Chicago/Milwaukee Commuter Rail Extension
(Chapters 16-19)

16. Private Operators.

18. Wisconsin Central.

The first commuter rail line to be started in Chicago in 70 years, the Wisconsin Central runs from Antioch to Franklin Park....

Ten towns along the line agreed to build and pay for their own stations and parking. They are Antioch, Lake Villa, Round Lake Beach, Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Prairie View, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling and Prospect Heights.

19. C&NW History. The Chicago & North Western Railway's Kenosha Subdivision....

Chicago, St. Paul & Fond Du Lac Railroad....

Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. Efforts to link Chicago with Milwaukee by rail began in 1851 when two separate companies were formed. The Illinois Parallel Railroad was chartered in Illinois to build north from Chicago. It was quickly reorganized as the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. Its 44.6 miles of track from Chicago, along the lake shore to the Wisconsin state line were completed in 1855. Another company, the Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Railway, chartered in Wisconsin in 1851, built an identical 44.6 miles of track from Milwaukee, south to the state line, joining with the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. From 1855, the two cooperated, providing seamless service between Milwaukee and Chicago....

Left-Handed Railroad. Many observers wonder why the C&NW is operated as a left handed railroad....

Chicago Terminal Consolidation. Due to its many component systems, the C&NW owned huge amounts of Chicago real estate. C&NW holdings dominated the Chicago River's north bank from the lake to Wolf Point, and north along the west bank of the Chicago River's Stations, freight houses and rail yards saturated this area and the near West Side. During the late 1860's, a total of seven C&NW stations served the downtown area. The ex-C&GU depot was at Wells Street on the Chicago River's north bank, while the ex-C&M and CNW (CStP&FD) stations were on the west side near Clinton and Kinzie Streets. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 expedited the Railway's plans for consolidation....

Other C&NW Chicagoland Lines and Facilities....

Chicago/Milwaukee Corridor 1910 Physical Plant. C&NW Railway Wisconsin Division Time Table No. 278, effective June 12, 1910 listed the following stations, interlockings and drawbridges between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Wells Street TerminalMP 0.0
Wells Street Interlocking MP 0.15
Canal St. Bridge (Chicago River N. Branch)MP 0.2
Ohio St. Jct. Interlocking (CM&StP Ry)MP 0.25
Erie Street YardMP 0.42 Main
Chicago Ave. RoundhouseMP 0.8Tracks
Sangamon St. StationMP 1.0
Clybourn Jct. Interlocking & Station (CM&StP Ry) MP 2.9
Deering Interlocking, Draw Bridge & StationMP 3.43 Main
Gross Park Station (Belmont Ave.)MP 4.5Tracks
Cuyler Station (1 blk. north of Irving Park Rd.)MP 5.4
Ravenswood Station (Wilson Avenue) MP 6.2
Summerdale Station MP 7.1
Rosehill Station & InterlockingMP 7.9
Kenmore Station (Granville Ave.) MP 8.4
Rogers Park Station MP 9.4
Calvary StationMP 10.4
Main St. Station MP 11.0
Dempster St. StationMP 11.5
Evanston StationMP 12.0
Canal Jct. (Non interlocked)MP 12.8
Central St. Station MP 13.3
Wilmette Station MP 14.32 Main
Kenilworth Station MP 15.2Tracks
Winnetka Station & Coach YardMP 16.8
Hubbard Woods StationMP 17.8
Glencoe Station and Coach Yard MP 19.2
Ravinia Park StationMP 21.2
Ravinia StationMP 21.6
Highland Park Station & Coach YardMP 23.2
Highwood StationMP 24.5
Ft. Sheridan StationMP 25.7
Lake Forest StationMP 28.3
Lake Bluff Station and InterlockingMP 30.2
(Jct. with Line for Tower KO)
North Chicago StationMP 32.9
Waukegan Station & Yards MP 35.9
Beach StationMP 39.9
Zion City Station MP 42.1
Camp Logan Station MP 43.1
Winthrop Harbor StationMP 44.4
Kenosha Station & Yard (Jct. with KD Line)MP 51.6
Berryville StationMP 56.6
Racine Jct. Station & Interlocking (CM&StP Ry) MP 60.5
Racine StationMP 61.9
Ives StationMP 64.7
County Line StationMP 69.92 Main
Carrollville StationMP 72.5Tracks
South Milwaukee StationMP 74.7
Cudahy StationMP 77.6
St. Francis Station and Interlocking)MP 80.2
(Jct. with KO - St. Francis Line)
Bay View Station & Interlocking (CM&StP) MP 80.2
Kinnickinic River DrawbridgeMP 82.5
Allis Station & Interlocking MP 83.4
(Jct. with C&NW Madison Line)
Milwaukee River Drawbridge MP 83.9
Milwaukee MP 85.0

