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Remembering Milwaukee Road locomotives

By | November 22, 2021

The Milwaukee Road is Classic Trains' fallen flag Railroad of the Month for November 2021

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Broadside of streamlined steam locomotive in valley
Broadside of streamlined steam locomotive in valley
Class A streamlined 4-4-2 No. 3 makes for a fine sight in Milwaukee in May 1937. It was built by Alco and retired in the early 1950s. The railroad also rostered streamlined 4-6-4s. Classic Trains collection
Broadside of streamlined steam locomotive in valley
Broadside builder’s photo of steam locomotive

Class L-1 2-8-2 No. 2502 was built in 1909 by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. It was renumbered 8502 in 1912 and 752 in 1938 and scrapped in 1945. There were 20 locomotives in the class, the last retired in 1954. Classic Trains collection

Broadside builder’s photo of steam locomotive
Broadside of clean steam locomotive in valley in front of row of houses

Class S-1 4-8-4 No. 251 stands for its builder’s portrait at Milwaukee in 1938. It was the first locomotive built in Milwaukee since 1914. Classic Trains collection

Broadside of clean steam locomotive in valley in front of row of houses
Center-cab electric passenger locomotive stands alone with pantograph raised

Unique “Bi-polar” electric locomotive E4 rests at Harlowton, Mont., after removal from train 16 in October 1958. The motor carries the Union Pacific’s yellow-and-gray paint as a nod to the railroads’ cooperation on passenger trains east of Council Bluffs, Iowa, beginning in 1955. Philip C. Johnson collection

Center-cab electric passenger locomotive stands alone with pantograph raised
Streamlined electric locomotives lined up awaiting disposition

The end is near for the Milwaukee Road’s “Little Joe” electrics as four sit dead at the east end of the Deer Lodge, Mont., yard in June 1974. The railroad dropped its last wires that year. One of the locomotives, E70, is preserved and displayed in Deer Lodge. Jim Farrell photo

Streamlined electric locomotives lined up awaiting disposition
Builder’s photo of end-cab diesel switcher with high hood

Fairbanks-Morse H10-44 switcher No. 1808 was built in November 1945 and retired in October 1981. The 1,000-hp switcher was among 72 FM switchers on the roster, 48 of which generated 1,200 hp. Classic Trains collection

Builder’s photo of end-cab diesel switcher with high hood
Streamlined, bullet-nosed diesel locomotive sits aside train station canopy

Fairbanks-Morse built 20 so-called “Erie-Built” passenger diesels for the Milwaukee Road at General Electric’s Erie, Pa., assembly plant between 1946 and 1948. The 2,000-hp units were assembled in six A-B-A sets and one A-A set. Here, No. 5 rests at Milwaukee’s Everett Street Station. Classic Trains collection

Streamlined, bullet-nosed diesel locomotive sits aside train station canopy
Shiny two-tone streamlined diesel locomotive

EMD F7 No. 68 was one of 102 of the model on the Milwaukee’s roster, including B units. It is pictured new outside EMD’s La Grange, Ill., assembly plant in summer 1950. Classic Trains collection

Shiny two-tone streamlined diesel locomotive
Men in long jackets on holding a hat stand in front of new diesel locomotive noses lined up

Milwaukee Road President William J. Quinn, left, stands with Chief Mechanical Officer F. A. Upton beside new EMD GP30 diesel locomotives. The railroad had 16 of the 2,250-hp model, built in two batches in 1963. They rode on AAR Type B trucks removed from Alco roadswitchers. Milwaukee Road photo

Men in long jackets on holding a hat stand in front of new diesel locomotive noses lined up
Diesel hood locomotive with freight cars on curve

Alco RSC-2 No. 594 works at La Crosse, Wis., in January 1976. The railroad had 22 such units built 1946-1947 and generating 1,500 hp. They were built A-1-A trucks with the center axle unpowered. This reduced weight on the rail and made them better suited to branchline trackage. Stan Mailer photo

Diesel hood locomotive with freight cars on curve

All through November, Classic Trains editors are celebrating the multi-faceted Milwaukee Road. Please enjoy this photo gallery of Milwaukee Road selected from the image archives of Kalmbach Media’s David P. Morgan Library.

The Milwaukee Road operated with steam, electric, and diesel motive power in its Midwest-to-Northwest service area. There are examples in each type of particular note. The railroad rostered high-stepping streamlined passenger locomotives on its famed Hiawatha passenger fleet and brawny 4-8-4s on fast freights, one of which, No. 261, is preserved operational in Minneapolis. Its electrics operated in two regions, the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains, and had colorful names like “Bi-polars” and “Little Joes.” Its diesels largely reflected the times in which they were constructed, but some branchline-designed models are held dear by fans of the road.

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