Aurora Subdivision

BNSF Railway
Aurora Subdivision
299.9 mi
Grand Crossing
296.3
Graf
410.5
Herrington
(former CB&Q passenger line into La Crosse)
286.7
Stoddard
280.7
Genoa
Victory
270.1
De Soto
262.2
Ferryville
254.4
Lynxville
247.4
Charme
239.7
Prairie du Chien
237.0
Crawford
235.6
Ports
232.0
Wyalusing
228.4
Bagley
222.8
Glen Haven
213.0
Cassville
205.5
McCartney
200.0
Potosi, Wisconsin
185.0
East Dubuque, Illinois
184.9
East Cabin
Canadian National Iowa Division to Sioux City
172.3
Portage
Canadian National Iowa Division to Chicago
171.6
Galena
163.8
Blanding
410.5
Robinson Spur
BNSF-CP crossing
143.7
Savanna
142.3
138.5
Burke
129.4
Chadwick
122.5
Milledgeville
117.9
Hazelhurst
116.0
Carter
111.9
Polo
107.4
Stratford
Oregon
92.4
Chana
86.3
Flagg Center
(begin single track to northwest)
83.2
Union Pacific Railroad
Rochelle
77.9
Steward Junction
77.3
Steward
(begin double track to north)
Lee
67.1
Shabbona
65.0
Union Pacific Railroad
Waterman
55.1
Hinckley
50.2
Big Rock
44.7
Sugar Grove
40.0
former Milwaukee Road, Virgil Gilman Trail
38.4
Aurora
38.1
Aurora Transportation Center

The Aurora Subdivision or Aurora Sub is a railway line in Wisconsin and Illinois operated by BNSF Railway. It is part of BNSF's Chicago, Illinois, to Seattle, Washington, Northern Transcon. This segment runs about 262 miles (422 km) from the St. Croix Subdivision in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to the Chicago Subdivision in Aurora, Illinois.[1][2][3][4]

The original line created by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad ran out of Aurora, Illinois to Oregon, Illinois. In 1885, the line was continued from Oregon to connect to St. Paul, Minnesota. From then on, this track hosted some of the fastest trains in the world for the time period, including the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad's Twin Cities Zephyr. The Northern Pacific North Coast Limited and Great Northern Empire Builder also ran to Minneapolis–Saint Paul and on to the west coast on this track. However, with the advent of Amtrak in 1971, the Empire Builder changed its route between Chicago and the Twin Cities to run on the route of the former Milwaukee Road Hiawatha instead.

Today, there is no regular passenger service on the line. However, the line does host occasional passenger trains in the form of excursions or Empire Builder detours when necessary. The main freight is intermodal traffic and some freight traffic.[5] Amtrak trains heading westward along the Chicago Subdivision immediately turn southwest toward Galesburg, Illinois, along the Mendota Subdivision as they pass through Aurora, but they currently (as of 2010) do not stop in the city. Metra commuter rail service to Chicago via the BNSF Railway Line terminates at the Aurora Transportation Center, but this is at the end of a spur parallel to the main line. There was an old train station on Broadway (Route 25) about a mile south of the Aurora Transportation Center, but it was demolished in 2013, following damage from a thunderstorm.

The Aurora Subdivision is mostly single track with sidings between Aurora to Plum River, south of Savanna, with the exception of double track from Steward through Rochelle to Flagg Center, IL. At Plum River, it is double track up until it crosses the Wisconsin River near Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin, where it becomes single track again. The single track continues for a short distance until Crawford, south of Prairie du Chien, where it once again becomes double track which lasts all the way to Grand Crossing, where the line becomes the St. Croix Subdivision.

In La Crosse, the branch at Herrington had continued North and West to the Downtown La Crosse Station. It then headed Northeast to re-join the main at a point north of Grand Crossing where the North La Crosse depot still stands today.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Don Winter. "La Crosse to East Dubuque". Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  2. ^ Don Winter. "East Dubuque to Portage". Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Don Winter. "Portage to Savanna". Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  4. ^ Don Winter. "Savanna to Aurora". Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  5. ^ "RAILROAD OPERATING INFORMATION". Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  6. ^ La Crosse City Plat map. Date unknown