A Midwest Regional Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway


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M&SL Logo
The Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway (M&StL), now defunct, was an American railroad that built and operated lines radiating south and west from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The railway's most important route was between Minneapolis and Peoria, Illinois; a second major route extended from Minneapolis into eastern South Dakota, and other trackage served various areas in north-central Iowa. The M&StL was founded in 1870, and expanded through line construction and acquisition until the early 20th Century. Most of the railway's routes saw only relatively light traffic, and consequently the company's financial position was frequently
Minneapolis & St. Louis
Minneapolis &
St. Louis
July 29, 1956
precarious and the railroad operated under bankruptcy protection between 1923 and 1943. The M&StL was acquired by the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1960, and much of its former trackage was later abandoned.(wik)
The major lines of the M&SL extended from Minneapolis-St. Paul through Albert Lea, Minnesota and Fort Dodge, Iowa to Des Moines; from the twin cities to Peoria, Illinois, allowing freight to by-pass Chicago; from the twin cities south to Albia, Iowa where it connected with the Wabash to St. Louis, and from the twin cities to Watertown. Iowa and on to Leola, South Dakota.(rp)
While the primary business of the M&StL was the haulage of freight, the railroad also operated a limited number of passenger train services.
Since the railroad's route structure was not based on direct lines between major American cities, long-distance passenger service was generally not competitive with the trains of larger railroads. Many of the M&SL lines used gas-electric rail cars starting in 1929. The premiere M&StL passenger train was the North Star Limited, which operated from Minneapolis to Albia, Iowa on the M&StL, and then continued to St. Louis via the Wabash Railroad. The North Star Limited was discontinued in 1935.(wik) The M&SL did offer chair car and sleeping car service from Des Moines to Albia and on to St. Louis via the Wabash,(rp)
History of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
1866 - Coal is found near Eldora, Iowa, and the Eldora Railroad and Coal Company is formed to service this industry.
1870 - ERR&C, now renamed the Central Railroad Company of Iowa, completed south to Marshalltown to connect with CNW Omaha line, completed in 1867.
cir 1870 - CRRof Iowa renamed the Iowa Central Railway.
1870 - The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway was created by a group of Minnesota investors interested in establishing a railroad connection between Minneapolis and the agricultural regions to the south.
1886-87 - Richard Sears starts mail order business at M&SL North Redwood depot.

Iowa Central Map 1890's
Iowa Central Map - 1890's
1888-1894 - M&SL in bankruptcy.
cir 1890's - Iowa Central extends lines from Mason City on the north to Peoria, Illinois on southeast, with several small branches in Iowa.
1899 - M&SL purchased the Minneapolis New Ulm and Southern. Funds approved to extend line to Omaha.
1901 - M&SL and Iowa Central operate as a single railroad.
1902 - M&SL crack train the North Star Limited, Minneapolis - St. Louis, via Albia and Wabash Railroad begins operation.
1907 - M&SL extends west to Missouri River at Le Beau, S.D.
1912 - M&SL and IoC merged as M&SL.
1916 - M&SL system established and absorbing smaller roads.
1920's - Financial troubles.
1922 - M&SL into receivership.
1929 - Gas-electric rail cars begin use in passenger and express service.
1935-1942 - New management provides efficiencies under Lucian Sprague,
1943 - M&SL emerges from receivership.
1954 - Benj. Heineman tales over M&SL.
1956 - Heineman takes over C&NW.
1957-58 - Budd RDC cars used unsuccessfully on Minneapolis-Des Moines run.
1960 - Last M&SL passenger runs (Minneapolis-Watertown).
1960 - C&NW acquires M&SL.
1960's-1970's - Major sections of M&SL abandoned.
1990 - C&NW acquired by UP.

Minneapolis &St. Louis Map - 1943
Minneapolis &St. Louis Map - 1943


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
http://www.cashgroth.com/iacent.html (Iowa Central)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 29, 2009, revised July 22, 2011