Two Blog Posts Of Mine About MILW Zumbrota Line

Discussion relating to The Chicago & North Western, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road), including mergers, acquisitions, and abandonments.

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Two Blog Posts Of Mine About MILW Zumbrota Line

Postby MILW261 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:32 pm

I recently did two blog posts about the former Milwaukee Road line to Zumbrota, Minnesota, which explores some of what is left of the route. They are:

"The Remains Of Bridge S-844B" ... ge-s-844b/

"More Zumbrota Branch Archeology" ... rcheology/

Richard "Tony" Held

Read "Trackside With Tony" ... trackside/
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Re: Two Blog Posts Of Mine About MILW Zumbrota Line

Postby Komachi » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:14 pm

Wasn't the Zumbrota line one of the two narrow-gauge lines in South Eastern Minnesota?

My hometown of Preston was on one, the Caledonia, Mississippi & Western and I believe a line out of Zumbrota was the other. Or am I mistaken about that?
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Re: Two Blog Posts Of Mine About MILW Zumbrota Line

Postby Desertdweller » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:51 pm


You are right. The line connected Zumbrota with Wabasha and was 3' gauge. I think it even included a tunnel.

The three Milwaukee narrow-gauge lines I know of are this Zumbrota line; your Caledonia line; and the Bellevue and Cascade in Iowa.

Are there more?

Wabasha used to be quite a railroad town. In addition to the Zumbrota Line and the Milwaukee Twin Cities Main Line, it also hosted a bridge crossing the Mississippi River. Milwaukee Road trains crossing the river here would have run on the CB&Q to the mouth of the Chippewa River (opposite Reed's Landing) and run up the Milwaukee's Chippewa Valley Line to Eau Claire.

By the time I worked on the MILW, both the Zumbrota Line and the Wabasha Bridge were long gone. The Wabasha Bridge was a pontoon bridge, similar to that used to bridge the Mississippi River at Prairie Du Chien. That bridge, long gone too, carried the original Twin Cities Main Line to Marquette IA, then to Albert Lea MN and up to the Twin Cities.

Wabasha had a large frame railroad station, bigger than it's current status would indicate. I imagine it is gone now, too.

Prairie du Chien: we called it "dogtown"!

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Re: Two Blog Posts Of Mine About MILW Zumbrota Line

Postby wjstix » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:22 pm

The Milwaukee narrow gauge lines in southeast Minnesota were originally the Minnesota Midland (there's still a "Midland Junction" you go thru on the Empire Builder) and the Caledonia Mississippi & Western. I believe both lines were built in the 1870's and were bought by the Milwaukee in the 1880's.

As noted the Milwaukee also had narrow gauge lines in northeast Iowa, and the C&NW ran at least one narrow gauge line across the Mississippi in southwest Wisconsin.
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