Rusk County

1.) Chippewa River & Menominee This railroad began life in the spring of 1883 by constructing about 6 miles of track between Potato Lake and the "Big Bend" of the Chippewa River. The line was graded in the fall of 1882. Track laying began on March 1 of the following year and service began on Jul 20, 1883. On Oct. 2, 1883 the CR&M was incorporated as a common carrier railroad. The purpose of its construction was to get logs from the lake into the Chippewa River, where they could be floated to the mill. The owner of this line was the Chippewa Lumber & Boom Company, which was owned by Fredrick Weyerhauser. Initially there was no connection with the outside railroad world and the first locomotive, the 'Dinkey', and cars had to be brought in by eight horses and a sled from Bloomer. In 1884 a line was extended 17.5 miles north to a connection with the SOO at Weyerhauser. The CR&M had trackage rights west on the SOO to the village of Strickland in order to haul logs to a mill located there. In 1888 the original lines were torn up and a new line was built, in the winter of 1888, north from a landing on the Chippewa River (called Chippewa Landing) about a mile south of Apollonia (about 1 mile west of Bruce, The town was named after Fredrick Weyerhauser's daughter. It was originally called Verona Jct.) north into Sawyer County. At Appalonia a 3 stall engine house, shops and an office were located. The railroad eventually extended north and east to Russell's Landing on the Chippewa River in south central Sawyer County about 1.5 miles northeast of Exeland. This landing in 1900 replaced Chippewa Landing as the location where logs were offloaded from CR&M trains. The company provided mixed train service north from Apollonia to Red Mill about 7 miles. In 1891 a phone line was installed between Appollonia and Red Mill-The first phone line in Rusk Co. The CR&M built several branches off their main line. The company was well known for its spectacular bridges. There was a "long" bridge where the line crossed the south end of Deer Lake, a "crooked" bridge over Weirgor Creek, and a "High" bridge that spanned 80 feet above the outlet of Star Lake. South of the "crooked" bridge was a "floating " bridge that went through a swamp. The bridge was only 8 feet tall, but every time a train ran over it, it sank to the level of the water. There was also a 2.75% grade in the main line just south of High Bridge. In 1902 Chippewa Lumber & Boom was finished with its logging and the railroad was shut down. It was revived August 12 of that same year as the Chippewa River & Northern Railroad, which was contracted to haul logs for the Beldenville Lumber Company. The CR&N was incorporated as a common carrier on Nov 1, 1902. Only the southern 24 miles of the line were used. The CR&N's initial equipment consisted of 1 locomotive and 50 Russel cars off of the CR&M. It hauled logs to Russell Landing for Chippewa Lumber & Boom for its first year of existence. CR&N operated until 1910 when Beldenville Lumber Company moved its logging equipment to the Tony & Northeastern, also in Rusk Co. In 1911 the southern 11 miles of track were operated by the Menasha Woodenware Company of Ladysmith. MWW used Soo Line equipment for its operations. There is a lost locomotive story associated with the CR&M. It seems that a locomotive slid off the tracks into a river south of Weyerhauser, during a bad rain storm about 1885. There is no record of a locomative being lost on the roster, and like most lost locomotive stories is just probably another legend of the woods.

2.) Chippewa Valley & Northern. This railroad was owned by the Arpin Hardwood & Lumber Company. Grading began on May 1, 1900 north from Bruce, the location of a 1 stall enginehouse, and track was laid 8 miles north to Beckley Creek that same year. (Prior to the line's construction the Chippewa River & Northern was used to haul Arpin's logs.) The line was extended a mile or two every year until it Exeland in Sawyer County. The CV&N was involved in a race with the SOO to see who would be the first to lay track through Exeland and thereby control the crossing. The CV&N reaching Exeland in 1907. The town got its name from the X created where the CV&N and the SOO Line tracks crossed. Service continued until 1918 when Arpin's mill burned down. The company bought a Stover Railbus in 1909 to provide passenger and express service. a small turntable was constructed at Exeland to turn the Railbus. The CV&N was unique in that it built very few spurs. It had special flat cars that were equipped to handle log sleighs. Arpin would use a Phoenix Steam hauler to haul sleigh loads of logs from the woods to a railhead. The sleighs would then be pulled up a ramp onto the flat cars. the loads would then be hauled to the mill with the empty sleighs being hauled back on the flat cars. This is the logging RR in the state that used this method of operation.

3.) Bissell Lumber Company (see Sawyer County page)

4.) Tony & Northeastern Railroad. This railroad was built in a northeasterly direction from Tony in 1902. It was owned by the John Hein Lumber Company. Tony was the name of Hein's oldest son. In 1903, for unknown reasons the southern 2.2 miles of the line were sold to the SOO Line. From 1910 until 1912 it was contracted to provide logs to the Beldenville Lumber Company. (see Chippewa River & Menominee). The railroad ran until 1918. The track remained in place until 1923 when it was used to haul in construction supplies for a dam built across the Flambeau River.

5.) W.F.Switzer Lumber Company. This line operated north from Glen Flora from 1898 until 1901. It is doubtful if it owned any equipment. Switzer owned 1 locomotive and 12 cars. Switzer's railroad was referred to as the Glen Flora & Northern. It seems that after logging was completed that there was an attempt to set up the GF&N as a common carrier railroad, but to no avail.

6.)Great Western Paper Company. This line was built from Ladysmith southwesterly to 2 dams on the Flambeau River by the Menasha Paper Company in 1906 to Port Arthur, and in 1910 to Thornapple. For some reason it was called the "White Ox & Western". At each of these dams was a pulp grinding mill. Logs were hauled in and wood pulp out. In 1920 the line passed into the hands of the Great Western Paper Company who operated it until 1924.

7.) Ingram Lumber Company This railroad operated eight miles north from Ingram from 1901 until 1909. Following its demise Ingram's locomotive,log cars, and Mc Giffert log loader were shipped north to be used by the Crane Logging & Lumber Co. (See Sawyer Co page)

8.) Stanley Merrill & Phillips Railroad. (see Taylor County page) This line operated north from Taylor County to a place called Walrath about 3 miles southeast of Glen Flora. The line was constructed about 1905 and was owned by the Northwestern Lumber Company of Stanley. Northwestern finished its operations in 1923. From 1923 until 1933 the line was leased to the SOO Line to allow the John S Owen Lumber Company access to tracts of land it owned in the southeast portion of the county.

9.)John S. Owen Lumber Company In 1904 John S Owen incorporated the Owen & Northern Railroad to build what is today the Wisconsin Central line between Owen and Ladysmith. Owen built it for the original Wisconsin Central but retained trackage rights on the line for log trains of his lumber company. From 1905 until 1914 Owen's trains used the WC line for free. The WC didn't care for the agreement, and the Wisconsin Railroad Commission decided in their favor. a new agreement was worked out in which Owen paid the WC $2 for each loaded log car that travelled the line. In southeastern Rusk county there was a line that connected with the O&N main at Conrath and later Sheldon. It ran north and east toward the SM&P line. There was also a line that connected a mile or so south of Sheldon that operated along the border of Rusk and Chippewa Counties. There were spurs off this line in both counties. Owen's last operation in Rusk county occured between 1923 and July 1929 off of the Stanley Merrill & Phillips line which was being leased by the SOO at the time. The township butting up against Taylor & Price counties was extensively logged by spurs off the SM&P. Some spurs extended into Price Co. Owen had a turntable loacated along the Jump River that tied in with this operation. The SOO provided flat cars to Owen after 1905. (see also Taylor & Clark County pages)