Railroads are so hot right now


The tiny northern Minnesota border town of Ranier is now the nation’s busiest rail port, according to the mayor of the adjacent “big” city of International Falls.

Situated along the Rainy River across from a part of Ontario that even Canadians don’t talk about much, Rainer has long been a busy rail location. While it appears to be in the middle of nowhere it is in actuality in the middle of the North American continent, and in a globalized economy that makes it a convenient handler of railed goods.

A friend of the blog sent me this item after I lamented the changes and reductions in air service to northern Minnesota. If the planes are struggling the trains are running strong, even if those beautiful Great Northern mountain goats have been painted BNSF green and the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range iron-red and unrelated-yellow has fallen to the block-lettered CN of Canadian National.

Trains are more than just a big employer in this region. For 120 years, the railroads have been central to the economic health of the quarter-million people who have lived in the Arrowhead region at any given point. The start of the Range is marked not in the discovery of ore, but in the ability to get vast amounts of ore to Duluth. That’s why the robber barons like Hill, Rockefeller and Carnegie are regarded with wary appreciation here even today. They built the rails.

Perhaps I’ve planned wisely in naming my hot new radio show after a railroad.

PHOTOS: Top, a Canadian National train bearing international freight passes south of Eveleth, Minnesota, in 2010, probably on its way from Ranier. Middle, a DM&IR train travels next to St. Louis Co. Highway 7 in 1998.


  1. Yes, the railroads are busy. the trains are often 120 cars long. And, of course, there are always the concerns about derailments and whatever might be carried on those cars. It isn’t quite out of sight therefore out of mind since people hear the train even when they live miles away.

  2. prada japan

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.