Former Soo Line Shoreham roundhouse, diesel shop being demolished

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Remains of Soo Line Shoreham roundhouse in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, 2019.
Steve Glischinski
MINNEAPOLIS – Canadian Pacific this week began work to demolish the former Soo Line Shoreham roundhouse and diesel shop in Minneapolis. The buildings had been in ruins for decades, and were fenced off from the rest of yard, which is used as an intermodal terminal. The area where the roundhouse sits is needed for expansion of the facility.

"In an effort to meet the needs of businesses in the region, CP is planning to expand capacity at its Minneapolis intermodal terminal at Shoreham in Northeast Minneapolis. The facility is currently operating at capacity,” CP spokesman Andy Cummings tells Trains News Wire. “While CP recognizes and appreciates the role the roundhouse and its workers played in the company’s history, the building is in a dilapidated, unsafe condition, making it unsuitable for preservation or reuse. The roundhouse will be demolished to make way for the planned expansion."

The ancestral home of the Soo, the roundhouse and adjacent shops once pulsed with activity, and were the Soo’s main locomotive shops until CP acquired the Soo in 1990. A few years later a new diesel shop was constructed at the former Milwaukee Road St. Paul Yard, and the roundhouse and diesel shop were closed. One of the large shop buildings was repurposed for Ambassador Steel Corp.

Shoreham’s history can be traced to 1880s and the Minneapolis, Sault Saint Marie & Atlantic Railway, which was building a line between its namesake cities. In 1888 Canadian Pacific gained control of this line and merged it with the Minneapolis & Pacific and other lines to form the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Maire, nicknamed Soo Line. The roundhouse was built in phases between 1887 and 1919. As the railroad expanded so did Shoreham, and the roundhouse was eventually expanded to 46 stalls. The first 18 stalls were built in 1887, six more in 1904, another six in 1906, and 16 more between 1910 and 1919, providing a nearly complete circle. The adjacent diesel shop was constructed in 1948. In 1970, 16 stalls were demolished, and after the roundhouse closed in the 1990s, the Shoreham turntable was moved to Mason City, Iowa where it remains in use today.

In addition to locomotives, Shoreham once sported passenger car and freight car shops, a radio shop, and dispatcher’s offices. Shoreham even built steam locomotives: three N-20 Class 4-8-2s, road numbers 4018 through 4020, were built in 1930 using boilers provided by Alco.

In 1997 CP applied for demolition permits for several Shoreham structures including the roundhouse, but the Minneapolis Heritage Commission declared the roundhouse a Minneapolis landmark and it was not destroyed, as the city hoped to repurpose the site for other uses. In the intervening years the buildings continued to deteriorate and no new uses were found, and CP was allowed to go ahead with demolition.

With the loss of Shoreham, there are only two roundhouses remaining in the Twin Cities area. CP still operates the former Milwaukee Road roundhouse and diesel shop in St. Paul, and the Minnesota Commercial Railway retains the ex-Minnesota Transfer Railway roundhouse in St. Paul’s Midway area to house its collection of Alco and GE diesels.
Soo Line Shoreham roundhouse in Minneapolis awaiting demolition.
Steve Glischinski

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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