Wisconsin & Southern on the old Milwaukee Road at Sun Prairie


Here the Atlantics Once Rolled.

Dick Gruber did the driving, John offered historical context, while I made notes. We all made photos. I was working with three cameras; my EOS-3 film camera loaded with Provia 100F slide film, my EOS 7D digital camera, and Lumix LX-3.

John Gruber, says as we inspect a grade crossing near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, ‘Passenger trains were allowed 75mph through here. The Hiawatha’s Atlantics worked here towards the end. It was probably the last regular trains they worked. When I saw them they were pretty dirty.’

Wisconsin & Southern
Wisconsin & Southern’s westward freight L464 hits the a highway crossing near Deansville, Wisconsin on June 1,4 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

Visions of high-speed service on this route were revived in recent years (as part of a Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison route) then dashed again when political philosophy interfered with transport reality. Track speed is 10mph, and the only service is Wisconsin & Southern’s (WSOR) local freights.

WSOR freight
Wisconsin & Southern’s westward freight L464 near Sun Prairie. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.

We drove from DeForest, pausing for lunch near Sun Prairie, to a lightly used grade crossing near Deansville where we intercepted the WSOR local freight. This was hauled by a clean pair of GP38s clattering upgrade with a long string of ballast cars and mixed freight at the back.

WSOR’s burgundy and silver makes for a pleasant contrast with rural scenery. I can only imagine what it was like with a streamlined A1 Atlantic clipping along with light-weight passenger cars at speed. Different worlds.


Wisconsin & Southern
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin: Wisconsin & Southern’s westward freight L464 drops down the grade from Deansville. Canon EOS 7D with f2.8 200mm lens.
Wisconsin & Southern's westward freight L464 at Sun Prairie. Lumix LX-3.
Wisconsin & Southern’s westward freight L464 at Sun Prairie. Lumix LX-3.
WSOR GP38 number 3801
Detailed view of WSOR GP38 number 3801 at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Lumix LX3 photo.

See yesterday’s popular post on Wisconsin’s DeForest Station. 


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3 comments on “Wisconsin & Southern on the old Milwaukee Road at Sun Prairie

  1. If you can find the number on the car, and provide the name of the town, I’m sure there’s a way to find out what the story is on that PCC. I once saw several Philadelphia PCC’s in a field off I70 in eastern Ohio. Later I found out why they were there, although I’ve forgotten what this was now.

  2. Sean Solomon on said:

    Isnt there a town nearby here that has an old philadelphia pcc, complete with graffitti, just sitting there with absolutely no explanation?

  3. Tom Warger on said:

    The sequence of photos-narrative really adds to the interest. Thanks.

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