North Dakota FELA Attorneys 

History of North Dakota Railroads

The history of railroads, grain, and bonanza farms all were intertwined through the 1870’s in North Dakota. Tracks of the Northern Pacific Railway were being laid towards the west when they reached the Fargo Territory in 1872.

At that point, in 1873, with 1,500 miles between it and the tracks being built eastward from the Pacific Northwest to join it, the railroad had run out of money. James B. Power, land commissioner for the Northern Pacific Railroad, thought that if only more people could be enticed to settle in North Dakota, the railroad would earn money through land sales and more traffic on its rails.

However, no one wanted to move to the cold, arid prairie of North Dakota where they thought nothing would grow. People thought of it as the great American Desert. Powers, though, believed the soil was right for growing wheat. He convinced two prominent investors, the president of the Northern Pacific Railroad and its director, of his plan to grow wheat, attract settlers, and build his railroad.

It was the start of bonanza farms. Run like large businesses, the farms covered thousands of acres and produced hundreds of thousands of bushels of wheat a year. The result was that:

  • Settlers were attracted to the thriving farms
  • Towns grew
  • Service business grew for the local populations
  • The rails carried tons of grain
  • The railroad thrived

The railroad resumed being built and in 1883 the rails laid going east met the rails laid going west.

North Dakota Railroads Today

Today, railroads in North Dakota are known for carrying grain and other produce, and for main railroad lines going to the Pacific Northwest. The two primary railroads are the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the Canadian Pacific. Other smaller lines carry a lot of agricultural products and grain. A boom of railroad building took hold in the second half of the 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Tracks were being laid at a frenzied pace.

Building these lines like the building of the rest of the railroads in the country involved heavy, dangerous work. With the rapid construction of the railroads came mounting numbers of injured and killed railroad workers. The growing numbers of those hurt on the job eventually caused a public outcry and pressure from the railroad labor unions for Congress to do something. Railroad workers were not protected by workmen’s compensation, so workers and their families had little recourse when they or their loved ones were injured.

Common Railroad Injuries Include:

Finally, in 1908, Congress passed the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA), a set of laws making the railroad companies liable for the workers’ injuries. Those laws are a source of compensation today for persons injured on the job.

If you or a loved on has been injured while working for the railroads, you might want to contact a North Dakota FELA lawyer. Our FELA lawyers are experts in the complexities of railroad injury law. You can reach a North Dakota FELA lawyer by calling us today at (800) 773-6770.