On an outing this summer trying to capture pictures of the old White Bear Boat Works (Johnson Boat Works) I came across a startling discovery: Ghost Tracks.
While exploring the pedestrian path that crosses the ex-Northern Pacific Skally Line (now run by Minnesota Commercial Railroad) I noticed the path didn’t cross just one, but two sets of rails. The rails for a siding still crossed the sidewalk as well as the wooden crossing planks.
Much to my surprise, this wasn’t all that told a tale of the past. Freshly mowed grass to the north revealed that though the rails through the grassy area were gone, the ties still remained! I’m sure those who first tried to mow the area after the rails were removed had a fun time. The tops of the ties now sit at ground level and reminded me of the black keys on a piano keyboard, a visual contrast of parallel, evenly spaced blocks forming a path along the green grass.
These ghost tracks actually used to extend from the siding that is still present at M&D Junction to the south of the sidewalk. On any given day you can see covered hoppers of plastic pellets sitting on the siding waiting to be unloaded by truck. The siding now only holds about 10 or so cars and ends well south of the sidewalk.