Springfield, Wisconsin, is just minutes away from the bustling Lake Geneva, WI, community yet it seems like a town out of another era even today. The Milwaukee Road's Southwestern Line passed through Springfield on its way to Elkhorn from Burlington.
In the summer of 1998 when the photos below were taken, the Milwaukee Road's tracks still were in place through Springfield though out of service since the railroad's 1980 reorganization which pruned or eliminated many lines. The State of Wisconsin owns the right-of-way which is landbanked. It was formerly railbanked but the rails and ties were taken out in 2000 by a salvage crew all the way west to Elkhorn. The ROW is now a trail for hiking, snowmobiles, and other uses.
The book Tracks Through Time which was created as a high school project in Lake Geneva includes a long recollection of Milwaukee Road operations in Springfield. This book of interviews, photographs, and drawings is worth seeking out though it is out-of-print. Try contacting the Breadloaf bookstore in downtown Lake Geneva for sources of copies.
The building was the former Milwaukee Road train station in Springfield. By 1998, the forest was begining to reclaim the tracks some eighteen years since the last train traveled this section. This view looks west from Highway 120. This building was moved west across Hwy. 120 and turned 180 degrees from its orginal setting in Springfield.
According to information sent from Verne Brummel of Fitchburg, the Springfield train station was closed as a train order office in 1949, but remained in
In 2005 the Springfield train station was renovated and reopened as the Pedal & Cup (www.pedalandcup.com) cafe and bicycle shop. It caters to bicyclists traveling on the rails-to-trails conversion of the former Milwaukee Road right-of-way. Make a stop to check out this renovated station and its collection of artifacts.
Ancient buildings sit along the east side of Highway 120. The storefront on the left was part of a lumber dealer while perhaps the building on the right was either a grain elevator or Kraft building. The tracks still traveled along the southern side of the grain elevator in 1998.
Good example of the type of Milwaukee Road depot that was once common along the Southwestern Line. This particular station apparently was moved from nearby Lyons to Springfield a number of years ago for a business that never came about. Hopefully someone will fix it up soon! Another station like this one stands today in Darian, WI, along the section of the Southwestern Line operated by the W&S.
We're looking east from where the former Milwaukee Road tracks crossed Highway 120 in the heart of Springfield, WI. The right-of-way and tracks appear to be from some misty time in the past as they disappear in the distance.
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