Fond du Lac to Mayville

The Fond du Lac, Amboy and Peoria Railway

Picture Point of Interest

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Looking north from Division Street in Fond du Lac, WI. Photo by Beaver, February 2009.

In 1874, the Fond du Lac, Amboy & Peoria Railway intended to build a 3' narrow-gauge railroad from Fond du Lac southwards to Amboy, IL, in order to access both the lumber of central WI and the the coal fields of central IL. After some political obstacles, construction of the line began in 1876, with the line reaching as far south as Iron Ridge, WI by 1877. However, upon connecting with the standard-gauage Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad (precursor to the Milwaukee Road) at Iron Ridge Junction, construction ceased, leaving only 29 miles of track laid. The entire route was purchased by the CM&StP in 1883 and consequently converted to standard-gauge soon after.

The line served many iron mines and quarries along its route, including the Northwestern Iron Company in Mayville, WI.

Fond du Lac, WI, was a very busy rail hub with Milwaukee Road running to the southwest to Horicon, Soo Line to the southwest to Waukesha and northwest to Stevens Point, plus Chicago North Western had lines from Sheboygan to the east, Milwaukee to the southeast, Janesville to the southwest, Wisconsin Rapids to the west-northwest and Green Bay to the north. All of this in addition to very busy rail yards for both CNW and Soo Line. The yards are still pretty busy as are the repair facilities but the only lines that are still active are the former Soo Line to the southwest and the CNW north.

The line was abandoned between Fond du Lac and Mayville in the early 1980s. The section between Mayville and Iron Ridge Junction is still in use by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.

WSOR just removed the rails from the Horicon St. crossing in Mayville, creating a new end of the line just south of there. The customer at Kekoskee St. must have either moved or ended rail service for some reason within the last couple years.

Milwaukee, WI


Unfortunately,and what I understand, the rail north of Horicon St was still being utilized by the United Co-Op at Kekoskee St, but badly in need of repair. Wisconsin & Southern requested the Co-op to fund the repairs, so they turned them down. It's cheaper to truck.

Ralph Jr
Mayville, WI


Was here today (3-11-12) and appear that the line is sectioned from Horicon St and Bridge Streets. The End Of Line is currently Horicon St. Horicon St to Cty Y appears to be in tact in full yet ends short of Cty Y where they have recently torn and repaved. After Horicon Street where the FA&P starts on map is in tact over bride and onward as far as shortly after the curve at River Knoll Rd. I walked as far as mid-curve before brush was too thick and I was loosing sunlight. There is on the West side of the line about a quarter mile after the bridge what's left of one of the old concrete post to hold the telegraph box.

Dave Minton
Watertown, WI


The precise answer for when the Mayville to Fond du Lac line was abandoned:

The Milwaukee Road ceased operation on the line in summer 1980. The fate of the line then went to the ICC and the courts. Ultimately, the decision was made in January 1981 by the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium to sell the heavy rails on the line to WSOR, to repair portions of the Markesan branch, between Brandon and Fairwater.

With this agreement in place, the physical line between those two points was removed in the summer of 1981.

(Sources: Articles in the Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter, 1980-1981)

Appleton, WI


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