Snaking up down and around
I've referred to the engineering vagaries of the Minnepolis Sub before. This may be my favorite picture for illustrating the "primative" nature of the old stretch between Cylon and New Richmond. When the original Wisconsin Central built their extension to the Twin Cities they did so in a hurry to get the line open, as many "first draft" routes were constructed at the time. Major reconstructions to the west and the east straighted a lot of curves, filled the dips and lowered the crests, not so here. This is what I think of as no-extra-shovelful construction. From New Richmond to Cylon the Minneapolis Sub follows the Willow River although that stream is not large enough to have carved a broad valley and instead meanders between ridges. The railroad has to intersect a number of these ridges. Back in the '406 days stacks can be seen climbing up the ridge in the background while the head end has crested and is already on the way down. It wouldn't have taken much earth-moving to substantially straighten this line but the perennially frugal Soo made do with this twisty mainline for many years. Unfortunately, the trees between the road and the tracks have grown up substantially over the last 15 years obscuring this overview. March 8, 2003.