The Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad was originally formed in 1986 through the purchase of Chicago & North Western branch lines in South Dakota and Minnesota. It and the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad, formed the bulk of the rail operations of Cedar American Rail Holdings. Together, the system grew to be the largest Class II railroad company in North America. In the late 1990s, DM&E made the bold announcement that it was going to build a new line to Wyoming's Powder River Basin so it could be a third rail carrier to haul coal from the area. Construction of the line was delayed by many court cases from the communities along the line until 2007. The DM&E and IC&E were purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway in 2008 with the purchase completed on September 30. DM&E and IC&E operated their last trains on October 31, 2008.