It was primarily a lumber-hauling operation, although summer vacationing tourists were carried for a fare of 25¢. It originally operated a route of seven miles (11 km) to Stutsman and Race Mill; it was extended a further mile in 1904 to Carter's Mill. Small temporary branches were also constructed as well as the moving of the right of way when logging operations moved, as was typical for a logging railroad.
The line was laid with very light rail of 16 pounds per yard and worked by three locomotives built by the railroad to the design of its President and General Manager, Ephraim Shay. They were geared locomotives of the typical Shay pattern, but were unusual in that they had no frames, the boiler being the main structural component. The line was built and funded without debt (thanks to Shay's royalties and licenses from his locomotive designs) and by 1906, the investment in physical plant was estimated at $51,346.