My Northern Pacific Butte Montana Layout.

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NP2626

Well-Known Member
Actually, the Alco built 1111, which became NP's 2626 and was an A-1. There where A Class locomotives built for the N.P. previous to the Four Aces becoming an N.P. locomotive. The quantity of A Class locomotives is somewhat nebulous, the NPRHA website states there where two A class locos, #s 2610 and 2611 that where built, and at another location at the website it states there where 12, #s 2600 to 2611. Generally a class of locomotives started with the beginning number in a series, this makes me think there where probably the 12 numbers and not only two. Information at the website indicates that the A Class locos were built in 1926. The Four Aces was build by Alco's Schenectady plant in 1930 as a demonstrator for replacing roller bearings. So, the 2626 was not the first Northern purchased by the Northern Pacific. The Northern Pacific actually took delivery of the Four Aces in August of 1931 and the Northern Design had been around since 1926. The N.P.'s 2626 was the only A-1 Class locomotive.
 
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NP2626

Well-Known Member
Since we brought up the Northern Class, I might as well discuss the Yellowstone 2-8-8-4 locomotive. The Northern Pacific was the first to have Yellowstones and the name comes for the Yellowstone Division of the N.P. The N.P. ordered Yellowstones locomotives in 1928. One locomotive was built by Alco and eleven where built by Baldwin they where classed Z-5s. Three other railroads owned Locomotives with this wheel arrangement: The Southern Pacific's AC Class Cab Forwards, Duluth Missabe and Iron Range M-3s, and The B&0 owned their EM-1s. Even though S.P. ran their locos in reverse and in fact they where built to do so, they where still considered Yellowstones. All of the D.M. & I.R.s where build by Baldwin and the S.P., I think where Baldwin Locos. The B&O's EM locos where built "in house" at the Mt. Clare Shops in Baltimore. Few of the type remain, I know of and have visited the three D.M.& I.R. locomotives which are still in existance, one is on display in Proctor, MN, one at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth MN and one is under a roof in Two Harbors, MN. None are in operable condition. In the winters, when the Iron Range production fell off, the Northern Pacific rented some of D.M.& I.R.'s Yellowstrones.
 
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NP2626

Well-Known Member
Last night I read about the Crash of 1873 and how devastating to the country and world this crash was. Jay Cooke, the financier of the Northern Pacific Railroad was completely devastated by this crash. I guess if anyone might have been considered a "Robber Baron" associated with the Northern Pacific, It might be Jay Cooke. Although up until 1873 he had just been the at the financial end of the company. Anyway the 1873 crash completely wiped Jay Cooke out! I guess this was an excuse for him to build up his wealth a second time as he did recoup!
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
Although the Northern Pacific's first route was from Carlton, MN to the pacific Northwest, at Carlton the line joined with a railroad already in existence at Carlton Minnesota and quickly purchased by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Therefore the eastern terminus was considered to be Duluth Minnesota. Superior Wisconsin was a town in existence at the time and Duluth sprang up because of the wishes of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The two towns simply being across the St. Louis River from each other. One in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota. The actual eastern terminus of the line was to eventually become Chicago, Illinois. So it became apparent that the tracks would need to go through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota to connect with another line already in existence, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. Duluth, MN & Superior, WI were at the head of Lake Superior and it was felt that the "Lake Head" would become a great shipping port. which it did become!
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
After recovery from the 1873 crash, the Northern Pacific Railroad slowly gained strength with the change to one of the persons who got the line past the hard times it had been in, because of the 1873 crash. Fredrick Billings took over the job of president in 1879 with a plan for bringing the company out of bankruptcy, thus saving the company. The company gained strength with monetarily stability. The peoples opinions and with the congress' support (meaning cessation of rancor about the line and it's construction) became better and money for the completion to the coast was readily obtained.

I have found the book to be some what scattered in how it was written. The author can take the story all the way to the end where the line is completed and then back track to the need for a bridge over the Missouri River, in the Bismarck area.
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
Quote: "I have found the book to be some what scattered in how it was written. The author can take the story all the way to the end where the line is completed and then back track to the need for a bridge over the Missouri River, in the Bismarck area."

Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Keep reading, Mark! I like the story.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
Like the book, I'm going to go back in time to the 1873 stock market crash. When the market crash hit, the Northern Pacific Railroad had made it to Bismarck in what would have been Dakota Territory. 500 some miles of track had been laid from Duluth to the End of Track and the Brainerd Minnesota Shops where sort of the headquarters of the company. The end of track remained at the Missouri River near Bismarck from 1873 to 1879 and when the track laying started back up, a ferry was used to cross the Missouri River; or, in the winter temporary tracks where laid across the ice from 1879 to 1882 when a bridge crossing the Missouri River was finally built in 1882.

Here is website at the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association discussing the history of the Northern Pacific:
http://www.nprha.org/History/Construction_Era_of_the_NPR_--_A_Pictorial_History_SML.pdf
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
From 1864 the Northern Pacific Railroad had the following Presidents:

Josiah Perham, 1864–1866
George Cass, 1872–1875
Charles Wright, 1875–1879
Frederick Billings, 1879–1881
Henry Villard, 1881–1884
Robert Harris, 1884–1888
Thomas Oakes, 1888–1893

Somewhere along the line, the railroad changed it's name from The Northern Pacific Railroad to the Northern Pacific Railway.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
In the book, Henry Villard is moving towards a take over of the Northern Pacific. I would say of the Northern Pacific Presidents discussed in the book, Mr. Villard comes fairly close to the definition of a "Robber Baron". Mr Villard was the president of the N.P. as the line was completed to Tacoma in 1883.
 
