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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:06 PM

jeffhergert

Here's a site with quite a bit of information within it.

 

http://milwaukeeroadarchives.com/IndexPage.html

 

Jeff

http://milwaukeeroadarchives.com/Chicago,%20Milwaukee,%20St%20Paul%20Pacific.html

 

Found in the economic studies section.

1977 car loads/tonnage west of Miles City.  Originated 86,422 cars/3,711868 tons.  Terminated 112,748 cars/5,524,403 tons. 

 Car loads for automobiles out of that: originated 1654, terminated 6646.

Jeff

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Posted by Geared Steam on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:07 PM

dup

 

 Geared Steam's Blog

Railroads West, Always the Best




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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:22 PM

PNWRMNM

ccltrains

Can someone give a link to the link that shows the profiles of the lines in this area?

Thanks

The best source that I know of for comparison of lines serving the PNW is "James J. Hill's Legacy to Railway Operations" by Earl J. Currie. Mr. Currie is a retired BN officer. The book was publish privately. If anyone is interested in purchasing it, contact me directly and I will give you his email address.

East of the Montana mountains, that is Havre on the GN, the GN had ruling grades of .65% in both directions, except for 1% between St. Paul and Minneapolis. MILW had 1.0% in both directions.

The GN crossed the main range of the Rocky Mountains on 1% grade westward and 1.8% eastward. The MILW had three mountain summits in Montana and Idaho. From East to West the Big Belt Mountains, summit at Loweth, 1.4% westward and 1.0% eastward, the main range at Pipestone Pass. 2.0% westward and 1.66% eastward, and St. Paul Pass Idaho 1.7% in both directions.

Summit elevation of GN's Marias Pass was 5213 feet; on the MILW Loweth was 5802, Pipestone Pass was 6347, and St. Paul Pass in the Bitter Root Mountains was 4170. Both the GN and the NP passed  the longitude of St Paul Pass at elevations of about 2200 feet in river valleys. St Paul Pass required the MILW to lift its trains nearly half a mile higher than both the GN and NP. That costs serious money for both locomotives and fuel. The GN avoided the Big Belt Mountains entirely. The MILW and NP did not.

All three lines had to cross the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. The NP had the easiest job of it; Stampede Pass at 2852 feet and a 2.5 mile long tunnel. NP had the shortest helper district, Lester to Easton, about 20 miles. The GN's Stevens Pass was 2818 feet with a 7.79 mile tunnel. GN's approached the tunnel on 2.2% grades of about 12 miles on the west and 7 miles on the east. The GN's electrified district was about 75 miles long between Skykomish and Wenatchee.

Heading westward, the MILW crossed the Columbia River at Beverly, turned right and climbed for 17.2 miles on a 2.2% grade to the crest of the Saddle Mountains at 2445 feet with a short tunnel, and then dropped down a 1.6% grade to a low of 1585 feet at Ellensburg. The climb to the crest of Snoqualmie Pass and a roughly 2 mile tunnel at 2564 feet was at a gentle .7%, but the descent to Cedar River was 1.74% ruling grade. While Snoqualmie had the lowest summit elevation of the group, the 1000 foot climb from Ellensburg should be added for comparison. The MILW had to lift its eastward trains a total of about 3500 feet above Puget Sound, 700 feet more than its competitors to get over the Cascades. The fact that MILW helper grades were not contiguous probably encouraged the electrification between Tacoma and Seattle and Othello, a point 20 miles or so East of Beverly, something on the order of 250 route miles.

MILW partisans claim the MILW was shorter. They are correct. MILW was 2188 miles Chicago to Seattle. GN was 2250, and the NP was 2335 miles. After the BN merger the BN preferred freight route was/is 2201 miles.

As for me and my house I choose the GN on the basis of grades and operating cost.

Mac McCulloch

But what happens when the freight has to be on that alternate route   MRL  ??  Hpw do the profiles compare  ??
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:44 PM

Victrola1
Sun Tzu defined 13 principles in his The Art of War while Napoleon listed 115 maxims. American Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest required only one: "get there firstest with the mostest".

http://www.easy-strategy.com/strategy-principles.html

Steel blade, or steel rail, sound advice.

"Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics" - a quote attributed to or paraphrased by many military experts, see: http://www.military-quotes.com/forum/logistics-quotes-t511.html 

the Milwaukee Road's PCE is a fine example of what has been called "railroad geopolitics" - nothing at all to do with marketplace realities or competitive ability, but just that "We're here, so we're entitled to a fair share of the traffic", and so on.   

- Paul North.   

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by ccltrains on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:32 PM

GearedmSteam:

I fleetingly thought that if UP would restore the Milw line they could compete with BNSF.  Unfortunately the cost would be a killer in addition to missing the big towns (not cities) and having a poorer profile even though about 100 miles shorter.  Also UP has their own line fron Salt Lake City to Portland/Seattle via the Oregon Short Line so why split their traffic between two lines when one handles it effectively.  Even back 40 years ago UP was smart enough to realize that the Milw line would be a looser.

