The Fairchild & Northeastern Railway

One of the many dozens of logging railroads in the State of Wisconsin was the Fairchild and Northeastern Railroad, which was organized in 1897. It was essentially the successor road to numerous smaller logging lines centered around Fairchild, WI,  owned by the N.C. Foster Lumber Company. The two most notable predecessor roads were the Chicago Fairchild & Eau Claire Railroad and the Forseman & Price Lumber Company Railroad, operations on which began as early as 1882 using horse power, more resembling a tramway than a conventional railroad.

"Fairchild and Northeastern Railroad depot, with first train into Willard on the F&N Line." (Carl R Gray Collection, c.1905)


A common carrier operation, it originally connected Fairchild with Foster, WI, which ironically is northwest of Fairchild unlike the name would imply. The name actually derives from the earlier logging lines east of Fairchild that would eventually fall to the Soo Line Railroad.

In 1913, the line reached its full extent, as it was extended west to Cleghorn, WI, along hilly territory that was an expensive venture, and ultimately would not recoup its investment. 

During the life of the railroad, the company shifted its focus from logging into more traditional railroad operations, including grain, in an attempt to stay relevant, but would ultimately not be enough to stave off bankruptcy. During World War I, the Federal Government operated the line, making it one of the smallest lines that was nationalized for the war effort. By 1926, most of the line west of Fairchild was abandoned, with the final abandonment coming in 1929. 

The line east of Fairchild became part of the Soo Line Railroad, although it too has ceased operations.



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