One in a periodic series of images that I made last summer
Shortly before the crew that had taken the coal train into the yard in Durand, Michigan, finished its work, an eastbound Canadian National manifest freight rumbled through town.
Then the coal train crew left for Flint with a cut of cars it had picked up in Durand in tow of its BNSF motive power set and things got rather quiet.
A Great Lakes Central yard job was chattering on the radio, but otherwise there was no sign of activity. Some railfans came and went, but that was about all that was happening.
At one point a member of the Michigan Railroad Museum staff came out and said that the Port Huron connection wye was lined for a movement.
That would turn out to be the Huron & Eastern job that comes down to Durand and sets off and picks up cars for interchange to CN and the GLC.
The lull was finally broken at 2:17 p.m. when the H&E job showed up and backed into the yard, using the Port Huron connection.
About 15 minutes later, CN sprang to life but not without some complications. A Pontiac-bound train had stopped west of Durand to await yarding instructions from the CN RTC (rail traffic controller).
The RTC had two challenges. With the H&E job working in the yard, the tracks available to CN to set out cars was limited, lest the CN crew set out cars on a track the H&E crew needed to get out of the yard.
The other challenge was that not all of the Durand set out cars on the CN train were located in a single block within the train.
If the H&E job wasn’t working in the yard, the CN train could take the two blocks of Durand cars along with the cars between them, set out the latter on a yard track, and then pick them up and take them back to its train.
The RTC decided that the CN crew would take the second block of Durand cars to Pontiac and a westbound would take them to Durand that evening and set them off.
The CN crew dutifully set off its Durand cars and came out of the yard running light.
It got back onto its train and told the RTC it was ready to head for Pontiac. Instead, it wound up sitting for more than hour waiting for other CN traffic to clear.
That included another eastbound manifest freight heading toward Flint and a train that came up from Pontiac on the Holly Subdivision and would turn west onto the Flint Sub in Durand.
By the time all of this got sorted out, it was about 4:15 p.m. and I had seen my last CN train for the day.
I stayed around to watch the H&E job back out of the yard and then head onto its home rails to leave town.
I had to get back to the home of my wife’s cousin for dinner so I left Durand not long after the H&E job left.
On the day, I had seen 12 movements involving three railroads, counting Amtrak. That is probably a good day for Durand lulls and all.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
Tags: Canadian National, Canadian National locomotives, CN in Durand Michigan, Durand Michigan, Durand Union Station, Huron & Eastern, Huron & Eastern locomotives, Huron & Eastern motive power, Huron & Eastern Railway, Michigan Railroads, Railfanning in Durand Michigan, Railroads of Michigan