About Us

Founder: John Mika

John worked for many years at the Chicago Tribune until his untimely death in 2001. It was his unique idea to pull together information and photos from various sources about Chicago's freight railroad operations over city streets. His web site, called 'The Lakewood Branch', focused mainly on a four block stretch of street trackage on Lakewood Avenue on Chicago's North Side.

We've preserved John's site as it was at the time of his death at http://www.mannresearch.com/lakewood.

 John was an avid and loyal Macintosh user, and he enjoyed sharing his site with the Internet Community. John was a loyal Cubs fan.


Lead Historian: Tom Burke

A life-long Chicago area resident, Tom began photographing and documenting the rapidly disappearing Milwaukee Road and North Western industrial lines around Chicago in the early 1980s. Tom works in the computer business when not continuing to follow his interest in trains. You can reach him at silphium{at}comcast.net.

Tom is responsible for the majority of photographs and articles on this site.

He also has a site featuring Milwaukee Road's Southwestern Line.

Design/Programming: Tom Mann

Tom has a lifelong interest in trains in general, with a specific interest in Chicago Area rail operations. His background in web application development led him to redevelop John Mika's original site in the Spring and Summer of 2002. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is modeling Chicago's Goose Island in n-scale.

Tom can be reached at tom@mannresearch.com

Read about the history of this site.

Our Contributors:

This site relies on information and photographs from a variety of sources. Below is a list of individuals or organizations who have contributed in some way to the Chicago Switching site. If you have any questions, comments, or information to share, please contact us.

  • Tom Carpenter
  • Bill Denton: Mr. Denton is best known for his excellent n-scale model railroad depicting the Kingsbury Branch of the Chicago and Evanston railroad. He provided us with some early Milwaukee Road Engineering diagrams which are proving to be a valuable research tool. He also has a web site athttp://home.comcast.net/~skytop35/Kingsbury/index.html
  • Doug Kaniuk: Mr. Kaniuk has been photographing Chicago railroad operations for over 35 years. He graciously allowed us to post some of his rarer photographs.
  • Mark Kolodny: New York resident Mark Kolodny spent a third of his life in the great City of Chicago where he began researching Chicago's railroads over 15 years ago. He has provided a number of interesting and unique photographs.
  • Joe Pierson
  • Bob Storozuk
  • The Milwaukee Road Historical Association: The MRHA has been very helpful in gathering information and resources. Please visit them on the web atwww.mrha.com and consider joining.
  • The Chicago and Northwestern Histoical Society: The CNWHS and Joe Piersen have been very helpful and provided the engineering maps in the Research section. Please visit them on the web at www.cnwhs.org and consider joining.