John Speller's Web Pages Ontonagon Branch (Milwaukee Road)

John Speller's Web Pages - US Railroads
Ontonagon Branch (Milwaukee Road) Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled
The Milwaukee Road’s presence in Michigan was represented largely by the line which runs from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Ontonagon, Michigan. The Ontonagon Railroad began building its line southward from Ontonagon to Iron River Junction in around 1905, and later built an extension west to White Pine, Michigan. The line was absorbed into the Milwaukee Road in 1917, though the Ontonagon to White Pine section was abandoned in 1933. For a while the line enjoyed excellent passenger service, and a daily express from Chicago to Channing, Michigan, later extended to Ontonagon, began running under the moniker The Chippewa in 1937. This became the Chippewa Hiawatha in 1948 and continued to run until 1960.

Meanwhile the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railway was chartered on November 17, 1898, and in 1900 entered into an agreement with the Milwaukee Road to extend its tracks from Watson to Channing to hauling of iron ore to the Milwaukee Road docks at Escanaba. This arrangement was terminated in 1936 when the Milwaukee Road entered into a pooling arrangement with the Grand Trunk Western for the joint use of dock facilities. The Escanaba & Lake Superior Railway managed to keep operating, however, and in 1980 was able to purchase the Milwaukee’s Obtonagon to Green Bay branch, which continued to operate until recently.

Map of the Ontonagon Branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad
An early view of the Milwaukee Road roundhouse at Channing, Michigan on the Ontonagon B Branch
Bridge over the Menominee River on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad between Green Bay and Ontonagon
Milwaukee Road Depot at Iron River, Michigan. Image © Andrew Jameson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
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