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Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
Logo
Reporting mark DWP
Locale northern Minnesota
Dates of operation 1901–
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Duluth, Minnesota, United States

The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway (reporting mark DWP) is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway (CN) operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company. The DWP line serves as CN's connection between International Falls and Duluth, Minnesota, where the railroad connects to a short stretch of the former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway before following the former Wisconsin Central (both now wholly owned by CN) to Chicago, Illinois.

History

The Duluth, Virginia and Rainy Lake Railway (DV&RL) started construction at Virginia, Minnesota in 1901, with the line extending to Silver Lake, Minnesota when the company was purchased by the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) who renamed it the Duluth, Rainy Lake and Winnipeg Railway (DRL&W).

Construction continued in 1908 to extend the line to International Falls, Minnesota where the DW&P bridged the Rainy River on the International Boundary to cross into Fort Frances, Ontario and an interchange with the CNoR mainline between Winnipeg, Manitoba and Port Arthur, Ontario.

In 1909, CNoR incorporated the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway, and construction started to achieve access to Duluth, Minnesota. Duluth was reached in 1912, providing interchange with several US railways.

The DW&P mainline ran for 167 mi (269 km) from Duluth Junction at Fort Frances (CN interchange) to DW&P Junction (Great Northern Railway interchange).

Following the bankruptcy of the CNoR system and its subsequent nationalization by Canada's federal government under the Canadian National Railways (CNR), the DW&P was maintained as an important connection for CNR to the upper mid-western states.

During the post-war era, the DW&P line was upgraded to handle an increase in freight and unit train traffic, such as potash, lumber and paper. In 1960 CNR changed its name to "Canadian National/Canadien National" (CN) and introduced a radical new paint scheme and logo. At the same time, DW&P was changed to just DWP and given a logo of similar flowing design to the CN "noodle". CN's other US subsidiary, Grand Trunk Western Railroad also underwent a similar name/acronym change to Grand Trunk Western (GT).

DWP began to play an increasingly important role for CN in the 1990s, following the implementation of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and later the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which contributed to increases in Canadian exports south and US imports north. The DWP provided the most direct connection from CN's western Canadian trackage to the major US interchanges at Chicago, Illinois, however unlike rival Canadian Pacific Railway which had its own Soo Line Railroad subsidiary trackage to use, CN was forced to interchange with US railroads at Duluth, such as Great Northern (later Burlington Northern Railroad, later Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway) or Wisconsin Central Ltd.. In the mid-1990s, CN and WC entered into a formal agreement whereby WC agreed to haul CN trains to Chicago.

The mid-1990s also saw a major change in how US subsidiaries like DWP and GT fit into CN's corporate structure whereby in 1993-1994, CN changed the name of its entire system to "CN North America" (CNNA) and began a major locomotive and freight car repainting program which saw the GT and DWP logos and names disappear, with only the holding company "Grand Trunk Corporation" remaining on paper and legal documents. In 1995, the CNNA experiment ended and the name "Canadian National/Canadien National" with the CN acronym returned, only system-wide in both countries. On November 28, 1995 Canada's federal government privatized CN and its US subsidiaries.

In 2001, CN entered into an agreement to purchase WC entirely on October 21 of that year, providing CN with an "iron lariat" encircling the industrially-important Great Lakes Basin. The only gap in CN's Winnipeg-Fort Frances/International Falls-Chicago mainline route was a short 17 kilometre (10 mile) section in Duluth where CN had to operate on the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway to reach WC trackage from the end of DWP trackage. On May 10, 2004, CN purchased DMIR's parent company Great Lakes Transportation to give total control of the Winnipeg-Chicago corridor and remove the gap at Duluth between DWP and WC trackage.

External links

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