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Showing posts from March, 2013

1335: A First Look

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While hundreds of miles of Milwaukee's Pacific Coast Extension languished in relative obscurity, there were a few places of great fame.  1335 miles from Chicago's Union Station must be considered as one of those. 

This is Harlowton, MT - a site of large yards, engine facilities, connection point to the Northern Montana Lines and Golden Triangle, and start of the Western electrification.  Here the Little Joes flipped on their magnificent quads and headed west into the mountain ranges that lay ahead while eastbounds dropped off their electric motors and pushed east towards the plains and Badlands.
Harlowton was a town of great significance for the Milwaukee Road and the Milwaukee Road was of great significance to Harlowton.  This is the first look at MP 1335 where the trek west continues, this time 'under wire.'

Blue Shadows

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In the lands of the western big sky, away from the mountains and the beautiful forests, just between ranges or out along the expanses of prairie, are lands where the sky hosts an unending play of constant change. No day is like any before, no night like any other to come.  When the explorers Lewis and Clark gazed out upon the vastness of the western prairies they remarked upon their beauty and wondered how God could have failed to put them in Virginia.
As the railroads bound the United States together, to these lands they also came.  The first through the Northwest was the Northern Pacific, followed by the Great Northern and then the Milwaukee Road.  The NP was built in stages that matched the ups and downs of the post Civil War economy.  Although it was the first to the Northwest coast, it did not have the advantage of improved materials or engineering practises like those afforded the Milwaukee Road, the late comer to the party.  Following its entry to Spokane, the NP turned southw…