Railroads of Montana
and the Pacific Northwest
Photography by Dale Jones

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MONTANA MAPS
75 Montana Railroad Related Maps
1890 General Montana Railroad Map
1899 General Montana Railroad Map
1902 Northern Pacific Railway
1904 Great Northern Railway
1906 General Montana Railroad Map
1918 Milwaukee Road Montana

USGS Blackfoot & Lewistown
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k

 RESEARCH - PHOTOS
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Lewistown, MT Newspaper Index
Marias Pass
Online Marias Pass Railfan's Guide
Marias Pass Photos
Milwaukee Road 1920s Ad Book
Milwaukee Road - Avery, Idaho
Montana Locomotive List
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Montana Bibliography
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 List of Montana Railroads
Northern Pacific Photographs
Soo Line in Montana

Soo Line - 1916 Snowplow
Historic Soo Line Photos

Spokane International Railway

PLACE NAMES - LOCATIONS
The Montana Almanac 1957

GN Montana Station Names - 1937
Compiled Montana Place Names
Great Northern Mileposts


   


 

Soo Line in Montana


In 2000 I published a 24-page booklet on the remnants of the Soo Line in Montana as operated by the Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western. The booklet has long been out of print, I am now making it available as a free PDF file
Soo Line in Montana - Outlook Depot & Whitetail Sub

 Many folks are not aware that the "Soo Line" even operated in Montana. This railroad is mostly associated with locations emanating from around St. Paul, Minnesota. The present Soo Line Railroad Company was actually incorporated October 19, 1949 as the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad, as part of the plan for reorganizing the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway and subsidiary Mineral Range Railroad.
When the Canadian Pacific consolidated several subsidiaries on January 1, 1961, it used this company to merge the
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad  [MSt.P&SSM] 
and  Wisconsin Central Railroad into, and renamed it to the Soo Line Railroad.   

   On March 10, 1914, the western extremity of the Soo was completed to Whitetail, Montana. The company had hopes of building further westward into Montana, but the realities of cost versus return slowed growth. The area of northeastern Montana where the Soo Line ran is a vast and sparsely settled land.  At the end of 1970 Soo operated 4,693 miles of road on 6,104 miles of track; that year it reported 8249 million ton-miles of revenue freight and no passengers. After several different corporate reincarnations; in 1992 the Canadian Pacific Railway purchased the remaining shares of Soo stock (it had owned 56% of outstanding stock for many years) making the Soo a wholly owned subsidiary. The Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western [DMVW]
started operations on over 360 miles of former Soo Line Railroad track in North Dakota and the lone segment into Montana in September 1990. Since the DMVW started running over the line to end of track at Whitetail, Montana; it was not ever very profitable. The route rarely saw any traffic at al until wheat harvest. Then traffic west of Westby, Montana was sporadic. As of April 2012, it appears that no trains trains at all have traveled west of Westby. Since the "mega" wheat elevators opened in the Wolf Point, Montana area; nearly all wheat is now trucked from the Whitetail region south and the chances are very slim [considering the poor shape of the roadbed/track] that the Westby to Whitetail line will ever reopen.

          Soo Line Dooley, Montana February 1916 Jull Rotary Snowplow Photos
Miscellaneous Historic Soo Line Photos

If you are interested in Montana railroad history
Click HERE to order book The Great Northern Railway in Marias Pass
and The Milwaukee Road Connection from Spokane to Butte

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All material and photos that does not list specific sources are copyrighted by Dale Jones

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