Great Northern Railway Historical Society

Welcome to the Great Northern Railway Historical Society

The GNRHS is dedicated to the preservation, study, and history of one of America's greatest railroads, the Great Northern Railway.

To Society Members, we offer carefully-researched Reference Sheets, a quarterly GN Goat publication, an annual calendar, discounts on model kits, books, CD's and other items, and an annual convention to discover all that is the Great Northern Railway.

For researchers the GNRHS Archives have historic documents and photos available on a wide range of subjects covering the Great Northern.

For a quick overview of all the GNRHS has to offer, checkout the menu at the top of the page or choose a link for more detailed information.

Latest News

GNRHS Calls for Board of Director’s Nominations, Due Oct. 15

Our Society BOD election cycle has once again come around and Nominations for vacant Board seats are now requested. John Langlot’s term is expiring. He has been serving on the Board since 2008 and after 11 years of excellent service, he has indicated he wishes to retire and pursue his modeling interests. Tom Carr, our Secretary, was appointed to fill the vacancy left when Ben Ringnalda resigned his seat last fall. Tom has expressed his wish to stand for election as his term also expires this year. And at  July’s end, Director Scott Tanner submitted his resignation after serving three and a half years of his term. This election will be for three seats on the GNRHS Board, two six year terms and one two year term.

The BOD determines the long-term direction of the Society and is responsible for maintaining and protecting the Society’s property and management of its business and fiscal affairs. The BOD meets annually at the convention and Directors should be able to attend the annual meeting. Directors review financial and policy documents and conduct much business by email through the year and should be able to respond to email discussions promptly.

With the ongoing efforts to improve the management and operations of GNRHS announced by President McGinley in the June Goat, the job of all GNRHS Board Directors will see changes. Each Board member will assume a leadership role as Chairman of a committee overseeing one of our seven major programs. They include membership, conventions, company store, archives, publications, heritage projects (Hustle Muscle and GNRHS grants to other non-profits) and in the near future, development (fundraising). Board Committee Chairs should plan on developing materials pertinent to their program including position papers, reports and research regarding their committee’s function and operations, and to be able to lead and oversee the activities of committee members. This will assure the tying of the governance role of the BOD to the committee’s work. Other standing committees will continue to exist and will include various Directors in the makeup of the committee.

Email will continue to be a major channel for Board communications. Live video conferencing has been established for the BOD to engage in work and planning meetings outside of regular official meetings. These conferences occur quite regularly and are typically held to one hour’s duration. The Board has been evaluating a more robust on-line management software system geared to non-profits and plans to implement that strategy soon. Directors should be familiar with digital devices (computers, tablets and/or smart phones) and their associated software applications in the conduct of Society business. Orientation for new Directors will be conducted early in their terms after the election.

Any questions about the position of GNRHS Director, or application procedures, should be directed to GNRHS president, Bill McGinley, or any member of the Board of Directors.  All contact information can be found on the inside front cover of the Goat.  Nominations must be received by October 15th.  Ballots will be in the December Goat publication.  

  Posted on August 15, 2019, by

Director Scott Tanner Resigns from the GNRHS Board


Scott Tanner

Director Scott Tanner tendered his immediate resignation from the GNRHS Board shortly after the Fargo convention on July 26th. Near the midpoint of his six-year term as a Director, he cited a growing confluence of family issues demanding more time and energy than expected, and regrets no longer being able to support the important work of the Board of Directors. Scott was serving in his second term on the Board and was chairing the Society’s Archives Committee. We wish Scott and his family well and extend a hearty thanks for his dedication and thoughtful contributions through the years to the governance of GNRHS.


  Posted on August 6, 2019, by

The June Goat Has Shipped

The June 2019 GNRHS Goat package has shipped to our Members.

See its contents.

Copies of this issue are available for purchase through our Company Store for both members as well as non-members.

NEW! The Goat is also available as a digital download (PDF).

Consider joining today to get the Goat included FREE in your membership, and to get other great GNRHS products at a discount. Join here!

  Posted on June 19, 2019, by


GNRHS on Facebook

One of the most interesting engines in the fleet. Do you know why?
Big plow, big tires and made from an L-2 2-6-6-2!
... See MoreSee Less

One of the most interesting engines in the fleet. Do you know why?
Big plow, big tires and made from an L-2 2-6-6-2!Image attachmentImage attachment


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It was built from an L-2 2-6-6-2

I'm not a steam expert by any stretch of the imagination, but does it have anything to do with the belpaire firebox? Not sure how common they were....

A giant snowplow?

The big tires?

Huge snowplow!

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Any idea what the rectangular features on the original Cascade Tunnel were for? I can't find any construction drawings that might answer this question. ... See MoreSee Less

Any idea what the rectangular features on the original Cascade Tunnel were for? I cant find any construction drawings that might answer this question.


Comment on Facebook

They were actually used for advertising a very long time ago. No access panels, portals, or tunnels behind there. This photo was taken when the tunnel was used for storage in the 40s and 50s. In the 60s, the UW did some experiments with lasers in the tunnel. There's still evidence inside from that, including divider walls with access doors.

My guess would be you are looking at what remains from being formed up possibly.

I would imagine it’s a removable panel to where they could get under there and do maintenance

Back in June 1996, a friend and I drove to the western trailhead of this tunnel. We walked into the portal as far as we felt comfortable doing so until we discussed the possibility of dangerous wildlife in the tunnel. With an eerie ambience of water dripping down the walls, it sounded like a multitude of voices talking at once. So we decided to head back out the way we came, and as we walked down the trail, a young black bear cub scampered from some brush on the left side, across the path, then down the other side. We both paused briefly, and said to each other, "Mama's nearby...", then we bolted to my truck at the trailhead, and got the hell out of there.

Looking like just weathering. You've been looking at the picture to long and seeing something that's not there

It looks like access tunnels that have been walled up as if you look, there is an arch. This could have been during construction.

I thought maybe snow removal equipment

Are they just remaining patterns from the wood forms?

Is this hard to get to?

Access to the tunnels on either side, might find similar features in the tunnels?

Is this East portal or West?

Water drainage during digging

A possible herald?

One was a men’s bathroom and the other for the ladies. Lol !!

An old access door.


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Two Medicine bridge Glacier Park MT. Shot on the way home from Fargo Convention. ... See MoreSee Less

Two Medicine bridge Glacier Park MT. Shot on the way home from Fargo Convention.


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My Dad Charlie Bowen use to work that section back in the 40's. He was a signal maintainer. And my Grandpa was a brakeman and oiler at the yard at Trenton ND.

We visited that site last summer

Mark Strock

West end PNRA members at the Jackson St Roundhouse. ... See MoreSee Less


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Thank you all for your work.

Love having you guys, anytime.

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