Posts Tagged ‘Lake State Railway’

Michigan Short Line Honored by ASLRRA

September 3, 2021

A Michigan short line railroad is one of four carriers receiving a business development award for excellence in growing traffic in partnership with customers and local economic development authorities.

The Lake State Railway received the honor from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

In a news release, the short line trade association said the award recognizes carriers that have developed a keen understanding of customers’ needs, identified opportunities to grow business, and implemented plans to benefit their customers and communities.

Lake State was recognized for its work in developing transload business at seven sites in Michigan, receiving state grant money for five of them.

3 Short Lines Win CRISI Grants

July 11, 2019

Three short-line railroads are among nearly four dozen recipients of more than $326 million in grant funding under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements and Special Transportation Circumstances programs.

Forty-five projects in 29 states received grants that will be used to help pay for state and local infrastructure projects designed to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger- and freight-rail systems.

Grant applicants included state departments of transportation, municipalities, port authorities, rail commissions, Amtrak and short lines.

A third of the total grant funding in CRISI grants went to regional and short line railroads, said the Federal Railroad Administration in a news release.

It included $8.7 million to replace 30 miles of rail and upgrade crossings and signals on Lake State Railway in north-central Michigan, $7.2 million for the Indiana Rail Road to replace nine timber rail bridges with concrete ones, and $2.8 million for the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad to upgrade 7.5 miles of track.

Federal Grant Goes to Michigan Short Line

June 13, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $8.7 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation and Lake State Railway.

The money will be used to improve the short-line railroad’s Mackinaw Subdivision. Lake State has 375 miles of track in Michigan.

“Investments made with this grant along with money contributed by the state of Michigan and [us] will help the growing industrial and agricultural base located along the line,” said LSRC President and CEO John Rickoff in a statement.

Boats and Trains in Port Huron

June 25, 2018

Here are two photos of the new Lake State Railway operation in Port Huron, Michigan, mentioned about a week ago in the blog. The first photo is pushing cars into Dunn Paper while the Algoma Central boat Radcliffe R. Latimer heads out into Lake Huron. The second is a grab shot of the sharp looking MP-15 under the Blue Water Bridge to Canada. Both photos were taken on June 20, 2018.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Lake States Leases CN Track in Port Huron

June 13, 2018

Canadian National has leased a short stretch of track in Port Huron, Michigan, to the Lake State Railway.

The track in question is the HR Track which runs from Port Huron Yard to the and city’s waterfront on the Saint Clair River.

There are two active freight shippers on the spur, Domtar Paper and Dunn Paper.

A drawbridge on the line over the Black River will remain the responsibility of CN.

Short Lines Honored at ASLRRA Meeting

April 13, 2018

The Louisville & Indiana Railroad has received the Veterans Recruitment Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The award, which was presented at the ASLRRA convention in Nashville, Tennessee, honored the L&I for its success in military veteran recruitment.

A unit of Anacostia Rail Holdings, the L&I has a 30 percent ratio of veterans in its workforce and 30 percent of its 2017 new hires were veterans.

In a news release, ASLRRA said the L&I has has won the award for two straight years.

The award recognizes short lines that have demonstrated a commitment to hiring military veterans, as evidenced by the percentage of employees who are veterans.

The Michigan-based Lake State Railway and Pennsylvania-based Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad were honored with marketing awards that recognize outstanding business performance by a railroad in providing innovative service to meet customer needs.

ASLRRA said the marketing awards are given to carriers that demonstrate one or more of the following: Using the railroad’s unique operating characteristics to deliver value; partnering with other development authorities, Class Is, or companies; and delivering economic success to both the railroad and the community it serves.

Lake State Honored by Railway Age

March 14, 2018

Lake State Railway has been named the Class III railroad of the year by Railway Age magazine.

The trade publication cited the short line, which is based in Saginaw, Michigan, for its efforts to reverse a traffic decline and rehabilitate worn out tracks.

In 2013, LSR traffic had fallen 27 percent on the former Detroit & Mackinac line that it had acquired in 1992.

The railroad faced diminishing carloads and customer closings. Further, the customers who remained were shifting business to trucks because they were convinced that abandonment of the 201-mile railroad was imminent.

More than 100 miles of track on the Huron Subdivision was classified as excepted track due to lack of maintenance.

With carloads having fallen to 3,606 annually, LSR drew up and implemented a five-year strategic plan to reverse the fortunes of the line.

The railroad sent representatives into the field to meet with customers to win back their confidence in rail service and win back their business. In the process it landed five new customers.

The track was rebuilt and more than a half-billion in on-line industrial projects are under way, some of them trans-loading facilities.

Twenty miles of new or relay rail was put down and five miles of industrial tracks were built as part of a $10 million capital program.

