Shain Research Tower
View from 7th floor office
during the
Academic Year

WSOR #2054 east, OS at 0845 on Aug.31, 2006. This train was a long train as the rear had not passed my location after the head-end had disappeared around the corner of the Kohl Center some 8 blocks away.

WSOR #2055 west, OS at 1329 on Sept. 5, 2006, 1 car train.

WSOR GP38-3 #3806 and SD20 #2051 are first seen delivering about 30 loaded coal hopper to the siding behind the Kohl Center at 2:45pm. They then are seen here delivering 10 loaded coal hoppers to the UW "Heater", 9/11/06, 3:42pm. Not seen is the movement west with 39 cars at 3:55pm. All movements were in the rain.

WSOR SD20 #2053 arrived with 2 tank cars. It first picked up and set out 10 coal hopper at the "heater", 4 on the old IC mainline, 4 inside the plant, and 2 between Dayton Street and the WSOR mainline. They then picked up the rest of their train (2 tank cars) and heading west, OSed tower at 1611 9/12/06.

This ground level shot at Charter Street. was taken of WSOR GP38-3 #3802 after it had just set out loaded hoppers at the "heater" and wais heading back to the 15 cars covered hopper that it left on the mainline behind the Kohl Center, 9/18/06. This is the street crossing that appears in the views from my office in Shain Tower.

WSOR GP38-3 #3806 returns from Praire Du Chien with 11 cars in tow on 9/20/06.

WSOR SD20 #2055 9/27/06

WSOR GP38-3 #3807 10/2/06

On my bus ride to campus on Oct. 20, 2006, I noticed an eastbound freight running slowly towards campus at "University Station". Therefore, my plans changed; I headed for my chemistry office from which the first image was obtained. The locomotive had dropped his train on the mainline along Campus Drive and was heading to the Heater to pick up empty hoppers. The next 2 shots show WSOR SD20 #2056 pushing 13 hopper back toward the rest of its train. I decided to make a ground level inspection on my way to my engineering office, thus the next 3 images.

For the UW-Madison-Penn State football game on Nov. 4, 2006, Quad Graphics hired a WSOR GP38-3 #3808 to tow its 4 private cars from Waukesha to Madison. After waiting for 1.5 hours at the lake, I retired to my office in Shain Tower. The game started at 11:00 am. I OSed the special through the Tower at 11:38 am. For more shots of this special move, see Quad Graphics Special on my WSOR site.

Another ground level inspection of a westbound freight easing through campus with 27 cars, 11/7/06..

WSOR SD20 #2054 arrived from the west and proceeded to pick up the empty hoppers from the former Illinois Central mailline. Among the cars was an ex-Frisco 87000 series 100-ton hopper. The cars are left on "long john" along side Campus Drive. Nov. 8, 2006.

On Nov. 10, 2006, just as I prepared to leave for class, these units poked their nose out from behind the Zoology Research building, before backing into the siding to pickup hopper car loads. Look what started while I was in class and staff meeting! Visions of things to come!

As I returned to my office from an errand on 11/15/06, I discovered the returning train from Prairie du Chein heading west with 11 empty hoppers. It returned a few minutes later with those hoppers and 6 more cars.

WSOR #2054 leads the local westbound on Nov. 16, 2006.

Here we see the UW "switch engine" delivering two cars of coal to the heater on Nov. 20, 2006. Later this "switch engine" will distribute the coal onto the pile to be burned as seen in this shot from 11/8/06..

WSOR #3802 is returning from Prairie du Chien. After leaving its train on the mainline along side Campus Drive and proceeds to the heater and the storage tracks behind the Kohl Center to pick up some coal loads. It spots them at the heater and then returns to pick up its train and head for the yard. I follow the action from track level on my way to the bus stop before heading to Waukasha for a Tuesday night gathering,, Nov. 21, 2006.

WSOR #3806 appeared shortly after hte snow had stopped falling on its return from Prairie du Chien on Dec. 1, 2006.

Snow is still visible on the 7th day after the last measureable snowfall in this 12/7/06 scene with WSOR #3808 and #2051 leading 37 loaded coal hoppers west to "Long John" for storage.

WSOR GP-38-3 #3802 heads west with a single center-beam flat car on 12/13/06. This noon time shot in the winter suffers from a sun very far into the southern sky.

While waiting for the bus this morning, I heard the returning Prairie du Chien train blowing for the Whitney Way crossing near the apartment. I decided to go directly to the Tower instead of stopping off at the "Centers" building. As I got to my office, I could see the locomotive switching the "back track" (former IC line into town) for the "heater", picking up the empties. They then proceeded to the storage track behind the Kohl Center to pick up to loaded hopper and deliver them to the "heater". They then went back to the "IC" connection to pickup there train. Apparently while I was running an errand they went back to "Long John" for the rest of their train as a few minutes later they came from the west past the Tower again, 12/15/06.

