D&I Railroad

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The D&I Railroad (DAIR) (also nicknamed the Dakota and Iowa Railroad)[1][better source needed] is a wholly owned subsidiary of L.G. Everist Inc. The line hauls ethanol, sand, gravel, and Sioux Quartzite, which is mined from two large quarries in Dell Rapids.

D&I Railroad
Reporting mark DAIR
Locale South Dakota, Iowa
Dates of operation 1985–present
Predecessor Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, Chicago and North Western Transportation Company
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Dell Rapids, South Dakota

The D&I has a trackage agreement with BNSF to allow it to travel to deliver and sell products, as they must use BNSF’s system to reach their southern half of their trackage. The D&I operates on both former Chicago, Milwakuee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and Chicago and Norhwestern Railroad trackage, which were handed over to the state of South Dakota in 1980-1981 after the Milwaukee Road’s bankruptcy and subsequent abandonment of unprofitable lines.[2][3][4][5][6]


The D&I is sometimes also referred to as the Dakota and Iowa Railroad or the Dale and Irene Railroad. However, the name is only the D&I Railroad,with the Dakota and Iowa or Dale and Irene being only nicknames.[1]


The D&I operates coporate owned trackage from Dell Rapids to Sioux Falls, where it connects with the BNSF. It also operates trackage owned by the State of South Dakota in which it hauls products down to Sioux City to be loaded on barges and then sent through the Missouri River, into the Mississippi River, and out to sea.[2][4][3] The tracks are reached by the D&I using the BNSF’s system to reach the beginning of the state owned line it operates, which begins at Canton, South Dakota.

The D&I also operates a former Chicago and Northwestern branch line from Hawarden, Iowa to Beresford, South Dakota, which is owned by the State of South Dakota.[2]