Posts Tagged ‘Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad’

Up North in Michigan

May 6, 2022

Mike Ondecker and Bob Farkas went into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to find Lake Superior and Ishpeming No. 2500. The GE U25C was photographed in Marquette on Aug. 27, 1975.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

An Alco in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

April 1, 2022

Mike Ondecker and I were railfanning the upper peninsula of Michigan when I caught Lake Superior & Ishpeming 1604, an Alco RS3, in Marquette on June 11, 1974.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: No. 33 at Work on the Ohio Central

November 13, 2021

The former Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 is a Consolidation type built to haul heavy iron ore trains in Michigan. It was retired in 1962 and wound up in Ohio on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway where it operated for a few years.

The late Jerry Jacobson acquired No. 33 in 2003 and it made its first trip on his Ohio Central System two years later where it continued to operate occasionally.

After Jacobson sold the Ohio Central in 2008, No. 33 became part of the collection of the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum where shop forces returned it to steam on Nov. 11, 2018.

The 33 was built by Baldwin in Philadelphia in February 1916.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Ex-Upper Michigan Steamer Gets Home in Wisconsin

September 17, 2019

A steam locomotive that once pulled iron ore cars in upper Michigan has now been given a permanent home at a railroad museum in Wisconsin.

Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad No. 22, a 1910 Alco (Pittsburgh) 2-8-0, is now being housed in the new Laurence Dorcy Building at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom.

The locomotive was cosmetically restored before it was placed in the building, which is named for a great grandson of rail baron James J. Hill.

Dorcy donated the funding to construct the building. The cosmetic restoration of No. 22 was performed by Diversified Rail Services.

The restoration included the creation and installation of new jacketing, replacing the wooden cab interior and making new piping where needed.

DRS conducted research to determine what had been the original shade of green paint on the boiler jacket.

Michigan Iron Ore Mine About Played Out

February 2, 2016

An iron ore mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is at the end of its useful life and is expected to close.

Cliff Natural Resources said the Empire Mine, which is served by Canadian National and the Lake Superior & Ishpeming, will close within months if not years.

CliffsCliffs will then move that production to United Taconite. “End of life at Empire is a reality,” said Cliffs Chairman, President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves.

Once the Empire Mine is closed Cliffs will move that production to United Taconite.  “We are going to replace the Viceroy pellet at Empire with the new Mustang pellet at United; that will happen this year,” Goncalves said.

After the Empire closes, there will be one taconite plant left operating in Michigan’s UP, which is the LS&L-served Tilden Mine.

The Cleveland-based Cliffs also indicated that two of its taconite facilities on Minnesota’s Iron Range may reopen this year.

The mines, which closed in 2015, are United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, and the NorthShore Mining plant at Silver Bay and mine at Babbitt.

Cliffs expects to sell 17.5 million tons of taconite iron ore pellets this year, up from 17.3 million tons in 2015.

Cliffs Seeks to End Michigan Haulage Contract

October 9, 2015

Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources has ended its pellet sale and purchase agreement with Essar Steel Algoma, citing what Cliffs described as “multiple and material breaches under the agreement” by Algoma.

Cliffs said it would consider discussing supplying Essar delivered in a just-in-time iron ore supply arrangement.
Cliffs owns the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad, which transports taconite pellets for Essar Algoma from the Tilden Mine near Ishpeming, Michigan, to its dock on Lake Superior at Marquette, Michigan.

The pellets are then moved by boat to Essar at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Ending the agreement could result in a large traffic reduction LS&I.

Essar, in the meantime, has filed a request for a temporary restraining order before a federal judge in Cleveland, saying that it expects Cliffs to honor the supply agreement until the matter has been resolved.
Algoma Steel was founded 1901 and acquired in June 2007 by Essar Steel Holdings Limited.

Vintage GEs Still Ply The Rails in Michigan’s UP

June 14, 2015

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.

Mineral Range RR Makes First Revenue Run

October 8, 2014

The Mineral Range Railroad of upper Michigan operated its first revenue train on Oct. 1. It had nine cars, four loaded with copper and five loaded with nickel.

The first 20 empties had arrived at the Humboldt Mill on Sept. 26. Motive power was Mineral Range No. 907, an ex-Belt Railway of Chicago EMD TR4A.

The ore is trucked from the Eagle Mine northwest of Marquette to the Humboldt Mill west of Ishpeming – making about 15 trips per day – where it is processed into concentrates that are loaded into rail cars.

Mineral Range takes the cars to Ishpeming to be interchanged to Canadian National, which in turn hauls the shipments to customers for smelting and refining.

Lundin Mining Corp. owns the mill and the mine, which is the only primary nickel mine operating in the United States

Full production of 2,205 tons daily is expected by the second quarter of 2015. The company expects that over the projected eight-year operation of the mine and mill, 360 million pounds of nickel and 295 million pounds of copper, as well as small amounts of other metals, will be produced.

The Humboldt Mill was built on the site of the former Humboldt Mine, once served by Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad ore trains.

Mineral Range Inc. owns the Mineral Range Railroad a privately held corporation that purchased 12 miles of line from the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad on Jan. 1, 2013, and became a common carrier. Its reporting marks are MRA.

It also bought 1.9 miles of ex-LS&I right-of-way whose tracks had been removed in 2005. Development of the line cost about $7 million.