Old Stations:

Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor Circa 1910/Traffic Density....

New Madison St. Chicago Passenger Terminal - 1911. Despite the Wells Street Terminal's Gothic appeal, the facility was hopelessly outmoded and cramped for space by the early 1900's. The C&NW had a new Chicago Passenger Terminal designed. Located at 500 W. Madison, between Canal and Clinton Streets, it opened in 1911....

Growth of the North Line. Business on the North Line increased dramatically following completion of the Adams Cutoff between Milwaukee and Neecedah, Wisconsin in 1914....

....In 1941, the KD Line was abandoned west of Bain. The portion of the KD Line between Bain and Kenosha survives today as the Farm Spur, connecting the New Line Subdivision with the Kenosha Subdivision.

The "400". In 1934 competition for the Chicago - Milwaukee passenger market between the C&NW and the Milwaukee Road intensified. On July 15th of that year, both roads began operating Chicago - Milwaukee service on 90 minute schedules with steam locomotives and conventional heavyweight equipment. This rivalry would continue over the next three decades.

On January 2, 1935, the C&NW inaugurated a new crack passenger train with conventional equipment called the "400", between Chicago and the Twin Cities. This train was placed in service in response to the streamlined competition posed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's "Zephrys" and the Milwaukee Road's "Hiawathas". The "400" was so named to reflect the four hundred minute running time between Chicago and the Twin Cities. In order to maintain a 60 MPH average speed including station stops and other speed restrictions, the railroad imposed no maximum speed. The "400" exceeded 100 MPH on many occasions, and the Chicago-Milwaukee segment saw some of the fastest running. The inaugural run.....In the late 1940's, Chicago-Milwaukee service was scheduled in 75 minutes.

North Line Improvements. Despite World War II, a major engineering project was completed in 1943, when the line was grade separated through the village of Winnetka. The C&NW combined with the parallel Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee interurban line to build a cut through Winnetka, eliminating many grade crossings. In 1952, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered the C&NW to install Automatic Train Stop (ATS), a safety system that requires locomotive engineers to acknowledge unfavorable signal aspects. Installation of ATS was necessary to continue 100 MPH operation. ATS was installed between Chicago and Milwaukee, and Milwaukee and Wyeville, Wisconsin.

C&NW Wisconsin Division employee time table No. 9 of September 26 of 100 MPH on tangent (straight) track and 85 MPH on curves. There were thirteen scheduled daily passenger trains in each direction between Chicago and Milwaukee. Most made the 85 mile run in 80 minutes, while making station stops at Evanston, Waukegan, Kenosha and Racine. The westbound "400" train #401 left Chicago daily at 3:00 p.m., stopping at Evanston at 3:15 p.m. It then ran directly to Milwaukee arriving at 4:19 p.m. #401 was scheduled to cover the 15.66 miles between Waukegan and Kenosha in 10 minutes.

Postwar Decline.....

New Milwaukee Station. On May 16, 1966 the C&NW vacated the old Lakefront Terminal for the new Milwaukee Union Station. Access to the new station was provided by construction of a crossover....

Amtrak ends C&NW Chicago-Milwaukee Passenger Service. Despite new double deck equipment, service in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor decreased during the late 1960's. By 1970, only four daily passenger trains were scheduled in each direction between Chicago and Milwaukee. The maximum speed limit fell to 79 MPH. A national rail passenger solution was proposed in the Railpax legislation of 1970. For a fee equal to its annual loss in providing passenger service, C&NW joined Amtrak. On April 30, 1971, C&NW passenger trains ended regular service between Chicago and Milwaukee.....

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