Concrete Arch abutments with 2 50' Deck Plate Girder Sections
4 Trains a Day Estimated
In 1878, the Hastings and Dakota Railway built a line from Tower E-14 (which was further east at the time, because 1913 hadnít occurred yet) to Montevideo, about 10 miles west of Granite Falls. The line started in deciduous forest. It went across many creeks. As it got further west, it went through Cologne, where their other mainline to Farmington met up. But remember, at the time, this wasnít the mainline.
It then entered Prairie, and farmland. It crossed many large creeks out west, like Buffalo Creek. These creeks were like small rivers. Very deep, and some very wide. There were very many trestles and bridges.
By 1880, the Hastings and Dakota was building a line from St. Paul to E-14. Known as the shortline, this line many miles off of the trip from St. Paul to Montevideo. Instead of having to go on the I&M line to the line from Farmington to Cologne, it could just go up a hill, across a large bridge at Minneapolis and cross into Hopkins. From there, it wasnít far to tower E-14, where it crossed the M&STL. It also had easy access to Minneapolis, where it put a depot.
Now there were plans cooking. In the late 1880ís, the Milwaukee Road took over the Hastings and Dakota. They had plans to run a line from Milwaukee Wisconsin to the west coast. This line would do the trick. The line continued west of Ortonville, though South Dakota eventually to Seattle.
By 1913, there were too many derailments. The line from E-14 to Glencoe was too curvy and steep. Milwaukee Road started a campaign to deal with this line. They relocated it. Now it would become double track. They made it VERY straight. They also added another track from Glencoe to Ortonville.
Over time, parts of the line were relocated west of Glencoe. Near Brownton, Renville and Granite Falls were relocated.
In 1934, the Milwaukee Road tore out the WB main between E-14 and Glencoe. In 1947, the Milwaukee Road took out the WB main from Glencoe to Ortonville. Some places, it was converted to sidings.
By 1985, the Milwaukee Road was suffering very badly. Soo Line took over the Milwaukee Road and Minneapolis Norfield and Southern at the same time. Soo Line is a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific.
Soo Line already had a line to the West coast from Minneapolis. They sold large sections west of Ortonville to various shortlines. But on July 26th 1991, a group of people purchased a very large section of track from Hopkins to Milbank South Dakota. After the trackage rights were added in, they had 229 miles of track. On July 27th 1991, they operated the first train.
Since then, the Twin Cities and Western has been very successful. Trains now operate regularly, including Ethanol Trains, Coal Trains And in the Future, Grain Trains. They have their headquarters at Glencoe.
In 2002, they also took control of a piece of ex M&STL track from Norwood/Young America to Hanley Falls.
So, a line that could have so easily been abandoned found a new life for a shortline. Itís history will continue on for a while. For now, the history of a very unique line wonít come to an end.
This bridge is very magnificant. It has a very interesting design.
The bridge is nearly 50 feet above water. The piers and abutments are ready for a second
track, but the main 2 deck girder spans can only hold one track. The photo above is
looking south towards the bridge.
The photo above is looking at the eastmost span of the Deck Girder. The photo above
is looking at the east section of the bridge.
The photo above is looking along the bridge. I was on the southeast side. The photo below
is a simlar view.
The photo above is looking at the east abutment. The photo below is also looking at the
The photo above is looking at the center pier. The photo below is looking at the
underside of this bridge.
The photos above and below are looking west towards the bridge.
The photo above is looking at Carver creek from the bridge. The photo below is looking at
the east abutment.
The photos above and below are looking at the east abutment.
The photo above is looking at the east end of the main spans. The photo below is looking
at the east abutment.
The photo above is looking at the east abutment and the east secondary pier.
The photo below is in the east abutment. The photo far below is looking from the edge
of the east abutment where the second track used to be.