Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Saturday Morning Post - The Nelsons, Part 2

  • Mark and Mike Nelson are identical twins, and were born in tiny Cuba City, Wisconsin, where their father Clarence was the agent/operator at the Chicago & North Western Railroad depot. Later they moved to Janesville, where their father worked as the operator at the CNW South Janesville yards. It is there where the seeds of Mark and Mike's love of trains were sown.

  • They attended Marquette University Dental school and became dentists in the US Army, serving in Korea and Vietnam. Taking advantage of the ability to procure good 35mm cameras, they were on their way to capturing classic rail action once stateside.

  • Though they have photographed many of the fallen flag RRs, it was the CNW that was their first love. To this day their license plates read "CNW 400" after the famous 400 fleet. They live today in Oregon, Wisconsin and are still active photographing and presenting shows. They are also active in Wisconsin Society Sons of the American Revolution.

    We now present Part 2 of the extraordinary and historic railroad photography of Mark and Mike. ENJOY !!!

    Milwaukee Road EMD E7(A) - Janesville depot trackage, Janesville, Wisconsin, September 01, 1967 - A pair of Milwaukee Road trains meet in the morning light on the Milwaukee trackage that ran alongside the CNW at the depot in Janesville. F7A's 79A and 76C with a freight heads west out of the 5-points yard as the eastbound Varsity, from Madison, approaches. The Varsity lasted until Amtrak day 5/1/71, it was not included in the new Amtrak system. All that remains of this scene today is the Ideal Feed Co. building and the single main in the shadows, used by UP and WSOR, and called the "Anderson runner".

    Chicago & North Western Railroad EMD SD45 - Janesville depot trackage, Janesville, Wisconsin, May 24, 1969 - CNW train #483, just underway out of the South Janesville yard westbound for the Twin Cities, reveals this high cube Cotton Belt / SP boxcar behind a pair of open tri-levels chocked full of Chevy Novas. This view was from the upper floor of the old Janesville CNW depot. 3 SD45's are in charge of this train, in short order they will be in notch 8, putting all their hustle muscle to work climbing out of the Rock River valley on the Madison sub.

    Chicago & North Western Railroad EMD SD45 - Janesville depot trackage, Janesville, Wisconsin, May 24, 1969 - There's plenty of muscle here and it has the grime to prove it. Soon it will be put to use climbing up the hill out of the Rock River valley headed west on a fine Spring morning, as seen from the top floor of the CNW depot. If you look above the 3rd unit, you can see Milwaukee Road orange at their 5-points yard, where nearly 40 years later WSOR red holds court.

    Chicago & North Western Railroad EMD SD45 - Janesville depot trackage, Janesville, Wisconsin, May 24, 1969 - Tonnage moves past the old order board at the J'ville depot, including a rack of fresh Chevy vans from the nearby GM plant. Perhaps they inspired recording artist Sammy Johns 6 years later to sing about the fun one could have "making love in a Chevy van"?

    Grand Trunk Railway - GTW ferry slip, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 11, 1968 - GT's "City of Milwaukee" with fresh Chicago, Burlington & Quincy boxes seen at the slip in Milwaukee.

    A special thanks goes out again to Ray Peacock at for doing all the leg work, putting this information together for the Viewliner Ltd. Thus, allowing us to see another great story of railroading in America, as it was.

    The Saturday Morning Post will feature Mark & Mike's photography every Saturday for the weeks to come. So don't forget to stop by and see more historic railroad pictures. Thank You!

    -- Here is the Link to Part One of The Nelsons --
  • No comments: