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What if the Milwaukee Road didn't de-energize the Pacific Extension

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toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
156
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
On a tangential note, the town of Harlowton still has not recovered from losing the Milwaukee Road jobs. The roundhouse is still there as is one locomotive on display in the center of town, but the tracks and jobs are long gone and the town is still really hurting. There has been very little in the way of updates, houses are pretty shabby, with a few fairly spectacular abandoned buildings. Median household income is just $23,600, which is hurting even for Montana. Jobs in Wheatland County started to disappear in the 1960's as mechanization of agriculture really started to take off, but the county was crippled by the loss of those Milwaukee jobs in the 1970's.
My Mom bought a small cattle ranch outside of Harlowton and I go there fairly frequently. It is sad to see a small town that has never gotten its mojo back. The Milwaukee Road's failure is still affecting families in Montana.
This is the unfortunate and ridiculous impacts of bad decisions based solely on profit. If some combination could have kept the Milwaukee in business, it would have saves tons of jobs and the economic vitality of an entire region. I live in Southeast Arizona. This area has never recovered from the 1961 severing of the SP’s EP&SW south line through Douglas. It has been devastating to the whole county and change the economic equation to the worse. We need to stop pulling up railroads willy nilly. This is the harm caused by the Staggers Act which is our equivalent of Britain’s Beeching Axe which is severely hurting Britain to this day.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,409
Location
Palm Beach County
Any town that is a “one industry town”, is always in jeopardy. Look at places like Altoona or Roanoke....or for that matter, Lansing or even Detroit. Some have managed to overcome their losses, others not so much...
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
156
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
Regarding mergers, I think the ICC should have promoted end to end, rather than parallel ones...so that each “transcontinental” would pair up with a “trunk” road.
Absolutely. There were places infrastructure was overbuilt, but many places where it was overbuilt for the population at the time. If we clearly need something in 20 years, but it can’t turn a profit now, a subsidy to keep it going during the interim makes sense. The infrastructure will usually cover most of its costs. The current airline subsidies during COVID are an example. Imagine if we had just bailed Erie Lackawanna out after hurricane Agnes instead of letting it go bankrupt and having Conrail abandon it. So dumb. Penny wise and pound foolish.
 
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