List of Wisconsin railroads

Although the current number of railroad names that appear in Wisconsin is fairly slim, the complete list of railroads that have operated in wisconsin is vast. The list here is far from complete; as I have time, I plan to fill in a brief history of each railroad's operations in Wisconsin.  Note that were there are multiple section headings in a row on this page, it does not mean that they all apply to the adjacent text; each section heading represents a separate railroad company and in time each will eventually have a paragraph or two describing its history in Wisconsin.

In working through building this list, it has become apparent to me that the terms "railroad," "rail road" and "railway" are very much not synonymous when used in company names. Railroad companies are often reorganized where the only apparent change to historians is that the company name changes from "Foo & Bar Railroad" to "Foo & Bar Railway." For the purposes of this list, each iteration is a considered a separate company and therefore merits a separate listing.

Appleton & New London Railway

The Appleton & New London Railway was incorporated on April 9, 1866. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1871, the A&NL was a subsidiary of the C&NW and had completed construction of 21.3 miles between Manitowoc and Brillion. In 1872, the A&NL completed construction of 20 miles of track between Brillion and a point one mile east of Appleton. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) On December 10, 1875, the A&NL sold a one-mile section of its line in Appleton to the organizers of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 16)

Baraboo Airline Railroad

The Baraboo Airline Railroad was incorporated on March 8, 1870. The company acquired the Madison, Lodi & Baraboo Railroad on September 9, 1870. The company was purchased by the C&NW on March 10, 1871. (RLHS 1937, p 18)

Beloit & Madison Rail Road

The Beloit & Madison Rail Road was incorporated on February 18, 1852. (RLHS 1937, p 15; Meyer 1898, p 298) By 1860 the B&M was a subsidiary of the C&NW and had completed construction of 16.1 miles of track between Beloit and Magnolia. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) The B&M was reorganized on September 18, 1862. (RLHS 1937, p 15) In 1864, the B&M completed construction of 31.8 miles of track between Magnolia and Madison. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) On January 10, 1871, the C&NW fully purchased the B&M. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

Beloit & Taycheedah Railroad

The Beloit & Taycheedah Railroad was chartered on August 19, 1848, to connect its namesake towns by rail. (Meyer 1898, p 296)

Canadian Pacific Railroad

Cascade & Lake Michigan Railroad

The Cascade & Lake Michigan Railroad was chartered on March 23, 1852. (Meyer 1898, p 298)

Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad

The Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad was created on February 5, 1853, as the reorganization of the Illinois Parallel Railroad. On June 22, 1863, the C&M was merged with the Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad to form the Chicago & Milwaukee Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

Chicago & Milwaukee Railway

The Chicago & Milwaukee Railway was formed on June 22, 1863, through the merger of the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad and the Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

Chicago & North Western Railway

The Chicago & North Western Railway, which was incorporated on March 9, 1859, (RLHS 1937, p 15) entered Wisconsin through a number of subsidiary railroads that it either created or acquired at various times. The subsidiaries included:

  • Appleton & New London Railway
  • Baraboo Airline Railroad (fully purchased by C&NW on March 10, 1871) (RLHS 1937, p 18)
  • Beloit & Madison Rail Road (fully purchased by C&NW on January 10, 1871) (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)
  • Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road (fully consolidated into C&NW on July 1, 1859) (RLHS 1937, pp 14-15)
  • Dixon, Rockford & Kenosha Railway
  • Galena & Southern Wisconsin Railway (narrow gauge)
  • Green Bay, Chicago & Milwaukee Rail Road
  • Kenosha, Rockford & Rock Island Railroad
  • La Crosse, Trempeleau & Prescott Railroad (fully purchased by C&NW on September 6, 1877) (RLHS 1937, p 15)
  • Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad
  • Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway
  • Milwaukee, Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroad
  • Northwestern Union Railway
  • Rock River Valley Union Railroad
  • Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Rail Road
  • Sheboygan & Mississippi Rail Road
  • State Line & Union Railroad

By the end of 1859, C&NW completed construction on two new lines: 57 miles between Janesville and Minnesota Junction and 17 miles between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. In 1861 C&NW extended the second of those lines 20 miles from Oshkosh to Appleton. Building northward, Chicago & North Western Railway tracks reached Green Bay in 1862 when the railway completed the 28.4 mile section from Appleton to Fort Howard. (RLHS 1937, p 8) The C&NW was reincorporated on June 20, 1864. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

