Minneapolis Anoka & Cuyuna Range Company
MA&CR RR-110-O

Snow Plow Number 110 -  O Scale Version

Shown as Car #110

Shown as Car #105

THE CAR
The railroad term "boomer" refers to pieces of rolling stock that served multiple owners. It seems an appropriate description for St. Paul Southern's unnumbered work motor. During its long life, from 1917 to 1953, it worked for three of Minnesota's and North Dakota's four electric interurbans.

The car's story begins in 1914 with the opening of the St. Paul Southern. It purchased four classic wood interurbans from the Niles Car Company: two coaches (#51 and #52) and a pair of combines, combined coach and baggage car, (#1 and #2). The cars were fitted with removable plows for winter service. Car #1 was destroyed by fire in 1917, however the company was able to salvage its trucks and motors.

Instead of buying a replacement, St. Paul Southern approached Twin City Rapid Transit to build a locomotive/work motor/snow plow using #1's trucks and motors. TCRT recycled the plans it had used in 1914 to build the switch car for the University of Minnesota's Inter-Campus Line. The two cars differed in several ways. The Southern's car had fewer windows, was equipped with removable front and wing plows, and weighed 56,200 lbs compared to 46,700 lbs for the U of M car. The plows and the heavier interurban trucks probably accounted for the extra weight, which would come in handy when pushing snow. The unnumbered work car was purchased by the Minneapolis, Anoka & Cuyuna Range, which ran from Minneapolis to Anoka, and had just emerged from receivership. It replaced another piece of TCRT built equipment, snow plow/line car #25, which was built for the Stillwater line in 1904 and sold to MA&CR in 1917. On the MA&CR, the new work car was given the number 110.

The Great Depression killed off all the remaining Minnesota streetcar systems, except TCRT and the MA&CR. Its cars and physical plant were badly deteriorated, but it hung on. The infamous Anoka tornado of 1939 tore down the overhead wire on Main Street. The Company substituted buses for its streetcars and limped along for four more years as a freight-only line. In 1942, the #110 was renumbered to #105.

The early 1940's saw the construction of Northern Ordinance, a huge ammunition plant on East River Road adjacent to Northern Pacific's Northtown Yard. The MA&CR passed right by the plant's front gate. Northern Ordinance bought the line and abandoned it from the new plant to Anoka. The remaining three miles to 30th Avenue NE and Marshall Street in Minneapolis were rebuilt, along with most of the line's remaining rolling stock. Car #105 went to Snelling Shops for a complete rebuild in 1944. It emerged in patriotic red, white and blue. It received new control equipment, including a second controller at the other end of the cab, making it easier to run in both directions. The overhead wire tower was removed from the rear of the car and it was ballasted to increase the weight.

By 1948, #105 was considered surplus and was sold to the Valley City Street and Interurban Railway in Valley City, North Dakota. A part of the car, its nose plow, remained behind. It was removed and placed on an unpowered flat car, which became MA&CR's snow plow for the rest of its existence. One of the shortest interurban lines ever built, the Valley City Street and Interurban Railway extended for only 1.75 miles. It connected the Valley City depot of the Northern Pacific with the SOO Line at North Valley City. Car #105 was purchased to replace passenger car#2. Car #105 remained in service until 1953, when the line was purchased by the SOO Line and the wires came down.