GDLK Operations

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GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:51 pm

Effective in October there will be a lot of changes system wide. NS will be operating a Jackson - Kazoo turn daily. Hence the contractor getting out of service tracks at Gearhart yard ready for this to take place. Three Rivers will have an interchange track at G M siding for two north -south locals whose assignment numbers have yet TBD. New customers in Bristol have taxed 501 where now its a 3 man crew 2 in the cab 1 mobile conductor. Today 501 had a sizeable train heading back north with 4017 & 4002 leading. Left TR 16:18 . 302 went dead at 91 signal. This has been a frequent occurance of late so changes and adjustments are being made. Rumor has it the locals will be a Kazoo-TR turn and a TR-Bristol turn. With the increased business from/to the east now to Jackson coming its going to make it interesting. Also frac sand from the MQT is on the rise and with the harvest coming in r'm sure the mill in Augusta will be busy. They don't want to have the siding at Park/Cowling being used as a parking lot again.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:48 pm

This is incredible. Grand Elk is doing what NS used to do even though it's on a much smaller scale. Can't wait to see how well this does.


Do we know what the power will be from Jackson to Kalamazoo? That's a pretty long haul, even for direct rail. Also, it might open up opportunities for Jackson customers to ship NS-GDLK, creating even more traffic.

2014-2015 is going to be a very interesting time
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby JANGAJONGA » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:01 pm

So then the Jackson-Kazoo turn will be on top of the Jackson-Battle Creek turn and the Jackson-Albion turn? seems like things could get hairy between Jackson and Albion with 6 freights and 6 amtks a day.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:53 pm

Haven't heard the NS side of the story yet other then the new turn. Could it replace one or both of the other turns don't know. Will it be run at night? Good question as maybe it should to stay out of Amtraks way. Remember the Kellogg box cars that had to go east to go west? It could generate traffic both ways. Im not familiar with the freight generated on the Michigan line to know whats involved. I was hoping someone can fill us in on what goes east now that could go west?
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby AARR » Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:52 am

Super Chief wrote:Im not familiar with the freight generated on the Michigan line to know whats involved. I was hoping someone can fill us in on what goes east now that could go west?

Mostly grain products and steel. I believe both mostly originate from western states. There's a few other commodities as well such as clay and paper. Clay comes from the west. Don't know about paper.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:23 pm

Hey all.


Curious as if there is any news about the JXN-KAL local from NS?


Thanks!
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby bn13814 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:38 am

AARR wrote:
Super Chief wrote:Im not familiar with the freight generated on the Michigan line to know whats involved. I was hoping someone can fill us in on what goes east now that could go west?

Mostly grain products and steel. I believe both mostly originate from western states. There's a few other commodities as well such as clay and paper. Clay comes from the west. Don't know about paper.


At Green Valley Ag, I've seen lots of twin-bay (N&W, SOU, CR marks) and regular 3-bay covered hoppers (usually N&W). I believe these cars are loaded going north and empty going south. On September 21, southbound 302 left Kalamazoo with two lengthy blocks of these cars. Green Valley Ag must be receiving ag lime in large quantity???

Thiele Kaolin tank cars are coming from Sandersville and/or Reedy Creek (Wrens), Georgia.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:26 am

Wheres Green Valleys location? I'm still trying to figure out whats going to be coming from Jackson and in between points westward. Will some of the JA/LA RR cars be coming west? I was hoping somebody could give us a list of active customers on the Michigan line? Could Detroit traffic come west instead of Toledo/Elkhart? Could this line take pressure off the Water Level route? Lots of possibilities.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby AARR » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:09 am

Super Chief wrote:I'm still trying to figure out whats going to be coming from Jackson and in between points westward. Will some of the JA/LA RR cars be coming west? I was hoping somebody could give us a list of active customers on the Michigan line? Could Detroit traffic come west instead of Toledo/Elkhart? Could this line take pressure off the Water Level route? Lots of possibilities.

Did you see my post? I answered your question about the types of traffic and which direction they come from. I have a list of specific customers but don't have time to post it now. I'll do so later unless someone beats me to it. In the meantime go back and see my post.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:09 pm

Super Chief wrote:Wheres Green Valleys location? I'm still trying to figure out whats going to be coming from Jackson and in between points westward. Will some of the JA/LA RR cars be coming west? I was hoping somebody could give us a list of active customers on the Michigan line? Could Detroit traffic come west instead of Toledo/Elkhart? Could this line take pressure off the Water Level route? Lots of possibilities.



