A new wood-burning locomotive, hurtling down five miles of newly-built track at 25 mph, pulling two open freight cars loaded with dignitaries and railroad officials, all holding their hats and hanging on for dear lifeóthis marked the beginning of railroading in Wisconsin.

This same test run also marked the beginning of what was to become the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, known more informally as the Milwaukee Road. Today, this is one of our major railroads, stretching more than 10,000 miles as it reaches from Chicago and Indiana on the east to Omaha and Kansas City on the western end and to Seattle and Tacoma in the northwest.

Today, the money represented in just one double-deck commuter coach (or two or three of the large new specialized freight cars) would equal the total capital involved in the original founding company when it built those first few miles of track.

In reporting the history of this railroad, letís begin by sketching development of Wisconsin and much of the midwest.





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Last Updated: March 03, 2009