Beloit, WI to Freeport, IL

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This abandoned railway line was formerly owned by the Racine & Mississippi Railroad, the Milwaukee & Saint Paul, then finally the Milwaukee Road. It ran from a connection with the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern in Freeport, along IL Route 75 through Rock City, Durand, Dakota, Davis, then up to Rockton, and into Wisconsin and Beloit. A majority of the infrastructure has been removed, save for some bridges along the stretch of ROW parallel to Route 75; the ROW is still preserved somewhat in forested areas.

Thanks to Mark Atkinson for contributing information about this route.

The Racine & Mississippi did not connect with the Iowa Chicago & Eastern in Freeport. The Racine & Missippi extended through Freeport to Shannon, Lanark, mt. Carroll and reached the Mississippi at Savanna. It later extended South to Moline, IL via Thomson, Fulton, Albany, Port Byron and East Moline. In 1880, the Chicago & Pacific, also a Milwaukee Road predeceasor met the Racine & Mississippi at Kittredge East of Lanark to form a Chicago-Savanna route. The line from West Yard in South Beloit, IL to Kittredge was abandoned in 1980. CP subsidiary DM&E (which absorbed its subsidiary IC&E) still uses the Racine & Mississippi from Kittredge to Savanna and from East Moline to Nitrin.

Kipp Meyers
Lanark, IL
3/15/2010

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I worked on The Milwaukee Road from '73 retiring on a medical in '03. This portion of the Milwuakee at the time I hired was called the RS&W subdivision (Racine Sturtevant & Western). Originating from Sturtivant, Wisconsin west to Savanah, IL. with intermediary staions, Beloit Wi, Rockford IL, Freeport IL. and ending in Savanah.

But, I do have an anicdote this afore mentioned trackage from Beloit, WI. to Freeport. In the late 70's I cought a vacancy working on a worktrain with a Jordan Ditcher. We had to re-excavate the ditches on either side of the roadbed from Freeport to South Beloit.

My job was the rear brakeman protecting all back-up movements. As we would ditch I'd be on the caboos looking out the window watching the country side go by until we had to back-up to take multiple passes of the same stretch numerous times. That's where my part comes in...to protect the back-up movement against oposing trains, which at the time was only one out of Savanah #251 due in Freeport around 9 or 10pm. We were long gone and in the hotel in Beloit by then. The worst that could happen was grade crossing accidents at an unprotected crossing. So, my job a trained monkey could have done.

Along this one strecth of track I seen cannibis growing along side the roadbed. Upon further inspection I spotted fields of it. I thought I was seeing things. Dropping off the Caboos at this point I was still protecting back-up movements. Everytime the worktrain cameback for another pass I would load up plants on the caboos. I did maybe 7 or 8 times.

I had every available storage space stuffed with cannibis plants, leaves bulging out from behind doors and lids. Our Caboos was the Milwaukee bay window variety. If you are familar with type you know the image inside. With this in mind my conductor comes in from the engine when I'm sweeping the floor of a sea of seeds out the back platform. He Says "The engineer says I had better get back here and check on my activities" What the !@$% are you doing?" I asked him if he was an enterprizing kind of guy. He said, "How much you got here? I told him about 500lbs. He thought for moment and gave me a twenty and told me to drop off at the next town to get some garbage bags. Of course the engineer knew what I was doing. He seen the humor in my efforts.

You see, I had him, the head brakeman and my conductor trying to up root about a 20ft plant with a 9 inch trunk circumfrance at the ground. It looked like a big Christmas tree to all of us.

After all this effort from every body, it's all for not, you see. The field was part of a hemp plantation, it was all worthless, but we had an adventure.

Guy Oberhofer
Milwaukee, WI
3/10/2011

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Looking for someone that might remember or worked

With my father Clifford Platt (Woofy) he worked for the Milwaukee Railroad / Soo-Line from 1950+- to retired(illness)

1984-85??

Greg platt
Beloit, WI
12/2/2012

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My Dad worked on the Milwaukee Road in the 70s in St Paul Mn.I still remember riding on the engine in Hastings MN. I wish I could go back to then !

Louie Jardine
Menomonie, WI
1/25/2015

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