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Passing Glances

Digging in her heals as she pounds upgrade with a mile long freight in tow, Milwaukee Road S2 # 218 receives a thorough inspection under the discerning eye of the tower operator at Duplaineville Wisconsin in Waukesha County while on the other track, racing eastbound at nearly 90 miles per hour The Morning Hiawatha’s engineer has the whistle cold pulled taught, warning all vehicle traffic at Springdale Road to heed the wig-wag’s warning as he takes the Hi toward Milwaukee and eventually Chicago.

Once the Milwaukee’s work horses clear the diamond, the block signal will turn green for the Soo Line freighter that has been forced to hold tight coming out of Waukesha.

With but mere seconds to take it all in, engineers, tower men and passengers could garner nothing but passing glances of one another as their individual journeys met at this point day after day throughout the golden age of railroading.

18 X 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 1995.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Swansong of the Flambeau

Train 216, The Flambeau 400 with two 1958 bi-level cars in tow, calls on Eland Wisconsin after coming down the line from Ashland enroute to Green Bay, Milwaukee and finally Chicago on this first day of 1960. To the west of the depot on the Marshfield line, a pair of GP7’s idles as the crew, taking advantage of a lull in the action, has gone inside to top off their thermos’s with hot coffee. They’ll soon retreat to the confines of cab # 1549 in hopes to sip a cup or two before hooking up to a string of pulp cars due within the hour from Wausau. Eland’s fine depot once boasted a lunch counter that existed for the pure indulgence of its patrons traveling one of the 38 passenger or 30 freight trains that converged from all four directions each day. Eight of those passenger trains alone arrived between the hours of 11:00-1:00pm daily.

Unfortunately, by the time this scene was captured, automobiles were already replacing the passenger train and semi trucks had their ligature tightening on the remaining freight traffic. Not even new bi-level equipment or a depot freshly painted in matching 400 colors could persuade people to go by train.

The line from Eland north to Rhinelander was abandoned on August 24, 1982 and the last steel wheels to scrape the rust from the rails was GP7 # 4152 on January 30, 1994. The depot still stands today as a faded reminder of the glory days of railroading in Wisconsin’s north woods.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2007.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Second Strings of the Milwaukee Road

On any given day, Milwaukee’s Everett Street depot was a beehive of activity. While most attention was showered upon the infamous Hiawatha’s, other less noteworthy trains were also vital to the Milwaukee Road’s overall success.

Ready to depart as soon as the last few pieces of mail are stowed onboard, “The Berlin Bullet”, pulled by the shop built 1000 h.p. gas electric streamlined motor car #5900, will tow an extra combine car that will be cut at Horicon for the Portage train. Often referred to as “Bulldogs” for their prominent flat nose, the 5900 routinely served the smaller branch line communities off of the main line trackage until her discontinuance in March of 1958.

Resting impatiently in the center of the train shed is Pacific #885 ready with the all stops “Cannonball” and 2 heavy weight coaches for Watertown and Madison Wisconsin.

The change over to diesel powered equipment was well underway as evidenced by the presence of the Fairbanks-Morse #21A alongside the shed. Known by the road as “Erie-Builts”, these streamlined units were constructed in Erie Pennsylvania before the FM plant in Beloit was operational. The 21A will cut out 3 cars and take a shorter “Varsity” to Madison arriving well ahead of the Cannonball.

Forever playing “second-fiddle” to the Hiawatha’s, these trains did not receive the notoriety the more famous of the Indian fleet received, but were no less important to the countless riders and communities who depended upon them every day.

The 3 modes of power represented, steam, gas-electric and diesel, each had its own unique note that most certainly struck a chord with those who were fortunate enough to be a part of their history.

24 x 30 original acrylic painting was completed in 2009.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Reflections of the Past

Late on an October day in the piney woods of Northern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Road’s Chippewa # 152 clatters the C& NW diamond at Stiles Junction and finally gets a break from the cold rain she’s bucked all the way from Iron Mountain. Directly behind the rebuilt Pacific’s tender is baggage car #1210, who’s dubious career had her first sharing drew bars with the likes of the Olympian Hiawatha and the Southwest Limited before being reassigned to the Chip. Still clad in her original pin stripe paint scheme, this car will soon be repainted with the solid maroon band common in all of the Hi’s. As the sky clears, the proud 4-6-2 catches reflected glimpse of her streamlined frame from the standing water of a run-off pool just south of the depot.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2002.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Monona Moon

Entering the causeway over under a full moon over Lake Monona in Madison Wisconsin, The Milwaukee Road passenger train, pulled by locomotive #172 is about to cross the Chicago & North Western main line in what was the only mid-lake intersection of its kind in America. Both railroads faced challenges while plotting their lines from the south toward the states capitol city and what resulted were not tracks around the lakes but across them.

