Chartered in 1849, the Milwaukee Road eventually extended its tracks across the northern tier of the United States to the Pacific Ocean. Noted for its
innovative electric motive power and passenger service, engines and named trains pictured in this edition include:
• Milwaukee Road 552 (two Fairbanks-Morse H16-66's leading an EMD F7A-B-A) is on a northbound freight passing Dayton's Bluff, St. Paul, MN on March 4, 1972. Milwaukee Road only had six H16-66's, purchased for ore train service in 1953. Eventually they were used in freight and switching. By 1975, all were off the roster.
• Milwaukee Road 154, an EMD SD40-2 along with a second unit, a caboose and a plow on each end, is attempting to clear snow near Buffalo Springs, ND on February 3, 1978. Buffalo Springs is only a siding about 35 miles east of Marmarth, located on the southwestern edge of the state. This was an old-fashioned Great Plains blizzard and if anyone asks whether extreme railroad photography makes sense, the answer might appropriately be "why."
• The Milwaukee Road ended electrification on June 15, 1974. Fast forward to March 12, 1979, and the decline in operational quality on the western part of the railroad continued unabated. A westbound freight has pulled up to the Three Forks, MT depot; this day's power is 462 (MP15DC), 97C (FP7), 2056 (GP40) and 160 (SD40-2). Quite a combination!
• Milwaukee Road Bipolar (Class EP-2) E-4 is arriving at Butte, Montana with Train #15, the Olympian Hiawatha on April 28, 1958. Although they were basically worn out when they were replaced in 1958 and 1959, to maintain running speed required two diesel passenger locomotives to replace one Bipolar.
• Milwaukee Road Class ES-2 Switcher E-81 is plying its trade at the Deer Lodge, MT yard, while westbound freight #263 waits for a crew on May 13, 1974. Milwaukee ran four of these ES-2's, numbers 80 through 83, two purchased in 1917 and two more in 1919. All operated until 1953, when one became surplus. Motor 83 was scrapped. One switcher was needed at Butte and one at Deer Lodge. As a safety net, one was stored in operating condition. These three motors served successfully until the end of electric operations in 1974.
• Milwaukee Road Motors E23-B and E23-C (two EP-1A's) painted in Union Pacific colors are on Train #16, the westbound Olympian Hiawatha after arriving at Tacoma, WA, from Seattle on May 4, 1958. Since October 1955, Milwaukee had been handling all Union Pacific passenger trains west from Omaha, NE, so these and several other motors were painted to match Union Pacific equipment.
• Milwaukee Road 1167 has just about seen it all. it was built by Baldwin in September of 1898 as a Class B-2 ten-wheeler (4-6-0). It is seen here at Tomahawk, WI on August 19, 1952, running in way-freight service. It would be retired in April 1953, after almost 55 years of service and had been renumbered six different times.
• Milwaukee Road 73A, 73B and 73C (a nearly brand new EMD F7A-B-A set) are on a freight near North Chicago, IL on August 20, 1950. Note the Flying Indian logo on the nose. From February 19, 1985 when the Milwaukee Road was merged into the Soo Line, these locomotives were stored, then sold to a second-hand locomotive dealer. Of all the first-generation locomotives produced and operated the on the Milwaukee Road or other any railroad, those coming from EMD proved to be the most reliable. Milwaukee's experience with these three units and their long service lives are proof of that reliability.
•“Little Joe" Class EP-4 Motor E-20, in concert with another Joe, this one a Class EF-4, are on an eastbound freight along the approach to East Portal, MT in September 1972. There were two Class EP-4's; these were the only passenger Little Joes, equipped with steam boilers. E-20 shown here was one of them and E-21 was the other. These two locomotives were believed by crews to be the best electric motors Milwaukee ever owned, running day in and day out the four hundred miles between Harlowton, MT and Avery, ID with very little shop time. But in 1958, they were moved into the freight pool. All passenger trains, what there were of them, were then handled by diesels or by Class EP-2 Bipolars.
• Milwaukee Road 964 is leading three other units on a southbound freight through Linton, IN in October 1975. Milwaukee purchased 100 EMD Model GP9's, which saw use primarily as freight locomotives, but also on local freight, passenger and express trains. By 1959, many of the GP9's were worn out, due to hard work and long freight runs. The West Milwaukee Shops eventually rebuilt 54 of these GP9's into "rebuild" GP20's. The short hood was chopped to give crews better visibility, and many new items were added. The four locomotives in this view are all GP20 rebuilds. These locomotives continued to serve well, as Milwaukee was cash tight and couldn't really afford a big batch of new power. After the merger with the Soo Line on January 1, 1986, they fell out of favor, and within a few years, all had been sold or retired.
• Milwaukee Road Motors E47A-E39C-E39D-E39A, seen here, make up one of only two sets of four-motor power still in service on the Coast Division. E47A leads an eastbound freight into Cedar Falls, WA in August 1970. Electric operations on the Coast Division became more sporadic and by the end of 1970, only the Rocky Mountain Division still saw some electric operation. June 15, 1974 marked the end of all electric power.
• Not long after spending some time in the paint shop, Milwaukee Road 908 sits at the St. Paul, MN roundhouse on December 27, 1974. 908 was a 1,200-horsepower Baldwin S-12 switcher which spent much of its working life in the Twin Cities.
© Tide-mark Press 2019