Chapter 2 Some Said GN Was The Best In The Business .15
Chapter 3 The Streamlined Empire Builder 73
Chapter 4 Freight Goes Great When It Goes Great Northern 95
Chapter 5 Freight Equipment Pictorial 121
Chapter 6 The Mesabi Division 139
Chapter 7 Lines East Motive Power 159
Chapter 8 What Made Great Northern Great? 213
Appendix A Lines East Main Line Profiles 217
Appendix B Lines East Major Facilities 220
Appendix C Passenger Equipment In Service 1940-1970221
The purpose of Lines East - Great Northern is to add a chapter to an area not yet covered in the literature
concerning the route of the Empire Builder. This particular work examines the GN lines east of Havre, Montana, especially the Minot, Dakota, Willmar, and Mesabi Division train operations, and the Lines West connections. Also studied are the equipment, train services, and a number of characteristics unique to the Great Northern. For example, how many are aware of the fact that the GN designed and implemented a courtesy program? This particular program was intended not only for passenger train crews and ticket agents but also for people who did not customarily come in contact with the public on an everyday basis.
It is hoped that the book will fill a void in the literature, provide background information on rolling stock for model railroaders, and present additional insights on how railroads can be operated in an effective, yet pleasant manner. The Great Northern, it will be recalled, never filed for bankruptcy and consistently paid dividends with the exception of a few years during the Great Depression. Even the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad did not have such an impressive record.
It was said that the Great Northern was the best in the business, especially in the area of passenger services. These were not railfans discussing the Big G, but rather travel agents who made it a point to sell Great Northern because it always meant new and repeat business. Shippers too spoke highly of Great Northern services.
Employee loyalty was also a significant part of the Great Northern's success - a loyalty so enduring that even in the 1980s, former GN employees on the Burlington Northern speak highly of the former company. Few railroads through 1970 could match the team spirit found on the Great Northern.
The geography of the Lines East is quite different the area of the Lines West. Most of the Lines East served prairie country with only the eastern half of Minnesota consisting of forest and lake country. This fact made the Lines East operations less complex with fewer helper districts. On the other hand, even though the population has always been sparse, passenger train operations were frequent and of the highest quality. Snow fighting too has traditionally been difficult in western Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Montana. On the prairie, it rarely falls straight down; instead, it packs like ice making it difficult to plow.
This, then, is Great Northern Lines East.
For some unique opportunities to learn more about the Great Northern, the reader may wish to consider joining the Great Northern Historical Society. Formerly the Fraternal Order of Empire Builders, the society is dedicated to the preservation of everything GN. It publishes a quarterly loose leaf journal (named after the Great Northern's own publication the Great Northern Goat) which is packed with information. It also publishes reference sheets and offers an outstanding question and answer service.
Whereas officers of the GNRHS may change from year to year, the reader can still locate the address of the membership secretary by checking various issues of popular railroad modeling magazines, as well as various GN state historical societies.
The publications of the society truly provide a way to enjoy the Great Northern Railway from both a modeling and historical perspective.
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