This route was built by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Up until 1885, CB&Q only ran from Chicago to Oregon, Illinois. Work began in 1885 to reach the Twin Cities. The line was completed in 1886. The CB&Q operated the line until CB&Q merged with others to become the Burlington Northern Railroad. Two of the Burlington Route's merger partners had used this stretch of track to run their passenger trains between Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis–Saint Paul for many years beforehand: The Northern Pacific Railway's North Coast Limited went on the CB&Q, as did the Great Northern Railway's Empire Builder. The Burlington's own Morning and Afternoon Zephyrs also used the line. In the late 1970s, these trains were typically running combined between Chicago and the Twin Cities. However, these trains stopped running on the St. Croix Subdivision in 1971 when Amtrak took over most passenger train service in the United States. The Empire Builder was the only one of these trains to survive, and it was shifted to run on the former route of the Milwaukee RoadHiawatha.