Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad began operations in 1986 from the remnants a line poised for abandonment Chicago & NorthWestern Railroad. It has since become one of the largest regional (Class II) railroads in the United States, with over 2,500 miles of track.
The initial DM&E network consisted of 825 miles of track located principally in South Dakota and Minnesota, and 140 miles of trackage rights. The DM&E mainline extends from the Mississippi River at Winona, Minnesota, across southern Minnesota and central South Dakota to Rapid City.
In 1996, DM&E acquired more than 200 miles of track from Union Pacific extending from Colony, Wyoming, through Rapid City to Crawford, Nebraska. Of the 1,103 miles, 908 miles are owned by the DM&E and the remainder are operated under long-term trackage rights agreements.
DM&E acquired the IMRL in 2002. For legal and regulatory historical reasons, the IMRL was brought into the DM&E as a separate entity—Iowa, Chicago & Eastern (IC&E) Railroad—yet both the DM&E and IC&E were operated as a single system under common management by Cedar American Rail Holdings.
The IC&E territory covered 1,400 miles of track in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Its main lines extended from Chicago, Illinois, to Kansas City, Missouri, and from Sabula, Iowa, along the Mississippi River northwesterly to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, using trackage rights over the Canadian Pacific from La Crescent, Minnesota. Branch lines (known as the "Corn Lines") extend from Marquette, Iowa, west to Mason City and Sheldon, and from Austin, Minnesota, to Jackson and to Rosemount.
In December 2008, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) approved the merger of the IC&E and DM&E under the DM&E name. Today, the IC&E territory is referred to as the DM&E South.
Canadian Pacific (CP) officially gained control of the DM&E on October 30, 2008, after a year-long federal regulatory process. The acquisition was announced September 4, 2007, and closing held October 4, 2007. The acquisition concluded a competitive process to find the best approach to advance the DM&E's Powder River Basin (PRB) project. To date, the CP has not decided if it will build the PRB project.
|1983 - 1985
||Chicago & NorthWestern (C&NW) Railroad files to abandon a South Dakota segment of what is today the DM&E Railroad. U.S. Senator Larry Pressler, South Dakota, opposes the abandonment and wins the case before the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1985. Later in 1985, Senator Pressler strikes a deal with C&NW leading to the creation of DM&E as an alternative to abandonment.|
||DM&E is formed through the acquisition of 826 miles of rail infrastructure and 139 miles of trackage rights, and certain buildings, locomotives, vehicles, equipment and inventory from the C&NW. C&NW operated the railroad for over 75 years. Lombard Investments, Inc.'s affiliated investor group provides the equity capital for the transaction and controlled DM&E until Oct. 4, 2007.|
||DM&E completes the restructuring of certain operating agreements, and a subsequent recapitalization.|
|1995 - 1996
||DM&E issues revenue bonds with the South Dakota Railroad Authority and borrowed under a bank facility to finance the upgrade of approximately 100 miles of its mainline track between Wessington and Pierre, South Dakota.|
||DM&E acquires the Colony Line from the Union Pacific.|
||DM&E files its application with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeking authority to construct approximately 260 miles of new railroad line, primarily in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, to access low-sulfur western coal reserves for movement to Midwestern and Eastern utilities (the "PRB Project").|
||STB issues a decision stating the PRB Project meets the statutory transportation related requirements and is consistent with the criteria for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.|
||STB publishes a favorable final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the PRB Project.|
||STB issues its decision granting approval to the PRB Project.|
||IC&E executes a definitive Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire the assets of IMRL railroad.|
||IC&E begins operations of the former IMRL.|
||STB grants common control to the DM&E of the IC&E.|
||After approval of a supplemental EIS, the STB gives final approval for the PRB Project to proceed.|
||DM&E creates a new company, Wyoming Dakota Railroad Properties, Inc., to act as a subsidiary for the construction and operation of the PRB Project.|
||DM&E announces it has entered into an agreement that will result in a merger of its operations with the Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP).|
||CP completes its transaction to acquire the DM&E and its subsidiaries.|
||STB approves CP's acquisition of control of the DM&E and its subsidiaries.|
||Canadian Pacific officially assumes control of the DM&E and its subsidiaries.|
||STB approves the consolidation of the DM&E and IC&E.|
Delaware & Hudson Railway
The Delaware & Hudson Railway is the oldest continuously operated transportation company in the United States. It was founded as the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company in 1823 by act of the New York Legislature and, though subsequently reorganized a number of times, with minor name changes, it has maintained an unbroken corporate identity for 175 years.
The D&H started out as a canal company as a result of four brothers from the Wurt family in Philadelphia beginning a coal company in what is now Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in the early 1800s. A route to New York was needed to get the coal to market, so a canal was built from the Delaware River to the Hudson River to barge the coal. It was completed in 1828 and extended for 108 miles from Honesdale, PA to Rondout, NY.
In 1829 the D&H entered the railroad business with a gravity line, and decided to purchase four small locomotives to pull the coal cars on flat stretches of the line, replacing the teams of horses used for that purpose. The first of these locomotives was the Stourbridge Lion, (price $3,000), built in Stourbridge, England. It started work at Honesdale on August 8th, 1829. The D&H gravity line was just 16 miles long in 1830 but in that year there were only 23 miles of railroad in the entire United States. In 1840 the D&H became the first transportation company traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Following the Civil War, the D&H expanded its operations northward from the Pennsylvania coal fields to Binghampton and Albany, then from Albany to the head of lake Champlain, and subsequently constructed a line along the west shore of the lake to the International Boundary south of Montreal. In 1875, service between Albany and Montreal was inaugurated, and in 1907 the D&H extended its lines into Canada and connected with the Canadian Pacific Railway at Farnham, Quebec.
