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Nostalgia & History > The Champion in Wisconsin

Date: 07/10/18 07:35
The Champion in Wisconsin
Author: GBW309

I've posted a few images in the past from my hometown of Monroe, WI and lamented that it was such a unique place to grow up in the 80's.  When the Milwaukee Road gave up operations of the Mineral Point branch, it was purchased by the State of Wisconsin and had a succession of operators.  Starting with the Chicago Madison and Northern, (bankrupt), to the Central Wisconsin RR (bankrupt) to the Wisconsin and Calumet (which was a subsidiary of the Chicago West Pullman and Southern) and then eventually sold to the current operator Wisconsin and Southern (which was sold to WATCO).   At any rate, the CM&N, CWRC and WICT were very fan friendly and ran many unique passenger trains.  Back then, Golden Arrow excursions was very active in the mid-west and put together a passenger train for the 101st anniversary of the City of Monroe.  City fathers didn't want it to be during the Cheese days celebration which is held every other year, hence the odd 101 birthday designation.   The trips were billed out as the 101 Flyer and ran from Monroe WI to Belleville WI on the former Illinois Central line to Madison WI.  These trips ran in July 1983 (shortly after the Central Wisconsin RR had taken over operations) and were powered by Glen Monhart's E3 and F7 #564  

The debutante for this excursion was Mr Monhart's E unit.  The former SCL 501 had been in the Janesville roundhouse undergoing restoration and this was her public debut.  The 501 was built as an E3 but received a new nose during wreck repairs years earlier.  It is the only surviving E3 in existence.  The 564 was the primary power for the CM&N Freeport to Madision WI ex Illinois Central line.  Central Wisconsin RR never used this locomotive and the CM&N lettering had been painted over by this date.  Also, the ex C&NW RSD5 1689 was in town and running. It was also leased to the CM&N, was freshly repainted and also had the CM&N lettering painted over.   

Image 1:  A return trip just north of Monroe WI (southbound)
Image 2:  The special train arriving in Monroe Friday evening. I'm pretty sure that was the first time an E unit had ever been on the Mineral Point branch.
Image 3:  Running around the train in the EX Illinois Central yard in Monroe.   The business car is the "Doonin" (EX Illinois Central business car #7) Which at the time was owned by two Catholic priests named Father Brady and Father Gillespee   the car had a small B&G painted on the side.  I believe this car is now at the railroad museum in Monticello, Illinois.

Thanks for looking!


Date: 07/10/18 08:19
Re: The Champion in Wisconsin
Author: ghemr

 Great photos! Myself and a friend were there but we didn't ride the train (which we now regret). Thanks for the memory...

Date: 07/10/18 08:46
Re: The Champion in Wisconsin
Author: krm152

Definitely like the photos especially the first.
The good news is that both units are still around.
#501 The Champion is preserved at the NCTM in Spencer NC.
The F7A  then Chicago Madison & Northern #901 is now stored
at the Escanaba & Lake Superior in Wells MI.

Date: 07/10/18 09:23
Re: The Champion in Wisconsin
Author: GBW309

Here is a shot of the 564 dressed up as the Charelston and Western Carolina 901 which was leased to the WICT, along with Mr Monhart's other F units and BL2.     

Feb 1987, Monroe, WI


Date: 07/10/18 19:12
Re: The Champion in Wisconsin
Author: RuleG

Thanks for posting your narrative.  The images bring back some pleasant memories. 

While attending the University of Wisconsin, I spent a pleasant Fall afternoon in October 1983 on a Middleton - Spring Green, WI excursion sponsored by Golden Arrow with these locomotives and cars.

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