About that Milwaukee Road map

More information on the expansion and retraction of a transcontinental system
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad
Trains Magazine's September 2010 "Map of the Month: Milwaukee Road Growth" maps the expansion of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, from a 20-mile line linking Milwaukee and Waukesha, Wis. (respectively, Trains' past and current hometown) into a 10,733-mile transcontinental system over a scant 100 years.

Any map charting this kind of expansion requires interpreting and simplifying a lot of complex topics. Fortunately, we had a great source in a 1944 commemorative booklet issued by the Milwaukee Road's public relations department.

It's filled with details on the railroad's expansion, electrification, and operations.

We thought we'd use this opportunity to share some more information with you about the growth and development of the Milwaukee Road.

All of this information came from that 1944 railroad-issued publication.


1851-1860 (year end) 736.49
1861-1870 (year end) 949.31
1871-1880 (year end) 2,208.68
1881-1890 (year end) 2,350.38
1891-1900 (year end) 794.53
1901-1910 (year end) 2,249.33
1911-1920 (year end) 510.79
1921-1930 (year end) 846.41
1931-1943 (year end) -573.18


Hilbert-Neenah: Joint track with Soo Line (built 1871), 15.8 miles

Chicago Union Station-Western Avenue: Joint track with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway; built by PCCStL in 1869

Polo-Birmingham, 38 miles: Milwaukee originally built line 1887. Then a line realignment, 1930-1931, created joint double-track route with Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (each road owns 1 track); joint operation began 1931.

Red Wing-Cannon Falls: Half-interest acquired from Chicago Great Western in 1937 (when MILW's own line was abandoned, Cannon Falls-Cannon Jct.)

Mendota-St. Paul (northerly 5 miles of route, including Mississippi River bridge): Jointly built in 1866 by MILW and C&NW predecessors; now jointly owned with Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway

Mankato-Benning: Trackage rights granted over Chicago Great Western (1902), 3.13 miles, plus 1.1 miles of joint track with CGW in Mankato

Sioux Falls Jct.-Renner: Built by Great Northern; joint ownership granted 1935/1941

Lewistown-Agawam: Portions owned jointly with Great Northern, per a 1937 agreement that enabled MILW to abandon part of its own line and acquire a half-interest in GN track, while conveying a half-interest to GN in some Milwaukee Road segments; total joint trackage comes to 29.99 miles. Joint sections include Lewistown-Spring Creek Jct. (8.1 miles MILW, 1.03 miles GN, and 0.02 miles new), Emerson Jct.-Dracut Jct. (14.01 miles GN and 0.03 miles new), and Eastham-Choteau (6.8 miles MILW).

Tacoma-Black River Jct., 26.32 miles: Built 1908-1909 by Milwaukee Road. Milwaukee conveyed half-interest to Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation, 1909

Hoquiam-Helsing Jct., 44.49 miles: Joint track with Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation, 1909. (Aberdeen-Hoquiam: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific granted 1911, 4.7 miles)


Westby-Chaseburg: Built 1905 by La Crosse & Southeastern; acquired by Milwaukee Road 1933, 15.82 miles

Grundy-McInnes: Built 1901 by Marinette, Tomahawk & Western Railway; acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1903, 19.25 miles

LaCrosse & Milwaukee Rail Road: Had a system formed from smaller lines, with key routes being Milwaukee-Fond du Lac-Green Bay; Milwaukee-Horicon-Portage (95 miles)-La Crosse; Brookfield-Watertown-Portage; Madison-Portage. The bankrupt company was sold in 1863 to the new Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, which in 1867 merged with the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railway.

