Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Saturday Morning Post - The Nelsons, Part 5


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.

We now present The Final Part of the extraordinary and historic railroad photography of Mark and Mike. Links for all previous Nelson posts are at the bottom of this post. ENJOY !!!

Chicago & North Western Railroad EMD E8(A) - Grand Avenue Tower, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 27, 1967 - The Penninsula 400 passes Grand Avenue tower.

Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad EMD SD9 - CNW Oxford depot, Oxford, Wisconsin, March 11, 1978 - B&LE power could be found on ore trains over the CNW Wisconsin Division in the 1970s. #839 and #823 assist the #836 with 144 cars, 92 are ore empties on this westbound move.

Chicago & North Western Railroad EMD GP18 - CNW Dodgeville branch, Town of Verona, Wisconsin, September 22, 1975 - The "ridge runner" has 1 load and 18 empties, lead by a bicentennial CNW geep, and seen crossing a wooden bridge headed west near Verona, Wisconsin. The ridge runner is a bike path today.

Chicago Great Western EMD F3-A - Portage Junction, Portage , Illinois, December 04, 1965 - At the suggestion of 1st trick Operator Sam Armstrong, Mike Nelson climbed the signal bridge and got this view of a westbound. "It'll make a better picture!", Sam surmised.

Chicago & North Western Railroad Steam 4-6-0 - CNW Merrimac bridge, Merrimac, Wisconsin, May 25, 1982 - Mike Nelson snapped this shot of the R1 1385 on CNW rails, crossing Lake Wisconsin westbound with a company train as part of a hugely successful statewide tour.

Because this is the final part of The Nelson posts, here are a few additional pictures they took, all related to Wisconsin area railroading.

Southwestern Wisconsin where at one time the CNW RR network included a branchline that ran from Dodgeville, Cuba City, Benton, and eventually across the state line into Illinois and Galena, the birthplace of US Grant. Some of this trackage was actually narrow guage, serving the once thriving lead mining area. That industry died years ago. Most of the trackage was gone by the 1980s. (Photo taken in 1965)

At New Diggins, Wisconsin, the line ran and went through a tunnel in its route south to Galena. The tunnel, one of the only signs of the old RR grade still left, is accessed on private property. (Photo taken in 1986)

This photo shows the Nelson's Chevy (complete with a Chicago Great Western RR vanity plate) parked at the entrance to the farm, seeking permission to get the photo they took of the old tunnel. (Photo taken in 1986)

After getting the tunnel shot, they went to the old New Diggins General Store, which Mark and Mike report burned down a short time after this photo was taken. Fortunately, New Diggins has retained its charm as a "destination" and today there is what appears to be a thriving General Store. (Photo taken in 1986) LINK: Get your motor running -- we'll see you at New Diggins!

I would like to thank Mark and Mike Nelson for allowing their pictures to be posted on the Viewliner Ltd. and wish them all the best. And a special thanks goes out to Ray Peacock at HeartlandRails.com 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.

-- Link to Part 1 of The Nelsons --
-- Link to Part 2 of The Nelsons --
-- Link to Part 3 of The Nelsons --
-- Link to Part 4 of The Nelsons --

Mark and Mike Nelson will soon have a website http://www.forever400s.com

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