Milwaukee_F40C wrote:So what it sounds like is Milwaukee withdrew from RTA but still ran the service under NIRC, NWSMTD, and Nortran who procured capital improvements and purchased the existing stations and equipment.
Milwaukee_F40C wrote:Did any of those three agencies also subsidize any operating expenses? If not, then Milwaukee was probably running the trains (staffing, maintenance, and supplies) out of its own pocket.
I remember a conversation awhile back about the RTA's 1982 fare increases at a transportation seminar I attended at U of Chgo. As stated before, RTA's 1981 funding crisis had damaged their ability to subsidize the service, chief among the reasons MILW didn't renew the contract. But specifically, the discussion centered on how the increases for the MILW commuter service seemed disproportionately higher than those imposed on other routes. In the most extreme example, a monthly pass to Walworth, WI spiked from $92.95 in 1979 to over $200 in just three years. And, perhaps not coincidentally, service to Walworth ended and was cut back to the current Fox Lake terminal when RTA/NIRC took direct control of the service on 10/1/82, after Walworth declined chip in for a subsidy to continue the service. That much is known.
Also keep in mind that the 1982 version of the Milwaukee Road was a more leaner, regional railroad after it emerged from its 1977 bankruptcy. As a restructured company, they were likely not equipped financially to handle the commuter operation and it didn't take them long to put the lines up for sale. So when considering all of this, it seems likely that Milwaukee was indeed operating the service privately for awhile in 1982, with no direct subsidy from RTA or the mass transit districts, and likely at a loss. But unfortunately, the finer points of events that happened over 30 years ago become faded with time, and there's still some key unknown details, such as: Who was in charge of the railroad at the time? What was their philosophy? Were all decisions strictly shareholder driven? (I'm inclined to think so, especially at a restructured company, but again, that's guesswork). Knowing the answers to these and other questions will help us better understand what was really going on at the time.
In any case, I think a trip to the library is in order, to get the full story...