Welcome to the
historical pages of the CB&Q Railroad in Wyoming!
Here I'm going to
record, in a hopefully somewhat interesting and coherent way,
the things I know and will learn about the CB&Q's Wind River
Line, and also some of the stuff I've been learning about the
lines it meets in Wyoming, like the C&NW and the C&S.
The Powder River line through the northeast part of the state
holds little interest for me right now, so I don't plan on
spending much time at all researching or writing about it.
For a concise
table of events on the CB&Q and C&NW in Wyoming, look at
the timeline page.
A great deal of
what I've learned has been a bit of information here and an
isolated fact there. Information others have sent me via e-mail
also has been helpful. I'm trying to meld these all together,
and will no doubt misinterpret some of them. Anyone who wishes
to send me corrections PLEASE DO! Otherwise, I may never know
I've gotten something wrong! You can send me e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by clicking on any of the "email me" buttons
dropped here and there throughout the site.
hard to find information about the Wind River Line, and as I
don't live in Wyoming anymore (I haven't since I was 18 - a lot
farther back than I like), research is very slow. A lot of data
I've acquired to date has come from various web sites about
Wyoming's communities and families, and from old maps I've
purchased off of Ebay. Some day I hope to make a research trip
back home to search old newspaper archives and the state
archives themselves for more complete information. Meanwhile, on
with what I know so far!
Burlington's Wind River line through Wyoming entered the state
from two different directions - near Torrington,
shown here in the 1940s, in the southeastern part of the state,
and near Frannie in the north.
The southern part
of the line came through Scottsbluff Nebraska, into Torrington,
roughly following the banks of the North Platte River, built
West-northwest to Wendover, where it met up with the Colorado
& Southern, then followed the river to Orin
Junction, where it met the already-existing Fremont, Elkton
& Missouri Valley RR, then paralleled that line into Douglas.
From there the CB&Q ran along the north bank of the Platte
westward into Casper. The FE&MV had years earlier claimed
the south bank of the river, running through Glenrock
and into Casper.
a 1930s version of the not-yet-existing 7-11. The top
gas/grocery store was in Ranchester, a few miles northwest
of Sheridan. It was nowhere near the Wind River Line, but
it's typical of gas stations in that era, and similar ones
could be found all over the country in the smaller towns.
I'm sure there will be at least one like this, or like the
Texaco station, on my layout. The scales, the pumps, the
fire hydrant, the rolled up awning - what a wealth
another station, this one in Centennial, a little west of
Laramie. It also isn't close to the Wind River Line, but
it's another great example out of the 1930s.
more 1930s gas station, this one at the Continental
Divide. I'm not sure what road this was on.
CB&Q was also making its way toward Casper from the north
side of the state, entering near Frannie.
The first construction south of Frannie was actually the Cody
branch, which ran through the agrarian communities of Powell
and Ralston, then upstream along the Shoshone River into Cody.
This was the CB&Q's access to Yellowstone Park. The NP had
the line to Gardiner, Montana; the UP had the line to West
Yellowstone, Montana, so the CB&Q ran the line into Cody
Wyoming (Cody has always called itself the gateway to
Back to the Wind
River line - The CB&Q built along Sage Creek, through Deaver
and Cowley, to the Shoshone River. The line followed the
Shoshone downriver through Lovell,
the first decent-sized town (even for Wyoming!) since leaving
Laurel, Montana. Frannie, Deaver and Cowley all were, and still
remain, small agrarian communities with tiny populations.
A few miles east
of Lovell, the Shoshone River dumps into the Bighorn River, one
of the state's larger waterways. The CB&Q followed that
river upstream, or southwards, through Greybull,
Basin and Worland
and finally into Thermopolis.
A large part of the line from Lovell to at least Kirby, a few
miles north of Thermopolis, was built by the Bighorn Railway.
Exactly how much of it, or when that line was rolled into the
CB&Q, I don't yet know.
As of 1905 the
line was complete to Worland and Thermopolis from the north, and
to Casper from the southeast. The connection between the two
towns, through the Wind River Canyon and across the Wind River
Basin, was not yet complete.
Let's leave the
CB&Q there for a bit, and talk a little about the Chicago
& North Western, starting on page 2.