Mike Miley

Mike is the founder of Shadows of Trains and is an all-around transportation nut. The idea for this site started when Mike was out flying and saw a trail head off into the distance and wondered "what is that?" This translated into using web maps to chart his curiosities.

Mar 222015

March Updates

I’m thrilled to say that I was able to finish much of the Chicago Great Western‘s Omaha branch. The alignment should be better and there are stations listed through South Omaha.. not that I have a clue where the station used to be. Finding it’s exact location is much further down on the list. Next up is to continue what I outlined in November: get the area around Red Wing sorted out, and get the alignment and stations correct to Mankato. I also need to update the stations list I started since I found some “new” ones (like South Omaha) that weren’t on newer timetables.

So look for changes yet to come and enjoy the emerging spring!


Jun 172012

Happy Father’s Day!

I had a little time to sit down and create a map for a line I never knew existed… even though I used to live about a mile from it’s right of way. The Palatine, Lake Zurich & Wauconda PLZ&W (or PLZW) was a surprise to me when I watched Jeffery Bear’s documentary on Chicago’s Northwest suburbs. They mentioned the line and I had NO idea it existed. So, I quickly did some research and threw together a map in Google Earth. Of course, I updated the “All” map to include it.

Not a bad way to spend Father’s Day!


Jan 072012

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve been busy adding additional details including:

  • much more detail to the MILW Lines in Illinois
  • extended the MILW into Indiana
  • Looking for details for the MILW, I found the fantastic Abandoned Rail website which gave me some great leads on The Gary Line [Illinois, Iowa & Minnesota Railway II&M renamed Chicago, Milwaukee & Gary CMG in 1908] which included trackage rights to part of the Elgin, Joliet, & Eastern [EJ&E]
  • I reorganized some of the lines to better understand which lines folded into which current railways. This means I added placeholders for CP, CN, SOO, and more

I can’t say enough about what I learned from the Abandoned Rails site. They are doing something similar to this site in that it shows where trains used to be. They are, however, only showing the abandoned segments where I’m trying to connect all the dots including abandoned and current lines.

It may not look like much, but there was LOTS of work!


Dec 302011
Blueprint of Oelwein Shop

Hi all!

It’s been far too long since I could spend time updating my site. I lost my father and started a new job all about the same time which means I haven’t had much free time to work on the details here. Sorry

Tonight I added to the CGW and MILW maps after getting some great feedback from a reader. Remember, if you have feedback, leave a comment and I’ll try to incorporate it like I did Tom’s details. Know the address of where a station used to be? think I show the tracks in the wrong place? Have a picture of some tracks? Let me know!

Until then, Happy New Year Everyone!


Jun 112011
CGW f-engine

Tonight I spent my first night really diving into the data in my new Rand McNally Enlarged Business Atlas from 1903. What a great book! With it’s help, I can now see that I had much of the CGW segment from Oelwein to Dubuque on the wrong path. In the process of fixing it, I found the tunnel in East Dubuque that had escaped me for some time. I also found there were several stops listed in the book that were not in the schedule I had from the 1950s.

I spent several hours putting in all the changes including many on the Minneapolis branch… then Google Earth quit on me. I thought it was saving as I went, but I lost two hours of work. Ah well. It was much faster the second time.

My goal is to get all of the Chicago Great Western charted out to the 1903 standards before updating much of anything else. I can tell you that there is no way I’ll be able to put this level of detail into every line nation wide…. not for many years.


Jun 082011
Blueprint of Oelwein Shop

Blueprint of Oelwein ShopThe 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.

– Mike