They are the most interesting form of travel. How can we forget the revolution they inspired?
This picture was taken from the front yard of the house that I lived in from 1950 to 1960 and since I was born in 1948 I would say that trains had a very big part in my life.
Our house (now only a memory) was an old farm/dairy from before the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railroad days. The house was there first, when the tracks from Proctor to Duluth were laid they went right through our front yard. Those tracks were only about fifty feet from the house and down a little embankment.
I can still remember the way the house would shake when a loaded train went by. The spectacle at night was better than the fourth of July, as the loaded trains approached the ore docks after the trip down the hill from Proctor, the wheels on the cars would all be glowing bright red and sparks flew everywhere.
Steam was very much alive for that time of my life. The DM&IR's first diesel locomotives were being
tested the last year we lived there. Contrary to popular belief the large DM&IR 2-8-8-4 (Yellowstone)
locomotives were not used on the hill between Proctor and Duluth. They spent most of the time between Proctor
and the Iron Range or on the runs from the range to Two Harbors Minnesota. The locomotive in the picture
is one of the eighteen 700's 2-10-4 (Texas Type) that were purchased from the B&LE Railroad in 1951.
Before the 700's came the hill did see many of the old (1910) 2-8-8-2 series of locomotives and 0-10-2 (Union
Type) 600's. For more information on the DM&IR find a copy of Frank King's "The Missabe Road"
(1972 Golden West Books). Frank was a personal friend of mine from about 1971 until his death.
The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad
The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad is a Non-Profit corporation. In the late 1970's a group (including myself) of local railfans worked with the Burlington Northern and the Lake Superior Museum of Transportation to get the original remaining tracks of the original LS&M RR donated to the City of Duluth. Once the donation was accomplished that group set about the task of restoring the four and one half miles of track that had not been used since the mid 1960's. A burned out bridge needed to be replaced and many wash-outs filled. The tracks once went all the way from the waterfront in downtown Duluth to Carlton Minnesota. They were the very first rails into the area. They eventually became part of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
The Northern Pacific removed most of the line in the 1950's and only left the part from Riverside Junction to Commonwealth Avenue in place to service a paint factory. The factory closed and the line went to weeds.
The tracks follow the St. Louis River and in places are on filled in trestles that go through the low area along the river. If you want to see some of the most beautiful areas in the Northern Minnesota/Wisconsin area they are along the tracks of the LS&M.
The picture above is of our locomotive number 46 . The train is crossing Mud Lake. At this point the tracks have water on both sides and the bridge the locomotive is crossing is to keep the water level even with the river on the lake side. The LS&M purchased a sister locomotive to the 46 in 2010, the 42 will join the 46 when it is brought up to FRA standards.
The operation was from the far end (New Duluth) to the Riverside Junction and return for the first three or so years and we then got permission from the Burlington Northern to use about one and one half miles of active BN tracks from Riverside Junction to the Lake Superior Zoo. That allowes riders to board at the parking lot across from the Zoo and travel to the end of the line and return. The trip takes about one and one half hours to complete.
I was president of the LS&M from about 1982 to 1991 when I stepped down to the VP Administration position to give someone else the pleasure of running a railroad.
The LS&M operates for about three months of the Summer (Last part of June, July & August) on weekends only. The LS&M does it all with volunteers and donations.
For more information, visit the Official LS&M Web pages.
An interesting engine story from the past is called The Autobiography of an Engine - this is the story of the William Crooks. The William Crooks was the first locomotive in the state of Minnesota. It was built in 1861 and this booklet tell it's story - the booklet was prepared for the New York Worlds Fair in 1939. Click here to download a 10 meg PDF file of the booklet.
The Lake Superior Transportation Club was the first volunteer arm at the Lake Superior Museum of Transportaion. That club starrted as a model railroad club and eventually ran the LS&M railroad for many years before the North Shore Scenic railroad caused a split between the two operations - I have scanned most of the original newsletter (The Laker) that the club published - they are located here.
Official Lake Superior & Mississippi RR Web Pages here
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Last modified date 11/13/2014
Maintained by Mark E. Olson ( firstname.lastname@example.org)