Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

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Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby Minneapolitan » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:41 pm

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As this map shows, the DSS&A connected Duluth with Sault Ste. Marie and Eastern Canada. However, another good map I have (1967 Rand McNally) shows the portion of track between Duluth and Ashland, WI as being Northern Pacific.

Can anyone shed some light on this? Who owned the track, and who had trackage rights? Or was it jointly owned? Does this have something to do with SOO taking over the DSS&A in 1961?
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.

Duh.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby edbear » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:17 pm

The DSS & A had its own line from Duluth to Ashland. This was one of the last pieces of the railroad to be constructed and it relied heavily on interchange traffic from connections in Duluth and Superior. There wasn't much on line business because this area was already served by other railroads (NP & Soo). It was the weakest part of the railroad. The DSS & A went bankrupt in the 1930s and the line into Duluth was abandoned and trackage rights were obtained from the Northern Pacific and the Soo to replace the abandoned trackage. A complete history of the DSS & A was published just a few years ago (I think it was published by Univ. of Minnesota). This is a great read and besides a history of the railroad there's quite a bit about iron and copper mining in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and Wisconsin.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:06 am

Makes you wonder what would have happened if the NP and WC merger hadn't failed in 1893, and if they would have invited the DSS&A into the fold.

But, yes, the South Shore abandoned its own line fairly early. I didn't even know that the DSS&A line reached all the way into Superior, but it did from 1892 to 1934. If you're looking for a book on the line, The Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway: A History of the Lake Superior District’s Pioneer Iron Ore Hauler by John Gaertner was published in 2009 through Indiana University. There's also a few online resources, one of which is http://dssa.habitant.org/.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby Minneapolitan » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:21 pm

If I understand this right, both NP and DSS&A had lines between Duluth and Ashland, and DSS&A abandoned theirs in favor of trackage rights over the NP in the 1930s.

Anyone know why the NP had a line to Ashland in the first place?

Another question arises. What towns did this section of DSS&A go through? There isn't much up there in that corner of Wisconsin. All the towns appear to be on the former NP. Are there any traces of this old DSS&A line?
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.

Duh.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:07 am

Minneapolitan wrote:If I understand this right, both NP and DSS&A had lines between Duluth and Ashland, and DSS&A abandoned theirs in favor of trackage rights over the NP in the 1930s.

Anyone know why the NP had a line to Ashland in the first place?

Another question arises. What towns did this section of DSS&A go through? There isn't much up there in that corner of Wisconsin. All the towns appear to be on the former NP. Are there any traces of this old DSS&A line?

The Northern Pacific extended itself to Ashland to connect with the Wisconsin Central, which didn't complete its own cutoff line to Superior until 1908. Remember that the NP held the WC under lease through 1893, using it as its eastern connection from both St. Paul (ever notice how the ex-WC Gateway Trail intersects the NP High Line so nicely north of downtown St. Paul?) and from the head of Lake Superior. To access Chicago, the NP created a subsidiary called the Chicago and Calumet Terminal Railway, later the Chicago & Northern Pacific, and best known today as the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad, a part of CSXT. Back to the Ashland line, it was also convenient because it gave the NP another fine sheltered port on the big lake.

As for the DSS&A line, start at Marengo Junction and work your way east - the old line has become roads in at least some areas, though I don't know exactly which ones. I think the South Shore stayed south of the NP for its full distance into Superior, but I can't say whether it used another railroad (WC or Omaha) to get into the Zenith City. Not much in the way of towns though, hence why the South Shore didn't mind abandoning it.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby Minneapolitan » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:43 pm

Aaaaaaaaahh I see it. At Marengo, the line east is still used by CN, correct? It's still intact all the way through north of Bessemer (a town I know too well). I followed the right-of-way all the way west to Superior. It goes through the little hamlets of Sanborn, Delta, and up to Iron River, and back down to Winneboujou, Lake Nebagamon, near South Range, and into Allouez. But from there, I can't see it anywhere through Superior into Duluth. It must've paralleled right up against another line, or had trackage rights or something.

Any info on how the DSS&A actually got into Duluth would be helpful.
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.

Duh.
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Re: Duluth South Shore & Atlantic / Northern Pacific

Postby JayBee » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:46 pm

Aaaaaaaaahh I see it. At Marengo, the line east is still used by CN, correct? It's still intact all the way through north of Bessemer (a town I know too well). I followed the right-of-way all the way west to Superior. It goes through the little hamlets of Sanborn, Delta, and up to Iron River, and back down to Winneboujou, Lake Nebagamon, near South Range, and into Allouez. But from there, I can't see it anywhere through Superior into Duluth. It must've paralleled right up against another line, or had trackage rights or something.

Any info on how the DSS&A actually got into Duluth would be helpful.


Ok it gets a bit complicated, the DSS&A's route east of the Allouez area varied depending upon era.
My information is from an official Soo Line Map dated 1981 as published in "The SOO" the magazine of the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society.

Between 1888 and 1892 the DSS&A had rights over the NP, they swung west off the NP and passed just south of the Omaha's Itasca Yard and then just north of GN's Ore Yard. Then they paralleled Grand Ave. on the north side. They swung west to cross the Wisconsin Central at 28th Street and their yard was a little bit further west. The line then continued west across Tower Ave. and swung north into the south end of the Union Depot, The DSS&A had a small yard and engine terminal a little further north across the LST&T and alongside the NP.

From 1892 the DSS&A came in from the south and used rights over the Omaha from Allouez to a point just after crossing the NP line from Hill Ave. Yard, where it curved towards 28th St.

After 1935 they again used the NP, but this time the NP was used all the way to the Omaha crossing near Hill Ave. Yard where a connecting track was built to get back on their own line. Also everything west of 28th St. was abandoned.

The DSS&A was an owner of the LST&T and I don't believe that had any facilities in Duluth.
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