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Soo Line Railroad

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[G2:1414 n=0 frame=none size=150]The Soo Line Railroad (AAR reporting marks SOO) is the United States arm of the Canadian Pacific Railway, serving Chicago and the areas to the east and west. Formerly known as Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway (and commonly known as the Soo Line after the phonetic pronunciation of Sault), the present name was adopted as a trade name in 1950. In late 1960 the company was consolidated with several subsidiaries and reorganized under the current name.

In 1985 the Soo Line purchased the Milwaukee Road and attempted to operate the pre-1985 Soo Line and selected Milwaukee Road branchlines as a wholly owned subsidiary, the Lake States Transportation Division. Because of lackluster traffic levels and the need to pay off debt resulting from the purchase of the Milwaukee Road, most of the LSTD (including the original Wisconsin Central Railway) was sold in 1987 to the newly formed Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation.

The Soo Line is a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway system. As time passes, more and more Soo Line equipment is being repainted into the Canadian Pacific's current paint scheme, slowly erasing the Soo's identity as a subsidiary railroad.

Passenger service

The Soo Line was never a major carrier of passenger traffic since its route between Chicago and Minneapolis was much longer than the competing Milwaukee Road, Chicago and North Western and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad railroads. The Soo Line also had no direct access to Milwaukee.

The primary trains operated by the Soo were:

* The Laker which operated an overnight service from Chicago's Grand Central Station to Duluth-Superior with a portion to Minneapolis-St. Paul. An additional portion served Ashland, Wisconsin until January 1959. The Laker was discontinued completely on January 15, 1965.
* The Winnipeger which operated an overnight Minneapolis-St. Paul to Winnipeg, Manitoba service. It was discontinued in May 1967.
* A Minneapolis-St. Paul to western Canada service. During the 1920s and 1930s the Soo Line operated the Soo-Pacific, a summer only Chicago-Vancouver service with the Canadian Pacific Railway. This later became The Mountaineer, which was then reduced to Minneapolis-St. Paul to Vancouver, before being discontinued in the early 1960s. During the non-summer months, the train ran as the Soo-Dominion from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where it was combined into Canadian Pacific Railway's The Dominion transcontinental passenger train.
* A Minneapolis-St. Paul to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan overnight train. Discontinued March 1959.

Additionally, local trains served Chicago to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth-Superior to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and some summer-only services which relieved The Mountaineer of the local work along its route. The Soo Line's last passenger train was the Copper Country Limited, a joint service with the Milwaukee Road, which the Soo Line inherited when they merged the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway in December 1960. The Chicago-Champion-Calumet train was discontinued May 8, 1968.

Company Presidents

The Presidents of the Soo Line were[1]:

* William D. Washburn, 1883–1889.
* Thomas Lowry, 1889–1890, 1892–1909.
* F. N. Finney, 1890–1892.
* Edmund Pennington, 1909–1922.
* G. R. Huntingdon, 1922–1923.
* C. T. Jaffray, 1924–1937.
* G. W. Webster, 1937–1944.
* H. C. Grout, 1944–1949.
* G. Allen MacNamara, 1950–1960.
* Leonard Murray, 1961–1978.
* Thomas M. Beckley, 1978–1983.
* Dennis Miles Cavanaugh, 1983–1986, 1987–1989.
* Robert C. Gilmore, 1986–1987.
* Edwin V. Dodge, 1989–1996

The Soo Line Building in Minneapolis served as company headquarters. It is still used by Canadian Pacific.


* September 29, 1883: A consortium of flour mill owners in Minneapolis form the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railway Company to build a railroad between its two namesake cities to avoid sending shipments through Chicago.
* June 11, 1888: The Canadian Pacific Railway acquires control of the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railway, consolidating it with the Minneapolis and Pacific Railway, Minneapolis and St. Croix Railway and Aberdeen, Bismarck and North Western Railway to form the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway Company.
* 1904: The Soo Line acquires the Bismarck, Washburn and Great Falls Railway.[2]
* 1908: The Soo Line acquires a majority interest in the Wisconsin Central Railway, and obtains a 99-year lease of the property in 1909.
* 1910: The Soo line acquires the Cuyuna Iron Range Railway.
* 1913: The Soo Line acquires the Minnesota Northwestern Electric Railway and the Fairmount and Veblen Railway.
* 1921: The Soo Line acquired the Wisconsin and Northern Railroad.
* 1932: The Wisconsin Central Railway enters receivership.
* December 31, 1937: The Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway files for bankruptcy.
* 1944: The Wisconsin Central Railway enters bankruptcy.
* September 1. 1944: The Soo Line reorganization takes effect, emerging as the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad Company.
* 1953: The Valley City Street and Interuban Railway is sold to the Soo Line.
* 1954: The Wisconsin Central emerges from its bankruptcy as the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company.
* December 30, 1960: The Soo Line Railroad Company is formed through a merger of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, Wisconsin Central Railroad and Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway (AAR reporting marks DSSA).
* 1984: Ownership of the Soo Line Railroad is transferred to a holding company, the Soo Line Corporation.
* June 2, 1982 The Soo Line Corporation buys the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway (AAR reporting marks MNS)
* February 21, 1985: The Soo Line Corporation wins the administrator’s auction for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (AAR reporting marks MILW) and renames it Milwaukee Road, Inc.
* January 1, 1986: The Milwaukee Road and Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern are merged into the Soo Line Railroad.
* April 4, 1987: The Soo Line Railroad announces the sale of its Lake States Transportation Division to private investors, forming the new Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation.
* 1992: The Canadian Pacific Railway, which had owned a controlling interest in the Soo Line Railroad for many years, finishes buying up all remaining stock and operated it as a wholly owned subsidiary until 1996 when it officially ceased.



A number of the railroad's rolling stock has been preserved in museums across America, some in operational condition. Some of the more notable equipment is:

Steam locomotives
[G2:1282 n=0 size=150]Soo 2719 Big Sucker River Bridge, MN

* Soo Line 353 - A restored 0-6-0 built in 1920 by ALCO.
* Soo Line 1003 - A restored 2-8-2 built in 1913 by ALCO.
* Soo Line 2719 - A restored 4-6-2 built in 1923 by ALCO. This locomotive hauled the Soo Line's last steam-powered train in revenue service in 1959.[3]
* Soo Line 2713 - A restored 4-6-2 H-21 built in 1913 by ALCO Schenectady. It is located in Depot Park in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This park also includes Soo Line Caboose 158.

Diesel locomotives
[G2:610 n=0 size=150] Soo 4601 and 4431 Stinson Yard, Superior, WI.

* Soo 500-A an EMD FP7 displayed at Ladysmith, Wisconsin
* Soo 2500-A an EMD FP-7, at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Duluth, Minnesota. Restored for use on their North Shore Scenic Railroad.
* Soo 700, an EMD GP30, at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Duluth, Minnesota. Restored for use on their North Shore Scenic Railroad.
* Soo 703, an EMD GP30, at the Colfax Railroad Museum, Colfax, Wisconsin

Reporting marks: SOO, DSA, MNS, MILW
Locale: North Dakota to Michigan via Chicago
Dates of operation: 1883–1996
Successor: Canadian Pacific
Track gauge: 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota