MILW What if the Milwaukee Road still existed?

ladybngnfan Nov 3, 2015

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter


    It would take a lot of money, and litigation, to put it all back together. It was not built in any more remote settings than other such northern efforts.

    I have not seen that article, but from what comments I have seen or heard, it is much of the usual errant rehashings. The west end was the money maker for the rest of their system. It was long haul freight. Timber/forest products, major ports traffic percentages, the Golden Triangle in Montana and more. That's where the dollars were. Short hauls, not so much or not at all. The money losers were all their midwestern branch lines. Oh boy were they money losers. (Existing company financial documents.) Crammed in areas already swamped by other operators. Some of those east end branches had lost money, steadily, for decades. And their condition made Lines West tracks look elegant.

    Today's BNSF "High Line" serves economic conditions much like the much denegrated MILW. Miles and miles of miles and miles. Fewer and fewer shippers. It's their long haul traffic, which provides the dollars- just as with the MILW, Lines West.
    Hardcoaler and Kurt Moose like this.
  2. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

    OK Boxcab, thank you for your input. That was a little bit a dream even for me, but who knew ? :)

  3. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Even though the Milwaukee Road's pacific extension was built well after both the GN and the NP, it was built so modern and with better materials that it still stands today, and alot of the trestles and ground work would still be intact if it were not for the holding company wanting every dollar they could for scrap. Both the line over the Bitterroots and the Cascades are in perfect condition, although now hiking/biking trails. Most of the infrastructure still remains so, that BNSF almost restored the Black River to Lind, Wa portion which is almost halfway across the state of Washington. But instead went with Stampede Pass.

    Too bad the upper management didn't have the foresight to see the future of container traffic, it would have been a great land bridge for all these stack trains, and now the oil and grain as well.
  4. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

    I live in Montana which was what could be considered remote when the Milwaukee Road was being built in the area.

    When I was growing up, we used to take the Hiawatha or the North Coast Linited to Chicago to connect with the South Shore to northern Indiana to visit relatives. I also had relatives working for the Milwaukee Road and was lucky enough to have spent hours and hours riding the the cabs of Little Joes and box cabs in the electrified division in Montana and Idaho.

    Being a fan of the Milwaukee Road, I am somewhat familiar with the old ROW. I am a private pilot and I enjoy flying over the old ROW and it would really be difficult to get the old ROW up and running. Many of the old bridges and tunnels are still there, but in many places the old ROW now are being used as roads for locals and in some places homes are now sitting right on the ROW.

    Along interstate 90 between Missoula and Saint Regis, MT, it is easy to see the old ROW paralleling the Montana Rail Link/ BNSF tracks with old trestles still in place. In some areas, it probably wouldn't be hard to replace tracks and upgrade bridges but in other places it would be extremely difficult.

    I sure miss the box cabs and Little Joes.
    Kurt Moose and Hardcoaler like this.
  5. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

    If the MILW still existed in its entirety it would be a Open Pit Mine with financiers filling it up with money - Dollars, Pounds, Francs and Bitcoin with a touch of Lira and Yen!
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  6. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

    OK, I've a better understanding of that old line's status. So it's likely to remain a memory for ever :( ... Too bad. BTW you must have fun flying over there ! Even if you'd have even more fun competing a Little Joe with a Piper Cub... ;)

    Kurt Moose likes this.
  7. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

    A chance shot I grabbed at the Lynden show today. Could be Tideflats, pulling a cut of cars from the container yard that is there, now.

  8. PGE-N°2

    PGE-N°2 TrainBoard Member

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  9. Ashpit

    Ashpit TrainBoard Member

    I think the question "What if the Milwaukee Road still existed" could be asked of any Fallen Flag line. I model the Northern Pacific as I wanted to see it again in my own little world! Isn't that why we model?
  10. Des Moines Rocket

    Des Moines Rocket TrainBoard Member

    I think you're right, Mark. I myself model the early 1950s in N Scale. So, while I don't put Rocket Freight paint schemes on modern locomotives, I do take the liberty to occasionally pool power of the era I model, to represent mergers that never happened, but would have been interesting. CGW/KCS runthroughs and joint passenger operations for example. Or how about M&StL actually getting to St Louis? Going to have to figure out what would be reasonable for that.

    I do like this discussion on the Milwaukee Road, and "what might have been". I've learned a lot from this thread, regarding the viability of continuing operations, had some changes been made.
    ddechamp71 likes this.

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