C&NW Timetables (August, 1952)

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Published: February 20, 2024

By: Adam Burns

The Chicago and North Western Railway (C&NW) was an esteemed American railroad network that served vast regions of the Midwestern U.S. from 1859 to 1995.

Headquartered in Chicago, its comprehensive network covered Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and South Dakota. The C&NW was an economic powerhouse in the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, particularly through its development of the Western agricultural and livestock markets.

Notably, it operated memorable passenger trains such as the “400” series and the "Overland Limited.” Through acquisition and expansion, the railroad achieved a peak mileage of approximately 10,200 route miles.

The C&NW was arguably the largest railroad throughout the central and upper Midwest.  The system handled everything from iron ore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Powder River Basin coal in Wyoming.

Over time, urbanization, government regulations, and the rise of trucking and aviation industries diminished the railroad industry, including the C&NW. Financial difficulties forced it to discontinue many passenger services by the start of Amtrak in May, 1971.

On April 25, 1995, Union Pacific completed the acquisition of the C&NW, marking the railway's official end of operations. However, the C&NW’s legacy as a key force in the development and sustenance of the Midwest's economy continues to be appreciated by historians and rail enthusiasts.

Public Timetables (August, 1952)

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