Farmington to Mankato

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Map submitted by Tim Thorp.

The line ran from Farmington, MN to Wells, MN, as part of the Iowa and Minnesota Division. It had roughly a 70 year life span from 1904 to 1974. Because it wasn't a major North/South line, track maintenance suffered. My dad used to haul freight and mail from the daily trains. The line was mainly 60 lb rail. Ballast consisted of pit run gravel, and whatever cinders fell out of the steam engines fireboxes. Many of the communities the line served were against abandonment, however, the Milwaukee Road turned it's back on what made them their money. The Red Jacket Bridge South of Mankato had a weight restriction, and the hill heading South of that bridge to Rapidan, MN required double heading as the first diesels to replace steam were Fairbanks-Morse switch engines. That portion is now a bike trail to Rapidan. The only remainder is 6 miles of track from Wells-Minnesota Lake, MN. The line NE from Mankato to Farmington has reverted back to private ownership. I lived in Cleveland, MN at the time the track was removed. This railroad was a part of my life for many years, and a hard fact of life for me to believe they are no longer in business.

Don Schoeb
Eagle Lake, MN
1/2/2013

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using Google Maps satellite view you can make out most of the right of way between Lonsdale and Mankato.

patrick dempsey
chaska, MN
6/9/2015

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