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Three Rivers Region

Started by dedgren, December 20, 2006, 07:57:49 PM

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Hi David,
just read of your wife now, I hope she's recovering well, your family will be in my prayers :)

The Heather Report was fun :D, I hope your wife's belly didn't hurt much when laughing for the report.... $%Grinno$%



Nice rail map! hehe, how come no rail line to mount gaston?  :D


Hi David.

Just catching up from a weekend away.
Pleased to hear your wife is on the mend, I will keep your family in my prayers as well.

The rail line map is cool. Glad to see the line up in the north-west(ish).
As always, looking forward to more.

Take care


Quote from: Giligone on March 26, 2007, 06:12:48 AM
Nice rail map! hehe, how come no rail line to mount gaston?  :D
Hmmmm,   That is an extremely good question Giligone.       ;)       Maybe we can build a scenic railroad to it someday.   

Hope Heather is feeling even better today, David.       BTW,   Bunches the cat is concerned as well.     She is curled up in the crook of my left arm "reading" this thread.   And she "meowed" in a concerned way when she "read" the post about Heather.    ;D   (yup, I'm typing this with only my right hand.    VERY difficult to do.   LOL).       

---Gaston & Honey Bunches of Cat (<her real name)

They say that the memory is the second thing that goes....
...dang , I wish I could remember the first.
WooHoo made Councilman - 05 FEB 07 Yipee made Mayor - 13 MAR 07 Hip Hip Hooray made Governor - 04 AUG 07 Rock On made Senator - 15 MAR 09


Hi David , how are you ?

Listening  ....

"Dear Heather
Please walk by me again
With a drink in your hand
And your legs all white
From the winter ...."

Give her a kiss from France ( not a french kiss ....oh , you know , do that you want ....)

See you soon .

°   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °   °


Quote from: Gaston on March 26, 2007, 08:24:26 AM
Hmmmm,   That is an extremely good question Giligone.       ;)       Maybe we can build a scenic railroad to it someday.   

Hope Heather is feeling even better today, David.       BTW,   Bunches the cat is concerned as well.     She is curled up in the crook of my left arm "reading" this thread.   And she "meowed" in a concerned way when she "read" the post about Heather.    ;D   (yup, I'm typing this with only my right hand.    VERY difficult to do.   LOL).       

---Gaston & Honey Bunches of Cat (<her real name)

Haha. I'm glad you liked my question. And I laughed about your cat too. My cat does that!! It can be a tad annoying but she's just so cute.  ::)

Also, best wishes to Heather, David. "$Deal"$


I'm so glad that Heather is doing better!   &apls &apls &apls (Bunches sounds like a very special cat!)

My name is Vicki
Fred and Ginger were my doggies
RIP my babies



First let me say that I'm glad that everything went well for Heather, and I hope she has a swift and full recovery!

Second, I love the railroad map! Though, I do wonder if you're going to expand on that or if those are the only rail routes through 3RR. Either way, I'm sure it will be great! I can't wait for the railroad backstory either.

Take care and give my best to your wife!



n.b.:  Please note that this is part of the continuing backstory of 3RR- this time concerning the region's rail facilities.  Black text is what currently exists in the backstory- blue represents changes and additions.

* * *


  Overview:  As has already been noted ("You can't get to Kenora without changing canoes in Pineshore"), Three Rivers Region, following initial exploration, almost immediately became a significant transportation hub for the surrounding area.  Much of early Pineshore along the banks of the Grand River was given over to warehousing, as area fur trappers would bring by canoe, and later riverboat, their season's production, sell it, and leave laden with stores and supplies either locally produced or brought in from the Great Lakes up the Rainy River.  The physical remoteness of the area sharply limited overland travel and the transporting of goods much beyond the region in the early years.  The first rude roads, often of corduroy construction [linkie] due to the frequent low and swampy areas of the terrain, reached the area from Duluth in the late 1830s and were then extended on to the Red River Valley and Winnepeg in the 1840s.  Railroads reached Three Rivers Region, also from Duluth, in the 1860s, bringing a new era of economic growth along with a whole host of communicable diseases theretofore unknown to the region.  Within a few years, a rail line had crossed the region, and connected it to the north and west to the growing cities of the Canadian great plains provinces.

It is locally contended that poutine, an incomprehensible mixture of fried potatoes, gravy and cheese curds,

was invented in Pineshore in 1863 as a way of efficiently feeding hungry railroad crews and reducing the growing surplus of locally produced agricultural products.  Poutine was honored by being designated as the region's official convenience food in 1993 and is a main dish at all governmental functions where food is served.