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Posted by greyhounds on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:36 PM

Well, here's a 1970s tonnage map from the pages of Trains.  I guess you have to be a subscriber to see it.

http://trn.trains.com/~/media/import/files/pdf/b/1/b/mainline-tonnage-1970s-map.pdf

It shows the Milwaukee Road was not a significant freight carrier west of a location near Aberdeen, SD.  In fact, it drops off the map because the map only shows lines of 10 million gross ton miles or more per year.

They just didn't have enough business to support their Pacific Coast Extension and there was virtually nothing they could do to generate enough business to support the line.

I was just starting out in the mid 70s and interned at a Chicago freight forwarder.  We handled TOFC LTL to the Pacific Northwest, among other things,   We were in direct competition with motor freight.  Virtually everything to Portland and Seattle went CNW-UP.  With some BN, as the BN was just starting to take intermodal seriously.  We flat out did not use the Milwaukee.  They were non competitive.  (As shown by the map)  The Milwaukee Road salesmen didn't even try.  They never came in while the other railroads were camped out trying to take the powerful ones to lunch.

The Milwaukee was the high cost, low service rail carrier to the Pacific Northwest.  And that was the death warrant for their Seattle line.    

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:17 PM

I understand that BN bought the MILW Snoqualmie Pass route with its lower summit elevation, as an alternative to Stampede Pass.  The story I heard was that as traffic levels fell, they then though they could do without either, and that the Cascade Tunnel route could handle all the traffic.  They pulled the MILW track before traffic levels started to rebound.

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:36 PM

blue streak 1
But what happens when the freight has to be on that alternate route   MRL  ??  Hpw do the profiles compare  ??

In Montana both NP and MILW crossed the Big Belt Mountains and the main range of the Rockys. Detailed data on MILW previously given. NP in Belts summit 5590 with 1.8% ascending west and 1.9% ascending east. MILW had better ascending grade eastward to slightly higher summit.

Main Range NP summit Mullan Pass 5566 feet with 2.2% ascending westward and 1.4% ascending eastward. Pipestone 6347 feet, 800 feet higher. MILW grades 2.0% westward and 1.7% eastward.

I would call it slight advantange to the NP, but NP was not a prize.

MILW's biggest single handicap was St. Paul Pass in Idaho. Neither NP nor GN had anything comparable.

The other thing to remember is that the GN had, and BNSF has, a route from its main line through Great Falls to Laurel and connection with former CB&Q. The only reason some through PNW traffic has to go via MRL is contractural obligations, and the cost of increasing capacity on the former GN route, which I understand is much more active than it was in the 1960's.

Mac

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Posted by VerMontanan on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:53 PM

Since the topic of mileage was raised earlier, here are some actual city pairs:

 

Chicago to Seattle:

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Wenatchee                                      2181

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Prosper, Havre, Wenatchee                                          2177

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Wishram, Centralia                         2400

BN, via Galesburg, Louisville, Ravenna, Sheridan, St. Regis, Wenatchee         2345

BN, via Galesburg, Louisville, Ravenna, Sheridan, St. Regis, Wishram            2568

MILW, via Malden                                                                                               2178

C&NW/UP via Boone, Blair, North Platte, Kemmerer, Kuna, Hood River         2421

 

Chicago to Tacoma:

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Wenatchee, Seattle                         2221

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Prosper, Havre, Wenatchee                                          2217

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Ritzville, Vancouver, WA              2361

MILW via Malden                                                                                                2207

C&NW/UP via Boone, Blair, Kuna                                                                      2381

 

Chicago to Portland:

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Ritzville, Wishram                         2234

BN, via Oregon, Anoka, Prosper, Havre, Ritzville, Wishram                             2230

MILW, via Malden, Tacoma, Maytown                                                              2361

C&NW/UP, via Boone, Blair, Kuna                                                                    2237

 

Chicago to Longview, WA:

BN via Oregon, Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Ritzville, Vancouver, WA:              2260

BN via Oregon, Anoka, Prosper, Havre, Ritzville, Vancouver, WA:                 2256

MILW, via Malden, Tacoma, Maytown                                                              2312

C&NW/UP via Boone, Blair, Kuna                                                                     2283

 

St. Paul to Seattle:

BN, via Anoka, Casselton, Havre, Wenatchee                                                    1751

BN, via Anoka, Prosper, Havre, Wenatchee                                                        1747

MILW, via Malden                                                                                               1768

 

Chicago to St. Paul:

CB&Q via Oregon, Winona Jct.                                                                            427

C&NW, via Madison                                                                                              410

C&NW, via Milwaukee                                                                                         408

CR&IP, via West Liberty, Manly                                                                          514

