Re: Coal Traffic to Southwest Wisconsin


Bear in mind that most of the customers along these routes
were not ordering large quantities of coal. Most would be
lumberyards or feed mills/grain elevators that sold it in season,
usually from late summer when demand began to increase until
warm weather arrived.

Gondolas were common as they were easier for small
customers to unload, however box cars were used to move coal
as well in the upper Midwest. From what I've read, area railroads
preferred to load coal in their own cars for small customers. Too
many found it convenient to use a car for storage and were in no
hurry to unload it, running up per diem charges with foreign

"It lacks information about the C&NW…."

The author was 16 at the time it was published, it started out as
a school history project if I remember correctly. He was from
Monroe and may have had more immediate access to
information about that area.

There is a later book on the CNW narrow gauge line from
Fennimore to Woodman, but I'm not aware of anything on the
standard gauge route from Madison to Lancaster. Since CNW
also served Illinois coal country, there may have been some coal
traffic here as well.

Lance Burton

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