Brakeman obligingly blowing out the steam in CGW chair car -201 while unloading mail at U. P. Transfer in Council Bluffs, Iowa on August 8, 1962.

(Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


CGW herald.


Legionnaire redirects here.

The Minnesotan was an overnight passenger train run by the Chicago Great Western Railway, using the CGW's trackage between Grand Central Station in Chicago, Illinois, and Saint Paul Union Depot in Saint Paul, Minnesota, via Hayfield, Minnesota. A section of the train split in McIntire, Iowa, to serve Rochester, Minnesota.

Begun as the Legionnaire in 1925, the train was renamed the Minnesotan in 1930, and was powered by a 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive. The Minnesotan was one of the finest passenger trains the Great Western operated but could not compete against the more famous passenger trains of the Milwaukee Road and the Chicago and North Western.

The Great Western dropped the name on May 10, 1949, but Chicago to St. Paul passenger service continued to linger on for seven more years. By the early 1950s, a doodlebug or (later) a single EMD F-unit pulled a railway post office car, a baggage car, and a coach. This service was spartan compared to the Minnesotan of less than a decade earlier, and ceased entirely on August 11, 1956.


Minnesotan Route.

(Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 4.0; via Wikimedia Commons) 


Chicago Great Western coach interior circa 1930s.

  (Chicago Great Western Railway, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Minnesotan Overview

Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
Locale: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota
Predecessor: Great Western Limited
First service: January 16, 1925 (as Legionnaire); 1930 (as Minnesotan)
Last service: May 10, 1949 (as Minnesotan); August 11, 1956 (as numbered train)
Former operator: Chicago Great Western Railway
Route Termini: Chicago, Illinois / Minneapolis or Rochester, Minnesota
Distance traveled: 359 mi (578 km) (Chicago–Rochester)
Distance traveled: 435 mi (700 km) (Chicago–Minneapolis)
Average journey time: 12h25m
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 1 (Chicago–Minneapolis), 2 (Minneapolis–Chicago)
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)


Chicago Great Western Combine No. 4061 as it was in 1931, at the Illinois Railway Museum, Union, Illinois, 1988. (Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D., CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

CGW combine 282 in front of the station at Oelwein, Iowa on August 7, 1962.

(Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)