Not much is known about this former Chigaco & North Western line. Today, the northern half of it serves as the Stone Bridge Rail-Trail.
Roscoe to Belvidere
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The section from Caledonia to Belvidere was connected with the South Wye @ Caledonia crossings. What is now known as Candlewick Lake served as the ROW for this section which was abandoned in 1939 as cited on page 126 of the book "The KD Line" from author Paul L. Behrens, a great read for those interested in this line and and the connecting lines in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Track still exists as I write this in July of 2010, in Beloit WI and South Beloit, IL, where trains pick up sand and grain from an Elevator, and take it East using the old CM&St Paul line connection in Beloit heading East to Clinton WI.
As usual, there are are areas where those with the knowledge of where to look, and what to look for, can find traces of the path between Caledonia and Belvidere if they look. Most of it traverses private land which makes exploring for traces difficult.
Does anyone know what year the C&NW or UP abandoned the line between S. Beloit and Caledonia, then NE to Harvard? I am trying to pinpoint when trains began to route the sand trains and locals via the old MILW to Clinton, WI.
The line from Harvard to Beloit appears on a 1979 CNW System map I have. It's not a particularly detailed map, though it does show that line as belonging to the Wisconsin Division. So at the very least it was intact up to the Milwaukee Bankruptcy.
Actually, I tried to purchase the segment from just west of Chemung to Rockton Rd. in 1990. In 1988, C&NW filed an exempt (expedited) abandonment of the line from the McHenry/Boone County line to MP 74 near Poplar Grove. Because it was an exemption, no formal notice was required and I didn't notice it. The Boone County Conservation District purchased ROW with the intention of converting it to a bike path. They eventually wanted to convert the whole thing into Winnebago County but couldn't until C&NW filed to abandon the remainder of the line. That took place October, 1991. Since C&NW was aware of my interest in the line, I was notified of the filing per ICC rules. A couple of other individuals were also interested in going in with me on this venture, but when it came time to put their money where their mouths were, they didn't follow through and financing didn't get approved. C&NW didn't begin removing the tracks until June 13, 1992. I had a lot of fun with this one. I went to the Belvidere Daily Republican and gave them several stories on this line, including when the ROW was deeded to the railroad. I showed the newspaper that most of the ROW was reversionary to the property owners. If they wished, they could file a legal claim to the ROW that abuts their property and take back the land. To my knowledge, nobody ever did this. The farmers were not happy about this bike path running through their cornfields. I sill have all the newspaper articles concerning my failed "North Boone Railroad".
Read further in that passage you cite from THE KD LINE. Permission to abandon was granted in 1939, but those Madison Div. tracks didn't get tore out until July & August of 1942, for war materials. The line south from Belvidere to Sycamore(GALENA DIV.) was taken up the same time, but with much more public outcry.A bad derailment east of Poplar Grove in Nov.1986 tore up the ROW to the point CNW didn't want to spend money needed to repair,so service to Beloit, WI and even Poplar Grove, went by way of X-MILW Rd.thru Clinton Jct.The gouge in the ROW that caused cessation is still there and noted on the bike trail.
What I find interesting is the spur that was still in service in Belvidere over the river and to what appears to be a couple of medium size manufacturers has rail 115 pound /yard dated 1944 on some of it that is still there. General Mills that now owns Green Giant in Belvidere ripped out the section along its property from the main line up to the truss bridge crossing the river and till just 2 years ago there were crossing guards on a street that had already removed the rails from the crossing. The rails heading back towards the bridge and towards the business are still there as of last summer and are the ones with a 1944 date stamp.
I am really glad nobody filed quick claims on that right of way, even though I think it might have federal rail banking protection that would preclude any ability to file a claim on it. This law was in effect in 1985 reviewed and 1988 and would have completely eliminated any reversionary claims. The rails to trails act is probably one of the really good things that came out of the Reagan administration. It allowed railroads to get rid of non profitable lines without the public losing those very important and needed national resource. My family and many others enjoy the use of that trail every year. I think most railroad enthusiasts would agree and prefer these Right of ways preserved than to see them lost when we may have need of them sooner than we might think.
Several places where you can see bits and pieces:
Boone County Fairgrounds, McKinley Av side, property is at an odd angle from street because ROW used to adjoin fairgrounds property.
At Dawson Lake Rd north side of road is the beginning of a rather deep cut. Much was filled in during construction of Candlewick in the 1970's, but first hundred feet or so is still there, filled with dumped trash. South of there, the ROW is an access road for Boone Lake, a private fishing lodge.
You can easily see where the ROW crossed IL-76 just north of Caledonia Rd turnoff. There is a definite treeline both ways.
Last remants were last used circa 2005. Last customer was FSC Grain off McKinley Av south of US20 Bypass. Used only a couple of times a year to take grain out. Power was always a pair of GP15-1's. (I lived on Madison just west of ROW 2005-06). After FSC abandoned location, adjacent school bus company took over, but tracks still intact except at Madison and Lincoln grade crossing, which were pulled out. Back in the 1930's there was a fairly large yard (North Belvidere Yard) east of the existing track centered on where Madison St now crosses, with a roundhouse at the north end. See 1939 Aerial Photographs of Boone County:
I was living in Poplar Grove when the derailment occurred in 1986. I was 16 years old at the time. The cars fell into the steep ditch on the North side of the tracks just before Beaverton road where the track curved. Wished I would have taken pictures back then, cause I sure can't find any now.
I grew up in Poplar Grove and remember the derailment as well. The rail line ran right behind our house. My friend and I walked down to the derailment site the same day or the day after and were chased out by rail workers LOL. If you walk down the prairie path and when you come to the first curve before Beaverton rd, as u walk east you'll come to a little bench area, shortly before that is a gigantic ball of crumpled steel laying in the ditch to your left that was left over from the derailment. You'll also notice the trail suddenly has a big dip in it, that was from the locomotive flipping onto its side
One would assume that the nice people from Belvidere would be visiting the IRM just east and slightly south down the pike from Belvidere and seeing were the old ROW of the Elgin & Belvidere Electric railway was. I know the museum runs on a section of the E&BE ROW. I enjoyed the interurban and trolley cars the most. Since living in South Milwaukee,
seeing at IRM the Electoliner, the green/red cars and silver/red silverliners(I believe the NS crews fondly called the silverliners Soup Cans)cars of the North Shore Line. The NO#10 Wells ST trolley car, the last remaining two of the yellow and green TMER&L interurban cars and Old Smokey Loco of the Milw Road was very exciting. Recently IRM purchased from Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom WI. The MT Harvard Coach to complete that collection of those particular coaches.