This east bound with SD20 # 2052 is returning with a single center-beam flat, 1/22/07.

We first see the traveling switch engine shoving a string of 12 loaded hoppers into the heater. However, for some reason, the heater was not ready for them, so the switcher pulls them back and shoves them back in the siding behind the Kohl Center as seen in the second image. After dropping the hopper, the switcher heads west with a single center-beam flat. The switcher returns after lunch. After picking up the hoppers a second time, it drags them past the heater and then shoves them through the plant. The loco is then seen returning to the plant after dropping half of its cars. The loco and two cars are then seen outside the plant where the cars will be dropped. The train is then seen returning from the siding alond Campus Drive with 3 center-beam flats and a tank car. All of this action took place on Feb. 7, 2007.

WSOR SD20s #2051 and 2053 serviced the heater on 2/9/07 by picking up a string of loaded hopper from the siding along Campus Drive and shoving them past the heater and into the siding behind the Kohl Center. The engines returned with a string of loaded hoppers while I was working with a student (CURSES: I HAD TO WORK AND MISSED A PICTURE OR TWO!). As earlier in the week, they shoved the cars through the plant and out the former IC mainline and dropped about half of the cars.. The locos are then seen moving through the plant and across Dayton St. The locos are then seen heading back to their yard. After leaving 6 hoppers on the IC mainline, the switcher returns, spotting the other 6 cars at various locations inside and outside of the plant.

On my way to my bus stop 2/13/07, I heard the WSOR. I had to go to Chemistry directly. Upon getting to campus I found WSOR GP38-3 #3802 sitting on the mainline, across Dayton Street from the heater, thus the track level image. The second shot was taken from my office. After getting instructions from the heater, the engine then goes to the siding behind the Kohl Center. The switcher then returns to the heater with 12 loads of coal. The switcher then pushes the string of hopper into and through the heater. The switcher then returns to the East Johnson Yard.

The above photos were taken on Feb. 27, after the "Blizzard of 2007". As of last mid-night, we had gotten a total of 16.5" of snow. The top image shows a cut of hoppers at the heater. Note the pile of snow under the end of the hopper pushed up by the switcher when spotting these cars. There are then a couple of views of the piles of snow blocking the track at the Engineering Drive crossing. Note how far the switcher came when spotting the heater overnight. Later in the morning WSOR SD20 #2052 is seen leading 4 cars west with the long hood forward. WSOR #2052 returns shortly after lunch and runs to the siding behind the Kohl Center to pick up 6 hopper to spot at the heater.

On 2/28/2007, WSOR delivered a coal train to the Long John siding along side Campus drive. The first image shows the train approaching. It then appears in front of the heater. The power is a pair of SD40-2s, #4003 and #4001, dragging 54 loader coal hopper. After leaving the train west of the tower, the engines return light. These were the first SD40-2s that I have spotted on this line.

Two of WSOR GP38-3s, #3806 and 3802, are seen spotting loaded coal hoppers at the heater on the morning of March 1, 2007.

On March 7, 2007, WSOR GP38-3 #3806 is seen on the Madison "switcher west" with a cut of cars in the morning and then later in the day switching loaded coal hoppers at the heater.

On March 19.2007, a pair of CSX units, 8482 and 8738, brought 58 loaded coal hoppers for the heater, dropping them off at the siding along side of Campus Drive at the west end of campus.

On March 22, 2007, I heard a WSOR train approaching. I shot it as usual from my office vantage point. But it was such a pretty day, I decided to further photograph it from ground level. First I got the engine returning from "Long John" siding with a cut of loaded hoppers for the heater. The cars were then pushed through the heater to the former IC mainline to the end of track to leave some of the cars "up hill. The engine then set some of the cars in the plant before returning to the WSOR mainline. It then headed east to the connection to the "back track" that is used for storing the empties which it then picked up.

On April 9, 2007 WSOR #3808picked up some loaded hoppers for the heater. After delivering its loads, the engine picked up its train and headed west. One of the loaded hoppers was an ex-Frisco Bethlehem steel built 100-ton triple hopper from the '60s.

On April 11, 2007 the local heads west toward Prairie du Chien at 10:16am. At 11: 54am, a WSOR SD40-2 arrived to switch the heater. It was snowing so hard that it was impossible to read the number of the unit. By 1:34pm this hopper was spotted at the heater.

On April 13, 2007 WSOR #3806 passed the tower.

On April 25, 2007, CSX delivered another loaded coal train, switching half the train into the siding behind the Kohl Center.

This eastbound loaded CWR (continuous welded rail) train appeared on May 4, 2007. The train passed the tower and then parked between Mills Street and West Washington Street.

On May 9, 2007, WSOR GP38-3 #3806 picked up 12 loaded hoppers of coal from the siding behind the Kohl Center and delivered them to the heater.

This page was designed and is maintained by Mike Condren. If you have materials
that you would like to contribute, contact me at