GLENCOE - Minnesota Prairie Line (MPL), Inc. rail rehabilitation from Winthrop to Norwood-Young America (NYA) will be complete Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, according to the railroad.
Train speeds will increase from 10 mph to 25 mph from Winthrop to NYA. Rail speeds will remain at 10 mph from Winthrop west to Hanley Falls. The railroad will return to daytime operations throughout the line, according to an MPL press release.
"What you can expect to see is longer, faster trains with bigger locomotives between Winthrop and Norwood," read the release from MPL Operations General Manager Bob Suko.
The release stated that gates have been installed at many locations in conjunction with the rehabilitation, but the public is cautioned to understand trains will be moving at a much faster rate of speed than the public is used to seeing.
"Please anticipate that anytime is train time, and please understand the caution needed for all vehicle and farm traffic," read the release. "Please use caution as you approach the tracks at all grade and farm crossings."
The release thanked everyone who made the rehabilitation possible and said the MPL looks forward to continuing westward to allow everyone access to a faster and reliable railroad.
The 94-mile short-line railroad began operations in October 2002 as a subsidiary of the Twin Cities & Western Railroad. Improvements, assisted by the Minnesota Valley Regional Rail Authority (MVRRA), been partially-funded with state and federal government sources.
Tracks were originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis (M&SL) Railway around 1880 from Norwood to Morton, and west of there in 1884.
From Morton west, the line was built by the Wisconsin, Minnesota & Pacific Railway and bought by the M&SL in the late 1880s. The M&SL was acquired by the Chicago and North Western in 1960, which abandoned the MPL tracks in 1982.
Former M&SL train stations in Fairfax and Belview have been preserved and turned into museums.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com.