Home Featured News Wisconsin’s rail service history has peaks and valleys

Wisconsin’s rail service history has peaks and valleys

by Jan Schroder

The Badger State’s inaugural train trundled west on tracks between Milwaukee and Waukesha in 1847 – giving rise to reliable rail service across a scant 18 miles.

Within weeks, a pair of trains – one passenger and one freight – ran each day.

The Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad, formed as a means of accessing the Mississippi River, was a predecessor of the modern Milwaukee Road. Railroads remained integral to Wisconsin’s transportation system until 1986 when rail traffic on the Midwest’s vital transportation artery screeched to a halt.

Today, the well-engineered route through the rugged Rockies and Cascades is nothing more than weeds and trails.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Wisconsin 100

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The Wisconsin 100