MILW, via Portage, Winona                                                                                  410

Soo, via Waukesha, Owen, Chippewa Falls                                                          449

  

St. Paul to Seattle:

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre                                                                            1783

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks                                                             1818

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre                                                                        1776

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre                                                         1765

NP, via Butte, Dixon                                                                                            1892

NP, via Helena, Dixon                                                                                          1894

NP, via Helena, St. Regis                                                                                     1922

MILW, via Spokane                                                                                             1782

MILW, via Malden                                                                                               1768

 

St. Paul to Longview, WA:            

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre, Wenatchee, Seattle                                          1926

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks, Havre, Wenatchee, Seattle                1961

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre, Wenatchee, Seattle                                      1919

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre, Wenatchee, Seattle                       1908

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre, Pasco/SP&S, Vancouver, WA                         1857

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks, Havre, Pasco, Vancouver, WA          1892

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre, Pasco/SP&S, Vancouver, WA                     1840

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre, Pasco/SP&S, Vancouver, WA         1839

MILW, via Spokane, Tacoma, Maytown                                                             1916

MILW, via Malden, Tacoma, Maytown                                                              1902

NP, via Butte, Dixon, Auburn                                                                              1991

NP, via Helena, Dixon, Auburn                                                                           1993

NP, via Helena, St. Regis, Auburn                                                                       2021

NP, via Butte, Dixon, Pasco, Wishram/SP&S, Vancouver, WA                         1899

NP, via Helena, Dixon, Pasco, Wishram/SP&S, Vancouver, WA                      1901

NP, via Helena, St. Regis, Pasco, Wishram/SP&S, Vancouver, WA                  1929

 

St. Paul to Spokane:

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre                                                                            1453

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks                                                             1488

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre                                                                        1446

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre                                                         1435

NP, via Butte, Dixon                                                                                            1496

NP, via Helena, Dixon                                                                                          1498

NP, via Helena, St. Regis                                                                                     1526

MILW via Harlowton                                                                                           1473

Soo/CP/SI via Harvey, Moose Jaw, Dunmore, Yahk, Eastport                           1476

 

St. Paul to Portland:

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre, Pasco/SP&S                                                     1833

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks, Havre, Pasco/SP&S                           1868

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre, Pasco/SP&S                                                  1826

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre, Pasco/SP&S                                   1815

NP, via Butte, Dixon, Ritzville, Wishram/SP&S                                                1873

NP, via Helena, Dixon, Ritzville, Wishram/SP&S                                              1875

NP, via Helena, St. Regis, Ritzville, Wishram/SP&S                                         1903

Soo/CP/SI/UP via Harvey, Moose Jaw, Dunmore, Yahk, Eastport, Hinkle         1856

 

St. Paul to Vancouver, BC:

GN, via Willmar, Fargo, Havre                                                                            1873

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Grand Forks                                                             1908

GN, via Willmar, Kindred, Havre                                                                        1866

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre                                                         1855

Soo/CP,  via Harvey, Portal, Moose Jaw, Calgary                                              1805

 

St. Paul to Fargo:

GN, via Willmar                                                                                                     262

GN, via Osseo, Alexandria                                                                                     242

NP, via Staples                                                                                                       252

MILW, via Ortonville                                                                                            307

 

St. Paul to Grand Forks:

GN, via Osseo, Fargo                                                                                             320

GN, via Willmar, Fargo                                                                                         340

GN, via Ada                                                                                                            324

NP, via Manitoba Jct.                                                                                             319

 

St. Paul to Great Falls:

GN via Willmar, Fargo, Minot, Havre                                                                 1047

GN via Willmar, Kindred, Minot                                                                         1029

GN via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Minot                                                          1028

MILW via Harlowton                                                                                           1129

 

St. Paul to Helena:

GN via Willmar, Fargo, Minot, Great Falls                                                         1145

GN via Willmar, Kindred, Havre, Great Falls                                                     1127

GN via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre, Great Falls                                      1126

NP via Bismarck                                                                                                   1121

 

St. Paul to Butte:

GN via Willmar, Fargo, Minot, Great Falls                                                          1218

GN via Willmar, Kindred, Havre, Great Falls                                                     1200

GN via Osseo, Alexandria, Prosper, Havre, Great Falls                                      1199

MILW via Harlowton                                                                                           1115

NP via Bismarck                                                                                                   1118

 

Duluth to Seattle:

GN via Cass Lake, Devils Lake, Wenatchee                                                       1790

GN via Brook Park, St. Cloud, Prosper                                                                1828

NP via West Duluth, Staples, Butte, Dixon                                                         1887

NP via West Duluth, Staples, Helena, Dixon                                                      1889

NP via West Duluth, Staples, Helena, St. Regis                                                  1917

NP via Superior, Staples, Butte, Dixon                                                                1899

