July 30, 2003
Oak Leaf Trail, former Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee interurban line
Beginning Mileage: 1040.3
Ending Mileage: 1043.3
Total Miles Traveled: 3.0
||Apologies for the crudeness of the map! -MH
I was a little tired after work this morning, and I even got out early as a result of it, yet I still wanted to go for a ride. So, after McBreakfast, I went down to the new section of Milwaukee County's Oak Leaf Trail that occupies the former right-of-way of the Chicago Milwaukee & North Shore Railroad.
I started out from County Line Road, at the trail's southernmost terminus, where there's even a nice little parking lot (1). Since the last time I was on this section, several bad spots of asphalt had been patched up, and brand-spankin-new "Oak Leaf Trail" signs had been installed. I found the placement of the signs to be unusual, however: All of the southbound entrances to the trail had a sign, but the only northbound entrances with signs were County Line Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, the latter complete with a "Trail Ends 1/2 Mile" sign (4).
The entire segment that I rode is flat profile, having been a former high-speed railroad right-of-way. (This would probably suit Alice better than hilly Brookfield!! -- see 7/29) There are anti-vehicle gates at Elm Road (2) and Oakwood Road (3), as well as the south (east) side of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a very easy ride, except for navigating around the gates.
As an added bonus, a southbound Union Pacific (5) freight train came through after I passed Pennsylvania Avenue. Two SD40-2's and a C40-8 led a train of (among other freight cars) Railboxes and Canadian grain cars.
It's unfortunate that the trail doesn't (yet?) connect with the segment north of Hwy 100. Personally, I would suggest a route sharing the underpass with the Union Pacific tracks (6), but that may not be practical. Nonetheless, as a railfan, it would be nice to take pictures from the bike trail!