Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Railroads’

Michigan Conference Set For Sept. 18

August 24, 2021

The Michigan Railroad History Conference will be held online on Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The conference is free but attendees must register. The link to registration is https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvdemqqjIjGNA9Q8xoGNm9fGYfzquMaS1K

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Two presenters will be discussing Michigan railroad history during the conference.

Paul Trap will describe where Michigan’s earliest railroads were located, who built them and for what purposes. He will illustrate his presentation with numerous maps and illustrations.

Mark Worrall will explore logging railroads, high speed interurbans, Class 1 lines, and short lines.

The conference is being held in an abbreviated online format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans are being made to resume the traditional all day format next year on Sept. 17 in Ludington.

MDOT Taking Comments on Freight Plan

August 30, 2017

The Michigan Department of Transportation is accepting public comment through Sept. 29 on its draft state freight plan.

The plan is a supplement to the 2040 MI Transportation Plan and provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and investments needed to “ensure long-term success,” MDOT officials said in a news release.

It will provides a framework for freight system improvements and priorities.

A public webinar has been set to discuss the plan on Sept. 12.

Michigan’s railroads handled more than 479 million tons moved to, from, within and through the state in 2014. Coal, chemical products and metallic ores were the top commodities moved by rail in 2014.

By comparison, tucking companies hauled 65 percent of tonnage moved, while rail handled 21 percent, according to the plan.

Day in Durand: 2

November 17, 2016

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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

A nearly two-hour lull was broken by the arrival of a Huron & Eastern train from the Saginaw-Bay City region.

A nearly two-hour lull was broken by the arrival of a Huron & Eastern train from the Saginaw-Bay City region.

 

GP40-2LW was built  for CN in 1976 but now works for the Huron & Eastern.

GP40-2LW was built for CN in 1976 but now works for the Huron & Eastern.

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Getting a close up look at the trailing unit, which features a different livery than the leader.

Getting a close up look at the trailing unit, which features a different livery than the leader. The GP30AC was built in 1971 for the Louisville & Nashville.

Next stop is the yard in Durand.

Next stop is the yard in Durand.

The CN train to Pontiac had a long cut of cars to set off in Durand.

The CN train to Pontiac had a long cut of cars to set off in Durand.

The conductor is on the point and the CN job is ready to back into the yard in Durand.

The conductor is on the point and the CN job is ready to back into the yard in Durand.

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Two generations of owners in Durand. The Grand Trunk Western caboose is on static display.

Two generations of owners in Durand. The Grand Trunk Western caboose is on static display.

Backing around the Port Huron wye to make a set out in the yard in Durand.

Backing around the Port Huron wye to make a set out in the yard in Durand.

After making a set out in the yard in Durand, the CN job came out light.

After making a set out in the yard in Durand, the CN job came out light.

The light power move passes Durand Union Station.

The light power move passes Durand Union Station.

An eastbound manifest freight clatters across the diamonds in Durand.

An eastbound manifest freight clatters across the diamonds in Durand.

Coming up the Holly Sub from Pontiac and Detroit.

Coming up the Holly Sub from Pontiac and Detroit.

Someone had fun drawing in the dirt on the nose of CN No. 2338.

Someone had fun drawing in the dirt on the nose of CN No. 2338.

A cut of auto racks clears the signals on the Chicago wye in Durand.

A cut of auto racks clears the signals on the Chicago wye in Durand.

Moving from the Flint Sub to the Holly Sub on the Chicago wye.

Moving from the Flint Sub to the Holly Sub on the Chicago wye.

With opposing traffic having cleared, the CN train for Pontiac gets underway and heads to the Holly Sub. The Durand depot is on the left.

With opposing traffic having cleared, the CN train for Pontiac gets underway and heads to the Holly Sub. The Durand depot is on the left.

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A Huron & Eastern crew member guides his train out of the yard in Durand and onto the CN Port Huron wye as it prepares to leave town.

Couple Encounters With Michigan Shore Railroad

July 31, 2016

A Michigan Shore Railroad train crosses Jackson Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan

A Michigan Shore Railroad train crosses Jackson Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan

We were driving to Grand Haven, Michigan, during a vacation trip to the Lake Michigan shore of Western Michigan.

Railfanning was not on my agenda on this day, but I did notice there was a railroad track running parallel to U.S. 31.

Somewhere along the way I noticed the headlight a train stopped at a rural grade crossing, so I swung over there and photographed a short manifest freight of the Michigan Shore Railroad, a Genesee & Wyoming property.

Some quick research found that this is a former Pere Marquette line. The railroad’s website showed that the MS operates between Fremont and Port Sheldon, Michigan, via Muskegon and Grand Haven. It interchanges with CSX in Holland.

The railroad’s website said that its primary commodities handled include sand and chemicals.

The train I saw turned out to be the Z627 and there was a G&W pickup truck parked trackside. It is driven by the conductor so that he can get ahead of the train as it leaves Muskegon and open the swing bridge at Grand Haven.

The train then parks at Fillmore Road, which is near the end of the MSR property, and waits for CSX to give the crew clearance to come into Waverly Yard in Holland to interchange traffic.  I was able to get a few images and continued on to Grand Haven.

It turned out I was not yet done with the Michigan Shore Railroad. After spending some time at a beach in Grand Haven and photographing a pair of lighthouses, I then sought to find the former Pere Marquette passenger station, which is now a professional office building.

As I was photographing the depot, Mary Ann said she heard a train horn in the distance.

A few minutes later the same set of motive power I had seen earlier in the day showed up with the same GP38 leading. The train turns on a wye in Holland while on CSX so that the engineer doesn’t have to trade locomotives.

