MILW What if the Milwaukee Road still existed?

ladybngnfan Nov 3, 2015

  1. ladybngnfan

    ladybngnfan TrainBoard Member

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    Perhaps you're right, but it still seems too much like a debate about the cause of their demise and not ideas for a 'what if it was still around' story.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's a very passionate topic. That event had a direct negative impact upon many, many thousands of people and uncounted communities.

    A bunch of things went sideways, starting in the 1960's. Starting your story background at a point where those never happened and bringing it forward, can come out of knowing those past bad decisions. Your adventure of today can have real roots. I'm sure a lot of folks would like to enjoy that mental image, through reading a construction of what life is like in the present. Instead of Avery having a slowly decaying depot, maybe there would be a nice brick structure? That sort of setting imagery flashes through a mind.
     
  3. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe the yard and engine service facilities in Austin, MN would have been rejuvenated instead of being removed.

    CP owns the line now and, although initially the line was reduced to a single track, a few sidings had to be added where the old yard was to accommodate increased traffic and the track from the south was upgraded to CWR.

    Doug
     
  4. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

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    IF the Milwaukee Road was still around, I just happened to find a modern railroad that has the perfect prototype for what a modern Milwaukee Road paint scheme would look like:

    [​IMG]

    It's actually the latest paint scheme for Arcelor Mittal Mines Canada (Cartier Railway), but it just looks like it could be a throwback to the early orange and grey scheme... Maybe just throw in a maroon stripe somewhere.;)
     
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  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not a bad looking paint scheme. Maybe a little playing with photoshop or a paint program, and....?
     
  6. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

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    Exactly and, except for the rough cut tunnel portal, the photo location could very easily be somewhere in St Paul Pass, or Sixteen Mile Canyon.

    I'm glad I found this thread... I enjoy the discussion of how the Milwaukee Road might operate today, and finding new sources of traffic for it. :)
     
  7. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    The one marketing thing the Milw might have tried is high speed intermodal or fast high dollar seafood freight service from Sea-Tac to Milw or Chicago. Having the fastest times distance would have been a definite advantage. The SF did this in conjunction with Maersk to rejuvenate their business, so.......
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    They'd done this, very successfully, with such as the silk trains. I seem to recall the same with import fruit such as bananas.
     
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  9. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    If we're postulating 'what if's' and alternate realities, consider a scenario where Powder River basin coal mining starts in the early '60s, with the MILW either building south from the Miles City area or west from Rapid City to access that region. Assume that the increased revenues would have permitted some significant line upgrades, similar to what the Southern did on the "rathole" division or the Santa Fe with its major line relocation in Arizona. Furthermore, rather than the much later acquisition by the SOO Line, suppose that a decade or two earlier there had been a merger with an eastern road - E-L, perhaps - to form a transcontinental railroad. That might have given the MILW a chance for still being in existence well into the present century.
     
  10. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

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    Someone else on another discussion site came up with the notion that the Milwaukee might have partnered with offshore interests to acquire the former Erie Lackawanna. The version I heard was to have the expansion take place circa 1980.

    If this had happened earlier, and the whole ERIE system had been kept intact before Conrail took control, it would have created just such an access for the Milwaukee Road to the east, with a potential 120 hour transit time from "docking Seattle to sailing from Port Elizabeth".
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know we are getting far away from the OP's area, but it all fits together in order to have kept the railroad alive and healthy, so the fictional scenario would have real traction.

    As reported in a 1975 employee magazine, they actually did broach such an idea, with the B&O.
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back before the nineteenth century ended, the MILW had actually surveyed just such a route- From western South Dakota up in a northwesterly direction, into Montana.
     
  13. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

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    Box - Was that route paralleling the Q's?
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The map I saw, it has been a while. I believe it was much further east.
     
  15. ladybngnfan

    ladybngnfan TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I'm back again, for the first time in a while.

    I'm thinking maybe that LJ is actually named Sarah, a name I like. Anyway, I didn't want to give her a real name that is too close to Joanne or Josephine. That seemed too cliched to me, especially since the words "Little Joe" were supposed to be her first words, and that's why she became known as Little Joe.