Milwaukee & Northern Railroad, acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1893. Key routes: Ontonagon-Channing, Milwaukee-Green Bay-Menominee-Marinette-Champion

Kirland-DeKalb; Joliet-Delmar, 95 miles: Built 1904-1905 by Illinois, Iowa & Minnesota, later named Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary Railway in 1910 (with trackage rights secured in 1905 over Elgin, Joliet & Eastern DeKalb-Joliet); Milwaukee Road began running the CM&G in 1922 and acquired the line in 1930

Chicago Heights-Seymour-Westport, 361.238 miles: Built 1890-1906 by predecessors of the Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern Railway (formed in 1910 from three bankrupt or financially distressed railroads); leased in 1921 by Milwaukee Road for 999 years

Racine & Mississippi Railroad network: Racine-Beloit-Freeport-Savanna. Illinois and Wisconsin sections combined under the name Western Union Railroad; acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1869

Chicago & Pacific Railroad: Built the Chicago-Elgin-Davis Jct.-Savanna line.; leased by Milwaukee Road in 1880 and purchased in 1900

Chicago-Buena Park-Wilmette: Built 1885-1888 by Milwaukee Road. Buena Park-Wilmette section leased to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, 1919-1944, then Chicago Rapid Transit from 1944 on

Storm Lake-Rembrandt: Acquired from Minneapolis & St. Louis in 1936

Dubuque Southwestern system: Farley-Worthington-Cedar Rapids; conveyed to Milwaukee Road in 1881

Milwaukee Road bridges the Mississippi between Savanna, Ill., and Sabula, Iowa, 1880-1881.

Bellevue-Cascade: Sold in 1933 to the Bellevue & Cascade Railroad (narrow gauge), 35.72 miles

Main line from St. Paul-Minneapolis, including Mississippi River bridge, completed 1880 by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway

Sioux City & Dakota system included Dakota Southern (Sioux City-Yankton) and Sioux City & Pembina (Elk Point-Sioux Falls); acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1881

Lombard-Lewistown: Built by Montana Railroad, 1894-1904; acquired by MILW 1910

Three Forks-Salesville and Menard: Built by Gallatin Valley Railway 1910-1913; acquired by MILW in 1918

Ringling-Dorsey: Milwaukee Road granted trackage rights on this 1896-built MILW route to White Sulphur Springs & Yellowstone Park Railway in 1910; MILW owns the line but does not operate it.

Bovill-Palouse: New line construction, completed 1961

Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad: Extended mine-tidewater coal line at Bellingham to Glacier (1891-1900) plus Lynden branch (1903). Bought by Bellingham & Northern Railway in 1912. Acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1918.

Tacoma Eastern Railroad built line south of Tacoma. Acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1918

Puget Sound & Willapa Harbor Railway built Maytown-Centralia-Chehalis Jct.-Raymond 1914-1915. Acquired by Milwaukee Road 1916.

Seattle, Port Angeles & Western Railway and predecessors built Discovery Jct.-Port Angeles-Twin Rivers, 1914-1917. (Reached Port Townsend on trackage rights over Port Townsend & Puget Sound Railway). Acquired by Milwaukee Road in 1918

Milwaukee Road incorporated the Milwaukee Terminal carfloat service to link its disconnected rail lines in Washington state, building piers at Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham, and Port Townsend.

Chehalis Jct.-Dryad: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific (granted 1935), 16.83 miles (after Milwaukee Road abandoned 7.62 miles of its parallel route and sold another 10.93 miles to Chehalis Western Railroad)


Numbers below totaled 565.4 miles; add the rest (uncounted) and total is close to around 600 miles

Channing-Escanaba and Wells: Trackage rights over Escanaba & Lake Superior, 65.4 miles (in effect 1900 to 1937)

Stiles Jct.-Oconto: Trackage rights over Chicago & North Western (granted 1933), about 12 miles

Rockford-Davis Jct.: Trackage rights over Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (granted 1881), 12.9 miles

Davis Jct.-Steward Jct: Trackage rights over Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (granted 1903)

Franklin Park-Chicago Heights: Trackage rights on Indiana Harbor Belt (Franklin Park-North Harvey, granted 1921, 26 miles) and Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal (North Harvey-Chicago Heights, granted 1913, about 10-15 miles)

Seatonville-McNabb: Trackage rights on New York Central (granted 1904)

Bensenville-Techny: Trackage rights on Chicago & North Western (granted 1918, year line was built), 10.1 miles

East Moline-Rock Island: Trackage rights on Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (granted 1901), about 7 miles

Ayers-Ebner: Trackage rights on Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (granted 1934), about 8.5 miles

