Ellis and Eastern Company
|Locale||South Dakota, Minnesota|
|Dates of operation||1989–present|
|Predecessor||Chicago and North Western Transportation Company|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Headquarters||Ellis, South Dakota|
Operating on former Chicago and Northwestern (CNW) trackage, it was formed to ship Sioux Quartzite and other materials such as sand and gravel from a large quarry in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for Sweetman Construction Company, which uses the railroad primarily to ship materials from the quarry it operates to a concrete plant nearby. Over time, the Ellis and Eastern has shipped more diverse products such as lumber, chemicals, machinery, scrapmetals, and grain to other customers.
The Ellis and Eastern Company operates between Brandon and Ellis, South Dakota on former Chicago and Northwestern trackage. This line was originally constructed by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway (Omaha Road), which stretched from Manley, Minnesota, to Mitchell, South Dakota. The portion between Mitchell and Ellis was abandoned in the 1980s, by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, the successor of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway. Since the current western terminus of the railroad is at Ellis due to the abandonment of the line westward to Mitchell, the Ellis and Eastern only operates east of that point, hence the name, Ellis and Eastern Company.
Purchase of the Minnesota Southern Railway
In 2017, the Ellis and Eastern Company announced that it had purchased the Minnesota Southern Railway, which ran from Manley to Worthington, Minnesota. The Minnesota Southern Railway owned a line which was former Chicago and Northwestern trackage, which was a segment of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway which was originally built from Manley to Mitchell. It connected Manley to Brandon, which the Ellis and Eastern had attempted to purchase for years for the opportunity to connect with the Union Pacific in Worthington. The Minnesota Southern Railway had declined all attempts by the EE to purchase it, so it sat disputed between the two competitors. That stretch of track had not operated since 1994, and sat dormant until the EE’s acquisition of the MSR’s system. In 2017, the Minnesota Southern Railway officially was purchased by the EE, allowing the EE to assume control of the line to Worthington.The Ellis and Eastern has set out to rehabilitate the stretch between Manley and Brandon to connect with the Union Pacific Railroad in Worthington, Minnesota.The rehabilitation is expected to take up to three years.
- "Ellis & Eastern Railroad". Concrete Materials. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
- Bader, Micah (June 28, 2017). "Trains to pass through Brandon for first time in 25 years". Argus Leader. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
- "Abandoned Rails: Mitchell to Sioux Falls". Abandoned Rails. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
- "Ellis & Eastern to take over Minnesota Southern trackage". Trains Magazine. May 31, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
- Surface Transportation Board (May 24, 2017). "Ellis & Eastern Company-Acquisition and Operation Exemption-E&ER Company". Federal Register. 82 (23974): 1. Retrieved December 23, 2017.