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Transportation Research: Railroads

Minnesota transportation from animal-drawn carts and wagons to airplanes and mass transit.

About Railroads

Railroads have been an important means of  transportation in the settlement, growth, and commerce of Minnesota.  The Minnesota Historical Society holds the corporate records for several major railroad companies.


Researching Railroad Transportation

Search the library catalog for books and other published materials, manuscript collections, and State Archives collections about railroad transportation. Useful search terms: railroads, railroad travel, railroad construction, railroad routes  

Selected manuscript and State Archives collection finding aids detailing box locations and contents are available online. Others are available in notebooks in the Library.

Photographs, artwork, and artifacts documenting railroads can be found in Collections Online.  Useful search terms: transportation railroad, railroads, locomotives, trains, railroad tracks, shops, and yards.

Newspapers may contain advertisements and stories about railroad transportation.

Selected Railroad Transportation Resources

The Minnesota Historical Society holds many published histories as well as the records of several railroad companies.  Some of the corporate records, particularly of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads, include records of numerous branch lines and subsidiary railroads.  Among the records held by MNHS are:

The Railroad Construction Research Guide contains extensive resources on railroad construction. 

Search MNHS Resources

Related Research Guides & Webpages

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours