Volume 14 FINAL ISSUE V. Allan Vaughn, Editor G.L. Vargason, Ass't Editor June 30, 1968
Kansas City, Missouri
TO ALL GREAT WESTERNERS:
When the clock passes midnight on June 30th, a new era in transportation will begin
as the Chicago Great Western Railway Company, through merger, combines its
properties and operations with those of the Chicago and North Western Railway
Company. The combined companies Will span a 12,000 mile network from
Chicago to the Dakotas, and from St. Louis and Kansas City to the Canadian
Gateway at Duluth-Superior.
The Great Western enters this merger not only with its rolling stock and properties,
but with its people, the heart of any company. When I think of the Great Western
family, I cannot find words to describe the teamwork which has always
characterized our Company. No task too difficult, no problem left unsolved, the
team spirit has always been "give us results."
Good will between a corporation and the members of its family is a valued and
respected factor, and the Great Western brings to the merged company the
immeasurable experience, skills, spirit of cooperation and determination of each of
I know that the sincere trust and ability you have shown me will receive equal
appreciation from the officers and staff of the merged company.
A LOT OF BUILDING.....
1854-Charter issued to Minnesota and North Western Railroad.
1884-First track begun between Lyle and St. Paul, Minnesota.
1885-Track completed between Lyle, Minnesota and Manly Junction, Iowa.
1886-Line opened from Hayfield, Minnesota to Dubuque, Iowa, including
acquisition of Dubuque and North
Western Railway. Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railway acquired
line of Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebrska Railway between Waterloo and Des
1887-Minnesota and North Western purchased Dubuque and Dakota Railroad
between Sumner and Hampton, Iowa. Line completed from Forest Park to
South Freeport, Illinois. Waterloo to Oelwein line completed by
Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railway. Minnesota and North Western
purchased by C. St. P. & K. C.
1888-Extension from South Freeport to Aiken, Illinois completed.
Leavenworth and Platte County Bridge Company constructed pontoon bridge
on the Missouri River at Leavenworth, Kansas.
1889-Des Moines, Iowa to St. Joseph, Missouri line opened to traffic.
1892-First Chicago Great Western Railway company incorporated in
Illinois and acquired property of Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City
1893-Operation commenced into Kansas City.
1895-De Kalb and Great Western Railway opens Sycamore to De Kalb, illinois line.
1896-Mantorville Railway and Transfer Company opens Eden, Minnesota to Mantorville, Minnesota line.
1899-Oelwein shops opened. Chicago Great Western began operating Red
Wing to Mankato, Minnesota line of the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pacific
1901-Duluth, Red Wing and Southern Railway line between Red Wing and
Zumbrota, Minnesota acquired by W. M. and P. RR. W. M. and P. RR
acquired line of Winona and Western Railway between Winona, Minnesota
and Osage, Iowa; also between Rochester and Simpson, Minnesota. Chicago
Great Western commenced operation of Mason City and Fort Dodge Railroad
through Fort Dodge, Coalville, and Lehigh from Mason City, Iowa.
1902-Clarion to Hampton, Iowa line completed; Hayfield to Manly Junction and Waverly to Hampton, Iowa lines acquired.
1903-Zumbrota to Rochester, Minnesota line completed. M. C. and Ft. D.
RR authorized to build line from Fort Dodge to Sioux City, Iowa (line
never built). Line completed between Fort Dodge and Council Bluffs,
1904-Operation begun into Omaha, Nebraska. Oelwein to Waverly, Iowa line acquired by C.G.W. Ry. Co.
... And A Few Abandonments
1910-Line from Bellechester Junction to Bellechester, Minnesota.
1897-Valeria, Iowa to Skunk River Coal Mines.
1932-Lehigh Branch beyond Gypsum, Iowa. Altura and Rollingstone,
Minnesota Utica and Planks Junction, Minnesota (except station tracks
at Dover, St. Charles and Utica) Rollingstone and Gilmore, Minnesota.
Gilmore and Winona, Minnesota.
