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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Early Milwaukee Road Electrification


Date: 06/05/19 15:04
Early Milwaukee Road Electrification
Author: Jsporseen

In August of 1957 my parents took me from Portland to Tacoma to catch the Olympian Hiawatha to Chicago and then on to South Bend on the CSS&SB to start college.  Obviously I traveled under cantenary in WA, ID, and MT.

I have always been interested in “what could have been” with that railroad.  

Even at at the age of 80, I’m still glad that some things puzzle me.  I just picked up a ragged copy of Milwaukee Road West.  Ragged but interesting.  I have a question and an observation:

THE QUESTION on page 63 there is a picture of switcher 10000 with the following caption:

MAIN LINE ELECTRIC OPERATION began on the railroad between Deer Lodge and Three Forks in November, 1915, but the earliest electric operation on the road actually began March 31, 1915 when switcher 10000 went into service in Falls Yard. Operation was limited to a small area in Great Falls, with no evidence of plans to extend electrification from the main line south to Great Falls.  

question, Great Falls is well North of Harlowton where electrification began.  What is the author talking about?  Was there a little section in Falls Yard, wherever that is or was that just a little test section and why would they do it up there?

If anybody can tell me if there was a little electrification (and why there) in the Great Falls area I would get a kick out of the answer.  Maybe the caption is just screwed up.

My observation, I’ve never been able to tell people what type of electric pulled the train from Tacoma to Othello because I simply couldn’t remember.  Question answered I believe.  The dedication page of the book shows a Bi-Polar pulling the OH through Maple Valley and crossing the Cedar River.  I’m now convinced it was Bi-Polar in Washington and a Little Joe through the Bitter Roots and Rockies.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/19 15:05 by Jsporseen.



Date: 06/05/19 21:21
Re: Early Milwaukee Road Electrification
Author: BNSF6400

Yes, the Great Falls Yard had electrification, there was a single steeple cab switcher assigned there.  It was most likely a small scale warmup project to the larger, more complex mainline project further south.  The Milwaukee Road kept it running until the very end of electrification and they were adding small bits of catenary to the small "island" all the time (an industry spur or new support track here and there), slowly growing the area where the switcher could work.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/19 21:30 by BNSF6400.



Date: 06/06/19 06:49
Re: Early Milwaukee Road Electrification
Author: Jsporseen

Hi,

Thanks so much for your reply.  I had no idea about electrification in Great Falls and that it lasted as long as it did.  In all the times that I have gone through Milwaukee Road it’s really amazing that I had never seen it.

JOHN
BNSF6400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, the Great Falls Yard had electrification,
> there was a single steeple cab switcher assigned
> there.  It was most likely a small scale warmup
> project to the larger, more complex mainline
> project further south.  The Milwaukee Road kept
> it running until the very end of electrification
> and they were adding small bits of catenary to the
> small "island" all the time (an industry spur or
> new support track here and there), slowly growing
> the area where the switcher could work.



Date: 06/07/19 17:17
Re: Early Milwaukee Road Electrification
Author: rob_l

BNSF6400 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, the Great Falls Yard had electrification,
> there was a single steeple cab switcher assigned
> there.  It was most likely a small scale warmup
> project to the larger, more complex mainline
> project further south. 

Yes.

> The Milwaukee Road kept
> it running until the very end of electrification

Not true!

> and they were adding small bits of catenary to the
> small "island" all the time (an industry spur or
> new support track here and there), slowly growing
> the area where the switcher could work.

No, they added catenary serving new industries at Butte, expanding the service areea of the steeple cab switcher stationed at Butte, which did last until the end of the electrification.

Best regards,

Rob L.



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