1.) John Schroeder Lumber Company
This is perhaps one of the more interesting operations in the state as it ran rail lines on two of the Apostle Islands. The company began railroad logging in 1909 with a spur off of the C&NW Ashland Division main line at Cedar. (a couple of miles over the border in Iron County) The spur ran about 4 miles northeast to the shore of Lake Superior. Schroeder also had another spur off of the C&NW main a couple of miles east of Odanah. Operations on these two lines were complete by 1914 and Schroeder sold all of his railroad equipment. In 1919 operations were begun again, this time on Michigan Island. Logs were rafted from a railhead at the southern tip of the island to Schroeder's mill in Ashland. Operations on Michigan Island concluded in 1923. In all some ten miles of track were constructed on Michigan Island. In 1924 operations were shifted to Outer Island. Operations were confined to the southern half of the island and concluded in 1930. The railhead was located at the southern tip of the island, and the headquarters camp was a few miles inland to the north. This appears to have been the last of Schroeder's rail operations as its Lima Shay and rod locomotive were cut up for scrap and shipped from the dock in about 1932. Some 40 miles of track were laid on Outer Island.
2.) Ashland Odanah & Marengo
This railroad ran from about 1902 until the fall of 1921. The railroad was originally constructed in order to bypass portions of the Bad River where low water made river transportation of logs impossible. The AO&M was owned by the J. S. Stearns Lbr Co of Odanah. Stearns was contracted by the federal government to log off the Bad River Indian Reservation in Ashland and Iron Counties. Stearns had initially looked into the possibility of constructing a railroad as far back as 1895. The AO&M was incorporated as a common carrier on Aug. 17 1905. Five miles of track were laid that fall, and another ten miles were laid the following year. In 1910, the AO&M offered scheduled mixed train service daily, except Sunday, from Odanah south to Echelin, on the Bad River, at the end of the line. After 1921 Stearns moved his lumbering operations to the Deep South.
3.) Foster-Latimer Lumber Company
This company was headquartered at Mellen. The railroad ran from 1906 until February of 1930. The line extended northeast from the mill site in Mellen to the area around Saxon in northern Iron County. The first 15 miles of track running out of Mellen were operated somewhat as common carrier mileage for at least part of Foster-Latimer's existence. An automobile mounted on flanged wheels was used to transport loggers and other passengers.
4.) Mineral Lake & Western Railroad
This line began life in early 1891 as the West Range Railroad which was incorporated on Aug 22, 1889 and was owned by the Mineral Lake Lumber Company. Mineral Lake Lumber was associated with Henry Sherry of Neenah who owned several other logging roads. Construction began in the fall of 1890 with 300 men employed in September to cut the right of way out of the woods. The railrs were laid in November, but operations didn't begin until the next spring. The West Range connected with the WC at Penokee. (about 2 miles west of Mellen) and extended westward to Mineral Lake where the lumber company had a town and sawmill. The West Range ran until about 1897. The mill had closed the year before, but the railroad continued to haul logs which were shipped south to Henry Sherry's mill in Park Falls. For the next 12 years, the railroad sat unused until March 15, 1909 when it was purchased by the Mellen Lumber Company. Mellen Lumber Company was unique in that it had no sawmill. It was the logging subsidiary of the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Company. Pulpwood was shipped to the Nekoosa-Edwards mill in Nekoosa, and sawlogs were sold on the open market. From 1909 until 1917 the line was operated as the somewhat common carrier Mineral Lake & Western Railroad. After 1917 it was simply operated as Mellen Lumber Company's private logging railroad. Eventually Mellen Lumber extended the line west into the area along the Bayfield County line. Operations were discontinued in 1928. Mellen Lumber then moved its operations to Ontanogan Michigan.
5.)Kneeland-McLurg Lumber Company
This railroad was located at Morse. It ran from 1917 until 1932. Initially the line ran southwest from Morse, but over time operations were shifted to a northeasterly direction reaching into the Upson area of Iron County. At the beginning of operations Kneeland-McLurg had a sawmill in operation at Morse, but had problems with cracks in the mills' foundation. The mill at Morse was never able to handle all the logs brought in by the railroad. From 1918 until 1922 K-M would run log specials with their own equipment over the SOO Line tracks from Morse to their other mill at Phillips. Following 1922, logs were hauled to Phillips in conventional SOO Line trains. The Morse mill eventually closed on Dec 12,1926. Following its closure, all logs were hauled to K-M's Phillips mill via the SOO. Kneeland-McLurg Lumber went out of business in 1932. The track was removed the following year.