Clinton-Davenport-Rock Island IL: Trackage rights over Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (and partly also Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and Davenport Rock Island & North Western) granted 1901; 46.32 miles

Davenport-Muscatine: Trackage rights over Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (granted 1903); 26.61 miles

Council Bluffs-Omaha-South Omaha: Trackage rights over Union Pacific (granted 1898); 8.60 miles

Coburg-Kansas City, 4.79 miles: Trackage rights via Kansas City Terminal Railway, granted 1887, revised with new Union Station in 1909 (too small a distance to show on map)

St. Paul-Duluth and Superior: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific (granted 1900), 180.6 miles

Stillwater-South Stillwater: Trackage rights over Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha (granted 1904, when MILW's 1882 track was abandoned), 2.16 miles (too small a distance to show on map)

Mankato-Benning: Trackage rights granted over Chicago Great Western (1902), 3.13 miles, plus 1.1 miles of joint track with CGW in Mankato

Maple Island-Hollandale: Trackage rights granted over Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (1926), 2.37 miles (too small a distance to show on map)
(Milwaukee Road later leased a portion of track in Hollandale to Rock Island in 1928)

Purdue-Bovill: Trackage rights over Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway (granted 1913), 2.15 miles (too small a distance to show on map)

Manito-Spokane-Marengo: Trackage rights over Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. (granted 1914), 80.36 miles

Enumclaw-Selleck (Bentley Jct.): Trackage rights on Northern Pacific (granted 1933), 10.2 miles (allowing Milwaukee to abandon its 1910-built route)

Chehalis Jct.-Dryad: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific (granted 1935), 16.83 miles (after Milwaukee Road abandoned 7.62 miles of its parallel route and sold another 10.93 miles to Chehalis Western Railroad)

Chehalis Jct.-Longview: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific (granted 1931/1935), 42.41 miles

(Milwaukee Road first secured rights on NP in 1931 for the Chehalis-Olequa leg, 22.05 miles; for the Olequa-Longview leg Milwaukee bought a 25% ownership interest in the Longview, Portland & Northern Railway. Flooding damaged the LP&N tracks in 1933, and in 1935 Milwaukee got additional trackage rights on Northern Pacific for the Olequa-Longview leg, 20.36 miles.)

Aberdeen-Hoquiam: Trackage rights over Northern Pacific (granted 1911), 4.7 miles

Seattle-Black River Jct.-Maple Valley: Trackage rights over Pacific Coast Railway (granted 1906), 20.37 miles

Port Townsend-Discovery Jct.: Trackage rights over Port Townsend Southern Railway (granted 1915), 12.12 miles

Monroe-Everett: Trackage rights on Great Northern (granted 1940), 13.18 miles (after Milwaukee Road abandoned parallel 1911-built route)


Crystal Falls Junction-Crystal Falls, 1.5 miles: Abandoned December 1929

Ontonagon-White Pine, 17.4 miles: Sold to Bergland Lumber, December 1933

Mather-Goodyear-Zeda, 29.2 miles: abandoned August 1895

Pittsville Jct.-Arpin, 13.7 miles: abandoned January 1918

North La Crosse-Onalaska, 3.62 miles: abandoned December 1918

Boulder Junction-Papoose, 10.8 miles: taken up September 1919

Magenta (Eau Claire)-Central Junction (Chippewa Falls), 11.5 miles: abandoned October 1920

Lynn-Romadka, 5.3 miles: abandoned June 1923

Gratiot-Warren, Ill., 6.24 miles: abandoned July 1923

Tomah-Norway, 12.71 miles: abandoned July 1925

Wausaukee-Girard Junction, 17.7 miles: abandoned July 1925

Boulder Junction-Blue Bill, Mich., circa 13 miles: abandoned in stages between May 1926 and October 1929

Eagle-Troy Center, 4.97 miles: abandoned April 1930

Oconto Jct.-Oconto, 11.5 miles: abandoned September 1933

Velasco-Boulder Junction, 10.1 miles: taken up October 1931

Lyndsey-Lynn, 9.79 miles: abandoned December 1931

Troy Center-Elkhorn, 10.43 miles: abandoned October 1932

Dexterville-Lyndsey, 15.71 miles: abandoned October 1933

Norway-Babcock, 15.84 miles: abandoned December 1934

Doering-Kalinke, 14.9 miles: taken up May 1935

Grundy-Gleason-McInnes, 19.25 miles: acquired from Marinette, Tomahawk & Western, September 1903; taken up in stages, 1936-1942

