You can visit our Archive web site to see Milwaukee Road-related documents and photos in our collections. To go to our site, click here or on the image below.
The March Milwaukee Road Meet (formerly the “Milwaukee Kent Meet”) is a gathering for slides, movies and discussion and socializing. All are welcome! As in the past, this is a free event. Bring your photos, artifacts, models, memorabilia and other items for display.
Cascade Rail Foundation is pleased to support this event again this year by hosting it at Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA), where Cascade Rail Foundation is a member organization. It is also the home of the Boeing Employees Model Railroad Club.
This is your chance to get together and see some photos and presentations by some of the renowned Milwaukee Road photographers and historians in the Pacific Northwest.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- The archive facility does allow for sales of your memorabilia, paper and model railroad items. However, space is limited.
- Parking is also limited. Please park on the street if you can. Be aware that some of the nearby street spaces have a two-hour limit.
- The event is FREE, although a $3 donation applied to the Cascade Rail Foundation Milwaukee Road archives program is suggested by the organizers.
You can download a map with directions here: PNRA_Directions
Some our most stalwart volunteers retired from their work with Cascade Rail Foundation this year. If you’ve visited the depot in South Cle Elum, you’ve probably met them.
Lorna and Fulton Toub have been volunteering at depot since 2008. The Toubs had a big impact from the start, receiving our Volunteer of the Year award the first year they were with us. They’ve been opening the depot to visitors on weekends and helping out behind the scenes with a variety of tasks.
Our President, Bruce Reason, retired late this year. He has been on our Board of Directors since March 2006 and has served as President since January 2008. In addition to having a leadership role at Cascade Rail Foundation, Bruce took on a myriad of tasks around the depot and the rail yard. Among these, he has been opening the depot to visitors when the Toubs have not been available. Like the Toubs, Bruce had an immediate impact on our organization and also received our Volunteer of the Year award the first year he was with us (2006).
The contributions of the Toubs and Bruce will be greatly missed.
Brian Lee is our new President, and Mark Borleske replaces Brian as our Vice President.
Happy holidays everyone!
We wish you a healthy and prosperous 2014!
We now have a web site for our archive materials! When people want to learn something about anything, they increasingly turn to the internet. Having a web site for our archive is an important way for us to make the history of the Milwaukee Road more accessible for people to discover. While our focus is on the history of the railroad in Washington, the scope of our collections also includes materials related to the Pacific Coast Extension as well as material pertaining to the entire railroad.
On our web site you’ll find information about the material in our collections, including digital copies of selected items, along with information compiled to aid researchers. The site will be developing over time, but some highlights of the material currently on the site include George Werkema’s slide collection (starting with the freight car slides), photos from former Milwaukee Road locomotive engineer R.J. Jones, digitized dispatcher train sheets documenting Milwaukee Road train operations in Washington, and photographs from Aaron Schwarz of Interstate Commerce Commission documents located in the National Archives.
Our site is hosted by Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA), where we are a member organization, and it uses the same software as the GN-NP Joint Archive site used by fellow PNRA member organizations.
While we’ve been developing our web site, we’ve also been busy moving more of our collections to our space in the PNRA facility in Burien, WA and working to organize the materials. Our ability to digitize material received a boost this summer when PNRA received a grant to purchase a large format scanner and a transparency (slide/negative) scanner.
We’re excited by our progress in developing our archive program. Our limiting factor in improving access to our collections is now volunteers. With more volunteers at PNRA in Burien, we can speed up the process of organizing and digitizing our materials. And now that we have our web site up, we’ll probably have some opportunities for people to assist online. Contact Paul Krueger if you’d like to help.
With our purchase of the 5057 completed earlier this year, our next step is to move it back to Washington and get to work on the cosmetic restoration of the locomotive.
We plan to send the 5057 to the locomotive shop of the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad (POVA) in Usk, WA (north of Spokane) for the restoration work. We are very pleased to be working with the people at POVA. POVA is a publicly-owned railroad that operates part of the former Milwaukee Road branch to Metaline Falls, WA.
Before the 5057 can move anywhere though, we need to make sure it will safely and smoothly travel on its own wheels. We worked with the Feather River Rail Society to organize a work party in Portola, CA in October to prepare the 5057 for its trip to Washington. You can read about it on the 5057 Project web site. The work party was very productive, but another few days of work are still needed. We are planning to work on the 5057 in Portola again in the spring. Feather River Rail Society has been very helpful and cooperative, and we thank them for their assistance.