The advent of the automobile increased Three Rivers Region's links with the heartland of North America, and truck and rail transport now surpass, but not by much, shipments of goods and commodities through 3RR's port city of Falls City, which, as noted, in 1970 became the westernmost terminus of the St. Lawrence Seaway System [linkie- please note that the Wikipedia article inexplicably fails to note this information].  Three Rivers Region International Airport has become a major hub for several airlines, and its airfreight capacity now rivals cities like Memphis, Tennessee.

  The Three Rivers Region Department of Transportation ("3RRDOT"):  This department of the region's government has the mission of providing access to fast, safe and efficient means of transportation for the region's residents and to develop and facilitate the most productive use of the region's transportation infrastructure and other resources in support of business and commerce.  The department is further organized into four divisions:  Roads and Highways, Rail Transport, Ports and Waterways, and Air Transport Division.

      Roads and Highways DivisionThis division... [linkie to rest of section]

      Rail Transport Division.  This division is charged with the administration and maintenance of the region's 131 miles/211 kilometers of rail lines and associated facilities.

To best understand the task facing the division, it is helpful to have a sense of the historical development of 3RR's rail network.

         The DW&W Main Line.  Rails first reached Three Rivers Region in 1868, when the Duluth, Winnipeg & Western ("DW&W") reached Falls City in the south of the region.  The line ended here for the next three years while a half-mile/800 meter long timber trestle was constructed over the Wind River just west of its mouth.  The trestle was replaced with the current steel truss bridge in 1919.

Demolition of the DW&W Wind River trestle (1919)

In 1870, survey parties were locating the DW&W line north of Pineshore, while at the same time surveying was also underway southeast from Winnipeg.  For about five miles/eight kilometers north of the central city of Pineshore, the line paralleled the Pineshore-Cold Lake Short Line, which was under construction at that same time.  From that point, the line crossed the Cold River, again first on a large wooden trestle, then later on a steel truss bridge now deemed to be one of the most historic and beautiful railroad bridges on the North American continent.

DW&W main line bridge across Cold River

Once past the Cold River bridge, the DW&W route was laid out along the western bank of the Grand River and west shore of Grand Lake.  At Oak Point, a station was established to serve the ferry across the river to Aurora.  North of Cold Lake, the line turned due west for several miles to serve the Taylor Lakes area.  From there, the DW&W route ran north around the eastern foothills of the western portion of the Northern Range, then turned to the northwest to cross a low pass through the range just a few miles over the border into Canada.

By 1871, construction crews building the line reached a place just south of the border in a gap between the Northern Range and the Lexington Hills they called Pvarcoe Station.  A large construction camp was established here along with a sawmill to take advantage of the substantial timber resources readily available nearby.  This camp became the city of Pvarcoe, the northermost point on the DW&W line in 3RR.  The line to Winnipeg was completed when track met in Manitoba just south of McMunn in 1873.

         The Pineshore-Cold Lake Short Line.  By the 1870s, the Cold Lake fishery had reached production levels that outpaced the ability to barge the catch south on the Cold and Grand Rivers to Pineshore during the ice-free months.  Investors, recognizing the opportunity, formed a company to construct an 11 mile/18 kilometer line from Pineshore to the south shore of Cold Lake.  By 1874, the Pineshore-Cold Lake Short Line ("Short Line") was complete and immediately attracted, in addition to freighting the fish, a substantial passenger ridership that had formerly used the riverboat system to travel south.  This had the effect of driving both the riverboat and barge companies out of business, and the Short Line had the entire passenger and freight market for about the next 50 years.  The community of Thunder Bay grew up and thrived during this period around the northern terminus of the Short Line, taking its name from the bay of the lake at the end of the line.

By the 1920s, though, the region's road network had developed to the point where it was more economical to truck the catch directly from Thunder Bay to the processing facilities and markets in Pineshore, and the Short Line's fortunes entered a steep decline.  The widespread adoption of the automobile for personal travel caused ridership on the line to virtually cease, and by 1932 the carrying of passengers was discontinued as the business fell into receivership.  The Short Line was abandoned altogether in 1954, and most of the track was taken up and sold for scrap, athough some sections still remain to reward the railfan ready to brave a bit of a hike and the area's infamous mosquitoes and black flies.

Short Line tracks in 2005

The right-of-way of the Short Line north of the DW&W Cold River bridge remains largely intact and is in the hands of the Rail Transport Division.  There has been growing discussion about turning the line into the region's first rail-trail, and bills to provide funding for this development have garnered an increasing number of votes in the 3RR assembly in each of the past several years.  Many landowners adjacent to the right-of-way, however, oppose the conversion, citing concerns over littering and vandalism, leaving prospects for a rail-trail, at least for the next few years, uncertain.