6.)Superior & Southeastern Railroad
Most of the Ashland County portion of this railroad was constructed north from Loretta by the Park Falls Lumber Company in 1920. (see Sawyer Co) It extended from the Ashland-Sawyer County Line north to Clam Lake where it met up with a line constructed by the Willow River Lumber Co southeast from Grandview in the 1910's. (see Bayfield Co) The track north of Clam Lake was abandoned in 1925. South of Clam Lake remained in service until 1930.
7.)Dells & Northeastern
This railroad connected with the WC at Sell's Spur which was located about half way between Morse and Glidden. It ran northeasterly from Sell's Spur into central Iron County. The first six miles from Sell's Spur to Dryden Creek Jct was common carrier trackage. Much of the D&NE's main line was constructed on grades of the former Glidden & Northeastern and Glidden Veneer Company railroads. The D&NE was constructed in 1936 by the Dells Paper & Pulp Company of Eau Claire using rails and equipment from its recently abandoned Delco & Northern Railroad. (see Sawyer County) In 1943 Dells Paper & Pulp leased the railroad to the Roddis Lumber & Veneer Company of Park Falls. Roddis operated the line until 1947. This railroad was the last common carrier railroad incorporated in the State of Wisconsin to construct a new rail line.
8.)Glidden & Southwestern
This railroad was begun in Jan of 1902 by the Nash Lumber Company. It initially ran about 4 miles southwest from Glidden to a town called Nash. (now called Shanagolden) Nash Lbr had a mill located here. At first the railroad served as an outlet for finished lumber from the mill, but over the next few years it was extended southwesterly into the timber beyond the town. In 1907 the Nash Lbr Co. mill burned to the ground and was never rebuilt. The following year the railroad was sold to the Shanagolden Lumber Company. The village of Nash was renamed Shanagolden and the railroad was called the Shanagolden & Southwestern. In 1909 Shanagolden sold out to the Mellen Lumber Company. (Actually, the main line of the railroad was sold to the Wisconsin Central, with Mellen Lumber Co. operating it and paying a flat fee to the WC for every car of logs hauled over it.) Mellen extended the line southwest into the northeastern corner of Sawyer County. Operations ended in September of 1919. The equipment from this line was used on the Glidden & Northeastern.
9.)Delco & Northern Railroad
(see Sawyer County)
10.)Glidden & Northeastern Railroad
As the name implies this railroad ran northeast from Glidden into Iron County. It began life in January 1901 as the Glidden Veneer Company railroad. Glidden Veneer ended operations in 1908. The rail line then sat unused until September of 1919 when it was taken over by the Mellen Lumber Company. Mellen operated it with equipment from the recently abandoned Glidden & Southwestern Railroad. Operations were ended, and the track was taken up, in 1927.
11.)Roddis Lumber & Veneer Company
This line ran northeast from Park Falls, (Price County) turned north, cut through the southeastern part of Ashland County and ended in the south central area of Iron County. The main line was incorporated as a common carrier on Sept. 15, 1903. Operations began at that time and continued until 1938. Like the Glidden & Southwestern, the Wisconsin Central owned the main line track and leased it to Roddis. Roddis wasn't happy with the common carrier operation and appealed to the state railroad commission to discontinue it in 1907. The commission declined, and 12 miles of the Roddis main remained common carrier trackage up until the end of operations. Roddis bought a second hand Heisler locomotive from the Bissell Lumber Co of Tripoli (see Oneida County page) in 1925. They must of liked its performance because they bought another new Heisler in 1927. Both locomotives lasted until the end of operations, the last Heislers in operation in the state. For the first 5 years following the end of operations, the Roddis mill obtained logs on the open market. In 1943 Roddis leased the Dells & Northeastern Railroad. (see above)
12.) J.R. Davis Lumber Co
There is some evidence that suggests Kneeland-McLurg predecessor J.R. Davis Lbr Co had a spur from Sell's Spur, located about half way between Morse and Glidden, southwest to Gordon Lake. It is not known if Davis operated this line himself, or the WC operated it for him. The line was in service around 1910.