Jul 11, 2007
Remember, Joes were not at all the same as diesels.
What would have happened if they had accepted GE's once upon a time offer to re-electrify?
Would the Little Joe's proved to have better traction on the rails under AC current?
Most of the stories of the Little Joe's out pulling diesels would seem to make it highly likely they would even be able to show up even today's modern diesels.
Paper statistics and reality out on the rails are two different things.
Also overlooked is the human input factor. Modern diesels are limited by computers. Joes could be manipulated to do things, without internal harm day after day, which their designers never imagined. Their operators were skilled, artists at their trades. Literally human computers. A Little Joe on any given day was worth two to three SD40-2. That is how capable they were.
So, I just saw a listing for an undecorated Kato GP50, and now i'm musing to myself whether I should at GP50s to my 'modern' Milwaukee roster. It might be a bit superfluous since I have already listed a rather generous fleet of GP15-1s, as well as later GP60s.
If I did include some GP50s, that would set the stage for them maybe being converted into GP33ECO following Norfolk Southern's example which would give me another locomotive class with flared radiators to satisfy my eyes. Of course it's all part of an ongoing debate that my fantasy loco roster is far too light on power. Especially for a railroad the size of UP or larger in the modern era.
Even if they had offloaded a lot of the midwestern dead branchlines in the 70s, like they should have, we can imaging increased mainline traffic for the mainline requiring more mainline power. Just look at the numbers on the UP roster, especially SD40-2s.
Also, in my little Fantasy world, they definitely would have taken over C&NW when it was offered, and ultimately even opted to buy out the Illinois Central to gain direct access to all three coasts using all their own rails, so a much larger power roster would definitely be in order.
The IC scenario has me wondering. Also, remember that about 1975(?), they had even been talking to the B&O about accessing Pittsburgh and points further east. What would have happened there? Especially with steel fading, and a few years later, coal coming in strong. Hmmm.
Someone else on another discussion site did mention a legend that circa 1980, a proposal from Japanese maritime interests arose to acquire the Lackawanna Western. If this had happened, and the whole ERIE system had been kept intact under the control of those maritime interests, it would created just such an access for the Milwaukee Road to the east, creating a true Coast to Coast "Land Bridge" that could have competed directly with the Panama Canal with a potential 120 hour transit time from "docking Seattle to sailing from Port Elizabeth".
I do suppose that would be more logical then claiming the Milwaukee to be a transcontinental railroad when it actually ended at Chicago. While it technically did have access to the Atlantic through the Great Lakes, I'm sure that it was not as fast as a direct rail connection to the east coast.
Hmmm. First I've ever heard of such a possible scenario. I'm thinking by "Lackawanna Western" you mean the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western? If so, it was merged with the Erie in 1960, forming the Erie Lackawanna. Then EL merged into Conrail, April of 1976. 1980 seems as though any outside interest would be a bit late. By then CR was already spinning off and ripping out tracks.
Just so folks will know, the B&O reference I mentioned came from an actual Milwaukee Road employee magazine announcement, as I recall, about 1975. So that one is not urban myth. I actually have that issue stashed away somewhere.
Yeah, I was basically using "Lackawanna Western" as a pseudnym for the EL, because I did also say "Erie System". That scenario is also just a 'what if' idea, that was obviously based on the fact that the Erie Lackawanna survived on its own and Conrail most likely would not have been created, which would also have kept the B&O option open, too, albeit within the framework of the Chessie system and later CSXT today.
Power resting at the new Othello engine house:
Hmmm. A run through agreement with MRL? That could be an interesting scenario.
It's always something that is very much prevalent in my fantasy scenarios: If Rocky Mountain Division was still in operation, they were be interchanging with MRL on a daily basis at several points.
That loco is actually not MRL, though, it's actually lettered for yet another fantasy road name, Northwest Rail Link. I acquired it because I felt it would give me something to add on an occasional train as pool power.
It might be fun to get some of the SD70Ace's that Fox Valley is releasing in MRL colours, though.
Like the NWRL unit! Where is Washingto_ state? Near MT border? Seriously, That is a nice unit and a great fantasy RR. Hang an ACE in MRL colors is probably the only scheme I have seen those units in that makes them almost nice to look at! It hides the cobbled together design appearance really well!