NP via Superior, Staples, Helena, Dixon                                                             1901

NP via Superior, Staples, Helena, St. Regis                                                         1929

MILW via West Duluth, Harlowton, Malden                                                      1920

 

 

 

Lewistown to Seattle:

BN via Great Falls, Whitefish, Rock Creek, Rathdrum, Wenatchee                    936

GN, via Great Falls, Whitefish, Eureka, Newport, Wenatchee                             962

MILW, via Harlowton, Malden                                                                              901

 

Lewistown to Portland:

BN via Great Falls, Rathdrum, Ritzville, Wishram                                              978

MILW via Malden, Black River, Tacoma, Frederickson, Maytown                   1083

 

Great Falls to Seattle:

BN, via Whitefish, Rock Creek, Rathdrum, Wenatchee                                       827

BN, via Whitefish, Rock Creek, Rathdrum, Ritzville, Vancouver, WA             1031

GN, via Whitefish, Eureka, Newport, Wenatchee                                                 853

MILW, via Harlowton, Malden                                                                            1037

 

Great Falls to Spokane:

BN, via Whitefish, Rathdrum                                                                                501

GN, via Whitefish                                                                                                  523

MILW via Harlowton, Manito                                                                               742

 

Great Falls to Longview, WA:

BN via Whitefish, Rathdrum, Ritzville, Vancouver, WA                                     905

GN via Wenatchee, Seattle                                                                                    996

GN via SP&S/Pasco, Vancouver, WA                                                                   929

MILW via Malden, Black River, Tacoma, Frederickson, Maytown                   1176   

 

Great Falls to Portland:

BN via Whitefish, Rathdrum, Ritzville, Wishram                                                869

MILW via Malden, Black River, Tacoma, Frederickson, Maytown                   1219

MILW/UP via Malden, Marengo, Hinkle                                                            1098

 

.

As you can see, the Milwaukee had the mileage advantage only in a few instances, and then only by a very few miles.   Not that mileage matters all that much.  The most telling example of the inferiority of the MILW route was this comparison:

 

Missoula to Ellensburg:

MILW via Malden                                                                                                  416

MILW-UP via Spokane                                                                                          430

NP via Dixon                                                                                                          530

NP via St. Regis                                                                                                      558

 

In 1961, the last year that the MILW offered passenger service all the way to the coast on its "Western Extension", MILW train 15, the Olympian Hiawatha departed Missoula at 620 PM, 1 minute ahead of NP train 25, the North Coast Limited (at 621 PM).  But even though the MILW route was 100 miles shorter than the NP, the North Coast Limited arrived in Ellensburg an hour EARLIER than the Olympian Hiawatha (and the North Coast Hiawatha even had the added delay of switching out its Portland cars in Pasco).  The reason:  The MILW route had the torturous crossing of the Bitteroots (St. Paul Pass) with a lot of curvature, and the steep climb away from the Columbia River at Beverly.  It was also a single track route (some of which, Manito to Marengo) was Union Pacific.  The NP, on the other hand, had two alternate routes (between De Smet and Paradise and between Spokane and Pasco via subsidiary SP&S) as well as some CTC.

Mileage does not the superior route make.  But in most cases, the MILW wasn't the shortest (either).

 

 

 

Mark Meyer

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Posted by MP173 on Thursday, October 24, 2013 5:00 PM


This reminds me of the spirited conversations from a few years ago.  Several of the members are no longer involved.

Greyhound....which freight forwarder did you intern with?

The Milwaukee Roads archives is a boatload, make that a trainload of information for traffic geeks such as myself.  The Booz Allen study is particularly interesting.  Does anyone know if the "Victor Hand" mentioned as a key member of the BA consultant group is the same person as the photographer who had numerous photos in Trains and other publications?

 

A good look at the traffic data reveals Milwaukee Road just simply didn't have enough good business.  They had big competition everywhere and as their lines and equipment deteriorated, it set into motion a downward spiral.  Their delivery times were slower and more inconsistent than the competition and their equipment was poor.  This was documented in surveys in the BA report.  The only item they had better than average scores was on customer service.

Interesting stuff.

Does anyone else know where this type of info is available on line for other carriers?

Ed

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, October 24, 2013 6:02 PM

It appears that the MKE  route would not be the best.  as a different approach  would a combination of the three routes be able to work better ?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, October 24, 2013 7:53 PM

blue streak 1

It appears that the MKE  route would not be the best.  as a different approach  would a combination of the three routes be able to work better ?

