4/23/2012

Final shift at the historic SOO Line Building


I just got home from working my final shift at the historic SOO Line Building. CP is moving its US operating headquarters from the 1915 built SLB to a more modern office building on the same block, which was recently christened Canadian Pacific Plaza. On Saturday, administrative offices made the move. The crew callers moved Sunday. On Monday, the Minnesota, Dakota and Portal desks were moved. Tuesday and Wednesday saw the movement of the DM&E desks and this morning, the Elgin, C&M, Wisconsin and River Desks transferred to the new building. As usual, the D&H was last. A week ago, there were 14 dispatchers, five chief dispatchers, eight crew callers, two caller managers and two superintendents on each shift. When I arrived at work this afternoon, all that was left was the D&H North, D&H South and the NEUS Chief all huddled together in the back corner of a now empty and half dismantled office. George Costanza's quote from Seinfeld, "Its like Hitler's last days in here!", seemed quite appropriate.
One interesting thing I realized is that today will probably be the only day in my career where I will have worked in a dedicated D&H office! Tomorrow I report to CP Plaza to rejoin the rest of my coworkers in our new digs.
Here is one last look at the SOO Line building.

Here's the view that I've been enjoying for the last 7 years. Looking roughly north out of the D&H South office towards the Mississippi River. I'll miss watching BNSF, TC&W, UP and Northstar trains on BNSF's Wayzata Sub, which were visible directly above the brown parking garage at right center. I could also catch glimpses of CP trains at Camden and BNSF trains at Northtown Yard.

 A view of the Milwaukee Road depot from the SOO Line building.

 A look down the classic marble stairwell towards the basement.

The last of the Mohicans! Chief DS Jon Gutzler keeps an eye on the railroad while Gordy and I enjoy our last night at the SLB.

The official Olan Mills portrait of veteran D&H DS Gordy Smith and yours truly at the end of our shift.

Remember to turn out the lights when you leave...

Thursday was the last day I worked in the SOO Line Building in Minneapolis. The SOO sold the historic building several years ago and Canadian Pacific leased office space for their U.S. operations. However, the building was sold last year and the new owners want to convert the building into condos, so they assisted CP in relocating to another downtown building. Luckily, we are moving right next door on the same block to what is now called One Financial Plaza, but in August it will be christened Canadian Pacific Plaza. History played out as the D&H dispatchers were the last to move from Milwaukee to Minneapolis into the SOO Line Building in 1999; and as the offices were transferred into our new headquarters, the D&H was the last to be moved. Attached are pictures taken by my co-worker Jim House who works the D&H South end. The new building is ultra modern but the individual dispatchers offices are very small compared to what we are leaving, and as Jim says, we have no windows in our offices. Thought you’d like to see some of the pics that Jim took on our last day at the SLB. This will be the 4th move of dispatchers offices in my career, from our office in Colonie to the temporary offices in Schenectady at Maxon Road, then on to Milwaukee when we consolidated with the SOO dispatchers in 1993, then to Minneapolis, and now next door. Rest assured, this WILL be the final move of my career!!

Gordy Smith




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