News & Reviews News Wire North Shore Scenic Railroad recovers from washouts

North Shore Scenic Railroad recovers from washouts

By Steve Glischinski | October 2, 2023

| Last updated on October 3, 2023

Track undermined in three locations

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Passenger train with two diesel locomotives crossing a bridge over a river.
CN’s special move bringing North Shore Scenic Railroad equipment from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minn., crosses the Cloquet River Bridge at Burnett, Minn. on Sept. 28. The tourist train was stranded in Two Harbors after heavy rain caused several track washouts. David C. Schauer

DULUTH, Minn. – The North Shore Scenic Railroad resumed service Sept. 29, quickly recovering from washouts that closed the railroad’s route to Two Harbors, Minn., for several days.

Northeast Minnesota saw record rainfall the weekend of Sept. 23-24, with the town of Knife River on NSSR receiving 7.6 inches of rain in less that 8 hours. NSSR sent out track crews to check the right-of-way for the train to Two Harbors on Sept. 24 and found no problems. After the train arrived in Two Harbors, crews again checked the track and found washouts in three places, stranding the train in Two Harbors. Arrowhead Transit, which normally provides buses so passengers can travel around Two Harbors during the train’s stop, were called upon to take passengers back to Duluth. Since Arrowhead is considered a “rural” carrier, the trip into Duluth required the permission of the city service Duluth Transit Authority, which recognized the emergency and gave its permission.

NSSR’s track is owned by the St. Louis & Lake Counties Regional Railroad Authority, which dispatched crews from Northshore Track Services to conduct repairs, including dropping rip-rap, rock and fresh ballast. One of the worst washouts occured at Schmidt’s Creek, where a large hole developed, exposing a 19th century iron bridge which helps support the right-of-way but which had been unseen for decades.

Northshore was set to return the railroad to NSSR on the evening of Sept. 28, but the railroad’s equipment was still stranded in Two Harbors. Canadian National came to the rescue that day, moving the equipment, including former Duluth, Missabe & Iron SD18 No. 193, two dome cars and an ex-DM&IR caboose from Two Harbors along famous DM&IR “circle” — north and west to Iron Junction, south to Proctor, down Proctor Hill passing the Duluth ore docks, and into the Duluth depot. To provide Positive Train Control, soon to be retired CN C40-8 No. 2033 led the train with No. 193 trailing. At Duluth the train was cleaned, serviced and fueled, and departed on time for sold-out fall colors trips to Two Harbors Sept. 29.

NSSR’s season runs through Oct. 28. For more information click here.

One thought on “North Shore Scenic Railroad recovers from washouts

  1. The NSSR is a heritage railroad that operates between Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota, United States, along 28 miles (45 km) of the Lakefront Line, once part of the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad. Owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, the NSSR operates out of the former Duluth Union Depot, now the St. Louis County Depot. Ridership hit 110 000 in 2018, the railroad’s record. The Duluth Zephyr is the railroad’s most popular trip!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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