In 1871, C&NW completed construction of four lines in Wisconsin: 49.45 miles between Fort Howard (Green Bay) and Marinette, 35.4 miles from Fond du Lac to Princeton through subsidiary Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Rail Road, 8.7 miles from Genoa to Lake Geneva through subsidiary State Line & Union Railroad, and 21.3 miles between Manitowoc and Brillion through subsidiary Appleton & New London Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) The C&NW continued expanding in 1873 completing construction on 216.9 miles of track on three lines: 129.1 miles between Madison and Tower WJ (Winona Junction), 62.6 miles between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac through subsidiary Northwestern Union Railway, and 25.2 miles between Sheboygan and Manitowoc though subsidiary Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) In 1873, C&NW also removed 3 miles of track from Syene to South Madison. (RLHS 1937, p 10) The next year in 1874, C&NW completed construction of three lines in Wisconsin: 21.2 miles between Galena, Illinois, and Platteville through subsidiary Galena & Southern Wisconsin Railway, 6.3 miles between Two Rivers Junction and Two Rivers through subsidiary Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad, and the 1 mile segment from Appleton to the line from Brillion just to the east through subsidiary Appleton & New London Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) In 1874, the Potter Law was enacted in Wisconsin setting freight rates for shipments by rail; in protest, Albert Keep (president of Chicago & North Western Railway) sent a letter to governor Taylor that he intended to ignore the new law and continue charging the same rates as before. (Stover 1997, p 120) The C&NW continued its expansion through the state in 1874, completing construction of the "Airline" Subdivision, connecting Milwaukee to Tower NW in Fond du Lac. (Harnack, p 27) By 1887, CNW's trackage within the Wisconsin Division that it owned and operated directly, as opposed to owning and operating through subsidiary companies, measured 581 miles; E. J. Cuyler was the Wisconsin Division superintendent, W. A. Gardner the assistant superintendent and Clayton E. Srong the division trainmaster. The Madison Division measured 486 miles with officers as follows: C. A. Swineford, superintendent; R. A. Cowan, assistant superintendent; H. D. Page, master mechanic; John H. Hull, trainmaster; William A. Lawson, train dispatcher; John Montgomery, trainmaster; and F. E. Pearson, train dispatcher. (Poor's 1887, pp 41-42)

The C&NW operated independently until 1995 when it was fully absorbed into Union Pacific Railroad.

Chicago & Tomah Railway

The Chicago & Tomah Railway was incorporated on October 21, 1872. (RLHS 1937, p 17)

Chicago, Madison & Northern Railroad

Construction began from Chicago through Freeport toward Madison in 1886. According to Poor's 1887 directory, its headquarters were located at 78 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, and the officers included:

  • James C. Clarke, president
  • Stuyvesant Fish, vice president
  • Henry De Wolf, treasurer
  • John Dunn, secretary
  • Edward T. Jeffery, general manager
  • Isham Randolph, chief engineer

Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad

The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad was formed in 1874 through the reorganization of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, pp 12-13) In the same year, 1874, the Potter Law was enacted in Wisconsin setting freight rates for shipments by rail; in protest, Alexander Mitchell (president of Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad) sent a letter to governor Taylor that he intended to ignore the new law and continue charging the same rates as before. (Stover 1997, p 120) It was also in 1874 that the CM&StP completed construction of the pontoon bridge across the Mississippi River to connect Prairie du Chien and Marquette, Iowa. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, p 13) In 1876, the CM&StP completed its bridge across the Mississippi River at La Crosse. (Follmar 2008, p 25) By 1887, the railroad, now reorganized as the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, operated over the 420 miles between Chicago and St. Paul plus 4,781 miles of track in other divisions and branches. (Poor's 1887, p 39)

Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road

The Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road was a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway, formed on July 5, 1855, through the merger of Rock River Valley Union Railroad and the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 14) The consolidated railroad had construction of 21 miles of track completed between Carey, Illinois, and Janesville in 1855. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) The CStP&FdL was again reorganized on February 12, 1857. On April 13, 1857, it acquired and consolidated the Wisconsin & Superior Rail Road into the CStP&FdL, then on May 18, 1857, it also acquired and consolidated the Ontonagon & State Line Rail Road, and then the next day, acquired and consolidated the Marquette & State Line Rail Road as well. After these acquisitions, the CStP&FdL was reincorporated on May 21, 1857. The CStP&FdL was finally consolidated into the C&NW on July 1, 1859. (RLHS 1937, pp 14-15)

Chippewa Falls & Western Railroad

The Chippewa Falls & Western Railroad opened for service on December 17, 1874, between Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire. (Follmar 2008, p 23)

Delavan Railroad

The Delavan Railroad was chartered on March 17, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 298)

Dixon, Rockford & Kenosha Railway

The Dixon, Rockford & Kenosha Railway was formed on January 19, 1864, through the merger of the Dixon, Rockford & State Line Railroad and the Kenosha & State Line Railroad. It was then deeded to the Chicago & North Western Railway on January 23, 1864. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

Dixon, Rockford & State Line Railroad

The Dixon, Rockford & State Line Railroad was incorporated on January 8, 1864. It was then merged with the Kenosha & State Line Railroad on January 19, 1864, to form the Dixon, Rockford & Kenosha Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

DuBuque & Belmont Railroad

The DuBuque & Belmont Railroad was among the first railroads of Wisconsin. It was chartered on December 7, 1836, to build a railroad connection from Belmont, then the territorial capital, to an as yet undetermined point on the Mississippi River. (Lanz 1998, p 3; Meyer 1898, p 294)

