Freshly-painted EMD SD40-2 No. 3423 in Rapid City in 2014.

(Jerry Huddleston from Hampton, Minnesota, US, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


RCPE logo.


Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad (reporting mark RCPE) is a Class II freight railroad operating across South Dakota and southern Minnesota in the northern plains of the United States. Portions of the railroad also extend into Wyoming and Nebraska. It is owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming. The primary commodities shipped are grain, clay, and cement. Operations began on June 1, 2014.



Genesee & Wyoming, a holding company of mostly shortline railroads, formed the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern to acquire the western end of the former Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad (DM&E) rail line from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The RCPE and DM&E entered an agreement on January 2, 2014, wherein RCPE would acquire 670 miles of track and 219 miles of trackage rights from the DM&E. The acquisition was completed on May 30, 2014, for $210 million. Most of its employees came over from the DM&E. Operations began on June 1, 2014.

The State of South Dakota partnered with the RCPE to enhance rail service and keep agricultural commodities moving to market. In 2021, the RCPE received state and federal funding totaling US$42 million to upgrade 163 miles of rail between Fort Pierre and Rapid City. This project updated that portion of the line with 136 pound continuous welded rail. This increased the weight capacity of rail cars from 263,000-pound to 286,000-pound and the speed limit from 10 mph to a minimum of 25 mph.



The Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern owns 743 miles (1,196 km) of track. The main line runs between Tracy, Minnesota, and Rapid City, South Dakota, with branches north to Colony, in Crook County, Wyoming, and south to Dakota Junction, Nebraska. Much of the main line from Tracy to Rapid City is paralleled by U.S. Route 14. The route travels the length of the state from the eastern border with Minnesota, to the western border with Wyoming, crossing the Missouri river at Pierre.

  • Huron Subdivision – Tracy, Minnesota to Huron, South Dakota - 136 miles
  • Pierre Subdivision – Huron to Pierre - 118 miles
  • PRC Subdivision – Pierre to Rapid City - 170 miles
  • Black Hills Subdivision – Colony, Wyoming to Crawford/Dakota Junction, Nebraska - 174 miles

There are three short branches as well:

  • Blunt, South Dakota–Onida, South Dakota
  • Huron, South Dakota–Yale, South Dakota (Owned by the State of South Dakota and operated by the RCPE, meets the BNSF Railway at Yale from Watertown)
  • Redfield, South Dakota–Mansfield, South Dakota (Accessed via trackage rights on the BNSF Mitchell - Wolsey - Aberdeen line)

There are interchanges with the BNSF Railway at Wolsey, South Dakota, Crawford, Nebraska, and Florence, Minnesota. The interchange with the Canadian Pacific is at Tracy, Minnesota. The RCPE has trackage rights from Tracy to Mankato, Minnesota on the CPR, where there is an interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad. The RCPE also has trackage rights over the BNSF between Yale, SD to Watertown, South Dakota, and Wolsey, South Dakota to Aberdeen, South Dakota.



As of 2023, weight capacity between Fort Pierre, South Dakota and Tracy, Minnesota is 286,000 gross tons per axle, while the weight capacity between Onida, South Dakota and Blunt, South Dakota is 263,000 gross tons per axle.


Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern FULL VIDEO - RCPE SD40-2 Locomotives (2016)

In this full-length production on the RCP&E, we cover the railroad from one end to the other during the first two years of the railroad's existence. Thunderstorms, animal encounters, and SD40-2s in the 8th notch keep things interesting as we progress through the video. RCPE's Huron, Mansfield, Pierre, Onida, PRC, and Black Hills Subdivisions are all covered in this show, with very few locations left unexplored.


Headquarters: Rapid City, South Dakota
Reporting mark: RCPE
Locale: Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming
Dates of operation: 2014–Present
Predecessor: Canadian Pacific Railway
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Length: 743 miles
Website: Official website