John Bock's Photo Collection


The 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.


A 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.


A 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.


The 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 assignment.


This 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.


A 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.


A 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.


A 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.




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