Great Northern 1962 Timetable

In just two years, Great Northern shed all but three of the 25 local and branch line trains found in its 1960 timetable. The only such trains remaining in 1962 were from Barnesville to Crookston, MN, Breckenridge, MN to Minot, ND, and Lewistown to Great Falls, MT.

Click image to download a 17.6-MB PDF of this 24-page timetable.

Trains 9 & 10, the Dakotan, which served as an express-mail train between St. Paul and Minot, was also gone. As a result, the 1962 timetable had shrunk to 24 pages from 36 in 1957 and a bloated 40 pages in 1960.

Other than the three locals listed above, seven named trains and three unnamed trains survived. Named trains included the Empire Builder, Western Star, Winnipeg Limited, Red River, Gopher, Badger, and twice-daily Internationals. Unnamed trains included trains 3 & 4–which are really two trains, St. Paul-Minot via Grand Forks and Havre-Shelby via Great Falls–and trains 459-460, GN’s contribution to the Seattle-Portland pool trains.

GN participated in pool arrangements, in which three different railroads operated trains between two cities and shared costs and revenues of all the trains, at each end of its line: Seattle-Portland (GN-NP-UP) and Duluth-Twin Cities (GN-NP-Soo). In late 1960, however, NP and Soo Line dropped out, leaving just the Gopher and Badger on this route.

One curious change was made to the routes of the Western Star and Red River. GN had two routes between Minneapolis and Fargo, one through St. Cloud and one through Breckenridge. Prior to this timetable, the Empire Builder and Western Star used the slightly longer Breckenridge rout while the Red River and Winnipeg Limited went via St. Cloud. Starting with this timetable, however, the westbound Western Star and eastbound Red River went via Breckenridge while their opposite trains went via St. Cloud.

Although the Burlington continued to operate trains 43 & 44 from Kansas City to Billings, GN stopped showing this train on its timetables in 1961. The timetable still showed buses between Billings and Great Falls, but travelers would have to consult a Burlington timetable to find out if they connected with the train that was once, briefly, called the Adventureland.

Though you can’t tell from the timetable, 1962 proved to be a banner year for Great Northern passenger service thanks to the Seattle World’s Fair. While the fair was going on, both the Empire Builder and Western Star routinely carried extra cars.

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