A Progressive Rail train in Northfield, Minnesota.

(Nicholas Benson, CC BY 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Progressive Rail logo.


Progressive Rail Inc. (reporting mark PGR) is a shortline railroad and owner of several other shortlines. PGR is directly operating several separate branches in Minnesota including the Airlake Terminal Railway. Progressive Rail also acquired the Wisconsin Northern Division in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and operates as a separately-named division. They also own the Chicago Junction Railroad, Clackamas Valley Railway, the Iowa Traction Railway and Iowa Southern Railway in Iowa, the Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad in Illinois, the St. Paul & Pacific Northwest Railroad, and the Wisconsin Northern Railroad.

Progressive Rail is also known as the Cannon Valley Railroad (reporting mark CVRC).

The PGR branches are listed as follows:

  • Transload Industrial Park (Airlake Terminal Railway) - Lakeville, Minnesota
  • The "High Line" (a.k.a. Dan Patch Line) - Bloomington, Minnesota, Richfield, Minnesota, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Service begins at Auto Club Yard in Bloomington and serves a variety of industries
  • The "Jesse James Line" - Northfield to Lakeville, leased CP Rail trackage
  • Northfield to Faribault, Minnesota via leased Union Pacific trackage
  • Northfield to Cannon Falls, Minnesota, with service to the Great Western Industrial Park in Randolph, Minnesota.
  • Eagandale Industrial line (Eagan, Minnesota) via leased CP Rail trackage (former Milwaukee Road)
  • Santa Cruz Branch Line - Davenport to Watsonville, California (operating with the Santa Cruz, Big Trees, and Pacific Railway as a subcontractor)



Headquartered in Lakeville, Minnesota (a southern suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul), Progressive Rail, Inc. was established in 1996 to initially serve the Airlake Industrial Park. In 2001, they leased the former Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway "High Line" in Bloomington and Richfield and started restoring trackage. The company's philosophy has been to provide service that a large railway chooses not to provide. They have also focused on economic development, including finding new customers, and working on regaining former rail customers along their lines. This strategy has paid off in an increase in traffic, from 600 carloads in their first year of operation to more than 5000 carloads in 2003.

Major commodities include resins, chemicals, fuels, lumber, gypsum board, cement, fly-ash, metals, paper, machinery, food and kindred products, scrap material, and consumer products.

Progressive Rail, Inc. also operates wholly owned subsidiary Progressive Rail Specialized Logistics, which provides rail logistics services for machinery and over-dimensional freight shippers.


Locomotive roster

Locomotive model Road number
EMD SW1500 34
EMD SW1500 36
EMD SW1500 37
EMD SW1500 38
EMD SW1500 67
EMD SW1500 74
EMD SW1500 2347
EMD SD39 40
EMD SD40-2 41
EMD SD40-2 43
EMD SD38-2 42
EMD GP15-1 1500
EMD GP15-1 1501
EMD GP40-2 6211

Route map of Progressive Rail. Lines owned by Progressive Rail are in dark blue;

trackage rights are dotted dark blue lines; other railroads are dotted lines.

(See page for more info., CC 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)


Progressive Rail working the former MN&S -The Dan Patch Line

Progressive Rail's Highline operates over the former Minneapolis, Northfield, and Southerns tracks in Bloomington, MN. The railroad works and serves a large range of industries, and has a very unique network of tracks in the area. Progressive Rail also has it's power painted in MN&S colors, which is a very classy and tasteful testament to the lines former owner.


Headquarters: Lakeville, Minnesota
Reporting mark: PGR
Locale: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri
Dates of operation: 1996–present
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Website: Progressive Rail, Inc.