original early 20th century antique cast iron car door handle salvaged from a c & nw caboose (a manned rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train). retains original green enameled finish. embossed railroad markings found in the recessed regions of the large handle. the chicago and north western transportation company was a class i railroad in the midwest united states. it was also known as the north western. the railroad operated more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of track as of the turn of the 20th century, and over 12,000 miles (19,000 km) of track in seven states before retrenchment in the late 1970s. until 1972, when the company was sold to its employees, it was named the chicago and north western railway. the c&nw became one of the longest railroads in the usa as a result of mergers with other railroads, such as the chicago great western railway, minneapolis and st. louis railway and others. by 1995, track sales and abandonment had reduced the total mileage back to about 5,000. the majority of the abandoned and sold lines were lightly trafficked branches in iowa, illinois, minnesota, south dakota and wisconsin. large line sales, such as those that resulted in the dakota, minnesota and eastern railroad further helped reduce the railroad to a mainline core with several regional feeders and branches. the company was purchased by union pacific railroad in april 1995 and ceased to exist.