The Soo Line's Famous Trains To Canada is a brief history of a small and unique Class 1 railway and its famous Canada-USA tourist trains.
Initially chartered in 1883 to serve the needs of local millers in
Minneapolis, the Soo would eventually come to join the Canadian Pacific
line at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with service to Montreal. In 1888,
Canadian Pacific assumed controlling interest in the Soo Line, providing
entry into the lucrative US market and levelling the playing field for
the CPR to face the onslaught of ferocious competition from James J.
Hill, the infamous American railway baron.
The "little railway that could" grew to attain giant-killer status,
launching famous passenger trains from Minneapolis and St. Paul, meeting
head-on the western expansion of the Great Northern Railway and viable,
competitive routes to the Atlantic seaboard. Over the years, the Soo
Line introduced thousands of Americans to Montreal and Quebec City, the
famous Canadian Rockies resorts, and the city of Vancouver, the home
port for CP's Pacific steamship services. The Soo also successfully
competed on the Spokane and Portland routes from Minneapolis to the
Pacific Northwest. In 1923 the "Soo Mountaineer" was launched, becoming
the most famous and longest "two-nation" train journey in North America.