The Hiawathas were a fleet of named passenger trains operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the Milwaukee Road) between Chicago and various destinations in the Midwest and Western United States. The most notable of these trains was the original Twin Cities Hiawatha, which served the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The train was named for the epic poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The first Hiawatha trains ran in 1935. By 1947, five routes carried the Hiawatha name:
- The Twin Cities Hiawatha — the main line route from Chicago through Milwaukee to St. Paul and Minneapolis, in Morning and Afternoon editions;
- The North Woods Hiawatha — a spur route off the Chicago-Minnesota main line leading from New Lisbon to Minocqua, Wisconsin;
- The Chippewa-Hiawatha — connected Chicago to Ontonagon in Michigan's Upper Peninsula via Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin;
- The Midwest Hiawatha — used the Milwaukee Road's mainline across Illinois and Iowa to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska (the train split into two parts in Manilla, Iowa); and
- The Olympian Hiawatha — which traversed the Milwaukee mainline from Chicago-Twin Cities-Seattle/Tacoma.
Twin Cities Hiawatha
The Twin Cities Hiawatha was the original Hiawatha, beginning service between Chicago and the Twin Cities on May 29, 1935. The Hiawatha used Otto Kuhler-styled streamlined Class A 4-4-2 steam locomotives built by the American Locomotive Company and was intended to compete directly with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad's (Burlington Route) Twin Cities Zephyrs and Chicago and North Western Railway's Twin Cities 400. :35
The Milwaukee Road added a second train to the route on January 21, 1939, and the two trains were known as the Morning Hiawatha and Afternoon Hiawatha, although the brand Twin Cities Hiawatha was often employed. In 1947–1948 the Milwaukee Road again re-equipped its major passenger routes with new lightweight equipment. The Morning Hiawatha (trains 5 and 6) and Afternoon Hiawatha (trains 3 and 2) continued to operate between Chicago and Minneapolis until the latter train was discontinued on January 23, 1970. The last runs of the Morning Hiawatha were on April 30, 1971, immediately prior to the introduction of Amtrak.:174
With the delivery of the 1938 trainsets, the original 1935 Hiawatha equipment was reassigned to the Chicago to Omaha/Sioux City route where it ran as the Midwest Hiawatha. The service began on December 11, 1940. The final trip for the Midwest Hiawatha from all terminals occurred on October 29, 1955. On the next day, October 30, 1955, the Milwaukee Road assumed operation of Union Pacific Railroad's City of San Francisco, City of Los Angeles, City of Denver, City of Portland and Challenger trains. The Midwest Hiawatha became two Sioux Falls-Chicago coaches which combined with the Challenger in Manilla. The Milwaukee Road dropped the name altogether in April 1956.:91-92
North Woods Hiawatha
The North Woods Hiawatha began in June 1936, branching off from the main Hiawatha route in New Lisbon, Wisconsin to serve Minocqua, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Road dropped the Hiawatha moniker in 1956 and discontinued the service altogether in 1970.:91
A new long-distance Hiawatha, the Olympian Hiawatha from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, was inaugurated in 1947. The sleeper cars and Skytop sleepers were not delivered until late 1948 and early 1949, so the train ran with Pullman heavyweights on the rear end, until delivery of the new cars. The train was designed by the famous designer Brooks Stevens of Milwaukee. Six Creek-series 8-bedroom Skytop lounge-sleepers were created, which had more windows and a more bulbous rear end than their Rapids-series parlor Skytop counterparts on the Morning Hiawatha and Afternoon Hiawatha. This train ceased operations on May 22, 1961, and the surplus equipment was sold to Canadian National Railways. One car, #15 Coffee Creek from the Olympian Hiawatha is undergoing restoration. (http://www.coffeecreek.info/)
From June 5, 1971, until October 1, 1979, the North Coast Hiawatha ran from Chicago to Seattle, Washington. At present, the name is used for Amtrak's 86-mile (138 km) Chicago–Milwaukee Hiawatha Service on the western shore of Lake Michigan.
Amtrak's Empire Builder traverses the original route of the Twin Cities Hiawatha between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul on the former Milwaukee Road, now Canadian Pacific tracks. After running past the Saint Paul Union Depot on the Short Line, there is a crew change and route change at the Midway station. The Empire Builder continues on BNSF trackage to Seattle and Portland.
- Mann, Charles F.A. (September 17, 1935). "Most Powerful Diesel Ready for Rail Service". The Meriden Daily Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Solomon, Brian (2003). Railway Masterpieces. David & Charles.
- Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34705-X.
- "'Hiawatha': Milwaukee Road Adds New Speed Train". Pittsburgh Press. December 15, 1940. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Murray, Tom (2005). The Milwaukee Road. Voyageur Press.
- Amtrak Hiawatha Service
Bibliography↑Jump back a section
- 1945 Hiawatha advertisement
- Milwaukee Road Hiawathas in 1938
- The Milwaukee Road Historical Association
Read in another language
This page is available in 1 language