Milwaukee Road ES44AC
Milwaukee Road ES44AC
It’s Milwaukee Road Monday. These include random numbers so you never duplicate.
During the 1950’s the Milwaukee was aggressively modernizing the railroad, rebuilding Bensenville and St. Paul yards into state of the art classification facilities, dieselizing before it’s competitors, and revamping it’s electrification system. After Riley resigned from his position, the new president continued what he started and would always be innovating. In 1964, they introduced the innovative XL Special and Thunderhawk priority trains on the transcon between Chicago and Tacoma, Washington, and the schedule these ran on was faster than the passenger ones.
The Milwaukee Roads electrification was in two districts and weren’t connected to each other, so they had to run diesel in between them. GE offered to connect them free of charge, as a way to showcase its electrical systems for other potential RR customers. The MILW wanted to keep the 3300v dc and upgrade that, but GE wanted to convert it to 25kv AC and supply them with E60’s. Converting the system to 25kV might entail a delay of a few years as the new infrastructure is constructed alongside the existing one. By retaining the DC system, it allows for the addition of new locomotives and increased capacity without disrupting the current operations. GE decided to just go along with them to get a mainline system in operation. GE suggested upgrading the Milwaukee system from 3300V DC to 4000V DC. GE representatives stated that the remaining lifespan of the Joes locomotives was uncertain, indicating they would remain operational as long as the new power system did. With the 4000V DC upgrade, the Joes would have had a continuous time horsepower rating of approximately 7200. Initial purchase prices of electrics were cheaper per horsepower than diesel and were 72% more efficient than diesels.
In the 1970s, the Milwaukee Road operated two commuter rail lines in Chicago, this service was being subsidized by local transit agencies but was later just taken over by Metra.
In 1958, railroad management recognized the benefits of having a steam program and retained No. 261 for special activities. This would become part of their heritage program, along with the milwaukee boxcabs because they still use the joes.
The Milwaukee Road in the present day competes with the Great Northern and Northern Pacific for freight to the pacific.
(I took these pictures on my unfinished map of the blue island junction)
GE ES44AC (Evolution Series)