The best combination of routes is what emerged as the present BN main route after the merger, which was made up mostly of the GN.  Obviously no part of the MILW needed to be included.  As an alternate secondary route it would still mostly be the old NP.  The MILW route over the Belt Mts had somewhat better grades than NP's Bozeman Pass, but MILW missed Billings, Bozeman, and any other large town.  I think the only place MILW really unproved on the NP was Snoqualmie Pass vs Stampede Pass.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:13 PM

Interesting side note but the Milwaukee made a similar mistake with it's "Southwestern" line West of Sturtevant, WI.     I read in one of the books on the Milwaukee Road that shortly before the St. Lawerence Seaway opened the Milwaukee spent lots of money upgrading that line as a shortcut from the Milwaukee Port to Kansas City.       Of course the traffic through the Milwaukee Port never materialized enough to support that line either and most of it now lies abandoned in Wisconsin.     Although it looks like the CP retained the Chicago to Kansas City line.

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Posted by greyhounds on Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:38 PM

MP173


.

Greyhound....which freight forwarder did you intern with?

.

Merchant Shippers.  1601 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL. in BN "House 7".  Summer of 1975.

Most "North Coast" (A rate bureau territory) loads went out CNW-UP.  But BN had started their #3, "The Pacific Zip" intermodal service and it was their freighthouse.  So they were knocking on the door, buying lunches and getting loads.  

We did not use the Milwaukee Road to the Pacific Northwest.  (or anywhere).  Our business was truck competitive and service sensitive.  Everything went CNW-UP or BN to Washington and Oregon.  

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by jeaton on Friday, October 25, 2013 1:00 PM

MP173


This reminds me of the spirited conversations from a few years ago.  Several of the members are no longer involved.

Greyhound....which freight forwarder did you intern with?

The Milwaukee Roads archives is a boatload, make that a trainload of information for traffic geeks such as myself.  The Booz Allen study is particularly interesting.  Does anyone know if the "Victor Hand" mentioned as a key member of the BA consultant group is the same person as the photographer who had numerous photos in Trains and other publications?

 

A good look at the traffic data reveals Milwaukee Road just simply didn't have enough good business.  They had big competition everywhere and as their lines and equipment deteriorated, it set into motion a downward spiral.  Their delivery times were slower and more inconsistent than the competition and their equipment was poor.  This was documented in surveys in the BA report.  The only item they had better than average scores was on customer service.

Interesting stuff.

Does anyone else know where this type of info is available on line for other carriers?

Ed

Ed,

One and the same.

Victor Hand just signed his latest book for me-an excellent collection of his photos of steam engines from around the world.   He was a consultant on the BA Milwaukee Road project.

 

Jay

"We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo Possum "We have met the anemone... and he is Russ." Bucky Katt "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in physics

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Posted by NP Eddie on Sunday, October 27, 2013 1:52 PM

All:

I am a retired NP-BN-BNSF clerk from Minneapolis and a railfan.

The Milwaukee Road people were very proud of their railroad. Having said that, the cold hard facts about the Pacific Extension is that is should not have been built. It cost five times the original estimate to build as they had to take what was left over. Secondly, the traffic base was already taken by the GN, NP, and UP. A fellow BN clerk (X-GN and Milw) told that the only time the PCE made money was during WWII when the other roads were running at capacity.

Presently, the BNSF owns the line from Ortonville, MN to Terry, Montana. The BN operated that line for the State of South Dakota, who purchased the line so that South Dakota shippers would have access to rail traffic. I don't know if the BN or BNSF ultimately purchased the line. The line west or Terry, Montana is largely trails or was sold to adjacent land owners.

The Milwaukee Road had line from Ortonville, MN to Fargo, ND. This line was prone to flooring and was finally abandoned about 1980. I remember keypunching waybills from the CNW on cars of cement that were re-routed to the BN due to the above flooding. Fargo was a smaller town and already had the GN and NP, so it was a  mistake to the MILW to build a line to that city. The MILW also built a twenty or so mile branch line from Glencoe, MN to Hutchinson, MN. Hutchinson was already served by the GN and a CNW controlled company. The MILW abandoned that line in 1956.

I believe that the MILW would have been a better company if they had not built west of Mobridge, SD.

Ed Burns

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enburns@Comcast.net

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Posted by cp8905 on Sunday, October 27, 2013 2:33 PM

Regarding ms-management: I was poking around on Flickr, looking at a photo collection for the CP's lines in Iowa, previously MILW, when I came across a caption to a photo I wish I had bookmarked. It was a photo of a MILW unit on the former Rock Island main line, which MILW operated after the RI shut down. The caption said something I had never heard before: on the MILW Omaha line, most of the business was centered around Cedar Rapids, several big businesses. However, the RI line was in better shape than the MILW line, the MILW believed they would win control of the RI main, which connected to Cedar Rapids by way of a branch from Iowa City on the RI. So they abandoned their own main line across Iowa, and only realized that they had miscalculated when they lost the bid for the RI main line to IAIS in 1985. All of their Cedar Rapids business went to CR&IC, who bought a fragment of the former MILW main and the Iowa City branch

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Posted by Geared Steam on Sunday, October 27, 2013 4:12 PM

ccltrains

GearedmSteam:

I fleetingly thought that if UP would restore the Milw line they could compete with BNSF.  Unfortunately the cost would be a killer in addition to missing the big towns (not cities) and having a poorer profile even though about 100 miles shorter.  Also UP has their own line fron Salt Lake City to Portland/Seattle via the Oregon Short Line so why split their traffic between two lines when one handles it effectively.  Even back 40 years ago UP was smart enough to realize that the Milw line would be a looser.

