Twin Cities – Olympian
The Milwaukee Road aggressively marketed passenger service through much of its history, maintaining a high quality of service until the end of private intercity passenger operations in 1971. The Milwaukee prided itself on its passenger operations, providing the nation with some of its most innovative and colorful trains. The railroad’s home-built equipment was among some of the best passenger equipment ever run on any American railroad. The Milwaukee’s reputation for high quality service was the principal reason that the Union Pacific shifted its service to the Milwaukee Road for its “City” streamliners in 1955.
The Milwaukee Road’s Pioneer Limited was one of the first named trains and its colorful Hiawatha trains were among the nation’s finest streamliners. The post-World War II Hiawatha trains remain a high water mark for passenger train industrial design.
Starting in November, 1955 the Milwaukee Road assumed joint operation of the Union Pacific’s City of Los Angeles, City of Portland, City of Denver, and Challenger trains as well as the Union Pacific/Southern Pacific City of San Francisco.
After assuming operation of the UP’s services, the Milwaukee Road gradually dropped its orange and maroon paint scheme in favor of UP’s Armour yellow, grey, and red, finding the latter easier to keep clean.
The Milwaukee Road’s streamlined passenger services are unique in that most of its equipment was built by the railroad at its Milwaukee Menomonee Valley shops including the four generations of Hiawatha equipment introduced in 1933-34, 1935, 1937-38, and 1947-48. Most striking were the “beavertail” observation cars of the 1930s and the “Skytop Lounge” observation cars by industrial designer Brooks Stevens in the 1940s. Extended “Skytop Lounge” cars were also ordered from Pullman for Olympian Hiawatha service in 1951.
Hiawath Observation Lounge
Hiawatha Steam Locomotive (Milwaukee Road)
Milwaukee Road Hiawatha (Yellow Paint)
Hiawatha Steam Locomotive (4 4 2)