Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Off the Rails

By Todd R. Berger

If you are meeting in Minnesota, consider adding scenic railway excursions near Duluth, St. Paul, or Minneapolis to the itinerary. From routes showcasing the beautiful scenery of the North Shore of Lake Superior or the St. Croix River Valley to seasonally themed trains or a historic streetcar line in Minneapolis, there is truly something for everyone.

North Shore Scenic Railroad

North Shore Scenic Railroad

The Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad travels along the St. Louis River in Duluth, following a portion of the original route of the railroad from Duluth to St. Paul. The line is known for spectacular autumn color, and trains depart on weekends mid- June to mid-October.

The North Shore Scenic Railroad traces the beautiful shoreline of Lake Superior between Duluth and Two Harbors. Trains run daily from late spring until mid- October, with seasonal holiday trains also available in November and December.

The Osceola & St. Croix Valley Scenic Railway follows the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway between Osceola, Wisconsin; Dresser, Wisconsin; and Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. The Minnesota Transportation Museum at the historic Jackson Street Roundhouse in St. Paul operates the line.

Friends of the 261 runs the Milwaukee Road #261 steam locomotive, built in 1944, from St. Paul Union Station for the annual North Pole Express in December.

The nonprofit’s trains also follow various routes around the Twin Cities year-round, with routes changing from season to season depending on interest and volunteer availability.

The Como-Harriett Streetcar Line harkens back to another era when streetcars traveled across the Twin Cities. Operating late April to August in Minneapolis, the line runs between Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska in the southwestern area of the city.