Canadian National (Wisconsin Central) Operations over Former Milwaukee Road Southwestern Line in Burlington


West End of Active Tracks & St. Gobain Plant. Scroll Down to View

Burlington, WI, was a busy location on the former Southwestern Line of the Milwaukee Road with the Nestle factory representing a large traffic generator. The Milwaukee Road crossed the Soo Line at a diamond just west of the Fox River trestle.

Following the Soo Line purchase of the Milwaukee Road in 1986, and eventual spinoff of its own Lake States Division to start-up Wisconsin Central shortly afterwards, Soo Line lost access to this plant and the diamond was taken out. Perhaps someone can fill in the details as to why Soo Line gave up access to this shipper to the Wisconsin Central which took over the north-south Soo Line in Burlington.

Canadian National which purchased the Wisconsin Central now switches the Nestle plant, grain elevators, and the St. Gobain factory using the former Milwaukee Road Southwestern Line tracks. Lots of ownership changes in a short period of time on this stretch.


Looking east this time at the former Milwaukee Road tracks that continue to serve the Nestle plant in Burlington. These rails are now operated by Canadian National which acquired the former Wisconsin Central which reaches them via a connecting track that curves from south to west across busy Highway 83 by the plant. Hwy. 83 is just past the freight cars stored on the former Milwaukee Road mainline in the distance on the left.

The camera now looks west from the same location as before at the former Milwaukee Road tracks. Another former Southwestern Line customer, the grain elevators in the distance, is also served by CN on Burlington's south side. The tracks in the foreground serve as a sorting yard for CN and the Nestle plant with large volumes of inbound covered hoppers.



This view looks west from McHenry Street on Burlington's southwest side towards the end of the former Milwaukee Road tracks a half mile ahead. The tracks lead to a spur that makes a curve to the south then east to reach the St. Gobain glass container factory. The Milwaukee Road's Southwestern Line is taken up between Burlington and Elkhorn, with large segments of the right-of-way converted to a bike trail. The spur to the left or south is apparently used to store cars for St. Gobain with the main track to the north or right.



The St. Gobain glass container factory as seen from McHenry Street in Burlington. It's one of three rail served customers in Burlington along the former Milwaukee Road line.

Evidence of recent track renovation work on the west side of Burlington. This view looks east. This photo dates from August of 2009.
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