A Chicago Hub Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
The Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railroad
(Milwaukee Road)


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The Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, (the Milwaukee Road) (CMSP&P) was a large railroad that operated in the midwest and northwest. During the 30's and 40's, the Milwaukee Road offered excellent passenger service from Chicago to Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Pacific northwest and Omaha. It's equipment was luxurious, often home built, and it's schedules to Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul very fast, operating, during the early part of these decades, with high drivered streamlined Atlantic 4-4-2 steam locomotives. While the Burlington diesel-electric powered Zephyrs were slightly faster to Minneapolis, the Milwaukee was probably the more popular, due to it's luxuriously appointed cars. The Milwaukee had a lock on the high speed service to Milwaukee, with the North Western coming in a second, and the North Shore line doing the local stops scene.(rp)

4-4-2 Atlantic
Class A 4-4-2 Atlantic with Hiawatha
Red Wing Minn. Aug 4, 1937


Timetable DJF 40-41
Dec-Jan-Feb
1940-1941

herald
The Milwaukee Road's Pioneer Limited was one of the nation's first name trains and its colorful Hiawatha trains were among the nation's finest streamliners. The post-World War II Hiawatha trains remain a high water mark for passenger train industrial design.
The Milwaukee Road's streamlined passenger services are unique in that most of its equipment was built by the railroad at its Milwaukee Menomonee Valley shops including the four generations of Hiawatha equipment introduced in 1933-34, 1935, 1937-38, and 1947-48. Most striking were the "beavertail" observation cars of the 1930s and the "Skytop Lounge" observation cars by industrial designer Brooks Stevens in the 1940s. Extended "Skytop Lounge" cars were also ordered from Pullman for Olympian Hiawatha service in 1951. The Olympian Hiawatha set was later sold to the Canadian National Railway.(wik)
Early History of the Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific Railroad
(The Milwaukee Road)
1847 - Incorporated as the Milwaukee and Waukesha Railroad. Changed name to Milwaukee and Mississippi.
1850 - First train from Milwaukee to Wauwatosa
1851 - First passenger train
1874 - Name changed to Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul
1887 - Lines run through Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Upper Peninsula of Michigan
1890's - Directors want route to Pacific northwest to compete with Northern Pacific and Great Northern
1901 - Survey and costs estimated at 60 Million
1905 - Board approves Pacific expansion. Route was to be 18 miles shorter than competition but through lesser populated areas
1906-1909 - Route completed, 2300 miles, to northwest. It was more expensive due to unavailability of land grants, need to purchase smaller roads, and five mountain ranges to cross
1914 - Steam power over mountains was difficult. Electrification was a good option due to availability of copper at Anaconda and hydro-electric power. Electrification began between Harlowton, Montana and Avery, Idaho
1915 - First electric train ran between Three Forks and Deer Lodge, Montana, on 300 VDC overhead lines.
1917 - Board approved separate electrification between Othello and Tacoma, Washington
1925 - Higher costs than estimated for electrification forced CM&SP into bankruptcy
1927 - Electrification extended to Seattle, for a total of 656 miles in two separate sections. Largest electrified railroad in U.S.
1927 - Reorganized as Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific, and adopts "Milwaukee Road" trademark
1927 - 2nd Olympian, premier luxury train starts
1935-1945 - Milwaukee Road back into bankruptcy, in spite of success of Hiawatha high speed trains.
1935 - Milwaukee Road introduces high speed lightweight streamliners, the "Hiawatha's" from Chicago to Minneapolis behind 4-3-2 Class A Atlantic steam.
1938 - 4-6-4 Class F7 Hudson steam now on Hiawatha's.
1939 - F7 Hudson sets record Chicago to Milwaukee with Hiawatha, 85 miles in 67.5 minutes, Average speed 75.6 mph.
1941 - Milwaukee tries Alco DL109 diesel on Hiawatha.
1945 - Out of trusteeship.
1945-1950's - Relative success as dieselization progresses.
1947 - "Olympian Hiawatha" to Portland and Seattle with home built lightweight cars.
1948 - F7 Hudson steam still on Hiawatha's.

map west

Chicago to Milwaukee
Railroad Train # and Name Hours Miles
Milwaukee Road 85
5 - Morning Hiawatha 1:15
101 - Afternoon Hiawatha 1:15
23 - 80 minute train 1:20
11 - Sioux 1:20
27 - 85 minute train 1:25
9 - 85 minute train 1:25
57 - 85 minute train 1:25
1 - Pioneer 1:30
15 - Olympian 1:35
19 - 19 1:45
55 - 55 1:45
North Western 85
401 - "400" 1:15
209 - 209 1:35
153 - 153 1:35
219 - 219 1:35
405 - North Western Limited 1:55
211 - Ashland Limited 1:55
217 - 217 2:05
North Shore Line 85.5
407 & 421 (2 trains) 1:56
411 1:57
401-405-409-411-413-417-419
-423 (8 trains) 1:58
429-431-433 (3 trains) 1:59
425 2:00
427 2:01
435-437 (2 tains) 2:05
95 2:28

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Chicago to Minneapolis-St. Paul
The Milwaukee Road Race track

