It is a shame that the Milwaukee Road is long gone. The management shot themselves in the foot a number of times which helped bring on the demise. When the oil crisis hit in the early 70's, what did the milwaukee do? they ceased electrical operations, which would have saved them millions of dollars. Yes, the electric locomotives were old, but they easily could have hung in there for a few more years. They were in need of cash and by selling the copper in the overhead catenary, they figured they could aise about $10 million. The sale really didn't help them because of the condition of thier track. Much of the western area of the road was under slow orders and transit times increased, which in turn started losing them business.
Also in the 70's, right after the merger that created the Burlington Northern, the Chicago and Northwestern offered to sell out to the Milwaukee, but the board rejected this. It was something that they really needed.
Things kept going down hill and finally, even after restructuring, they were still losing money, and in February of 1985, rail operations were sold to the Soo Line. A lot of the equipment was either sold off or used by the Soo, and all track in whe western regions was either sold off or torn up.
I have been over the old right of way between Toston, MT and Ringling, MT on horseback through Sixteen Mile Canyon, or at least a lot of it. Less than a mile from where I live is the Gallatin Gateway Inn, which the Milwaukee built and started operating in 1927. Passengers would be brought in to the inn on a spur from Three Forks, MT, where they would spend the night at the inn and then travel south to Yellowstone Park by motor coach. A few more miles down the road is one the the brick power substations that is now has been remodeled into a private residence. Even though the milwaukee is gone, a lot of history and physical evidence of the Milwaukee Roads presence in montana still exiats. Some of their depots, freight cars, cabooses and electric locomotives are on display all over the state.