Agreed, the UP used MILW as a way to get their passenger trains to Chicago. MILW even went so far as to paint engines and cars UP Yellow in hopes to cement a partnership with the UP. MILW and Rock Island had hoped to be absorbed by the UP. In efforts to make the books look good they deferred maintenance (and other things) , which attributed to slow orders and derailments, which accelerated the final bankruptcy.

If one searches this forum, you will find several long discussions on the MILW PCE. On of those contributors was MIcheal Sol, who was a lawyer for the MILW and also created the wonderful website that has been linked on this thread. He was there, he lived it through the end, I would take his opinions as someone that was "in the know".

 Geared Steam's Blog

Railroads West, Always the Best




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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, October 27, 2013 8:09 PM

ccltrains
Can someone give a link to the link that shows the profiles of the lines in this area?

Thanks

Not a link, but the April 2004 Trains special issue on Mountain Railroads has profiles of the GN, MILW, NP, and UP-OSL-OWR&N in the article titled "The Mountain Way" in the section on the Northwestern Transcontinentals, pages 44 - 45.  The commentary by Matt Van Hattem on page 45 (col. 3) states that "In 1904, Milwaukee Road was chewed up and spit out of the Hill (GN/NP)-Harriman (UP)-J.P. Morgan triumvirate that controlled it.  It decided to secure its future with a Pacific Extension. . . . But almost everywhere it went, NP already was there.  It opened in 1909, one too many routes for the market."  That issue is still available as a back issue for $5.99 - see: http://www.kalmbachstore.com/trn040401.html 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, October 28, 2013 4:30 AM

cp8905

Regarding ms-management: I was poking around on Flickr, looking at a photo collection for the CP's lines in Iowa, previously MILW, when I came across a caption to a photo I wish I had bookmarked. It was a photo of a MILW unit on the former Rock Island main line, which MILW operated after the RI shut down. The caption said something I had never heard before: on the MILW Omaha line, most of the business was centered around Cedar Rapids, several big businesses. However, the RI line was in better shape than the MILW line, the MILW believed they would win control of the RI main, which connected to Cedar Rapids by way of a branch from Iowa City on the RI. So they abandoned their own main line across Iowa, and only realized that they had miscalculated when they lost the bid for the RI main line to IAIS in 1985. All of their Cedar Rapids business went to CR&IC, who bought a fragment of the former MILW main and the Iowa City branch

The line from Cedar Rapids to Iowa city was the CR&IC, never had been the RI.  The exRI you mention was originally operated by the DRI&NW, a Quad Cities area switching company.  Originally they only operated Davenport to Wilton, IA, the site of a mini-steel mill.  Within a few months, maybe a year, they extended the operation to Iowa City to make connection with the Crandic.  After about a year, the BN, half owner of the DRI line, wanted out of this operation as most traffic was going via MILW,  The MILW took over the operation.  In 1982, the Iowa Railroad extended their operation of the exRI eastward across Iowa.  This caused an arrangement with the MILW to share the track between Davenport and Iowa City.  The MILW operated during the day, the IRRC was allowed over the tracks at night.  The MILW served the industries on this section, the IRRC only had trackage rights.

The MILW looked at expanding on to Des Moines and maybe Council Bluffs.  This idea ended when someone higher up decreed that if they had wanted to stay in the Council Bluffs lane, they would've kept their own line.

After the MILW pulled out of Cedar Rapids, the Crandic picked up some of their business on the CR to Ottumwa branch.  Other business in Marion and CR went to the ICG.  The Crandic had been hurt by the RI's demise.  While the RI was operating the CIC went down to IC 18 times a week to interchange cars there.  After the RI shut down and before the DRI/MILW came to IC, that dropped to 3 times a week to serve their on-line customers.  The CIC did interchange with other railroads at CR, but they made less money per car by switching it there instead of hauling it to IC.

Jeff

PS, My avatar is a picture I took while riding one of those MILW trains on the exRI.  It was taken just west of Durant, IA.  

