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.
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.