UP Coal Trains?

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UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby atrainguy60 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:45 pm

I remember a ways back I used to see Union Pacific coal trains running up and down the CN Holly Subdivision. I particularly remember seeing some going through Royal Oak and Andersonville around 2001. Those eventually disappeared and it became all BNSF until even the BNSF coal trains disappeared from the line recently. Basically, I was wondering if UP runs any coal trains to any power plants in the state still? Do they run any to Lansing or to Monroe or Trenton? Or has BNSF gathered all of that traffic up for themselves?
Last edited by atrainguy60 on Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby AARR » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:58 pm

UP also had the coal to Lansing but I don't know if that's still the case
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby NYCMan » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:03 pm

You likely were seeing coal trains that originated in the Powder River Basin. Both BNSF and UP have equal access to the coal mines in the PRB. Coal production in the PRB is down due to increased move to natural gas for power plants.
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:10 pm

A UP & NS Engine was tied up at River Rouge Power Plant on Friday; now switched by NS. Frequently there are BNSF Engines.

ImageUP & NS Engines at River Rouge Power Plant by tcamp7837, on Flickr
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby KenB » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:18 am

CN did not want the Detroit Edison business so did not bid on it. NS has the contract for Monroe, Trenton and River Rouge. St-Clair/Belle River is captive to the CSXT.
Lansing BWL is captive to the CN but get western coal so does not travel on the Holly Sub anymore. Consumers Power plant in Erie, MI, captive to CN, received Western Coal trains that went on the Holly Sub but CPCO shut down the plant last year so no more coal trains on Holly Sub.
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby TwisterJay29 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:31 am

It feels so weird not seeing 766 and 767 anymore.
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby Mike H » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:11 am

KenB wrote:CN did not want the Detroit Edison business so did not bid on it.


I am not sure where you get your information, but unless you can verify it to be factual I would encourage you not to spread inaccurate information. No railroad would decline the opportunity to bid on high tonnage, very profitable coal unit train business. There is a lot of competition for DTE coal business.

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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby M.D.Bentley » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:26 am

Mike H wrote:
KenB wrote:CN did not want the Detroit Edison business so did not bid on it.


I am not sure where you get your information, but unless you can verify it to be factual I would encourage you not to spread inaccurate information. No railroad would decline the opportunity to bid on high tonnage, very profitable coal unit train business. There is a lot of competition for DTE coal business.

Mike H



FYI , KenB , works for the company that keeps your lights on. :wink:
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby Schteinkuh » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:30 am

NYCMan wrote:You likely were seeing coal trains that originated in the Powder River Basin. Both BNSF and UP have equal access to the coal mines in the PRB. Coal production in the PRB is down due to increased move to natural gas for power plants.

Actually they're sitting at 25% above usual currently. I bet it won't last long, though
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby AARR » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:05 pm

PRB coal mining is not expected to be affected by the move toward other energy sources. It's forecasted to grow by 1-3% which is probably a lot less than originally projected but shouldn't decline either.
Schteinkuh wrote:
NYCMan wrote:You likely were seeing coal trains that originated in the Powder River Basin. Both BNSF and UP have equal access to the coal mines in the PRB. Coal production in the PRB is down due to increased move to natural gas for power plants.

Actually they're sitting at 25% above usual currently. I bet it won't last long, though
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby Mike H » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:56 am

M.D.Bentley wrote:
Mike H wrote:
KenB wrote:CN did not want the Detroit Edison business so did not bid on it.


I am not sure where you get your information, but unless you can verify it to be factual I would encourage you not to spread inaccurate information. No railroad would decline the opportunity to bid on high tonnage, very profitable coal unit train business. There is a lot of competition for DTE coal business.

Mike H



FYI , KenB , works for the company that keeps your lights on. :wink:


Not that I'd expect you to know, but my lights are kept on by a company from outside of Michigan who's service is absolutely horrible.

The reason I take such strong exception here is because I know the person responsible for all coal procurement at DTE. Last summer we had dinner together & he spent a solid 30 minutes explaining to me in detail exactly why the NS option was selected over the CSX-CN option. I also know the guy at CN who submitted the bid for DTE's business & he told me how disappointed he was that he lost the business to NS after putting together what he thought was a very good offer.

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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby KC8RBK » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:01 am

atrainguy60 wrote: Do they run any to Lansing or to Monroe or Trenton? Or has BNSF gathered all of that traffic up for themselves?


I don't know exactly what year the Lansing coal changed but it is all BNSF now. The old train numbers were 707 and 708, now 711 and 712. The only unit trains I see come in with UP power are 260 or 280, empty racks from Chicago.
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Re: UP Coal Trains?

Unread postby NYCMan » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:52 pm

Well, Mr. Mike H, since you and the "person responsible for all coal procurement for DTE" are such good buds, why don't you share with us the detailed "inside poop" on why DTE selected NS over the CSX-CN option, instead of just leaving all of us in suspense.
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