C&NW Possible Merger with MILW in 1970s

Discussion relating to The Chicago & North Western, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road), including mergers, acquisitions, and abandonments.

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C&NW Possible Merger with MILW in 1970s

Postby CPF363 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:29 am

What if Milwaukee Road had accepted Ben Heineman's offer to purchase the C&NW early in the 1970s? Would the combined system produce a successful system? Did C&NW originate sufficient traffic on its own system bound for the Pacific Northwest that could have been shifted to the MILW's PCE for the long haul? What would the combined system look like, especially the parallel lines between Chicago and Omaha and Chicago and Minneapolis, yards and other facilities? Would one or more of these lines and yards be closed, down-graded or spun off to another railroad? Does a map exist of the combined system anywhere on the Internet? Where would the MILW-C&NW be today if two railroads ultimately decided to merge?
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Re: C&NW Possible Merger with MILW in 1970s

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:04 pm

CPF363 wrote:What if Milwaukee Road had accepted Ben Heineman's offer to purchase the C&NW early in the 1970s? Would the combined system produce a successful system?


Probably, as long as the Milwaukee board was willing to invest and manage in the company, not just cash it in. Also, employee ownership seemed to help C&NW a lot - maybe it would have done the same for an CM&NW.

CPF363 wrote:Did C&NW originate sufficient traffic on its own system bound for the Pacific Northwest that could have been shifted to the MILW's PCE for the long haul?


Maybe not, but it had a fair customer base. The PNW traffic was one of MILW's bright spots anyway, despite their accounting - it probably would have continued to make money, unless the board allowed the shoddy and possibly criminal accounting to continue.

CPF363 wrote:What would the combined system look like, especially the parallel lines between Chicago and Omaha and Chicago and Minneapolis, yards and other facilities? Would one or more of these lines and yards be closed, down-graded or spun off to another railroad?


Chicago - Omaha: C&NW had the better route, hands down. The MILW route would probably have been abandoned (or nearly so) as it is today, though the Savanna-Chicago segment might have lived on under CM&NW or another carrier.

Chicago - Minneapolis: The Milwaukee route seems to be better for haulage, but I don't know whether the C&NW ex-Omaha route had a lot of customers. That might have ended up being parallel track, with forced trackage rights on one or the other lines to BN or Soo.

Chicago - Kansas City: I'd go out on a limb and say that the MILW route would win out over the C&NW ex-CGW route, especially if the ex-M&StL could be connected to the MILW at Albia or Ottumwa for a through Minneapolis - Kansas City route.

Chicago/St. Paul - Duluth: Depends on how much BN would charge for trackage rights over the ex-NP. It probably wouldn't hurt the combined company to keep at least the ex-Omaha branch from Eau Claire to Superior in operation, even if they shifted their traffic from the west onto the ex-NP.

For the most part though, I'd pick the C&NW's main and secondary route profile, and fill in the gaps with MILW branches. As for yards, you'd have to ask someone else - I don't know them well enough.

CPF363 wrote:Does a map exist of the combined system anywhere on the Internet?


There are probably documents referring to the original merger plans denied by the ICC, but I've never seen them. Maybe check the Milwaukee Road Archives or the C&NW Historical Society?

CPF363 wrote:Where would the MILW-C&NW be today if two railroads ultimately decided to merge?


Part of the UP, perhaps after an SP interlude (it would have connected with the SP at both Kansas City, once the Rock imploded, and at Saint Louis.) The UP still needed an Omaha - Chicago line, the Burlington line was in the wrong hands, and neither the Rock nor the ICG line would have supported the tonnage.
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Re: C&NW Possible Merger with MILW in 1970s

Postby MR77100 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 4:49 pm

A C&NW merger with the Milwaukee Road would have resulted in a large number of bike paths! The judge awarded the Milwaukee Road to the Soo Line for a reason!
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