This Day In History – August 29, 1912 – Midland Continental Railroad incorporated for building a railroad from Winnipeg to Corpus Christi, Texas.  *** from the 125th Anniversary Calendar of Jamestown History ***

From KFYR TV – Nov 1, 2015: 

The Midland Continental Railroad was designed to ship grain, coal, gasoline, and other freight from Winnipeg to Galveston, Texas, but a major international event prevented the 18-hundred mile line from being completed.

Construction of the Midland Continental Rail Line began in 1909 near Edgeley, North Dakota. By 1913 tracks had been laid to Jamestown and Wimbledon, providing links with the North Pacific, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Soo Line Railroads.

Warren Ernie remembers farmers shipped lots of fresh dairy products on the short line. “I rode with the cream cans, and eggs and everything to Jamestown,” said Warren Ernie of Wimbledon.

Expanding beyond North Dakota’s borders and all the way to Texas required nearly two million dollars in financing. The little railroad with big dreams found an investor with one of the largest Oceanic shipping companies in the world.

J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman of England’s White Star Line, (Titanic) agreed to buy all the bonds needed to complete the route.

“World War I really is the reason the Midland Continental was not able to fulfill it’s dream,” said Mary Beth Orn, Midland Continental Museum. “It was going to be financed from the owner of the ill fated Titanic and after the war broke out that loan fell through.”

Ismay was scheduled to become a multi-million dollar investor in the Midland Continental on August 3rd, 1914. When war was declared between Germany and Russia three days prior to signing the loan, he withdrew the offer fearing England would be drawn into the conflict. Despite the loss of international financial support, the railroad continued to operate on its 77-mile line, shipping tons of freight for farmers and energy companies.

“Grain and coal and later gasoline, but they also carried passengers, picked up milk, cream cans and eggs and all of those things along the way,” said Mary Beth Orn, Midland Continental Museum.

In 1966 the Northern Pacific and Soo Lines bought the Midland Continental and in 1969 service along the line was abandoned. Today this depot stands as a monument to a north/south transcontinental shipping system whose time has still not come.


From Built in 1913, the Wimbledon Midland Continental Railroad Depot is the only remaining depot of the railroad which was to connect Canada to the Gulf Coast.  Warren Ernie, Wimbledon native and lifetime resident, was the guest of honor.  Ernie rode on the Midland train and in high school personally knew Peggy Lee (Norma Egstrom), the renowned jazz singer.  The depot was home to Peggy Lee from 1934-1937 when her father was the depot agent there.

More CSi PHOTOS at FACEBOOK  and Midland Continental Depot Website

Photos below by Matt Sheppard from the 2012 Grand Re-Opening of the Wimbledon, ND Midland Continetal Railroad Depot   More  2012 photos online at FACEBOOK .


Opened in 2012, the Midland Continental Depot Transportation Museum Featuring Peggy Lee is on the National Register of Historic Places and is ADA accessible. The museum is open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 1-4pm, or by appointment year-round.