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NP2626

Well-Known Member
Although Perham Minnesota is a small community, it is named after Josiah Perham, the first president of the Northern Pacific. Of course Billings, the largest City in Montana, was named after Frederick Billings, the forth Presedent of the Northern Pacific. Oakes North Dakota is named after Thomas Oakes, the seventh President of the Northern Pacific.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
Currently the book is going over the biographies of the various Heads of Engineering, secretaries, treasurers and other officers of the Northern Pacific Railroad and I think there might not be much more history discussed past the completion of the line to Tacoma in 1883. I don't know if I will really have much to report here past this post, we shall see.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
I was wrong, I was just reading through a chapter entitled "Short Biographies". The next chapter is entitled "The Northern Pacifics relationships with other railroad companies", which I'm hopeful will have some interesting information in it. We shall see.
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
I was wrong, I was just reading through a chapter entitled "Short Biographies". The next chapter is entitled "The Northern Pacifics relationships with other railroad companies", which I'm hopeful will have some interesting information in it. We shall see.
I have enjoyed reading through your post as well. I don't know anything about the Northern Pacific, so I have nothing to offer, but I do read through your updates.
 

Sirfoldalot

Plucked Tailfeathers
Staff member
I was wrong, I was just reading through a chapter entitled "Short Biographies". The next chapter is entitled "The Northern Pacifics relationships with other railroad companies", which I'm hopeful will have some interesting information in it. We shall see.
GROAN >>>> LOL - Just kidding, Mark!
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
The book talks about the fact that Railroads were already being built in the 1860s & 70s in Minnesota. One, the St. Paul and Pacific was either building or was built from St. Paul to Duluth in the early 1870s, when the Northern Pacific was getting its' start. The fact that this line was already built in the Duluth area allowed the Northern Pacific to work out a deal with the St. Paul and Pacific for trackage rights into Duluth. Eventually this line was purchased by the N.P. Another line was being built between the Twin Cities and Breckenridge, on the Minnesota/North Dakota boarder, just above the boarder between North and South Dakota, which eventually was absorbed into the Northern Pacific. This line must of eventually become a branch line, as the Northern Pacific's Mainline was farther East and ran from Minneapolis/St. Paul to St. Cloud, then on to Little Falls and meeting up with the main line from Duluth and Brainerd at Staples, MN. and then continuing Westward to Detroit Lakes, MN and on to Moorhead, MN and Fargo North Dakota.

An interesting fact is that there is an approximately four mile section of the main line between Hawley, MN and Glyndon, MN that descends 70 feet heading Westbound that was once a trestle that was that long. Eventually, the trestle was filled in with thousands of loads of dirt. In fact the weight of the dirt fill in places where the ground was swampy ended up causing the ground in those locations to displace and ground waves can be seen paralleling the fill. Over the years this displacement of the fill has caused many more loads of fill to be added to the pile of fill under the tracks, I'm supposing that at times this problem had been sever enough that the mainline had to be closed while repairs where made. This location on the Northern Pacific Mainline is not the only place where fill was used to replace a trestle. If you look on Google Earth, where the mainline has split off with the Butte Shortline West of Logan Montana in the Spire Rock area there are places where many trestles have been filled in. It can be seen at 45 degrees 54' 39.07 Latitude and 112 degrees 15'30.88 Longitude.
 

NP2626

Well-Known Member
Back in the formative years of railroad building, From 1860; or, so, onward. Many small lines where built which eventually became a part of the Northern Pacific. Probably similar for all the major lines of the time. The same was going here in Minnesota. The lines would get built, flourish for a short while and get bought up by the larger companies. There where even plans here in Minnesota for a Narrow Gauge line that was to have run from Fergus Falls to a connection with the Northern Pacific near Wadena Minnesota with eventual plans to take this line all the way to Deadwood South Dakota. Before this line got built; however, it was decided to go with Standard Gauge. Many of these short lines and branches were funded by the Oregon Transportation Company, which was a financing arm of the Northern Pacific!

As I've stated before, the book I am gleaning this information from "The History of the Northern Pacific Railroad" was published in 1883, the year the Northern Pacific was completed to Tacoma, Washington. The book is unusual because it jumps around in time, once it gets to where the N.P. was actually being built, so is not in chronological order. You finish one chapter which puts you at 1883 and in the next, it goes back to the 1870s when the line is being built. This sort of makes understanding things difficult, at least for me.
 
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NP2626

Well-Known Member
I guess the last part of the book is devoted to describing the locales in the states and territories that the Northern Pacific Passed through. It talked about Northern Minnesota. At one time early on, the Northern Pacific's Head Quarters were located in Brainerd and for quite a while this was where the main shops for the N.P. where located. Farther West it talked about a town called Detroit at the time, the old name for the town. The town is now known as Detroit Lakes. Detroit Lakes is in the middle of what was known as the Lakes and Parks area of the state, in fact one of the towns west of Detroit Lakes is actually called Lake Park. The Lakes and Parks area borders Lake Agassiz, a prehistoric lake that was as large and possibly larger than Hudson Bay. The lake covered a large portion of Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The eastern bank of Lake Agassiz in Minnesota is where the long trestle I described earlier is located. The lake was caused by the Glaciers covering the North, damning the Red River of the North. The towns of Fargo North Dakota, Moorhead, Minnesota and Grand Forks, North Dakota are all located at the bottom of Lake Agassiz. The lake bottom is some of the richest farm land in the world and is extremely flat! In fact, train engineers and fire men, coming down the eastern shore (where the trestle was located) said they could see the headlights of oncoming trains, 60 miles away on the other shore of Lake Agassiz and on the other side of Fargo/Moorhead.
 



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