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Revisit the Milbank Train Festival From 1990

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Milbank, South Dakota is a small town in the northeastern part of the state. Located north of Aberdeen near the South Dakota/Minnesota border, Milbank was founded in 1880 when the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad came to South Dakota from Minnesota. The town was even named after a railroad employee, Jeremiah Milbank.

Milbank, SD Google Maps
Milbank, SD Google Maps

For many years the railroad connected the city and surrounding farmers and ranchers to the rest of the country. After World War II, train travel largely gave way to trucks and cars. Railroads changed.

Historically Restored Steam Engine
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In the mid 1980’s the city of Milbank wanted to celebrate it’s railroading past with the Milbank Train and Arts Festival. The event was held every August until 2007 when costs became too much for the small town. Part of the festival was getting to take a ride on the Whetstone Valley Express train and experience a passenger train like the old days.

In the above video I found on YouTube, KELO-TV does a report on the Train Festival in 1990 that includes a ride in a passenger car and a mock train robbery.

Source: Sioux City Journal, City of Milbank

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