The Minnesota, Dakota, and Western (MD&W) railroad is a short-line railroad that was created in 1909 to support the construction and operations of the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company (MANDO). It is one of the oldest short line railroads in the country still operating.
The MD&W was a key component of the history of the mill and in turn the history of International Falls and Koochiching County. The railroad delivered its’ first shipment of paper – 18 tons worth – in June of 1910 to a customer in Great Falls, Montana. 1912 was also a significant date in the rails’ history when the International Bridge that connected International Falls and Fort Frances, Ontario, was completed. And while it was a railway bridge, it also enabled vehicle and pedestrian traffic between the two cities. The railroad is still responsible for bridge operations. The MD&W also played a crucial role in the early days of logging by providing transport of the lumber to the paper and saw mill. Between 1912 and 1937 there were 192 logging camps operating in the area to support the mills and over 1000 miles of spur tracks were constructed to bring the lumber from this network into the mills.
Through the years and through several different mill ownerships the MD&W continues to be a vital part of the mills operation by providing boxcar and switching services to the Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) paper mill in International Falls. It also serves a number of businesses in the community. The MD&W has 3 miles of mainline track and approximately 23 miles of yard track. It also connects to the main CN Rail line just east of town. The railroad also cares for a fleet of 2000 cars which support PCA loading points throughout the U.S. in both the paper facilities and corrugated container facilities. The MD&W has 20 employees and is extremely proud of its’ safety record with O incident rates from 2013 to present.
For more information about the MD&W Railroad, contact General Manager Darwin Joslyn at DarwinJoslyn@boisepaper.com; (218)285-5742.