Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From My Photo Archives

Back in 1998, we photographed this impressive Milwaukee Road locomotive at Red Deer Montana. This is a 1946 GE "Little Joe" 12-axle 5500 horsepower Electric Locomotive. Twenty of these locomotives were built for export to the Soviet Union but shipment was blocked as the US & the USSR slid into the Cold War. After sitting for awhile, 5 were sold to Brazil, 3 were purchased by the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad...and eventually, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad bought the other 12.

The Milwaukee Road used 2 "Little Joes" for passenger service, pulling the plush and famous Olympian Hiawatha to Seattle. The nickname "Little Joe" was used by the railroad in reference to Joseph Stalin...who had originally ordered the engines. These electric locomotives stayed in service for the Rocky Mountain Division of the Milwaukee Road until 1974 when the electric portion of the railroad was closed down. (It should be noted that shortly after this line was closed down, the oil embargo started and fuel prices skyrocketed)

The South Shore Railroad used 2 of their "Little Joes" for freight movement until 1983. These were the last electric locomotives in regular mainline freight service in the USA. In addition to #E70 shown above, South Shore electric locomotive #803 is preserved at the Illinois Railroad Museum west of Chicago in Union, (, and locomotive #802 is on display at the Lake Shore Railroad Museum in North East, PA, about 10 miles from Erie. (

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