Wauzeka-La Farge: discontinued August 1939

Otis-Gleason-Doering, 16.8 miles: taken up February 1943

Merrill-Newwood, 17.52 miles: 3.4 miles abandoned November 1926; remainder taken up April 1943

Woodruff-Star Lake, 16.8 miles: taken up April 1944

Chicago-Wilmette: Leased to Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, 1919

Ayers-Ebner, 8.49 miles: abandoned April 1934

Glendora-Hart, 6.7 miles: taken up August 1942

Black Hawk-Hawton, 12.7 miles, taken up January 1944

Emmetsburg-Estherville, 21 miles: abandoned 1889

Rock Valley-Hudson, 9.4 miles: abandoned December 1918

Long Grove-DeWitt, 9.0 miles: abandoned August 1931

Bellevue-Cascade, 35.7 miles: sold to Bellevue & Cascade, July 1933

Maquoketa-Hurtsville, 2 miles: taken up January 1934

Turkey River Jct.-West Union, 58.3 miles: abandoned January 1938

Eldridge Jct.-Long Grove, 3.2 miles: abandoned February 1938

Dixon-Oxford Jct., 22.7 miles: abandoned September 1940

Granger-Madrid, 5 miles: discontinued November 1943

Stillwater-South Stillwater: abandoned 1904, in favor of trackage rights over Omaha Road

Northfield-Cannon Falls, 13.9 miles: abandoned December 1918

Hopkins-Lake Minnetonka, 7.3 miles: taken up September 1932

Wabasha-Zumbro Falls, 35.4 miles: abandoned May-June 1934

Hastings-Farmington, 17.7 miles: all but 4 miles taken up June 1935

Cannon Falls-Cannon Jct., 17.8 miles: abandoned September 1937

Glenham-Evarts, 11.7 miles: abandoned 1909

Harlem-Cogswell, N.Dak., 5.1 miles: abandoned November 1923

Cogswell-Brampton, N.Dak., 7.5 miles: abandoned July 1936

Springfield-Running Water, S.Dak., 6.6 miles: abandoned May 1930

Colton-Madison, S.Dak., 19.1 miles: all but 3 miles abandoned 1935, in favor of trackage rights over Great Northern to Wentworth

Tyndall-Scotland, S.Dak., 11.6 miles: abandoned November 1936

Scotland-Menno, S.Dak., 9.0 miles: abandoned May 1938

Renner-Colton, S.Dak., 14.1 miles: taken up October 1941

Emerson Jct.-Dracut Jct., 15.1 miles: abandoned 1937, in favor of joint ownership of Great Northern trackage

Coleman-Clagstone Jct., 6.2 miles: abandoned October 1920

Tanwax Jct.-Western Jct., 2.1 miles: abandoned March 1928

Deep Creek-Disque, 15.1 miles: abandoned in stages, 1929-1930

Selleck-Kanaskat and Bayne-Enumclaw, 10.2 miles: abandoned September 1933 in favor of trackage rights over Northern Pacific

Vader Jct.-Longview Jct.: jointly owned line by Milwaukee Road, Great Northern, and Oregon-Washington Railroad abandoned December 1933

East Creek Jct.-Ladd, 2.93 miles: Sold to Pacific Railway Supply Co., July 1934

Chehalis Junction-Dryad, 16.8 miles: sold 10.9 miles to Chehalis Western and abandoned 7.6 miles beyond to Dryad, 1935, in favor of trackage rights over Northern Pacific

Kapowsin-Electron, 2.0 miles: abandoned June 1937

Monroe-Lowell (near Everett), 13.2 miles: taken up September 1940, in favor of trackage rights over Great Northern

Goshen-Kulshan, 11.3 miles: taken up April 1943

Vernita-Hanford, 25.1 miles: abandoned July 1943

To check out "Map of the Month: Milwaukee Road Growth," see our September 2010 issue of Trains!
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