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Showing posts from December, 2010

Bleak of Winter

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In winter, snowfalls and low temperatures are normal throughout the Milwaukee Road's West.  Single digits and negative numbers are common across Montana and the great plains as snows blanket plains and mountain pass alike.  Small towns that dot America's final transcontinental line take shelter in this weather.  They seem more silent, more deserted, and more isolated than at any other time.  The few people who inhabit these places hide behind walls and curtains that try to seal out the cold and the bitter winds that blow just beyond.  

In the final years of the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Extension, the quiet of these blistering winter nights was shattered, on occasion, by the passing of a Dead Freight or the descendant of a fast hotshot like the Thunderhawk or XL Special.  Time and weather took their toll on these fast trains, and the names were dropped in favor of numbers as the economic slump of the time made itself known across the industry as a whole.  These were cold …