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The Milwaukee Road: Rocky Mountain Division Between Harlowton, Mt And Avery Id

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' started by a.thomas.may, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. a.thomas.may

    a.thomas.may New Member

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    I’d like to propose developing 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.



    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.


    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]


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

    [​IMG]
    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
    [​IMG]
    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.



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  2. jedi247

    jedi247 Active Member

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    We can't forget the Bi-Polar electrics. They were really quiet because of the motor design. I think the route needs an electric engine, a Fairbanks-Morse Erie-Built, a GP9, and maybe an SD9 or F7. plus some freight equipment and the Hiawatha passenger train. It would be set in the 1950s. If DLC was made, we could get some 1960s-1970s equipment (an SD40 or SD45, an FP45, and maybe a GP38).
     

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