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