Canadian National Railways was incorporated June 6, 1919, to operate several carriers that had come under governmental control owing to financial problems: Intercolonial (1913); National Transcontinental (1915); Canadian Northern (1918); Grand Trunk Pacific (1920); and Grand Trunk (1920). The Grand Trunk name survived on the U.S. portion of the Montreal-Portland (Maine) line until sold in 1989 to new carrier, St. Lawrence & Atlantic. Railroads absorbed after 1920 by CN include Newfoundland Railway (1949) and Northern Alberta (1981), a 1929 creation owned half by CN and Canadian Pacific until 1980, when CP sold its share to CN. The Canadian government privatized CN on November 17, 1995, in a C$2.2 billion initial public offering.
Canada’s Grand Trunk Railroad dates to 1852. Western extension reached Port Huron, Mich., by 1858 and Chicago in 1880. GT’s financial problems extending Grand Trunk Pacific to Canada’s west coast brought GT under government ownership and into Canadian National in 1923. CN incorporated Grand Trunk Western in 1928 to consolidate GT properties in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. In 1970 CN created Grand Trunk Corp. to operate its three major U.S. subsidiaries: GTW, DW&P, and CV. GTW still exists on paper but is operated as part of Canadian National.
Opened in 1849 as Vermont Central. Reorganized in 1889 as Central Vermont with Canada’s Grand Trunk as majority stockholder. Control passed to Canadian National in 1923. CN sold CV to RailTex Corp. in February 1995, which renamed it New England Central. RailAmerica bought RailTex in 2000.
Earliest predecessor Duluth, Virginia & Rainy Lake, a logging road, dates to 1901, and soon was purchased by Canadian Northern. Line extended north to Fort Frances, Ontario, in 1908, renamed Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific in 1909, and reached Duluth in 1912. With Canadian Northern, became part of Canadian National in 1918. DW&P still exists on paper but is operated as part of CN.
Pleasant Bay Railway incorporated in March 1898. In 1899 PB purchased Toledo & Ottawa Beach and renamed itself Detroit & Toledo Shore Line. Sold in 1902 jointly to Grand Trunk Western and Toledo, St. Louis & Western (the “Clover Leaf”). Line fully opened to Detroit in 1903. TStL&W interest passed to successor Nickel Plate Road in 1923, then to Norfolk & Western in 1964. GTW bought N&W’s half interest in 1981 and immediately merged D&TSL.
Detroit, Toledo & Ironton created in 1905 merger of Detroit Southern and Ohio Southern, the latter previously the Detroit & Lima Northern. Under control of Henry Ford 1920-1929. Sold to Pennroad Corp., allied with Pennsylvania Railroad, in 1929. Wabash and PRR subsidiary Pennsylvania Co. bought out Pennroad in 1951. Pennsylvania Co. sold DT&I to Grand Trunk Western June 24, 1980; GTW merged DT&I December 31, 1983. GTW parent Canadian National sold DT&I in 1997 to RailTex, which reorganized it as regional Indiana & Ohio Railway. RailTex was bought by RailAmerica in 2000.
Ann Arbor’s first ancestor dated from 1869. AA incorporated in 1895, and was controlled by Detroit, Toledo & Ironton 1905-1910, by Wabash 1925-1963, and by DT&I again 1963-1976. State of Michigan bought AA from DT&I, and designated Michigan Interstate as operator October 1, 1977. Operation split in 1983 among MI on south end, Tuscola & Saginaw Bay in middle, and Michigan Northern on north end. T&SB took over MN in 1984. Ann Arbor Railroad, established October 7, 1988, runs Toledo-Ann Arbor.
Illinois Central was chartered in 1851 to build north-south through Illinois. Renamed Illinois Central Gulf with August 1972 GM&O merger. After shedding more than two-thirds of its mileage in the 1980’s, mostly to new regionals, ICG on February 29, 1988, changed its name back to Illinois Central. Canadian National purchased IC on February 11, 1998, and merged it on July 1, 1999.
The second of five major Illinois Central Gulf spinoffs. In December 1985, Chicago, Central & Pacific was essentially the old IC Iowa Division. IC in the 1960’s had dropped usage of long-time green diamond emblem in favor of a “split-rail I,” so CC&P acquired rights to the old logo. IC, seeking to broaden its traffic base, in June 1996 repurchased CC&P and made it a subsidiary.