The tower operator at the diamond could see water out of all four sides of his “office in the lake” but there was no time to daydream about fishing with the numerous trains coming and going every hour.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2006.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

The 400 Calls on Milwaukee

Located at the end of Wisconsin Street (now Wisconsin Avenue) stood the Chicago & North Western’s train depot. The 207 foot tall Romanesque clock tower made it an instant landmark for city folk and favorite target of Mother Nature’s winter furry when completed in 1899. Designed by Charles Summer Frost, the depot featured a train shed that was tucked below the bluff along the shore of Lake Michigan, making the accompanying hillside a perfect vantage point to sit and watch the activity. Efforts to save this splendid structure as a reminder of hometown railroading failed and in 1968, she succumbed to the wrecking ball in a pile of dust. Rail patrons were then redirected to the new Donald Grieb styled depot on St. Paul Avenue where the C&NW shared a train shed with the Milwaukee Road. Today, auto traffic briefly traverses the old line northbound on Lake Drive and most motorists are oblivious to the fact that they are driving on the ghost rails of trains long gone.

On this sunny fall day in the mid 1950’s, before the completion of the War Memorial, the famous 400 calls on the Cream City with a Minneapolis bound streamliner in tow. Intent on keeping her “400 miles in 400 minutes” schedule form Chicago to the Twin Cities, she’ll pause just long enough to detrain patrons and board additional travelers with business in Minneapolis. In the blink of an eye, but not before sounding a few off key notes from her baritone horns, she’ll duck beneath Lincoln Memorial Drive and glide through the suburb of Shorewood where the local police guard the grade crossings from the passing blur of green and yellow.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 1999.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Ballast Scorchers of the North Shore

The Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad depot at 5th and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee Wisconsin opened for service on September 15, 1920, a mere stones throw form the Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific railroad station. While the Milwaukee Road had its share of loyal riders, so too did the North Shore, transporting countless shoppers and commuters and tens of thousands of military personnel on weekends between the Great Lakes Training Academy and the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago. Over its 65-year history, the North Shore prided itself on its well-groomed right-of-ways and spit-shined train sets. Widely recognized as the Country’s most well know commuter line, the North Shore outlived all of its interurban predecessors.

On this chilly day in Milwaukee, we see an assorted line up of equipment offered by the “Line of Service.” Sitting to the right of the boarding platform is car 764 built by the Standard Steel Car Company in 1930. Donning her original green and crimson enamel paint, she straddles the inspection pit before a run over the Skokie Valley Route to Chicago. Ready to follow is Silverliner 737, one of 27 cars repainted with an artists touch in the late 50’s to resemble the fluted stainless steel cars in use on larger roads. With 38 fast trains per day between the two cities, 10 of them were modern Electroliners like #802, poised to leave in five minutes for a ballast scorching 90 mph run to the Windy City, some 90 miles to the south. The North Shore ceased operations on January 21, 1963 during a raging snowstorm. Both cities have seen many a snowstorm since then but never a railroad like the North Shore Line.

22 x 28 original acrylic painting was completed in 2005.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Grafton Memories

Southbound from Port Washington on the last day of operation of former Milwaukee Northern trackage, a Milwaukee Electric interurban rumbles over the Milwaukee River bridge near Grafton Wisconsin in 1948. These through-truss spans were nearly 100 years old and were built in the 1850’s for the Michigan Central Railroad and were purchased second hand for $5,722.00 by the Milwaukee Northern in 1906 and moved to there new home over the river where the served until the discontinuance of the line on March 28, 1948.

Today, pedestrians and bicyclists can traverse the line of the former Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company (TMERL) as it dissects the farmlands and neighborhoods that boarder the line. The depot in Cedarburg still stands looking as good as it did in the heyday of interurban railroading.

16 X 20 original acrylic painting was completed in 1989.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.