Vintage GEs Still Ply The Rails in Michigan’s UP

There still quite a few people who crave seeing early diesel locomotives in action, whether they be Alcos, GEs or EMDs.

If you are willing to do some traveling for that, then set a course for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Lake Superior & Ishpeming maintains a small fleet of older General Electric diesels that it uses to haul iron ore.

Most LS&I trains are assigned four two-unit sets of leased CEFX AC4400CEs, but four older ex-Burlington Northern GEs can also be seen out on the line. This includes U30C set of Nos. 3000 and 3009, plus a C30-7 set, Nos. 3074 and 3073.

Trains magazine reports that these are the last U30Cs and among the last C30-7s known to be in freight revenue service.

Change tends to come slowly at the LS&I. It continued to operate 2-8-0 Consolidation steam locomotives through 1962 and several of these have survived.

LS&I initially had an all Alco diesel fleet before adding two GE U25Cs in 1964 and five U23Cs between 1968 and 1970.

It then went shopping for used locomotive power in the 1970s and brought home additional Alcos, including four former Baltimore & Ohio/Chesapeake & Ohio RSD12s.

In 1975, the LS&I picked up six former Santa Fe “Alligator” RSD15s.

The LS&I retired its Alcos in 1989 and began replacing its U-boats in 1989-1990.

Hence, it acquired 16 Burlington Northern U30Cs, which still wear their BN markings and colors.

Four U30Cs were replaced with the C30-7, in part because components of the two models are interchangeable.

Another power swap occurred in 2010 when the LS&I took delivery of eight AC4400CEs units.

The railroad continues to use its older GE locomotives in revenue service and has several of them stored at its Eagle Mills Shop. These include U30Cs Nos. 3003, 3004, 3006, 3011 and 3053.

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