Gulf, Mobile & Ohio incorporated November 10, 1938, to acquire Mobile & Ohio (which dated to 1852) and Gulf, Mobile & Northern (to 1890), a deal completed in September 1940. GM&O merged with Illinois Central on August 10, 1972, to form Illinois Central Gulf.
Alton & Sangamon chartered in 1847, renamed St. Louis, Alton & Chicago in 1850’s. Chicago & Alton organized in 1861 to buy StLA&C. C&A controlled by Union Pacific and Rock Island 1904-07, then Clover Leaf 1907-1912. C&A entered receivership and was bought by Baltimore & Ohio in 1929, renamed Alton Railroad in 1931, restored to independence March 10, 1943, and acquired by Gulf, Mobile & Ohio May 31, 1947.
Tennessee & Pacific dates from 1871. By 1900 one of several “Tennessee Centrals” ran east to Emory Gap; western extension reached Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1904. During receivership 1904-1913, TC, divided at Nashville, was controlled by Illinois Central and Southern. After years of unprofitability, TC was split in May 1968 among IC (west of Nashville), Southern (east of Crossville), and Louisville & Nashville (middle). NS operates the east end; Nashville & Eastern the middle, and Central of Tennesee Railway & Navigation a short portion west of Nashville. Two segments were torn up.
Soo Line, after trying in 1987 to establish an “internal regional” with relaxed work-rules on most of its own lines in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, as the Lake States Transportation Division, gave up the attempt in order to concentrate on its new system including the Milwaukee Road and sold off Lake States’ 2300 miles of track to a group of investors who reused the name, and emblem (which dated from 1885), of the prior railroad on the majority of its lines. Wisconsin Central Ltd. ultimately grew to a 3000-mile system, including FV&W, ACR, and Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Co., the terminal firm used as the corporate entity to acquire 220 miles of ex-C&NW Upper Michigan lines from Union Pacific on January 27, 1997. Wisconsin Central Ltd. was acquired by Canadian National on October 9, 2001, providing the missing link in CN’s Y-shaped transcontinental system.
Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic was incorporated in 1883 to build from the Twin Cities east to a connection with Canadian Pacific. In 1888 MSSM&A, Minneapolis & Pacific, and two others consolidated to form the Minneapolis, St. Paul, & Sault Ste. Marie. The nickname “Soo Line” comes from the pronunciation of the word Sault. On December 31, 1960, MStP&SSM merged with subsidiaries Wisconsin Central Railroad and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic to form Soo Line Railroad. CP for decades owned 56 percent of Soo, and tried in the 1980’s to sell it, but in 1990 wound up acquiring full ownership. Soo remains a CP subsidiary but is operated as part of the system.
Wisconsin Central Railway incorporated in 1871, reached Ashland, Wis., in 1877; St Paul, Minn., in 1884; Chicago in 1886; and Superior in 1908. Leased by Northern Pacific 1890-93. Leased in 1909 by MStP&SSM-which gained access to Chicago, north-country ore deposits, and Wisconsin’s Fox River valley-until WC’s 1932 bankruptcy, after which Soo was WC’s “operating agent.” WC was folded into Soo Line Railroad in the 1960 merger.
Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway incorporated in 1887 as a consolidation of several Upper Michigan ore-country railroads. The “South Shore” came under Canadian Pacific control in 1890. It was reorganized in 1949 after a 12-year bankruptcy as Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad. Name changed to Soo Line Railroad as the DSS&A corporate structure survived in the December 31,1960, amalgamation with Soo and WC.
Green Bay & Lake Pepin was chartered in 1866, opened in 1871, and finished across Wisconsin in 1873. After control by a Lackawanna affiliate, reorganized as Green Bay & Western in 1896. Eastern extension to Lake Michigan incorporated in 1890 as Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western, absorbed by GB&W after World War II. Shortline firm Itel Corp. acquired GB&W in 1979. In 1991 Itel combined management of 255-mile GB&W with that of Fox River Valley, a 214-mile regional linking Milwaukee and Green Bay spun off to Itel by Chicago & North Western on December 19, 1988. On August 28, 1993, Wisconsin Central Ltd. acquired GB&W and FRV, placing them under a new subsidiary named Fox Valley & Western.
Algoma Central was chartered in 1899 to build north from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The optimistic words “& Hudson Bay” were added to the name in 1901, and removed in 1965. In 1990 the 322-mile ACR became a subsidiary of Algoma Central Corp., which has shipping, trucking, real estate, and forest interests. ACR was purchased by Wisconsin Central Ltd. on February 1, 1995, and operated as a separate subsidiary until WC’s purchase by Canadian National in 2001.