Staycation 2014

Hi everyone!

Yes, I’m hoping someone other than me reads things here even after this long of a break. Why the break? New job. Kids in high school. Life in general. Sorry. I’ll be trying much harder to make many smaller changes over time to keep things interesting.

So, I took a staycation to watch the kids while my wife was traveling and it lead to lots of time to myself as the weather changed.. perfect for pouring over old documents! The result was the largest single update in the site’s history… and it would have been even larger if I had known that Google Earth lacks an auto-save feature. I worked all day on exacting locations for Chicago Great Western’s stations and route only to lose them all when Google Earth crashed. For the record, it only writes changes when you quit, so quit often!

It was a great few days looking at some really great stories.. like the rumble between two Iowa towns: McIntire and Bailey. One survives today and the other is long gone. And then there’s the history of a valley just east of Altura MN. Looking at that geography, I can absolutely see why CGW abandoned it rather than carve out yet another right of way on the side of some steep hills. I loved it all and just wished all my research was already on the site.

What did make it? I posted Version 06 of the “All” map which includes:

  • CGW – updated approach to Winona (needs stations)
  • CGW – Added stations down to Kansas City and fine tuned the route
  • MILW – Added details west of La Crosse
  • CNW – extended north/south in central Iowa
  • RI – added a couple of small areas in Iowa

I also separated out the Interurban lines that were in the “all” map and made individual pages for them. Really.. I had no idea I hadn’t already done that. All of this started with the interurbans so I’m not sure what happened. This includes:

  • AE&FRE – Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric Company
  • CAE – Chicago Aurora & Elgin
  • CSL – Chicago Surface Lines (not really interurban but it is the grandfather of Chicago public transportation)
  • CNS – Chicago North Shore. Added initial paths to existing stations. I’m sure it’s a mess especially around Great Lakes and the North Chicago junction as well as where it ran in Milwaukee

My next priorities:

  1. Finish the CGW starting with the most accurate right of way I can muster including some turntables and such
  2. Add all the CGW stations listed in a 1903 and 1917 timetable I have. interesting how many stops disappeared in the next 50 years
  3. Find a way to record all the CGW stations and add a way to see what years they were in the timetables
  4. Figure out the history of the valley east of Altura… I don’t know why this thing is getting in my head!
  5. Begin to get the Chicago North Western lines a bit closer to reality rather than the placeholders they are now

So, look for more changes to come and please continue to give me all the detail you can muster!


Categorized as News


  1. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a new group called “The Gary Line Remembered” where we’ve aggregated a good deal of history on the Chicago Milwaukee & Gary Line lately. Join in and exchange your thoughts if you have the chance. Nice work on this site, btw – I’m going to follow and recommend it.

    1. Thanks Martin
      I’ll take a look at Facebook for that group. I’m also planning on adding more of the originating lines to show heritage. As I do, I’d sure appreciate any corrections, updates, comments, etc. As those come in, I’ll also try to cross post them to Facebook



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