East Troy Electric Railroad

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East Troy Electric Railroad
East Troy Railroad Logo.png
Reporting markMETW
Dates of operation1907–present
PredecessorThe Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification600 vDC
HeadquartersEast Troy, Wisconsin
A steeplecab electric locomotive shown outside of the storage barn in East Troy

The East Troy Electric Railroad (reporting mark METW) is an interurban heritage railroad owned and operated by the East Troy Railroad Museum. Passenger excursions run on a 7-mile stretch of track[1] from East Troy, Wisconsin to Mukwonago, Wisconsin.


The line dates back to 1907, when it was a part of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company line from East Troy to Milwaukee.[2]

The East Troy-Mukwonago segment was purchased by the Village of East Troy in 1939, when the remainder of the line to Hales Corners was abandoned. Under terms of the purchase, it was operated by TMER&L crews for ten years.[3] In 1949, TMER&L declined to renew the agreement for another ten years and the village hired its own crew and operated the railroad from 1950 until 1985. This is when the railroad became the Municipality of East Troy Wisconsin Railroad and adopted the reporting symbol METW. In 1985 the village approached the Wisconsin Trolley Museum and asked them to take over the operation of the railroad. They agreed to do so, and moved their collection of trolleys to East Troy.[4]

Museum operations began over the line as early as 1967 when The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society (TWERHS) relocated its collection of electric railway equipment from North Freedom, Wisconsin to East Troy. TWERHS operated over the line using a trackage rights agreement with the village until 1984,[5] when the trackage rights agreement ended and the Wisconsin Trolley Museum began to operate the line as the East Troy Electric Railroad. The Friends of East Troy Railroad Museum, Inc. purchased the rail line from the village and also purchased the trolley collection of Paul Averdung between 1995 and 2000 in stages.[6]

Current operation[edit]

Ex-Milwaukee streetcar 846 operating on the East Troy line in 2006

The East Troy Railroad Museum operates a museum and just over 7 miles of track offering rides on a weekly basis during the spring through fall season.[7] The original substation building in East Troy, Wisconsin is used as a ticket office and museum, and visitors can purchase rides to the Elegant Farmer[8] store at Phantom Woods, and to Indianhead Park in Mukwonago. A collection of approximately 30 pieces of electric railway equipment[9] is kept in storage barns in downtown East Troy and at Phantom Woods. The museum is a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation dedicated to the preservation of the rail heritage of Wisconsin and America. The substation, located at 2002 Church Street in East Troy, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Route description[edit]

East Troy Electric RR
to Milwaukee
Phantom Woods
Beulah Lake
Army Lake
East Troy

The railway itself is a standard gauge common carrier railroad that operates in interchange with Canadian National Railway (formerly a connection to Wisconsin Central Ltd.) This gives the East Troy electric railroad the ability to pick up and deliver freight (including fertilizer for the Farmers Co-op, sand for the local Ready-Mix, and lumber and steel tubing) to the village of East Troy. However the railroad has not been used to carry freight for at least ten years.

Much of the track is original and the rail bed was refurbished during the mid-1990s. The line is completely electric, utilizing a 600 V direct current system. Power is supplied to trolleys and interurban railroad cars through overhead wires. The original 500 kW rotary converter motor-generator is no longer used and is on display at the museum.

Notable equipment[edit]

Original owner Number Built Notes
Sheboygan Light Power and Railway 26 1908 Fully restored wooden interurban car
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company 846 1920 Milwaukee streetcar
Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee 761 1930 Interurban coach undergoing rebuilding
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company D-23 1907 Line Car used to maintain overhead wire, supports
Chicago South Shore and South Bend 24, 25 1927 Former interurban coaches converted by the museum to dining cars "Ravenswood" and "Beverly Shores"
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company L-6 1911 Utility Crane Car
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company L-8 1935 Electric locomotive used for hauling freight
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Traction Company L-9 1944 Electric locomotive used for hauling freight
Chicago South Shore and South Bend 9, 13, 30, 33 1926 1929 Steel interurban coaches restored to original appearance
Twin City Rapid Transit 1583 1913 Double-truck street car from Minneapolis-St. Paul


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030. Madison: 2014, chap. 3, p. 26.
  2. ^ TWERHS. "east troy railroad". trainweb.org. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. ^ Canfield, Joseph M. (1972). The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company, p. 519. Bulletin 112 of Central Electric Railfans Association, Inc, Chicago.
  4. ^ http://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/projects/multimodal/rail/plan-chap3.pdf
  5. ^ The East Troy News, p.1, July 18, 1984
  6. ^ http://www.rlhs.org/Meetings/Current/2013_Badger_Rails_East_Troy.pdf
  7. ^ "Schedule". easttroyrr.org. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  8. ^ Rocheleau, Jake. "Gourmet Pies, Cheese, Gift Baskets - Elegant Farmer, WI". elegantfarmer.com. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Car Roster". easttroyrr.org. Retrieved 28 November 2016.

External links[edit]