Green Bay & Western Lines
The East-West Short Route
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Kewaunee Green Bay & Western 2-8-2 #403 pauses to take on water.

KGBW #403  was one of six 2-8-2 locomotives on the Green Bay Route and the culmination of steam power on the railroad.  The design was similar to Milwaukee Road's class L-2a engines but used more modern details.  Costing $83,425 each, engines #401-403 arrived in 1937.  At first the trio was restricted to the line east of Wisconsin Rapids until heavier rail was installed and bridges were strengthened on the western Whitehall Division.  This upgrade of locomotives and physical plant transformed the Green Bay Route from a Wisconsin short line into a heavy-rail main line bridge route.

The success of these first three engines led quickly to a second order of Mikados #404-406 which were delivered in 1939.  However a very ominous event occurred between the two orders: a shiny black 600 horsepower Alco HH600 diesel switcher arrived at Green Bay in October 1938.  The Green Bay Route was quick to realize the implications of dieselization; the entire fleet of Mikados was retired in early 1950 when the railroad took delivery of four RS-2 road units.

After retirement, all six locomotives were stored at Green Bay's Norwood Yard in the hopes a second hand buyer would come forward.  They were finally scrapped for $6,000 each in 1956.

The date and location of this photo is unspecified, though the arrangement of the water tank and tower indicate that it was taken at the western terminus of the line: Winona, Minnesota.

Related material:

  • #401 Builders Photo (1937) - A builders photo and locomotive data for the class D-47 Mikado engines.
  • Standard Stoker Ad (1937) - An ad by the Standard Stoker Company in the June 18, 1937 Railway Age magazine features GB&W's class D-47 Mikados.
  • GB&W #402 (1938) - Green Bay & Western #402 was photographed in front of the Norwood Yard (Green Bay) turntable on October 10, 1938.
  • Solemn Procession (1954) - The Class D-47 Mikados, last steam power on the railroad, await the scrapper's torch the spring of 1954.

Photographer unknown

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Updated July 11, 2015