I am guessing that this train interchanged with CSX. The consist of my second sighting of the Michigan Shore train is similar to the first with tank cars and boxcars although fewer of them.

After recording the train going away, we left and this time I was done with railfanning for the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The next three images were all made at Fillmore Street along U.S. 31 south of Grand Haven.

The next three images were all made at Fillmore Street along U.S. 31 south of Grand Haven.

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Approaching Jackson Avenue and the former Pere Marquette station in Grand Haven.

Approaching Jackson Avenue and the former Pere Marquette station in Grand Haven.

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Michigan Society Acquires Historic Locomotive

January 8, 2015

 

Shown with former Port Huron & Detroit Alco S2 No. 52 are (from left) Sandy Duffy, T.J. Gaffney, Aaron Farmer, and Bruce Sawdon.

Shown with former Port Huron & Detroit Alco S2 No. 52 are (from left) Sandy Duffy, T.J. Gaffney, Aaron Farmer, and Bruce Sawdon.

The Michigan-based Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society has acquired Alco S2 No. 52 from Knoxville Locomotive Works.

One of two Alco units delivered new to the Port Huron & Detroit in August 1945, No. 52 will join restored PH&D caboose No. 62. An anonymous donor made the acquisition possible.

Knoxville Locomotive Works will store No. 52 for two years or until a suitable facility is ready in Michigan.

The PH&D plans to restore the locomotive cosmetically to its pre-1984 condition and place it on static display.

For more information on the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society, go to phdrailroad.com.

 

 

New Short Line to Operate in Michigan’s UP

January 29, 2014

A new short line operator plans to begin operating in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to provide service to a new copper and nickel mine.

The Mineral Range Railroad has purchased 12 miles of track from the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad and also bought 1.9 miles of ex-LS&I right-of-way. The latter had been removed in 2005 and the route rail banked, but Mineral Range will rebuilding the line.

The route will serve Lundin Mining, which is opening the Eagle Mine and is trucking the mined materials to a mill processing facility near Champion, approximately 25 miles south of the mine. This mill is being established on the site of the former Humboldt Mine, once served by LS&I ore trains.

The mill will crush and process copper and nickel ore into concentrates and ship it over the short line. Mineral Range will interchange the cars to Canadian National at Ishpeming.

Mineral Range got its start in 2002 when it began switching a 3-mile industrial track near Ishpeming. Some railfan made the trip to see that company’s former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal SW1.

Mineral Range quit this operation in 2003 and another company handled the switching for the next decade before Mineral Range resumed the switching operations on June 1, 2013. It also acquired some of the industry track and began operating it as its Pluto Subdivision.

Mineral Range uses an NW2 to switch the line about three days per week.
The Humboldt Mill is expected to open late in 2014 and Mineral Range will begin operations over its new 12-mile line at that time.

At present, only Canadian National’s L’Anse Local uses the 12 miles of line, which Mineral Range calls its Blueberry Subdivision, between Landing Junction near Ishpeming and Humboldt Junction, where the rebuilt track will connect.

About half of the track from Humboldt Junction to the mill has been put down. The rest will be laid in the spring.

Most of the shipments will be outbound copper and nickel concentrates moving in covered gondolas. Mineral Range officials told Trains magazine that they expect to switch the plant five or six times a week.

The railroad also expects to run trains to Ishpeming three days a week run that will have 15 to 20 car.

Mineral Range has acquired former Erie Mining/LTV Steel Alco C420 No. 7222 for its operations, and plans to obtain more locomotives. The railroad will construct an engine house this summer at a location to be decided later.

Blue(frozen)water Michigan

December 28, 2013

Ice covers the hand brake of a Pere Marquette caboose at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Mich., on Sunday (Dec. 22). Much of central Michigan experienced an overnight ice storm that took down trees and left thousands without power.

Ice covers the hand brake of a Pere Marquette caboose at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Mich., on Sunday (Dec. 22). Much of central Michigan experienced an overnight ice storm that took down trees and left thousands without power.

A friend and I ventured to icy Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 22, to photograph the Pere Marquette 1225 pulling two North Pole Express trains.

The morning trip was canceled due to the weather so we hung out in Durand to catch some Canadian National action.

The afternoon 1225 trip operated as scheduled once the track has been inspected and cleared of any obstacles.

Shown here are some of the images that I made during our downtime waiting for the PM 1225 to run.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

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Train No. 149 rolls into Durand with a load of containers.

Train No. 149 rolls into Durand with a load of containers.

No. 149 shows signs of having battled the winter elements for many miles.

No. 149 shows signs of having battled the winter elements for many miles.

The track diverging to the left is the connection from the Chicago-Port Huron mainline to the Holly Sub to Detroit.

The track diverging to the left is the connection from the Chicago-Port Huron mainline to the Holly Sub to Detroit.

Snow showers had developed by the time that No. 348 reached Duran headed eastward.

Snow showers had developed by the time that No. 348 reached Durand headed eastward.

Most of the consist of No. 348 was auto racks with a few odd bar freight cars thrown in.

Most of the consist of No. 348 was auto racks with a few odd ball freight cars thrown in.

Ice covered street signs in Owosso.

Ice covered street signs in Owosso.

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The code lines along the former Pere Marquette route between Detroit and Grand Rapids have a liberal coating of ice. This line is now owned by CSX, which is seeking regulatory approval to decommission the block signals on this route.

The code lines along the former Pere Marquette route between Detroit and Grand Rapids have a liberal coating of ice. This line is now owned by CSX, which is seeking regulatory approval to decommission the block signals on this route.