John Bock's Photo Collection
late John Bock was a long time Sparta resident and well known as a
custodian at Sparta High School and later when it became Sparta Junior
High. John's house was on Walrath Street only a few blocks
from the Milwaukee Road facilities at Sparta which gave him the
opportunity to take some wonderful pictures of the railroad. He
gave these historical photos to a friend, Gary Allen, who has
generouslyshared them with us. Thanks to John and Gary.
picture of the Milwaukee Road Hiawatha taken from the Highway 16
overpass in Sparta. The locomotive is a streamlined steam engine,
an F-7 class 4-6-4, known as a Baltic type on the Milwaukee Road or a
Hudson on most other railroads.
Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 crosses over the Wolcott Street crossing next to
the depot. The Highway 16 overpass is visible in the
distance. This locomotive is No. 201, a class S-2,
one of Milwaukee's finest mainline freight haulers.
scene is at the Walrath Street crossing. The water tower was to
the left of the picture. John Bock said that this L-2 class 2-8-2
was used as a pusher to get heavy eastbound trains rolling upgrade
after stopping in Sparta for water. After the train was up
to speed, the pusher backed off and returned to Sparta to await another
is probably the pusher engine from the previous photo. It appears
to be near the water tower between Walrath and Wolcott Streets in
Sparta and waiting for its next assignment. The markings under
No. 603 show it to be a class L-2r, a light 2-8-2 Mikado type.
Milwaukee Road 10-wheeler type steam locomotive No. 1169. This
locomotive and an identical sister were used on the Sparta to Viroqua
branch. Because of the very steep grade between Sparta and
Cashton, one locomotive could not take all of the needed cars, so one
train would go in the morning and the other one would take the
afternoon train with the rest of the cars. Residents who lived
near the Cashton hill reported that many times the little steamers
would get nearly up the hill and either stall or spin out. They
would then have to back down the hill, break up the train and take it
up in two sections to Cashton. The 4-6-0 10-wheeler was a very
common branch line locomotive on the Milwaukee Road and was used up
until about 1954 when it was replaced by diesel power. This
picture, taken near Clifton street and across the tracks from the
present West Central Model Railroad building (then a gas company
building), shows the old Sparta roundhouse in the background.
Milwaukee Road diesel streamliner on the Hiawatha at the Sparta
depot. This appears to be an early E-7 unit, probably taken in
the late 1940s.
United States Railway Aassociation heavy Mikado type locomotive is
starting up after a water stop near the Wolcott Street crossing.
This locomotive does not appear to look like Milwaukee's L-3 class
Heavy Mikado types, nor does the number No. 8601 correspond to
Milwaukee's numbers. It is currently a Mystery Locomotive.