Best books on Milwaukee Road?

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Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:11 am

What are your favorite books on the Milwaukee Road? Please share title and at the very least, a short description.

-otto-
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby railohio » Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:14 pm

There is only one: The Milwaukee Road by Fred Hyde (Hyrail 1990). Everything else does not compare. The photo reproduction is superb and the volume covers the extremities of the Milwaukee system, from Louisville, Kentucky to Portland, Oregon. It's worth every penny you'll pay for it on the used market. There is no equal.

There are also a number of "also ran" publications to choose from. Morning Sun has five "In Color" volumes on the Milwaukee Road as well as a separate Under Milwaukee Wires and two equipment color guides. These are done in the typical Morning Sun style. Coverage is spotty at best and some of the photos are less than technically excellent, but they provide illustrations are are consistently decades older than the Hyde volume. What's better, however, is the two volume "Trackside" set by Jim Boyd from his extensive travels over the Milwaukee system.

The definitive Milwaukee Road history is from Wisconsin's native son, August W. Derleth, and is titled The Milwaukee Road: Its First Hundred Years. It has been published by a couple different printing houses over the years. My paperback copy is from the University of Iowa Press. Also of note is a scathing volume from Thomas H. Ploss, a former Milwaukee Road lawyer, titled The Nation Pays Again. This volume examines the ineptitude of the road's later managers and its eventual demise.

Another option with a familiar title is The Milwaukee Road by Tom Murray, this time part of the MBI Railroad Color History series. This volume couples together a somewhat detailed history text with a good selection of historic images from throughout the road's history, though many photos tend to be from the later era. Also from MBI is a look at the Milwaukee's named Hiawatha trains in a volume by John Gruber.

Kalmbach has released a couple volumes on its hometown railroad over the years. The one I happen to have handy is Milwaukee Road in its Hometown by the famed Jim Scribbins. This is a black-and-white tour of the railroad in the city during the late steam and transition eras. There is also, of course, The Hiawatha Story, originally published in the 1970s, also from Scribbins.

Also on the radar, but not yet on the shelf, is a continuing series from Four Ways West on the Milwaukee Road's motive power starting with F-units and Geeps. Milwaukee passenger service is covered by still more volumes. Four Ways West has one out that's the first in a series. TLC Publishing has a single volume out by noted author Patrick Dorin. Finally, and certainly not least, is Scribbins' recently (2007) republished Hiawatha Story from University of Minnesota Press.

This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list of books on the Milwaukee Road. I've ignored a good selection from books from Iconografix, Superior Publishing, Signature Press, University of Iowa Press, Milwaukee Road Historical Association, Heimburger House, and many other smaller publishing houses simply due to their lack of inclusion on my shelf. I'm hoping the other Milwaukee Road fans here can step up and talk about the books that cover their favorite road.
mmmmm pie!
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby dhaugh » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:40 pm

Another good one, though obviously more region specific, is John Luecke's "The Milwaukee Road in Minnesota".
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:21 pm

dhaugh wrote:Another good one, though obviously more region specific, is John Luecke's "The Milwaukee Road in Minnesota".


Can you tell us some more about it?
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:01 pm

"The Milwaukee Electrics" by Noel T. Hoelly is great. Released by Hundman Publishing in 1999, the book looks like it would be hard to get through, but Noel does a great job of walking the reader through each class of locomotive and the timeline of Lines West electrification. Also a great section on the substations and the workers who kept them going. The layout of the book is a little odd, not what you'd usually expect from Hundman. That's because this is a re-release of a book from NJ International. Many great photos, clear text, good drawings, and even a nice color section make this book worthwhile for any juice fan, or MILW fan.
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby dhaugh » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:35 pm

More about "The Milwaukee Road in Minnesota"? Well, it's been a few years since I've read it, but John Luecke is a well-known hobbyist/flea market presence in the Twin Cities area. He used to own a store "Como Shops" in the complex of the same name in St. Paul. Now I think he works only out of his home via internet and flea markets. Anyway, he's written a number of books about the various RRs around the Twin Cities all ending with "in Minnesota"... such as the CGW, NP, GN, probably CNW... They deal with a chronological history from the building of the lines all the way to present use of all lines within Minnesota. They typically include a handy abandonment timetable in the back, and of course a fair amount of pictures. They don't go cheap, esp once they're out of print - $40-50 new, and I've seen the CGW one going for over $100 on ebay.
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books and publications

Postby Tadman » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:17 pm

It's worth adding a few publications:

