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The Hiawatha Story

The Hiawatha Story

Jlm Scribbins
Copyright Date: 1998
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Hiawatha Story
    Book Description:

    Loved for their radically new, streamlined look, the Hiawatha's Art Deco engines were a hallmark of American industrial design. For Midwestern passengers from Chicago to Aberdeen, the Hiawatha represented speed, comfort, and luxury. From 1935 to 1970 it carried countless passengers and even more memories. Richly illustrated, The Hiawatha Story brings the design and history of this beloved rail fleet to life.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5417-8
    Subjects: Transportation Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-5)
    (pp. 6-7)
    A. C. Kalmbach

    I MUST HAVE BEEN 10 or 11 years old when I discovered what was to become my favorite place for trainwatching. Not that I had missed much on the Milwaukee railroad scene. Our house was only a half block from the Northern Division main line and, if I wished or the weather ordained, I could view the railroad traffic from our livingroom window.

    At night, in bed, I would hear the Mallet articulated pusher which ruled the grade separating our neighborhood. It would lose its footing, and cinders would cascade onto the house roof as it fought for traction. The...

  4. SPEED
    (pp. 8-9)

    K4’S whipping theDetroitandChicago Arrowsacross the Fort Wayne Division in record time. The Great Steel Fleet rolling incessantly behind magnificent Hudsons . . . Toledo, Collinwood, Buffalo . . . mile after mile, night after night, averaging better than 60 miles an hour. Or closer to Chicago: rebuilt 2900’s on the 400, “Setting the Pace for the World”; brave littleElectroliners;shovel-nosed units bringing home the bacon with the world’s fastest, theMorning Zephyr, No. 21.

    Or men: Harry Mayell notching his splendid GG1 away from a speed restriction. Or Engineer McGhee and Fireman Roop calling signals...

  5. ENTER THE HI “Speedlined” became the adjective
    (pp. 10-27)

    FROM 12:30 to 1 p.m. on May 29, 1935, radio station WLS in Chicago, Ill., broadcast a program which originated not in its studios but beneath the trainshed of Chicago Union Station. The radiocast included a performance by one of WLS’s western musical groups and speeches by Mayor Edward J. Kelly and Milwaukee Road President Henry A. Scandrett. The significant part of the program was the christening by Jeannie Dixon, daughter of the general passenger agent of the CMStP&P, of a strange-looking, attentiondrawing conveyance. Listeners then heard a bell ringing and muted exhaust puffs . . . and theHiawatha...

  6. FROM TIP TOP TAP TO BEAVER TAIL The train that netted $700,000 in a year
    (pp. 28-39)

    THE CARS of theHiawathafollowed construction patterns nearly identical to the 4400 coaches. The equipment weighed approximately one-third less than conventional standard cars but more than the ultralight articulated diesel trains then coming into use. Coaches and parlor cars were slightly over 78 feet long; the restaurant-buffet was approximately 5 feet shorter. All cars were the same exterior width as conventional rolling stock but were 4 inches wider inside. The tops of the roofs were 1 foot 4½ inches lower.

    The head car of the new train was officially designated its restaurant-buffet “with Tip Top Tap room.” The forward...

  7. RIBBED CARS ADD 4-6-4’S What was unprecedented became astounding
    (pp. 40-63)

    NEW EQUIPMENT for theHiawathawas exhibited at Chicago, Milwaukee, scheduled intermediate stops, and the Twin Cities October 5-10, 1936, and entered regular service on the 11th — a totally new train (except for motive power) after only 16 months of service. Opportunely, the numberplates of the A’s were such that the Two-Spot could be used advantageously to illustrate material pertaining to the consist of the secondHi.

    The “Hiawatha of1937” incorporated several notable improvements. Cor-Ten steel and aluminum alloys were employed to further reduce weight so that cars weighed 41 to 43 per cent less than standard equipment, and...

