The Northern Lines Railway

January 2008 and GP7 #1704 is switching a short cut of wagons just to the west of the St. Cloud yard

Based in Saint Cloud, MN. The Northern Lines Railway (NLR) is a shining example of a sucessful local shortline railroad. It is a relatively new comapny, formed in 2004 to bid on a contract to operate Rail services in central Minnesota from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). The company is owned by Anacostia and Pacific which own several sucessful shortlines across the USA. The NLR operates on almost 30 miles of track that run from the main rail yard in Saint Cloud out to Cold Spring and Saint Joseph in the west and across the BNSF main line close to the Amtrak station to serve industries in the east of the city. Businesses served by the NLR are many and varied and include household names such as Electrolux and Gold n' plump. As well as construction yards, lumber yards, transportation agents and scrap metal recyclers. The local newspaper The Saint Cloud Times is also a customer. As St Cloud is also noted for its granite it is fitting that Cold Spring Granite also chooses to use the NLR. All these businesses create about 10,000 carloads of freight a year. An achievement for which the line received recognition from the BNSF in 2006 and was declared "shortline of the year". All this business is handled by just 2 locomotives GP7's #1703 and 1704 and eight full time employees.

The NLR is my local shortline and as such I'm interested in it from the point of view of a Rail enthusiast and a model railroader. I'm thinking about building a layout based on a part of the line and its operation. These pictures are my research. Whenever I'm in St. Cloud I take a trip over to the yard to see if I can see anything going on. So these album pages will be regularly updated so keep checking back and while you are here enjoy!

Its a beautiful late fall day and #1704 is busy switching in the yard






Northern Lines Railway related links

Anacostia and Pacific

 U of M Railroad Club NLR Page

 Granite City RR NLR Page 1

Granite City RR NLR page 2