MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Daily whereabouts of train locations along with sightings for heads ups to other railfans.

Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Patriot » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:15 pm

GRE --- EB Leonard at 11:13 with 11 CHs (one is a non-King).
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Patriot » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:54 am

GRE --- EB Leonard at 10:52 with 11 CHs for King and one tank for Amway.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Patriot » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:22 pm

GRE --- WB Leonard at 1:20 with 4 CHs from King.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Plannerdad » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:55 pm

I was in Lowell all morning, not sure how I missed them! Not sure where another 11 hoppers would fit in town; maybe south of town along the main. I will check tomorrow.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:15 am

I was on the FM Flat River Valley Rail Trail yesterday observing / supervising a brushing crew. They were switching on the south side of the river about 12:15, I heard them leave a little after 12:30. (I picked up a branch on the Lowell to Saranac section and was out of my car figuring out how to get it un-stuck.)

For you off road bikers - Lowell to Saranac is brushed abut 30+ feet wide. Lowell to Greenville is brushed that wide from Foreman to Lincoln Lake Ave and one pass wide to Greenville (3 miles in Belding is paved). The surface is the old ballast.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Jetlink » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:57 am

Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby PereMarquette1223 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:17 pm

Jetlink wrote:Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.


RailAmerica purchased that in 2007 from CSX. Still trying to u deratand the reasoning. My guess is that if Amway closed they would relay Rail from Malta to Elmdale to shorten the trip to Lowell. I'd find that a lot easier to run 10 miles versus 20-30.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby trnwatcher » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:59 pm

MQT1223 wrote:
Jetlink wrote:Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.


RailAmerica purchased that in 2007 from CSX. Still trying to u deratand the reasoning. My guess is that if Amway closed they would relay Rail from Malta to Elmdale to shorten the trip to Lowell. I'd find that a lot easier to run 10 miles versus 20-30.

If Amway closed G&W would still run from Fuller to Lowell as that is the majority of their business now. CSXT would not spend money relaying track that they didn't want to switch in the first place. The big question is if King closed or moved would G&W abandon the GRE entirely? Amway and the plastics plant in GR would barely rate 2 switch outs a week.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:05 pm

You will never see rails laid from Lowell to Elmdale again. That line was basically built through a swamp.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby PereMarquette1223 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:08 pm

SD80MAC wrote:You will never see rails laid from Lowell to Elmdale again. That line was basically built through a swamp.


Why would a railroad purchase an abandoned ROW then? Plenty of lines built through swamps.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Plannerdad » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:30 pm

There two sidings full of hoppers south of Lowell as of Saturday.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:54 pm

Jetlink wrote:Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.


Working on funding for surfacing from Saranac to Greenville. Hoping to get a crushed asphalt material approved. We did a test section 2 years ago in Smyrna. Need one more screen in the process to get rid of the 1/2 inch and bigger pieces. I had a test section done last fall with a chip and fog over crushed asphalt. Our seal coat foreman who is a biking enthusiast said it would make a good trail surface for about 10% of the cost of paving. We'll see how it shakes out.

Working with the DNR to get the mile from Grand River to Montcalm Ave and the Elmdale piece bought from G&W. The legislature needs to pass a piece of legislation allowing the DNR to indemnify the RR against lawsuits. It was introduced last year in the Senate but it died. They are going to try again this year. Apparently RA's attorney's were not quite as picky.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:10 pm

Raildudes dad wrote:Our seal coat foreman who is a biking enthusiast said it would make a good trail surface for about 10% of the cost of paving. We'll see how it shakes out.

That'd certainly get it done in a hurry, too. Those guys are fast :lol:
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Plannerdad » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:05 pm

GRE is or was in Lowell today switching cars for around 3 hours. There was a WB (~15 empties) lined up on the old GTW main around 1:00pm, but they were still moving cars around town at that time. I have not heard them leave, but I may have missed them.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Schteinkuh » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:09 am

So let me get this straight. RA/G&W have been paying taxes and other property expenses for an abandoned ROW for 10 years, and refuse to give it up even though the landscape disallows relaying track? Excellent.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Jetlink » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:17 am

Raildudes dad wrote:
Jetlink wrote:Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.


