Cross Bucks 

Wisconsin Rail History

Cross Bucks 

  Central Wisconsin Railroad
in Madsion, WI

In this section, you will find photos and stories about theof the Central Wisconsin Railroad in the Madison, Wisconsin area..

Thanks to Craig Bluschke for providing these photos.

Madison, WI    Madison, WI

Here we have several views of three Central Wisconsin/Western Wisconsin ex-Milwaukee Road FM's laying over at the former IC yard in Madison. While it wasn't unusual to see one such unit parked in the yard finding three together was rare.

The 781 the engine that's now on display behind the Brodhead depot museum.

Madison, WI    Madison, WI

wThese photos were taken back in April of 1984. We have units from the Central Wisconsin Railroad and Wisconsin Western Railroad laying over at the former Illinois Central yard in Madison. After the Milwaukee Road bankruptcy in the early 1980's the Milwaukee severely cut back their operations in the Madison area, closed the West Washington Avenue yard, and began operating only one daily train from Portage to the east side of town. The line west to Prairie du Chien was closed west of Middleton as was the Janesville to Madison portion of the Chicago line and the Milton Jct. to Waukesha and Janesville to Monroe branches.

When these lines went up for abandonment the state ended up purchasing them along with the then recently-abandoned Illinois Central branch to Freeport. Not wanting to be in the railroad business, Wisconsin DOT subsequently leased a portion of this trackage to John Zerbel who operated the Prairie du Chien line (along with the Richland Center branch) as far west as Boscobel under the Wisconsin Western Railroad banner, and the Illinois Central / Monroe / Waukesha lines under the Central Wisconsin Railroad name.

The former Milwaukee track between Madison and Janesville lay dormant as the Central Wisconsin used the lengthy routing via Monroe to get between these two points.

Madison, WI    Madison, WI

The Wisconsin Western / Central Wisconsin used a collection of ex-Milwaukee Road and Minneapolis, Northfield, and Southern Fairbanks Morse switchers for power, mostly because there were a lot of them available at the time due to retirements and probably most importantly because they were obtained cheap since no one else wanted them.

Some of the engines were eventually repainted into the blue scheme as shown in this week's photos but many of them never made it out of the Milwaukee's orange and black before the system fell apart and they were sold or scrapped.

A couple of exceptions still in existence are the ex-MN&S #10 on display at Milton Jct. in fake-C&NW paint and the ex-Milwaukee orange/black unit (the 781?) displayed at the Brodhead depot/museum.

Madison, WI    IC Freight Depot - Madison, WI  


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Southern Wisconsin Railcar Group.

This site Created & Maintained by: Jim Kalrath   © 2000
Changes Last Made: June 1st, 2000