GLW heraldPCMRC graphic

History of the Great Lakes Western Railroad

The Great Lakes Western Railroad was incorporated in 1906 to serve the US Steel mill at Gary, Indiana. As other industries opened up shop in the Gary/Hammond area, the GLW extended its’ tracks to provide rail service to them all.

When extensive coal reserves were discovered in nearby Carbondale, Indiana, a branch line was extended to the fields to transport this vital ingredient to the steel making process.

GLW route map

With time, the nearby Chicago area became one of the most important rail hubs in America, and the GLW grew  through traffic interchange agreements with most of the major class 1 railroads serving Chicago as well as many of the industrial “belt lines” that inevitably sprang up. 

Eventually the GLW grew to be a major Chicago area class 1 railroad itself, with mainlines stretching to Fort Wayne and Toledo in the east and to St. Paul and Kansas City in the west. A large classification yard and engine servicing facility was added in Hammond, and a sizeable Union Station soon followed.

Today (the 1960's)

he GLW has grown step for step with the local economy. Today’s GLW serves a variety of both online and offline industries including not only the vast steel mill complex (now under Inland Steel ownership) but a large petroleum refinery, a major meat packing house and the Pullman Standard company - to name just a few.

The company has interchanges with the Burlington, BRC, C&NW, EJ&E, IC, IHB, MILW and SOO, which provide constant and profitable traffic. A maritime division has been in service since the late 1920’s and provides car float service to Muskegon, Michigan.

The railroad is divided into three divisions:The Lakes Division runs from Dubuque, IA to Toledo, OH and Fort Wayne, IN. A large division yard and corporate headquarters are located in Hammond, IN.

The central portion of this division is modeled on our layout.

GLW route diagram

The Plains Division stretches from Dubuque to Kansas City, MO, with a small division yard in Des Moines, IA.

The River Division runs up from Dubuque to St Paul, MN with its’ division yard (again, modest in size) located in LaCrosse, WI. Dubuque itself has a moderate sized yard to handle the diverging traffic from the three divisions.