Michigan Shortline

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Michigan Shortline

Unread postby Ypsi » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:29 pm

The Michigan Shortline is a railroad that operates on the former Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Hillsdale branch between Ypsilanti and Pittsfield Township. The railroad also has trackage rights to Saline via the Ann Arbor Railroad, and to Detroit via the Amtrak Michigan Line. The trackage rights agreements are in place because the host railroads deemed it is easier to have the Michigan Shortline run through then interchange at points on the mainline. Power for the railroad consist of a former Santa Fe CF7 and a former Union Pacific SW1500. The route acts as if the LSMS branch was never abandoned and the tracks still go right through EMU's campus, cross Washtenaw, Packard, and Carpenter at grade, and then go over US 23 and I-94 with new bridges built in the late 70's. The current customer base is decent, and there is enough work daily switch job that runs the entire line and a nightly interchange job. The Michigan Shortline also runs dinner trains out of Depot Town, and runs game day trains between Depot town, central campus, and Rynearson Stadium for EMU football. The current map looks like this. Actual track ownership is in blue, while trackage rights are indicated with a multiple color dotted line.


The current customers include:
Ypsilanti Ford Plant (now Angstrom Manufacturing) (shipping completed automotive tubing in box cars)
Michigan Ladder Company (receives raw materials for wood and fiberglass ladders)
Doan Concrete (receives raw materials for concrete production)
84 Lumber (receives product for local distribution)
Saline Ford Plant (Now Furasia) (ships completed plastic components in box cars)

The current "stops" are indicated on the map
End of the line stop (no regular detraining/ stepbox)
Ypsilanti Depot (Ypsilanti Freight House)
Campus Stop (one car platform with shelter)
Rynearson Stop (two car platform with shelter)
Park Stop (one car platform)

The only yard on the line is the Ypsilanti Yard located in Depot Town. It is currently 5 tracks, including storage space for three passenger cars, and the two locomotives. There is enough room to run around in the yard and switch consist for the daily switching. The caboose and MOW equipment are stored in Saline at the end of the AA line.

Owned Equipment:
MSRR 300- EMD SW1500
MSRR 80008- Former ATSF 52 seat coach, built in HEP
MSRR 80020- Former ATSF diner, used for dinner service and seating, built in HEP
MSRR 80000- Former CB&Q observation/ dome, used for OCS service and dinner train service, built in HEP
MSRR 001- Former NYC Bay window caboose, used in MOW/ Shove service
MSRR 1001- 40 Foot MOW flat
MSRR 1002- 40 Foot MOW Flat
MSRR 1005- 40 foot MOW box car

Motive power is dressed in a scheme using the ATSF Blue and yellow as the base as that was what the CF7 was delivered in. The CF7 was mostly repainted when purchased, and recently shopped and repainted again so it matched the SW1500 which was fully painted when it was purchased. Plans are to add a GP15 or similar small geep in the near future, as well as install PTC on all three units for operations on the Amtrak Michigan Line.




The current operations are set up in a way to allow the trains to meet strict Amtrak Michigan Line Curfews. The trains have access to the AML between 0100 and 0600 in the morning. This is due to the Daily Amtrak trains as well as minimal interruptions to Norfolk Southern freight operations. Because of this the railroad works two shifts, a daily switch job, and a late night interchange job. In addition to freight traffic, the line also runs its dinner trains and football trains.

Monday-Friday switch job-
Symbol: YS-1 (NS Symbol B78)
Call time: 0800
Off Duty: 1800
Typical Power: MSRR 730

The daily switch job starts by gathering the cars brought in by the interchange job B79. These cars are tucked into the Ypsilanti Yard and sorted before the B79 goes off duty. The YS-1 then will just have to confirm that their train is in order, and the double (or sometimes triple) onto it before starting their switching. A typical run out to saline consist of between 9 and 15 cars depending on the day. Because of the orientation of the switches for 84 lumber and Doan concrete, the YS-1 heads all the way into saline to switch Furasia first. In Saline there is space to set the rest of the consist out, and when done siwtching, run around their train. Normally there are 3-6 cars to be switched at Saline, all 86 foot hi-cubes. When this work is done, the next stop is 84 lumber near State Street. 84 Lumber normally only has 2-4 cars to spot. This work is pretty simple and does not take much time. The same goes for Doan Concrete which is a simple switch of a half dozen cars most days. After this work is done, the train heads back to the Ypsilanti yard normally around Lunch time. The remaining switches are at the Michigan Ladder company and the Angstrom manufacturing plant. To switch Michigan ladder, YS-1 must get a track warrant to work the AML between CP 28 and CP 37. This can only be granted after Amtrak 350 has cleared, and assuming there are no additional moves. Normally between returning from Saline and waiting on 350 the crew will take lunch. After Amtrak 350 clears, YS-1 will operate under the NS Symbol of B78, and switch Michigan Ladder company. This is always only two cars, one center beam, and one box car. The switch takes under or about an hour normally, and then the B78 can clear back onto MSRR track and become the YS-1 again. With this move done, the last switch of the day is down to Angstrom. This will be normally a half dozen box cars, and involve a shove. This move normally uses the MSRR 3 as a shoving platform as the train street runs down Linclon Street in Ypsilanti, and then crosses Michigan Avenue. The train first runs south from the Ypsilanti Yard with just the locomotive. They will grab the loaded box cars and return to the yard with the loads. They will then grab the empties and caboose and shove them about a mile south to Angstrom where they will be spotted. The final move of the day for the YS-1 is to do a caboose hop back to the yard and put the caboose and CF7 away. This job should go off duty around 6:00 or 7:00pm after all of their switching.

