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TOP: Duluth & Northeastern acquired 0-6-0 No. 29 from Toledo’s Bay Terminal Railroad in 1955. It was well suited to switching the railroad’s indus- trial customers on Dunlap Island around 1959 in Cloquet, Minn. RICHARD H. THOMPSON PHOTO ABOVE LEFT: Number 29 steams upgrade during Railroad Days at Prairie Village on August 14, 2014. At the throttle is Bill Lutter, one of two engineers qualified to operate the ex-Army 0-6-0. Showing the effects of a decade in storage, volunteers plan to repaint No. 29 in the near future. ABOVE RIGHT: Whistling for the crossing at the main entrance, No. 29 stomps upgrade on its trip around the PVH&M loop. This was the first passenger train it pulled in more than a decade, on July 14, 2014.


Historic Dakota Central


When No. 29’s career on the D&NE ended in 1964, and after its purchase by Earl Grice, the 0-6-0 was trucked to Mankato for storage on September 1, 1971. Grice initially planned to oper- ate No. 29 on existing trackage at Min- nepoa, but when this fell through he had it hauled to his farm during February 1974 where he hoped to build a 1.5 mile railroad and operate the engine as a tourist attraction. But Grice ran into ex- pensive health problems, and the price of rails and ties rose beyond his ability to pay, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on May 23, 1976. Around this same time, 175 miles west of Mankato in Madison, things were hap-


pening that were to change the course of history for both No. 29 and Prairie Vil- lage. In 1972 the Milwaukee Road aban- doned 55 miles of track running between Madison and Woonsocket, S.D. The rails dated back to 1880 when the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul had built a line into Madison. Following this, in 1886 the tracks had been extended west (skirting Lake Herman and what is now Prairie Village property) to Wessington Springs, but by the late 1960s traffic levels could not justify keeping them in service. Paul Redfield and two other local men viewed the abandonment as a perfect op- portunity to create a tourist railroad in- dependent of Prairie Village. While most of the rails and ties between Madison


and Wessington Springs were pulled up in 1973, and the right-of-way itself sold to the State of South Dakota, a short six-mile segment between Madison and Junius was spared and made available to Redfield’s newly-formed Historic Da- kota Central Railroad, which would take tourists for short rides across the prairie. According to the Mitchell Daily Republic, it took a lot of convincing — including a telephone call from South Dakota Governor Richard Knelp — to persuade Milwaukee Road to leave the tracks in place.


A steam locomotive was needed for the new railroad, and Redfield, know- ing that No. 29 was still sitting cold in Mankato, contacted Grice. In coopera-


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