is actually a nickname for a railroad company called The Chicago
, Milwaukee, St. Paul
Railroad. In a stunning development, this business was based in the upper midwest.
Milwaukee Road was started in 1847, when Byron Kilbourn used nefarious means to charter the Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad. Construction towards a western terminus in Prairie Du Chein was begun in 1849.
In 1850, the company changed its name to the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad. Shortly after finally achieving its full construction, the company fell into receivership, and was merged into a number of other railroads to form the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. In the late 1860s, this was the largest operating railroad in the Midwest, with 820 miles of line and earnings of over $2,000,000.
In the early 1870s, the line was extended to Chicago, and the first refrigerator car was introduced. Growth continued and by 1880 it was running on 3,775 miles of track, with 425 locomotives and 13,315 freight cars.
Standard Oil bought the company and expansion slowed, especially after the Panic of 1893.
At the beginning of the 20th century Milwaukee Road was seen as the most stable railroad in the country, even though it was known for it's risky innovations. A period of expansion into the Pacific Northwest began in 1905, a costly project that failed to pull in the revenue forecasted. The Great Northern and Northern Pacific lines held the advantage in this area.
In 1935, it introduced its famous Hiawatha train that ran from Chicago to the Twin Cities. These lines were expanded until the reached the west coast.
The railroad business started to slump in the 1970s, and Milwaukee Road began to lose money. In 1982, all its lines west of Ortonville, MN were abandoned, and in 1985 the rest were sold to Soo Line. By the end of the year Milwaukee Road ceased to exist.