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Like highways, railroad tracks have been imported from TIGER data and they share the same problems like unconnected segments, wrong tagging, missing bridges and railroad crossings and positions that are frequently off quite a lot. So a TIGER Review is necessary as it is for highways.


This is a rather early (basic structure still incomplete, has many incomplete sections and errors) wiki for railroads, both freight and passenger, in Minnesota. Please bear with OSM as it continues to achieve completion; it is very much under construction. The passenger section is close to completion, though some passenger train relations still require some attention.

Active lines

Lines that see regular rail traffic.

Minnesota Freight Railroad Map

Try this Overpass Turbo query, noting that OT queries are easy to edit and change. For example, you could change "main" to "branch" or "industrial" and run the query again.

BNSF Railway Company (BNSF)

BNSF has 1,584 route miles in Minnesota.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Brainerd Subdivision BNSF relation 5380336 Staples - Brainerd - Aitkin - Carlton Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Grand Forks Subdivision BNSF relation 2297185 Grand Forks - Crookston - Erskine - Bemidji - Cass Lake Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Hinckley Subdivision BNSF relation 5398500 Town of Superior - Hinckley - Cambridge - Andover - Coon Rapids Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Lakes Subdivision BNSF relation 7764133 Cass Lake - Grand Rapids - Floodwood - Carlton - Superior Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Marshall Subdivision BNSF relation 7403179 Willmar - Granite Falls - Hanley Falls - Marshall - Pipestone - Garretson, South Dakota - Hills - Sioux Center, South Dakota - Sioux City, South Dakota Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Midway Subdivision BNSF relation 7403789 Minneapolis (near Shoreham Yard) - Saint Paul (near Indian Mounds Regional Park) Largely TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main
Noyes Subdivision (BNSF) BNSF relation 8810885 Noyes at North Dakota/Manitoba line/Canadian border - Hallock - Stephen - Warren - Crookston Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=branch
Staples Subdivision BNSF relation 8810885 KO Subdivision near Fargo, North Dakota/Minnesota line - Hawley - Detroit Lakes - Perham - New York Mills - Staples - Little Falls - Saint Cloud - Big Lake - Elk River - Anoka - Minneapolis Target Field Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main

Canadian National (CN)

425 miles in Minnesota, though it also has WC as a subsidiary (below).

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Sprague Subdivision CN relation 7445690 Rainy River, Ontario, Canada - Canada Line - Baudette - Warroad - Canada Line/Manitoba - Sprague, Manitoba - Winnipeg, Manitoba (Symington Yards) Needs TIGER Review on Minnesota segments Tagged usage=main.

Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WC)

28 miles in Minnesota. A railroad subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway which was spun off of from the Soo Line.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Soo Line CN (WC) relation 8849577 Saint Paul (Paynesville Subdivision, near Shoreham Yard - New Richmond - Wisconsin line Needs TIGER Review on Minnesota segments Tagged usage=main.

Canadian Pacific (CPRS, frequently abbreviated CP)

1,179 miles

Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern RR (DME)

? miles. A Class II railroad and a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway operating across South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Portions of the railroad also extend into Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Tracy Subdivision CP relation 8819419 Waseca - Mankato - New Ulm - Tracy Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main. There is a gap through the western and the eastern segments of this through Mankato, though CP (DME's owner) enjoys trackage rights across UP's Mankato Subdivision here.
Waseca Subdivision CP relation 8819421 Winona (Minnesota City) - Rochester - Owatonna - Waseca Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main

Northern Plains Railroad (NPR)

? miles. A Class III railroad and a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway operating across North Dakota and western Minnesota.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Devil's Lake Subdivision Northern Plains Railroad relation 2304639 Thief River Falls (Dakota Jct.) - Warren - North Dakota Line - Fordville, North Dakota - Devil's Lake, North Dakota Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=branch

Soo Line (SOO)

A Class I railroad and a subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway operating across Minnesota (from New Albin, Iowa to Noyes and Emerson, Manitoba, Canada).

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Noyes Subdivision (CP) CP (SOO) relation 8810884 Emerson, Manitoba, Canada - Canada Line - Noyes - Thief River Falls (Dakota Jct.) Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main

Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern (RCPE)

RCPE is a Class II railroad owned by Genesee & Wyoming, a "railroad holding company." RCPE owns 74.6 miles of track in Minnesota, connecting to South Dakota. RCPE interchanges with CP at Tracy and has trackage rights on CP's Tracy Subdivision to interchange with UP in Mankato. Westerly, follow RCPE's Huron Subdivision, Pierre Subdivision, PRC Subdivision and the southerly segment of its RCPE Black Hills Subdivision to Dakota Jct. (near Chadron, Nebraska). Then, a short jaunt (33.1 km / 20.6 miles) on RCPE's Chadron Subdivision branch line allows BNSF interchange in Crawford, Nebraska, connecting with BNSF's Butte Subdivision mainline to points south, north and easterly through central Nebraska and Platte River Valley.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Huron Subdivision RCPE relation 8780810 Tracy - Balaton - Lake Benton - Verdi - South Dakota Line - Brookings, South Dakota - Huron, South Dakota Partially TIGER Reviewed Tagged usage=main

