Twin Ports Yards and Docks
Until 1985 downtown Duluth was the hub of major rail activity and interchange between a number of Twin Ports railroads. In this view we see the eastern end of the Bridge yard from 5th Ave. West to Lake Ave. The former location of the Chicago and North Western's Omaha depot near the 5th Ave. west overpass near the building on the lower right of the photo. The Bridge yard incidentally got its name on account of being built on bridge pilings over a swampy area near the Duluth harbor. Today I-35 now occupies this site through the downtown area. Basgen collection, courtesy of Dan Mackey
BNSF's former NP's Rices Point yard in the West End of Duluth. Today its primary function is to serve as a marshalling point for grain traffic into the elevators along the Duluth waterfront (see picture below). At one time the NP had a major repair facility ( roundhouse and car shop) located in the left corner of the photo. The CP also has a small yard, located towards the top of the photo by the tall silo structure (St. Lawrence Cement) and it is also use by the UP.
Grain traffic is one of the major commodities hauled out of the Twin Ports. Here we see the three remaining elevators on the Duluth side (left to right) General Mills A, Cargill, and AGP. In the lower part of the photo you can see a BNSF yard job pulling a string of empty cars back to the yard.
Here is a shot from the Superior Side looking east to Duluth. To the left of the photo you can see the former Wisconsin and Minnesota drawbridges that at one time connected Rices Point yard to the yards in Superior. The bridges and trestles were removed in 1986 to improve navigation through this narrow part of the harbor. Basgen collection, courtesy of Dan Mackey.
Another shot of the area above showing the Great Northern elevator in the lower right and if you look closely you can see a GN Big Sky Blue SD switching cars at the dock. Basgen collection, courtesy of Dan Mackey.
Ore is the next major product moved out of the Twin Ports. Here is a view of the DMIR's docks in West Duluth. Dock 6 is to the left and Dock 5 (inactive since the 1980's is to the right). The self unloading ship Middletown is taking on a load of taconite pellets from the inner part of Dock 6. The gray piles to the left and right of the docks is limestone, hauled up to the mines by the DMIR and added to the taconite pellet during processing.
Another shot of the DMIR's docks and the inner Duluth-Superior harbor.
Coal is the third major product shipped out by boat. This shot shows the Midwest Energy terminal. Coal trains from the Powder River basin are unloaded and stockpiled for future loading into lake vessel. In the foreground is the Harvest States elevator complex and I-535( Blatnik Bridge).
Fraser Shipyard and the associated grain loading facility in Duluth and Superior. The Roger Blough passes under the Blatnik Bridge. The tall silo structure above the front of the ship is St. Lawrence Cement. They transload dry cement from lake vessel to truck and rail cars. Photo by Scott Carney.
BNSF 's Allouez Yd and taconite storage facilty in Superior WI. Photo by Scott Carney.
BNSF's former GN and NP ore docks both past and present. The dock at the bottom of the photo in the former NP ore dock, long since out of service. Next are the former GN docks currently inactive. And the silo dock at the top is currently the only pellet loading ship facility used by the BNSF. Photo by Scott Carney.
The former CNW, now UP's Itasca Yd in South Superior. Photo by Scott Carney.
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