That is an interesting possibility...From a railfan's POV I would love to see NS utilize trackage rights and make a deal with Grand Elk to ship through freights up via Kalamazoo to Oakwood/Willow Run. Who knows, it might help solve the problem in Dunlap, IN with the residents complaining about NS trains. We'll obviously have to just sit tight and wait, but it certainly is an interesting thing to think about.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby bn13814 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:47 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:
Super Chief wrote:Wheres Green Valleys location? I'm still trying to figure out whats going to be coming from Jackson and in between points westward. Will some of the JA/LA RR cars be coming west? I was hoping somebody could give us a list of active customers on the Michigan line? Could Detroit traffic come west instead of Toledo/Elkhart? Could this line take pressure off the Water Level route? Lots of possibilities.



That is an interesting possibility...From a railfan's POV I would love to see NS utilize trackage rights and make a deal with Grand Elk to ship through freights up via Kalamazoo to Oakwood/Willow Run. Who knows, it might help solve the problem in Dunlap, IN with the residents complaining about NS trains. We'll obviously have to just sit tight and wait, but it certainly is an interesting thing to think about.


While I was in GDLK territory September 19-22, I explored the line looking for all industries to get a feel for the railroad's traffic. I mostly succeeded, but Google satellite photos help as well. Anyway, see below for my list of GDLK customers. I won't claim it is 100% accurate, so I'm open to correction.

Thanks in advance.

GRAND ELK RAILROAD Directory of Industries

*unconfirmed

GRAND RAPIDS, MI
Louis Padnos Iron & Metal - 601 Letellier Ave (scrap metal)
Eagle Film Extruders Inc. 1100 Hynes Ave SW (polyethylene film)
Blue Linx Corp. - 825 Buchanan Ave. SW (building materials, lumber)
(shipper unknown) - GDLK Hughart Yard (crushed cullet glass)
Bulkmatic Transport Co. - 1440 Hynes Ave. (bulk wheat flour)
RSI Leasing Inc. - 1460 SW Hynes Ave. (plastics)
GE Railcar - GDLK Hughart Yard (railcar storage)
Great Lakes Gypsum & Supply - 3470 Roger B. Chaffee Blvd. (gypsum wallboard)

WYOMING, MI
Brink Farms - Mart St. (frac sand)
*Padnos‐Wyoming Recycling - 500 44th St. S (scrap paper, plastic recycling)
Magic Steel Sales LLC - 4242 Clay Ave. SW (steel warehouse)
Zeeland Truss & Components - 5836 Clay Ave. SW (lumber trusses)

MOLINE, MI
Green Valley Agriculture, Inc. - 150 146th Ave. (dry & liquid fertilizer, sand)

WAYLAND, MI
Bay Valley Foods - 652 W. Elm St. (non‐dairy powdered creamer, other powdered products)
CHS Hamilton - Reno Drive (Liquid fertilizer)

MARTIN, MI
Marshall Plastic Film - 904 E. Allegan St. (plastic packaging)

OTSEGO, MI
USG Otsego Paper Inc. - 320 N. Farmer St. (paper mill)

PARCHMENT, MI
*G‐P Epic - 400 Island Ave. (plastic consumer products)

KALAMAZOO, MI
*Kalamazoo Water Treatment - 1415 N. Harrison St. (wastewater treatment)
Graphic Packaging Corp. - 1500 N. Pitcher St. (paperboard mill)
Graphic Packaging Corp. - 1401 Harrison St. (warehouse)
*Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers - 100 Rochester Ave.??? (scrap metal)
LC Howard - 1940 Reed Ave. (warehouse)
LC Howard - 1919 Factory St. (warehouse)
LC Howard - Glendening Rd. (warehouse)
Evergreen Packaging - 2315 Miller Rd. (paperboard converting)
LC Howard - 4015 Emerald Dr. (roll transfer, ex-Int'l Paper)
Cytec Industries Inc. - 2715 Miller Rd. (industrial chemical mfg.)
*Fabri‐Kal - 4141 Manchester Rd. (foodservice packaging)
Green Bay Packaging - 5350 E. N. Ave. (corrugated containers)
*Kaiser Aluminum - 5205 Midlink Dr. (aluminum extrusions)

