Friday, February 29, 2008


Milwaukee Road E32A, South Tacoma Shops, April 11, 1965. The beginning of the end crept silently into the Electrification Department. With no monies budgeted for new electrics, the process of scavenging parts off of dying locomotives to keep remaining units on the Road began.

This was a sorry sight to see. E32A has already been stripped of her pantographs and front motor set. The death of a locomotive is sometimes very obscene. When they are being erected, everything is new, bright and shiny and there is an air of excitement.

The end generally begins with neglect. A sad ending for locomotives that had for almost 50 years, been dragging revenue over the Pipestone and Cascades.

There is a story told of one such consist pulling on more than her share. Helpers were denied. And so she groaned on into the night at barely a walker’s pace, completing her assignment without a whimper.

When they die, it is on some out of the way team track, with doors hanging open, gaping wounds, and rusting car bodies.

In 1964, 13 units were escorted to the back lot. The year I took this photo, 16 units met a similar fate, and by 1970, only 31 of the original 84 units were still roadworthy.

In the end, E32A became home to a bird family. The nest could be viewed as an affront to her death, or a symbol of life after death.

Railroad Stuff: E32A, AlCo (car body) GE (electronics) Class EF-5, 3,000 hp. Built 10106A 10/11/1916. Renumbered 10236A 5/31/1920. Renumbered 10509A 2/27/1936. Renumbered E32A 3/9/1939.

Renumbering information from “Milwaukee Road Motive Power” compiled by Sy Reich, Railroad Magazine, October 1960.

0 Comments - Click here:

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.