The Canadian Pacific Railway acquired the D&H in 1991 and has invested more than $200 million in D&H operations.
Soo Line Railroad Co. is a Class 1 U.S. railroad, which is wholly owned by Canadian Pacific and does rail business under the CP name.
From its earliest days when the fortunes of the railroad were directly tied to the success or failure of grain crops to today's role as the direct connection through the Midwest to Chicago, the Soo has grown up with the CPR. Its original routes were built to connect with the CPR at three border points and the Canadian railway maintained an ownership in the Soo for much of its history.
Soo Line was formed by a group of Minneapolis millers in 1883 and known over the years as the Minneapolis. St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie (old Soo). It expanded north and west from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., through the Dakotas and east across Wisconsin to the Canadian border where it connected with the CPR at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. In 1909, it leased the Wisconsin Central Railway and became a major player in Wisconsin as well as added a route to Chicago.
The name "Soo Line" came from the phonetic pronunciation of the word "Sault," as in Sault Ste. Marie. The company's first construction was to build a line from the Twin Cities to Sault Ste. Marie, hence it became the line to the Sault, or simply "Soo Line."
The objective of Soo's owners was to open an entirely new route for flour and grain to the Eastern Seaboard and break the stranglehold on rates for carriers operating through Chicago. The new route to the East through the CPR connection at Sault Ste. Marie, (some 200 miles shorter to Boston than via Chicago) brought new competition for the business and helped ease transportation costs for grain companies.
Soo's relationship with CPR began in the 1880s both at Sault Ste. Marie and as the company extended lines west of the Twin Cities. The railways planned new connections at Portal, N.D., and Noyes, Minn., (Emerson, MB) as a means for interchanging traffic between the two countries.
In 1961, the old Soo, the Wisconsin Central (formed in 1871), and the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic (formed in 1855) were merged to form the Soo Line Railroad Co. Canadian Pacific had acquired ownership interests in all three companies. After the merger, CPR was majority owner of the new Soo, holding 56 percent of its common stock.
For years, the Soo Line, known affectionately in CPR's head office as "the little jewel" because it made money as a low-cost carrier of overhead traffic, was a dependable route to Chicago for Canadian traffic and a lucrative grain hauler from the Dakotas and Minnesota.
With transportation deregulation in the United States in 1980, U.S. railways began to merge to acquire more miles, more on-line customers and better control the traffic. Soo Line also got involved in the growth business, starting with the purchase of the Twin Cities-based Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway in 1981. After an unsuccessful attempt to purchase a Rock Island Line to Kansas City, it became involved in bidding to acquire the Milwaukee Road (formed in 1849), which at the time was in reorganization. In 1985, Soo acquired the Milwaukee and its 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) of track, which extended beyond Soo's reach to Kansas City and Louisville, Kentucky.
Difficult times lay ahead and in the first year after acquiring the Milwaukee, Soo experienced its first net loss since its 1961 merger. Soo had suddenly grown to a railway covering 8,000 miles of line with 7,600 employees. Large capital programs were needed to rebuild the railway and acquire new locomotives and freight equipment just as competition in the U.S. railroad industry was putting downward pressure on rates and mandating lower operating costs. In response, Soo began to change, first by selling off 2,000 miles of its lines in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois, which through a subsequent sale, now make up the Wisconsin Central Division of Canadian National.
Other line sales, including the Kansas City and Corn Lines, operating consolidations and downsizing has pared Soo's size to a 3,200-mile system, with under 3,000 employees today. Even with 60 percent less track miles and 4,800 fewer employees, the Soo territory generated nearly 25 percent more revenue-ton miles in 2001 than it did in 1985, the first year in which Soo and Milwaukee Road were brought under common ownership.
Although a small carrier in comparison to its competition, Soo was an innovator in many ways. It was the first railroad to apply the unit train concept to the movement of grain and began the conversion from boxcars to covered hoppers early in the 1960s with a large purchase of 100-ton aluminum cars. It was the first railroad to use welded rail on a branch line. Reaching back into its history, the Soo even built four new steam locomotives during the Depression in an effort to keep people working.
In 1990, Canadian Pacific acquired 100 percent of common stock and the Soo, and the Soo became a wholly owned subsidiary. Soo Line, together with the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, are now part of the international CP system.
If you have an interest in tracking the history of the Soo, check your local library for "Saga of the Soo" by John Gjevre, "Steam Trains of the Soo" by Les Suprey, "The Soo Line" by Patrick Dorin or "The Little Jewel" by Wallace Abbey.
There are numerous books on the Milwaukee Road also available.
An extensive collection of material on the Milwaukee Road is maintained by the Milwaukee, Wis., public library. A more limited collection of historical information on the Soo Line is on file at the Minnesota Historical Society, www.mnhs.org
Soo Line is also covered thoroughly by the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society. Its Web site is http://sooline.org
The Milwaukee Road is tracked through the Milwaukee Road Historical Association at www.mrha.com