The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway (DSS&A) served the upper peninsula of Michigan, namely to carry iron or cooper ore to smelters and docks along the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
The earliest beginnings of the DSS&A trace back to 1879-1881, when venture capitalists led the construction of the Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette (DM&M) from St. Ignace to Marquette. But by 1886, the DM&M was in receivership, and was reorganized into the DSS&A in December 1886 by James McMillan of Detroit. McMillan had purchased many of the upper peninsula’s railroads and consolidated them into the DSS&A.
In 1888, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) took control of the DSS&A. In 1892-1894, the CPR funded construction of the DSS&A west from the Keweenaw Peninsula to Duluth.
At the height of the DSS&A in 1911, the railroad operated 623 mile of track, of which 517 were mainline and 106 were branches and trackage rights. Freight operations peaked in 1913 when nearly one million tons were shipped, with over 50% of that being forest products. In January 1958, with the opening of the Mackinac Bridge, the DSS&A ended all passenger operations. In 1961, the CPR merged with the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie, and the DSS&A became part of the Soo Line – later part of the Canadian National Railway (CN).
In early 1997, the Marquette to Munising Junction line (at the junction with the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad), then operated by the Wisconsin Central, were taken out of service.1 The tracks were dismantled beginning on December 22, 2001.2
DSS&A tracks are still in use east of Munising Junction to Trout Lake, and from Munising Junction north to Munising, among other destinations.