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Nostalgia & History > GTW Meets CGW


Date: 09/02/10 10:32
GTW Meets CGW
Author: ShoptonFan

When the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern was formed in 1986, the railroad initially rostered ex-CNW SD7Ms and SD9Ms plus ex-MILW SD10s. The railroad found itself needing to lease four axle power from other railroads for switching and for segments of the railroad where six axle power was not appropriate. The DM&E turned to the likes of CNW, SOO, CSS&SB, D&I and GTW for leasing their four axle needs prior to and even after the purchase of five ex-N&W (nee-Nickel Plate) GP9s.

At its start up, the DM&E continued CNW’s practice of stationing a switcher in Rochester, MN. Prior to 1968, Rochester was served by two railroads, the Chicago & Northwestern and the Chicago Great Western. The CNW was represented by its east-west main line running from Winona, MN to Rapid City, SD. The CGW line was a secondary mainline running from McIntyre IA to Randolph, MN via Red Wing, MN. This line connected to the Twin Cities to Oelwein IA mainline at both of its end points. The line was the route of CGW’s famed Red Bird passenger train, which brought many patients to Rochester’s Mayo Clinic. CNW’s purchase of the CGW in 1968 made Rochester a one railroad town. At the time of the DM&E purchase, the ex-CGW trackage in Rochester had been cut back to two small spur line segments running north and south of the ex-CNW mainline. (These spurs had been part of the original CGW mainline.) In addition to several customers, the southern spur also contained the ex-CGW depot (which has since been relocated). The northward spur served rail customers running as far north as the mammoth IBM plant.

In the accompanying picture, we find a long way from home GTW GP9 #4139 making its acquaintance with the CGW on the northern spur at Rochester, MN on 8/10/87.

Thanks for looking.

Gary Helling



Date: 09/02/10 10:50
Re: GTW Meets CGW
Author: ATSF3751

Chicago Great Western AKA "Great Weedy" was a very well run and efficent railroad, often overlooked! It's too bad it was absorbed into CNW, which pretty much dismantled nearly everything CGW. I always thought a hookup with KCS or Santa Fe would have been better for shippers and the general public. CGW service was slow, but reliable as many of their shippers often commented on. CNW brought changes that ultimatly brought service reductions and outright elimination.



Date: 09/02/10 15:29
Re: GTW Meets CGW
Author: NebraskaZephyr

ATSF3751 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I always thought a hookup with KCS or Santa Fe would
> have been better for shippers and the general
> public. CGW service was slow, but reliable as many
> of their shippers often commented on. CNW brought
> changes that ultimatly brought service reductions
> and outright elimination.

If you read H. Roger Grant's book on the CGW there is a fascinating passage describing some of the merger combinations the CGW board looked into before finally climbing into bed with the C&NW.

Two of the more fascinating merger proposals (which would have likely kept much of the CGW intact, at least until Staggers and mega-mergers came along) were CGW-Soo Line and a three-way C&EI-CGW-MKT combination.

Driving IL 64 west of St. Charles along the bike-path-that-was-the-CGW, I can't help but imagine pacing a brace of red-and-white Soo Line SD40s on their way to Oelwein. Oh, what might have been!!

NZ



Date: 09/02/10 21:43
Re: GTW Meets CGW
Author: ATSF3751

NebraskaZephyr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ATSF3751 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I always thought a hookup with KCS or Santa Fe
> would
> > have been better for shippers and the general
> > public. CGW service was slow, but reliable as
> many
> > of their shippers often commented on. CNW
> brought
> > changes that ultimatly brought service
> reductions
> > and outright elimination.
>
> If you read H. Roger Grant's book on the CGW there
> is a fascinating passage describing some of the
> merger combinations the CGW board looked into
> before finally climbing into bed with the C&NW.
>
> Two of the more fascinating merger proposals
> (which would have likely kept much of the CGW
> intact, at least until Staggers and mega-mergers
> came along) were CGW-Soo Line and a three-way
> C&EI-CGW-MKT combination.
>
> Driving IL 64 west of St. Charles along the
> bike-path-that-was-the-CGW, I can't help but
> imagine pacing a brace of red-and-white Soo Line
> SD40s on their way to Oelwein. Oh, what might have
> been!!
>
> NZ


Yes, I did read Rodger's book and found it quite interesting. An end-point merger with the Santa Fe would have probably been the best, allowing Santa Fe direct access to the upper midwest. MKT was still too weak at the time (1967) to be much of a force. KCS presented an ideal candidate and in fact was under Deremus control at the time. Oh well. When I was 15, I rode 13 and 14 between Minneapolis and Austin and back. Friendly railroaders, bumpy track, no speed records to set. Lots of mail and express and 8 riders beside myself. The train was history 2 months later.



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