TREnecNYP wrote:It may have been posted elsewhere, but i have not seen it after looking, so here it is.
Just thinking about that being a fully electrified system all most turns me foamer.
But it was far from "fully electrified." No branch lines were electrified, and even the main line from Harlowton to Seattle/Tacoma had the famous 212-mile "Gap" between Avery, Idaho and Othello, Washington that was never electrified. Some locals on the main line in electrified territory operated with non-electric locomotives. Back in the days when the line was electified and the other locomotives were steam, no one thought much changing locomotive power, since steam locomotives were swapped on trains regularly. Changing to an electric then to steam then back to electric was not a lot different than that which would have been done anyway. When diesels arrived, however, they were able to go long distances without signficant servicing. This meant that changing locomotive power en route (three times) was an inefficiency that could not be tolerated.
In reality, the Milwaukee often ran diesel power through on trains and used its electric power as supplemental power. With five major "hills" to traverse between Harlowton and Tacoma, and none of them between Avery and Othello, the diesel power could usually handle the train between Avery and Othello with the electric power being added and removed as necessary.
Probably the biggest reason that the Milwaukee could not be considered "fully" electrified is becuase it really didn't have that much electric power. Granted, traffic on the MILW was always relatively sparse, but as an example, there were only 12 total "Little Joe" electric locomotives, the most powerful type the Milwaukee owned. Hardly enough to handle all the trains run (even as few as there were), and even though they were kept in the Harlowton-Avery segment. The older electric power was, toward the end of their "lives" often used as helper power on the many helper districts on the Milwaukee route.