         The DW&W Highland Spur Line.  In 1884, significant iron ore deposits in the form of hematite [linkie] were discovered in the Pine Mountains along the western border of the region.  A mining camp that was established just north of the deposits quickly grew into the city of Highland, and the DW&W began laying track on a 28 mile/45 kilometer spur line (the "Highland Spur") to serve the area.  The line begins just north of Falls City, heads west across the South Fork of the Wind River, then across Broad Prairie.

Highland Spur line crosses an original trestle just east of Walnut Grove

West of the farming village of Walnut Grove, the Highland Spur turns to the northwest along the east bank of the beautiful Leaf River valley.  At the city of Boissevain, the line crosses Neeley's River and then enters the upper Wind River valley in the final miles before reaching Highland.

Highland Spur line along the Wind River

While the Highland Spur primarily carried freight, it attracted a steady ridership based on the relative remoteness of the Grand Prairie and upper Wind River valley communities.  "Taking the train" was the only way beside crossing the Wind River by ferry just north of the city to reach Highland until 1946, when the road bridge just north of Oxbow was built.

By the 1950s, as had happened in the Mesabi Range ][linkie], the high-grade iron ore in the Pine Mountain mines had played out.  While taconite production [linkie] has to some extent replaced this freight business, of far greater importance is the hauling of timber products, mainly in the form of wood pulp [linkie] to the Seaway port facility in Falls City.  Freight in the form of agricutural products, and in particular bulk corn oil, is similarly hauled on the Highland Spur to the port from facilities in Boissevain.  Passenger service along the Highland Spur ran until 1972.

  The DW&W Des Plaines Spur Line.  By the turn of the 20th Century, it had become apparent that the shoreline of Hotham Inlet east of Pineshore to the base of Iron Hook Cape was a very desireable place to live.  The DW&W availed itself of the opportunity presented by constructing a ten mile/16 kilometer long passenger-only spur line (the "Des Plaines Spur") from East Pineshore to the city of Des Plaines along the north shore of the inlet.

DesPlaines Spur line heading east toward Des Plaines

The line also extended a brief distance west into the city of Pineshore to the east bank terminal of the Grand River Ferry.

The DW&W's action was a foresighted one, as near shore residential lots in communities like Long Beach that sold for $50 in the early 1900s now sell, almost 100 years later, for $500,000: a ten thousand-fold increase.  Commuters have remained highly loyal to the line during its century of operation, and this was even further enhanced when the Grand River Ferry was replaced by a rail tunnel under the river in 1974.  Express commuter trains during the work-week can now whisk a rider from the Des Plaines terminal to Pineshore Central Station in just under 18 minutes.

  The DW&W Wolf Lake Spur Line.  The construction by the DW&W of a 15 mile/24 kilometer spur line to the city of Wolf Lake in the 1920s was, for a time, similarly successful to the Des Plaines Spur Line, albeit for different reasons.  This line was constructed to extend commuter service to Haypoint, but past there the main objective was to provide bulk agricultural and wood products freight services to Wolf Lake.

Loading facilities in Wolf Lake at the mill

The discovery of upsidaisium deposits in the eastern portion of the Northern Range northwest of Black Peak in the 1930s led to the further extension by 13 miles/21 kilometers of the line through the Panther Hills and over the Roaring Fork of the Grand River to a site called Tincup, which grew up near the mines to provide worker housing and other facilities.  By the start of the Second World War, special trains carrying this top-secret mineral south to Pineshore, and then on to a location in the U.S. known only as "Area 52" [linkie] ran several times daily.  These trains continued to run until the 1960s, when the upsidaisium program was cancelled.  After falling into disuse for several decades, the section of the line between Wolf Lake and Tincup, the latter now a "ghost town," has been revived by private investors starting in 1993 as a "scenic railroad," and as such carries over 30,000 sightseers and tourists during each summer season.  The site of the former (?) upsidaisium mine is currently a top-secret facility run by an un-named section of 3RR's Department of Agriculture, and beyond that nobody is talking.

The Wolf Lake Spur Line south of Wolf Lake remains economically viable today, and passenger service has been extended (2002) to the growing community of Geneva.  The carrying of freight, however, remains the backbone of the line's operations.

