Explore the Collection

 

The Largest Collection of Minnesota Railroad Heritage in the World.

Depot Square

Depot Square, Duluth MN

Depot Square recreates the feeling of 1910 Duluth with a wide variety of exhibits ranging from Duluth Fire Dept. No. 1 to the Zelda Theater.One hundred years ago Duluth was a burgeoning city with a population of 78,000 -- almost the same size it is today. The mining, lumbering, manufacturing, distribution and transportation industries all contributed to an economic boom that put "the zenith city of the unsalted seas" on the map. See more details on the Depot Square exhibit

Diesel Locomotives

SOO F-UnitOur collection of diesel locomotives includes examples from the 1930's through the 1960's, including some very rare examples such as the Great Northern 192, one of only ten such locomotives built for GN in 1946-1947 and one of the legendary 1949 EMD FP-7s, the locomotive widely credited with contributing to the demise of the steam locomotive. See more diesels in our collection.

Steam Locomotives

William Crooks -- First Steam Locomotive in Minnesota, and one of the few remaining Civil War era engines in existence.We're proud to display the WIlliam Crooks, one of the few remaining Civil War era locomotives in existence and the very first steam locomotive to run in Minnesota -- but that's just one of the spectacular steam locomotives in our collection. See more steam locomotives





Passenger Cars

passenger carsCoach cars, diner cars, sleeper cars,Pullman cars, baggage cars -- our collection features some amazing examples from the 1800s through the 1950s.
Pictured at left is the 1946 Pullman Observation Car, the Rainier Club from Nothern Pacific's North Coast Limited line. See more passenger cars





Cabooses

Until not too long ago, nearly every train had a caboose at the end, providing shelter for the crew at the rear of the train for switching and inspections. Remember, the crew at the front of the train could be a mile away! Click to see our cabooses




Freight Equipment

Long before there were semi-trucks, just about everything was shipped by train. Boxcars, hoppers, boppers, gondolas, flat cars, ore cars, stock cars, rock cars, and refrigerator cars fill the gap between the locomotive and the caboose. Click to see our freight collection

Service Equipment

The photo at left shows a huge, steam-powered rotary snowplow built in 1887. Our collection alsoincludes steam-powered wreckers, cranes and boom cars. Click to see more railroad service equipment




Electric Locomotives

For a time, railroads attempted to replace steam with electricity supplied from an external source, like a trolley or subway. This practice was driven by the increasing use of tunnels, where the noxious smoke from the steam locomotives was a both a nuisance and a hazard to passengers and crew. Many railroads around the world use electricity, but the practice declined in the U.S. due to the utility of the diesel engine and the massive size of our rail infrastructure. Click here to see our electric locomotives

Miscellaneous Holdings

Our miscellaneous holdings include some interesting pieces of equipment like the trolley at left, an American-designed car built with American-made parts in Portugal in 1925. Other rare pieces include one of three remaining McGiffert self-propelled log loaders and a ladle car used by US Steel to molten slag from the steel mill to the slag dump. Click to see our miscellaneous holdings