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Photography by Dale Jones

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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

This link will take you to a Microsoft OneDrive URL site
You should not need to have One Drive installed on your device
It is a
Adobe® PDF large pdf file, so may take awhile to download
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 in Minnesota 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 there 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 for information about a new hardcover book on Marias Pass

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

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