Chicago Great Western Railroad

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CGW 116-A in oil wine

The Chicago Great Western Railroad ( CGW ) was an American railroad company . It was also called the Corn Belt Route. It connected the cities of Chicago , Minneapolis , Omaha and Kansas City (Missouri) .


The company was founded in 1885 by Alpheas Beede Stickney . From a connection between Saint Paul and the town of Lyle on the state border with Iowa , which was only around 177 kilometers long , it quickly developed into a significant society in the Midwest .

Map of the CGW route network in 1903

The CGW was a typical through-transit railway in the midwestern United States. Along with the rival railroad companies Illinois Central Railroad , Chicago and North Western Railway (CNW) and Milwaukee Road, it was an important railroad company and link between the major eastern railroad companies from Chicago such as the Pennsylvania Railroad , New York Central Railroad , Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with the major western railways Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha, Northern Pacific Railway and Great Northern Railway from Saint Paul / Minneapolis and Southern Pacific Railroad from Kansas City.

The main lines were

  • Chicago - Oil Wine - Saint Paul / Minneapolis
  • Chicago - Oelwein - Council Bluffs / Omaha
  • Chicago - Oil Wine - Kansas City
  • Saint Paul / Minneapolis - Oil Wine - Kansas City
  • Saint Paul / Minneapolis - Council Bluffs / Omaha.

The central hub of the CGW was Oelwein in Iowa. Here the north-south and east-west main lines crossed. From 1899 to 1904, the railway built a locomotive factory, halls for the general overhaul of locomotives and freight wagons, a train station, a freight station, a large icing system for the refrigerated wagon trains, a marshalling yard with around 30 tracks (flat yard without drainage hill) and a roundhouse for around 30 locomotives. The longest tunnel in the CGW route network was the 500 meter long Winston Tunnel on the section between Aiken and East Dubuque.

Since 1964 the board of directors of the CGW dealt with a merger with another US railroad. In 1966, CGW and CNW wanted to merge, but this failed due to objections from other railways, such as the SOO . It was not until July 1, 1968 that the Chicago Great Western Railroad merged with the Chicago and North Western Railway . This company was taken over in 1995 by the Union Pacific.


The last and largest steam locomotives of the type 2-10-4 "Texas" (35 pieces) with six-axle tender were procured from Baldwin and Lima in 1930–1931 . In 1936 the railway received the first three 660 PS EMD diesel shunting locomotives, from 1947 the first line diesel locomotives of the EMD F3 series in ABA unit sets with 4500 PS each (the B units have no driver's cab). Special achievements of this company are the introduction of the trailer-truck-train (semi-trailer on flat wagons) in 1936 and the early introduction of completely welded rails (for the first time in 1939 as a test). Likewise, the formation of extremely long freight trains began as early as 1954, which could usually contain up to 15,000 tons for 200–250 four-axle freight wagons, with six to eight EMD F3 / F7 diesel locomotives being necessary.

The conversion from steam to diesel traction was also completed relatively early for US railways, namely in 1950. The last diesel locomotives were purchased in 1963 with eight EMD GP 30 (2250 hp each) and in 1966 with nine EMD SD 40 (3000 hp each).

Mainline diesel locomotives

  • 30 EMD F3A (built 1947–1949)
  • 2 EMD FP7A (YOC 1951)
  • 35 EMD F3 / 7 B (YOC 1947–1951)
  • 3 EMD F3A (Passenger, YOC 1949)
  • 4 EMD F7A (Passenger)
  • 8 Alco RS-2
  • 2 EMD GP7 (YOC 1951)
  • 8 EMD GP 35 (YOC 1963)
  • 9 EMD SD 40 (YOC 1966)

Web links

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