In 1900 the Line had 43 miles of track and operated 54 cars with 2 million passengers a year.
In the early 1900's there was no formal system for dispatching trains. Cars operated in suburban street railway style. If an overdue opposing car failed to show at one of the remaining single track sections, a lengthy delay would result. To eliminate such delays, trainmen gradually fell into the habit of phoning Miss Dellie Nevins (bookkeeper and cashier at Highwood). If an opposing car had been delayed, she would tell the waiting crew it was safe to proceed.
In 1902 Frost bought out the Ball interest in the Line. The securities of the C&ME consisted of $5 million, 5% bond issue, and $5 million from capitol stock. Frost was a promoter and was able to persuade banks and individuals to buy additional securities, thus obtaining funds which were used to reconstruct the existing line and to built towards Milwaukee. Mr Frost frequently rode up and down the railway visiting the construction jobs.
On August 29, 1903 the Lake Bluff line was extended to Libertyville for an additional 5 3/4 miles of track. Then on March 25, 1905 3 more miles of track were laid to Rockefeller (renamed later to Area, then renamed Mundelein as it is known today). One of the reasons for construction of the new branch was an old gravel pit along the Des Plaines river just east of Libertyville. This location yielded material for ballasting the track on the existing lines and proposed extensions. Steam construction locomotives hauled gravel from this pit and from the Green Bay cut for the embankment at Roundout. A sink hole encountered there consumed many thousands of cubic yards of material before it became stable. A pair of contractors dump cars is said to be buried somewhere in Roundout fill due to a derailment which had thrown them off the temporary trestle while filling it in never to be recovered.
Railroad Magazine Oct 1954
South Upton- train 715 crosses C&NW tracks enroute to Libertyville and Mundelein
Time for the NS to turn her attention to the north! March 1, 1904 the NSL paid $101,000 to the head of the Zion religious colony, John Alexander Dowie.This gave the North Shore 2 3/4 miles of right-a-way through Zion City. The engineering standards were higher in this section that any of the Roads previous construction areas. Some of the Zion City bridges spanned non-existent streets that were at that time were just being laid.
To assist with construction north of the state line in 1904, the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric of Wisconsin was incorporated and in 1906 was leased to the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric of Illinois. The Wisconsin company was often confused with the Illinois company. In January of 1905 the Wisconsin corporation had issued $10 million in bonds guaranteed by the Illinois company.
Then December 2, 1905 the line traveled across the state line to Kenosha. By means of connections with the Milwaukee Light, Heat & Traction Company in Kenosha and the Milwaukee Road and the Northwestern Elevated in Evanston travel between the 2 cities was possible. Travel took about 5 hours and cost the rider $1.25..And 9 months later extended to the west side of Racine. However financial problems led to a years delay in making Milwaukee. Investors were sought from far away lands such as Britain and Canada.
In 1905, A.L. Drum was appointed General Manager and Peter Noumes became Superintendent of Motive Power. Dillie married Noumes and retired.
In February 26, 1906 the NS obtained a franchise in Milwaukee for a downtown loop. October 28,1907 the Milwaukee Northern service began and the NS offered transfers for a period of time for this line. Also during this period of time a car barn was built at Grove and Harrison and in the 40's it was modified to accommodate the Electroliners.
September 2, 1906 the Kenosha to Racine segment was opened.
December 10, 1907 use of cars 36 and 37 were suspended due to the completion delay of Milwaukee area viaducts.
The "Rich Man's Panic" of 1907 forced the NS into bankruptcy in January of 1908 that lasted til 1916. Even though the Company grossed slightly less than $1,000,000. This 8 year receivership was a long, bitter contest between the various financially interested parties. The affairs involving the Wisconsin and Illinois Railway Companies, the Republic Construction Company, and A.C. Frost Incorporated were complicated.
May 16,1908- the new Northwestern Elevated Railroad (not related to the Chicago Northwestern Railway) agreed permanently to maintain the property (St. Paul Evanston branch from Wilson Avenue on Chicago's north side to Central Street Evanston) and furnish all the electric power for 17 1/2 cents per car-mile operated by the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric between Central and Church Street.
In September 1908 Ft Sheridan Park was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Land was bought by the Department of Defense for use as what is know known as Ft Sheridan.
October 31,1908! Only General Manager R.B. Stearns rode the first car into Milwaukee from Evanston. The southbound interurban left Milwaukee at 12:30p with the first northbound car arriving Milwaukee at 3p. The 2 cars passed each other at the Racine station. On November 7- a week later- the Racine station was burned to the ground. A loss of $11,000. The station was rebuilt in March and lasted til the abandonment in 1963.
Initial service over the 73 mile route from Evanston to Milwaukee provided hourly local trains operating on 2 hour 45 mint\ute schedules. With 4 times the daily extra fare one could enjoy the parlor-buffet limited service between the 2 cities. Limited train consisted of a combination passenger car, a smoke and baggage coach, and a parlor-buffet car. The car was made of wood with steel center sills. It was 52' 6", weighed 76,000 pounds, was powered by four 75 horsepowered motors. Cars seated 42-54 passengers and 27 in the Parlor cars.
The NS used 80 pound tracks, white oak ties, and gravel or crushed stone for ballast. The NS Line from Evanston to Waukegan had a ruling grade of 1% and a maximum curve of 14%. New extension had limits of 0.4% maximum grade and a maximum curve of 1%. The Line had 2 curves in 20 miles of track from Lake Bluff to Kenosha and 7 curves from Lake Bluff to Harrison Street in Milwaukee. Bridges and culverts were made of concrete and steel designed to accommodate locomotives exceeding 100 tons weight.
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