Schaffner wrote:Have a few questions about the Milwaukee line to Great Falls, MT that I would like to ask. If anyone can answer them, or just a few, I’d greatly appreciate it.
When did the branch get abandoned? Was it at the same time as the rest of western lines, or was it abandoned before then?
Was the Milwaukee station in Great Falls also an office building for the branch? It’s a rather large structure, so I was wondering if the railroad had another use for it.
When was the last year for passenger service on the branch?
What type of motive power was used in the diesel era?
The branch line between Harlowton, Lewistown, Great Falls, and Agawam was carved up as such:
Harlowton to Moore, abandoned in 1980 along with the main line west of Terry, Montana.
Moore through Lewistown to Geraldine acquired by BN in 1980.
Geraldine to east of Falls Yard (Malmstrom AFB), abandoned in 1980.
East of Falls Yard into the city of Great Falls acquired by BN in 1980.
Great Falls to Emerson Jct. (where the MILW started with BN trackage rights), abandoned in 1980.
Emerson Jct. to Vaughn to Dracut Jct., trackage rights on BN
Dracut Jct. to Fairfield, abandoned in 1980.
Fairfield to Eastham Jct. to Choteau, acquired by BN in 1980
Choteau to Agawam, abandoned in 1980.
There were also two branches out of Lewistown: One to Roy and Winifred, and one to Grassrange (which originally went to Winnett). The branches to Roy and Winifred were abandoned in 1980, but the Grassrange branch was acquired by BN in 1980 between Lewistown and Heath (to serve a gypsum plant), but was abandoned east of Heath to Grassrange.
Passenger service to Great Falls ended in 1955.
Undoubtedly, the classy Milwaukee station in Great Falls was once housed offices, but Great Falls was never a major location (given its nearly end-of-the-line status). A 1959 Official Guide indicates the Milwaukee's traffic office in Great Falls as NOT being in that location. The Milwaukee yard office in Great Falls was in the Northeast section of the city, not far from Malmstrom AFB, and was no more than a small nearly square building. As I understand it, the size of the structure is as a result of a one-time intention to extend the line through the city across the mountains and meet up with the main line near Missoula, creating, in effect, a second main line route. This never came to pass.
SD7s, SD9s, and SD10s were common power on the branches north of Harlowton until 1980.