Scars of an Embargo

March 1, 1980:  Milwaukee's Pacific Extension embargo approved by the ICC

"On  February  25,   1980,   the   court   authorized a third embargo request by the trustee.  The Milwaukee ceased operations over a large portion of its lines (including the northern tier mainline and appurtenant trackage west of a point near Missoula, MT) effective March 1, 1980."  From "Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, CMST&P Reorganization, Docket 28640)

In the aftermath of the embargo, the scrappers would come and operations not considered as part of the new Milwaukee "Core" would be terminated.  Across the Milwaukee's West the remains of these actions are still seen, and the effects are far reaching.  Ghost towns dot the landscape, and conditions persist that promote monopoly.  There has been a legacy associated with the Milwaukee's collapse and it is not one of renewal and prosperity.

The trip west along the Milwaukee continues in the above picture, taken near Kamm, MT in 2003.  The former Northern Pacific is nearby with howling SD70s and loaded coal trains, but the Milwaukee Road is quiet as ever.  Also nearby is this old pile of discarded ties that harken to a different time and a different vision for the future.  The Pacific Coast Extension was embargoed 32 years ago and although the line slowly fades from the landscape, the scars last far longer.


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