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The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway

The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway: A Photographic History

Don L. Hofsommer
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
    Book Description:

    In this photographic history of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway (M&StL), railroad historian Don L. Hofsommer revives the memory of a storied regional railroad. Rich in illustrations, this is not just a chronicle of a railroad but also a story and a record of a way of life in the rural upper Midwest. _x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6797-0
    Subjects: Transportation Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Protecting Home Turf: Minneapolis Builds a Railway, 1871-1899
    (pp. 1-29)

    The earliest corporate linkage to what became the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Company (M&StL) derived from a broad if illdefined plan for prospective Minnesota roads during territorial days of the early 1850s, but nothing really happened until 1869 and 1870 when an old charter was dusted off and amended to create M&StL. The purposes of the road were implied in its very title: to connect Minneapolis with St.Louis by iron rail over a vertical axis route that would, Proponents argued, obviate the alredy existing and very vigorous roads emating from the lake port cities of milwaukee and chicago—roads...

  5. Great Expectations: Dakota and Beyond, 1900–1923
    (pp. 30-81)

    Minneapolis & St. Louis attained its ultimate reach under Edwin Hawley, who came to understand that M&StL had either to expand or to expire. But even as he planned new routes for M&StL, Hawley ended the lease of the Wisconsin, Minnesota & Pacific between Red Wing and Mankato, acquiring, however, title to its disconnected western leg between Morton, Minnesota, and Watertown, South Dakota, which M&StL had operated under lease since construction. Then Hawley began his campaign of expansion.

    Residents of New ulm, a Prosperous milling and brewing community on the Minnesota River south of Winthrop on M&StL’s West End, long...

  6. Hard Times and Harder Times: Receivership—and Dismemberment? 1923–1943
    (pp. 82-141)

    Receivership in 1923 certainly had its ironic side for Minneapolis & St. Louis. The 1920s is widely recalled as the “prosperity decade,” and, indeed, in 1923—the very year M&StL slid into the courts again—the road hauled 7,311,189 tons of freight, a record to that time. But tonnage slipped thereafter, and passenger numbers,which had peaked in 1916, continued to spiral downward as the result of motor vehicle competition. The greatest problem was the company’s inability to meet bonded debt coupled with a crippling recession that gripped the agricultural sector of the national economy.

    The bloom clearly was off M&StL’s...

  7. The Doctor for Sick Railroads: Lucian Sprague Restores Solvency, 1943-1954
    (pp. 142-201)

    Salad days for Minneapolis & St.Louis were few—essentially the second portion of the Sprague tenure, 1943–54. Indeed, during those years Sprague and M&StL seemed to be one and the same.

    Prodigious volumes of freight necessary for the war effort and to sustain domestic needs flowed to and from stations large and small. Revenue tons for M&StL reached 1.5 billion in 1945, double that of 1938. Although the road’s passenger offerings remained humble, they were absolutely essential during the transportation-short war years when gasoline and rubber tire rationing limited motor vehicle travel. In 1944, total passengers carried leapt to...

  8. A Fresh Approach? The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Adjusts to “Modern Management,” 1954-1960
    (pp. 202-247)

    Ben W. heineman admitted that he was no railroader and said he had “no spectacular plans” for M&StL, but he promised that he would take a “long, careful” look at the company. Sprague was out and so were a few of his lieutenants.John W.Devins, long in employ at M&StL, was named president yet proved to be little more than window dressing and soon was gone, as were many other longtime managers. In were a group of young lions led by Albert W. Schroeder and supported by Larry S.Provo, among others.

    The new team proved as aggressive as it was innovative....

  9. End of the Line: The Minneapolis & St. Louis Disappears into the Chicago & North Western, 1960
    (pp. 248-278)

    They run a railroad a lot different than we [did],” exclaimed a bemused and irritated Clifford E. Ferguson, who in 1916 had hired on as a telegrapher at M&StL and by 1963 was Chicago & North Western’s senior traffic representative at Peoria. Ferguson and a number of other former M&StL salesmen elsewhere had been retained by C&NW as were most train dispatchers and roadmasters, but survivors among operating managers and other senior officials were rare to non-existent. Change in procedures and style were predictable, especially after a nasty strike against C&NW by the Order of Railroad Telegraphers in 1962. The...

  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 279-281)