Dubuque, Platteville & Milwaukee Railroad

In 1868, the Dubuque, Platteville & Milwaukee Railroad completed construction of 9.6 miles of track from Calamine to Belmont. In 1870 the line was extended 7½ miles from Belmont to Platteville. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Fond du Lac & Beaver Dam Railroad

The Fond du Lac & Beaver Dam Railroad was chartered February 10, 1847, to build a railroad from an unspecified point in Fond du Lac County to a point near Beaver Dam. (Meyer 1898, p 295)

Fond du Lac & Whitewater Railway

The Fond du Lac & Whitewater Railway was incorporated in 1874. In 1875, the Fond du Lac, Amboy & Peoria Railway and the Fond du Lac & Whitewater Railway merge, keeping the former's name for the merged company. (Hilton 1990, p 557)

Fond du Lac, Amboy & Peoria Railway

The Fond du Lac, Amboy & Peoria Railway was incorporated in 1874. In 1875, the FdLA&P and the Fond du Lac & Whitewater Railway merge, keeping the former's name for the merged company. Construction began in 1876 but it was soon halted due to the railroad's failure to pay the construction contractors. (Hilton 1990, p 557)

Fond du Lac, Beaver Dam, Columbus & Madison Railroad

The Fond du Lac, Beaver Dam, Columbus & Madison Railroad was chartered on March 23, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 298)

Fort Winnebago, Baraboo Valley & Minnesota Railroad

The Fort Winnebago, Baraboo Valley & Minnesota Railroad was chartered on March 13, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 297)

Fox Lake Railroad

In 1866, the Fox Lake Railroad completed construction of 2.7 miles of track from Fox Lake Junction to Fox Lake. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Galena & Southern Wisconsin Railroad

The Galena & Southern Wisconsin Railroad was incorporated on March 2, 1857. (RLHS 1937, p 17) Operations began on the railroad's narrow gauge line between Galena, Illinois, and Platteville, Wisconsin, in 1874, when the railroad was a subsidiary of the C&NW. In 1877, the G&SW completed construction of 8.5 miles of track between Ipswitch and a point south of Rewey through subsidiary. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Green Bay & Lake Superior Railroad

The Green Bay & Lake Superior Railroad was chartered on March 24, 1852. (Meyer 1898, p 298)

Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad

The Green Bay & Minnesota Railroad was chartered on March 7, 1853. (Meyer 1898, p 300)

Green Bay, Chicago & Milwaukee Rail Road

The Green Bay, Chicago & Milwaukee Rail Road was a subsidiary of Chicago & North Western Railway, completing construction of 40.4 miles of track from Milwaukee to the Illinois border in 1855. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Rail Road

The Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Rail Road was incorporated on March 13, 1851. (RLHS 1937, p 15; Meyer 1898, p 297) It was reorganized on March 6, 1857, as the Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad

The Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad was chartered in 1851. (NPS HAER WI-13, p 5) On July 5, 1855, it was merged with Chicago & North Western Railway's subsidiary Rock River Valley Union Railroad to form the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road, which itself continued as a C&NW subsidiary. (RLHS 1937, pp 8, 11 and 14)

Illinois Central Railroad

Illinois Parallel Railroad

The Illinois Parallel Railroad was incorporated on February 17, 1851, and incorporated on January 7, 1852. (RLHS 1937, pp 14-15) It was reorganized on February 5, 1853, as the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

Kenosha & Beloit Railroad

The Kenosha & Beloit Railroad was chartered on March 4, 1853, to connect its namesake cities. (RLHS 1937, p 16; Meyer 1898, p 300) It was reorganized on February 14, 1857, as the Kenosha & Rockford Railroad; however, this was not the same company as the other railroad of the same name that was incorporated in January 1857. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

Kenosha & Rockford Railroad (January 1857)

The Kenosha & Rockford Railroad was incorporated on January 20, 1857. On September 8, 1857, this and the other Kenosha & Rockford Railroad were both merged and consolidated into the Kenosha, Rockford & Rock Island Rail Road. (RLHS 1937, pp 15-16)

Kenosha & Rockford Railroad (February 1857)

The second railroad to hold the name Kenosha & Rockford Railroad was created from a reorganization of the Kenosha & Beloit Railroad on February 14, 1857, one month after the other railroad of the same name was incorporated. On September 8, 1857, this and the other Kenosha & Rockford Railroad were both merged and consolidated into the Kenosha, Rockford & Rock Island Rail Road. (RLHS 1937, pp 15-16)

Kenosha & State Line Railroad

The Kenosha & State Line Railroad was organized on January 15, 1864, by the same investors that purchased the Kenosha, Rockford & Rock Island Rail Road a week earlier. They then merged it with the Dixon, Rockford & State Line Railroad on January 19, 1864, to form the Dixon, Rockford & Kenosha Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

Kenosha, Rocford & Rock Island Rail Road

The Kenosha, Rocford & Rock Island Rail Road was incorporated on March 5, 1857. On September 8, 1857, the KR&RI acquired, merged and consolidated both Kenosha & Rockford Railroad companies into the KR&RI. (RLHS 1937, pp 15-16) In 1862, the KR&RI, by then a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway, completed construction of 28 miles of track between Kenosha and Rockford, Illinois. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) On January 7, 1864, the KR&RI was sold to new owners. (RLHS 1937, p 15-16)

La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad

The La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad was chartered on April 2, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 298) Construction began at the eastern end of the proposed route with 8 miles of track from Chestnut St. in Milwaukee to North Milwaukee completed in 1854. By 1855, the line was extended 44.7 miles of from North Milwaukee to Horicon. The next year the LC&M completed 47.6 miles of track from Horicon to Portage. In 1857, construction continued on two lines, completing 43 miles of track from Portage to New Lisbon, and 18.8 miles from Watertown to Columbus. A year later in 1858, the LC&M completed 61.3 miles of track from New Lisbon to North La Crosse. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) The whole line between Milwaukee and La Crosse was officially opened for traffic on October 14, 1858, with a dedication train carrying dignitaries that operated over the entire route from east to west. (Johnson, p 47) The line's opening wasn't enough to keep the railroad going, however, as the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad filed for bankruptcy in 1859. The bondholders and principals in the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad met on September 3, 1861, and established an agreement to reorganize the railroad through foreclosure. The reorganization plan for the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad is officially adopted at the bondholders meeting on October 1, 1861, with the reorganized railroad renamed as the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad with trustees Francis Vose, Isaac Seymour, Horace Galpin, Mr. Dawson, D. M. Hughes and Mr. Gould. (NYT, 17 Sept 1863)

La Crosse Railroad

On October 1, 1857, the La Crosse Railroad was leased to Selah Chamberlain. A few months later, on January 26, 1858, a supplemental deed of trust was made for the La Crosse Railroad limiting the company's bond liability to $4 million. (NYT, 20 March 1861)

La Crosse, Trempeleau & Prescott Railroad

The La Crosse, Trempeleau & Prescott Railroad was incorporated on March 6, 1857. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1870, the LCT&P was a C&NW subsidiary and had completed construction of 28.9 miles between Winona Junction (then known as Tower WJ) and Winona, Minnesota. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) The LCT&P was fully purchased by the C&NW on September 6, 1877. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

La Fontaine Rail Road

The La Fontaine Rail Road was one of the very first railroad names connected to Wisconsin. The railroad was chartered on December 3, 1836, to build a line between Winnebago and La Fontaine. (Meyer 1898, p 293)

Lake Michigan & Mississippi Railroad

The Lake Michigan & Mississippi Railroad was chartered on February 4, 1847, to connect the two waterways by rail. (Meyer 1898, p 295)

Madison & Beloit Railroad

The Madison & Beloit Railroad was incorporated on August 19, 1848, to build a railroad from Madison through Janesville to Beloit. (RLHS 1937, p 14; Meyer 1898, p 296) It was reorganized on February 9, 1850, as the Rock River Valley Union Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 14; Meyer 1898, p 296)

Madison & Portage Railroad

In 1870, the Madison & Portage Railroad completed construction of 33 miles of track between its namesake cities. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Madison & Prairie du Chien Railroad

The Madison & Prairie du Chien Railroad was chartered on March 24, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 298)

Madison & Swan Lake Railroad

The Madison & Swan Lake Railroad was chartered on March 11, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 297)

Madison, Ft. Atkinson & Whitewater Railroad

The Madison, Ft. Atkinson & Whitewater Railroad was chartered on April 14, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 299)

Madison, Lodi & Baraboo Railroad

The Madison, Lodi & Baraboo Railroad was incorporated on March 9, 1864. It was acquired by the Baraboo Airline Railroad on September 9, 1870. (RLHS 1937, p 18)

Madison, Waterford & Kenosha Railroad

The Madison, Waterford & Kenosha Railroad was chartered on February 9, 1850, to build a railroad from Kenosha to an unspecified interchange with any railroad in Rock County. (Meyer 1898, p 296)

Manitowoc & Mississippi Railroad

The Manitowoc & Mississippi Railroad was chartered on March 15, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 297)

Marquette & State Line Rail Road

The Marquette & State Line Rail Road was incorporated on January 16, 1857. On May 19, 1857, the M&SL was acquired by and consolidated into the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road. (RLHS 1937, p 14)

Menominee River Railroad

The Menominee River Railroad was organized on February 9, 1875. (RLHS 1937, p 17)

Michigan & Rock River Railroad

The Michigan & Rock River Railroad was chartered on January 8, 1840, to build a railroad from the intersection of the Rock River and the Illinois border to a Southport on Lake Michigan. (Meyer 1898, p 294)

Michigan & Wisconsin Transit Rail Road

The Michigan & Wisconsin Transit Rail Road was chartered on February 28, 1853, to build a railroad between Manitowoc and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. (Meyer 1898, p 274 and 300)

Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad

The Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad was formed on March 6, 1857, from the reorganization of the Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Rail Road. On June 11, 1863, the M&C was merged with the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad to form the Chicago & Milwaukee Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 15)

Milwaukee & Cream City Traction Company

Milwaukee & Fond du Lac Railroad

The Milwaukee & Fond du Lac Railroad was chartered on February 21, 1851, to build a railroad from Milwaukee through Iron Ridge to Fond du Lac. (Meyer 1898, p 297)

Milwaukee & Horicon Rail Road

The Milwaukee & Horicon Rail Road was chartered on April 17, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 299) By 1855, the M&H had completed construction of 14 miles of track from Horicon to Waupun. The next year the M&H extended its line 15 miles from Waupun to Ripon. In 1857 the line was again extended 12 miles from Ripon to Berlin. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) On June 23, 1863, the M&H was purchased by the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway.

Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad

The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad was created in the late 1840s through a reorganization of the Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad.  By 1850 it had completed construction of 10 miles of track from Milwaukee to Elm Grove via Wauwatosa (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) and operated its first train to Wauwatosa. (WisDOT Timeline). This railroad is sometimes cited as the first operating railroad in Wisconsin. In 1851, the line was extended from Elm Grove to Waukesha, (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) and the railroad finally operated its first passenger train on February 25, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 216) The line was extended 41.5 miles further to reach Milton in 1852. It was again extended from Milton to Stoughton in 1853. The next year, in 1854, the line was extended again from Stoughton to Madison. In 1856 the M&M completed 71 miles of track from Madison to Boscobel. In 1857 the M&M was building two lines, completing construction of 28 miles of track from Boscobel to Prairie du Chien, and 34 miles from Janesville to Monroe. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) The M&M completed its line to Prairie du Chien on April 15, 1857. In 1861 the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad was reorganized as the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, p 12)

Milwaukee & Northern Railroad

The Milwaukee & Northern Railway was chartered in 1870 to build a railroad line from Milwaukee northerly to a point on the Fox River south of Appleton, and to eventually extend the line north to Lake Superior. (Harnack, p 31) Construction began in the same year and the company completed 13.7 miles of track from North Milwaukee to Cedarburg in November 1870. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24; Harnack, p 31) In 1871, the M&N completed construction of 79 miles of track from Cedarburg via Hilbert Junction to Menasha. (RLHS 1937, p 21 and 24) In 1873, the M&N completed 27 miles of track from Hilbert Junction to Green Bay. (RLHS 1937, p 21 and 24; Harnack p 31) In 1877, the M&N and the Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Railroad ended the trackage rights agreement that allowed the M&N to operate over S&FdL tracks to Sheboygan and also to Fond du Lac. (Harnack, p 31)

Chief officers in 1888 were: A. M. Hoyt, president; James C. Spencer, vice president; C. F. Dutton, general manager; H. M. Bell, superintendent; S. B. Fisher, chief engineer; Charles Ray, secretary and treasurer; John C. Spencer, assistant treasurer; Robert Toombs, auditor; W. B. Sheardown, general ticket agent; J. C. Forester, general freight agent; N. S. Kimball, master mechanic; H. M. Butts, foreman car painters; P. O'Connor and P. Neugent, roadmasters. (Official List 1888, p 121)

Milwaukee & Northwestern Railway

The Milwaukee & Northwestern Railway was incorporated on February 25, 1871. The M&NW was reorganized on May 3, 1872, as the Northwestern Union Railway. (RLHS 1937, p 16)

Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad

The Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad was formed in 1861 through the reorganization of the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad. In 1867 the M&PdC was fully incorporated into the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, p 12)

Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad

The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad was formed on October 1, 1861 through the reorganization of the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad. On October 3, 1861, the trustees of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad executed a trust deed to take over the former La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad, which at that time had a completed line between its namesake cities. On October 23, 1862, a suit was brought to Wisconsin Supreme Court to prevent the trustees of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad from dismissing Francis Vose as a trustee and to instead expel all trustees except Vose; the suit claims that Vose was excluded from company proceedings following the 1861 trust deed. (NYT 17 Sep 1863) On June 23, 1863, the M&SP purchased the Milwaukee & Horicon Railroad, then on October 30, 1863, purchased the Ripon & Wolf River Railroad. (Easton 2007, p 4) In 1864 the M&StP completed construction of three new lines: 28.2 miles between Columbus and Portage, 13 miles from Milwaukee via West Allis to Brookfield, and a 0.3 mile extension in Berlin. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) On November 13, 1864, the M&StP reinaugurated regular train service from Omro to Milwaukee over the former Ripon & Wolf River Railroad line. (Easton 2007, p 5) In 1867 the M&StP fully incorporated the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad into its own holdings, which gave the railroad a second connection on the Mississippi River. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, p 12) At a meeting of the Board of Directors for the M&StP on November 4, 1867, a resolution was passed to extend the line from Omro to Oshkosh, based on Oshkosh's contribution of $50,000 and land for the right of way and station grounds in Oshkosh. (Easton 2007, p 6) In April 1868, the M&SP began work to upgrade the former R&WR line with construction on the swing bridge in Omro. (Easton 2007, p 8) Then on August 31, 1868, they completed construction of 5.3 miles of track from Omro to Winneconne and the Muskego Yard Cut-Off in Milwaukee, (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) and the first train to Winneconne arrived and then departed the town with four carloads of lumber. Official opening ceremonies for the newly completed Winneconne branch were held on September 10, 1868. (Easton 2007, p 8) The M&StP closed the 1860s with the completion in 1869 of construction on 6.2 miles of track from Grand Avenue Junction to North Milwaukee and 12 miles of track from Sun Prairie to Madison. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

The 1870s for the M&StP began with disaster. Fire destroyed the railway's depot in Winneconne on September 24, 1871. Newspaper reports at the time indicated that 25 tons of freight, three cars and all of the line's financial documents were also destroyed by the fire. A new depot was soon built and opened in November 1871. (Easton 2007, p 10-11) In 1874, the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad was reorganized as the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. (Molldrem and McCoy, 4th quarter 1998, pp 12-13)

Milwaukee & Watertown Railroad

The Milwaukee & Watertown Railroad was chartered on March 11, 1851. (Meyer 1898, p 297) In 1855, the M&W completed construction of 31.8 miles of track from Brookfield to Watertown. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad

The Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad was incorporated on February 11, 1847. It soon reorganized as the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad. (Meyer 1898, p 295-6)

Milwaukee, Dexterville & Northern Railroad
Wisconsin, Pittsville & Superior Railroad

Officers in 1888 were: George Hiles, president, general manager and purchasing agent; W. G. Collins, vice president; James Hiles, general superintendent; C. O. Baker, secretary and auditor; I. H. Germond, general ticket agent; E. Blaisdell, general freight agent; Lawrence Ward, tie and wood agent; George Dillon, master mechanic; John Lightner, roadmaster. (Official List 1888, p 121)

Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company

Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad

The Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad, a subsidiary of the C&NW, was created on June 1, 1872, through the reorganization of the Milwaukee, Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1873, the MLS&W completed construction of 25.2 miles of track between Sheboygan and Manitowoc. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway

On December 10, 1875, the organizers of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway, a subsidiary of the C&NW, purchased a one-mile segment of the Appleton & New London Railway in Appleton, and the following day, December 11, the MLS&W was incorporated. (RLHS 1937, pp 16-17) In 1876, the MLS&W completed construction of 19.9 miles of track between Appleton and New London. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Officers in 1888 were: F. W. Rhinelander, president; F. W. Rhinelander, Jr., assistant to president; Joseph R. Rusk, vice president; H. F. Whitcomb, general manager; Gordon Norrie, treasurer; Alfred L. Cary, general solicitor and secretary; E. H. Rummele, chief engineer; W. R. Hancock, auditor; George S. Marsh, general passenger and ticket agent; C. L. Wellington, general freight agent; E. J. Seymour, assistant general freight agent; J. O. Thayer, general land agent; Henry W. Reighley, purchasing agent; John Hickey, master mechanic; F. Laughren, foreman car painters; J. Donohue, superintendent of track, bridges and buildings; J. W. Sherwood, division superintendent, Ashland; W. H. Vandegrift, division superintendent, Kaukauna; H. C. Reed, superintendent telegraph; George L. Young, stationer; J. H. Coffman, roadmaster, Kaukauna; P. Plunkett, roadmaster, Clintonville; Frank Radall, roadmaster, Antigo; J. P. Blemer, roadmaster, Ashland. (Official List 1888, p 121)

Milwaukee, Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroad

The Milwaukee, Manitowoc & Green Bay Railroad was incorporated on March 10, 1870. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1872, the MM&GB was a C&NW subsidiary and had completed construction of 48.5 miles of track between Lake Shore Junction and Sheboygan. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) On June 1, 1872, the MM&GB purchased a line of the Appleton & New London Railway that connected Manitowoc and Appleton; the railroad was then reorganized as the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 16)

Milwaukee Road

Mineral Point & Northern Railway

The Mineral Point & Northern Railway was incorporated on October 17, 1899, by the New Jersey Zinc Company (which had purchased the Mineral Point Zinc Company in 1897) to build a new line from Highland Junction (just south of Mineral Point) along the Pecatonica River to Linden and Highland. Construction on the MP&N line began in 1903, was completed on December 5, 1904, and the first train operated on December 18, 1904. The Milwaukee Road allowed the MP&N trackage rights from Highland Junction to Mineral Point. The MP&N maintained its offices in the second floor of the Mineral Point depot, a building which has been restored and now hosts a small railroad museum dedicated to the railways that served the town. Declining revenues forced the railroad to file for abandonment in 1929. The last run was on March 2, 1930, with the railroad subsequently sold for scrap. (Clark, 1st quarter 2008, p 13)

Mineral Point Railroad

The Mineral Point Railroad was chartered on April 17, 1852. (Meyer 1898, p 299)

Mineral Point Rail Road

In 1857, the Mineral Point Rail Road completed construction of 31¼ miles of track from the Illinois border to Mineral Point. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) This was likely the same entity as the Mineral Point Railroad that is referenced in Meyer's 1898 work, but I'm keeping it separate until I have definitive evidence that they were in fact one.

North Wisconsin Railway

The North Wisconsin Railway opened between Hudson and New Richmond in 1872. (Follmar 2008, p 24)

Northwestern Railroad

The Northwestern Railroad was chartered on April 17, 1852. (Meyer 1898, p 299)

Northwestern Union Railway

The Northwestern Union Railway, a C&NW subsidiary, was created on May 3, 1872, through the reorganization of the Milwaukee & Northwestern Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1873, the NWU had completed construction of 62.6 of track miles between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Ontonagon & State Line Rail Road

The Ontonagon & State Line Rail Road was incorporated on August 20, 1856. It was consolidated into the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road on May 18, 1857. (RLHS 1937, p 14)

Oshkosh & Mississippi River Railroad

In 1871, the Oshkosh & Mississippi River Railroad completes construction of 19 miles of track from Ripon to Oshkosh. (RLHS 1937, p 21 and 24)

Pekatonica & Mississippi Railroad

The Pekatonica (sic) & Mississippi Railroad was chartered on March 6, 1839, to build a railroad from Mineral Point to the Mississippi River at a point in Grant County. (Lanz 1998, p 3; Meyer 1898, 9 294)

Portage City, Stevens Point & Wausau Railroad

The Portage City, Stevens Point & Wausau Railroad was chartered on April 16, 1852, to connect its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 299)

Potosi & Dodgeville Railroad

The Potosi & Dodgeville Railroad was chartered on February 10, 1851, to build a railroad between its namesake towns. (Meyer 1898, p 297)

Racine & Mississippi Rail Road

In 1855, the Racine & Mississippi Rail Road completed construction of 46¾ miles of track from Racine to Delevan. A year later, the R&M completed construction of 22.6 miles of track from Delevan to Beloit. It wasn't until 1859 that the R&M completed the last 0.27 miles of track from Beloit to the Illinois state line. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Racine, Janesville & Mississippi Railroad

The Racine, Janesville & Mississippi Railroad was chartered on April 17, 1852, to connect its namesake cities to the Mississippi River (Meye 1898, p 299)

Ripon & Wolf River Railroad

In 1860, the Ripon & Wolf River Railroad completed construction of 9.6 miles of track from Rush Lake Junction to Omro. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24) But in 1861 regular service was reduced to three times per week. The line's president, Chauncey Bigelow, and Seward Cady of Omro began meeting the evening train at Rush Lake with a handcar to get the daily mail and express deliveries for Omro. The R&WR was purchased by the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway on October 30, 1863. (Easton 2007, p 4)

Rock River Valley Union Railroad

The Rock River Valley Union Railroad was created on February 9, 1850, through the reorganization of the Madison & Beloit Railroad. (RLHS 1937, p 14; Meyer 1898, p 296) By 1854 it was a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway and had completed a 29-mile line from Minnesota Junction to Fond du Lac. (RLHS 1937, p 8)

Root River Railroad

The Root River Railroad was chartered on January 11, 1838. (Meyer 1898, p 294)

Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Rail Road

Not to be confused with the entity of an almost identical name chartered in 1847, the Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Rail Road was created on March 19, 1861, through the reorganization of the Sheboygan & Mississippi Rail Road. (RLHS 1937, pp 15-16)

Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Railroad

The Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Railroad was chartered on January 25, 1847, to build a railroad between its namesake cities. (Meyer 1898, p 295) Construction began in 1866 on an extension from Glenbeulah to Fond du Lac. (Harnack, p 27) By the end of 1868, the S&FdL was a subsidiary of the C&NW and had completed construction of the 23.4 mile extension between Glenbeulah and Fond du Lac. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11; Harnack, p 27, asserts that this extension was completed in 1869) In 1871, the S&FdL completed construction on 35.4 miles from Fond du Lac to Princeton. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) In 1877, the S&FdL suspended the trackage rights agreement that allowed the Milwaukee & Northern Railway to operate over S&FdL tracks to Sheboygan and also to Fond du Lac. (Harnack, p 31)

Sheboygan & Mississippi Rail Road

The Sheboygan & Mississippi Rail Road was incorporated on March 8, 1852, to build a railroad to an unspecified point on the Mississippi River. (RLHS 1937, p 15; Meyer 1898, p 298) Construction began westward from Sheboygan in 1856. (Harnack, p 26) By 1859, the S&M was a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway and had completed construction of 13.9 miles between Sheboygan and Plymouth. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11; Harnack, p 26) In the next year it had completed construction of 5.7 miles of track between Plymouth and Glenbeulah. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11) On March 2, 1861, the S&M was purchased by Samuel L. Benson; under his ownership, the railroad was reorganized on March 19, 1861, as the  (RLHS 1937, pp 15-16)

Shullsburg Branch Railroad

The Shullsburg Branch Railroad was chartered on February 9, 1850, to build a railroad from Shullsburg to an unspecified point on the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. (Meyer 1898, p 296)

Southern Wisconsin Rail Road

The Southern Wisconsin Rail Road was chartered April 10, 1852, to connect to an unspecified point on the Mississippi River. (Meyer 1898, p 299) By 1853 it had connected Milton and Janesville. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

State Line & Union Railroad

The State Line & Union Railroad was incorporated on March 2, 1871. (RLHS 1937, p 16) By the end of 1871, the SL&U was a C&NW subsidiary had completed construction of 8.7 miles from Genoa to Lake Geneva. (RLHS 1937, p 8 and 11)

Tomah & Lake St. Croix Railroad

The Tomah & Lake St. Croix Railroad was organized in 1863. In 1866, control of the railroad was ceded to the West Wisconsin Railway, then finally began construction of its line in 1867. (NPS HAER WI-13, p 5)

Union Pacific Railroad

Watertown & Berlin Railroad

The Watertown & Berlin Railroad was chartered on February 11, 1853. (Meyer 1898, p 300)

Watertown & Madison Railroad

The Watertown & Madison Railroad completed construction of 24½ miles of track from Watertown to Sun Prairie in 1857. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

West Wisconsin Railway

The West Wisconsin Railway was chartered in 1863. (Grant 1986, p 20) It assumed control of the Tomah & Lake St. Croix Railroad in 1866 (NPS HAER WI-13, p 5) and finally began operations in 1868. (Grant 1986, p 20) In October 1870, the WW completed the wooden high bridge over the Chippewa River. (Follmar 2008, p 22) The WW expanded its Eau Claire shops in 1871, and inaugurated passenger serivce to Eau Claire on January 19, 1871. (Follmar 2008, p 23) In August 1871, the WW purchased three new locomotives, raising the number of locomotives owned by the railway to five. They then purchased four more locomotives in the Fall. (Follmar 2008, p 26-27) The railway expanded its Eau Claire shops in 1872 for the second time since opening in 1870, (Follmar 2008, p 23) and the railroad's car construction shops are moved from Eau Claire to Hudson also in 1872. (NPS HAER WI-13, p 4) The WW again purchased five new locomotives in 1872, bringing its roster of locomotives to fourteen, (Follmar 2008, p 26-27) and in February 1872 opened a connection to the St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylors Falls Railroad, linking Eau Claire to St. Paul by rail. On January 1, 1875, the WW entered receivership after the company failed to pay the interest on bonds due that day. In 1877, two drunk brakemen for the West Wisconsin Railway took a locomotive from Eau Claire and used it to travel eastward one mile to visit a prostitute; when they returned with the locomotive to Eau Claire, they crashed into a caboose which in turn pushed a flat car through the door at the shops building. (Follmar 2008, p 23)

Western Union Rail Road

In 1870, the Western Union Rail Road completed construction of 16.6 miles of track from Elkhorn to Eagle. (RLHS 1937, p 20 and 24)

Wisconsin & Calumet Railroad

Wisconsin & Lake Superior Railroad

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad

Wisconsin & Superior Rail Road

The Wisconsin & Superior Rail Road was incorporated on October 11, 1856. On April 13, 1857, it was consolidated into the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail Road. (RLHS 1937, p 14)

Wisconsin Central Railway

The Wisconsin Central Railway was chartered on March 4, 1853. (Meyer 1898, p 300) In 1877, the Wisconsin Central tracks reached Ashland.

In 1888, according to the Official List (pp 198-9), the Wisconsin Central was operating over 774.45 miles of 4 ft 8½ in gauge track; the company owned 132 locomotives, 117 passenger cars and 4,692 freight and miscellaneous cars.  Its officers included:

  • president and treasurer - Charles L. Colby
  • vice president and secretary - Edwin H. Abbot
  • general manager - William S. Mellen
  • general superintendent - A. A. Allen
  • chief engineer - F. W. Fratt
  • general passenger, ticket and baggage agent - James Barker
  • auditor and general accountant - T. J. Hyman
  • general freight agent - Henry C. Barlow
  • purchasing agent - Charles C. MacLeod
  • timber agent - W. Peck
  • superintendent motive power - John Player
  • master car builder - William Cormack
  • foreman locomoive repairs - Alva Mitchell
  • foreman car painter - J. A. Putz
  • division superintendents - W. A. Gardner (Chicago), C. F. Waldo (Stevens Point), T. C. Clifford (St. Paul)
  • roadmasters - F. C. Baker (Stevens Point), J. H. Adolfs (Abbotsford), John Dunnigan (Ashland), William Hancock (Waukesha), A. A. O'Rourke (Chippewa Falls), J. Scanlan (Fond du Lac)
  • superintendent building and bridges - P. Walling

Wisconsin Union Railroad

In 1871, the Wisconsin Union Railroad completes construction of two lines: 37.6 miles from Reed Street in Milwaukee to the Illinois border, and the Bay View Spur in Milwaukee. (RLHS 1937, p 21 and 24)

Wisconsin Valley Railroad

In 1873, the Wisconsin Valley Railroad completed construction of 45 miles of track from Tomah to Wisconsin Rapids. (RLHS 1937, p 21 and 24)