1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Milwaukee Road - Missoula To Harlowton

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' started by Railfan722, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Railfan722

    Railfan722 Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2018
    Likes Received:
    The Railroad
    The Milwaukee Road (officially the Chicago, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad) was a Midwest Class 1 railroad operating in the US states of Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. The road was originally incorporated in 1847 as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis Railroad, building west from the city of Milwaukee to the Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien in 1857. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the newly formed Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul spanned between the three cities by 1874. By the 1890s, it was decided that to secure the financial future of the road, an extension of the route to the Pacific Ocean via Seattle would be vital. The rather cleverly named Pacific Extension of the Milwaukee Road broke ground in 1906, and construction finished in 1909, a feat of the time considering that over 3,000 miles of track were laid and two mountain ranges (the Rockies and Cascades) were crossed, requiring massive cuts, fills, bridges, and tunnels. The route was about 20 miles shorter than the current shortest route, and had better grades as well, but suffered from the slight problem that it really didn't go anywhere near the large towns. Almost immediately, it was noticed that in the winter, it gets very cold in the Rockies. How cold? Try on about -40° F. The cold made it very hard for steam locomotives to generate steam, so the decision was made to electrify portions of the route. The 430 miles between Harlowton, MT and Avery, ID were energised, as well as the 207 mile stretch between Othello and Tacoma, WA. Sponsored by Anaconda Copper, the electrification represented the single largest electrified route in the world at a combined 645 miles, which would not be surpassed until the Pennsylvania Railroad electrified their main line in the 1930s. The Milwaukee Road went bankrupt, not for the first time, in 1977 and unsuccessfully tried to be folded into Burlington Northern. Operation west of Miles City, MT, ended on February 29, 1980 and the Soo Line bought the Milwaukee out in 1985. The Soo Line became a part of Canadian Pacific, and little to none of the former Pacific Extension remains today.
    The Locomotives
    To power trains over the electrified sections, a two new classes of locomotive were built - the EF-1 and EP-1 boxcab electrics. The class, which were mechanically identical save for a steam generator in the EP-1 for passenger service, had a top speed of 45 miles per hour and lasted until 1961. The EF-2 and EF-3 classes were similar, but they had additional sections in the middle for an increased power output. The EP-2 "Bipolar" locomotives were, and still are, an iconic image of electric railroading in the US. In 1956, the Milwaukee Road bought 12 of what they called the EF-4 and EP-4 class for $1 million. The locomotives were built for the Soviet railway system, but Cold War tensions had prohibited GE from exporting them to the USSR. The class had initial teething problems, such as all of the electrical equipment being labelled in Russian, but after that, "Little Joe Stalin's" locomotives, or "Little Joe" as it was later shortened to, performed well up to the end of electric operation in 1977.
    The Route
    The route would cover most of the Milwaukee Road's Rocky Mountain Division set in the early 1960s to early 1970s. This would allow for operational variety, as the last years of the EF-3s and EP-2s were served out and the "new" EP-4s were phased in. It would also provide an interesting opportunity to include some of the Milwaukee Road's last diesel orders, such as their fleet of SD45s and U30Cs. The route itself would span the 230-odd miles between Harlowton, the beginning of Rocky Mountain electric operation, and Missoula, where Anaconda Copper was located, as well as an interchange with the Northern Pacific.
    Maximum operating speed on the Rocky Mountain Division from what I can find was up to 80 miles per hour in some places. Stations on the route were, up to at least 1956, Harlowton, Two Dot, Martinsdale, Groveland, Lennep, Bruno, Loweth, Ringling, Moyne, Sixteen, Francis, Nathan, Maudlow, Deer Park, Cardinal, Lombard, Barron, Eustis, Three Forks, Willow Creek, Sappington, Piedmont, Vendome, Cedric, Grace, Donald, Penfield, Janney, Newcombe, Butte, Silver Bow, Dawson, Morel, Sinclair, Deer Lodge, Garrison, Gold Creek, Haskill, Drummond, Bearmouth, Ravenna, Iris, Clinton, Thelma, Bonner Jct., and Missoula. Keep in mind that most of these were flag stops, and trains would stop on request, not by timetable. Rolling stock for the route would be open-sided autoracks, boxcars of steel construction, 15,000 gallon tank cars, plus baggage cars and passenger stock - possibly one heavyweight set and another Hiawatha or Olympian set.
    Milwaukee Road U30C No. 5656
    Milwaukee Road SD45 No. 10
    A Little Joe heading up an autorack train from what appears to be Harlowton.
    An EP-3 at the Butte, MT station.
    For those of you that may still have a DVD collection, go and have a look for one called "Empire of the North" by Charles Smiley. It has some great video of the pre-BN era, as well as BN exercising trackage rights over the electrified section. A small portion of that can be seen here, around 4 minutes in -
    To conclude, I think that this would be a great route to see in Train Simulator because it has, from an operational standpoint, everything you could want. Fast freight, local switching, express passenger & mail, and slow flagstop runs on mostly single track, all under wire with classic second-generation diesel and electric providing power. Thanks for reading!
    • Like Like x 2
  2. jedi247

    jedi247 Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Cool idea. I think the route could have an FM Erie Built A/B set and Hiawatha passenger cars as DLC. I like the Bi-Polars, too.

Share This Page