  8. 100 HITS 100 A few figures for skeptics to mull over
    (pp. 64-71)

    THEHiawathasand the great Atlantics and Hudsons that pulled them epitomized the streamlined steam age. In an era when it requires the novel technology of a Turbotrain or the physical plant underwriting a Metroliner to conquer the still magical 100 mph ground-speed barrier, it almost seems legendary that steam-poweredHiawathasregularly and effortlessly reached the century mark. As part of a series of articles entitled “Timing the Fast Ones,” E. L. Thompson in the May 1939 issue ofRailroad Magazine(© The Frank A. Munsey Co., 1939) detailed one such everyday, high-speed run of aHiawatha.His account is...

  9. DIESELS, WAR, AND S.R.O. In an all-out war, all-out Hi’s
    (pp. 72-83)

    SEPTEMBER 20, 1941, will be inscribed forever in the history of theHifor the arrival of the inevitable. That morning, No. 15, a 4000 h.p. product of Electro-Motive composed of two E-6 cab units, headed train 6 out of Minneapolis. It had come up from Chicago during the night on mail-and-express train 57. In November it was joined by No. 14, two needle-nose Alco 2000 h.p. cab units, which handled 101 to Minneapolis and returned onFast Mail56. C. H. Bilty remarked that there was no question of the speed capabilities of the A’s and F-7’s, but that...

  10. FAMOUS 15 The locomotive that sold the steam-powered Milwaukee Road on diesels
    (pp. 84-89)

    THE Minneapolis-Chicago speedway of the Milwaukee Road has been traversed by many types of motive power during theHiawatha’sexistence.

    The Class A Atlantics led the way and were in many respects the acme of high-speed passenger steam power. They were followed by the F-7 Hudsons which enabled train No. 6, the southboundMorning Hiawatha,to hold down what was perhaps the fastest regularly scheduled run ever made with steam power: Sparta to Portage, 78.3 miles, at 81 mph on a start-to-stop average.

    Then in the fall of 1941 two 4000 h.p. A-A diesels were purchased and assigned to this...

  11. SKYTOPS AND SUPER DOMES More diesels and enough new cars to make a 2½-mile Hi
    (pp. 90-115)

    JUNE 1946 brought additional 4000 h.p. two-unit EMD E7 passenger locomotives to the Chicago-Minneapolis service, bumping the last Hudsons fromHi’s5 and 100. As the 14 and 15 had been doing all along, the new locomotives made a daily round trip handling a standard train in one direction at night. At this same time, or shortly thereafter, the Alco, despite the fact that it had performed 99 per cent of the time, was quietly assigned to other trains.

    On June 29, 1947, the prewar schedule of 6 hours 45 minutes was returned to train 101, and September 28 once...

  12. YELLOW PAINT ADD RED INK For President Crippen, “an unhappy task”
    (pp. 116-127)

    ON October 30, 1955, the Milwaukee Road assumed operation of the Union Pacific’sChallengerandCitystreamliners between Chicago and Council Bluffs. Some changes of train numbers were necessary to avoid duplication of the operating designations of the UP trains which, unlike many interline passenger runs, use the same schedule number over all participating lines. (Since 1955, consolidations of theCitytrains have altered this somewhat.) Inasmuch as theCity of San Franciscowas trains 101 and 102, the originalAfternoon Hiawathawas renumbered 3 and 2.

    By the mid-1950’s the declining patronage and rising expenses of railroad passenger operation...

  13. NORTH WOODS HIAWATHA The Hi that was the fisherman’s friend
    (pp. 128-139)

    THE portion of the Milwaukee Road that extends from New Lisbon to Woodruff, Wis. (and once went beyond) has been incorporated into the La Crosse division for some 30 years. In the past it was the Wisconsin Valley division. Railroadmen still refer to the long branch as the “Valley,” and passengers transferring at New Lisbon are termed “Valleys.”

    Mention was made in Chapters 1 and 2 of the co-ordination of conventional train service north (west in railroad parlance) of New Lisbon with the originalHiawathaand the occasional operation during the summer of 1935 of a through section of the...

