Hastings to Shakopee

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(Forwarded from the Hastings & Dakota Railroad)

The Hastings and Dakota Railroad was chartered in 1867 (originally chartered as the Hastings, Minnesota River and Red River of the North Railroad in 1857) to build a line from Hastings, MN, across the Rocky Mountains and eventually reach the Pacific Ocean. This first stretch of line was built in 1868. Construction of the entire line continued westward under the control of the Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad (the Milwaukee Road) and indeed ultimately reached the Pacific Ocean.

This segment of the line, between Hastings and Shakopee (via Farmington and Lakeville), was abandoned in 1979.

Was looking for any information on the abandoned Hastings and Dakota then Milwaukee road line that ran from Hastings via Farmington, Lakeville, to Shakopee. Best I can find is that the line may have been abandoned in 1979, you can still see old road bed, bridge piers in some areas but info. is hard to come by. Just have a general interest in this old line since we've lived by it for so long. If you have any info. I would appreciate it... I could also try to get a few pictures of some remaining roadbed or bridge piers depending on access to it these days for any help.

Jason Koczur
Minnesota
6/30/2013

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The line between Hastings and Shakopee was abandoned in two phases. Hastings to Farmington was abandoned in 1935 as the need for the connection between the Milw River Division through Hastings and the Pioneer Route through Farmington was no longer needed. Farmington to Shakopee was abandoned around 1979 as you say. The Milwaukee kept this line to service the Rahr Malting plant in Shakopee, but as the company was abandoning thousands of miles of lines in bankruptcy, the branch to Shakopee was not going to survive and the Milwaukee gained trackage rights over the CNW to service the Malting plant. The Milwaukee abandoned the line from Shakopee to Cologne in about 1972. The Chaska Herald facebook page posted a photo a few years back of the 1965 flood from the bluffs overlooking to valley. in the foreground of the photo you could see both the Milwaukee line to Cologne and the M&StL line to Carver.

I live in Chaska now and the roadbed is clearly marked from Shakopee to Cologne in many places. A few segments have been plowed under as farmer fields between Cologne and Carver, but other than that in most places the old road bed is clearly visible, especially in the winter. The Casey's General Store in Carver has a photo of the H&D trestle over Carver Creek. If you look around Farmington, I think you can see where the road used to be just north of Cty 31 past where Wyatt's Pub is located. A few years ago, I noticed there were still tracks there. These had to have been H&D tracks as they looked to be fairly light rails. Also, if you take Cty 21 north out of Prior Lake and cross the lake at Grainwood, you can see the roadbed on the east side of the bridge is clearly visible. Of course, the bridge over the Vermillion River in Hastings is still there and is part of the city bike trails. This was the fourth and last bridge built at that location and was built in the late 1920s, I believe, prior to abandonment to Farmigton in 1935. I have sniffed around that bridge and it looks to be in good condition despite its age.

I have some photos and I know a guy in Carver who has photos as well.

Patrick Dempsey
Hastings, MN
6/3/2014

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Thank you for the information, I appreciate the info. We used to live in Hastings and saw could see evidence of the old rail line in some areas, including that small park off of village trail that was still protected by trees. I can see it in areas throughout Lakeville also in some areas and was able to find a old photo database from the U of M of Ariel pictures from the 1930s to present which gave a excellent view of what was, but there are 10-20 year gaps in some cases between photos, but none less they are interesting history wise.

Jason Koczur
Lakeville, MN
6/4/2014

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i recently was driving Prior Lake to Farmington along County 21 in Scott County. I noticed what I thought was the right of way of the H&D on the south side of the highway so I sort of eyeballed it as I continued east. Where County 21 crosses the Credit River I was still eyeing the old ROW and I noticed to the south there is a significant clearing allowing you to see the H&D right of way. And - sonofabitch - you can clearly see the pilings of the H&D trestle still in tact where the H&D crossed the Credit River. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that. And it still there clearly visible from County 21. Tomorrow I will drive to Farmington again and will take the same route and see those pilings still sitting there 40+ years later after the bridge they supported was removed.

patrick j dempsey
chaska, MN
10/6/2015

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Thats exactly caught my eye a few years ago when we moved to Lakeville between here and Prior Lake. It shoots from that area down along CR 64 and you can follow it a little also on the south side past walmart and to lake marion (now a bike trail) and through DT Lakeville. I think the older portion between Farmington to Hastings is a little easier to track in some areas because it's less developed. In village park in Hastings there is part of the ROW that is still there protected by trees, it's only a block long but it's kinda nice to walk that little area and see what once was. I've been wanting to do some snooping around where it crossed hwy 52 to see if there were some old bridge footings or anything but high water/overgrowth has prevented that for the last 2 years. Haven't made it to the park in farmington right off of CR 50 to see if there are any bridge remains near where it crossed the CNW either. I would love to see some photos etc of the line but i've only been able to find a few here and there, someone gave me a nice little write up of the line which was neat to read but left a lot more questions than giving answers.

Jason Koczur
Lakeville, MN
10/7/2015

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Does anybody know anything about the history of the Milwaukee depot in Hastings? I know it's still there - I drove down and got pictures of it a couple of weeks ago. I've found other old and new pictures and occasional mentions of it, but nothing about when it was built or any stories that it might hold.

I'm putting together a "depot crawl" day trip article that includes several depots, and all I have to say about the Hastings depot at this point is that the Amtrak goes by there every day but doesn't stop. There has to be more!

Other depots on the "crawl" are the CGW and Milwaukee depots in Red Wing, the Milwaukee depot in Winona, the CGW depot in Rochester, Union Depot (Milwaukee and C&NW) in Owatonna, the C&NW and M&StL depots in Waseca, the Rock Island and Milwaukee depots in Faribault, the Milwaukee/Rock Island depot in Northfield and the M&StL depot in New Prague.

Most of these others have a fair to large amount of history floating around the internet, but if anyone might have something interesting about any of those, that'd be great, too.

Thanks for any help anyone might be able to give!

Martha Decker
Shakopee, MN
10/29/2015

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The Hastings depot has been at that location since 1868. It is not the original, obviously, but I am not sure what year it was built. I grew up in Hastings and that's the same depot I remember from when I was a kid. If the Red Rock commuter line is ever put in to operation, the terminus will be the Hastings depot. Hastings has a large switching yard because there used to a line that went to Stillwater along the shores of the St Croix River. Plus, Hastings was the last switching yard before the hump yard near Pig's Eye Lake in St Paul. CP still uses Hastings to switch cars although not like the days when the branch to Stillwater was in use. That branch was taken out in 1979 during the Milwaukee's final bankruptcy when it shed thousands of miles from its system. I've seen the Milwaukee Depot in Faribault and is in good shape - it houses an insurance agency, I think. The Milw tracks through Faribault are badly grown over even though the tracks remain. Only the exRI line through town along the Straight River remains in use. the CGW are all gone and hte Milw tracks are badly grown over. PGR does use some old CGW and Milw trackage that is still in use to access a few businesses in Faribault (I forget which ones, but I think one is a food business). The RI depot is a restaurant called The Depot! Food is excellent! The exCGW in Red Wing used to be a Hardee's and I think it is a Caribou today. The ex Milw depot is the Amtrak stop now and is a beautiful depot. PLease let us know where you post pictures of your depot tour!

patrick dempsey
chaska, MN
11/25/2015

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Martha and Patrick, if you can locate me on facebook send me a msg, I do have a little bit of information on the Hastings and Dakota I can share with you that has a little bit more history.

Jason Koczur
Lakeville, MN
11/25/2015

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