No Great Lakes Region railroad key collection is complete without one of these - an excellent, apparently mid-20th century key from the Soo Line Railroad that was formed in 1961 when the Canadian Pacific Railway took over its immediate predecessor, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (see below). There is no maker mark, but from the shape we believe it was made by Keline around the 1960s or not much later.
This key may be "New Old Stock," ordered by the railroad but it has escaped service. It shows little if any use, but its darkening color suggests it does have some age.
It displays beautifully with SOO LINE stamped on one side of the bow in strong, clear block letters.
COLLECTOR NOTE: Keys from the antique MStP&SSM Railroad line are highly collectible; and, any collector interested in Soo Line history really should include a representative from its modern day incarnation.
BACKGROUND: The Soo Line Railroad (reporting mark SOO) is one of seven U.S. Class I railroads. The primary United States railroad subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway, it is controlled through the Soo Line Corporation. Named “Soo” for its immediate predecessor, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, which had begun operating in 1884 and was commonly known as the Soo Line after the phonetic spelling of “Sault.” The contemporary Soo Line was formed in 1961 by the consolidation of that company with two other CP subsidiaries: The Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway, and the Wisconsin Central Railway.
The Soo Line Railroad and the Delaware & Hudson Railway, another major CP subsidiary, do business as the Canadian Pacific Railway. Most equipment has been repainted into the CP scheme, but the U.S. Surface Transportation Board groups all of CP's U.S. subsidiaries under the Soo Line name for reporting purposes. The Minneapolis headquarters are located in the Canadian Pacific Plaza building, having moved from the nearby Soo Line Building.
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Mid-Century SOO LINE Railroad Brass Switch Key