Empire Builder to Milwaukee. From Streamliners to Amtrak.


Youtube video on the change from private rail service to Amtrak.

Privately run intercity passenger service in Milwaukee was a thing of the past by early 1971. The Federal government had formed Amtrak to remove the burden of passenger service from the railroads and insure that core passenger routes remained active.

By May 1st, when Amtrak rolled into Milwaukee, things had changed. Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha and C&NW’s bi-level Streamliners were out, but Amtrak’s Empire Builder was in. Direct rail service was now available all the way to Seattle, but one could no longer travel to Green Bay!



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…