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Prior to 1886, numerous small, local railroad companies were chartered to construct a railroad line between Madison and Freeport. Although such a rail line had been hoped for since the mid 1850's, the small railroad companies chartered for the purpose always found they had insufficient capital to complete it through the rough terrain of Southern Wisconsin. In hopes of successfully competing with other railroads for western business, the directors of Illinois Central Railroad determined that the railroad needed a direct route of its own between Chicago and Freeport, and they also wished to extend its operations to points in Wisconsin.
To meet these needs, on August 2, 1886 the "Chicago, Madison, & Northern Railroad Company" was incorporated to construct a railroad line between Chicago and Madison via Freeport. Before construction was started, it was believed that the branch would nor permanently end at Madison, but extend to Portage and beyond into the timber and mineral regions.
A survey was taken and and by October a route was determined between Freeport and Madison. The topography through which the railroad was to pass was varied and quite overall difficult for railroad building.
site Created & Maintained by: Jim Kalrath © 1999
Changes Last Made: May 14th, 1999