The Kenosha & Rockford Railroad
The Kenosha & Rockford Railroad, or the KD Line, was first organized by Kenosha area businessmen as the Kenosha, Rockford and Rock Island Railroad. First proposed to connect Kenosha with Beloit, WI, Beloit showed little interest in the road, and promoters chose to connect the line to Rockford, IL instead, a distance of 68 miles. It opened in 1861 after eight years of planning and construction.
|Image: Mark Atkinson Collection via AbandonedRails.com|
The line transported passengers between the two cities, often to tourist sites near Silver Lake and Twin Lakes, WI. Those same lakes became important sources for ice before the days of refrigeration. Two ice spurs connected to lakes at Paddock Lake and Powers Lake
|Shown in Periwinkle are the ice spurs this line connected to. The abandoned mainline is in blue. Image: Abandoned & Out-of-Service Railroad Lines|
Early in the 20th century, it was acquired by the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, who named it the Kenosha Division, or "KD Line".
A video of satellite imagery of the mainline in 1939 just post-abandonment.
Most of the line was abandoned in 1939, but portions of the line are still active between Rockford-Loves Park, Chemung-Harvard, and Kenosha-Pleasant Prairie.
Part of the right of way is submerged under Pierce Lake, which in the days of railroading was a rock quarry.
The Long Prairie Trail uses the right of way between Capron, IL and Caledonia, IL, with the Hebron Rail Trail running near Hebron, IL.
Further Reading: Rockford Area Railroads, by Brian Landis. (Amazon)
Thanks as always for reading!