While this swelled the railroad’s size to over 10,000 total rail miles
it lost much of this in the 1970s when America’s breadbasket could no
longer support so many railroads and thus the C&NW dumped many of
these unprofitable lines. Aside from the North Western’s freight operations it was quite
successful with its passenger operations as well, both its own and those
of the Union Pacific. It’s most famous was its fleet of ”400”’s, streamlined trains which competed with the likes of the Milwaukee Road’s Hiawathas and the Burlington’s Zephyrs.
While never quite as successful as the other competitors’ trains it
did hold its own and did well enough that the Chicago and North Western
operated an entire fleet of ”400”’s, ranging from the Twin Cities “400” and Dakota “400” to the Flambeau “400” and Peninsula “400”.
These trains served all of the railroad’s largest markets although
they slowly began to disappear as intercity passenger rail travel
dwindled starting in the 1950s and 1960s.
Aside from its long-distance trains the C&NW
also operated a number of commuter operations, particularly around the
Chicago and Milwaukee regions. To accomplish this it used bi-level cars
and was one of the first to implement the “push-pull” method of
commuter operations to save both time and money. It would, eventually,
however, rid itself of even this and turn the commuter operations over
to local and state governments. Although the railroad was no longer in the passenger business by the 1970s and 1980s it began to streamline operations and earn
healthy profits. One way it did this was by opening a modern new rail
line into the lucrative Powder River coal basin in the mid-1980s
allowing it to tap the highly demanded low-sulfur coal found in the
region. It also renewed its partnership with the Union Pacific at this
time and for the next decade the road prospered.
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
The American Locomotive Company
|S2||1003-1015, 1025-1035, 1083-1092||1942-1950||34|
|S1||1200-1205, 1213, 1223-1229, 1232-1236, 1247-1258||1941-1948||31|
|RS3||1551-1555, 1613-1618, 1621-1624||1951-1953||15|
The Baldwin Locomotive Works
|C&NW GP7 #1591 leads two other counterparts as all three power a freight through Van Dyne, Wisconsin on May 19, 1979.|
|S12||1073-1076, 1106-1109, 1117-1121, 1126-1128||1951-1954||16|
The Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
|Freight duty calls as C&NW Class H 4-8-4 #3031 pulls an extra through the yard at DeKalb, Illinois on August 23, 1952 towards the end of the railroad's steam operations.|
|E6A||LA4, SF4, 5005A-5006A, 5005B-5006B||1941||6|
|SW1||55, 1207-1212,1214-1215, 1268-1279||1940-1953||21|
|GP7||151-161, 1518-1550, 1556-1559, 1562-1603, 1625-1659||1949-1953||123|
|E7A||907A, 927A, 5008A-5020A, 5007B-5019B||1945-1949||28|
|TR2||2000A-2001A, 2000B-2001B (Calfs)||1949||4|
|F3A||4051C-4055C, 4055A-4066A, 4056C-4066C||1947||28|
|F7A||4067A-4102A, 4067C-4102C, 6500A-6505A, 6500C-6505C||1949-1950||84|
|E8A||5019B, 5021A-5031A, 5021B-5030B ||1950-1953||23|
|A C&NW manifest freight is powered by three Electro-Motive units including SD40 #885 as it rolls through Necedah, Wisconsin on September 18, 1982.|
|H10-44||1036, 1048-1065, 1070, 1082||1944-1950||21|
|H16-66 (Baby Trainmaster)||1510-1514, 1605-1612, 1668-1683, 1691-1700, 1901-1906||1951-1956||45|
|Erie Built||6001A-6002A, 6001B-6002B||1947||4|
|One of the C&NW's large Class H 4-8-4s #3014 rests in Chicago during September of 1934.|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|A Through A-5||American||4-4-0|
|B Through B-4||American||4-4-0|
|C Through C-6||American||4-4-0|
|D-1 Through D-1b||American||4-4-0|
|D-12 Through D-14||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|E Through E-2||Pacific||4-6-2|
|K Through K-5||Switcher||0-6-0, 0-4-0|
|M Through M-4||Switcher||0-6-0, 0-8-0|
|Q, R, S (Various)||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
Notable Passenger Trains
Ashland Limited: (Chicago - Green Bay - Ashland)
Dakota "400": (Chicago - Madison - Huron)
Duluth-Superior Limited: (Chicago - Madison - Duluth)
Flambeau "400": (Chicago - Green Bay - Ashland)
Kate Shelley "400": (Chicago - Boone, Iowa)
North Western Limited: (Chicago - Twin Cities)
Peninsula "400": (Chicago - Green Bay - Ishpeming)
Shoreland "400": (Chicago - Milwaukee - Green Bay)
Twin Cities "400": (Chicago - St. Paul - Minneapolis)
Valley "400": (Chicago - Green Bay - Menominee, Michigan)
Until 1955 the C&NW also forwarded the Union Pacific's City fleet to Chicago, after which time the Milwaukee Road handled such duties.
|Pictured here is one of the final locomotives the C&NW ever owned; C44-9W #8724 leads a unit coal train through the open farmland of Lombardville, Illinois on June 18, 1995.|
Alas, however, the inevitable happened in the 1990s, like so many
roads before it the Chicago and North Western became another part of the
Union Pacific in 1995. Although the C&NW is no longer an
independent company almost all of its main lines continue to serve as
important arteries under the UP banner, especially its Powder River coal
basin line. The Union Pacific also recently paid homage to its
predecessor by painting one of its new EMD SD70ACe locomotives into a version of the railroad’s famous green and yellow
company livery and numbered 1995 after the year the C&NW was merged
into its system. Today, aside from the new EMD in heritage C&NW
colors, there are still a few in original colors although they are now
few and far between so be on the lookout for them!
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Other Classic Railroads Of The Midwest
Burlington, "Way Of The Zephyrs"
CA&E, "The Roarin' Elgin"
Rock Island, "Route Of The Rockets"
D&M, "The Turtle Line"
DT&I, "We Have The Connections"
GB&W, "The Green Bay Route"
IC, "The Main Line Of Mid-America"
IT, "The Road Of Personalized Services"
IHB, "Connects With All Chicago Railroads"
CMStP&P, "Route Of The Hiawathas"
Monon, "The Hoosier Line"
Nickel Plate, "High Speed Service"
"Ship Soo To And Through The Upper Midwest"
St. Louis Southwestern
MN&S, "The Dan Patch Line"
M&StL, "The Peoria Gateway"
The Missabe Road
MoPac, "Route Of The Eagles"
CGW, "The Corn Belt Route"
DW&P, "Delivered With Pride"
BRC, "The Belt"
EJ&E, "Chicago Outer Belt"
KCS, "Route Of The Southern Belle"
Lake Superior & Ishpeming
Wabash, "Follow The Flag"
Santa Fe..."All The Way!"
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway
EP&SW, "The Southwestern Route"
SP, "Route Of The Daylights"
UP, "We Will Deliver"