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The Milwaukee’s goals in the early 1880’s were Kansas City, Fargo, and Omaha, destinations it reached within a few years. Once these points were reached, the railroad began to extend branch lines from the main lines, a process that was to be repeated again and again over the years.

As the line spread through the midwest, the company began to be known for its introduction of important railroad innovations. It also started scheduling trains that, 10 or 20 years later, would become famous “name” trains.

In 1887, the Milwaukee was the first railroad to equip all of its passenger cars for steam heating. The next year, it was the first railroad to operate electrically lighted trains west of Chicago, the first of these operating between Chicago and the Twin Cities on September 10, 1888. The first electrically lighted train to Omaha went over company tracks in 1889.

During these years, the Milwaukee was a highly respected, progressive, rapidly growing and soundly financed company, but changes again were ahead. Some came with Russell Sage’s departure from the company in 1879 (he actually had ceased holding a title before this, but retained a large share of ownership) and then with the death of Alexander Mitchell in 1887. General Manager Merrill had died in 1884.

 

 

 

The 1880's

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Last Updated: March 03, 2009