Competing Rails – Dispatch 2 is about the Milwaukee Road’s (Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul) Legacy in Evanston and Wilmette. The book is the story about the early rail competition for ridership on the Chicago’s North Shore. The competition between steam railroads and electric railway was intense.
What is Competing Rails all about? John Evans, one of the founders of Northwestern University, desired rail competition to the University. He did not want the Chicago & North Western to be the exclusive railroad in Evanston, Illinois. So, he obtained a horse-car franchise that ended up becoming a steam railroad commuter service, the Chicago Evanston & Lake Superior. The railroad was organized as a subsidiary of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. Trains operated between Chicago Union Depot and Evanston. In those days The Milwaukee Road was referred to as the “St. Paul.”
The St. Paul’s plans to expand beyond Evanston never materialized. We learn from Competing Rails – Dispatch 2 that the Chicago & Milwaukee Electric, predecessor of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, came from the north and basically blocked the St. Paul. Eventually the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee got permission to run on the Rapid Transit tracks through Evanston to Chicago.
The Shore Line Interurban Historical Society that published Competing Rails – Dispatch 2, is a non-profit organization that publishes a quarterly magazine and dispatches about urban, suburban and interurban passenger rail service in the Chicago Hub region. For more information on this organization or to join visit their website at www.shore-line.org.
The mission of the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society is to preserve the history of urban, suburban, and interurban passenger railroads in the upper Midwest.
If you want to know more about the growth of railroad passenger transportation in Chicago, you will want to add Competing Rails Dispatch 2 to your history book collection. The Shore Line Interurban Historical Society has published 8 other Dispatches about Chicago Railroading. They are for sale on this website.