Union Pacific Railroad (UP)

UP owns 435 miles of track in Minnesota and operates over an additional 203 miles through trackage rights.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Mankato Subdivision UP relation 8819420 Saint Paul - Jordan - Mankato - Saint James - Butterfield Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main
Albert Lea Subdivision UP relation 7449055 Saint Paul (Amtrak®) - Northfield - Fairbault - Owatonna - Albert Lea - Mason City, Iowa Needs TIGER Review Tagged usage=main. Needs its elements "untangled" and better name tagged: some are named "Albert Lea Subdivision," some are named "Union Pacific Railroad," some are named "Candadian Pacific Railway," some are unnamed.

Class III railroads

Additional Class III and Private Railroads only just beginning to be sorted out and entered/better tagged both in OSM and in this wiki:

CTRR - Cloquet Terminal

LSMR - Lake Superior & Mississippi

MDW - Minnesota, Dakota & Western

MNN - Minnesota Northern

MNNR - Minnesota Commercial

MPLI - Minnesota Prairie Line

MSWY - Minnesota Southern

NLR - Northern Lines

NPR - Northern Plains

NMCZ - North Shore Mining

NSSR - North Shore Scenic

OTVR - Otter Tail Valley

PGR - Progressive Rail

RRVW - Red River Valley & Western

SCXY - Saint Croix Valley

TCWR - Twin Cities & Western

ZLTV - LTV Steel Mining

Disused lines

There is a fair amount of rail tagged railway=disused in Minnesota. Try this OT query and help to complete a table here!

Abandoned lines

There is a substantial amount of rail tagged railway=abandoned in Minnesota. Try this OT query and help to complete a table here!

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Milwaukee Road Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific way 838410060 and way 18021804 Superior, WI to MN Highway 23 Continous with William Munger Railtrail Relation relation 5652447 from Highway 23 to Carlton, MN. Create relation with start/end date for OHM? Tagged railway=abandoned and old_railway_operator=MILW.
St. Croix Valley Railroad Burlington Northern relation 13369531 St. Cloud to Brook Park, MN Check tagging
Great Northern Railway Great Northern relation 13369557 Zimmerman to Milaca, MN Incomplete, missing segments that either needs to be identified as abandoned or razed. Add start/end date tags for OHM. Continuous with Great Northern Trail relation relation 13369563


A railtrail uses a former railroad right-of-way (ROW) for equestrian, bicycle or hiking paths, preserving the ROW for possible future re-use as a railway while providing a useful service in the meantime. These are often tagged highway=cycleway or highway=footway depending on whether they prefer or allow bicycle or pedestrian traffic. It is OK to tag both railway=abandoned and highway=cycleway if it is the case that an abandoned railway became a railtrail (for bicycle use, for example). Where a (multi-use) pathway is designated for pedestrians but also allows bicycles, tag highway=footway and bicycle=yes.

Subdivision Operator Relation Route TIGER Review Notes
Soo-Line Southern Route Soo-Line relation 1422936 Superior, Wisconsin to Holdingford, Minnesota Relation name is Soo-Line Southern Route but ways are named Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, Continuous with another relation relation 1421775 named Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. Combine or rename relation? Tagged highway=cycleway and {tag|railway|abandoned}}.
Lake Wobegon Regional Trail Soo-Line relation 1421775 Holdingford, Wisconsin to Albany, Minnesota Relation name is Lake Wobegon Regional Trail, Continuous with another relation relation 1422936 named Soo-Line Southern Route. Combine or rename relation? Tagged highway=cycleway and railway=abandoned.
William Munger Bike Trail Burlington Northern relation 5652447 Hinckley, MN to Duluth, MN this could be split up into a couple relations, the former line from Hinckley to Duluth and the branch from Carlton to MN Highway 23 (non-railtrail from there on to Superior WI - Way way 838410060).
Soo Line North ATV Trail Soo Line relation 13368295 and relation 13368296 Moose Lake, MN to Cass Lake, MN this was split up into two relations because of the need to consolidate duplicative adjacent ways with the tag designated=snowmobile, recommend review of snowmobile designations along the entire trail route
Great Northern Trail Great Northern relation 13369563 Elk River to Zimmerman, MN This trail continues into Zimmerman but is not named the Great Northern Trail- check tagging?

Passenger trains

Tracks and stations used for passenger train routes are correctly collected into route=train relations. There is an earlier (with simpler structure) "version 1" method to do this that involves simply "tracks and stations" being in the relation. There is a later "version 2" method which is more complex and requires the exact stop position of the train, platforms for passengers, full "directionality" for each aspect of the train's travel, and a super-relation to tie these together. Please see this wiki section for full details on how to "upgrade" a public_transport:version=1 route=train relation to public_transport:version=2.

