The Pillsbury A Mill
By Andy Inserra
The world famous Pillbury [later ADM] A Mill recently shipped its last loads in December 2003. This is a look back at the mill in its final year of service. This Minneapolis landmark is slated to be turned into high-end housing with a river-and-downtown-skyline view...
Last March I has class over in the St Anthony Falls Hydro Lab - just across the street from the mill out on the river. It is a 15 walk from campus on the service roads to the Flats area - not too bad. Anyway - at that time the Minnesota Commercial yard in Dinkytown was still filled with grain cars for the mill. Knowing there was a chance to catch the plant switcher rumored to still be in service I packed a camera.
Coming over to the lab I could hear trains moving and saw come workers out and about. Walking around to the end of the line I found the locomotive.
A little un-numbered GE 25 ton unit switched the plant, here it is working a long cut of hoppers on a chilly March afternoon.
The cab reads SB - this is from Smith Bros, a locomotive dealer.
Ken Ardinger sends this information on the locomotive:
"...it has a logo made out of SB letters for Smith Brothers which was a dealer.
" It is serial 31790 - 7/53 built as SW Const Materials, Hoot plant 213 Dallas,TX (Jury,TX).
"The plant went through a name change to Gifford Hill, then the unit was sent to DES (dealer) to SB (dealer) to Pillsbury A Mill to ADM A Mill."
The huge white silos loom over the tiny switcher...
A closer look at this little critter, in full BN paint and even has St Paul on the frame just like BN labeled the home shop on their units. And yes - for those of you who can't remember BN having a 25 tonner - you're right, BN never owned such a unit.
From higher up I look through the fence to see it waiting below. Note the landmark St Anthony Main signs and waves on the building in back of the unit.