Great images from a very tumultuous time in the Ahnapee & Western's history.
Karl Ross took these photos in August
1968. This was the very last week of operations on the Sturgeon Bay
to Algoma portion of the Ahnapee & Western, a
former branch line of the Green Bay Route.
Andy Laurent painted a picture of the Ahnapee and Western during that fateful summer:
The abandonment of this part of the railroad was filed with the Interstate
Commerce Commission on May 27, 1968, and that summer Erv Bushman, vice-president
of operations, was fired by his brother Verne after some misuse of funds became apparent.
This twenty-mile stretch was embargoed on August 9th. A trackmobile removed the last cars
in Sturgeon Bay that afternoon, taking the cars across the swing bridge over the
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. Locomotive #601 took
a the final train south to Algoma, never to return.
By the time these photos were snapped in August, the AHW was in its death throws and living on borrowed time.
It was a fairly dramatic period for such a small railroad -- much like the early
1950's with strikes and grandiose proposed carferry schemes -- only those times where filled with
hope... 1968 was not.
The photos show the deteriorated condition of the railroad towards the end:
- A lot of weeds,
- The rails are not straight and true,
- Some kids are rolling barrels across the
- #601 is obviously receiving some major servicing from Eddie Tomjanovich before making a run (maybe the last regular run),
- the former Evangeline Milk factory, the largest shipper on the north end until
1964, is standing vacant behind the enginehouse as a reminder of good times past.