Posts Tagged ‘Railroads of Michigan’

Durand Cover Story in March eBulletin

March 20, 2017

It is Michigan week for the Akron Railroad Club. No, we’re not going to that state of up north as some fans of The Ohio State University like to call it and it has nothing to do with the annual games between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

No, it has to do with the program at the March ARRC meeting, which is titled The Railroads of Bluewater Michigan.

And the cover story in this month’s ARRC eBulletin is about railfanning in Durand, Michigan.

The home of the Wolverine and the Spartans of that other OSU nemesis, Michigan State University, can be an interesting place to photograph railroad operations if you are patient.

Durand doesn’t have the volume of traffic of Berea, Fostoria or Marion, but it does have two Canadian National routes, Amtrak and two short-line railroads.

The city in mid-Michigan also has much railroad history and a museum.

Also in the March eBulletin is the latest railroad industry news, a review of the 2017 ARRC member’s night and a preview of Dave McKay Day in Berea this year.

If you would like a copy of this month’s eBulletin or wish to subscribe, send an email to csanders429@aol.com.

Individual copies and a subscription are free.

Lake State to Mark 25th Anniversary

February 23, 2017

To celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, Michigan-based Lake State Railway is having a GP40-3 painted in an anniversary livery.

Lake StateThe unit will be given roster number 4325 in the same font used by the Detroit & Mackinac. LS uses former D&M tracks.

No. 4325 is expected to see service throughout the 300-mile Lake State system.

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.

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.