Near Avery in Shoshone County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
Little in Name Only
(Little Joes, The Locomotives Big Joe Stalin Never Got!)
Made for Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, the United States embargoed these magnificent locomotives as strategic material at the start of the “Cold War”.
The Milwaukee Road bought twelve of these 586,00 pound giants in 1950 and they quickly became known as, “Little Joes”. The test locomotive still had its Russian/Cyrillic labels.
The 5,530 horsepower EP/EF-4 Little Joe engines were the most powerful and efficient single unit electric engines used on the Milwaukee Road. In one authority’s opinion, it was “the greatest machine any railroad ever coupled onto a train”.
In the late 1950s the railroad decided to haul heavier freight trains over the electrified parts of its line by putting controls in the Little Joes to operate diesel boosters.
By 1960 the usual practice was to run a diesel booster behind two Little Joes. Later a single Little Joe would often lead a long line of diesels over the western mountains.
Glamorous and dependable steam locomotives couldn’t match the efficiency of diesel locomotives. Diesels saved 70 to 80 percent on fuel costs over oil or coal fired steam
The Milwaukee road started buying diesels in 1941 and by 1955 its entire steam fleet was gone. For a while, diesel and electric locomotives worked together over the Milwaukee’s Pacific Extension. But, by 1974, the diesels pushed out the electrics too.
Location. 47° 20.86′ N, 115° 38.296′ W. Marker is near Avery, Idaho, in Shoshone County. Marker can be reached from Loop Creek Road (Federal Road 326) 4 miles west of Cliff Creek Road (Federal Road 506). Click for map. Located along the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Avery ID 83802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bridging the Gaps (approx. 0.3 miles away); The 1910 Fires (approx. 0.3 miles away); No One’s “Fault” (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Big Blowup (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Olympian Hiawatha (approx. 0.4 miles away); Olympian Luxury (approx. 0.4 miles away); Section Gangs (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Mighty Quills (approx. 0.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Avery.
Also see . . . Route of the Hiawatha Rail Trail. (Submitted on August 5, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • War, Cold •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 450 times since then and 94 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.