Railroads of Montana
and the Pacific Northwest
Photography by Dale Jones







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Soo Line - 1916 Snowplow
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Marias Pass
Flandrau's 1925 Marias Pass

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Engine E70 was the first "Little Joe" to operate on the Milwaukee Road.
The E70 was built by General Electric as one of an order of twelve electric motors originally intended
for delivery to the Soviet Union. The unit was converted from Russian wide gauge
to American standard gauge and delivered to Harlowton, Montana December in 1948
for a four-month trial. During this period the engine carried G.E. colors and the number GE-750.
This locomotive was later renumbered E70 and is now on display in Deer Lodge, Montana.

For current display information
navigate here -
Powell County Chamber of Commerce

  E70 at Deer Lodge 1974 - Library of Congress Photo                           E70 at Deer Lodge on Eastbound Train 1960s

"Little Joe" on North Fork St. Joe - Courtesy Jerry Quinn

In the late 1960s, I began photographing the Milwaukee Road and railroads of the
Pacific Northwest. Since 2000, I have published several full-color booklets of Montana and Northwest railroad subjects including a Railroads of Montana yearly calendar.
In 2017, I released an Arcadia Press book on the history of the Great Northern Railway
 in Glacier National Park, Essex and Marias Pass in Montana.
Click HERE to order "The Great Northern Railway in Marias Pass" book

I began writing/composing songs in the 1970s, and through the years performed
 at the Seattle Folk Life Festival and several Montana Public Radio venues.
I have a catalog of over 200 songs with the Ballad for E70 as one of the favorites.

This is for my Dad and the fishing trips along the "North Fork,"
that allowed me opportunities to spot a set of Milwaukee boxcabs or a "Little Joe." 

According to Steve McCarter in "The Guide to the Milwaukee Road in Montana,"
the words used as a basis for the chorus of this song were found on a sign hung in a
Milwaukee Road depot somewhere in Montana.
They echo the feeling of employees in the last days of the Milwaukee.
This song could be a new chorus for the workforce of the world!


Listen to Dale Jones original song
"Ballad for E70"

Click HERE to order "The Milwaukee Road Connections - Spokane to Butte" book

allad for E70 - [We The Willin']
Words & Lyrics Dale Jones
Copyright 1993,2018

And we the willin', led by the unknowin'
Are doin' the impossible, for the ungrateful
We have done so much, for so long, with so little
We can now do anything, without nothing

Couple two "Joes" on at Harlo for hotshot 261
Gotta pull all the way to Avery, gonna drag 6,000 tons
Over mountains, tunnels, canyons, from midnight to settin' sun
The Milwaukee's story's over, or has it just begun

And we the willin', are just a memory
Of what was once good, and now a used to be
Our sweat is written in the books of history
What we did's now waiting for elements and time

Head up Montana Canyon toward Lombard and beyond
Roll on into Three Forks, pick helpers at Piedmont
Over Pipestone Pass to Butte town and on into Deer Lodge
It's a downhill grade Missoula, can't believe that's all gone

And we the willin', must tell our story
Of the great Milwaukee and the motor E70
"Little Joes" and boxcabs hummin' in harmony
When the wires came down in Big Sky Country

It's an uphill grade from Alberton, to the border of Idaho
Take it slow down Loop Creek, just let that scenery flow
Smoke them brakes around the canyon of the North Fork of St. Joe
Spend the night in Avery, it's time to end the show


Well, the "Milwaukee Road" highway is just a memory
Though the lights went out years ago, it's gettin' plain to see
They're shinin' on the horizon in the likes of you and me
Just keep them trains a-rollin' from the mountains to the sea

And we the willin', led by the unknowin'
Are doin' the impossible, for the ungrateful
We have done so much, for so long, with so little
We can now do anything, without nothing

            Click HERE for more history about the
Milwaukee Road at Avery, Idaho and along the North Fork of the St. Joe River     

 Questions or Comments?  _________________________________________________________________________ _
All material and photos that does not list specific sources are copyrighted by Dale Jones

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