Showing posts from June, 2024

Our June 2024 update to the Abandoned Railroad Map

We have recently updated our map image of abandoned railroad lines across North America. As there is no singular source of abandoned railroad corridors across the United States, let alone other countries, this project, now over 8 years in the making, is a way of creating an interactive, crowd-sourced repository for where abandoned railroad corridors exist, and we are incredibly proud that this map and data have been useful to numerous individuals and organizations, who are looking at ways of reusing these rights of way, creating trails, and re-linking urban and rural communities through alternative modes of transportation. There is an incredible opportunity within this data to rebuild strong, vibrant communities after the mistakes, intentional or otherwise, of transportation policy in the mid-late 20th century. You can view information on each single line on the interactive version of our map  here : Though we've rebranded to Forgotten Lands, Places and Transit, rest assured this d

The Model Railroad Garden at Chicago Botanic Gardens

What a difference two years makes. I say that primarily because about two years ago, we visited the  Model Railroad Garden  at the Chicago Botanic Garden , and I am just now sharing my experience there with you all!  The Model Railroad Garden is an upcharge attraction when visiting the Botanic Garden, which itself used to charge only for parking, but now charges admission per adult, but nonetheless, quite worth it in my opinion, despite its relatively small size in comparison to some of the other exhibits. I first visited the Model Railroad Garden when I was about 10 or so, and it definitely connected my love of trains with the love of the outdoors and picturesque landscapes. The outdoors and manicured gardens offer a sense of realism that many railroad models just can't replicate, but that's not to say I enjoy exhibits like the Museum of Science and Industry's Great Train Story any less interesting. A Santa Fe model in action at the Garden, one of numerous 2 gauge scale

The Milwaukee Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad

The Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad , a subsidiary of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway (also known as the Milwaukee Road) began service in 1890, and quickly became known by the nickname of the Bug Line, running between Granville and North Lake, WI. ( Right of way ) Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad Depot  at  Menomonee Falls. (Wisconsin Historical Society) This nickname, "Bug Line," is believed to have originated from the small size of the train and the frequent stops it made along its route, resembling the pattern of a bug crawling along a grapevine. When it comes to old timey railroad nicknames, I must say it's pretty obvious that the 19th century had more of a vivid imagination with regard to operations than we do today.  In addition to the main line, a track serving businesses along the Menomonee River in Menomonee Falls also existed west of the river, as shown below in a Sanborn Map. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Menom

Logging Railroad Lines in General and the Weyerhaeuser Company in Particular

Hi everyone! We're back after another long hiatus, and a bit of a directional change to some of our content is coming, as we are going to focus primarily on lands moving forward. The railroad industry and public roads have plenty in common with opening up vast swaths of land in this country for development, so there will certainly be a lot of things to talk about regarding transportation and its intersections with land development, but with that in mind, I wanted to discussing logging railroads, and one of the most successful land developers across the 20th century, that being the Weyerhaeuser Company.  The Weyerhaeuser Company 's history intertwines with the development of the American West. Founded in 1900 by Frederick Weyerhaeuser, the company began with a massive land purchase from the Northern Pacific Railway , acquiring 900,000 acres of Washington state timberland. This marked the beginning of what would become one of the largest sustainable forest products companies in t