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Milwaukee Road Mountain Division - Between Harlowton, Mt And Avery, Id

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' started by a.thomas.may, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    I’d like to propose Dovetail Games takes a look at developing a section of the electrified Rocky Mountain Division which ran between Harlowton, MT and Avery, ID. I grew up in the area and have seen the abandoned rail bed and facilities, however, I’m too young to have seen the road in operation before it was torn up in 1980. At over 400 miles long, I realize this route cannot, in all practicality, be developed in full, however, there are many sections of the route that would make for fun train operation, I believe.



    I’ve been doing research on this route since initially proposing it and have found I needed to edit my formatting, so here goes.

    1. Brief History
    2. Route Profile and Points of Interest
    3. Traction

    1. Brief History

    The Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul) began life in 1847 as the Milwaukee and Waukesha. The next 50 years saw various mergers and buyouts which brought the CM&StP to a highly competitive state within the Upper Midwest region. Towards the end of the century, company officials were searching for a way to bring the railway out on top of an increasingly competitive market. The decision was made to push west for a link to the Pacific. In Nov 1905, the Western Extension was approved. In just three years of construction, in May 1909, the last spike was driven in and the route completed. Freight and passenger traffic was pushed on the line, but revenues weren’t living up to expectations.

    There were huge overhead costs through the Rocky Mountain region and Cascades as steam locomotives of the time needed to be double and even triple headed to make the grades Add to that the fact that steam locomotion's power drops substantially in cold temperatures. CM&StP looked to the developing electric technology, deciding to electrify those two sections, using power developed from many nearby hydroelectric dams and copper mined from Butte and Anaconda, MT. The result was increased reliability and reduced costs. For instance, GE estimated that regenerative braking saved $6000 a month alone in brake shoe and wheel wear www.northeast.railfan.net/classic/MILWdata5.html.

    The Milwaukee Road continued to run this line under electrification until 1974, finally ending operations on it entirely in 1980.

    Supplement: A well written magazine article written towards the end of electrical operations on the line provide a much fuller history, a fairly quick read here.


    2. Route Profile and Points of Interest

    The route has 438 track miles running through open prairie, river canyons, mountain curves, tunnels and trestles, grades of up 2.2% and is interspersed with electric substations roughly every 30 miles.

    IMG-4935.PNG


    Here is a Google Earth file that overlays the Milwaukee route on your Google Earth App which is the source of the picture above.

    Profile.jpg
    Here is a great resource, a 248 pg employee handbook containing the track profile for the suggested route, the Rocky Mtn Div. for 1962.


    The electric substations, as previously mentioned, were spaced along the route about every 30 miles. They brought in AC power purchased from areas such as Great Falls’ Montana Power with their hydroelectric dams. The substations then turned the AC into DC using motor generators, ending up putting 3000 volts of DC onto the overhead trolley wire. Here, you can visit a well written article about part of the route and one of its many substations.





    3. Traction

    EF-1,2,3,5/EP-1 Boxcab
    Boxcab.jpg
    The Milwaukee Road originally took delivery of 42 EF-1 and EP-1 Boxcabs, pairing them up for a total of 21 locomotives. (EF delineating the locomotive was geared for freight vs. EP, those geared for passenger service.)

    Boxcabs on display:
    Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, MN http://lsrm.org/
    One on static display downtown Harlowton, MT

    EP-2 Bi-Polars

    EP-3 "Quill"
    [​IMG]

    EF-4/EP-4 Little Joe
    [​IMG]
    Little Joe:
    Static Display in Deer Lodge, MT
    There is an operational Little Joe from the South Shore RR held at the Illinois Railway Museum.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  2. PlatChap

    PlatChap Well-Known Member

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    I love the Little Joes! Interesting history behind those locomotives. A few have survived as museum pieces and one is even still operational at the Illinois Railway Museum. I would pay more money than I care to admit to see this route done and to get the chance to take the mighty Little Joe back out on the rails!
     
