Railroad: Chicago & North Western Railway Company

The Chicago & North Western railway was one of the Upper Peninsula's original railroad systems. It began in Michigan in 1864 when it purchased the construction railroad Peninsula Railroad from Escanaba to Ishpeming. Over the years, the railroad added a connection from Green Bay to Escanaba via Powers, a long line from Powers to Ironwood, a branch to Amasa via Crystal Falls, and many other forest and mining branches. The C&NW was purchased in 1995 by the Union Pacific railroad, and then Michigan lines were sold off to the new Wisconsin Central railroad in 1997, which also purchased the Algoma Central north of Sault Ste. Marie. The WC was purchased by the Canadian National ( CN) in 2001.


Various linesChicago & North Western railway (1864-1995)Union Pacific Canadian National ( CN)

Operated: 131 Years


Notes

The Chicago & North Western Railway had a significant impact on the center and western part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Originally built to haul iron ore from Negaunee south to Escanaba for loading on lake freighters, the C&NW built a number of branches to serve iron mines on all of the western U.P. iron ranges. The C&NW, now owned by the Canadian National, continues to serve the Ishpeming, Negaunee, Iron Mountain, Escanaba and Menominee areas of the state.


Time Line

1864. Built by the Peninsula Railroad Escanaba to Negaunee, as well as an extension from Negaunee to a "junction beyond Ishpeming". [MRC-1890][MCR-1903]

1864. Became the C&NW. Peninsula Railroad was likely a construction railroad.

1872. The C&NW line between Menominee and Escanaba is completed, connecting the iron range in Marquette to the rest of the nation's rail network. This also firmed up the iron and copper ranges to Chicago and Milwaukee influence, to the chagrin of Detroiters. [DSS]

1877. Built Menominee River Railroad from Powers to Quinnesec, then to Crystal Falls in 1882. [MCR-1903]

1880. The line from Quinnesec to the Menominee River (near Antoine) is finished, 8.13 miles. [MCR-1903]

1882. Built Narenta to Metropolitan (1st Escanaba & Lake Superior, a construction railroad leased to C&NW same year). Also built from the Menominee River (Wisconsin state line near Florence) to Crystal Falls, and from Iron River Jctr. To Stambaugh, and from Narenta to Metropolis (Felch Mountain branch). [MCR-1903]

1883. Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Ry built from Ironwood to Watersmeet. Sold to C&NW in 1893.

1886. Branch built from Winthrop Junction near Ishpeming to Republic. Also, from Clowry to Michigamme, and Wabic to Champion. [MCR-1903]

1887. Built the Iron River Ry (construction railroad) from Iron River to Watersmeet, sold to C&NW in 1889. [MCR-1903]

1888. Built the Iron Range Ry (construction railroad) from Ishpeming to Republic, sold to C&NW in 1889.

1888. The C&NW was the first railroad to replace the old-fashioned eight-ton ore cars with the new twenty and twenty-five-ton "gondola" cars. The large cars are much more quickly and economically handled than the small ones, and will soon be adopted by all roads hauling ore. [DFP-1888-0526]

1888. C&NW builds branches from Ishpeming to Republic, from Clowry to Michigamme and Wabic to Champion. [MRC-1890]

1891. Built the Paint River Railway (construction railroad) from Crystal Falls to Hemlock Mine, sold to C&NW same year.

1891. The Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Western Railroad (Schlesinger Road) is built from Loop Line Junction (near Antoine) east to North Escanaba. It is leased to C&NW in the same year and known as their "Ore Line". Merged into C&NW in 1947.