1. Noel Holley's book has been reissued "Milwaukee Electrics". I have a copy from the prior printing and it's a great book for traction guys.
2. Forum member Gilbert Norman was an accountant with the road 1970-1980 approximately.
3. There are a few Morning Sun books on the railroad.
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby e57bmotor » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:31 pm

Hi. The Upper Musselshell Historic Society in Harlowton, Montana has put together a list of about 100 books written about the Milwaukee Road over the years. If anyone wants the list just email me and I will forward it to you. If you get the list, please look it over and tell us if any book is missing.

thanks, e57bmotor
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:10 am

railohio wrote:Also of note is a scathing volume from Thomas H. Ploss, a former Milwaukee Road lawyer, titled The Nation Pays Again. This volume examines the ineptitude of the road's later managers and its eventual demise.

Here is Mr. Ploss' (now deceased) work available from an on line retailer:

http://www.biblio.com/thomas-h-ploss/th ... 0961378813

Mr. Ploss was a contemporary of mine at the MILW (my last day worked at the MILW was Jan 7, 1982, but effectively I resigned prior to Xmas 1981). Let's just say 'I knew him'. He was a Staff Attorney and definitely branded a 'dissident'. It also appears his dissidence followed himin later walks of life as it appears he was not much more in favor with either the Internal Revenue Service the Civil Service Commission, and the Attorney Disciplinary Commission.

Now, go read Mr. Ploss' work.

In short, I cannot hold that the MILW was a well managed road - even if I was some lesserling in their management (it just plain ceased to be fun after the Bankruptcy and all I could see ahead for me was a no travel desk in a Dickensian work environment; so I checked out and went into private practice as a CPA at which I "did OK"). Quite certainly, Lines West should have never been built, but that it was I think called for reviewing every possible means to ensure it was at least "railbanked' for some future railroad transportation use - not necessarily by the MILW or its successors. As I've noted here, the 'hottest set up' to come along was the 1980 proposal by Japanese maritime interests to buy LW. At a time when the ERIE was still intact could have that come under the control of maritime interests and there would have been a Coast to Coast "Land Bridge' offering 120 hour 'docking Seattle to sailing Port Elizabeth" transit time. Such would relegate the Panama Canal to a "tourist railroad' for cruise ships, render it moot as to who was aiming popguns at whom along the Suez Canal, and saving countless hours of shipping time for Asia-Europe commerce.
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby Komachi » Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:31 pm

I believe the tome that dhaugh has mentioned, is one I have read a number of times, entitled: Dreams, Disaster & Demise: The Milwaukee Road in Minnesota.

dhaugh wrote: They deal with a chronological history from the building of the lines all the way to present use of all lines within Minnesota. They typically include a handy abandonment timetable in the back, and of course a fair amount of pictures.


That's a pretty fair assessment of the book. The two chapters on the Southern Minnesota and the Caledonia, Mississippi & Western are where I learned the bulk of my knowledge about the two lines that ran through my "neck of the woods" here in southeastern Minnesota. (The latter of the two being more fascinating, not only because it dealt specifically with the line that came to my hometown, but was also where I learned that the Caledonia, Mississippi & Western was one of two 3' narrow gauge lines in the state of Minnesota (the other was a line near Zumbrota).)

dhaugh wrote: They don't go cheap, esp once they're out of print - $40-50 new, and I've seen the CGW one going for over $100 on ebay.


Last time I did a search for Dreams, Disaster & Demise, it was around $300. Definately a resource I want in my reference library, but, at that price, it will be a while before I buy it.
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Re: Best books on Milwaukee Road?

Postby montananext » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:18 pm

What is very interesting concerning books about the Milwaukee Road is the huge number that have never been copyrighted or registered with the US Library of Congress. While the Library of Congress has some 65 titles about the Milwaukee Road, the Upper Musselshell Historic Society in Harlowton, Montana has collected some 450 books about and including the Milwaukee Road. In fact, our Milwaukee Road, Montana Railroad (the Jawbone) library contains over 2,500 books, DVDs, Videos, LP records and magazine articles and photographs; too many to pick a favorite. In addition, the Society has assembled the largest collection of HO Milwaukee Road models open to the public in the United States; some 550 models. Finally, we created a web portal to some 185 website primarily dedicated to the Milwaukee Road. To access the portal, go to our home page (harlowtonmuseum.org) and click on the Milw. Road button. Once on our railroad page, again click on the Milw. Road button to be at the portal's index page. Good viewing!
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