Monthly Archives: March 2020

Port Arthur, Duluth & Western Railway MP 20

Video from Saturday’s hike at the former PAD&W bridge west of Stanley at MP 20.

This bridge is the last remaining structure on the railway, and was built in 1922. At the time, the line was part of Canadian National Railways, and was known as the North Lake Sub-Division or the North Lake Branch. It was the third bridge at this location; the original was constructed in 1889 and the first replacement installed in 1902. The last train rumbled over it in March 1938, 82 years ago this month. The whole line was abandoned in October of that year.

It was converted to vehicular use at some point afterwards (for sure before 1960) which it continues to faithfully do. The bridge is in need of some repair, which hopefully occurs soon to keep this great reminder of the railway operating well into the future.

Available in 4K (though it may not be available due to YouTube lowering bandwidth worldwide).

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Posted by on March 25, 2020 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video


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Corduroy Trestle, Gunflint & Lake Superior Railroad 1997

In honour of the 115th anniversary of its completion, and the 12th anniversary of its demise, we revisit the Gunflint Corduroy Trestle.

This amazing structure was built in the winter of 1904-1905 by the Pigeon River Lumber Company for their logging railroad, the Gunflint & Lake Superior. To climb the ridges south of the lake, the company built a very crude trestle by corduroying logs and topping it with gravel. Just over 250 feet long, the elevation increases 25 feet in that distance, creating a brutal 10% grade. It was probably one of the most unusual railroad trestles in all of North America.

Later that year they purchased a Shay locomotive (SN-683) to work this section of the line.

Sadly, the trestle was lost in 2008. The year before it was engulfed by the Ham Lake Fire and the logs smoldered for months. The USFS was forced to dynamite the structure to extinguish the fire. I’m glad I was able to see it before its demise and shoot this footage. My apologies for the shaky recording; I was very young, rather excited and there was no stabilization!

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Posted by on March 9, 2020 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video


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