Freight run on the Wolf Lake Spur Line near Low Light Hills

  Current Operations.  The U.S.-based portion of the DW&W was purchased, in the 1970s, by the Burlington Northern (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe) [linkie] in the United States.  Its Canadian operations were taken over at that time by Canadian National [linkie].  In 3RR, DW&W sold its assets to the regional government, which continues to operate the various lines under the name "DW&W" under the Rail Transport Division of 3RRDOT.  The only trackage subsequently abandoned by the division was the section of the Wolf Lake Spur Line north of Wolf Lake to Tincup- as noted this section has been reopened as a tourist attraction by private investors.

Aside from operating and maintaining the DW&W lines, the Rail Transport Division also co-manages and operates (with 3RRDOT's Ports and Waterways Division) the rail terminal and Seaway port facilities at Falls Creek.

Falls Creek Seaway port facilities and DW&W yards

The division is also responsible for preserving 3RR's substantial rail history and has set up a museum in the old East Pineshore Station for that purpose.

Abandoned wooden boxcar near Truman

All image rights reserved in the original copyright holder.  Images are used in 3RR on this non-profit website under the Fair Use Doctrine.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
D. Edgren

Please call me David...

Three Rivers Region- A collaborative development of the SC4 community
The 3RR Quick Finder [linkie]

I aten't dead.  —  R.I.P. Granny Weatherwax

Skype: davidredgren


Don't forget the SC4D Podcast is back and live on Saturdays @ 12 noon CST!! -- The Podcast soon to Return Here Linkie



You have accomplished much since my absence here.  I would like to say congrats on the mile markers of 3RR and I for one am looking forward to many more as time moves along.  :thumbsup:
I am thoroughly impressed with the additional tutorials and overwhelmed with the mass amount of infomation that has been added.  Took me two days to get through all the added stuffies.  :P
I hope that Heather's recouperation is coming along and was sorry to hear that there will be more to come.  Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.  :)

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
A. Einstein


mmmmm, poutine. **drools all over desk... boss comes in  :o... backs away slowly and leaves office**

EDIT: wow, so much more added to that history since when I was here this morning! Amazing work. That is one extremely detailed history.  :thumbsup:  Nice pics to tie into what you were talking about.  Just out of sheer curiosity, where is that port? I see some 'Canada' grain cars there on the rail yard and it got me wondering. Thanks


The railroad backstory is fantastic, David. I love the use of real-life pictures to illustrate the bridges in 3RR, and the new colors on the railroad map look great, too! Keep up the good work and I hope Heather is doing better today!



I've enjoyed the railroad back story. Is there an Amtrak or VIA Rail like entity in Three Rivers?

I hope Heather is doing well today.



I'm really enjoying the backstory David.
Great detail makes the region come alive.
Your choices of town and village names are pretty cool.

A shame about the short line thought, must of been a nice little ride.
Could make a nice "rails to trails" line, I suppose.
As you mentioned, the mosquitoes are nasty.
To be honest though, the black flies in that area are even worse.



Read the railroad backstory briefly - I am only reminded of Orlando, FL's Dinky Line Railroad [link] when I read the bit on the Pineshore-Cold Lake Short Line.  I lived in Orlando in my childhood, and Rollins College had a summer "archaeolgical" program for elementary school kids where students worked on a simulated "dig" of the Dinky Line's site.

I'd be interested in collaborating, by the way, if it's still possible amnd it's not too late.



I'm really starting to believe in the background story of 3RR now. And I like the way it goes in many differnet directions (with all the small dedication places and the story to them) but still follow the same main story line. It might be a fantasy region, but it sounds like a real place (besides the part about the poutine - nobody could invent such a thing in a real country  ;D )

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Quote from: emilin on March 27, 2007, 01:02:36 PM... It might be a fantasy region, but it sounds like a real place (besides the part about the poutine - nobody could invent such a thing in a real country  ;D )

Is this a fantasy, because I'm still wondering if all this isn't real like it looks so! :P


Damm, it can't be fantasy.   I just applied for a job working for the DW&W.    ???   I'm moving there and starting my new job on April 1st.     Hmmm,   Something about that date sorta worries me.    Maybe I had better reread that contract I signed.   "$Deal"$     ;D


They say that the memory is the second thing that goes....
...dang , I wish I could remember the first.
WooHoo made Councilman - 05 FEB 07 Yipee made Mayor - 13 MAR 07 Hip Hip Hooray made Governor - 04 AUG 07 Rock On made Senator - 15 MAR 09


As a train fan, I'm going into visual overload. I'm curious to know where you got all of the photos and (though I know you said you would tell us if you did) if you used any photo editing tricks. The particular case I am interested in is in the shot of the loading facilities in Wolf Lake. All in all, as far as I can find the words, well done. Hope Heather's recovery is progressing nicely, and that all is well.