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Thread: Milwaukee Road Coast Division

  1. #191
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    Now, having scrolling these two posted shots up and down for comparison, I will have to agree with Bob.


  2. #192
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    The thing that tipped me off in the small photo was the "no clearance" sign. I was trying to recall where it was, and it's on the back side of the building.

    Want simple but positive proof? The radio antenna tells the tale. It's on the right back corner, as viewed from the road. Compare it's location in the two shots. The two ends are quite different as well, note the large door on the freight end.

    Also, no, I'm sure that there's no bay window on the back.

    > Was the shot taken low from the edge of the highway?

    Not low, just from the edge of the road, the grass is quite tall. That big bush on the left is still there, grows like the weed it is, and makes walking past your train in the rain a good way to get soaked to the skin.
    Last edited by Bob; 09-08-2005 at 08:02 AM.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadForums.com Host

  3. #193
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    The story of Leo Grismer says alot about how the railroad operated and how rails lived. It always seemed to me that family life was sparse, greasy spoons were abundant, and drinking was the norm.

    Excellent railroad literature by Riverman, "a 1944 marmarth brakeman conductor" who has career-worth of stories I hope he shares.

    John Crosby

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: riverman098
    To: MILW@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: 8/28/2005 1:57:53 AM
    Subject: [MILW] a death on the train ...leo grismer

    my thoughts this evening turned to leo grismer...a 1963 lines west mobridge brakeman. (he was originally a 1948 mobridge fireman) and how he died on a train that i was conductor ...john fishback ( a 1952 aberdeen brakeman) mentioned him and his death the other day on a visit
    with him john roomed at the brown palace hotel in mobridge at his away from home terminal out of aberdeen. the brown palace hotel had a nice batr and lounge....and was leos home town hang out. Leos dad
    was a coal dock operator in trail city,sd...22 miles out of
    mobridge on thefaith trail city branch line.and leo was a pretty good drinking man and was a large and heavy man....anyway we were called out of marmarth about midnite in the early 1970s...the crew was me as conductor... grismer and ralph aman the brakemen and red lewelyn the engineer.and no fireman....leo ate at
    the merts restaurant that morning...he ussually ate at the home away from home that he had in marmarth...( the house just south of the protestant church)..so away we go on a columbia coal train up the rhame hill out of marmarth....at that thime we had about three of these trains a week....the they ran from a mine south of gillette
    wyoming thru forsyth on the northern pacific to miles city... and the milw all the way to a power plant at portage wisc....and had only three units of power...well...we slipped down and stalled about 8 miles from marmarth..bkmn aman cut the train in two and took the front half to ives...about another 3 miles... rear bkmn grismer mentioned he would walk up to the cut...ride to ives... and make the joint when they doubled together...and now another part of the story i was not on the train....the milw was already going broke....and we had deadheaded to marmarth in a milw ownde van that they kept in mobridge...we drove it ourselves...apparently they thought they wer too hard up to hire drivers.....so the condr ussually drove the van back to mobridge on a dead head like this....so i was on the highway...and had a radio and was hearing all this...ralph aman and leo coupled onto the cut that was on the siding at ives..and leo had a radio and stayed at the switch to couple the entire train together..he stopped the cut and the hogger took the head end cut out of the siding..grismer stayed at the switch..and stopped them
    then the head end got over the switch....and that was the last we heard from him on the radio...so couldnt back up or
    anything...ralph walked back...he was dead.. he had thrown the switch and fell over backwards....well...ralph told us on the radio he was dead...so there we were out in the boonedocks..miles from anyplace with a dead brakeman..i dove the van over the fields and ruts and fences,,,and got to the right away
    fence....so...well...load him in the van thru the fence...and he was a heavy guy..and then well...bowman had a hospital about 30 miles down the line...and i took him there.. on tv tonite on bbc worldwide news they had a reporters special...and one of his drivers in bieruit got killed by gunfire...and he felt kinda responsible...i still feel kinda that way about leo...i could have told him to stay in the caboose..it was tough walking...and ralph was a young man and could have made that joint and walked up to the engine...so it made me think of leo again....and write this story his sister asked us all why we didnt give him cpr.....but none of us got to him soon enough.....so anyway...in leos memory...i remember him and can still picture him and john sitting at the bar in the ray grads brown palace lounge ....with brakeman jakey rhinhardts
    daughter ( jakey was a 1940 mobridge brakeman)....virginia....as the
    barmaid...so end of the story..from a 1944 marmarth brakeman conductor

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  4. Default

    As one who receives both Trains and Birders World, I have to say that there is no such thing as a "dumb bird"--only dumb humans who would pillage our God-given world into a wasteland. Kurt E. Armbruster

  5. #195
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Rails to Mt Rainier (PSRail List)

    Per Bob Harbison on the PSRail List:

    No, he's talking about the Milwaukee's line to Ashford/National. It went maybe 5 miles closer than it does now, if even that much. The trains stopped there and then boarded horse and buggies or buses (depending on when you're talking about..) in Ashford for the remainder trip to the national park. I'm almost positive there
    were a few logging railroads closer to the park, but that's as far as the Milwaukee ever made it. If/when they start running the train to the mountain, it will almost certainly terminate at Park Junction.

