A model railroad by Kelly Weeks, Manager of Gulf Coast Model Railroading.
The original Bug Line was small branch of the Milwaukee Road that ran from Granville to North Lake, Wisconsin on the old "Northern division". The original line was built by the Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western R.R., in 1890 from Granville to Sussex to serve a number of Lannon (limestone) quarries in the area. It was eventually extended to North Lake in 1897. It was acquired by the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul in 1900.
I model the line as it would have appeared in the mid fifties. By that time the thrice-weekly trains (M-W-F) were no longer listed as trains number 333 and 332 but instead were run as extras. The normal power in the early fifties was K1 Prairie #926 so the trains ran as Extra 926 East and West, displaying the requisite white classification flags. By this period much of the freight business was gone and the "mixed" (passenger and freight) service classification had been changed to "freight". It is a sleepy patrol heading for eventual abandonment by the 1970's.
You can still ride the North lake - Merton section today on the Kettle Moraine Scenic Railroad. The rest of the route is a "Rails to Trails" convert from Merton thru Sussex.
The original plan for the layout was a freelanced railroad running in S.E. Wisconsin that interchanged with the Milwaukee Road. As I got more involved with the hobby and read more about the Milwaukee, I knew I had to switch to prototype railroading. The problem was I already had the track about 75% laid and there was no way I could bring myself to rip up three or four years of work. So the hunt began for a suitable area to model that approximated my track plan. Unbelievably, the answer was a branch that was about 10 miles from my childhood home; I even rode on it as a child in the form of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Railroad. I have taken some liberties with the prototype but it has enough of the original line's operations to retain the style of railroading I wanted. The biggest diversion from the prototype was having an urban area with a lot of switching. Because it is the first area coming out of the staging tracks, I'll justify it by calling it "North Milwaukee". After leaving that area of the layout the train disappears and re-emerges already on the Bug line. I do not model the Granville cutoff. The next stop is at Menomonee Falls. On my layout there is a passing siding and a station track as well as a siding for a mill. This is more action than really existed but I don't care. I used a thing called "artistic license". Next is the quarry at Lannon. I also added another mill there. Hey, I have a license. Last we come to Sussex where it interchanges with the Soo. The interchange was gone in the early part of the century but on my layout it survived. There is an unmodeled extension that goes on to Merton and North Lake. As I said in the beginning, it is loosely based on the Bug.
The layout is about 50% finished. It is a double-deck layout connected by a three-and-a-half loop helix which was a necessary evil dictated by limited space. The track is hand-laid code 70 and 80 rail. Scenery is about 25% done. It uses traditional block control as DCC was not around when I finished the wiring. I have no immediate plans to switch over.
New Buildings Being Installed
an Abandoned Mill
Urban Switching Area
Kitbashed Ribside Caboose