When I See a Grain Elevator, I Think of Marty

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One in a periodic series of images I made last summer

If I never saw Marty Surdyk again, I’ll always have something to remember him. Many times when I see a grain elevator I think of him because he has a fondness for such facilities that he has spoken about many times.

That is quite an accomplishment for a guy who grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and can be said to be a city boy.

But somewhere along the way Marty became fascinated with grain elevators and likes to photograph them with trains at every opportunity.

I was in Bellevue when I had a “Marty moment.” There are a couple of silos next to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum that were part of a grain elevator complex that is no longer in service and some of it has been razed.

The silos appear to be on museum property for a couple of pieces of the museum’s rolling stock were parked on what used to be a track that served the facility.

The locomotive is an Alco S-5 that used to be owned by Cargill, a company that describes itself as a provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial supplies.

Cargill owns a lot of grain complexes and has its own fleet of switchers. This unit was last assigned to Cargill’s Michigan Division although I do not know where it once worked.

But a little online research found that it was built in June 1964 for the Boston & Maine.

It might have had another owner other than B&M and Cargill judging by some markings bleeding through the black paint.

I don’t know where in Michigan or anywhere else this unit worked while active for Cargill’s Michigan Division.

But in Bellevue on this June day, it was attached to a passenger car painted in what appears to be the last passenger livery of the Great Northern Railway.

I couldn’t help but think of Marty as I made this series of images.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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One Response to “When I See a Grain Elevator, I Think of Marty”

  1. Scott Nixon Says:

    I recognize that logo on the cab. It’s North Star Steel. In fact, you can barely make out those words above “Michigan Division” on the side of the unit. North Star Steel had a plant in Monroe, Michigan, so I’m thinking that’s why it says “Michigan Division” on the side. And from what I’ve read, apparently North Star Steel is/was a subsidiary of Cargill.

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