1902. Directors of this line include several members of the Vanderbilt family and officials from the NYC, suggesting that they had control of the organization this year. C. H. McCormick and Marshall Field, both prominent Chicago businessmen were directors. [MCRF-1903]

1902. The C&NW crossed the following lines in Michigan at grade (*=interlocked) [MCR-1903]:

  • CM&StP - at Menominee (5 crossings), Antoine, Wabik* on Champion Mine spur, Balsam, on Amasa Branch near the Great Western mine, at Bristol Mine near Crystal Falls, east of Great Western Jct. with their Hope Mine branch, at Antoine*, 2 miles east of Republic*.
  • DSS&A - at Negaunee near Bessemer branch, near Lake Angeline, on American Mine spur near Diorite, one mile east of Michigamme*, side track in Michigamme Yard, on main line 2 miles west of Republic.
  • MStP&SSM - west of Narenta on Felch branch (Tesch*), at Hermansville
  • LS&I - At Negaunee near South Jackson
  • Ann Arbor railway at Menominee (3 crossings)
  • E&LS - side track in Escanaba yard, anda t North Escanaba.
  • Wisconsin Central - at Anvil Mine, at Benjamin Mine and at Colby Mine.

C&NW crossed under:

  • MStP&SSM at Flat Rock
  • ES&LS at Escanaba
  • DSS&A at Wabik

C&NW crossed over:

  • DSS&A at Negaunee (2 locations)
  • CM&StP near Antoine, at Escanaba and at great Western Mine.
  • LS&I at Negaunee (2 locations)
  • WC at Colby Mine spur at Bessemer, mail line 1/10 mile east of Siemens, main line at Ironwood.

1902. SNAPSHOT. C&NW crossed 219 highways at grade. 22 of these have gates or flagmen, and 7 with electric or automatic signals. They uses the "Mills Improved" Air Gate with double lock post. The railroad had 46 stations in Michigan. Top five categories of freight hauled as a percent of total tonnage: ores (27%); Coal (13%); grain (8%); forest products (13%) and merchandise (6%). The railroad uses Pullman sleeper cars. 10 people will killed this year including 3 employees and 7 others. None were the fault of the railroad.

1995. C&NW is sold to the Union Pacific railroad.

1997. Lines in Michigan were sold by the UP to the Wisconsin Central (new).

2001. Wisconsin Central sells lines to the Canadian National railway.

Reference: [MRRC][Wiki]


xxxxxxxxPhoto Info: The C&NW 4293 and 4180 pull a westbound freight train through Norway, Michigan during Christmas, 1987. [Neil Plagens photo].

 

Railroad: Chicago & North Western Railway Company

The Chicago & North Western railway was one of the Upper Peninsula's original railroad systems. It began in Michigan in 1864 when it purchased the construction railroad Peninsula Railroad from Escanaba to Ishpeming. Over the years, the railroad added a connection from Green Bay to Escanaba via Powers, a long line from Powers to Ironwood, a branch to Amasa via Crystal Falls, and many other forest and mining branches. The C&NW was purchased in 1995 by the Union Pacific railroad, and then Michigan lines were sold off to the new Wisconsin Central railroad in 1997, which also purchased the Algoma Central north of Sault Ste. Marie. The WC was purchased by the Canadian National ( CN) in 2001.


Various linesChicago & North Western railway (1864-1995)Union Pacific Canadian National ( CN)

Operated: 131 Years


Notes

The Chicago & North Western Railway had a significant impact on the center and western part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Originally built to haul iron ore from Negaunee south to Escanaba for loading on lake freighters, the C&NW built a number of branches to serve iron mines on all of the western U.P. iron ranges. The C&NW, now owned by the Canadian National, continues to serve the Ishpeming, Negaunee, Iron Mountain, Escanaba and Menominee areas of the state.


Time Line

1864. Built by the Peninsula Railroad Escanaba to Negaunee, as well as an extension from Negaunee to a "junction beyond Ishpeming". [MRC-1890][MCR-1903]

1864. Became the C&NW. Peninsula Railroad was likely a construction railroad.

1872. The C&NW line between Menominee and Escanaba is completed, connecting the iron range in Marquette to the rest of the nation's rail network. This also firmed up the iron and copper ranges to Chicago and Milwaukee influence, to the chagrin of Detroiters. [DSS]

1877. Built Menominee River Railroad from Powers to Quinnesec, then to Crystal Falls in 1882. [MCR-1903]

1880. The line from Quinnesec to the Menominee River (near Antoine) is finished, 8.13 miles. [MCR-1903]

1882. Built Narenta to Metropolitan (1st Escanaba & Lake Superior, a construction railroad leased to C&NW same year). Also built from the Menominee River (Wisconsin state line near Florence) to Crystal Falls, and from Iron River Jctr. To Stambaugh, and from Narenta to Metropolis (Felch Mountain branch). [MCR-1903]

1883. Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Ry built from Ironwood to Watersmeet. Sold to C&NW in 1893.