    One thought I do have in mind for my scenario is that the Milwaukee did go through all those financial troubles and issues with bad rail, and so on. But, instead of letting a perfectly good railroad die, someone made the effort to keep it alive. The result, then, is a stronger railroad that is now giving all the current major railroads in North America a run for its money. I picture a modern Milwaukee as having the latest motive power and rolling stock, up to date facilities, loyal employees-who are that much more loyal for having been through all those issues that in real life brought the railroad down, and strong traditions and ethical principles.

    Also, with regard to Sarah, I have a picture in mind of her loving her job, not just because she is from a Milwaukee family. One of the other reasons Sarah, AKA Little Joe, loves her job is because she is married to an abusive man who treats her like she is his personal punching bag, and her job as an engineer gets her away from this man is cruel to her. She's somewhere around my age, give or take a few years. I just turned 48 in May. That's all I have for now.

    One more thing, does anybody know a guy named Stanley Johnson, who wrote a book called "The Milwaukee Road Revisited"? I enjoyed this book thoroughly, and I wonder if he's still alive. I know he's not young. I wonder if he might be of help in my writing this story.
     
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  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome back! Yes. Stan is still around. Long retired and up in years. He is not as active in communicating on the 'Net as he was a couple of years ago.
     
  17. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

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    Just because of the fact that Rapido appears to finally be in the planning stages of an N scale Turbo Train, I just feel like I should get one and come up with a Milwaukee Road scheme for it, :whistle:
     
  18. ladybngnfan

    ladybngnfan TrainBoard Member

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    For Christmas, I received a copy of the Milwaukee Road in Idaho, a book which I have been wanting for several years, and one that might be of help in writing my story.

    I may be going back to Yellowstone to work again, and if I do, I am thinking of driving that route and having a look around, especially Avery, since that is my main thought for the setting. I was once in Avery, with my parents, when the electrification still existed. I assume that my dad in particular probably wanted to see the electrification before it ended. I was somewhere between 3 and 5 years old at the time, so I don't remember much of the trip. What I do remember was, we were camping out somewhere near the mainline. My parents had a Volkswagen Squareback station wagon, and we were sleeping in it. My parents were in the back and I was sleeping in the front, and I remember waking up sometime in the early morning by the sound of a train. My dad has told me that the train was not being pulled by the Little Joes, but by the boxcabs. He also has told a story that he and my mother were watching the action in the yard from the bridge, but I was more interested in watching squirrels on the bridge.

    But, anyway, I'm starting to think of writing the story soon.
     
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  19. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

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    When I was a kid I really enjoyed riding in the box cabs and little Joes. I did have relatives living in Harlowton, Three Forks and Deer Lodge.

    If you're going to Yellowstone, slow down when you pass the Gallatin Gateway Inn on US 191 on the way south to Yellowstone Park. It is a National Historic Site. It was restored back in the early 90's and had rooms available plus the dining room was open and catered parties weddings and had dining every night. Unfortunately the venture failed and a couple of years ago was empty. Now employees of the Big Sky Resort are using the rooms. It's quite a building. I live less than a mile from it and pass it every day.

    Gallatin%20Gateway%20bus.jpg

    Gallatin-Gateway-Inn-photos-Exterior.JPEG

    Good luck with the book. I would really like to see your story when you get it done.
     
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  20. ladybngnfan

    ladybngnfan TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you. Right now, that story is just a concept, an idea, but I am thinking of writing it soon. I don't know how long the story will be yet, whether it will be a short story or a novel. I have somewhat of an angle I want to take. As I mentioned in some of my previous posts on this thread, my idea is to write the story with a female engineer who has lived in Avery all her life. I've got a name for her: Sarah "Little Joe" Bennett. The reason her nickname is Little Joe is because those were her first words. So, everyone she knows calls her some variation of Little Joe, except for her husband. She's married, with two children in their teens or twenties. Her husband also works for the Milwaukee. Her family is a Milwaukee family, and she is something like the 3rd or 4th generation to work for the railroad.

    I have been by the Gallatin Gateway Inn, too, but never on the grounds. I do have to go to West Yellowstone for my check in for the job. And I will be working at Old Faithful, so I may have several chances to go to Bozeman via that road and stop into the Gallatin Gateway Inn. I also want to go to Harlowton and check out the Milwaukee exhibit, including of course, the boxcab.
     

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