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Seventh Subdivision of the Central Division ( Weyerhauser Line)

Mileposts Along the Soo Line

History of the Weyerhauser Line.

 
The Weyerhauser line as many of the other lines along the Soo has changed drastically since its origin in 1884.  This was the first line established by the Soo when construction started in the town of Cameron.  In the year 1899, Soo Line took control of the Rice Lake Dallas & Menomonie Railroad.  This added the lines from Cameron to Rice Lake, from Rice Lake to the Reserve and from Barron to Ridgeland.
 
The original Subdivision extended from Withrow, MN to Weyerhauser, WI.  Weyerhauser once had a modest yard with a roundhouse, and locomotive facility.  It was also a crew change point up until the early 70's when the crew change was pushed east to Ladysmith.  When Weyerhauser was eliminated as a crew change point, the subdivision was also pushed back to Ladysmith as well. 
 
The first line that was removed was the former RLD&M line from the LCO Reserve back to Birchwood in 1931.  The declining revenue along the line, caused by the decline in logging business, potato business, the termination of the livestock market, competition from vehicles and improved roads caused the Soo to file for abandonment.  The line from Rice Lake to Birchwood did not last much longer either.  In 1936, the line was cut back to Rice Lake.
The next line removed was the former RLD&M line from Barron to Ridgeland in 1962.  Again a decline in business forced the line closure.  For more information on the "Blueberry Line" see the January, April, and October 1986 issues of "The Soo" published by the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society.  Author Robert Wundrock published an indepth article on the lines of the former RLD&M from Rice Lake to the Reserve and from Barron to Ridgeland.  The issues are currently out of print, but may be available at trade or swap shows.
 
The name the "Weyerhauser Line" stuck with the line even though the subdivision changed. Up until the late 70's or early 80's when the line was renamed the Barron Sub
.
In 1987, the Weyerhauser line was grouped in the Lake States Transportation Division.  When the line was sold to the Wisconsin Central Ltd on October 11, 1987, the function of the line changed.  The line was no longer a thru route because it did not fit into the operating scheme of the WC.  Shortly after the take over, the line was severed at Almena and removed to Amery.  The line was now served by locals serving the industries to the east from Ladysmith, and from the West out of Minneapolis. 
 
Changes came again to the line in 1992 when the WC purchased the C&NW line from Cameron to Superior.  The WC removed the Rice Lake line, the last segment of the old RLD&M "Blueberry Line",  in favor of using the former C&NW from Cameron to Rice Lake.  The ABS signals that protected the crossing in Cameron were removed and a gate with a stop sign was put in place to protect the crossing.
 
The WC continued to provide service two times a week to industries in Barron and Rice Lake up until the take over by the Canadian National.
 
In 2001, the WC removed a section of the small yard in Cameron, as well as part of the west interchange.  The rails and switches were removed and the ties were left in place.  In 2003, the WC was required to replace the grade crossings in Cameron due to the condition of the track, at this time, the ties were also removed and fill was brought in to smooth out the grade.
 
On Thanksgiving Day, 2004, the last train traveled the line between Cameron and Ladysmith.  This CN train, towed by a CN GP40W had just a few cars along and with little fanfare, the would not see another train.
 
In November of 2004, the CN leased the line to the newly formed Wisconsin Northern railroad.  The line from Ladysmith to Cameron was taken out of service because now the WN reaches Cameron via the former C&NW from the south.  When the CN took the line out of service, it then paved over the rails at all the grade crossings between Cameron and Ladysmith and placed covers over all the crossing signals as well.  The line has been rail banked for future development if the need arrises, but there are no industries served anymore on that line.  With the downturn in the agriculture business, most feedmills have closed up on the route, leaving nothing to serve.
 
Currently the line west of Barron is also out of service to Almena.  There has not been rail service for many years.  The grade crossings between Barron and Almena have been tagged with signs that state, "Track Out of Service".  The WN hopes to revive service on this line as there is still agriculture business in Poskin and Almena that could provide business.
 
The line to the west, Minneapolis to Amery was removed back to Dresser in the late 90's.
 
Dresser is still home to the Dresser Trap Rock plant and still sees trains from the CN and CP.
 
At Osceola, the Depot has been restored and now hosts the Osceola & St.Croix Valley Railway.  They operate a tour train using restored Great Northern cars and a number of locomotives including one painted in a Soo Line maroon and gold scheme.
 
The St. Croix river drawbridge is still in place and sees trains on a regular basis.  The rock trains going to Dresser and the local tour train running in the summer.
 
The depot in Dresser is apparently still in use by the CN and is in good condition
 
The Depot in Barron is also undergoing a restoration and is going to be turned into a coffee shop when complete.
 
The Depot in Weyerhauser is in poor condition.  It was offered up for sale by the WC a number of years ago with the condition that it be moved off railroad property, but no one purchased it.  It has been said that the CN has plans the remove the structure, but now that the line has been taken out of service, those plans may have been put on hold.
 
The former subdivision point of Ladysmith still has a depot and is currently still in use by CN.
 
 
The trains that were hosted on the line were as follows:
 
Train 7 & 8 - known as the "Atlantic Limited".  It was the passenger train that connected St. Paul to Sault St. Marie.  These trains were taken out of service in 1960.  Diagram sets for trains 7 & 8 are available from the Soo Line Historical Society Archives,  (DS-1 Soo Passenger Trains 7-8 Dia. Set (8 sheets + covers) - $4.00)
 
Train 74 & 75 - Renumbered to 909 & 910, these trains connected St. Paul to Gladstone.  They hauled coil steel, lumber, paper, containers among many other things.
 
Train 76 & 77 - St. Paul to Superior - These trains traveled the line from Withrow to Dresser, heading north from Dresser to Superior on the Danbury line.
 
Train 65 - Barron to Dresser - This train came on duty at Barron, and traveled to Dresser to drop off cars and then pick up cars for the daily trip back to Cameron and Rice Lake.
 
Train 66 - Dresser to Rice Lake - When train 65 headed back east it became 66.  This train with the cars picked up from Dresser made its rounds back to Rice Lake. When the train arrived at Cameron, it made a reverse movement up the Rice Lake spur.  At Rice Lake it did it's final switching.
 
Train 67 - Rice Lake to Barron - Once all the switching was complete in Rice Lake, and it was time to head back to Barron, it became 67 for the short trip back to Barron where it tied up for the night.  The next day, the routine started all over again.
 
This list does not include any "Extra" trains which would be difficult to find as they are not listed on timetables.
 
 

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