The Great Northern Station

The Great Northern StationDuring the 64 years that the Great Northern Station stood at the foot of the Hennepin Avenue bridge, it was one of six passenger depots which once operated simultaneously in downtown Minneapolis, and at its peak, 125 trains used it each day.

Built in 1914 at a cost of two million dollars, it was approximately 300’ x 155’ and the concourse spanned 12 tracks below. It was demolished in 1978 and all passenger business was transferred to the Amtrak station in St. Paul, but during its many years of service, nearly 3 million passenger trains passed beneath its concourse.

The depot was reconstructed in miniature for the Twin City Model Railroad Museum by Bob Niederkorn in 1996, after years of meticulous model building.

Niederkorn’s masterpiece was built on a base of ¾” fir plywood, and nearly 1-1/2 sheets of ¼” luaun mahogany plywood were used for the walls and partitions. To simulate the 2’ x 4’ granite blocks from which the outside walls were constructed, over 5,000 individually cut pieces of 1/32” basswood were applied to the structure.

There are 221 window openings in the model, requiring over 556 pieces of framing. Nearly 100 feet of additional trim material was used on the surfaces of the station.



  1. Douglas Peterson says:

    I’m current writing a mystery that takes place in May, 1944 and am seeking information about what the “Set-up” of cars would have been on the Great Northern Empire Builder; For example did the baggage/dorm car come after the engine? How many sleepers and what kind? What were their traveling names? Where would the dining car have been? (In the middle?) the Lounge car would have been at the end? Was there a shower on board? My guess is that there was one in the baggage / dorm car for the portors. I’m keenly interested in the setup traveling from Chicago to Portland, Oregon. Do you know where I can obtain that information? Also, what engine would have been likely to have been working that route as well. Was it a diesel electric? If that’s too easy for you, I also need the same information on the B& O Capital Limited at the same time: Traveling from Washington, DC to Chicago. Thank you for any information you can give me.

    Douglas Peterson

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