Thank you for visiting my site! This map and website is dedicated to railroad history and preservation, as well as preservation and information about historic roads and places. As railroads and lines come and go, the idea is to preserve their history and memory here. I am not the only railroad history website, nor am I the only site dedicated to mapping abandoned lines.
My story begins as a child growing up just outside Chicago, I’d always had a love of the railroad. There were so many different lines, it was and remains today one of the best places to railfan in the world. Ironically, however, my hometown of Bolingbrook didn’t have any railroads, or so I’d thought. I discovered a line off of Old Chicago Dr as a small kid, but much to my chagrin, the line was in rough shape, and certainly didn’t often host a train. In fact, I had been too late already to see any activity along it.
Fast forward many, many years and the magic of Google Maps allows me to traverse the United States and the world at my leisure, all from my seat. As such, I begin to discover that Bolingbrook is not alone to the phenomenon of abandoned railroads. In fact, there are plenty of abandoned rights-of-way all across the US. On a whim, using My Maps, I decided to trace one, not knowing I was embarking on a path that would eventually lead me to be featured in Atlas Obscura (https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/mapping-ghostly-traces-abandoned-railroads-interactive-crowdsourced-atlas) and develop relationships with tons of people across the world. Today, that same map has over 3,000 rights-of-way, ghost towns, and interesting railroad sites open to the public for the world to explore.
And it’s nowhere near complete.
The vastness of the railroad network today pales in comparison to the days of yesteryear, some lines have simply been abandoned for scrap in the desert (Tonopah & Tidewater, et. al), destroyed by mother nature (Kinzua Bridge), flooded to create lakes (Many more than I’d realized), and one was even left fully intact deep in the Maine forest (Eagle Lake & West Branch Railroad).
As stated earlier, this project isn’t complete, and will never be complete. As such I fully welcome your criticism and information to help make it that much more accurate! I should note that I am not the only one doing this. OpenRailwayMap lists railroad abandonments, however the website is mainly dedicated to mapping currently existing railways, and it's harder to find what you're looking for with regard to specific abandoned railroad lines in my opinion.
In addition, abandonedrails.com has been a terrific resource for finding abandoned railroad lines as well, and they have a large following. However, I don't believe the website is being updated anymore. Which is a shame. They have some lines I have yet to trace; I have lines they don't have as well.
I hope you enjoy the map, and if you do, please feel free to visit abandonedraillines.com, my Twitter @AbandonedROWMap, or simply follow the page and see what I’m up to.
TL:DR version; I created a map, thanks for checking it out!