How about Amtrak retired GG1's in Hiawathw colors for high speed intermodal service?
Maybe that's why I look SD90Macs instead. They don't look quite as cobbled together.
The slogan there actually says "Powered by fuel grown in Washington", it just gets broken up a bit by the handrail stanchions. Maybe not the best place to put an advertising phrase, although the bio-diesel logo is easy to see.
I'm pretty sure someone has painted a GG1 in Milwaukee colours at some point, and I have heard of at least one DD40x that someone painted for the Milwaukee Road, as well.
I've seen ALCo C636 painted as MILW.
I've seen that, as well, along with someone who came up with a paint scheme for the SD70Ace. I still prefer the SD90Mac, though, but I would also love to see an SD70M with flared radiators (like that NWRL unit).
Just have to love flared radiators, but the question is how many SD70M's would the Milwaukee have bought? The UP ordered 1,000 SD70M's in one order from EMD, which I think is the single largest locomotive order ever. IF the Milwaukee had survived, and maybe absorbed a few other carriers such as C&NW and Illinois Central, they would probably be easily matching UP for total mileage. Who knows about total tonnage hauled, but they probably would have needed to significantly expand the motive power roster.
Latest issue of train came in this evening and looking through the mag. I came across an article about the major blunders made by railroads over the years and the Milwaukee was listed for the Pacific extension which was regarded as a bad idea and compounded by the failure to join the electrified districts into one continuous line. As far as the mergers that took place later the Milwaukee and NP was suggested as being a good merger that would have been competitive on to a GN CB&Q merger. So one wonders if the Milwaukee and NP would have come about would we be dealing with a Milwaukee Northern and electrics, albeit modern ones, be running the western end with the NP trackage in that area being abandoned in favor of the shorter Milwaukee route.
One thing we know about those guys, they never do any research. For one thing, the MILW looked west due to the fact they were drowning in a sea of other competing companies in that region. Also, it's been statistically proven from company data, for decades now, that the long hauls and Lines West made the money for that company. Plus, as I noted elsewhere, the electrification was never intended to last as long as it did and there were numerous attempts to pull the plug on it, until in 1972, they began to succeed by shutting off revenue use of their catenary on the Coast Division.
It's sickening to keep seeing the same mythology perpetuated by biased and lazy authors, who pretend some knowledge of rail history. We can only wonder what other bilge they've been feeding readers, on other companies operations, all these years.
Funny thing here, the spell checker is saying that my use of "catenary" is wrong. It is the correct spelling. Microsoft strikes, again.
I was going to say something similar: Even for a complete neophyte, after doing a small amount of research, it's obvious that the Pacific Extension was not abandoned because of economic factors, and that the building of it was not in error. Perhaps someone should write a scathing letter to the magazines editing department, although I also just found a document from a GN themed website purporting to debunk the myths about why the Milwaukee deserved to be saved. Needless to say, that would probably be biased since the GN was not friendly to the Milwaukee.
No, the Pacific Extension was a case, one of many in that era, of a line being built where too many already existed. The only reason it "made money" for the railroad is because of a horribly misguided regulatory scheme which made long hauls more important than should have been, and limited the rail industry's profitability as a whole. The line may have had a positive operation ratio, but I doubt it ever had anything close to a market return for the capital investment. And this is before you mention that the electrification was just a hand out to the copper companies which controlled the line.
It's sad to see that Milwaukee Road fandom has the same kind of "as long the trains run, the railroad is doing well" thinking which infests discourse about the New Haven.
I'll wait and let Boxcab debunk that notion, but considering that long haul is pretty much all the railroads do these days to "make money", how is it horribly misguided, or a wrong way to run a railway? The Milwaukee's long haul route would have been ideal in today's world, especially with increased unit train coal and oil traffic leaving eastern Washington for the coast, which would have found the perfect shortcut using the Milwaukee's line over the Cascades.
And how does it not pay for capital investments? If the copper companies had the money, and wanted to build a railroad, it was theirs to invest, and they would have to answer to their shareholders.