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  3. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    I believe Trainz 2010 had part of this route, but I was very disappointed with the Joe’s, about which I knew very little at the time. The cab had nothing in the way of gauges. That was my last train simulator I purchased until Train Sim 2018, and now TSW. I think if Dovetail took this on, they could do a respectable job on it. It would be great to have another DLC with some freight in it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  4. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    Since proposing this route, my interest in learning more about it has kept me looking on the internet for articles and videos. I've been updating my O.P. with some of this information, but I decided, for those of you who may not be as interested to get into the weeds of this route, I'd keep more of the minutiae out of the O.P. and let you explore only if you care to.

    That said, I've been looking around at the EF-1/EP-1 Boxcab locomotives that the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul (later Milwaukee Road) took delivery of in 1915. One thing in particular that interested me was their "Regenerative Braking" feature, whereby, using gravity on the downhill grades to turn the electric motors, now generators, these locomotives could put electricity back into the supply wire. Some of you may be well aware of this, and if you are, I'd love to hear some responses so I can learn more. My interest in electric locomotives is fairly new so a lot of the peculiarities are new to me too. Now, I've seen it stated that, essentially, one train going downhill using their Regenerative braking put enough energy back into the grid to power one train going up the grade. I wanted to learn more. Here is an article I found on it, if you're interested.

    http://milwaukeeroadarchives.com/Electrification/General Electric Review, Vol 21,1918/Regenerative Electric Braking on the Locomotives of the CM&S, GE Review, Vol 21, 1918.pdf

    Here is a quick little information sign from the Hiawatha Trail through St. Paul Pass. I found it reasonably pertinent to this post.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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  5. MidwesternRailroader

    MidwesternRailroader New Member

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    That is correct. Trainz user TUME has been making this route along with the Milwaukee S3's for as long as I have been playing Train Simulators. The models aren't great, but for when they were made, they were excellent.
    It would be interesting to see this route in Train Sim World. I have always had a soft spot for the Milwaukee and especially the Little Joes. And even if freight operations were to get a little boring, the route can also be adapted to passenger operations depending on the era (the most notable passenger train being the famed Olympian Hiawatha Service between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest).
     
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  6. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    Unfortunately then, when I played Trainz, my computer barely kept up and I didn’t get much out of the route. I didn’t know a lot about it either. I wish now I still had it to go back and revisit it.

    As far as consists, I’d love to have the mix of the two, freight and passenger service, some yard work wouldn’t go amiss either. Perhaps a scenario where you’re one of the helper locomotives, cutting in on a freight train to help it up, then helping another on the return grade.
     
  7. jedi247

    jedi247 Well-Known Member

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    I would want the Little Joes, Boxcabs, and the Bi-Polars. Diesel locos could include FM C-Liners, SD45s, FP45s, or SD40-2s. We need the Hiawatha, too.
     
  8. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    I think, depending on the era chosen, you could use electric and steam, electric and diesel, heck even a transition period of electric, steam and diesel. That is, once we get steam anyway.
     
  9. Wolf

    Wolf Member

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    OH yes, I would love to see this particular railway as it always has held some fascination for me, it's one of the lost routes and one of the longest electrified projects in the US.

    As well as a cautionary story about the pig cycle and it's influence on railways and what a seemingly sensible decision can cost you a decade later.
     
  10. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    The more I’m finding out about it, the more I’m coming to the conclusion that this route has charm, it has character, it has romance (...maybe, maybe not). However, it had a lot going against it as well, first and foremost the railroad was late in the game in pushing west, limiting the routing and oversaturing areas with rail service. The areas that weren’t already serviced usually ended up providing minimal revenue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  11. www.coreym1018

    www.coreym1018 New Member

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    A Canadian rout would be nice to have for a change cause I live in canada
     
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  12. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    That is may be. Unfortunately I’m not as familiar with Canadian RRs as I probably should be. I’m only familiar with the CN where it enters the US in North Dakota from Saskatchewan.

    I’d be interested in reading more. Please, if you’ve got more to share, put some more information on a particular route in your route thread and I’d be happy to read it. I’m going to continue posting about the Milwaukee Road here because that’s currently where my interest and energies lie.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  13. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    Updating my OP to make it more organized and presentable...
     

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