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Transportation Company - Green Bay & Western - Railroad

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Transportation Company - Green Bay & Western - Railroad
Company Name Green Bay & Western
Company Web Site Link
Category Railroad
Year Founded 1896
Final Year of Operation 1993
Termination Subsidiary
Successor/Parent Wisconsin Central (Details)
Country United States (Details)
Source of Text Bluford Shops
Text Credit URL Link
Transportation Company - Green Bay & Western - Railroad



Company History: The GB&W was the result of the 1896 reorganization of earlier companies connecting Green Bay, Wisconsin with the Mississippi River port of Winona, Minnesota. The line east from Green Bay to the car ferry port at Kewaunee was built as the affiliated Kewaunee Green Bay & Western. It wasn’t completely merged into GB&W until 1969. The 277 mile combined line bisected the state of Wisconsin. Railroad car ferries connected Kewaunee with the Ann Arbor, GTW, and C&O in Michigan’s lower peninsula. For a number of years, another subsidiary the Ahnapee & Western was operated as part of the GB&W but was sold to new owners in 1947.

Light rails and bridges put the GB&W about 20 years behind other railroads in steam technology. For instance, they were still receiving new 2-8-0’s in the late 20s. The biggest engines in the fleet were a half dozen light Mikados which arrived in 1937 and ’39.

In 1929, they established the Western Refrigerator Line to manage a 500 car fleet of reefers (presumably to serve the many packers of Green Bay.) Passenger service was always a low priority and ended entirely in 1941.

By 1950, they had completely dieselized, entirely with Alcos. For the second generation of diesels, GB&W concentrated on C424’s. Typically, there were 18-20 units on the roster at any one time. They would remain all-Alco to the end with first generation units set up to run long hood forward and second generation running short hood forward.

The bridge traffic created by the car ferry link to Michigan included high value auto parts. However, in the late 70’s, the car ferry traffic plummeted and GB&W began relying on paper industry traffic generated on line. In 1978 the line was purchased by Itel (yes, the per diem boxcar people.) Finally in 1993, the Green Bay & Western was merged into a subsidiary of Wisconsin Central.

Successor/Parent History:
Wisconsin Central Ltd. (reporting mark WC) is a railroad subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. At one time, its parent Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation owned or operated railroads in the United States, Canada (Algoma Central Railway), the United Kingdom (English Welsh & Scottish), New Zealand (Tranz Rail), and Australia (Australian Transport Network).

Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WC) started in US in the mid-1980s using most of the original Wisconsin Central Railway's rights of way and some former Milwaukee Road rights of way after the Soo Line Railroad acquired the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota holdings of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road and divested its older railway trackage in Wisconsin. In 1993 the Wisconsin Central also acquired the Green Bay and Western Railroad and the Fox River Valley Railroad.

At the time of its sale to Canadian National, Wisconsin Central operated over 2,850 miles (4,590 km) of track in the Great Lakes region. The railroad extended from Chicago into and through Wisconsin to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth, Minnesota, to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and north (through the Algoma Central Railway) to Hearst, Ontario.

A condition of Soo Line’s acquisition of Milwaukee Road was that they had to sell a number of lines in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They established Lake States Transportation to separate these lines from the rest of Soo Line. In 1987, Lake States was sold to a group of investors and Wisconsin Central was born. Much of the track had belonged to the original Wisconsin Central, a Soo subsidiary which had been merged into Soo in 1960. In 1993, WC acquired Fox River Valley Railroad and Green Bay & Western. In 1995, they founded a Canadian subsidiary and acquired the Algoma Central. Then in 1997, they picked up another 200 miles of former C&NW line running north from Green Bay from Union Pacific. At this point, the 2,850 mile WC (between GM&O and Erie Lackawanna in relative size) linked: Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Duluth/Superior, then down Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Sault Ste. Marie where they connected to Algoma Central north to Hearst, Ontario. WC’s parent company also went on a buying spree of railroads in other countries including New Zealand, Britain, and Australia. Wisconsin Central was sold to Canadian National in 2001. It operates as a paper railroad under CN’s flag today.

From Wikipedia and Bluford Shops

Brief History:
The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major Atlantic Coast cities are New York, a global finance and culture center, and capital Washington, DC. Midwestern metropolis Chicago is known for influential architecture and on the west coast, Los Angeles' Hollywood is famed for filmmaking.


Item Links: We found: 4 different collections associated with Green Bay & Western - Railroad
Item created by: gdm on 2017-10-10 09:56:50. Last edited by gdm on 2020-01-12 16:41:40

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