Sep 22, 2012

Electric Locomotives of the West

Over the past 3 years I have been working with Chuck Heimerdinger and here is the reason why. Chuck was young enough/smart enough to realize the changing tides of American railroads. Steam was disappearing and so was everything else. We took his 10,000 collection of large format slides and turned them into CD images. 

In the early 60s Chuck made it up to Washington State from California and caught a number of Milwaukee electrics in the Cascades and further east. A four unit Boxcab set makes its way east after crossing the Cascade Mountains. Pay no attention to the diesel!

Do you know where this bridge is?  I bet you have passed under it a number of times if you live in the Northwest. Back in 1960 it was off the beaten track but now Interstate 90 goes right under it. Alas no tracks are now on the bridge as the Milwaukee Road gave up the west in 1980 and pulled the track and the overhead wires as it abandoned over 1000 miles of railroad.

There were only 5 of these unique electrics in the world and the Milwaukee Road owned all of them. They were built to haul the Hiawatha from Othello to Seattle, Washington back in the good old days. The steam is coming
from a steam boiler for the heat for the passenger cars. The snow comes from somewhere else.

Another electric success story was the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific. They got to the first two names but never made it to the Pacific. Its primary job was to haul ore to the smelter at Anaconda and made copper with the ore. I'm gonna catch hell if I'm wrong about that. I once had a headlight from the 56 engine.

If you are going to have overhead wires then you need an overhead wire car to fix stuff. I assume the platform was insulated for the safety of the workers. The BA&P is long gone. I wonder why?  Do you like these photo history lessons from my photo collection? Let me know.


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