Nov 22, 2012

Memembering the Milwaukee Road station in Missoula

38 years ago I chased the last of the Milwaukee electrics into Missoula and focused on the train rather than the background. I was with my 9 year old son Jerry Jr and he shot the similar shot from the stairs that led down to the tracks. Yes he had a 35 mm camera as well. The date is June 8, 1974.
This past weekend I traveled back to Missoula with my daughter Bonnie and son-in-law Kent to see the University of Montana play their state rivals.  Before the game started we were walking around downtown and I thought wouldn't it be neat ( do people still say that? ) if I took photos of the old station at or near the same spot I did back in 1974? Well here it is completely restored and still in use but not as a railroad station. The tracks were gone
back in May of 1980 and the railroad was gone except parts of it were absorbed by Midwest railroads.
The backside looks pretty good as well except those darn kids keep getting in my photos! Can you tell which one is my daughter Bonnie? Can you tell which one played linebacker for the U of M and the Jets?
Missoula still has an active train station but not for travelers, Amtrak does not come this way west as they gave up the NP line in favor of the Great Northern line further north. If Mike Applegate is correct I may have had something to do with saving this station when we tried to save the Spokane GN and UP stations
and failed. Mike thinks the noise we made in Spokane had an effect on the BN president at the time and they saved Missoula, Helena, Tacoma, Livingston and others when they realized people still thought they were worth saving. Its a nice thought but I would need to see BN documents to prove it to me.
Missoula has the foresight to save one of NP's 4-6-0's and it looks like it could still pull a few cars around at 60 mph down the line.

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