Starting in 1942, Great Northern’s annual reports had dedicated the centerfold pages to some specific theme: the latest Empire Builder, some industry or region, or some specific aspect of freight service. The 1959 report is something of a transition as the centerfold has a theme, but it isn’t obvious what that theme is without seeing the page before.
“Two new states and a seaway inaugural stimulate growth on both ends of Great Northern’s main line,” says a headline on page 11, the page before the centerfold. The seaway is the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which opened April 25, 1959.
The centerfold itself has a map of the Great Northern and four photographs of ships being loaded in Seattle, Everett, Vancouver, and Duluth. But there is no headline or general text to bring everything together, so readers who missed the connection with the headline on page 11 might have been perplexed by this display.
The page on passenger service notes that several minor trains were discontinued in 1959. While overall passenger revenues were stable, “out-of-pocket expenses consume more than we take in.” However, the “Empire Builder has been maintained at the highest stand- ards of service and has consistently earned more than its out-of-pocket costs.”
This statistical supplement is organized much like the ones in 1958 and earlier years.