Service frequency was also increased to better serve customers. What had been a weekly to Grayling, Michigan, is now operating five days a week.

Local service in Grayling will expand to two shifts later this year.

The plan has led to the creation of new jobs and thousands of new rail carloads.

LSR acquired 190 aggregate cars to support its largest customer and a fleet of mill gondola cars to win back business that another customer had planned to divert to truck.

Leasing 60-foot Plate F 286K boxcars enabled LSR to win new business from an oriented strand board mill in Grayling.

Lake State Receives first GP40-3/Road Slug Set

May 23, 2015

Lake State Railway has taken delivery of its first GP40-3/road slug set manufactured by Metro East Industries Inc. and equipped with the ZTR NEXSYS™ III-I system.

With a slug set, one supplies power to an attached unit lacking a prime mover.

The Michigan-based Lake State had several GP40M-3 and rebuilt GP35 locomotives that were sidelined with various mechanical issues and in need of rebuilding to bring them back to service. The railroad chose Metro East to do the work based on its experience installing the ZTR system and producing road slug sets for other railroads.

“We have been doing business with Metro East for many years and their product and services is very good,” said Mike Stickel, vice president of business management for Lake State. “The units we chose for the slug sets were a GP40M-3 and a GP35, so we needed to either upgrade to Dash 2, or a new microprocessor control system.

“The decision was made by Lake State to convert to ZTR Nexsys III-i based on projected increase in tractive effort over older technology,” he said.

Work on the road and slug pair was done in East St. Louis, Illinois., where the units became the first four-axle locomotives to wear the attractive blue and grey lightning stripe scheme that was based on the Great Lakes Eastern model railroad and adapted for the prototype by owner Kevin Burkholder for Lake State.

The first mother unit – designated as a GP40-3 – is No. 4303 and was originally constructed for the Chesapeake & Ohio as GP40 No. 3780. It later became CSX No. 6555, before becoming Texas-Mexican 1178 and Lake State 1178.

Road slug 303, began life as Detroit, Toledo & Ironton GP35 No. 351. It was owned by Grand Trunk Western and the Wabash & Erie ownership before being added to the Lake State roster as GP38M No. 371.

It was then rebuilt to be a GP38M designation. Because it was due for another rebuilding, Lake States decided to use it as a road slug.
“We believe this is the first application of the ZTR system in a road slug set, but we had a comfort level going with ZTR,” Stickel said. “The Nexsys III system has been deployed on a large scale with the Class I railroads and feedback has been very positive. We expect the road slug set to perform as well or better than a pair of GP40’s on our road trains, with much less fuel consumption.”

The slug set offer operational control stands in both units. Although the slug retains the outward appearance of a GP35, it does not have an operating prime mover.

The prime mover remained inside the unit, railroad officials said, because it was more economical to leave it in place than to replace it with a different form of ballast/weight.

The slug’s fuel tank is operational and a fuel transfer allows the mother unit to draw fuel from either tank.

A second slug set will be released by Metro East Industries in the coming week and carry Lake State numbers 4304 and 304.

Lake State Shows Off New Locomotive Livery

December 11, 2013

The new Lake State Railway livery is shown at left along with the existing scheme. (Photograph courtesy of Lake States Railway)

The new Lake States Railway livery is shown at left along with the existing scheme. (Photograph courtesy of Lake States Railway)

There’s a new look for the locomotives of the Lake State Railway in Michigan.

The new look, designed by Kevin Burkholder, uses the existing blue color, but includes a gray and white lightning stripe with “Lake State Railway” spelled out on the long hood.

The scheme closely resembles a free-lanced model railroad scheme that Burkholder previously developed.

SD40-2 No. 6301 is the first unit to wear the new scheme. SD40-2, No. 6302 will be repainted this winter while another unit will be repainted in the spring.

“Lake State Railway is proud to update our corporate image to relay the pride and effort our dedicated employees put into hauling freight safely in and out of Michigan via our critical rail link to the nation,” said John Rickoff, Lake State president and CEO. “The new six axle locomotives will allow for greater capacity to handle the growth we anticipate over the coming years. Lake State has acquired over 200 railcars in 2013 to help provide safe, reliable equipment for the use of our aggregate, grain, and wood products customers, we are focused on making investments in equipment and locomotives to meet our growth requirements.”

Lake State began operations in 1992 over the former Detroit & Mackinac Railroad. The railroad previously operated a fleet of Alco locomotives.

Based in Saginaw, the railroad’s freight business includes about 45,000 annual carloads of coal, cement, building materials, chemicals, fertilizers, and agricultural products.

Lake State’s 300 route miles system extends from Flint through Saginaw to Gaylord and Alpena. It also had routes to Midland, Bay City and Paines.