Midland Railway of Manitoba Reporting mark: GN
The Midland Railway of Manitoba was a small regional line that operated in southern Manitoba.
The Midland was first incorporated in 1903. In 1906, an eight-stop line was constructed from Portage la Prairie to Neche, North Dakota. A second line running from Morden to Walhalla, North Dakota was built in 1907.
In 1909, the line was taken over by the Great Northern Railway (GN) under a subsidiary, the Manitoba Great Northern Railway (MGNR). According to 1915 records, GN owned 50 per cent of the railway and handled all operations.
Even though the Midland was under GN control, it continued to exist as a paper entity for many years.
In 1911, the Midland built a freight terminal and trackage in Winnipeg and in 1913, cut a deal with the Canadian Northern (CNoR), Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP), and National Transcontinental Railways (NTR) for the use of the terminals, facilities and other structures. That was followed by a second deal with the CNoR for running rights, most importantly those along the former Northern Pacific and Manitoba Railway from Winnipeg to Emerson. This enabled the GN/Midland to connect to the GN mainline in the US.
The Portage la Prairie line lasted until the mid 1920s and the Morden line until 1936. The name, Midland Railway, remained in use until the late 1940s and possibly later.
The former Midland Railway still maintains a small presence and legacy in Manitoba. Following a merger in 1970, the Great Northern became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad. A second merger in 1996 led to the formation of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). BNSF still owns and operates some of the properties and tracks built by the Midland in 1911.
A second legacy is the agreement that Midland negotiated with the CNOR back in 1913. In 2009, the Canadian Transport Agency upheld the agreement following a dispute with CN who wanted to rescind the longstanding transfer rights and charge higher tariffs for the use of its tracks.
As of 1999, the railway was became known as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (Manitoba) and operates as a subsidiary of BNSF.