PORTAGE, MI
Mann Filter USA Inc. - 6700 S. Sprinkle Rd. (plastic products)
Pfizer - 7000 Portage Rd. (pharmaceutical products)

SCHOOLCRAFT, MI
J. Rettenmaier USA LP - 16369 US Hwy 131 (cellulose fibers)
Van Beek Nutrition - 3537 W. Yz Ave. (mineral premix plant)
Co‐Alliance LLP - 16721 US Hwy 131 (liquid fertilizer)

THREE RIVERS, MI
Johansen Farms LLC - 51609 US Hwy 131 (liquid fertilizer)
International Paper Co. - 1321 3rd St. (paperboard converting)

CONSTANTINE, MI
*OX Engineered Products - 700 Centreville Rd. (Plastic Products)
*Michiana Agra - 15115 Stears Rd. (Livestock Feed)

WHITE PIGEON, MI
Fresh Solution Farms - 70255 Blue School Rd. (Potato Processing & Packing)
The Andersons Inc. - 13600 Anderson Rd. (Grain Terminal, limestone, Ag lime)

BRISTOL, IN
Alliance Sheets Inc. - County Rd. 29 (corrugated containers) NEW FUTURE INDUSTRY
Robert Weed Plywood Corp. - 705 Maple St. (plywood fabrication, distribution)

ELKHART, IN
*E. R. Carpenter Co. - 195 Co. Rd. 15 S. (plastic foam products)
Blue Linx Corp. - 225 Collins Rd. (building materials, lumber)
Northwest Hardwoods - 1810 Conant St. (wood distribution & reman)
Last edited by bn13814 on Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:20 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby ns8401 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:54 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:
Super Chief wrote:Wheres Green Valleys location? I'm still trying to figure out whats going to be coming from Jackson and in between points westward. Will some of the JA/LA RR cars be coming west? I was hoping somebody could give us a list of active customers on the Michigan line? Could Detroit traffic come west instead of Toledo/Elkhart? Could this line take pressure off the Water Level route? Lots of possibilities.



That is an interesting possibility...From a railfan's POV I would love to see NS utilize trackage rights and make a deal with Grand Elk to ship through freights up via Kalamazoo to Oakwood/Willow Run. Who knows, it might help solve the problem in Dunlap, IN with the residents complaining about NS trains. We'll obviously have to just sit tight and wait, but it certainly is an interesting thing to think about.

No way, NS has done everything possible to get trains off of the Michigan Line, now there aren't the crews to do it. That's why we don't see reroutes anymore. If this new car routing happens it's only a further erosion of last of the traffic from the east end of the line.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby AARR » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:36 pm

Awesome list bn!
I believe Bay Valley Foods receives corn syrup
I think Kzoo Recycling was a one time thing. Reconnected the siding a delivered a bunch of rail cars for scrapping.
Does Pfizer still get coal? Used to get 700-800 cars annually. Would have large blocks delivered just outside their property and emptied. Then a Pfizer engine and crew would reload into Pfizer hopper cars and delivered to the plant at around 3 a day.
White Pigeon also interchanges with MSO at White Pigeon. IIRC feed, fertilizer, kaolin, paper, salt, soy oil, maybe something else or two.
bn13814 wrote:While I was in GDLK territory September 19-22, I explored the line looking for all industries to get a feel for the railroad's traffic. I mostly succeeded, but Google satellite photos help as well. Anyway, see below for my list of GDLK customers. I won't claim it is 100% accurate, so I'm open to correction.
Bay Valley Foods - 652 W. Elm St. (non‐dairy powdered creamer, other powdered products)
*Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers - 100 Rochester Ave.??? (scrap metal)
Pfizer - 7000 Portage Rd. (pharmaceutical products)
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby GAP » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:27 pm

Further additions:

ProBuild in Portage has been receiving a centerbeam of lumber about once a month.

