U.P. question

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Michigan.
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MIGN-Todd
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U.P. question

Unread post by MIGN-Todd »

So, a few years back I had a special delivery for work which took me from TC all the way up in the U.P. to Ralph Michigan (east of Channing). Looking at google earth, I followed the rails from Ralph into Channing and noticed all the stored railcars. E&LS works out of Channing I knew but, is there any rhyme or reason to how they store them? Looks to me they're stored in large blocks maybe 50 to 60 cars. Do they keep records of car numbers? Blocks of cars? Just trying to figure out what if certain owners or types of cars are needed do they kind of know where they are to retrieve them? Seems almost like a place where excess cars just go to rot away...… thx in advance
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AARR
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Re: U.P. question

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They must have a system to know where all the cars are because there are times they have to pull long lines of cars to retrieve specific cars or blocks of cars in the middle of those long strings. I've heard that on occasion the crew will spend an entire shift pulling cars from the middle of those blocks.
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Ypsi
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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by Ypsi »

Railroads use various car tracking systems and computers to know where and why a car is there. In addition to entering cars into the computer manually CN likely has tag readers along the line which will show the last location of locomotives and rails cars when equipped.

Normally it goes something like this in the computer (along with other info like tons etc also the formatting depends on the road)

CN 601172
Destination: Trout Lake Siding
Notes: storage

(Just an example I just pulled a car # and location out of air)
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MIGN-Todd
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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by MIGN-Todd »

E&LS don't really seem like an up to date high tech sort of railroad to me. In all actuality with what I've seen posted at times here and on the facebook sites, it seems they're like a "Duke boys/ Ma & Pa" sort of system (I'm sure I'm completely wrong but, the net doesn't give them a fair shake). I don't know much about the system so I should do some homework.
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Saturnalia
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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by Saturnalia »

MIGN-Todd wrote:So, a few years back I had a special delivery for work which took me from TC all the way up in the U.P. to Ralph Michigan (east of Channing). Looking at google earth, I followed the rails from Ralph into Channing and noticed all the stored railcars. E&LS works out of Channing I knew but, is there any rhyme or reason to how they store them? Looks to me they're stored in large blocks maybe 50 to 60 cars. Do they keep records of car numbers? Blocks of cars? Just trying to figure out what if certain owners or types of cars are needed do they kind of know where they are to retrieve them? Seems almost like a place where excess cars just go to rot away...… thx in advance
They know which cars are in which strings. Not sure if they know in what order but they know "NE of Sidnaw" and "NW of Mass" at least. A lot of the times the car owners actually will walk the track to pick out which ones they want.

Train crews go out with a list of numbers and pull accordingly. Yes this can be an awfully long process. Fallen trees, random handbrakes set or pins pulled by locals, etc all add to the "fun".

Sometimes if they have a lot of stuff to pull out before they get to the last car, they'll use the first engine to pull the first cut, switch it out, then up the line out of the way. Then they use the second engine to get the rear in the same manner. They kick out the cars they need to take with them onto a siding or whatever is available and then shuck all of the remaining cars back in.

The primary storage lines are:
- North of Mass City to Rockland
- East of Sidnaw towards Nestoria
- North of Channing towards Republic
- East of Channing towards Escanaba
- West of Wells towards Channing

They also have various other sidings and spurs they put cars on, too.

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Ypsi
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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by Ypsi »

MIGN-Todd wrote:E&LS don't really seem like an up to date high tech sort of railroad to me. In all actuality with what I've seen posted at times here and on the facebook sites, it seems they're like a "Duke boys/ Ma & Pa" sort of system (I'm sure I'm completely wrong but, the net doesn't give them a fair shake). I don't know much about the system so I should do some homework.
FWIW most railroads likely need a computer to interchange cars with class 1's and even other shortlines. Almost all aspects of railroading have gone digital, like billing, tracking, and interchange. This is likely true with E&LS as they interchange with CN. As for their in house storage cars it depends on how they have it set up, but even a small railroad like the Michigan Southern Railroad in white pidgin releases cars via the computer. Theoretically you could release a car to another railroads system (in the E&LS's case CN) via a phone call to the system. But if that is the route you went, it would take probably way too much man power to do the tracking and billing the "old school way".
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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by Raildudes dad »

I'm pretty sure there's a fee if you don't enter the info into the computer. I know several RR's the crews enter the data in a Ipad type device right on site.

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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by DLM »

E&LS knows where they stored each block of cars for a customer. The block of cars could be behind several hundred other stored cars. Store them in the order you receive them since you never know which customer will want their cars first. Dig them out when the customer wants them. No real technology is required until the cars are waybilled to a new destination

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Re: U.P. question

Unread post by CAT345C »

They track the cars in RMI. Its a car reporting software that all railroads use. Showing cars in certain tracks will start billing for car hire, apply switch fees or storage fees. It is basically a hi tech inventory system. The tablets used by cars are a more simpler form for the simple minded to show cars in their train, look at billing and show cars they picked up or set out along the way. Depending on how facny the ELS is, they may have "tracks" in RMI that are fictional such as main line between crossing such and such or they may just have yard tracks and the main listed.
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