Sunday, May 24, 2015

By the Shores of 16 Mile Creek

Further east than the Yellowstone and more imposing than the Missouri, the Milwaukee started its journey west along the shores of a vast lake.  How different from where we find the Milwaukee's mainline here.  

Carl Sandberg called Chicago, "The City of Big Shoulders."  Others know it as the Windy City, and many a cold and wintry day has felt the devastating chills of driving Lake Michigan winds.  The Resourceful Railroad knew Chicago as Milepost 0.


When this series of posts started in Eastern Montana, at MP 1080, how different the landscape looked.  The badlands of Montana and the Yellowstone River provided the gateway to the abandoned Lines West.  Then from the arid Badlands to the Musselshell river and the more fertile ag country to the west.  Now, in the midst of the run to the Rocky Mountains, the railroad finds itself along the shores of a different body of water.  Unlike the Yellowstone River crossings of giant steel bracings and imposing structure, the small girder bridges and trestles along 16 Mile Creek pose a stark contrast.  Ironic that the Road's giant 5000 Hp Little Joe electrics called this stretch of Montana mainline home.


From the large Great Lake, to the imposing rivers of the Midwest and West, to the more subtle babbling of 16 Mile Creek on a warm summer day.  It was a journey of extremes and a fearless push to the even more grand shores of the Pacific Ocean.  On this summer day it is by the shores of 16 Mile Creek that the Milwaukee's mainline carefully traces.  This is the entry to Maudlow, MT; 1417 miles from the shores of the Great Lake.  The lush grasses have covered much of the old right of way, but the creek remains as it was.  Those who called Maudlow home knew these shores better than all the others along the Road's way west.  Trout fishing, hot summers, Montana winters, and the 2-D+D-2* arrangement of Little Joe electrics - all by the shores of 16 Mile Creek.

*See comments, edited from D-D

3 comments:

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

Great entry!

Chris Walker said...

Leland,

I really shouldn't be too picky since you share such wonderful, evocative images and prose but the Little Joes were 2-D+D-2, in the steam parlance, a 4-8-8-4; UP's EMD double diesels were D-D.

Additionally this post's bottom photo is a contrast of extremes and illustrative not only of the beauty of Montana but of the life giving vagaries of water. Only yards from this wonderful babbling creek lies an almost inhospitable landscape somewhat devoid of greenery and life.
Montana and the Milwaukee Road Electric lines: A great combination, for me at least.

Thanks from under
Chris
in New Zealand

LinesWest said...

Hi Chris - you're absolutely right: 2-D+D-2. I was being overly casual.

Thanks for the correction and thoughts as always. The comparison between 16 mile creek and the rain shadow on Vendome loop is another great contrast. That's a little further west but we'll get there eventually.

Best.
-Leland