The Milwaukee Connection: Spokane to Butte – by Dale W. Jones

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In the late 1890s, the Union Pacific, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern Railways had a firm grip on all West Coast rail traffic.

In 1905, Milwaukee Road officials voted to extend the line into Seattle, securing Pacific Coast markets. As the Milwaukee built into Montana, numerous obstacles emerged; frigid winter temperatures and steep mountain grades challenged steam-powered operations.

In the early 1910s, electric locomotives became a viable alternative for steam engines in long-haul rail service; at the same time, waterpower for generating electricity was developing in the Northwest. The mines and smelters of Butte and Anaconda supplied the resources needed to electrify 440 miles of track in Montana and Idaho.

The longevity of the Milwaukee Road electrification into the 1970s highlights the determination of faithful employees on what was known as America’s Resourceful Railroad.

About the Author

Dale W. Jones has spent 50 years chronicling railroads in the Pacific Northwest. This full-color narrative captures the essence of Milwaukee Road operations from Spokane following the unique railroad electrification across the rugged Bitterroot Mountains, the meandering Clark Fork River, and the Deer Lodge valley with connections at Butte. The Milwaukee Road lives!

Arcadia Publishing
: 06/18/2018
Images of Modern America
: 158 Color
: 96
: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)