The Duluth, South Shore

The Duluth, South Shore

A History of the Lake Superior District's Pioneer Iron Ore Hauler
John Gaertner
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/19/2008
Format: Hardback 135 b&w photos, 35 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35192-0
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The rise and fall of the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway from 1887 to its merger with the Soo Line in 1961 is the subject of this thoroughly researched book. The DSS&A was organized in the hope that it would become a transcontinental link between the Canadian Pacific at the Sault and the Northern Pacific at Duluth, with the major route taking passengers from the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior through Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to St. Ignace. The line was forced to merge because of competition from more efficient lake vessels on Lake Superior, which could carry goods of lower value at much better rates than the DSS&A.

John Gaertner's account draws on a wide array of sources, such as the Soo Line records at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, the Michigan State Archives at Lansing, the Burton Historical Collection in Detroit, and local newspaper accounts. A compelling read for history buffs and railroad enthusiasts alike.

Author Bio

John Gaertner is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. He is author of The North Bank Road, a history of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


“This is a solid job of scholarship and makes a number of important contributions to the field of railroad history.”
 — Craig Sanders, author of Amtrak in the Heartland

“Just the right length to be both a reference book for a historian, and a book read by someone who would have a general interest in railroad history.”
 — James A. Welton, retired Soo Line Director of Labor Relations

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Table of Contents


1. Strap and T Rails to the Iron Mountains
2. Irresolvable Conflicts Create the Marquette, Houghton & Ontonagon
3. The Mackinac Road
4. Formation of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic—Canadian Pacific Seizes Power
5. The Zenith City Short Line
6. The Mineral Range and L'Anse Bay Railroad
7. An Independent Entrance to Superior
8. The South Range Line
9. Bridge Route Revisited
10. World War I—Soo Line Control Follows Federal Control
11. Drastic Cuts—Bankruptcy
12. Reorganization—Profitability
13. Promoting the Family—The End of the South Shore