The above photo by Steve Glischinski is featured in the book “Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012” and shows a Milwaukee Road train at the Preston depot on Feb. 16, 1976.
The above photo by Steve Glischinski is featured in the book “Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012” and shows a Milwaukee Road train at the Preston depot on Feb. 16, 1976.
Just this fall Preston added another train car to its display at the trailhead park, next to the site of the former Preston depot. Coincidentally, Preston has also been included in an illustrated history of Minnesota railroads, released this past October, from the University of Minnesota Press.

"Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012" by Steve Glischinski, shares the photographs he has taken of railroads since his first in 1970 at the age of 13.

His book includes Preston in the section depicting the struggle for railroad survival in the 20-year span from 1960 to 1980.

He writes, "Passenger trains weren't the only ones to encounter winter's fury. On February 16, 1976, a Milwaukee Road local is entering Preston in a snowstorm. After performing switching chores the train will head east to Caledonia. The Preston-Caledonia line began life as a three-foot-gauge line and was converted to standard gauge in 1901. The branch had lightweight track and bridges that could not support heavy diesels. Milwaukee Road's answer was to lash together three or four of its six-hundred-horsepower SW1 switch engines as seen here (note photo attached to this article). At 100 tons each, they were 20 to 25 tons lighter than most EMD switch engines."

The book is described as a "lavishly illustrated history of Minnesota railroads from the romance of steam locomotives and luxurious passenger travel to the prosperous engines of transportation today."

This illustrated volume offers an enlightening and entertaining look at Minnesota railroads from a shining moment when The Great Northern Railway was essential in helping the United States prepare for war in 1941. Tanks and airplanes, material and troops were transported over Minnesota railroads. It includes photos and stories based on the romantic era of steam locomotives and luxury passenger lines and explains the struggles that have brought about the reemergence of railroads as one of the few profitable transportation industries in present day.

Remarkable photographs, many never before published, take readers inside the cab of a monumental steam locomotive, which hauled iron ore from the Mesabi Range, and into the lounge car of the luxurious North Coast Limited streamliner. Through the pages, one may visit the huge shops that worked on massive locomotives and go trackside to witness the morning rush hour at the St. Paul Union Depot. From the modest St. Charles depot welcoming the Rochester 400 in 1962 to brand-new locomotives speeding container trains west at Hawley in 2009, the book combines thrilling close-ups and an edifying long view, fine details and a full history.

Traveling from Winton to Worthington, Noyes to Winona, tracking the transition from steam to diesel and the mergers that created today's mega railroads, the book gives readers a richly textured picture of railroading's past and future and its impact on life in Minnesota.

About the author

Glischinski began taking photographs of railroads when he was still a child. Since then, his photos of railroads in action have been published in many books and magazines.

He is currently a correspondent for Trains Magazine and organizes railroad photography chart trips and the Railfan Weekend at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. He is the author of several books on railroading and lives in Shoreview, Minn.

Caboose added to Preston trailhead

In October, a 1951 Milwaukee caboose was added to the railroad display at the trailhead in Preston. The project was spearheaded by the Preston Historical Society after the caboose was located in Mauston, Wis.

After holding several fundraisers, volunteers helped move the historical railroad car to Preston once it was purchased from Wayne Greitzen. Greitzen had a contract to remove old train cars when trains were derailed or were damaged in accidents. He also collected them as the railroads began shutting down more lines.

The caboose joins a 1939 Milwaukee boxcar that was restored in 2005 and placed at the trailhead. This addition continues a long-term goal of the historical society to reconstruct the buildings that were once part of the elevator complex and add historically accurate additions to the landscape, such as the old railroad cars.

Where to find the book

Copies of "Minnesota Railroads: A Photographic History, 1940-2012" can be purchased online at www.upress.umn.edu or from online booksellers such as amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.