Logs are loaded in White Pigeon on a siding that parallels US-131.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby bn13814 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:30 pm

AARR wrote:Awesome list bn!
I believe Bay Valley Foods receives corn syrup
I think Kzoo Recycling was a one time thing. Reconnected the siding a delivered a bunch of rail cars for scrapping.
Does Pfizer still get coal? Used to get 700-800 cars annually. Would have large blocks delivered just outside their property and emptied. Then a Pfizer engine and crew would reload into Pfizer hopper cars and delivered to the plant at around 3 a day.
White Pigeon also interchanges with MSO at White Pigeon. IIRC feed, fertilizer, kaolin, paper, salt, soy oil, maybe something else or two.


I listed these by type of products made or distributed, so that is why I put what I did for Bay Valley Foods. I noticed syrup tank cars that show Cargill markings, but a southbound 302 I'd seen earlier in the day had several empty ADM syrup tanks in its consist. Apparently, Bay Valley buys from multiple corn processors and/or GDLK has another customer or connection that gets this product.

I worked for Pioneer Railcorp in the early 2000s, and was involved with the Michigan Southern Railroad from time to time. Good to see traffic has held up.

Some wonder how NS will have GDLK handle its Battle Creek traffic. I'm thinking GDLK will act as haulage agent for this traffic (flat per car rate) between Elkhart and Kalamazoo. That way, customers will not see a difference, i. e. "GDLK" won't show in waybills for this specific traffic.

QUESTION: I noticed on Google satellite photos that there are three gondolas spotted near the north end of Hughart Yard with conveyor equipment positioned over one car. I saw this equipment as I passed Hughart several times a couple of weeks ago. No gondolas though. I'm wondering if a customer transloads scrap metal from truck to rail there, or this involves some other product?
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:04 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:Hey all. Curious as if there is any news about the JXN-KAL local from NS? Thanks!


No. Just that NS and Grand Elk are working on an arrangement.

Super Chief wrote:At Green Valley Ag, I've seen lots of twin-bay (N&W, SOU, CR marks) and regular 3-bay covered hoppers (usually N&W). I believe these cars are loaded going north and empty going south. On September 21, southbound 302 left Kalamazoo with two lengthy blocks of these cars. Green Valley Ag must be receiving ag lime in large quantity???


Two bay hoppers are outbound sand being loaded at Green Valley. Once the sand loadout south of Hughart move to the north side of GR this operations will move up to the siding south of Hughart. The owners are related.

bn13814 wrote:QUESTION: I noticed on Google satellite photos that there are three gondolas spotted near the north end of Hughart Yard with conveyor equipment positioned over one car. I saw this equipment as I passed Hughart several times a couple of weeks ago. No gondolas though. I'm wondering if a customer transloads scrap metal from truck to rail there, or this involves some other product?


Scrap glass being loaded in open hoppers.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:15 pm

AARR wrote:I think Kzoo Recycling was a one time thing. Reconnected the siding a delivered a bunch of rail cars for scrapping.


That switch was never removed. KMR has a big operation on the east side of town and has been trucking scrap to "the junk yard spur" for twenty years, although I haven't been in the area much in the last couple years to see if they're still loading.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby bn13814 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:15 pm

GAP wrote:Further additions:

ProBuild in Portage has been receiving a centerbeam of lumber about once a month.

Logs are loaded in White Pigeon on a siding that parallels US-131.


Thanks! That ProBuild spur looked unused, but I suppose if the track is intact...

I believe that log loading operation belongs to Tracy Export Inc., though I seem to recall this being a Michigan Southern customer (which if still the case, is GDLK business as well).

http://www.tracyexportinc.com/
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:56 am

There were 5 empty log cars there Friday. Seem to remember someone confirming the loads were going to Reedsburg Wisconsin. Thanks bn for the comprehensive list of customers. Nice to know how and who impact what were seeing pass through. PatAzo keep us posted on what changes and when? Thanks.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Ben Higdon » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:23 pm

Is Mann Filter in Portage the old Moehler Plastics plant? Last I heard they shut down before the new spur was used. Can anyone confirm they're actually receiving product there?

Same deal for Kaiser Aluminum at Midlink...any confirmed sightings? LC Howard at the end of Reed St used to get bulkhead flats of aluminum rod, never heard where they were destined. Can't be many customers in the area that use that quantity of aluminum.
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