Wisconsin Great Northern Excursion
Spooner, WI
October 18, 2003

The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad is a tourist railroad in northern Wisconsin that operates over trackage of the former Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, from Spooner to Trego, WI. This wonderful railroad boasts several passenger cars, an interesting variety of equipment, and plenty of friendly people who work hard to provide a nice train ride for their customers! I visited the WGN on October 18, 2003, and rode the train from Spooner to Trego Jct. and back, with a cab ride for the return trip - here are photos from my visit.

You can find out more about the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad on their web site:

Spooner, Wisconsin
Welcome to the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad!
This former passenger station is what is left of what used to be a larger station, built by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway Co. Today it is used as a railroad museum, and the passengers board just north of the station.
These old passenger cars are located just behind the station.
This former C&NW caboose and two snow plows are located just down the track from the passenger cars above. The caboose is in pretty sorry shape, looking like the inside was set on fire.

Heading Out
The 11:00 am excursion returns from Trego Jct. The train backs from Spooner to Trego Jct., then returns "face forward" to Spooner.
Guess what train this is?
Passengers begin boarding the 12:30 pm excursion.
The coach interiors have been using their original interior colors, which they discovered after peeling off many layers of paint while working on them!

Trego, Wisconsin (Trego Junction)
The Pumpkin Train arrives at Trego Jct., and the Pumpkin Patch!
There were many activities for the kids at Trego Jct., including the Pumpkin Patch, face-painting, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and free motorcar rides for the kids!
WGN #423 (former C&NW #4076A, then C&NW #423) poses for some pictures on what was a totally BEAUTIFUL day.
The rest of the Pumpkin Train:

  • WGN #34 "Presque Isle" (48 seat diner)
  • WGN #112 "Namekagon Club" (snack car/gift shop)
  • Duluth & Northern Minnesota #32 "Apostle Isle" (50 seat diner)
  • Duluth & Northern Minnesota #28 "Arrowhead" (diner/lounge)

Notice the ditch lights mounted on the end of "Arrowhead", for use when the train is backing up.

WGN #862, a former Milwaukee Road SW1, was on hand at Trego Jct. also with a train that had been brought up earlier. (Sorry, the cab shot had way too much light reflecting on the windows)
These cabooses were at the end of WGN #862's train.
Just north of the pumpkin patch, there are several cars and an old Alco S-6 switcher that are owned by private owners and stored. The Alco has major engine problems and there is no word on whether its owner will get it running again.

The track continues north of here up to Hayward Jct. and the WGN's interchange with the Canadian National (formerly Wisconsin Central), their connection to the outside world. (The track is abandoned south of Spooner)

Going Back - Cab Ride
Going back to Spooner, I had the opportunity to ride up front in #423, along with two children having their first cab ride.
Our engineer for our trip, John, used to work for the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railroad.
Arriving back at the station!

Equipment in Storage
The WGN keeps several pieces of equipment parked in a siding along Highway 63 just north of Spooner. Most of this equipment is awaiting restoration.
This locomotive is former Chicago and Northwestern F-7 #400 (originally C&NW #4084C, then C&NW #415). As #400, it was one of the "Executive F's" that C&NW used on their business trains in the 1980's.
The former C&NW business car Flambeau is in excellent shape, and is now part of WGN's collection.


Last modified: June 17, 2007