  14. MIDWEST HIAWATHA “The audacity to challenge entrenchments”
    (pp. 140-155)

    WHATEVER ELSE might be said about the Milwaukee Road’s line between Chicago and Omaha, it possesses an uncanny ability to avoid centers of population. It misses Rockford, Ill., and Dubuque and Des Moines, la., and scores a near-miss on Cedar Rapids, la., by running through adjacent Marion. All of this, at least in recent times, did not make the road a leading contender for passenger travel between Lake Michigan and the Missouri Valley.

    Whatever complacency the other roads between those gateways might have felt in regard to the Milwaukee, though, was shattered on December 7, 1940, with the first trip...

  15. OLYMPIAN HIAWATHA To fill a void, “a perfect train”
    (pp. 156-187)

    WHEN the victory of the Allies in World War II became evident, the visions of people and industries could turn again to peaceful ambitions. Trains in the United States not only were full, they were crowded — a circumstance that in most railway general offices brought optimism regarding the future of passenger traffic. Lines that were not operating streamlined trains announced intentions of doing so, and those whose rails already were brightened by lightweight, cheerfully hued varnish declared that their modern services would be expanded as soon as cessation of hostilities permitted.

    A void in streamliner service was obvious in the...

  16. CHIPPEWA-HIAWATHA Where aging Pacifies dimmed their headlights for deer
    (pp. 188-201)

    THE Milwaukee’s secondary main line from Milwaukee north into the upper peninsula of Michigan, like the Chicago-Omaha route, managed to bypass more communities of importance than it reached. In fact, with the exception of Green Bay, Wis., and Iron Mountain, Mich., none of the communities along the route surpassed the definition of a small town. Along the first subdivision, populations did not exceed 4000; on the second subdivision, the figures for all intermediate towns were under the 1000 mark. But the railroad, as it did with theMidwest Hiawathain the Chicago-Omaha service, plunged into the market with a more...

    (pp. 202-203)

    THE ICC decision approving termination of theAfternoon Hiawathawas issued on January 21, 1970. Nos. 2 and 3 made their last trips on Friday, January 23, with a minimum of publicity and only a small amount of railfan activity.

    The final consist of No. 2 comprised 102C-2 (an FP7 and an FP45), an express car, five coaches, Super Dome 58, diner 121, and SkytopCoon Rapids;of No. 3, 35A-35B (an E9 cab and booster), an express car, five coaches, Super Dome 57, diner 123, and SkytopDell Rapids.Thereafter, four of the FP45’ s were assigned to freight...

    (pp. 204-223)

    THE ROUTE of theHiawathasoffers scenic and railfan interest. Chicago to Milwaukee is the first subdivision of the Milwaukee Division; Milwaukee to Hastings is the first, second, and third subdivisions of the La Crosse Division; Hastings (St. Croix Tower) to St. Paul is under the jurisdiction of the CMStP&P-CB&Q joint timetable; and St. Paul to Minneapolis is the fourth subdivision of the “LaX.” Train and engine crews change at Milwaukee, engine crews at La Crosse. C&M crews are Milwaukee-based. La Crosse Division crews are both Milwaukee-based (“La Crosse men”) and Minneapolis-based (“River men”), and some engine crews work from...

    (pp. 224-257)

    THE Milwaukee’s most famous steam power, and certainly among the best known of all North American steam locomotives, was the Class AHiawathaAtlantics. They were built to include all the latest in steam locomotive design in 1935. The A’s were constructed with speed in mind, and they were the first locomotives that were shrouded at birth. Built to meet the challenge of the upstart dieselelectric, they surpassed it. They were designed to handle six cars, and they maintained increasingly tightened schedules with nine cars. Eventually they were replaced, not because of any failures but simply because of the greatly...

    (pp. 258-265)

    This roster includes only cars constructed forHiawathatrains. The Milwaukee Road built a number of other streamlined passenger cars and acquired some from outside builders for trains other than theHiawathas,but these are not listed here, even though a few of them worked at some time or other on theHiawathas.Notes on the conversion or disposition of the cars are included. Rolling stock for which no conversion or disposition is shown existed in its original form at the time of writing. Figures shown for the seating capacity of coaches refer to the number of revenue seats in...

  21. INDEX
    (pp. 266-267)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 268-268)