• Minneapolis Railfanning

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.

Moderator: railohio

  by Otto Vondrak
Anyone have suggestions for Minneapolis railfanning, lodging options?

  by mtuandrew

http://www.tc.umn.edu/~rrclubum/railfan.html - The University of Minnesota's Railroad Club set up a railfan guide for the Twin Cities. As for hotels with a rail theme, there's the Days Inn right next to Midway Station, as well as the hotel next to the former Milwaukee Road depot in Minneapolis, but I obviously don't spend much time in Minneapolis hotels :-D

For museums, you need to make a trip to Bandana Square in St. Paul to see the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum (http://tcmrm.org/), and further east to the Minnesota Transportation Museum's Jackson Street Roundhouse (http://www.mtmuseum.org/). If you have time and it's in season, take a trip to Osceola, Wisconsin to ride the Osceola and St. Croix Valley Railroad, operated by MTM. Back in Minneapolis, stop by the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum (http://www.trolleyride.org/). If you happen to be around on Tuesday or Saturday mornings, we'll be around the carbarn doing restoration work even if it's not operations season. Finally, you just missed the last operating season of the Minnesota Zephyr (http://www.minnesotazephyr.com/), but the station is still there. Look for their railroad to become a trail before too long - it'll be a good one, though I'm sad to see the railroad go.
  by railohio
Yeah, go to Omaha instead! :-D
  by Hawko
MTUAndrew's suggestions are excellent. Here are some more ideas for you: The Amtrak Depot is a good place to see the Minnesota Commercial in action. The MinnComm has many interesting locomotives on their roster, including several Alcos. The University Avenue Bridge in Northeast Minneapolis is a good place to watch the BNSF Northtown Yard. The Cemstone Plant parking lot in St. Paul is a good place to watch the CP, the UP and the BNSF.
  by Otto Vondrak
This site has been extremely helpful...


and so has this...


and this...


  by Hawko
Not only is the Twin Cities a great plan for railfanning but there are lots of nice places to eat and drink. http://www.andrewzimmern.com not only has recommendations for restaurants but links to some other decent websites with information on the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. Keys Cafe has a nice breakfast. If you are really hungry, try the shoebox omelette. Tinnuccis not only has delicious food, but is a good place to watch BNSF and CP action on the St. Paul Sub Division.
Davannis is a local chain that serves pizza and subs.
  by Otto Vondrak
Can someone help me with geography? I'm a New Yorker who rarely ventures towards the Mississippi...

Are the following locations in St. Paul or Minneapolis?

- University Junction

- Northport Yard

- 35th Avenue Yard

- Camden Bridge

- Humboldt Yard

I've figured out the following places are in St. Paul:

- Dayton's Bluff

- Division Street

- Pig Eye (Does Soo have a name for their Shops here? Does UP have a name for their yard there?)

- Jackson Ave. Roundhouse

- Westminster

  by Hawko
The following places are in Minneapolis:
- 35th Ave. Yard
- Camden Bridge
- Humboldt Yard
- Northtown Yard
- University

The UP yard adjacent to the Pig Eye Yard is the Belt Yard.

I do not know where the Northport Yard is.
  by Hawko
If you wanted to take a road trip from Minneapolis there are several options. Here are my two favorite:

1.) Go North to Duluth- Superior. The BNSF, CN, CP, and the UP all have trains going up that way. Once you are in Duluth, some of the things worth seeing are the railroad museum, the CN yard, the BNSF yard in Superior and the BNSF taconite facility in Allouez.

2.) Follow the CP River Sub. down to Winona, MN. In Winona there is the Former DM&E Yard and a "stand alone" UP Yard. If you have any questions about Winona, Komachi would be the man to ask. On the way back to the Twin Cities, cross into Wisconsin and follow the two main track BNSF St. Croix Sub. back to the Twin Cities. The Pedestrian bridge across the tracks at Alma and the railroad drawbridge are some of the points interest on the Wisconsin side. Both the River Sub. and the St. Croix Sub. run alongside the Mississippi River for long stretches.
  by Otto Vondrak
Hawko wrote:I do not know where the Northport Yard is.
Whoops, I don't know where I'm getting "Northport" from, I did mean NorthTOWN yard, so thanks for that clarification!

  by Otto Vondrak
Someone explain to me... the tracks the Light Rail uses going past the Metrodome... heritage? Was that the Milwaukee Road heading for a downtown terminal? Looks like it was new construction as it swings across S. 4th Street...


  by mtuandrew
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie ... e9efb&z=11 All the actual tracks are new construction, but a great deal of the grade (and the bridges) was Milwaukee Road.

If you're able to access the linked map, the orange line is the Milwaukee Road grade and the blue is the LRT. The Milwaukee Road would have crossed Washington Avenue at a viaduct that's no longer there and gone through their downtown Minneapolis freight yard to the Milwaukee Road Depot (now in use as a skating rink and part of a hotel.) Meanwhile, the LRT leaves the Milwaukee grade at the Metrodome, curves around the dome to the west and follows 5th Street to the new Northstar station and Target Field.

Further south around 28th St., the LRT abandons the Milwaukee Road grade and takes a viaduct over MN 55/Hiawatha Avenue, landing on the other side of the highway. The Milwaukee is still in existence south of 28th St. until about 50th St., serving the grain elevators via the Short Line Bridge over the Mississippi to the Minnesota Commercial yards. After 50th St., the Milwaukee grade is obliterated by various roads and trails to 54th St., at which time it starts moving down the bluff as a bike trail, goes around the the bluff at the foot of Historic Fort Snelling, crosses the Minnesota River under the Mendota bridge, and joins the ex-Omaha Road UP line. Meanwhile, south from 50th St. the LRT line follows Minnehaha Avenue for a bit, then winds through the upper post at Fort Snelling (now VA Hospitals and Nat'l Guard facilites), tunnels under the main terminal at the MSP Airport, and hits the Humphrey terminal before winding its way south to the Mall of America.