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Posted by cp8905 on Monday, October 28, 2013 1:08 PM

jeffhergert

cp8905

Regarding ms-management: I was poking around on Flickr, looking at a photo collection for the CP's lines in Iowa, previously MILW, when I came across a caption to a photo I wish I had bookmarked. It was a photo of a MILW unit on the former Rock Island main line, which MILW operated after the RI shut down. The caption said something I had never heard before: on the MILW Omaha line, most of the business was centered around Cedar Rapids, several big businesses. However, the RI line was in better shape than the MILW line, the MILW believed they would win control of the RI main, which connected to Cedar Rapids by way of a branch from Iowa City on the RI. So they abandoned their own main line across Iowa, and only realized that they had miscalculated when they lost the bid for the RI main line to IAIS in 1985. All of their Cedar Rapids business went to CR&IC, who bought a fragment of the former MILW main and the Iowa City branch

The line from Cedar Rapids to Iowa city was the CR&IC, never had been the RI.  The exRI you mention was originally operated by the DRI&NW, a Quad Cities area switching company.  Originally they only operated Davenport to Wilton, IA, the site of a mini-steel mill.  Within a few months, maybe a year, they extended the operation to Iowa City to make connection with the Crandic.  After about a year, the BN, half owner of the DRI line, wanted out of this operation as most traffic was going via MILW,  The MILW took over the operation.  In 1982, the Iowa Railroad extended their operation of the exRI eastward across Iowa.  This caused an arrangement with the MILW to share the track between Davenport and Iowa City.  The MILW operated during the day, the IRRC was allowed over the tracks at night.  The MILW served the industries on this section, the IRRC only had trackage rights.

The MILW looked at expanding on to Des Moines and maybe Council Bluffs.  This idea ended when someone higher up decreed that if they had wanted to stay in the Council Bluffs lane, they would've kept their own line.

After the MILW pulled out of Cedar Rapids, the Crandic picked up some of their business on the CR to Ottumwa branch.  Other business in Marion and CR went to the ICG.  The Crandic had been hurt by the RI's demise.  While the RI was operating the CIC went down to IC 18 times a week to interchange cars there.  After the RI shut down and before the DRI/MILW came to IC, that dropped to 3 times a week to serve their on-line customers.  The CIC did interchange with other railroads at CR, but they made less money per car by switching it there instead of hauling it to IC.

Jeff

PS, My avatar is a picture I took while riding one of those MILW trains on the exRI.  It was taken just west of Durant, IA.  

If you look at this map, I believe the easternmost of the two lines is the one CR&IC bought from MILW: "In 1980, with the demise of the Milwaukee Road, Crandic purchased the Cedar Rapids to Homestead, Iowa, portion of the Milwaukee."  But it doesn't make sense that MILW would sell that branch if they were gong to use it to connect to industries in Cedar Rapids from the old RI, does it? I might remember the details wrong, I looked at about 1,000 photos from that same guy in one night.

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Posted by narig01 on Monday, October 28, 2013 3:47 PM
Just a comment and maybe a question.
How did Milwaukee Road compare to the Western Pacific?
And why wasn't Milwaukee Roads traffic base in the Midwest able to feed traffic onto the Pacific Coast Extension?
Also wasn't Milwaukee Road's electrification obsolete by the 70's? The cost of conversion from 3000V DC to 25kv AC 60hz involves replacing all the substations and the replacement of the electric locomotives.
The age of the box cabs, 50 years old at that time, made their replacement needed. The problem that management probably faced is they could not finance a purpose built electric railway but could finance mass produced diesels.
Thx IGN
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Posted by NP Eddie on Monday, October 28, 2013 6:27 PM

NARIG01:

The questions you asked are a bit complicated, but here goes:

The Western Pacific was a road from Salt Lake City  to the Bay Area, thus they were in straight line from the Midwest to that part of California. I keypunched many waybills from the two General Mills plants in Minneapolis and Fridley to Lodi, CA. via BN-Denver-DRGW-SLC-WP. Another point is that traffic from the MILW Midwest would need to go across Iowa to Manilla and northwest on about five branch lines to Aberdeen, SD to be added to a west coast train. The traffic bureaus and tariffs may not have given those shipments a favorable rate over that routing.

Regarding the electrification, I have been pictures of power poles being lashed to newly installed poles just to hold them up. In short, the entire electric infrastructure would have had to be modernized. I cannot speak about the older locomotives, but things wear out. Look at the GG1's and how they were retired. In order to make electric operations profitable, you need trains and lots of them, which the MILW did not have. Also, keep in mind that there was about a 250 mile gap of said wire between Avery, Idaho and Othello, Washington.

About 1971 (when BN's coal traffic started to grow) a high level study was done possibly electrify the line between Lincoln, Neb. and Laurel, Montana. It was decided that the traffic was there, but the initial cost would be prohibitive. Remember that infrastructure (poles, wire, power substations, etc.) is expensive and must be amortized over a long period of time to make the investment worth while.

Ed Burns

Retired NP-BN-BNSF from Minneapolis

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Posted by cp8905 on Monday, October 28, 2013 7:12 PM

jeffhergert

Jeff

PS, My avatar is a picture I took while riding one of those MILW trains on the exRI.  It was taken just west of Durant, IA.  

