The Minnesota Prairie Line is a short-line railroad in Minnesota which started operations in October 2002. The 94 miles of track are publicly owned by the MVRRA which has been securing state and federal funding to make the railroad rehabilitation project happen. The tracks were originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway in the late 19th century. The Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway was acquired by Chicago and North Western in 1960 which eventually abandoned the the tracks in 1982. The MVRRA was created that summer and acquired the rails but it was not able to sustain the effort to fully rehabilitate them. In 2002, TC&W and the MVRRA began once again in earnest to fix up the tracks. Their goal is to upgrade the entire 94 miles of track to support 25 mph traffic, particularly on the segment from Norwood to Winthrop where there is an ethanol plant. That segment was completed in 2014 and now the project focus is to continue the upgrade all the way to Hanley Falls. The MVRRA serves 16 communities across the five counties that are dependent on this infrastructure to move goods and commodities via dependable freight rail service.
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