In General
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In General

Location / Name:
Albert Lea, Minnesota

What's Here:
Small UP yard.
Diamond crossing with tower (tower closed).
Two vintage depots.

The Scoop:

Years ago, Albert Lea had a lot of railroading for it's size.  Now, it's pretty quiet, with a small UP yard on the northeast side of town.  The tower in the pictures below is closed, and the signals there are typical of how railroads now protect crossings with other railroads. 

The Union Pacific trackage used to belong to the CNW, and the IC&E was formerly the Milwaukee (and then SOO).  I need to do further research into the lineage for the DM&E/UP's track heading NW out of town, after it was the M&StL.  If anyone knows and wants to share, please email me.

Update Feb 2014 - The M&StL / UP N-S line was vacated several years ago (in 2011) and all trackage has been removed.  It was vacated as far as the grain elevator (pictured at the bottom of the page) which is now served from the North only through Waseca.  This eliminated the western diamond on Front St and the junction on the south side as well.   Jim Mihalek provided a link to an article on the change: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2011/11/a-future-trail/

My pictures were taken in October of 2006 on a field trip with Jim M and Mike Miller.  Jim's pictures are more recent from 2009. 

This page originally just covered the eastern diamond, but has since grown into a guide for the whole town.  If you're scooting by on the interstates 35 or 90, it's well worth a stop since it's so close.  Mason City Iowa isn't too far away either, and is a favorite railfan spot because of Iowa Traction.

The Lakeside Cafe comes highly recommended.  Update February 2014 - The Lakeside Cafe is closed, and there is no substitute for their menu of fresh baked goods and sandwiches. :-(  :-(  Michael suggest either the B&B Cafe and/or The Elbow Room if you are looking for non-chain meals. 

Out of the map services from Google, Bing, and Mapquest, Mapquest had the best satellite photos of Albert Lea when I originally did this page, but in 2013, Google has some terrific satellite photos of Albert Lea, as seen below.   I left the Mapquest map here, because it labels the railroads!

Acknowledgments:
Jim Mihalek - Information and pictures
Mike Miller - Information.
Michael Johannsen - 2014 Update

Access by train/transit:

None

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
Here's a couple of links provided by Jim:
Cool stuff on Albert Lea: http://www.cashgroth.com/depots/depalbertlea.html

Info from the CNW Historical Society: http://www.cnwhs.org/archives_maps.htm
 

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info is here

Maps


My map is available HERE as a PDF.


Sights


     The Union Pacific Yard

GPS Coordinates: 43.64939, -93.361977 (Get's you near the yard office)


     The eastern Diamond between the IC&E and the UP

GPS Coordinates: 43.645214, -93.367331

 
Picture of the CRI&P tower by Frank G, Fink of Lake Crystal MN, dated 17JUN1973, courtesy Jim Mihalek

          

   Signal on the west side of Newton

   

   Signals on the east side of Newton and at the diamond

       


     The ex Milwaukee Depot

GPS Coordinates: 43.644744,-93.369493

        


     The ex M&StL Depot

GPS Coordinates: 43.647356,-93.376145

                    


     The western Diamond between the IC&E and the UP

GPS Coordinates: 43.644018, -93.375426

The diamond was easily accessible from Front St.  NOTE:  As of around 2012, this diamond was removed. :-(

  

Left - looking south...... right - looking north across the diamond with the M&StL depot in the distance.  Photos - a big thanks to Jim Mihalek

  Photo by Kevin Klitzke
Above - we're looking in the same direction as the right picture above, circa 2003, picture via Jim from the FB Minnesota RR group.

   Looking east with the simple diamond crossing protection signal, there is also one for the N-S UP track.

   photo courtesy Jim Mihalek



  As of January 2016

As of January 2016

As of January 2016


     The UP junction on the south side

GPS Coordinates: 43.636809, -93.368452

This is where the Rock Island and the M&StL joined up.  Thanks to Jim Mihalek for the pictures of the junction from 2004.

NOTE:  As of (around) 2012, this switch was removed and nothing remains.

The pictures below come from the Albert Lea Tribune article linked above.
I'm guessing the trestle pictured is the last bridge on the UP list.....

 

 


   The EB Distant Signal at Front St.

   photo courtesy Jim Mihalek


The grain tower that the DM&E services, a little north of Albert Lea

Note: As of 2012, this facility is now being serviced from the north, and the tracks south of here have been torn up.

   photo courtesy Jim Mihalek

 


Historical USGS Maps


Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.


Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information presented is accurate! :-)  :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, oooooooops, oh well! :-)  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

BTW, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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