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Mike's Train House


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Our Nations Christmas tree travels by Rail. 
Amtrak Boxcars
Milwaukee Road
See Pictures of A derailment that happened in Sturtevant in 1984!
Milwaukee Road MP15AC, 5/20/2000
Norfolk Southern
Photos from my last trip to the Curve, 1999.
BNSF Pictures
Joliet 1999
Ill, HY 59,  5/20/2000
261,  5/20/2000
Highlands 5/20/200
Galesburg RR Days 2000 at the depot
Galesburg RR Days 2000 at  the hotel
Galesburg RR Days 2000 from the bridge
Galesburg RR Days 2000 at the park
Iowa Interstate
Union Pacific
Hay every Web site has to have a page of junk, this is mine.
Elmhurst 1999
UP Dead/ Scrap Line, 5/20/2000

Wisconsin Central

Franklin Park
WC Railfanning 
WC Railfanning Part 2
W.C. Locomotive Details of Current Roster Loco's
Shops Dead and Damaged Line
Shops Part 1 
Shops Part 2
Shops Part 3
Byron Hill 1
Byron Hill 2
WC Ex Algoma Central Ore Freight Car Detail Section

Canadian Pacific Railway


CP9303 Special Edition


Jim Kube's Former GBW Site

My SDL39, 581 photos.
My models
About myself

GB&W Images

history on film


Like virtually all railroads of the period, Green Bay and Lake Pepin (later, Green Bay and Minnesota) relied on hand-tooled 4-4-0s for early motive power. Tiny machines by today's standards at about 35 tons, they nevertheless performed the mission they were intended for. These engines must have seemed almost jewel-like to their crews. Note the polished brass fittings throughout!

GB&LP #1 at New London, 1871. From  "The Story of the Green Bay and Western" by Ray and Ellen Specht, 1966.
Jim Kube collection.

By the time the Green Bay, Winona and St. Paul had taken over from the GB&M, slightly more powerful 4-4-0s had joined the roster. It was also in the time of the GBW&SP that airbrakes and automatic knuckle couplers replaced mechanical brakes and the link-and-pin coupling system, making for much safer railroading. Looking at this GBW&SP engine, one notices an immediate difference from the GB&LP loco above- much less polished brass.

GBW&SP #15, possibly at Grand Rapids (now Wisconsin Rapids), c.1885. T. Van Dreese collection. From "Green Bay & Western" (Hundman Publishing, 1989), by Stan Mailer.

Jim Kube collection

At the turn of the century, GB&W began purchasing heavier power to replace older 4-4-0 locomotives. Several 2-6-0 types were brought on board, the last arriving just before World War One. The proud 4-4-0 type did not quite die out, however; one or two lasted in service until the eve of World War Two. A remarkable story of longevity and practical usefulness. The lives of the 2-6-0s were no less productive; the last of them was retired from the Green Bay Route in 1948.
In the 1920's, GB&W bought 2-8-0 locomotives, enabling the retirement of all but a handful of 4-4-0's as 2-6-0 types replaced them in local freight service. New management decided to accelerate the trend, buying the largest Green Bay Route steamers- a half dozen 2-8-2's, among the last of the type built for an American railroad. Small but elegant state of the art, 1937 style.

LEFT: GB&W 2-6-0 #256 at Green Bay, late 1940's; photographer unknown, collection of William A. Raia.

Jim Kube collection
LEFT: KGB&W's sole 2-8-2 #403, at Green Bay during the late 40's. Photographer unknown, collection of William A. Raia.
Jim Kube collection.
Green Bay and Western bought it's first diesel in 1938- an Alco switcher- which preceded the last order for 2-8-2s by a year. Another diesel switcher was added just before WWII. After the war, GB&W acquired several cab road freight locomotives, and initially ran them mostly as single units on freights. Only after several road switchers were added to the roster in the early 1950's did these units begin to operate in pairs. The fact that these 1500 horsepower engines could singly pull sixty or more cars at an average of 40 MPH daily made clear the superiority of diesel power to steam, in most respects. All GB&W diesels were Alco's. Several were owned and lettered for subsidiary KGB&W, when it was an independent entity.

Most likely a KGB&W FA-1 (#501 or 502)  near Kewaunee with a long train in 1948. Photo by Robert G. Lewis. From
"Green Bay & Western"
(Hundman Publishing, 1989), by Stan Mailer.

Jim Kube Collection

Two of GB&W's earliest road switchers late in their careers, on a 1976 fan trip. Note the simplified solid red paint scheme- a cost saving measure- adopted in 1969. Photo: Jim Kube.

GB&W-issued postcards: top card shows a shiny engine pulling a trainload of paper products in new GB&W boxcars, from one of several paper mills located on the line; bottom card shows a builder's photo of a then-state of the art high horsepower road switcher in 1960. Note the Alco-designed red with grey sash paint scheme, certainly one the handsomest ever to grace a diesel locomotive.



Postcard from the Jim Kube collection
Postcard from the Jim Kube collection
For nearly a century, car ferries provided GB&W with a steady stream of traffic. When car ferry loadings peaked in the 1950's, so did GB&W. Even so, had it not been for a large originating and terminating traffic base of paper and agricultural products, it is likely Green Bay and Western would have folded in the 1930's. Loading and unloading the boats was a sight to behold- sometimes it appeared that the vessel would flip onto it's side, as the load inside the car ferry became unbalanced! That only happened once or twice however, early in their use on Lake Michigan

GB&W C-424 #311 works the ferry dock at Kewaunee in June, 1975. From the collection of Bill Raia.

Jim Kube collection

Three unit lash-ups were common on GB&W road freight trains No. 1 and 2 from the mid-1970's until the end (except when times were bad, as in the early 1980's). Here's my favorite, RS-27 number 310 leading two other Alcos on train Number 2 pausing at Amherst Junction, in 1978. During this period, Green Bay and Western usually ran one through freight each way a day between Green Bay and Winona, two each way daily between Green Bay and Kewaunee. Except for a local freight operating between Wisconsin Rapids and Plover (and then up to Stevens Point), the other locals were abolished by the early 1970's.


This meant No's. 1 and 2 tended to run heavy and slow, except between stops when they would run flat out, occasionally breaking the company- imposed speed limits. Even so, twelve hour days were the rule for crew members, not the exception. And look at the 310 and her sisters starting to kick out the smoke, as this 100+ car train resumes it's run east!

Photo by Jim Kube


Bye-Bye, Green Bay Route!

What would a train be without a caboose? Sort of like a sentence ending without a period! Seen here at Green Bay in 1979 is #602, one several homebuilt GB&W transfer cabooses which were constructed by the line's extremely capable Norwood shops in the early 1970's. The light blue 1963 Rambler American parked on the right, blocking the driveway? That was mine, of course!



Photo by Jim Kube.

No, that's not a FRED, or whatever they're calling them these days. That my friend, is a caboose! GB&W's signature colors for it's last forty years were red and yellow; high visibility and high style. I still smile when I see an old ex-Green Bay and Western yellow box car, or a former GB&W diesel still decked out in red.  I miss the railroad and reckon I always will.


Caboose #615 pulls up the rear of a long, long eastbound Number 2 at Amherst Junction in 1978.

Photo by Jim Kube.