Reminders of the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad

A Canadian National (CN) local, led by IC 9605, services RR Donnelley, originally Banta Corp., at Menasha, Wis., on 27 January 2014. This is the northernmost active remnant of the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) Appleton Branch. Banta began construction of this facility in September of 1945, so it is historically a customer of the Milwaukee Road (MILW) Superior Division. When the M&N completed the Appleton Branch in 1880, this was farm land. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A Canadian (CN) local, led by IC 3137, approaches the former Milwaukee Road (MILW) freight house as it prepares to service a couple of industries at Chilton, Wis., on 26 July 2015. I am not absolutely certain, but I believe that this might be the original depot built by the M&N circa 1872. I believe that this depot dates to at least 1892. The Sanborn maps suggest it was moved about 600 feet to the southeast, its current location, and converted to a freight house after a new passenger depot was built near the original site between 1904 and 1914. That second depot is no longer extant. An addition to this depot was constructed at some point after it was converted to freight house. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A trio of modern 6-axle locomotives, totaling 12,800 horsepower, leads a Canadian National (CN) ore train past the 1882 M&N depot, our home, as it crawls northeast across Doty Island at Neenah, Wis., on 8 January 2015. The head of the train is crawling over a mile through Neenah and into Menasha far enough for the train to clear the turnout at the east end of the wye at the north end of the former Soo Line (SOO) yard. The train would then back through the east leg of the wye into the yard, before eventually continuing on toward its destination. Train had at least three locomotives, CN 8804, BCOL 4642, and CN 2273, there were likely several other locomotives on the other end of the train. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A Canadian National (CN) ore train, including DMIR 70027, DMIR 70024, and DMIR 70093, passes the 1882 M&N depot, our home, as it crawls southwest across Doty Island at Neenah, Wis., on 8 January 2015. The head of the train had crawled over a mile through Neenah and into Menasha far enough for the train to clear the turnout at the east end of the wye at the north end of the former Soo Line (SOO) yard. The train has now reversed to back through the east leg of the wye into the yard, before eventually continuing on toward its destination. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train, led by ILSX 1344, crosses the Oconto River as it heads north via the former M&N main line at Stiles, Wis., on 16 January 2014. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

This abutment (seen in the background between the second and third bridge piers from the left) is the last remnant of the M&N swing bridge over the Fox River and under the Memorial Dr. bridge at Appleton, WI, as seen on 27 February 2020. The Milwaukee Road (MILW) abandoned this portion of the M&N’s Appleton Branch, from approximately Valley Rd. to approximately Oneida St., in 1981. I remember seeing trains cross the bridge which stood here. I do not remember when this bridge (erected by the M&N in 1880) was removed. This view is looking southwest from the Vulcan Heritage Park and from the approximate location of the opposite abutment (which has been removed). The white horizontal line visible in the distance beyond the bridge pier on the right is the Canadian National (CN) branch line which runs from Appleton Junction, Wis., to Combined Locks, Wis. Those rails were originally laid by the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western (MLS&W) in 1873. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

This abutment is the last remnant of the M&N swing bridge over the Fox River and under the Memorial Dr. bridge at Appleton, Wis., as seen on 27 February 2020. The Milwaukee Road (MILW) abandoned this portion of the M&N’s Appleton Branch, from approximately Valley Rd. to approximately Oneida St., in 1981. I remember seeing trains cross the bridge which stood here. I do not remember when this bridge (erected by the M&N in 1880) was removed. This view is looking southwest from the Vulcan Heritage Park and from the approximate location of the opposite abutment (which has been removed). Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The Crivitz, Wis., depot on 28 May 2015. I believe that this is the depot erected by the M&N when they reached Crivitz in 1883. This depot is currently owned by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The remaining half of the circa 1884 M&N depot at Pike, Wis., (now Amberg, Wis.), as seen on 1 October 2014. Several modifications to the depot have occurred over the years. For one thing, it used to be twice as long as it is now (with the bay window near the center of the building). Photograph by Tom Bruss.

A Canadian National (CN) local approaches the circa 1872 Milwaukee & Northern depot at Hilbert, Wis., on 11 December 2013. The local is transitioning from the former M&N main line to the Menasha Branch. Photograph by Tom Bruss.