Railroad Structures in Wisconsin

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by Cannonshot, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Klasjm

    Klasjm R100gs

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    East Troy Electric Railroad


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    A Bit of History . . .
    Built in 1907 by the Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company,
    it continues in its 100th year as a living shortline as well as a museum.

    The East Troy Electric Railroad
    runs from East Troy to Mukwonago in southeast Wisconsin.
    Fares are $10.00 for adults.



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    #21
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    They replaced the 1899 bridge in 2013. Maybe someone get a picture of the new bridge as well.

    Looks like they were working on it in this aerial.

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    #22
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The depot was built in 1901 for the sum of $1,525.34. It was pre-cut in the Soo Line shops in Minneapolis, hauled to Frederic by one of the early trains and assembled on site. An addition, which expanded the cold storage area of the depot, was added in 1916, the same year that the Soo Line Railroad extended tracks to Duluth, Minnesota. The addition cost $542.67. In 1949, restrooms were added and in 1952, the outside was covered with imitation brick and a block foundation replaced the wood timbers in the original construction.

    In 1901, when the first trains arrived from Dresser Junction, the track ended in Frederic. A spur ran from the main track to the Dahlberg and Lindmart Saw and Planing Mill, which was stationed on the north shore of Coon Lake. The spur closely followed the current Hope Street. The spur and the siding tracks made a Y shape that allowed trains arriving from Dresser Junction to turn around for the return trip. An engine house was located near the north end of the track approximately where Birch Street would intersect with the Gandy Dancer Trail if the street were extended. In the first years of the train, several trains a day arrived at Frederic to pick up loads of raw cut lumber as well as passengers, and departed south. At that time, there were few roads and those that were available resembled cow paths more than roads. Thus, travel into and out of the area was done by train and all freight that arrived in the area at that time came by way of the train.
    #23
  4. Klasjm

    Klasjm R100gs

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    Fenimore, WI



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  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Old photos from Fennimore.

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    #25
  6. Klasjm

    Klasjm R100gs

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    Running along the abandoned Soo Line,
    is the 520-foot bridge over the scenic St. Croix River
    less than one mile north of Danbury, Wisconsin





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  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The electric railroad operating in East Troy is the remnant of what was originally a line that went all the way to Milwaukee. When that shut down, East Troy took over the ten mile segment that ran to the railroad at nearby Mukwonago so they could continue to have freight service. Now the electric railroad is primarily a tourist run although they still do haul things like sand and fertilizer cars from the CN line to local businesses.
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    The City of East Troy ran this railroad after the original company gave it up in 1939. They hauled freight on it into the 80s. Then they turned it into a museum. They can still haul freight on it so I guess Erik Buell could move some of his East Troy motorcycles on it if he wanted to.
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    Lots of passengers. They run a few dinner trains and even charter some special rides (like for an ADV meet and greet).
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    These things used to go up to 90 mph. Now they operate them at 22 mph.
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    Today's trip was a run to The Elegant Farmer and back.
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    There used to be a station here where people would come from Milwaukee to stay at a 500 room five star hotel on Lake Beulah. Elegant carriages would pick them up at the station and haul them to the lake hotel.
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    Amtrak should get some ideas from these seats.
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    The Elegant Farmer was jammed with people getting apples, running all over the orchards, buying deli items and hot food, and generally having good family time. Great place with apple pies in the brown paper bag. Too crowded for my taste. Kind of like being all jammed together like people in Chicago. Speaking of apples, I learned the other day that they are native to a certain mountain range in Kazakhstan. They were brought from there and spread all around the world. I believe Johnny Appleseed was a distributor of this invasive species in the US for a while.
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    Great food products though. Cheese, meat, and of course . . . apples.
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    Chartered excursion run pulling in to the farmer. About 50 people I think.
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    There is so much passenger demand on this line that they run two train sets. This means one has to wait on a siding in the middle since it is a single track operation.
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    Some of the old stuff for the electric power.
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    This is an all volunteer organization. I think the head guy right now is about 23 years old. If any of you wrenches need to kill a few days over the winter, they could use some volunteer help in the shop working on some of their old equipment.

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    #27
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Brookfield Depot

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    The first depot built here was in done in 1851. The town became a business center in the 1850s. They had a hotel for the daily rail arrivals, a sawmill, stores, shops, and a post office. The principal business here was the sawmill. It knocked out great quantities of railroad ties, wood for bridges and rail cars, and lumber for Milwaukee.

    The original depot became a dwelling for someone. This is the second depot built and it was constructed in 1867.

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    Back in the day it cost a dime to ride the train from Brookfield to Waukesha. Over time the railroads in this region expanded and evolved. During the civil war, stuff couldn't rail across the Ohio River so a lot of grain came through here to go to Great Lakes ports.

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    Pretty nice building for being over 140 years old. Surprised it hasn't shaken apart from passing trains.

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    #28
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Hartland Depot

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    The railroad that came through here initially was chartered to run from Milwaukee to Watertown. It started up in 1851. It finally got as far as Hartland in 1854. At that time, they probably threw up a shanty for a depot. The shanty was replaced by a wooden depot in 1869. That depot was struck by lightning and burned in 1879. The current brick depot was built then.

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    The area between Pewaukee and Oconomowoc was a pretty prominent resort area so the railroad decided to build impressive new depots for that segment of the line. There was some arguing about where the new depot should be located but failed land negotiations messed that up. In the end they moved this depot 600', dedicated it to freight, and built an elaborate new depot on the site. Sadly the new elegant depot was lost in a major 1916 fire. The railroad built a fifth (and final) depot on the site. It was made of concrete and stucco and remained in place until 1969 when the railroad removed it.

    So, out of five depots in Hartland, this is the only one that remains. At the peak, 65 trains a day came through here. After World War II, passenger service began to drop off as automobiles became more popular. The Cannonball, a local commuter train to Milwaukee, used to run regularly until it died off in the 1970s.

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    Although deteriorating, the building was quite sound. In the end, the depot was restored and is now occupied by some businesses. This depot had an agent's quarters, passenger waiting area, and a freight room. It is very similar to the depot located in Brodhead.

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    She is a beauty. By the way, the CP Holiday Train will stop here for an hour at 8:40PM on Sunday, December 7th (2104). The site has plenty of room to accommodate visitors. http://www.cpr.ca/en/community/holiday-train/schedule

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    #29
  10. no

    no dreaming adventurer Supporter

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    The bridge and tower at Prescott:



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    #30
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Nice shots Klay! I hope you are able to pick off some more locations along the river.
    #31
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Mercer Depot

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    The railroad reached this logging area in 1889. This worked out well for the area since it allowed them to ship timber year round. It also enabled a bunch of folks to move in and set up the shops and facilities that would build a town. Speaking of setting up shop, Al Capone's brother Ralph moved here and ran a tavern after he got kicked out of the Chicago mob.

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    The depot was built in 1905 and is the only remaining railroad depot in Iron County. Once freight arrived here, it had to be hauled to outlying areas by horse drawn wagons.

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    The last train came through Mercer in 1982. Highways overtook rails. The depot is restored and is a fine museum.

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    #32
  13. gremor

    gremor RS'er

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    Love these threads!








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    #33
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Nashotah Station

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    Not sure when this elegant depot was built, but it used to be known as the Pine Lake Station and was a popular stop for lake resort travelers. This depot is part of the string of more elegant depots built to accommodate the lake country resort crowd.

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    A business occupies the depot today.
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    Nashotah is also home to the Red Circle Inn which is the oldest existing restaurant in Wisconsin. No doubt train travelers enjoyed themselves here.

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    RUN DOWN AT A CROSSING.

    Hartland, Wis., Jan. 9, 1890 -- The St. Paul train, which left Oconomowoc at 6:36 last evening struck a horse and wagon at a crossing near Nashotah Station, killing OLAF JOHNSON and fatally injuring his wife, who died about an hour after the accident. The horse was also killed.

    The crossing is a bad one, and the unfortunate people were unable to hear or see the approaching train owing to their muffled-up condition.

    Fort Wayne Gazette Indiana 1890-01-10
    #34
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Kind of fun to ride around seeking these places out. Even more interesting to discover some of the history related to the sites.
    #35
  16. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer Supporter

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    Fun stuff here!

    A few years back I made a sales call on the Duluth Missabe & Iron range RR. The whole time we're talking to the prospect, my boss is staring at the calendar by the guy's desk. Finally, as we're wrapping things up, my boss asks if he can get one of the calendars. The DM&IR guy looked at him and didn't say anything. A moment passed, then another, finally the guy says, "You're one of those train queers aren't ya?"

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    I think we've all got a bit of train queer in us. :evil
    #36
  17. Poweranger

    Poweranger Long timer Supporter

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    The appropriate term is foamer. Any real railroader would have know that.
    #37
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Or a ferroequinologist. :D

    For those not in the business, common railway terms.

    Some notable railfans.

    An excited foamer . . .

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    #38
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The Milwaukee Electric Railroad & Light Company Depot in Oconomowoc. About a block west of the main depot.

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    This rail outfit kept building out from Milwaukee. They eventually extended to Green Bay and Fond du Lac beyond what this map shows. This map is relevant to Oconomowoc which was on the line that went to Watertown.

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    The electric railroad came to Oconomowoc in 1907. Expansion was done by setting up new companies to build segments, and then absorbing those companies into the main enterprise. The railroad established camps for construction gangs as they built new track. They used their own Way and Structures Department instead of hiring outside contractors. At the peak of a project they had eight steam locomotives, one electric locomotive, three power shovels, one pile driver, and over 200 dump cars in use on construction. They experienced the problems of blasting solid rock and with a 16 foot fill sinking into Nagawicka Lake. Oconomowoc was up and running in 1907 and the portion to Watertown opened about a year later.

    The depot has been remodeled and is being used by an engineering outfit.

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    The railroad expanded and had good success until the change to automobiles and highways knocked things back down. Piece by piece sections of the line were abandoned as the system collapsed. Service to Watertown was abandoned in 1940 and service to Oconomowoc died in 1941.

    In 1951 the company suffered a 12 hour suspension of service when their insurance lapsed. They quickly hired a temporary outside bus service to fill the gap. After they restored service, the bus company keep running taking away badly needed railroad business.

    This is the last run of a car on the Waukesha line in 1951.

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    For years I have been riding past this building wondering what the hell it was. Now I know (and you do too). :D
    #39
  20. Poweranger

    Poweranger Long timer Supporter

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    25 years working on the rails and I have never heard the term ferroequinologist. That word must be way above my pay scale. :D

    Railfan, foamer, and train nut, are the most common. Of course I am sure most people have heard of trainspotter and railway enthusiast from the popular British movie Trainspotting and the movie The Railway Man.

    Some of the new hires say understanding railroad terminology is one of the harder things to learn when they first start out. I have been around long enough to even notice some of the terminology change. Even different railroads and different divisions of the same railroad may use different terms that mean the same thing. Sometimes it is funny when a new conductor wants to do all the talking on the radio. The dispatcher will call and give out a bunch of instructions that are supposed to be repeated back word for word. Then the conductor looks over at the engineer with this blank stare on his face that means only one thing. "What the hell did they just say?" :lol3

    Cannon as always your reports never fail to entertain or educate.

    Keep em coming. :deal
    #40