    Bob Harbison

  6. Default

    Tacoma Rail is talking about running through trains from Tacoma via Frederickson to Chehalis. This would be to relieve traffic through the Nelson Bennett tunnel underneath Pt. Defiance. I know the Milwaukee had a hard time with this as a through route when they got access to Portland. It seems like an even more difficult proposition with a 10,000 foot container train than it was with a 5,000 ft merchandise train.

  7. #197
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Broadways & Turkey Trails

    Here is my take on that:

    Slow and Undependable vs Fast and Dependable

    On a map, Southern Pacific plus Milwaukee Road could equal Los Angeles to Seattle. Management at Chicago, Milwaukee Corporation in Chicago thought that this made sense. A line on the map was a line on the map. But railroads are not lines on a map, they are tracks on the ground. This misconception was one of many conclusions, the totality of which would prove fatal to the Milwaukee Road. For how could a railroad with a top speed of 40 mph, and an average speed of 25 mph, with numerous 10 mph hour slow orders; with a 3.3% grade requiring extra crews and time; possessing nineteenth century engineering and wooden trestles; with no signals of any kind; running strictly on train orders; with frequent meets on single track; and a mix of mainline and logging trains; compete with double track CTC built to modern specifications; with steel bridges; no unusual grades; and 55 mph track?

  8. #198
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Identity of Conductor Hiblar

    A correspondent is interested in the identity of Conductor Hiblar, pictured below (extract from Super 8 mm). The documentation for this trip is the second line down in the time book page for the "First Half August" 1978.

    John Crosby

  9. #199
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Forest Industry logos

    Not the companies you asked for but here are two


    This may be a long shot, but anyone know of where I can find 1966-70- era logos (if any) used for brands on unwrapped loads, and for wrappers on wrapped lumber and building sheet loads by the following PNW companies? Referrals to photos of loads (or descriptions of same) to confirm general size and configuration of logos would be helpful--I can likely locate specific logo designs in forestry trade journals of the era. Thanks!

    Louisiana Pacific
    Georgia Pacific
    Weyerhaueser Co.
    Pack River LumberCo.
    Plum Creek Timber Co.
    Boise Cascade
    Van Evans Co.

    Chris Frissell
    Polson, MT

  10. #200
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default 1970 works of railroad public relations vs SSG


    It seems to me that starting about the time of LBJ's traumas in the Viet Nam War to the present, that substance, whether in economics or in politics, has taken a lessor position to public relations and posturing. Thus in the railroad industry there were two political-legal events that occurred at the start of the 1970's: the creation of Amtrak and the creation of the Burlington Northern Lines. From the first I thought that Amtrak was a cynical ploy from the Nixon Administration to quickly ax pax trains. It is an amazing testament to the tenacity of Congress that Amtrak still exists. Consider that Amtrak was a creation of Republicans designed to quickly self destruct, yet through Nixon, Ford, Reagan and two Bushs it yet survives. But it is a political animal and it is well fed by Congress. Amtrak is a work of public relations, with marginal substance outside the Boston - Washington corridor.

    The other public relations event from that time was the creation of Burlington Northern, Inc. Like the other western land grant roads, the B.N. possessed vast natural resources: timber lands and petroleum. Spin offs I have received from owning stocks in these lines include: Catellus Real Estate, Santa Fe Pacific Resources, Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines, Union Pacific Resources, and Burlington Resources. So what was the real motivation for the merger of the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, S.P.& S. and the Burlington Route? Was it to create an efficient system, to reduce waste and duplication in an era of declining rail use, or was it to set up a scheme, not unlike the Credit Moblier, to spin off the real treasures, the natural resource assets? It is hard to separate the P.R. from the substance. But to make the P.R. case, as opposed to the substantive case, a straw man was needed for this grand Northern Lines system to compete against. The real competition of course was the Union Pacific, still a functional road. But U.P. management probably had its own plans which did not include becoming encumbered by some external scheme. Well if one looked at a map, and ignored the difference between the "red highways" and the "blue highways" there was the Milwaukee Road, the perfect strawman. Why? Because the Milwaukee Road was the weakist sister of them all, with management composed of Northern Lines throw-aways, and even complete with its own empire of natural resources ripe for the picking. Presto, the Milwauikee Road gets nine "gateways" and the Northern Lines gets its merger. But it was all P.R.,, the substance was a lie.

