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Dusting Off the Old Ones
Originally published 1961, W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana

83. A Cut-Off That Did Not Materialize

This week's story will be about a proposed cut-off of the Northern Pacific Railroad connecting its extention to Mott, North Dakota with the main line somewhere in the vicinity of Miles City. Several weeks ago, we printed the story concerning the proposed extention of the Northern Pacific into the north country in the eighties, but we presume very few of our readers will remember the activity in connection with this proposed cut-off south and east of Miles City. In the latter part of 1909 and the early part of 1910, there were crews of surveyors and engineers in the field looking for a route which would run from Mott, North Dakota, to some point on the Northern Pacific between Fallon and Forsyth. Around New Year's day in 1910, a party of these surveyors were in Miles City and went to Hathaway to work south and east of that point. There were two routes under consideration, one of them was called the "Cabin Creek" route, which would have connected onto the main line near Fallon. The other was the "Pennell" creek route, which would have farther south and perhaps crossed Powder river near the mouth of Strevell Creek and on up that creek through the hills to a point just west of Miles City. There was an item in the paper at that time to the effect that one old "residenter" of the Pine Hills country was overheard talking on the street stating that he was willing to wager he could find a route from Miles City to the Deibel place, thence east up Jones Creek and on to near the Dominy ranch, and then down Strevell creek to the Mizpah with a grade that would not exceed four-tenths percent. Had this cut-off been constructed, it would undoubtedly have been used as the main line, thus leaving Wibaux, Glendive and Terry, on a sort of a branch line. It must have been determined that, with the Milwaukee already through that country, there was not business enough to warrant the construction of this branch line.

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