Working on funding for surfacing from Saranac to Greenville. Hoping to get a crushed asphalt material approved. We did a test section 2 years ago in Smyrna. Need one more screen in the process to get rid of the 1/2 inch and bigger pieces. I had a test section done last fall with a chip and fog over crushed asphalt. Our seal coat foreman who is a biking enthusiast said it would make a good trail surface for about 10% of the cost of paving. We'll see how it shakes out.

Working with the DNR to get the mile from Grand River to Montcalm Ave and the Elmdale piece bought from G&W. The legislature needs to pass a piece of legislation allowing the DNR to indemnify the RR against lawsuits. It was introduced last year in the Senate but it died. They are going to try again this year. Apparently RA's attorney's were not quite as picky.


Thanks for the updates sir. I appreciate them. It is even better knowing that they come from a very reliable source and not just a rumor. Please encourage your seal coat foreman, from one biking enthusiast to another. I think any surface is a good surface. Get the trail on the ground and open and then make improvements as you are able. Any trail is better than no trail IMHO. Even the brushed back ballast is good for hiking and X-C skiing.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby PereMarquette1223 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:48 pm

Jetlink wrote:
Raildudes dad wrote:
Jetlink wrote:Thanks for the trail update! Great to hear. Any surface improvements planned? What about Elmdale to Lowell? Still owned by the RR last I heard.


Working on funding for surfacing from Saranac to Greenville. Hoping to get a crushed asphalt material approved. We did a test section 2 years ago in Smyrna. Need one more screen in the process to get rid of the 1/2 inch and bigger pieces. I had a test section done last fall with a chip and fog over crushed asphalt. Our seal coat foreman who is a biking enthusiast said it would make a good trail surface for about 10% of the cost of paving. We'll see how it shakes out.

Working with the DNR to get the mile from Grand River to Montcalm Ave and the Elmdale piece bought from G&W. The legislature needs to pass a piece of legislation allowing the DNR to indemnify the RR against lawsuits. It was introduced last year in the Senate but it died. They are going to try again this year. Apparently RA's attorney's were not quite as picky.


Thanks for the updates sir. I appreciate them. It is even better knowing that they come from a very reliable source and not just a rumor. Please encourage your seal coat foreman, from one biking enthusiast to another. I think any surface is a good surface. Get the trail on the ground and open and then make improvements as you are able. Any trail is better than no trail IMHO. Even the brushed back ballast is good for hiking and X-C skiing.


So how many miles is Malta to Elmdale?
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Patriot » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:09 pm

GRE --- EB Leonard at 11:06 with two CHs for King and one tank for Amway.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby PereMarquette1223 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:50 pm

AMTK55 wrote:So let me get this straight. RA/G&W have been paying taxes and other property expenses for an abandoned ROW for 10 years, and refuse to give it up even though the landscape disallows relaying track? Excellent.


I don't get it either.

The ROW is 90% intact minus a home that encroached and a few soggy spots, however I don't see why that's unbuildable.
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Re: MI Shortlines Updates Feb. 2017

Unread postby Saturnalia » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:44 pm

MQT1223 wrote:The ROW is 90% intact minus a home that encroached and a few soggy spots, however I don't see why that's unbuildable.

Just because something can physically be built, doesn't mean that it is "buildable". Capital is the other half of the equation, the pain-in-an-engineer's-side item which kills far more projects than it helps.

True high-speed rail between GR and DET is 100% physically possible, and 0% economically possible, so it is unbuildable.

I know that's not what you meant, but it's what the truth is in those terms: money matters.

The railroads knew by the 60s that having multiple branch lines serving the same towns was an exercise in futility. It was the failure of Penn Central and the rest which finally got the government to see that fact. Because the PM would add a second branch line to a town already served by one, it would make absolutely no sense. There would be exactly zero customers on the new line, so it would generate exactly zero traffic. Thus it makes exactly zero sense.

Look around Michigan, and you won't find a small down served by more than one branch line, unless there is an interchange as there is in Alma. There were once dozens of these cases, all rooted out over time through abandonment. Due to our state's shape, you'll find that the map north of the GR-LAN-DET line is essentially a leaf structure, with every few crossings: the lines run roughly parallel north-south on 20-40 mile centers. This serves the state's transportation needs while ensuring a rate of return for the railroads.

We now return to your regularly scheduled updates :)
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