    I hired out at Tacoma in October 1975 and was assigned to Seattle Yard. I knew little about railroading, and no more about the Burlington Northern merger than what I read in the paper. But I could see the lie even then, although it took a couple of years for the reality of it to gel. That's when I got out, and went to work for the B.N. Earlier, on these lists, when asked to defend propositions I could not document, Dave Sprau came to my aid by writing that we blue collar types only knew what we could see from the ground. And this is what I saw: Boom Years in Seattle Yard and on the Road. Seattle Yard was always plugged, never enough room for the traffic. Then the visual conflict of modern, brand new BCIT boxcars and bulkhead flats, most of them built in '74 and '75, all loaded, coming into Seattle Yard via our exclusive barge connection with the booming British Columbia Railway at North Vancouver. The visual conflict: these beautiful cars slousing through Seattle Yard as the rail beneath them slapped up and down in the mud. We had four section men in Seattle, and it was said that they spent more time working on the Terry Avenue Line along Lake Union, partially owned by the MILW but operated by the B.N. And out at Black River, all trains of this great transcontinental, passing through the same decrepit set of cross overs to navigate the odd ball yard track setup. Same at Tacoma Jct. But the biggest joke of them all: The South Lines. One line was red on the map, the Burlington Northern Third Sub, from Seattle to Portland, beautiful double track high speed CTC (Bucoda south). Then two lines were blue, the N.P. Praire Line and the Milwaukee Road South Line. Nothing went on the Praire Line, what would have been the point. But the Milwaukee Road South Line, the horror! See my essay about this on my website. Only an ignorant (or clever) Illinois attorney could have taken that seriously. Turkey Trail doesn't even begin to describe.

    You take this inadequate physical plant, run it into the ground (little maintenance since the end of Milwaukee pax train 20 years before), then ramp up tonnage (Portland, North Vancouver, Port of Seattle, heavy grain movements in brand new overloaded yellow hoppers, Chilean copper ore) and you get what happened, a giant bottleneck which quickly unloaded freignt into the ditch all over the system. But they couldn't even wait for this scenerio to run its course, then they had to screw with the power, but that is another story . . .

    Yes it takes no imagination to see how rapid growth can destroy an old system in ruin. Even a lowly pin puller could see it as he hung on to the side, running though the muck.

    John Crosby

    > [Original Message]
    > From: michaelsol2000 <kimsol@bigsky.net>
    > To: <TheMilwaukeeRoad@yahoogroups.com>
    > Date: 12/11/2005 7:59:53 AM
    > Subject: Re: ~TMR The Good News
    > Hi Gary, I hope you and your family have a Merry Crhistmas as well,
    > and everyone else on the List, too. Much to be thankful for.
    > I see that old railroad right of way every day. I feel the same way
    > you do. I teach a PE class at 7 am at the University, and when the
    > weather is nice, I still find myself announcing, "OK. today we are
    > going to run down the railroad tracks ..." and of course no one has
    > the faintest idea that the Milwaukee Road used to run through the
    > University of Montana and that now it is a river trail.
    > The book is coming along. The hardest part is the 1970s. Existing
    > analyses of that decade and its effect on railroading are poor, very
    > poor. So, it is requiring a considerable amount of analytical work to
    > make some definitive conclusions about what happened to the Milwaukee
    > Road. Too, my ongoing frustration with how management dealt with the
    > challenges of that decade has required some detailed management
    > analytical exercises. The problems with economic analysis is that a
    > whole study can take as long as six months, to produce perhaps two or
    > three sentences of ultimate conclusion about a particular point.
    > A management study on Curtiss Crippen, for instance, has produced a
    > far more negative view of Crippen than I felt or believed personally.
    > I was surprised how negative it came out.
    > I was lecturing a busines class at the U a few weeks ago on "Passive-
    > Aggressive Organizations," and found myself, half way through
    > diagramming and explaining how they come into being, and how difficult
    > they are to fix from a management perspective, realizing I was
    > describing Milwaukee Road after 1972.
    > Also, I have been struggling, for well over 20 years, to explain how,
    > from an economic perspective, a company with rapid growth can go
    > bankrupt. Milwaukee Road 1913-1926 was one of the fastest growing
    > railroads in the country, and from 1971-1977 was one of the fastest
    > growing railroads in the country. Suggesting that strong business
    > results in bankruptcy isn't a well-accepted theory. People look at
    > you.
    > Same thing happened, though as with the passive-aggressive discussion.
    > I was using a model for predicting future capital needs -- its called
    > a self-sustainable growth or SSG model -- and I realized that the
    > model shows that if the company cannot achieve self sustainable growth
    > because it is growing too fast, it begins to consume internal assets
    > in order to sustain the growth. Without outside financing, the result
    > can be bankruptcy. I still need to run Milwaukee's financial data
    > through SSG modeling, but I have a feeling there is finally an
    > explanation, a thoroughly reasonable explanation, that definitively
    > shows that Milwaukee Road's fast growth was specifically its downfall.
    > That will take about six months to complete that study.
    > So, I think I am finally getting to the point of not just being able
    > to say "it happened," but rather "why it happened." I am starting to
    > see the outlines of, insofar as the rail industry is concerned, a
    > "Perfect Storm" that hit Milwaukee Road, a combination of specific and
    > unique events that, any one or two of which on its own, would not have
    > ended up compelling receivership.
    > Best regards, Michael Sol
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    > --Albert Einstein
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    Last edited by JPCrosby; 12-11-2005 at 04:20 PM.

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