Posts Tagged ‘Michigan short line railroads’

Steam Saturday: Long Ago in Michigan

May 21, 2022

This image was made by an unidentified photographer at an unidentified location in Michigan. It shows the long defunct Michigan lumber railroad East Jordan & Southern locomotive No. 6. We do know the image was made in the 1950s or early 1960s.

The EJ&S suspended operations in 1961 and the railroad’s lines were subsequently abandoned.

No. 6, a 2-6-0 built in 1909 by Pittsburg, has survived and is owned by the City of East Jordan, where it is on static display.

Photograph Courtesy of Robert Farkas

Lake State Acquiring 6 SD70M Locomotives

May 13, 2022

Michigan regional railroad Lake State Railway has acquired its first wide cab locomotives.

It picked up six SD70Ms once operated by Union Pacific. UP leased the units and has returned them.

The first of the SD70Ms, No. 6431, was recently repainted by Metro East Industries in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Lake State has an all-EMD motive power fleet to cover its 375 miles of track. Most of its locomotives are 40-series four and six axle units.

The SD70Ms will be Lake State’s first units to be equipped with positive train control.

Michigan Short Line Has New Livery

May 6, 2022

Michigan short line Adrian & Blissfield Railroad has a new locomotive livery that it has applied to an SD40-2 once owned by Southern Pacific.

The new scheme is bright red and white paint. The railroad operates on 20 miles of track in Lenawee County.

For several years its four-axle EMD motive power has worn a New York Central inspired look.

The A&B was sold last year to Transportation Holdings.

Steam Saturday: Coal Smoke in Michigan

February 12, 2022

We don’t know the identity of the photographer who made this photo of East Jordan & Southern No. 6, probably in or near East Jordan, Michigan. The slide was processed in September 1960. The EJ&S still used steam until the early 1960s.

This image portrays a tourist train, but the EJ&S got its start as a lumber railroad. It transported harvested lumber to a connection with the Chicago & Western Michigan. The EJ&S also served other industries that helped to sustain it after the lumber mills shut down in the 1920s. The short line connected in Bellaire with the Pere Marquette.

The EJ&S operated between 1901 and 1962. It had regulatory approval to cease operations in 1932, but management instead decided to press ahead, hauling passengers and freight.

Every year on Independence Day the railroad offered free rides. No. 6 shown above is a 2-6-0 built in 1909 by the Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company. The EJ&S also had two other steam locomotives on its roster.

A last run was staged on Aug. 12, 1962, just ahead of the end of operations. The tracks were later pulled up. No. 6 survives today on East Jordan on static display.

Collection of Robert Farkas

Lake State Named Regional of the Year

November 10, 2021

Lake State Railway of Michigan has been named the 2021 regional railroad of the year by Railway Age magazine.

An Ohio short line, the Belpre Industrial Parkersburg Railroad, was awarded honorable mention in the short line of the year competition, which was won by the Memphis Line of R.J. Corman.

Lake State is a 373-mile Class II carrier serving primarily the northern half of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

It became a regional carrier in 2019 by acquiring the CSX Saginaw Subdivision between its namesake city and Plymouth.

This year Lake State is expected to handle 65,000 carloads, up from the 30,000 carloads of 2018.

It has won an American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association award for marketing initiatives in three of the past four years.

The 48-mile Class III BIPR is located in far southern Ohio and interchanges with CSX in Parkersburg, West Viginia.

It serves industries in metals, plastics and petrochemicals in the Ohio River Valley.

A relatively new operation, BIPR has upgraded 21 miles of track from excepted to Federal Railroad Administration Class 2 standards.

In its 12 months of operation the railroad has had zero reportable injuries and increased total revenue movements 84 percent compared with the three-year average of the line in previous years.

Other projects undertaken by BIPR have included converting several barge and truck movements to rail for existing customers (coal, residual fuel, asphalt); initiating new product movements for existing customers (ferroalloys, carbon, plastics); adding three new storage-in-transit customers supporting regional industry; and investing more than $2 million into equipment, rail refurbishment and upgrades, and new sidings.

5 Michigan Short Lines Being Sold

June 21, 2021

Five Michigan short line railroads are on track to be sold to a new owner.

Transportation Holdings recently told the U.S. Surface Transportation Board that it will acquire the Class III railroads, which will be the first railroads that it owns.

The five short line are the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Co., a 20-mile line which operates a dinner train on Saturdays, as well as three subsidiaries: the 5-mile Charlotte Southern; 2.5-mile Detroit Connecting Railroad; 1.5-mile Lapeer Industrial Railroad, and 47-mile Jackson & Lansing.

Great Lakes Central Acquires 3 SD35s

August 19, 2020

Michigan short line Great Lakes Central has acquired all three SD35 locomotives that recently worked for Montana Rail Link.

The SD35s will be a new motive power type to the largely GP35 fleet that GLC operates. Most of those GP35s once ran on the Ann Arbor.

The latest addition to the GLC roster are MRL Nos. 701, 702 and 705, which are the last three SD35s the western carrier had.

The units were last reported to be in the Chicago area being interchanged from BNSF to Canadian National en route to Michigan.

GLC had indicated it plans to renumber the SD35s as 383, 384 and 380. No. 383 is expected to enter revenue service in short order but Nos. 384 and 386 need light repairs.

The three units were built in 1965 for Norfolk & Western.

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.

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.

Train Crew Alert Michigan Authorities to Whereabouts of Murder Suspect

March 12, 2018

Police say the crew of a Michigan short line railroad helped them apprehend a suspect wanted in the killing of his parents.

A Great Lake Central Railroad conductor and conductor trainee spotted the suspect, James Eric Davis Jr., standing near the company’s tracks in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, late at night.

They contacted the railroad’s dispatcher who in turn notified police. Davis was arrested about a half-hour later.

Authorities believe that Davis was planning to jump aboard the GLCR train, which was moving at 17 mph at the time.

Davis has been charged in connection with the killing of James and Diva Davis of Chicago. The elder Davis was a police officer in suburban Bellwood, Illinois, while the younger Davis was a student at Central Michigan University.

News stories have reported that Davis couple had come to Mt. Pleasant to pick up their son after he had been hospitalized following what authorities have termed erratic behavior.

The shooting occurred in the residence hall room of the younger Davis, who has been charged in Michigan with two counts of murder.