C&NW 400 Blotters

These blotters from the Dale Hastin collection all relate to the C&NW 400, which was inaugurated on January 2, 1935. PDFs of the blotters are all around 300 to 400 KB in size.

Dated 1936, this appears to be the oldest of the four. Seven hours from Chicago to Minneapolis is just a bit more than 400 minutes, which is the source of the name. Even though it used heavyweight equipment, the train was competitive with the streamlined Burlington Twin Cities Zephyr and the steamlined Hiawatha.

Continue reading

C&NW California Blotters

These blotters from the Dale Hastin collection all advertise C&NW trains that reach California via the Union Pacific from Omaha. PDFs of the blotters are about 400 to 600 KB in size.

The tiny numbers in the lower left corner of this blotter suggest that it was published in 1910 and that 15,000 copies were made. The date is plausible as the Overland Limited began operation in the late 1890s and the Los Angeles Limited in 1905.

Continue reading

Chicago & North Western Blotters: Pre-1900

These blotters from the Dale Hastin collection aren’t dated, but most seem to be from before 1900. PDFs of the blotters are about 500 to 700 KB in size.

This blotter shows the Dakota territory, suggesting it is from before November 2, 1889, when the territory was split into the states of North and South Dakota. The blotter advertises diners, which C&NW introduced in 1869, and Palace sleeping cars, which C&NW introduced in 1877. So it is probably from the 1880s.

Continue reading

California and the Pacific Coast

One more Milwaukee Road booklet from the Spokane Public Library’s Northwest Collection shows scenes in California, Nevada, and Oregon, three states not actually served by the Milwaukee. The 32-page booklet was published in 1960, just a year before the Milwaukee ended passenger service to the Pacific Northwest. After that, its only connection to California was via the Union Pacific City trains.

Click image to download a 27.1-MB PDF of this booklet.

Perhaps in reflection of the Milwaukee’s poverty, all of the photos in the booklet are black-and-white in an era when the Great Northern, Union Pacific, and other competitors lavished their promotional booklets with color photos. Among the major western roads, only the Northern Pacific was as stingy with color as the Milwaukee.

100 Years of Locomotive Progress

The Milwaukee Road emerged from its second bankruptcy after World War II, so it must have felt rich enough to publish this booklet showing many of its historic and then-current locomotives. The booklet, which I scanned from the Spokane Public Library Northwest Collection, shows twelve steam locomotives that date from before 1920, six more modern steamers, four electrics, and a dozen Diesels.


Click image to download a 20.7-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

Milwaukee was an eclectic buyer, with Diesels by Alco, Baldwin, Fairbanks Morse, General Electric, and General Motors, all of which (at least those shown in the booklet) were built in 1940 or later. By 1950, when this booklet was published, most of the post-1920 steam locomotives were probably still in use as were the pre-1920 electrics. (One series of electric locomotives, the “Little Joes,” were purchased by the Milwaukee in 1950.) The steam locomotives soon disappeared, but the electrics survived to the 1970s.

Vacation Suggestions in the Pacific Northwest

This 1940 booklet that I scanned from the Spokane Public Library Northwest Collection offers pre-war travelers four trips from Chicago to the Northwest. The first takes the Milwaukee to Seattle, a Canadian Pacific liner to Victoria and Vancouver, the Canadian Pacific-Soo Line to Minneapolis, and the Milwaukee back to Chicago. The 14-day trip cost $226 (about $3,000 in today’s dollars), including rail travel, a lower berth, hotels, meals, and local transportation.

Click image to download a 31.3-MB PDF of this 44-page booklet.

Trip 2 went to Seattle, then south to San Francisco on the Shasta Route, a visit to the Golden Gate Expo, the Coast route to Los Angeles, and east to Chicago via the Grand Canyon on the Santa Fe. This 17-day trip cost $252 (about $3,400 today).

Continue reading

Milwaukee Road 1947-1939

This is an odd booklet, as it seems to commemorate the Milwaukee Road’s 92nd anniversary–which isn’t exactly a year that normally is cause for notice, at least not for corporations. Most of the interior text is in a typewriter font, suggesting that the booklet, which I scanned from the Spokane Public Library’s Northwest collection, was hastily slapped together by the company public relations department.

Click image to download a 35.5-MB PDF of this 64-page booklet.

Two world’s fairs were held in 1939, but this doesn’t look like the type of booklet that would be handed out to the public. Instead, it was probably given to newspaper editors and reporters.

Continue reading

San Francisco World’s Fair by Milwaukee Road

This 24-page booklet has 22 pages of information and pictures of the Golden Gate Exposition and two pages of information and pictures of Milwaukee Road trains. I’ve seen almost identical booklets, distinguished only by the railroad name at the bottom of the back cover (which is the cover shown here) and, no doubt, different text and photos on two interior pages, for Canadian National, Rock Island, and Union Pacific railroads, none of which came much closer to San Francisco than the Milwaukee Road. No doubt many others took advantage of this brochure which must have been designed and issued by the expo itself.

Click image to download a 15.4-MB PDF of this booklet.

The booklet has plenty of drawings and several color photos and illustrations of California and the fair. A full-color, centerfold map suggests that most of Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo counties remained undeveloped. (Actually, most of them remain undeveloped today thanks to urban-growth boundaries, but most of the parts that are developed today remained undeveloped in 1939.)

Continue reading

Lake Michigan to Puget Sound

Various publishers issued paperback booklets like this for selected rail routes, such as the Rio Grande (“Rocky Mountain Views”), SP’s Portland-San Francisco line (“Shasta Route”), and Union Pacific’s Overland Route (“Pathway to the Setting Sun”). While not railroad issue, they were obviously published with the cooperation of the railroads and were no doubt sold in train stations and possibly on board the trains themselves.


Click image to download an 81-MB PDF of this 52-page booklet.

This particular booklet has hand-colored photos (at least one of which is based on a black-and-white photo by Asahel Curtis) along with a couple pages of text and a Milwaukee Road route map. The photos, nearly all of which show pictures of Milwaukee trains in scenic locations, are printed on white paper glued onto one side of a much cheaper grade of paper; so this 52-page booklet has just 23 photos including the one on the cover.

Continue reading

Over the Mountains by Electric Power

Though this booklet (which I scanned from the Spokane Public Library Northwest collection) has lots of black-and-white photos of Milwaukee trains in the mountains, its main purpose is to provide a technical overview of the railroad’s electrification. When installed in 1915, the 440 miles of electrified line in the Rocky Mountains and 216 miles in the Cascades were the longest electric-powered rail lines in the world, and some of the only ones whose aim was to reduce operating costs (unlike Pennsylvania’s Hudson River tunnel and Great Northern’s Cascade Tunnel which were electrified to avoid asphyxiating passengers and crew).

Click image to download a 22.5-MB PDF of this 32-page booklet.

This booklet came out in 1920 to celebrate the addition of new, more powerful locomotives especially built for passenger service. These included five General Electric “bi-polars” whose rounded hoods made them almost look streamlined, and ten boxy-looking Westinghouse “quill drives.” In addition to saving money on fuel, the electric locomotives proved more reliable in Montana winters: when temperatures fell to minus 40 degrees, steam locomotives froze up but the electrics kept going.

Continue reading