Try OpenPublicTransportMap (OPTM): it displays passenger rail in route=train relations. At closer zooms, OPTM also displays route=light_rail, route=subway, route=tram, route=monorail, route=funicular, route=bus, route=trolleybus, route=aerialway and route=ferry with colors similar to ORM. Please compare and contrast ORM (rail infrastructure) and OPTM (passenger routes) with OSM's Transport layer which rather simply displays "any and all rail" (railway=*), though not disused or abandoned rail, and at closer zooms, route=bus. Here was another rail renderer which displayed rail-based passenger routes with their colour=* or color=* tag (no longer functional, it was handy on Amtrak).

Amtrak (passenger=national) trains serving Minnesota (AMTK)

Route Trains Passenger Service Relation Status
Empire Builder® 7, 8, 27, 28 national v1 CHI-SPK relation 1809794 Complete; rough public_transport v1. 2206 miles (3550 km) (Chicago - Seattle). Underlying infrastructure (route=railway) relations need fixing. Serving in Minnesota: Winona, Red Wing, Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes.

Color is Amtrak passenger=national route = blue. As Minnesota's passenger=national Amtrak route is a lengthy overnight train (nearly all Amtrak national trains are overnight, though not all routes which pass through a single state are night trains), this is assigned a darker (web safe) blue.

Regional (passenger=regional) trains

Presently, no "regional rail" exists in Minnesota (meduim-distances of 150 km to 1000 km; shorter than passenger=national rail but longer than passenger=suburban "commuter" trains, passenger=urban light-rail and passenger=local trams). Sometimes called "intercity." There are several passenger=regional rail projects being discussed in Minnesota. Future projects include regional rail lines which would run from the Twin Cities outward to neighboring states and perhaps Canada. See Proposed regional services.

Suburban / "Commuter" (passenger=suburban) trains, Northstar (MNRX)

Presently, one suburban rail exists in Minnesota (heavy-rail up to 150 km, longer than passenger=urban light-rail and passenger=local trams), the Northstar Line. Sometimes called "commuter" rail. The Northstar Line runs on existing track and right-of-way owned by the BNSF Railway. Passenger service began on November 16, 2009. The rail line serves part of the Northstar Corridor between Minneapolis and St. Cloud. Planning for the line began in 1997 when the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) was formed. The corridor is mostly served by Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 10.

Route Trains Passenger Service Relation Status
Northstar 888 suburban relation 2442946 Rough public_transport v2. Needs only minor tweaking/improvement to comply with v2 rules. 40 miles (64 km) (Downtown Minneapolis at Target Field - Big Lake). Serving in Minnesota: Downtown Minneapolis at Target Field, Coon Rapids Riverdale, Anoka, Ramsey, Elk River and Big Lake. Planned additions include potential future stations at Fridley, Coon Rapids Foley Boulevard and an extension to include Becker, Clear Lake, Saint Cloud (Amtrak correspondence) and Rice.

Color is Northstar passenger=suburban route = gold. As Northstar's passenger=suburban route is a suburban/commuter train, this is assigned a darker (web safe) color in the orange/yellow palette.

There are several passenger=suburban rail projects being discussed in Minnesota. Future projects include short-distance commuter rail. See Proposed metropolitan services.

City / Light Rail (passenger=urban) METRO (????) trains

Metro (styled as METRO) is a high-capacity transport network serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. As of 2018, the system consists of two light rail lines (Blue and Green Lines), along with the Red Line, a bus rapid transit extension of the Blue Line operated by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority. The three lines connect Downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul with Bloomington and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with several extensions in the planning stages.

These route=light_rail lines are fully developed in OSM to public_transport:version=2 (v2).

Route Trains Passenger Service Relation operator=* Status
Blue Line 901 Light Rail relation 2440421 Metro Transit A public_transport:version=2 relation. Awesome!
Green Line 902 Light Rail relation 8708438 Metro Transit A public_transport:version=2 relation. Awesome!

Additional passenger rail authorities

The following passenger rail authorities are believed extant in Minnesota. They are only in the early stages of being sorted out as "Railroad Owners, " where RRA abbreviates "Regional Rail Authority":

BRRRA - Buffalo Ridge RRA

MVRRA - Minnesota Valley RRA (It is not known how or if this is different from Metro Transit and/or Minnesota Valley Transit Authority)

SLLCRRA - Saint Louis & Lake County RRA

Historic, heritage, museum, tourism, mining (passenger=local) trains

A first table should contain route=railway relations.

(Table goes here)

A second table should contain route=train relations. Known destinations/stations and current online/printed schedules are useful sources as passenger rail routes and platform locations develop in OSM.

(Table goes here)

In the USA, passenger=local is sometimes tagged on historic/heritage/museum/tourism/mining route=train relations. Also, passenger=local is sometimes seen on, for example, airport-style railway=monorail or "People Mover" trains (often conductor-less / fully automated) linking airport terminals, rental car areas, long-term parking and correspondences with other transit networks.

Depending on similar Minnesota rail facilities, create a new section/table for amusement park rail. California has substantial amusement park rail (and similar private rail), California/Railroads' section on Tourism rail struggles with similar categorization and tagging. Map your best, wiki your best!