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Biron Spur

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The Biron Spur serves the Consolidated Paper mill.

The 2.23-mile Biron spur was built in June, 1896 to serve a new paper mill in Biron. This was the only new track constructed during the financially troubled years of the Green Bay Winona & St. Paul Railroad, the immediate predecessor of the Green Bay & Western. The paper mill became part of Consolidated Papers in 1911 (and finally Stora Enso in 2000).

Biron Paper Mill:

Biron Mill and GB&W Tracks (from McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids)

The spur is located at Coyne (mainline milepost 93.5) and leaves the main line heading east and then travels north-northeast to the mill at Biron. The line terminates in a six track yard at the Consolidated Papers mill, with a few of the yard tracks extending into the mill buildings. Because there was no wye at the main line, trains had to back up the spur to serve the paper mill. This backing movement was one of the primary reasons why the GB&W maintained a caboose fleet up to the time it ended operations in 1993.

The primary inbound load was pulpwood in eight-foot lengths in bulkhead flatcars, although gondolas were occasionally used. The pulpwood was unloaded by rubber tired Prentice loaders and stacked about twenty feet high between pairs of tracks. When the mill needed pulpwood the Prentice loaders would load trailers and pull them into the mill. The east tracks would often be used to spot kaolin tank cars and hoppers of coal for the mill. The tracks that extended into the mill building were used to unload paper pulp shipments.

The finished product was typically shipped out by semi truck.

Thanks is due to Darin Umlauft, Stuart Pate, Dale Konkol and Kevin White for providing the basis of this information.

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Updated July 11, 2015