Information on:

North Shore Scenic Railroad

506 West Michigan Street


The North Shore Scenic Railroad operates excursions along the historic Lakefront Line, a 26-mile section of rail between Duluth and Two Harbors. This rail corridor served a vital link in the transportation system for over 100 years. Known originally as the Lake Division, it connected the isolated Duluth and Iron Range Railway with America's expanding rail network. In 1886, when the Lakefront Line was first built, it was joined by a one-mile extension of the St. Paul and Duluth Railway at Fifth Avenue East in Duluth, providing the D&IR with access to downtown Duluth as well as to other railroad carriers at the Head of the Lakes.

As the iron ore industry developed in Minnesota, this new connection provided an all-rail route for the timely delivery of supplies, materials, and personnel to the rapidly growing settlements of the Vermilion Range. It also played a critical role in the development of the Mesabi Range. Before the Lake Division was constructed, prospectors, explorers, and entrepreneurs interested in the exciting prospects of the Mesabi Range had to travel over long and dangerous routes, either by canoe on the St. Louis-Embarrass River chain or on foot or horseback over the Vermilion Trail. From 1886 until 1892, when construction of the Duluth, Mesabi and Northern Railway was finally completed, all transportation moved over the Duluth and Iron Range Railway and its Lake Division to the boom town, Mesabi, where travelers and their supplies were transferred to horse and wagon for a bumpy journey over the Mesabi Trail to the far reaches of the Mesabi Range.

Over the years the Lake Division became known as the Lakefront Line. During its long history, a general merchandise train, the Ely Local, transported freight from Endion Yard to Two Harbors and to communities on the Vermilion Range. Cars destined for Mesabi Range cities were set out at Two Harbors to be carried to their destinations by the Virginia Local. During the heyday of logging, thousands of trains carried pine logs to the sawmills in Duluth. One of the principal log suppliers was the Duluth and Northern Minnesota Railroad, which interchanged trains with the D&IR Railway on the Lakefront Line at Knife River. Pulpwood shipments continued over the line until the late 1970s, when highly-competitive over-the-road trucks became the chosen mode of transportation.


Allison Larson

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
What a delightful train ride! We enjoyed the one-hour scenic North Shore train ride. The train was very quaint with many different cars to walk through. There is a concession car as well with cold drinks and refreshments. You are able to walk freely during the ride. The conductor, Jerry was warm and wonderful and really made our experience memorable!

Sweet Dee

Monday, May 28, 2018
We decided to buy the tickets online which was an good idea so we didn't have to wait in a line day of that was long. We arrived 30 minutes early which was a good idea because people are already lining up. We were there early enough to be able to sit together. There was a few families that were not able to sit together because they were later than us. The ride was a little long especially since there was a lot of time spent waiting for the train to switch tracks. We stopped two different times for a couple minutes each. Also there is a few things to look out and see but most of it is Lake Superior and trees. Luckily there's a snack cart that serves candy chips pop water and beer! The nut beer was delicious. I was hoping it was a craft beer from Duluth however but it wasn't it was from Wisconsin. The seats were comfortable but not much legroom in coach. I am glad I did not upgrade to the more expensive first class seats due to a lot of people complaining about spending so much more money and wasn't worth it. The Train Museum was okay. I'm not really interested in trains but I like seeing history. The Veterans display was really cool thou. When on this train just sit back and enjoy the view. Here is some pictures that I got from the Train and the museum.

Michelle Collins

Friday, June 1, 2018
Cute, used the Groupon and it was very well priced. Duluth train didn't actually show anything outside of Duluth, so don't tour the city first (our mistake). The tour recording was chatty but informative, and I liked that there was beer for purchase (6 bucks a pop- yikes). I wish that the open air car they kept referring to was attached- we would have loved to go out on it as it was a beautiful spring day. Would be 5 stars if we could have used the open-air car! Trains were adorable. Go early for best seating.

Deanna Lynn Poling

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
My husband, two friends and I got first class tickets with the Wounded Warrior Project. It was a lot of fun and the food was fantastic. I had the salmon and my husband had the prime rib. They also offered a vegetarian lasagna. Because so many people signed up after we were done eating 1 1/2 hours later we did a switch (WWP were the only ones on the train.) We got to enjoy other compartments on the train. They told us the section we were sitting in was the pizza section for those who don't order first class. All in all it was a great experience and I got some amazing photos. I recommend this ride for the food, history lesson, scenery and an enjoyable time?

Erik Sarnstrom

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Decided to give this a try on our vacation to Duluth. They preach about being punctual but they were late getting things going. We did the trip to Two harbors that is suppose to allow you relaxing time but we felt hurried due to the late departure time. Then on the way back the generator failed so we had no AC while it was 85 degrees outside and you cannot open any windows on the cars. Contacted customer service and was offered a slew of excuses and another free ride instead of a refund. That offer is like offering someone to come back to the dentist for a second time, nobody wants to do that. I would pass on this experience and find something better to do in Duluth.

North Shore Scenic Railroad is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media