The Milwaukee, with it's high stepping Class A Atlantic 4-4-2's and F7 Hudson 4-6-4's steam powered Hiawatha's, made excellent start stop speeds on the Chicago to St. Paul runs. Some folks say the Milwaukee had the fastest steam runs in the 30's and 40's, but this is not quite true. The Pennsylvania's race track from Englewood (Chicago) through Fort Wayne to Crestline, Ohio had speeds faster than the Milwaukee. You can check out the Pennsy speeds at
Pennsy Speeds
Train#From CityTo CityMilesMin.mph
Afternoon Hiawatha 100 Portage Wateretown 46.9 38 74.1
Morning Hiawatha 6 Wisconsin Dells Columbus 28.2 23 73.6
Afternoon Hiawatha 100 La Crosse New Lisbon 59.8 49 73.2
Afternoon Hiawatha 101 New Lisbon La Crosse 59.8 49 73.2
Morning Hiawatha 5 Wisconsin Dells Mauston 19.2 16 72.0
Afternoon Hiawatha 101 Milwaukee Portage 92.9 78 71.5
Morning Hiawatha 6 La Crosse Sparta 24.6 21 70.3
Afternoon Hiawatha 101 Portage New Lisbon 43.1 37 69.9
Morning Hiawatha 5 Chicago Milwaukee 85 75 68.0
Morning Hiawatha 6 Milwaukee Chicago 85 75 68.0
Afternoon Hiawatha 100 Milwaukee Chicago 85 75 68.0
Afternoon Hiawatha 101 Chicago Mikwaukee 85 75 68.0
Morning Hiawatha 5 Columbus Portage 28.2 25 67.7
Morning Hiawatha 5 Portage Wisconsin Dells 16.9 15 67.6
Morning Hiawatha 6 Red Wing Winona 62.4 56 66.9
Afternoon Hiawatha 101 Winona Red Wing 62.4 56 66.9
Afternoon Hiawatha 100 Red Wing Winona 62.4 57 65.7
Morning Hiawatha 6 Columbus Milwaukee 64.7 60 64.7
7 7 Chicago Milwaukee 85 80 63.8
80 Minute Train 10 Milwaukee Chicago 85 80 63.8
23 23 Chicago Milwaukee 85 80 63.8
23 23 Milwaukee Chicago 85 80 63.8
85 Minute Train 24 Milwaukee Chicago 85 80 63.8
80 Minute Train 29 Chicago Milwaukee 85 80 63.8
Morning Hiawatha 6 Sparta Wisconsin Dells 61.4 58 63.5
7 7 Milwaukee Oconomowoc 32.8 31 63.5
Morning Hiawatha 5 New Lisbon Tomah 18.8 18 62.7
Afternoon Hiawatha 100 Watertown Milwaukee 46 44 62.7
Morning Hiawatha 5 Watertown Columbus 18.7 18 62.3
9 9 Deerfield Milwaukee 61 59 62.0
Morning Hiawatha 5 Red Wing Hastings 20.4 20 61.2
Pioneer 1 Western Ave Milwaukee 82.1 82 60.1
Morning Hiawatha 6 St. Paul Red Wing 40 40 60.0
46 46 Milwaukee Chicago 85 85 60.0
85 Minute Train 51 Chicago Milwaukee 85 85 60.0
Average Speeds 2072.7 1900 65.5

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Later History of the Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific Railroad
(The Milwaukee Road)

1955 - Most steam locomotives gone
1955 - Milwaukee takes over Union Pacific "City" , and "Challenger" trains from North Western for the run from Chicago to Omaha, and from there, on the UP, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Denver
1957 - Last steam locomotive retired.
1961 - Railroad decline begins. Northwest traffic is tough and the premier train, the Olympian Hiawatha, is dropped
1964 - Milwaukee Road plans merger with North Western
1967 - ICC blocks CNW-Milwaukee merger
1970 - Burlington merged with NP and GN, to become BN, effectively choking the Milwaukee Road
1970 - Milwaukee Road rejects CNW offer to be sold to Milwaukee Road, and files to be included in UP-Rock Island merger. This and other attempts at merger failed
1971 - Last Milwaukee Road passenger service
1971-1973 - Pacific traffic increases, due to provisions in BN merger, but deferred maintenance and past decisions to sell off and lease cars hurts Milwaukee Road financially
1973-1974 - De-electrification accomplished in spite of possible sound plans to join the electrified sections and save operating and equipment expense
1977 - Continued deterioration of plant and equipment slowed operations and CMSP&P filed for bankruptcy
1980 - Pacific extension abandoned, and railroad returns as a small regional
1985 - Milwaukee taken over by Soo Line
1992 - The Canadian Pacific Railway, which had owned a controlling interest in the Soo Line Railroad for many years, finishes buying up all remaining stock.
Current - The AMTRAK Empire Builder between Chicago and the northwest coast uses the old Milwaukee Road line from St. Paul to Chicago.


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940 Heartland - Greg McDonnell(gd)
Classic Trains - Kalmbach Publishing Co.-winter 2007
Classic Trains - Kalmbach Publishing Co.-winter 2006
Encyclopedia of North American Railroads Aaron E. Klein(aek)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April25, 2009, revissed April 28, 2011