Conrail Muskegon Secondary

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Conrail Muskegon Secondary

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:30 am

This paper railroad is also my HO layout, but it almost seems to fit in here better than on the modeling board! I gradually tweak the story when I find ways to make it more realistic, but in short:

When the Penn Central went bankrupt in the early 70s, and the eastern railroad scene in general looked dismal, it was a wake up call for the government to reevaluate the overregulation of railroads and subsidizing of their competition. The more progressive attitude helped create a stronger environment for the RR's. By this point PC still had to be reorganized, and the formation of Conrail went ahead as planned in 1976. The system of track brought into Conrail basically reflected the map PC came up with in 1973, which involved abandoning 5,000 miles of unprofitable trackage:


Instead of selling the Muskegon branch to GTW, it was included in the Conrail startup. My operation is based at Muskegon in (currently) October 1978. With a more level playing field for transportation competition, quite a few railroad customers remained loyal to railroads who otherwise would have gone to trucks. My main addition to the customer base is the transfer of Scandanavian woodpulp from salties to rail at the 11th St dock on Muskegon Lake. This amounts to about 20 cars a week, and is shipped south to the Georgia Pacific paper mill in Kalamazoo. I also added a TV Ramp at the 10th St dock property, which gets a trailer or two a week of food product for Viking Foods, and one or two trailers of office furniture from Shaw Walker are shipped out. This ramp was put in by Conrail to pick up this traffic, and hopefully more (if I can get some 89' flats that run halfway decent, or have more room for larger radius curves!). There are about a dozen old 40' boxcars stored at 10th St, which will be brought out for hauling Christmas trees south after Thanksgiving.

Other customers include a scrap yard just south of the dock (showed up on an old Sanborn map), inbound newsprint for the Muskegon Chronicle and a rare outbound load of local blueberries from the 11th St Dock, inbound metal and outbound office furniture from Shaw Walker, inbound lumber and metal and outbound chairs, desks, and bowling machinery from Brunswick, outbound crane assemblies from Dresser, inbound beverages for Tri-Cities Beverage, outbound machinery from Brown-Morse, inbound lumber for Fredericks Lumber and Keene Lumber, inbound foundry sand for Sealed Power, inbound utility poles for Consumers, inbound plastic for APEC, inbound paper for Muskegon Paper Box Company, and inbound coal for the Campbell Wyant & Cannon eastside plant. I also handle cars for Conklin Lumber, the grain elevatore at Conklin, Ravenna Lumber, and the Ravenna Co-op, although these sidings aren't on the layout. Hooker tank cars are interchanged with C&O to be handled up to Montague (Conrail interchanged cars for Dupont to CSX in Grand Rapids into the 90s), inbound metal from C&O to Brunswick, and some of the MPBC paper comes via the GTW and its car ferry. The GTW interchange has been taken over by the Detroit & Milwaukee, my brother Ed's operation, but thats a whole nother story.

Its a lot of customers, but I try to reflect realistic shipping levels. Some of them only ship a car every couple weeks, and the inbound train averages 10-15 cars.

YMMU01 mon-sat, OD 0700, handles all local work
MUKM/KMMU mon-sat, OD 1600, turn to Kalamazoo Mosel Yard and handles Ravenna and Conklin switching.

MUKM picks up Grand Rapids TV's for the east coast at Hughart Yard and GM auto parts cars at 44th St Yard that are destined for Kalamazoo and Lansing. The Kzoo cars connect to YMKZ32 at Kalamazoo, and the Lansing cars connect to KZLA. The trailvans from Muskegon and Grand Rapids connect to TV16 at Mosel. Other Elkhart traffic is picked up by GRELB at Mosel.

As for future plans, I just ran across info that the Pennsy had considered operating its own fleet of car ferries out of Muskegon. I've been thinking about modeling GTW style car ferry, so this could play into operations at the 11th St Dock! Also I've thought about setting up an Amtrak routing to Chicago via Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, which would make operations more interesting.

I'd love to get any input on customers in Muskegon or on the branch from Grand Rapids!
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Ben Higdon
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Re: Conrail Muskegon Secondary

Unread postby AARR » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:23 pm

Well thought out, Ben. I'll read it more in-depth when I have time. What's your engine roster?
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...
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