Monday-Friday Interchange Job-
Symbol: I-1 (NS Symbol B78)
Call time: 2300
Off Duty: 0745
Typical Power: MSRR 300

The daily interchange job runs between the Ypsilanti yard and Conrail's Livernoise Yard in Detroit. This job is simple, it goes onto the Michigan Line after 0100 or 354 clears (whichever is last), runs straight to Conrail's livernoise yard, swaps cars, and returns. The goal is to get back to the Ypsilanti Yard before 0600 so they can be out of the way of Amtrak 351 in the morning. If they are running late, they will get held at CP28 until 351 clears westbound. The only real traffic they may encounted on their run is NS B25 which will be running east to Wayne after 0200 on most days, and returning west before or at the same time. This makes a decent morning of train watching in Ypsilanti.

Dinner Trains

The dinner trains run Friday evening, Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon during the summer. During the winter the trains just run on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The dinner trains run from the Ypsilanti Freight House in Depot Town to the "park stop" just west of I-94 in Pittsfield township. During the summer there is a layover at the park stop where riders can detrain if they choose. During the winter this stop is made weather permitting, however most patrons choose to stay on the train. Dinner is served as the train is departing, and on the return trip a desert is provided.

Depart Ypsilanti Freight House- 6:00pm
Arrive at Park Stop- 6:45pm
Depart Park Stop- 7:30pm
Arrive Ypsilanti Freight House- 8:00pm

Depart Ypsilanti Freight House- 6:00pm
Arrive Park Stop- 6:45pm
Depart Park Stop- 7:30pm
Arrive Ypsilanti Freight House- 8:00pm

Depart Ypsilanti Freight House- 4:45pm
Arrive Park Stop- 5:30pm
Depart Park Stop- 6:15pm
Arrive Ypsilanti Freight House- 6:45pm

EMU Game Day Trains

The EMU Game trains are a simple and unique operation for EMU home football games. They are operated in partnership with EMU. EMU pays crew cost while the railroad picks up the fuel cost. In exchange EMU students ride free, while non students pay a low ticket price. The train starts at the Ypsilanti Freight House station, makes a stop at the EMU campus stop, and finishes at the EMU stadium stadium stop. The normal power for the train is the CF7, they use two coaches and the caboose for a shoving platform.

Noon game (other game times follow similar timing, just adjusted for kickoff)

Depart Depot Town: 9:45am
Depart Campus stop: 9:52am
Arrive Stadium stop: 10:00am

Deadhead departs for Depot Town: 10:15am

Depart Depot Town: 10:45am
Depart Campus stop: 10:52am
Arrive Stadium stop: 11:00am

Depart Post game:
Depart Stadium stop: 30 minutes after conclusion of game
Special instructions: make all stops between stadium and freight house stop

Deadhead back to stadium

Depart stadium stop: 1 hour and 30 minutes after conclusion of game
Special instructions: make all stops between stadium and freight house stop

More to come!
Last edited by Ypsi on Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michigan Shortline

Unread postby AARR » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:48 pm

I enjoyed reading :) .

There was a time the Ford Saline plant received plastic pellets by rail. Seems like they would received 2-4 cars at a time. One of my AARRT&HA newsletters said the plastic pellets arrived daily but more likely it was 2-3 times per week.

Also, Saline used to have a produce company that received from a team track at the back of their property. A bread plant is in the building now and the team track is still there.

Across the street from the bread company is a soy bean plant. It's very small but with imagination it can be a customer.

If the tracks were extended a few miles west of Saline there is an elevator and fertilizer dealer.
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Re: Michigan Shortline

Unread postby railroads2000 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:09 pm

I like the concept, what is the time frame, 80's, 90's, etc. ? Also, as apposed to running all the way to Detroit to interchange, why not interchange at the yard in Willow Run, MP26, just a short run from were the branch connects to the Michigan Line? You mention trackage rights to Saline, I assume this takes place after the AA acquired that portion of the line from CR. As a Truck Driver, I've been to the Ford Saline Plant a dozen or more times, and seen the 86' Hi Cubes and Center Flow Hoppers spotted there. The small yard just outside of the plant was always filled with Hi Cubes. I just joined, so I am a little late to the party. Again I like your concept.

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