Unfortunately, there have also been recent losses of Class IIs through purchases. The Wisconsin Central, a name that dates back to the 19th century was reborn in the 1980s as a large system using former Milwaukee Road lines in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, later also picking up the Green Bay & Western, Fox River Valley Railroad, and even operating the Algoma Central. It was able to turn many of these lines into profitable ventures luring Canadian National Railway, which purchased it in 2001. The large Canadian lines have also acquired other notable lines in recent years including the Elgin Joliet & Eastern, Dakota Minnesota & Eastern, and Iowa Chicago & Eastern.
One other note regarding Class IIs, which also includes Class IIIs
(shortlines); while not always the case, these railroads are usually
much more open to railfans and anyone interested in seeing how railroads
work. Of course, with the aftermath of September 11th and a much more
litigious America, long gone are the days of cab rides on all railroads
and being able to freely roam across yards and company property.
However, these smaller railroads are, in general, much friendlier than
their larger cousins and with permission most are more than happy to
give you a tour of what they do and how they work.
Buffalo & Pittsburgh
Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway
Pan Am Railways
Providence & Worcester
New York Susquehanna & Western Railway (The "Susie-Q")
Reading & Northern
Florida East Coast Railway
Paducah & Louisville Railway
Wisconsin & Southern Railroad
Indiana Rail Road
Central Oregon & Pacific
Montana Rail Link
Indiana Hi-Rail Corporation
Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway
Ontario Northland Railway
Listed above are a number of of systems currently in operation today, categorized by the geographic area of the country in which they operated (i.e. north, south, east, or west). Also included within this list are notable defunct operations, such as the fabled Indiana Hi-Rail system. As you may notice, this list is not yet entirely complete (both for active and inactive roads) although as time allows I will feature all current Class IIs. In any event, to learn more about each simply click on their link.
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|A trio of Paducah & Louisville GP38-2s including #3831, #3812 and #3807 work the Oak Street Yard in Louisville, Kentucky on June 20, 2009.|