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Milwaukee Road

The Milwaukee Road was a railroad that operated in the midwest and northwest of the United States from 1847 until its acquisition by and merger with the Soo Line railway in 19851986. The company went through several official names and faced banruptcy several times in that period. While the railroad doesn't exist as a separate entity anymore, signs of its past still remain in buildings such as the historic Milwaukee Road Depot in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


The Milwaukee Road first entered existence as the Milwakee and Waukesha Railroad when it was first incorporated in 1847, but shortly changed its name to Milwaukee and Mississippi. After three years, the first train ran from Milwaukee to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and the first passenger train ran on February 25, 1851. In 1874 the name was changed to Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul. By 1887, the railroad had lines running through Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

A major expansion of the railroad occurred in the 1900s. Between 1906 and 1909, new railroad lines were built from South Dakota to Puget Sound and the Seattle/Tacoma region of Washington. While the tracks were great feats of engineering, in the end, they did not contribute to the success of the company and are believed to have led to the company's bankruptcy in 1925.

After a reorganization in 1928 as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific, the Road continued to face financial difficulties for the next few decades. The company again found itself in bankruptcy in 1935 and 1945, then went through major changes in 1977 with a reorganization that saw the company let go of two thirds of its track mileage.

Finally, the company operated as Milwaukee Road, Inc., from it's acquisition on February 21, 1985 until the companies merged on January 1, 1986.

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