The Milwaukee Electrics

by Noel T Holley

North America’s pioneering main line electrification across the Rockies was a bold but misguided project. The Milwaukee’s Pacific Extension, completed in 1909, was the fourth and weakest link from the Midwest to the North West. Electrification at 3 kV DC through the mountains between Harlowtown, Montana, and Avery, Idaho, (705 km) was completed in 1917. Wires were live on the 360 km Coast Division from Tacoma to Othello by 1920, but in 1924 the company went bankrupt.

The 340 km gap between Othello and Avery was never closed. By the time diesels replaced steam elsewhere, the electrification was obsolete. Electric working ceased in 1974, and in 1980 the Pacific Extension was abandoned. While the focus of this lavishly illustrated history is on motive power, there is a detailed description of how the electrified line was operated and maintained.

$49·95 from Handman Publishing, 13110 Beverley Park Road, Edmonds, Washington 98275, USA.

NaTaBu 2000


The latest edition of this handy pocketbook to the German public transport industry comes in three sections. Part I covers operators and research organisations, part II deals with suppliers, and part III provides an alphabetical ’Who’s Who’ with job titles and contact details for around 6200 people. ISBN 3-87094-643-1

DM124·00 from Alba Fachverlag GmbH, Postfach 11 01 50, D-40501 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Fax: +49 2 11 520 1358