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The Mattoon Railroad

Mattoon Railway Information

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Mattoon Railway Logging Train

History of Wisconsin Logging Railroads Source. Tim Sasse's Web Site

Book: The Railroads of Wisconsin 1827-1937 Source:

1903 C. & N. W. Railroad Map showing Mattoon tracks. Source: Portage County Historical Society

    Railway tracks.
  • The company advertised they had not less than 30 miles of tracks.
  • From the Aniwa Depot the track went eastward across Sections 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 in T29N, R11E (Aniwa Township) and continued eastward across Sections 18, 17, and 16 in T29N, R12E (Hutchins Township) ending in the Village of Mattoon. Mr. Mattoon did the grading the track bed. The C. & N. W. under a leasing program laid the rails. This track was laid either in 1889 or 1892 (Sasse's web site gives 1889 date and book "Railroads of Wis." gives 1892 date.) and removed sometime in the 1940's.
  • Track was laid from Mattoon to Mattoon Junction. (Wis Railroad History book gives date of 1896. Sasse's Web Site gives date of 1902.) The track went south through Sections 15, 22, 27, and 34 in T29N, R12E (Hutchins) and continued south through the Town of Almon (T28N, R12E) Sections 2, 3, 10, 16, 21, and 28 west of Regina. This location was called Mattoon Junction.
  • From Mattoon Junction a spur also built west through Section 29 and ending in Section 30. There was a loop built so the engine could turn around.
  • In 1899 ( Date from ?) another spur built eastward going through Sections 28, 27, 26, and 25 toward Bowler, crossing just north of Bowler into the Town of Bartelme (T28N, R13E) eastward across Sections 30, 29, 28, 27. Then southeast across Section 34 and ending in Section 35 just north of the Chicago and Northwestern's Eland to Green Bay line tracks. These tracks were pulled in 1901 and used to make a spur starting at Dobill's Junction going to Beecher Dam, a distance of 9.59 miles. (Dobill's Junction was 2.27 miles south of Mattoon in section 26.) Beecher Dam is located on the Red River in the NE, NE, Sec. 10, Bartelme township. On a 1911 plat book map it is called Beaver Dam.)
  • A spur was laid from section 26 to Weikel's Saw Mill in section 23. Mr. Mattoon had bought this mill.
  • The tracks were pulled up from Mattoon Junction eastward to Section 35 in 1901.
  • These same rails were then laid in 1901 from Dobill's Junction to Beecher Dam and used until 1913 when the Brooks and Ross Lumber Company bought much of George B. Mattoon lumber land from his estate. (George died in 1904.)
  • Brooks and Ross Lumber Company did not want to use the Mattoon Railway. They built their own tracks from Section 35 in Bartelme northward and then east to their campsites 13 miles away.
  • At the same time in 1913 the Mattoon Railway was legally abandoned and the C. & N. W. Railroad took over ownership. They then removed the tracks from Mattoon Junction eastward to section 26 and the spur to Weikel's Saw Mill. A siding to their main track was left from section 26 to section 35.
  • In 1933 they abandoned this side track and removed the rails along with the rails to the area within 1.27 miles of Mattoon known as Dobill's Junction. Sometime in the 1940's the remaining tracks between Aniwa and Mattoon were removed.

mattoon train engine
Mattoon Railway Engine No. 1, 2-6-0 Standard Guage

    Railway Equipment
  • Locomotives
    • They usually had two and sometimes three locomotives at the same time.
    • One locomotive had four drivers.
    • One locomotive had four drivers but no trucks in front or back causing it to bob up and down so much many engineers were afraid of it.
    • One locomotive had six drivers.
    • They had brass bands around the boilers and brass fittings in the cab.
    • One railroad worker wrote he was impressed by how clean and well kept they were.
    • There was a roundhouse (a large shed) in Mattoon where they did minor servicing but every four or five years the locomotives were sent to Kaukauna for overhauling.
    • A switching engine was kept at Mattoon Junction alone with a storage shed so the engine could be serviced during the nighttime.
  • Railway Personnel
    • Frank Rollins, first engineer and Webmaster relative.
    • Martin Bangero, first fireman
    • Ed Fargo, first superintendent and conductor
    • A.L. Rollins, superintendent and Webmaster relative
    • During C. & N.W. ownership John Hanus, was conductor
    • Ray Betts, fireman
    • Frank Metko, section foreman.
  • Railway Events
    • Snowplowing was a big problem for lack of equipment. Big snowstorms shut operations for a whole week and all the men in town had to help shovel to get dug out.
    • Two non-employees were killed in accidents. One man while boarding the train from the freight platform fell between the train and platform and died. Another man who was lying on the tracks three miles west of the village was run over by the train when he was not seen by the crew in time.

log train
Mattoon Railway, Loading Logs

log train
Mattoon Railway, Loading Logs

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