The idea of becoming a railroad “archeologist” holds both great appeal as well as shows great lunacy. There are just so many railroads, interurbans, and more in history. Do I map current lines and what they used to be? How do I account for all the mergers? How do I show how a line changed in ownership? Where do I start? It’s all overwhelming given our rich rail history.
I’ve decided to start simply. I’ll start with what I have and branch out from there. That means I’ll be mapping:
1) a variety of Chicago Great Western (CGW) details given to me by the Hub City Railroad museum this includes track diagrams, photos, etc.
2) Some of the research I have on Chicago’s North Shore line, and
3) As much detail as I can from my newest source, the 1903 Rand McNally Enlarged Shipper’s guide with it’s maps of every state and most countries. Yes, I’m looking at ways to scan the maps and post them here… For free. Yes, I know people sell those maps but I think lack of access is stifling historical research.
So, that’s the plan. I’ll make maps of what I have and figure out the rest as I go.