In the meantime, fundraising continues. Our current focus is to ensure we can pay for the move to POVA and be able to start the first part of the restoration work. We have most of the funds for the move, but we’re not quite there yet. During this next round of fundraising we have a new incentive for people interested in making a challenge donation. As long as supplies last, anyone who makes a challenge donation of at least $500 will receive a reproduction 5057 numberboard (patterned off of one of the originals). Please contact us if you’d like to initiate a challenge donation.
With the support of people like you, we will have the 5057 back in Washington next year and one step closer to South Cle Elum.
We had our third annual Milwaukee Employees Annual Luncheon earlier this month at the Iron Horse B&B in South Cle Elum. It was great to bring part of the Milwaukee Road ‘family’ together again! Our guests enjoyed barbequed chicken from Smokey’s BBQ.
With the help of Inland Networks Channel 40, we recorded several more interviews and look forward to sharing them with you in the future. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the event. Click on a picture to see a larger version.
This week Fred High and I spent most of the evening continuing to repack unprocessed material from odd size boxes into standard size storage boxes. Our focus this time was on the last few unprocessed boxes of the extensive Doug Nighswonger collection. Much of the Nighswonger Collection is Traffic Department records spanning from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. These were records were saved from the Tacoma office.
One box we repacked contained reader files. A reader file is a collection of copies of outgoing correspondence that was circulated among managers. The example below is reader file 26 from early in March 1931, containing correspondence generated by the Division Freight and Passenger Agent (DF&PA). If you open the file, you’ll see examples of the types of correspondence sent by the DF&PA. Note in particular the weekly traffic letter, which is cautiously optimistic that business levels will soon return to normal. If only they knew! The Nighswonger Collection has several boxes of reader files like this.
Our Thursday sessions usually meet on the first and third Thursdays each month. The next Thursday session will be September 5. Please let us know if you’d like to join us at Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive in Burien, WA. (click here to contact us) A group also meets at the Archive every Wednesday from 10 am to 4 pm and a daytime Saturday group should be starting soon. There is plenty to do, so come join us!
Our third annual Milwaukee Employees Annual Luncheon will be held at the Iron Horse B&B on October 5 this year, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The B&B is in the former Milwaukee Road Cle Elum bunkhouse at 526 Marie Ave in South Cle Elum, WA. Lunch will be BBQ chicken from Smokey’s BBQ.
Our intent is to honor former employees of the railroad, recognizing their service on the railroad. We hope to bring fellow co-workers back together and spark candid stories reminiscing the days in the past when they were employed by the railroad.
For those former employees who are willing to participate, we plan to have a camera crew set up again to record their memories for future generations.
Come and join us for an enjoyable lunch and time with friends. Please RSVP if you plan to attend. Each former employee may bring one guest.
Please RSVP by September 28 to Paul Krueger at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon H. Russ, retired locomotive engineer of the Milwaukee Road’s Coast Division, died on August 20, 2013 at the age of 94. A memorial service is planned for September 7, 2013 in Tacoma at Narrows Glenn Retirement Home (details below). In lieu of flowers the family is requesting gifts be made to Cascade Rail Foundation. Gifts can be sent by mail or made online. Online donations can be made here for general donations or here for the 5057 locomotive project.
Gordon first hired out on the Milwaukee Road in June 1937, where his father had worked as a locomotive engineer since 1905 for the Milwaukee’s predecessor, the Tacoma & Eastern Railroad.
Gordon was a veteran of the Second World War, enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 and ultimately serving in the Pacific theater.
Returning from WWII, Gordon continued his career at the Milwaukee Road, where rose through the mechanical department and train service ranks to locomotive engineer, a position he would hold through the departure of the Milwaukee Road’s operations from Washington in 1980. At the time of the Milwaukee Road’s abandonment Gordon ranked No.1 on the engineer’s seniority roster for the Coast Division. Highlights of his career in engine service included his working the Olympian Hiawatha passenger train between Tacoma and Othello and operating of each type of the historic electric locomotives in operation on the Coast Division. Ultimately, Gordon retired from the Union Pacific Railroad in 1984 at age 65. He worked briefly as a locomotive engineer consultant at the start-up of the Wisconsin Central Railroad in 1987-1988.
Gordon was active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (“BLE”) during his rail career and was elected Local Chairman of Division 801 (1957 to 1964) and BLE General Chairman of Lines West of the Milwaukee Road (1964 to 1967).
He became broadly known within the railroad enthusiast community when he was featured in the March 1978 Trains magazine article “Tacoma Hill, slugs, and Mr. Clean” by Blair Kooistra. Gordon was “Mr. Clean”, because he ensured the cabs of his locomotives were meticulously clean.
Gordon is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service celebrating Gordon’s life will be held at Narrow’s Glen Retirement Home on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM. (8201 6th Avenue Tacoma, WA 98406, 253-320-7074)