Park Rapids to Cass Lake

The Park Rapids and Leech Lake Railroad

This railroad line was built by the Park Rapids and Leech Lake Railroad. Construction began at Park Rapids in 1897, and was completed to Cass Lake in 1899. That same year, the line was leased to the Great Northern Railroad.

Today, the right-of-way serves as the Heartland State Trail, one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country.

Towns along the line:

  • Park Rapids
  • Dorset
  • Nevis
  • Akeley
  • Walker
  • Leech Lake
  • Wilkinson
  • Cass Lake

Thanks to Adam Jelinski for contributing information about this route.

I would like to correct the abandonment dates on this rail line. Although the Wadena County Histroical Society has said that this line was removed in 1964, the info I have dug up showed that this line remained intact into the GN merger with the Northern Pacific into the BN but the line was starting to become abandoned in stages shortly afterwards. Here are the correct dates:

Park Rapids to Cass Lake: 1972

Sauk Centre to Long Prarie: 1974

Long Prarie to Park Rapids: 1984

Jason Trosvig
OtterTail, MN
4/30/2016

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