Because of the railroad’s frugal attitude it was quick to adopt the
diesel-electric concept and the efficiencies which could be gained from
it. The Chicago Great Western so embraced diesels that it was one of
the very first Class Is to entirely dieselize, completing the
transformation prior to 1950, in 1949 (many railroads were still
operating vast steam fleets at that time)! Another concept the railroad
was famous for by means of cost savings, included very long freight
trains, sometimes nearing 200 cars in length. For the CGW’s small size the railroad interestingly had the
future TOFC (Trailer-On-Flat-Car) innovation (also known as "piggyback")
to its credit by being one of the first to pioneer the concept in the
1930s as a means to combat the ever-increasing truck traffic threat,
especially when the new interstate highways were being constructed in
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
The American Locomotive Company
The Baldwin Locomotive Works
The Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
|F3A||101A-115A, 101C-115C, 150-152||1947-1949||33|
|F7B||113B-116B, 108D-116D, 116E, 116F, 116G||1949-1951||16|
|CGW Class E7 4-6-0 #509 speeds out of St. Paul with a passenger train on August 31, 1946.|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|B-3 Through B-8||Switcher||0-6-0|
|C-8 Through C-14||American||4-4-0|
|D-1 Through D-4||Mogul||2-6-0|
|E-1 Through E-7||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|F-2 Through F-7b||Prairie||2-6-2|
|G-1 Through G-4||Consolidation||2-8-0|
|H-1, J-2 Through J-2s||Switcher||0-8-0|
|K-1 Through K-6||Pacific||4-6-2|
|L-1 Through L-3||Mikado||2-8-2|
|T-1 Through T-3||Texas||2-10-4|
|GP7 #121 and its trailing caboose await their next assignment sitting at the siding in Ingalton, Illinois during the fall of 1966.|
Notable Passenger Trains
Blue Bird: (Twin Cities - Rochester)
Bob-O-Link: (Chicago - Rochester)
Great Western Limited: (Chicago - Twin Cities)
Legionnaire: (Chicago - Twin Cities)
Mills Cities Limited: (Kansas City - Twin Cities)
Minnesotan: (Chicago - Twin Cities)
Nebraska Limited: (Twin Cities - Omaha)
Omaha Express: (Twin Cities - Omaha)
Omaha Limited: (Twin Cities - Omaha)
Rochester Special: (Twin Cities - Rochester)
Red Bird: (Twin Cities - Rochester)
Twin Cities Express: (Twin Cities - Omaha)
Twin Cities Limited: (Omaha - Twin Cities)
|F3A #111-A rests in the yard at St. Paul with TR2A #61 on June 2, 1964.|
Despite the railroad’s attempt to remain as efficient as possible by
the 1960s traffic was just drying up. It was not the only railroad
suffering, however, as many of the granger roads were also facing
traffic crises, as America’s Heartland region could simply no longer
support so many railroads. The railroad had talked with many
neighboring railroads over the years about possible mergers but none
allowed for much in the way of savings. Eventually the CGW would find a partner in the way of the Chicago & North
Western and the merger took place in 1968. While the merger with the
C&NW signaled the end of the CGW the railroad likely had no other alternative as traffic was simply no longer able to support the railroad and it likely would have fallen into another bankruptcy.
The CGW was certainly one of the more interesting granger roads that
will forever be remembered for its innovation and commitment to not only
itself but also the customers which it served.
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Burlington, "Way Of The Zephyrs"
CA&E, "The Roarin' Elgin"
C&NW, "Route Of The '400'"
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"
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"