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Milwaukee Road train from Eau Claire to Durand

Milwaukee Road train from Eau Claire to Durand

My pictures are from 1978 to 1980, and always on a Saturday.
Here is Eau Claire.


EMD SDL 39 (L = light) suitable for branchline lines that have weight restrictions.



It was appropriate for the line to Durand, which had 85 lb rail for a few miles south of Eau Clarie;
and I think in some places lower than that, maybe 72 lb rail? I would have to look up my old notes.
A good place for a light locomotive.


Gotta love this freight house.
After the rails were gone, this whole area would became a bank building, park, and trail.

586 in Winter 1978-79 ?

The next pictures are from March, 1980
This is the last week of Milwaukee Road trains running to Durand, south of Lacrosse.
It's a Saturday. I heard afterwards that the run to Durand normally didn't take place on Saturdays,
but with the approaching closing of the line, insulated boxcars of food products were being rushed to the Durnad Surefine warehouse.
(the last minute rush sounds familiar. Just before the Cornell line closed, a year's worth of cars were rushed in,
with the last chance to get rail loads before switching to trucks.)


And first on their work is a run east to Eau Claire Junction.
With the caboose, too.

Eau Claire Tower, and the Uniroyal tire plant


Four guys in a van came from the Twin Cities to film this.
I don't know who they were, and I haven't seen similar pictures like mine to know if they ever published any.

Then the loco went back to the yard and grabbed a train and went south toward Durand.

Going across the bridge west of the yard which is easy to view.
(later, this bridge would be of some concern because the insurance company de-rated it, suggesting that trains could go over it if every other car was empty)

I raced ahead to hike in to this view of the other longer bridge over the Chippewa River
about 2 miles downstream.
( I think they set out the BN boxcar at some industry just north of here in the Eau Claire southwest industrial park, that I didn't photograph,
and that gave me time to get ahead of them)

I am under US highway 12, and it's dark under here.

Going south past the spur to Eau Claire Materials sand and gravel plant.
The Tell Tail is for northbound trainmen to duck for the US highway 12 bridge

And it started snowing.
Careyville, a small town.

I am fairly sure this caboose was removed from here before the rails were pulled.




Snowing. The guys from the Twin Cities are moving along.

Near the junction to the Red Cedar valley branch line to Menomonie. Those rails were gone at this time.

The guys from the Twin Cities drove their van down a poor service road to get here.
I wisely parked my car at the top and walked down to here.
And then we all pushed their van back up the hill.



The train was already in Durand by the time I caught up with them.

It looks like they picked up empty cars from the Surefine food warehouse distribution center
just north of town and tacked them behind the caboose before they arrived downtown.





They ran around their train and headed north, long hood forward, to return to Eau Claire


It is sunset time during a snowfall when they come back across the river on the southwest side of Eau Claire.
(It's getting dark, I didn't follow them over the next bridge and into their yard)

My pictures on this page are just from 1978 through 1980

Arlyn Colby wrote a book 'Chippewa Valley Line' about the full history of this rail line,
and some of my pictures are in it.
Look at a web site named

for all of his books about the area.

to My Main Index Page on the TrainWeb site.

This page was filmed in 1978 through 1980, and wrote about in 2022