Thursday, March 27, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Fish Fry, March 27th, 2014

Once upon a time, when travel by rail was still prevalent, the thousands of railway stations along various lines throughout the USA had actually served their intended purpose. But as the number of intercity passenger trains declined due to the advent of jet travel and the interstate highway system, railroads began to tear them down, sell them off or at least use the structures for other purposes like storage or maintenance-of-way. Some big city passenger stations- such as Los Angeles Union Station or Washington DC's Union Station still serve their intended purpose while the passenger stations in Buffalo or Detroit are oversized decaying relics neglected for decades.

For some of the small towns along the rails, the fate of their depots are actually far more varied. Some towns depots still serve as active passenger stations for Amtrak or other passenger rail lines to this day, while others are still standing as derelict hulks, businesses, private homes or municipal offices- even if the rails that once served it have been ripped out years ago. For instance, along some of the former Boston & Maine, Central Vermont or Boston & Albany rail lines in western New England are former depots that serve as restaurants, beauty salons, breweries, bank branches or even a workshop that makes components for AR-15 rifles.

It's no different in the upper Midwest, either. Today's train of thought takes us to the former Milwaukee Road line through North Prairie, WI. Here, contributor Eric Shicotte caught Wisconsin Southern SD40-2 #4011 trundling past the former Milwaukee Road depot off of Main Street with Horicon, WI to Janesville, WI symbol freight T-004 in March 2013. As you can tell from the signage in the foreground, this old Milwaukee Road structure is now home to Tenerelli's Italian Restaurant [no reviews on Yelp, but on Google+ it rates 4.5 stars- NANESB!]. And as that other bit of signage indicates, not only does Tenerelli's offer Italian fare, but it also takes part in that time-honored Midwestern tradition of the Friday night fish fry.

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