Green Bay & Western Lines
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Tracks Near the Farm

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Memories of growing up in the 1940's near the Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western railroad tracks.

The Tracks Near the Farm

As a young child, growing up on our neat, small, eighty acre farm near New Franken, many of our warm summer days were spent with activities evolving around the Green Bay and Western train tracks - that crossed diagonally through our property. So often when we'd hear the whistle in the distance, we'd jump on our bikes and hurry down the dusty gravel road to the nearest crossing, where we'd patiently wait for the train and a chance to wave at the friendly engineers and again wave at our smiling friends in the red caboose - which seemed to take forever to approach the crossing.


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Engine #401 is typical of the steam locomotives used in the 1940's on the Green Bay Route.

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The farmhouse on the KGB&W tracks.

Sometimes we'd place a guess at how many cars the train would contain and see who would be the winner. Occasionally, when our cows had to be put in the pasture located across the tracks, it meant chasing them over as quickly and orderly as possible before the arrival of a train. Though we only had a small herd of black and white Holsteins, it still was rather frightening - having to get them safely to the other side. My elderly grandmother had a fear instilled in us - that if we got too close to a passing train, it would create a vacuum, which would pull us beneath the train and we'd be run over by the mighty wheels!

On our two mile walk home from school, along a winding gravel road we called "Snake Road," it was always intriguing to walk the last quarter mile on the rails of the track to see who could stay on the longest. Another challenge was to run down the middle of the track and step on every tie, sometimes tripping and falling and perhaps scraping or bruising your knees - but this was never reported when you arrived home, for not only were the tracks dangerous - they were also private property! The punishment for being on the tracks would have been greater than the pain inflicted by a scraped or bruised knee!

Every summer, when our cousins would arrive from Chicago for their annual weekly vacation on the farm, they were most fascinated by the passing trains and thought we were the luckiest kids in the world to have the train pass our farm twice a day.

In 1985, when I became a rural mail carrier, my route took me right past the farm where I was born and raised. As I crossed those same tracks many times on my mail route, it always brought back fond memories of life on the farm - near the Green Bay and Western tracks.

- Patricia Mathu

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 The Green Bay Route is maintained by Mark Mathu.
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Updated July 11, 2015