Northern Lines Railway

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Northern Lines Railway (reporting mark NLR) is a shortline railroad operating 19 miles (31 km) of track in and near St. Cloud in central Minnesota. The railroad was formed in 2004 to operate former Burlington Northern Santa Fe trackage in the St. Cloud area. Interchange is made with BNSF in east St. Cloud.

The railroad operates three connected lines. The St. Joseph branch extends from the connection with BNSF in east St. Cloud westward, crosses the Mississippi River on the 1892 St. Cloud Rail Bridge and continues on to St. Joseph, approximately 7 miles (11 km). The East St. Cloud branch extends from the connection with BNSF in east St. Cloud, crosses U.S. Route 10, and terminates at the Quebecor World printing plant in east St. Cloud, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km).

Until 2012 the Cold Spring/Rockville branch extended southwestward from its connection with the St. Joseph branch line in west St. Cloud, passed through Waite Park and Rockville and terminated just west of Cold Spring, approximately 16 miles (26 km). However in 2011 Northern Lines applied to discontinue 7 miles (11 km) of service between Rockville and Cold Spring and in early 2012 track owner BNSF received permission to abandon the westernmost 3 miles (4.8 km) of track and convert an additional 4 miles (6.4 km) between Cold Spring and Rockville to industry track.[1][2] Track was removed in Cold Spring and the last train, loaded with ties, left Cold Spring on August 22, 2012.[3] Also in 2012, Archer Daniels Midland constructed a shuttle loading grain elevator on the Cold Spring/Rockville line between Waite Park and Rockville, joining Wenner Gas in Rockville and Martin Marietta Materials's aggregate quarry in Waite Park as customers on the line.[4]

In addition the railroad serves several customers in east St. Cloud via trackage rights on BNSF track.

The railroad handles approximately 10,000 carloads annually consisting mainly of aggregates, building products, chemicals, coal, food products, lumber, manufactured goods, paper, scrap, steel and stone.

The railroad is owned by Anacostia and Pacific Company, Inc and has its local headquarters in the old depot at the rail yard in central St. Cloud.

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