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Chicago Great Western Timetables (August, 1952)

Published: February 28, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The Chicago Great Western operated only modest passenger services and was attempting to shed those even by the 1950s.  Included below is the railroad's public timetables from the August, 1952 edition of The Official Guide Of The Railways.  Also included are the railroad's freight-only lines.

The Chicago Great Western Railway (CGW) was a US mid-western line that operated from 1885 to 1968. Established by Alpheus Beede Stickney, a prominent railroad executive, it quickly earned the nickname 'Corn Belt Route' due to its massive grain transportation.

CGW was known for its strategic approach, avoiding direct competition by using diagonal routes across midwestern states, including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nebraska.

By the 20th Century, CGW was a significant freight carrier, also operating luxurious passenger services. However, the pressures of the Great Depression, increasing automotive competition, and a shrinking passenger demand led to its decline.

In the 1960s, CGW merged with the Chicago and North Western Railway (CNW) to survive. Despite continued challenges, the combined operations were successful till 1995, when CNW was absorbed into the Union Pacific Railroad.

Notably, CGW was innovative. It developed a unique, brightly-colored paint scheme and trademark for easy identification, and it was amongst the first to use diesel locomotives for passenger trains.

Few of CGW’s original structures still stand today, but its legacy lives on in historical accounts of America’s railroad era. Researching this subject reveals a fascinating story entwined with the rise and fall of railroads in American transportation history.

Public Timetables (August, 1952)


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