The last of the interurbans #1 – East Troy, Wisconsin: The East Troy Electric Railroad


The following is from Jon Bell’s web site. Jon Bell is an Associate Professor Department of Physics and Computer Science Presbyterian College Clinton, South Carolina 29325 USA


Although the East Troy Electric Railroad is mainly a museum and excursion operation, the East Troy Electric Railroad is also one of only two common-carrier railroads in the United States that still haul freight using the low-voltage DC electric interurban railway technology of the early 20th century. (The other one is the Iowa Traction Railroad in Mason City, Iowa.) It thereby qualifies as one of the last electric interurban railways in the U.S.

The village of East Troy is about 35 miles southwest of Milwaukee. From 1907 to 1939 it was the terminus of one of the interurban electric railroad lines of the Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co. (TMER&L). When TMER&L abandoned this line beyond Hales Corners in 1939, the village bought the 6.4-mile section between East Troy and Mukwonago, in order to preserve freight service for local businesses. The village continued freight-only operation, using electric locomotives to haul freight cars between East Troy and a junction with the Soo Line Railroad at Mukwonago.


Beginning in the early 1970s, the Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society operated a museum service on the line, but they were forced to close in 1983. In 1985, the Wisconsin Trolley Museum started a new museum operation, under the name East Troy Electric Railroad, and took over operation of the freight service from the village of East Troy. In 1995, the museum bought the line from the village. It still operates freight service on demand, but there haven’t been many freight movements in recent years.


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