This route went straight west from Minneapolis, terminating in the small town of Hutchinson. It was soon sold to the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway.
The route served mainly tourist traffic to Lake Minnetonka, as well as some local freight from the immediate areas surrounding Minneapolis.
In 1901, the route would be straightened and a new route built from Hopkins to St. Bonifacius, a 20 mile distance.
This route straitened the overall path, and provided a more reliable connection to Lake Minnetonka. The route would eventually be trimmed back to extend from Wayzata to Hutchinson.
The StPM&M was formed into the Great Northern in 1907. The GN operated this as a spur route to Hutchinson.
By 1970, the GN was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad. The BN continued to operate the route until 1985, when a short line known as the Dakota Rail purchased the route.
After struggling for a decade, the Dakota Rail was purchased by RailAmerica in 1995. In 2001, the final train left Hutchinson and the route was abandoned.
McLeod, Carver and Hennepin Counties all purchased their respective portions of the railroad.
As of 2018, the Dakota Rail Trail extends from Wayzata to Lester Prairie. The trail has become popular in the area, and will eventually be extended to Hutchinson.
This bridge is one of the "Big Three" on the Dakota Rail Trail. The others being the Arcola Trestle and the S. Fork Crow River Bridge
This one is the middle sized one. It is a very recognized structure though. Many people see this bridge.
This bridge, from west to east, consists of:
4 Spans Trestle
1-50' Through Plate Girder
8 Spans Trestle
The bridge here before 1914 was a structure with a large 140' Howe Truss, which likley was constructed of wood, probably when the railroad was first built through here in 1900. There was a similar bridge at Crystal Bay (Arcola Trestle) and at Appleton over the Minnesota River.
This bridge was converted to trail in 2008/2009, and should stay that way for a long time.
Many boats cross underneath this bridge on a daily basis.
The photo above is looking from County 15, and is from October 2013.