Milwaukee Road's Steam Diesel and Electric Era 1950 - 1957, The by Lloyd Stagner
Milwaukee Road's Steam Diesel and Electric Era 1950 - 1957, The by Lloyd Stagner

Milwaukee Road's Steam Diesel and Electric Era 1950 - 1957, The by Lloyd Stagner

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Milwaukee Road's Steam Diesel and Electric Era 1950 - 1957, The by Lloyd Stagner
The Milwaukee Roads Steam Diesel and Electric Era 1950 - 1957 by Lloyd Stagner Soft Cover Copyright 2005  FIRST printing  48 pages
At the time of its centennial anniversary in 1950, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company operated 10,671 miles of line in 12 states. This mileage extended from Westport, in southern Indiana, to Seattle, Tacoma, Hoquiam and Redmond in Washington state on the Pacific Coast. Part of this mileage included electrified trackage opened between Harlowton, Mont. and Avery, Ida., plus Othello, Ida. and Tacoma, Wash., between 1915 and 1920.
Many fine books have been published on various subjects related to this interesting carrier. The essence of this effort is the motive power used during the final years of the changeover from steam to both diesel and electric motive power during the time frame 1950-1957. Indeed, with the operation of 656 miles of electrification, the "Milwaukee Road" technically could not claim to be "completely dieselized" when the last CMStP&P steam engine operated on March 16, 1957.
The CMStP&P was somewhat late in embracing the "Super Power" steam locomotive design featuring four-wheel trailer trucks. It reacted similarly to simple articulated power. By the mid-1920s, most main line traffic was handled by 28-2s, 4-6-2s and compound articulated 2-6-6-2s. Trains on the company's prolific number of lightly-constructed branch lines were handled by 2-6-2s, 2-8-0s and 4-6-0s.
The Milwaukee's first "Super Power" locomotives were twenty-two F-6 class 4-6-4s, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1930-1931. (On July 20, 1934, an F-6 on a test train achieved 103.5 mph while running the 85 miles from Chicago to Milwaukee in 67 minutes.) The Milwaukee Road pioneered streamlined steam powered passenger trains when the carrier's "Hiawatha" passenger trains entered service in 1935. Instead of new diesels, four 84-inch driver streamlined 4-4-2s were acquired. This was a unique move in that the 4-4-2 was at the time generally thought of as being obsolete. However, the new power set speed records as high as 110 mph (although the normal limit was 100 mph). The eastbound run on the 73.8 miles from Sparta to Portage, Wis., was scheduled at 58 minutes--at a start to stop average speed of 81 mph. The "Hiawathas" proved popular and heavier consists soon needed heavier power. This was supplied by six F-7 class 4-6-4s delivered in 1938, also with 84-inch drivers.
While a lone 4-8-4 type had been acquired in 1930 as part of the railroad's motive power experimentation, the Depression deferred further purchases of this type until 1937-38 when thirty S-2 class 4-8-4s arrived from Baldwin. These engines allowed for 2-8-2s to be replaced with mod ern power between Chicago (Bensenville Yard) and Minneapolis, and Chicago-Council Bluffs. Here the S-2s could handle 5,000 tons on time freight schedules. Additionally, when the "Olympian" passenger trains exceeded 12 cars, an S-2 would handle them between Minneapolis and Harlowton. Ten more S-2s arrived in 1940, just in time for unprecedented World War II traffic. A lighter version of the 4-8-4 design, consisting of ten S-3s, were delivered in 1944. On account of restrictions imposed by the War Production Board, the S-3s combined elements of Rock Island and Delaware & Hudson designs, plus a Union Pacific style tender.
Road passenger dieselization commenced in 1941 with two-unit 4,000 h.p. locomotives from both Electro-Motive and Alco. These were assigned to the Chicago-Twin Cities "Hiawatha" trains. Passenger diesel power received between 1946-1949 included five 4,000 h.p. F-7 and ten 4,000 h.p. FM locomotives.
Freight diesels also first came in 1941, with two 5,400 h.p. four-unit FT models from EMD that were assigned to Avery-Othello between the electrified zones. By the end of World War II, thirteen of these FTs were working. Postwar traffic saw the delivery of eleven 4,500 h.p. and eight 3,000 h.p. F-7s, plus six 4,800 h.p. Fairbanks-Morse freight locomotives--all prior to 1950.
The Milwaukee owned no modern steam switchers, and more than one hundred L-1 and L-2 class 2-8-2s were used in yard service. About sixty 2-8-0s were similarly assigned. A large fleet of 0-6-0s handled lighter yard assignments. Yard diesels had debuted in 1938 and by 1950 some 138 units were in service.
The carrier's last electric locomotives were acquired in September 1950. Ten General Electric 5,100 h.p. units, built in 1948-1949, were added. This power had originally been ordered by the Soviet Union, but was not delivered on account of the on-going "Cold War." These units became known as "Little Joes" on account of then-Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
J. P. Kiley, who was elected president of the Milwaukee Road in 1950, stated that he did not foresee complete dieselization of the property on account of the wide variation of traffic on many of its lines. Kiley believed the railroad had sufficient modern steam power to efficiently handle peak business seasons. With such an ensemble of motive power, the stage was set for the final seven years of a unique era when steam, internal combustion and electric power were all used to move traffic across the Milwaukee Road system.

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