The Milwaukee Road Archives: Online Reference Guide

More than fifty years after publication of this Milwaukee Road advertisement, historians and enthusiasts of this once large railroad system might ask, "Where did the tracks go?" By the time of the Soo Line's acquisition of the Milwaukee Road in 1986, over 7,000 of Milwaukee Road's 11,000 miles had been abandoned. Where did the tracks go ad
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Much of the Milwaukee Road Archives indexed by this online reference guide relates to the struggles of the road to survive, either by attracting new industries to its line, by paring its mileage down to the most profitable routes, or by sale in whole or in part to another railroad. At over 1100 archival boxes (it is the largest single collection held by the St. Louis Mercantile Library) the Milwaukee Road Archives reflect both the scale and diversity of the railroad. Legal documents comprise the largest single segment of the collection. There are also many consultant studies and research reports on both the economic and operational aspects of the road. The collection also contains many materials of historic interest including corporate annual reports for the Milwaukee Road and its predecessor lines, AFEs (Authority for Expenditure) cards for equipment and structures, photographs (most of which were taken for use in the company's employee magazine) and other material. The extensive Milwaukee Land Company documents contained in the collection form an important subgroup of the Archives.

Please note that this is a provisional guide to the collection and that this material is stored off-site. Researchers interested in viewing any documents from the Milwaukee Road Archives in-person should call the Library at least four days in advance of their visit.

Search Hints: the Milwaukee Road Archives are organized by eight sub-series as follows:
  1. Law
  2. Operations
  3. Land and Real Estate
  4. Equipment
  5. Annual Reports
  6. Executive and Financial
  7. Engineering
  8. Miscellaneous

Note that the archive box numbers are not consecutive for each of these series. While many researchers will be interested in reviewing online the contents of specific subseries, the most efficient and effective searches are conducted by keyword in the Box Contents field. Keyword searches are recommended for most uses. Please contact Gregory Ames, Curator of the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, if you have questions about the Milwaukee Road Archives or use of this online database.
John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library
St. Louis Mercantile Library
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63121

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