Jeff, were you working for the MILW then?

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Posted by dakotafred on Monday, October 28, 2013 8:25 PM

[quote user="GN_Fan"]

Once the extension got into S. Dakota, it went thru robust business places like Aberdean, Mobridge, and Marmarth.

[quote user=GN Fan"]

Aberdeen is a going place today, and still distinguished by the Milw. depot, which had the advantage of having been built out of brick -- more work to tear down -- and is used by the BNSF today.

Marmarth rewards a visit. I've heard it characterized as a "reservation town for white folks." In the '20s it had about 2400 people and was a crew-change point with a big railroad shop. Today it has a population of about 125 and its  sidewalks are full of broken glass from the big abandoned buildings downtown.

There was a strike in the shop, in those '20s, the railroad said 'nuts' and closed the shop, and it's been downhill for the last 90 years. Still, it's a colorful place, on the Little Missouri River, and the local historical society has preserved and operates a former Milw. crew-change bunkhouse as a hotel today.

 

It's called "The Bunkhouse," but call ahead, because in the warm months it's full of archaeologists. I've stayed there a couple of times. Coal trains over the jointed rail, like machine-gun fire,  will cause you sit up straight in bed at 4 and 5 in the morning. All good fun, if you're a rail fan.

  

[/quote]

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Posted by ccltrains on Monday, October 28, 2013 8:28 PM

A small post on the cost of electrification:  Having "retired" from the board of directors of a metropolitan transit system that has an extensive electrified component I have some insight on costs.  The cost of electrification including signaling but excluding rolling stock is equal to the cost of building the roadbed and rail.   We bought the power from the local utility so did not have to build generating stations or large substations.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, October 28, 2013 9:29 PM

cp8905

If you look at this map, I believe the easternmost of the two lines is the one CR&IC bought from MILW: "In 1980, with the demise of the Milwaukee Road, Crandic purchased the Cedar Rapids to Homestead, Iowa, portion of the Milwaukee."  But it doesn't make sense that MILW would sell that branch if they were gong to use it to connect to industries in Cedar Rapids from the old RI, does it? I might remember the details wrong, I looked at about 1,000 photos from that same guy in one night.

The eastern line, from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City is the original CR&IC interurban line.  The trackage from IC to Hills is the line the Crandic bought from the RI.  The western line, from Cedar Rapids to the IAIS connection is the exMILW line the Crandic bought.

Originally, the MILW and RI didn't connect.  The RI went over the MILW.  A physical connection, a simple junction switch was installed and later another leg added to make a full wye.  In the last few years, the IAIS has built a new yard and shop facility just west of the connection.  Although the Crandic still owns the line, the IAIS has been running and dispatching the line south/west of a point near Fairfax.

I knew the agent at Durant, IA.  He worked that position for the RI, DRI&NW, and then the MILW.  When the IAIS began, they didn't keep the position and he went to work for the CR&IC.  He told me once that the Crandic could've bought the exMILW line (at one time, the original MILW Kansas City main line) all the way to Rutledge/Ottumwa.  Because some egos were bruised, the deal didn't happen.

Jeff  

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Posted by WSOR 3801 on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:44 AM

"And why wasn't Milwaukee Roads traffic base in the Midwest able to feed traffic onto the Pacific Coast Extension?"

It did.  There was also long-haul traffic coming eastward. 

What other outfit would get rid of the long haul to focus on short-haul and terminal operations? 

"Also wasn't Milwaukee Road's electrification obsolete by the 70's? The cost of conversion from 3000V DC to 25kv AC 60hz involves replacing all the substations and the replacement of the electric locomotives.
The age of the box cabs, 50 years old at that time, made their replacement needed. The problem that management probably faced is they could not finance a purpose built electric railway but could finance mass produced diesels.
"

GE offered to pretty much replace (and finance) everything, and electrify the gap. 

MILW management at the time felt getting out of the railroad business was the course of action they should take.  The electrification was too efficient, so they got rid of it, just as the price of copper dropped and diesel fuel went up.  Then cook the books a bit, double state the expenses for Lines West, and it almost seems justified to get rid of it.  Total traffic was lower then, so the other existing lines had the capacity to handle it. 

Mike WSOR engineer | HO scale since 1988 | Visit our club www.WCGandyDancers.com

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Posted by Victrola1 on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:30 AM

The Milwaukee Road's pacific coast extension shared much in common with their line to Omaha. It arrived at its destination long after everybody else got there. It missed population centers and intermediate business as well.

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Posted by MP173 on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:06 AM

I have been browsing thru the Milwaukee Road archive website and in the bankruptcy section the traffic levels are provided.  By 1978 it appears the transcontinental line was down to 2 trains each way daily.  The revenues were not there to support the infrastructure and the investment needed to ramp the line up.

The proper event occurred.  The line was removed, except in places where it was economically viable.

 

Ed

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