1934-Eden to Mantorville, Minnesota
1937-Claybank, Minnesota spur.
1947-De Kalb line (operation continued via C&NW line)
1950-Bremer to Waverly, Iowa.
1963-Utica Junction to Altura, Minnesota.
1966-Red Wing to Pine Island, Minnesota.
1967-Mclntire to Osage, Iowa.
If you were born on or before January 16, 1892, you may claim a
unique distinction-you will have outlived the name Chicago Great
Western on July 1st.
As you read this shortened issue of the SAFETY NEWS, our last
presentation, history has already begun to pen the first few pages of
the merged company.
History teaches us that when a period of change occurs, such as that
fleeting moment at one minute past midnight July 1st, we are seemingly
between two epochs; the dying culture and familiar sights of yesterday
and the coming challenge and unknown of tomorrow.
The darkness between the two has lifted and we are now in the light of
that tomorrow-we have come face to face with the future and it is ours
to record in the pages of time.
What then of yesterday and its sights and sounds, its memories and
accomplishments? Are they gone, are they filed away with the records
marked "CGW" and like the familiar emblem of black and orange, a part
of history on which the ink is dry?
I think not. What do you remember?
Memory lane is a pleasant and comforting path, but one must not tread
its maze too long - just enough to give depth and insight to the broad
avenue of the future.
I remember many things, and many sights, and many people. Mr. Reidy
spoke of the Great Western family in his letter-a hardy race of
railroaders and dedicated to the task of moving freight and, in another
era, people as well.
I remember the motive power which evolved the task of moving steel over
steel-the mighty 2-10-4 Texas, the undisputed lord of the iron. The CGW
is far from one of the largest railroads entering Chicago, the World's
Railroad Center, but its 800s were never challenged as the biggest
steam power operating in and out of Railroadtown.
I remember the first maroon and chocolate brown Diesels, at first a
sheet metal monster along side the mighty 2-10-4. Progress being what
it is and always will be, gave the steamer her deserved niche in
railroad lore and crowned the Diesel king-and who knows, the King may
yet fall to progress again.
I remember a 1500-mile hauler of meat and packing house products, a
hauler of ore and ingots, a hauler of lumber and grain-the harvests of
an abundant Mother Nature.
I remember stories of a man with a flaming red beard who roared and
built with James J. Hill and other tycoons--a man with vision and the
first of the line of Great Western leaders--Alpheus Beede Stickney--a
man who left his image in those who followed as CGW chief executives.
I remember the "varnish era" which I saw only the final days-days of;
the "Old Elm Club" and "Interlachen Club"-remnants of the ghosts of
another age, like 'Legionnaire" and "Great Western Limited"--another
chapter of history inked dry and faded but a stop on memory lane.
I remember a legion of Great Westerners spanning the half-century mark
in cab and caboose, in office and section gang. Such a tribute to one's
company is a record any railroad accepts as honor indeed, that its men
devote their entire working days to its service.
I remember the railroad itself, winding through hill and farm, along
river and streams of Iowa and the other states served by the Great
Western. Winston Tunnel, Nerstrand Hill, the bluffs along the Missouri,
the lakes and forests in Minnesota, and the little country stations
with their distinctive CGW depot design which dates from the standard
design of the old M&NW -and the towns with the puzzling names I've
always intended to investigate such as Virgill, Sugar Loaf, Palsville,
Skyburg, Barney, Myrtle, and a couple of others.
I remember my first job, in the Accounting Department, opening mail
"and such other duties as may be assigned"-it was a challenge to open
the pouches, as you often found various bugs and other creatures which
inhabit baggage wagons on platforms awaiting trains.
I remember snowstorms and floods-nature's jokes against man and machine which slowed down the CGW team but seldom stopped it.
I remember many other things, but it's your turn-my last memory I save
for you readers, and also my thanks for support of Galen, Lana, and
myself. I'm sure Bob Bedgood, George Kellogg, and the late Walt Murphy
chime in, too.
We remain and the name goes --but what's in a name? Plenty.