Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Milwaukee Road

Well it is about 1 am in the morning and for some reason I am wide awake. I looked through my pictures and settled on this one for today's post. This is an old passenger car that was on a tourist road operation that ran out of Abilene, Kansas. I was totally surprised when I ran across it.
The passenger car is part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad (more commonly called The Milwauke Road) fleet. Judging from the colors it was part of the later year Hiawatha fleet that was jointly operated with the Union Pacific.
I hesitated to even post this picture as I am desperately trying to not post train pictures. (I don't want to become fixated on them in this blog as I love trains so much.) This passenger car was such a treasure that when I ran across it in the archives I just had to post it and tell a little bit about the Milwaukee Road.
The Milwaukee Road was the last of the transcontinental railroads built. It was not finished until the early 1900's which was extremely late. It should have never been built as it had the worst route of the major northern transcontinental railroads. The other two northern transcontinental railroads were The Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railroad. It struggled through most of its existence in it long route from Chicago and Milwaukee to the Puget Sound. It boasted the longest stretch of electrified trackage in the United States. Its Rocky Mountain and Cascade divisions were electrified. Due mainly to the merger of the other two transcontinentals into the Burlington Northern and its lack of online customers the Pacific Extension was abandoned in the early 1970's. It struggled on as a Midwest line for about ten more years before being bought by the Soo Line in the early 80's.
The Milwaukee Road is just history now but every once in a while you can run across a trace of this most classic of the western railroads. Every time I do I can visualize huge electric locomotives pulling trains over enormous trestles in the Cascades or small diesels pulling shorter grain trains across long stretches of the vast Dakota plains. I wish I could have personally witnessed it.
Check out the Milwaukee Road at your local library or bookstore. It was a fascinating railroad.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.


Carmi said...

I love images that evoke ghostlike views of times long gone. It's a theme that I like to pursue in my own photography, and I dearly love to see it in the work of others as well. This is rich beyond words - though your words have added immensely to the experience.

I love how you view the world. Visiting your site incents me to go out and raise the level of my own photography.

JAM said...

I like trains, but I've never done any model railway stuff. The engineer (electrical) in the next cubicle from me is a train fan and for one birthday, his parents paid for him to make a run on a diesel train, in the engine, with the regular crew. Not sure how that was arranged, but he lit up when I asked about the train pics in his cubicle. For some strange reason, lots of folks don't like to hear about trains. Go figure.

Your photo is such a mixture, a beautiful sunny day, but the lack of care on the car gives it a sad feel.