47 carrying pulpwood and six with barley aboard.
Engineer Charley Gore loses a leg in a train wreck between Minong and Wascott on July 8.
President Harry Truman's train makes a stop at the Spooner depot during Truman's re-election campaign. Among those accompanying him is Hubert H. Humphrey.
Diesel engines make their debut on the Omaha Road ... The railroad takes its famous Namakagon off the line on October 1. A combine is added to way freights to handle the express shipments -- and any passengers who don't mind a slow trip.
A train wreck near Haugen piles up 71 railroad cars and scatters pulpwood "like a dumped box of wooden matches."
The operating department working out of the Spooner terminal has approximately 175 employees, including 75 engineers and firemen and 100 brakemen and conductors. In addition, there are between 75 and 80 employees classed as non-operating at the Spooner terminal.
Though the Omaha Road stock was acquired by the Chicago & North Western Railway in 1882, it isn't until now that railroads in the area begin operating under the name Chicago & North Western Railway.
Rumors to the effect that the Spooner terminal is being abolished by the C&NW Railway are not based on fact, it has been stated by railroad men, although there is continued and growing concern over the slashing of personnel and services by railroad men, although there is continued and growing concern over the slashing of personnel and services by railroad management ... Passenger trains number 512, the early evening south-bound train from Duluth to Altoona, and number 513, the late morning train north-bound fron Altoona to Duluth, go out of existence ... "Hypos," or Highway Post Office trucks, commence service, with the cut in passenger train service by the railroad effective the same day ... Nearly 250 years of combined railroading experience is represented as five veteran Spooner "rails" take their retirement, making their last runs on the C&NW system in the space of a week. They include W.R. Paffel, William Mahre, Louis Thorson, Bernie Hoaglund, and George LaBounty.
The C&NW Railway Company files application to close 102 one-man stations in Wisconsin. Among them are those at Birchwood, Brill, Clayton, Drummond, Gordon, Grandview, New Auburn, Radisson, Sarona, Shell Lake, and Springbrook. Retained in this area would be stations at Minong, Cable, Chetek, Clear Lake, Haugen, Hayward, Mason, and Winter ... Two Rice Lake brothers, Orland Ekblad, 19, and Ronald Ekblad, 12, are killed when their car collides with a diesel unit of the C&NW Railroad at a grade crossing on Highway M near Haugen ... One of Spooner's pioneer leaders, James Wilburn Wilson, dies at the age of 88. A retired railroadman, he was well known throughout the area by his nickname, "Tug."
C&NW terminates passenger service through Spooner. The final run is made on May 4 ... Service is temporarily revived in October when Spooner's National Guard unit is called to active duty as tensions rise in Germany and the Berlin Wall goes up. A "special" passenger train departs October 24 carrying the local guards on their way to Fort Lewis, Washington.
A large portion of the 60-year old Spooner depot goes under the wrecking ball.
The C&NW line to Park Falls is discontinued.
The Spooner Kiwanis Club erects a railroad marker in the Northern Lites Lanes bowling alley parking lot in Spooner in tribute to the Omaha Road's history and the role it holds in the area's economy.
A train wreck on the C&NW at Sarona burns a diesel engine, a flat car, and some track equipment, derails 11 cars, and sends a crew member to the hospital. Railroad officials put a tentative estimate of the damage at $250,000 ... Eighteen cars of a southbound C&NW freight train, including some tank cars filled with propane gas, are derailed just south of Solon Springs ... An initial decision by the Interstate Commerce Commission says the C&NW Transportation Company may abandon branch rail lines between Hayward and Ashland Junction and between Washburn and Bayfield.
A derailment of 23 grain cars on the Soo Line tracks near Stanberry just south of the overpass on Highway 63 clogs the line for several days ... A derailment between Shell Lake and Cumberland piles up 13 cars of a 93-car C&NW freight train. There are no injuries. The train was number 461 northbound to Spooner from Minneapolis.
C&NW tracks from Hayward to Ashland are torn up.
Springbrook celebrates its Centennial. By 1880 the railroad had built north to Cable, passing through Namakagon (later Springbrook), and stops included Superior Junction (later Mills, and now Trego), Veazie (between Trego and Earl), Ames (between Earl and Springbrook), and Stewart (later Stanberry).
The C&NW's Itasca to Twin Cities traffic is moved to Burlington Northern track.
The C&NW abandons its line from Spooner to Hudson.
Railroad Memories Museum is established in the south end of theSpooner depot, former home of The Beanery, a famous railroad restaurant from 1903 to 1939.
The last working train -- a freight -- pulls out of Spooner on July 9.
The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad begins excursion train operations in June between Spooner and Trego using rebuilt cars from 1912 and 1918.
The Washburn County Board of Supervisors authorizes the newly formed Washburn County Transit Commission to negotiate the purchase of the rail line between Trego and Stanberry for up to $458,200 with three stipulations, one being that negotiations also begin for the acquisition of the remaining rail line between Spooner and Trego.
The transit commission, Union Pacific, and the state agree on price, terms, and conditions of the sale of 19 miles of trackage from Spooner to Hayward Junction near Stanberry where the line connects with the Wisconsin Central Railroad line, and from there to anywhere. The sale price is set at $292,900. The county board approves the purchase but opposes a loan of $125,000 required by the commission for the purchase ... In June, the city of Spooner votes to provide a 10-year loan to the commission that will, along with a grant from the state, facilitate the purchase. It is agreed that track rehabilitation will be done by the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad.

Click here for my Soo Line Index Page This "Railroad Timetable" was taken from Spooner-Wisconsin Train Times,a publication of the Spooner Advocate , 509 Front Street, P.O. Box 338, Spooner WI 54801, Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. Contact Janet Krokson, publisher Here . The Train Times was researched from the archives of the paper, and written by Janet Krokson, to whom all credit is due; any inaccuracies or omissions are strictly my own. Click here for my Soo Line Index Page

Trains Magazine, in its August 2002 issue, has an article by J. David Ingles entitled "Uphill Both Ways." The article discusses the Hudson (WI) helper district, includes a number of photographs taken in 1956 by David Plowden, and has several excellent illustrations, by Rick Johnson, of the line as it existed in 1945. In addition, there is a map of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway System as it appeared in 1930.

In a sidebar to the 1930 map, Mr. Ingles says this:

   "If ever two railroads practiced seamless service decades before it became a rail industry buzzword, it would be the Chicago & NorthWestern and the Omaha Road.
   "The Omaha Road, the usual shorthand for the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, was like most late-19th-century roads an amalgamation of small lines and some new construction. The C&NW, observing how the Omaha gave it bee-line routes to Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth-Superior from Chicago and Omaha, bought a bare majority of its stock in 1882.
   "Wheat, flour, coal, lumber, and merchandise flowed over the combination in harmony. Nebraska wheat loaded in C&NW boxcars went up the Omaha to flour mills at Minneapolis. Reloaded with merchandise and lumber for Nebraska farmers, back the boxcars went for more wheat. It was all quite profitable.
   "Though in every sense servant to the system, the Omaha Road was its own railroad with headquarters and rolling stock until 1957, when it was leased to the C&NW. Its paper existence lasted until the formation of employee-owned C&NW Transportation Co. in 1972. Omaha Lines on today's Union Pacific map include the two trunks from St. Paul to Wyeville, Wisconsin, and Sioux City, Iowa, plus a few short branches.
   "In 1930, the 10,195-mile C&NW system was one of only seven U. S. systems over 10,000 miles. The others were Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, New York Central, Burlington Route, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee Road. C&NW's acquisition of Minneapolis & St. Louis and Chicago Great Western boosted system mileage to 11,401 by 1968. Abandonment of redundant lines whittled the C&NW to 4991 miles when it merged with UP in 1995."

The Chicago & North Western Historical Society
Russ, Erich: The Chicago and North Western Page
Ross, Don: Omaha Road Diesels
Bohn, Larry: Omaha Photo Index
Stuefen, David:

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