1886. Branch built from Winthrop Junction near Ishpeming to Republic. Also, from Clowry to Michigamme, and Wabic to Champion. [MCR-1903]

1887. Built the Iron River Ry (construction railroad) from Iron River to Watersmeet, sold to C&NW in 1889. [MCR-1903]

1888. Built the Iron Range Ry (construction railroad) from Ishpeming to Republic, sold to C&NW in 1889.

1888. The C&NW was the first railroad to replace the old-fashioned eight-ton ore cars with the new twenty and twenty-five-ton "gondola" cars. The large cars are much more quickly and economically handled than the small ones, and will soon be adopted by all roads hauling ore. [DFP-1888-0526]

1888. C&NW builds branches from Ishpeming to Republic, from Clowry to Michigamme and Wabic to Champion. [MRC-1890]

1891. Built the Paint River Railway (construction railroad) from Crystal Falls to Hemlock Mine, sold to C&NW same year.

1891. The Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Western Railroad (Schlesinger Road) is built from Loop Line Junction (near Antoine) east to North Escanaba. It is leased to C&NW in the same year and known as their "Ore Line". Merged into C&NW in 1947.

1902. Directors of this line include several members of the Vanderbilt family and officials from the NYC, suggesting that they had control of the organization this year. C. H. McCormick and Marshall Field, both prominent Chicago businessmen were directors. [MCRF-1903]

1902. The C&NW crossed the following lines in Michigan at grade (*=interlocked) [MCR-1903]:

  • CM&StP - at Menominee (5 crossings), Antoine, Wabik* on Champion Mine spur, Balsam, on Amasa Branch near the Great Western mine, at Bristol Mine near Crystal Falls, east of Great Western Jct. with their Hope Mine branch, at Antoine*, 2 miles east of Republic*.
  • DSS&A - at Negaunee near Bessemer branch, near Lake Angeline, on American Mine spur near Diorite, one mile east of Michigamme*, side track in Michigamme Yard, on main line 2 miles west of Republic.
  • MStP&SSM - west of Narenta on Felch branch (Tesch*), at Hermansville
  • LS&I - At Negaunee near South Jackson
  • Ann Arbor railway at Menominee (3 crossings)
  • E&LS - side track in Escanaba yard, anda t North Escanaba.
  • Wisconsin Central - at Anvil Mine, at Benjamin Mine and at Colby Mine.

C&NW crossed under:

  • MStP&SSM at Flat Rock
  • ES&LS at Escanaba
  • DSS&A at Wabik

C&NW crossed over:

  • DSS&A at Negaunee (2 locations)
  • CM&StP near Antoine, at Escanaba and at great Western Mine.
  • LS&I at Negaunee (2 locations)
  • WC at Colby Mine spur at Bessemer, mail line 1/10 mile east of Siemens, main line at Ironwood.

1902. SNAPSHOT. C&NW crossed 219 highways at grade. 22 of these have gates or flagmen, and 7 with electric or automatic signals. They uses the "Mills Improved" Air Gate with double lock post. The railroad had 46 stations in Michigan. Top five categories of freight hauled as a percent of total tonnage: ores (27%); Coal (13%); grain (8%); forest products (13%) and merchandise (6%). The railroad uses Pullman sleeper cars. 10 people will killed this year including 3 employees and 7 others. None were the fault of the railroad.

1995. C&NW is sold to the Union Pacific railroad.

1997. Lines in Michigan were sold by the UP to the Wisconsin Central (new).

2001. Wisconsin Central sells lines to the Canadian National railway.

Reference: [MRRC][Wiki]


xxxxxxxxPhoto Info: The C&NW 4293 and 4180 pull a westbound freight train through Norway, Michigan during Christmas, 1987. [Neil Plagens photo].

 

Bibliography

The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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