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MN Celebrates Train History

Posted at: 10/30/2012 8:57 AM

FORT WORTH, Texas, October 30, 2012 – Minnesota’s rich history of rail will be celebrated  Tuesday as BNSF Railway together with the Minnesota railroading community recognizes the 150th anniversary of the first train run in the state of Minnesota.

More than 100 people are expected to gather at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in St. Paul to pay tribute to the important role rail has played – and continues to play – in Minnesota’s economy.

In 1862, Minnesota’s first steam engine, the William Crooks, pulled two rail cars over a 10 mile stretch of track built by the St. Paul and Pacific railroad between St. Paul and what is now Minneapolis.

The St. Paul and Pacific was a predecessor railroad to BNSF and the first railroad in Minnesota and much of the Northwest. The company was eventually acquired by Minnesota railroad pioneer James J. Hill who developed the small line into the Great Northern Railway, one of the most successful transcontinental railroads in American history.

Today that original route is still an important part of the BNSF network. To mark the 150th anniversary of the first train run in Minnesota, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman declared this week “Minnesota Railroad History Week.”

Minnesota is part of BNSF’s Great Northern Corridor, which links Minnesota’s economy to that of the nation and the world. BNSF alone moves nearly 2 million carloads of freight in Minnesota annually. “That historic day 150 years ago changed the course of this state and BNSF is proud to continue that heritage,” said Andrew Johnsen, Assistant Vice President, BNSF Railway.

The 150-year-old route runs from downtown St. Paul near St. Paul Union Depot, past the Minnesota Transportation Museum to near St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis.