CN South Bend Sub and other GTW finds

Give us a run down of what you saw, post pictures if you'd like...any info is welcome.
GP30M4216
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CN South Bend Sub and other GTW finds

Unread post by GP30M4216 »

On July 2, I spent most of the day along the CN South Bend Subdivision in the Vicksburg-Schoolcraft area, here's a summary!

I arrived a little past 9AM near Indian Lake looking for yellow cat eye crossbucks at private crossings - there used to be some along this section but all have been removed (and hopefully adorn a railroad museum or track maintainer garage and not a landfill somewhere!). I was immediately met by a westbound mixed freight behind 3 CN units on the south track. In typical CN fashion, they met an eastbound mixed freight just west of Vicksburg behind 3 or 4 CN units on the north track, which I didn't have a chance to set up for.

My goal had been to get a photo of the headend of a train passing the historic union depot in Vicksburg where the GR&I/PRR once crossed the Grand Trunk mainline. Unfortunately, having just missed the eastbound, I didn't end up getting the shot I wanted. In the meantime, while waiting for the next train to come, I walked around the building and three pieces of rolling stock parked on the short section of former GR&I which remains just to the north of the GT.
View looking south down the GR&I platform at Vicksburg looking toward a passing CN train.
View looking south down the GR&I platform at Vicksburg looking toward a passing CN train.
Closeup of the GTW caboose, former 75025 (ex-ATSF 1513), according to Eddie Gross' website.
Closeup of the GTW caboose, former 75025 (ex-ATSF 1513), according to Eddie Gross' website.
View of the front of the Vicksburg union depot.
View of the front of the Vicksburg union depot.

GP30M4216
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Re: CN South Bend Sub and other GTW finds

Unread post by GP30M4216 »

There was a bit of a lull before train traffic picked up again, and I never captured the photo I wanted from across the tracks in a clearing of a morning eastbound.
Lineup of rolling stock on the GR&I at the Vicksburg Historical Museum depot. I didn't have a chance to visit the museum interior but hope to again in the future sometime.
Lineup of rolling stock on the GR&I at the Vicksburg Historical Museum depot. I didn't have a chance to visit the museum interior but hope to again in the future sometime.
Finally, the horn of a train, at least a westbound, approaching at 11:25. Knowing it was on the north track, I suspected it wasn't about to meet an eastbound....and I was right. CN 2863 led two partners and a lengthy train of loaded autoracks + 4 boxcars, including a nice GTW Good Track Road car that I missed a photo of.
Vicksburg Depot-5 CN 2863.jpg
Not too long behind, at 12:25, another westbound, same track, running straight through to the single track. More autoracks. CN 5792 and 5720 led the way.
Vicksburg Depot-6 CN 5792.jpg

GP30M4216
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Re: CN South Bend Sub and other GTW finds

Unread post by GP30M4216 »

The autoracks westbound met the South Bend Sub local job (at Marcellus?), which came east not long after, arriving at Schoolcraft at 12:55. A single CN EMD and 27 cars in the consist: 20 mixed boxes and empty lumber centerbeams and 7 covered hoppers. Photo to follow. Is there an online scanner feed for the South Bend Sub? I'd love to know some of these train symbols and not be tied to sitting near a signal (although the constant lit nature of CN signalling means this is a decent option.)

With nothing lined for the diamond at Schoolcraft, I grabbed some lunch and checked up on the Grand Elk. No sign of them at all, and nothing parked in the siding north of Three Rivers. AEP is about to replace the classic wooden pole line along 131 here with more new steel towers. I did check on several industry spurs and the signals at the north end of the signalled branch. Conrail era Type-G signals are still in place and in service at CP-Park, CP-Cowling, and 4th Street in Three Rivers. It's still strange to me that the absolute signals are not longer constant-lit and feels like a slightly more lonely outpost.

Some time later, a westbound cleared on the CN at Schoolcraft. The sun had swung around in the sky and I was hoping to see them at the mill pond in Vickburg, but didn't want to risk missing a photo of another train, so I staked out one of my favorite spots from my college days at the 18th Street crossing halfway between Schoolcraft and Vicksburg on the Prairie Ronde. It certainly feels more like parts of Ohio or Illinois than Michigan. Finally, another autorack express appeared, this time with colorful BNSF power. The train was easily almost two miles long, stretching from my vantage at 18th Street to the absolute signals near 14th Street/Schoolcraft.
Autoracks as far as the eye can see!
Autoracks as far as the eye can see!
With no additional signals for further traffic, I moseyed back north toward home detouring near Kilgore Yard in Kalamazoo. Former GTW/MoPac SD40-2 #5931 is the current power for the Kalamazoo Switch Run, which appears to be a lucrative business based on the number of cars parked in the Kilgore vicinity - lumber loads, boxcars, tanks and covered hoppers all south of the Kilgore crossing. In the yard, one line of tankcars (stored?) and three boxcars, including one that was on the lead to Midlink, along with active GTW caboose/shoving platform #79054. I also noted two centerbeams at the lumberyard, which now has an LC Howard sign beside it. Green Bay Packaging looks like they still get regular service. This was a good opportunity for a closeup of the CN North America logo, dating from the early 1990s.
CNNA. The 'peeling paint' is in fact holding up rather well!
CNNA. The 'peeling paint' is in fact holding up rather well!
On the return, I swung off 131 at Wayland to glimpse another piece of rolling GTW history, GP9 #4433, now a GLLX unit, which is the main plant switcher at the CHS facility there. Among other cars, they had an actually honest-to-God Santa Fe lettered covered hopper on their siding, something I haven't seen in several years. I also found the Grand Elk, finally, northbound, setting off three tankcars at Bay Valley Foods. I didn't have time to linger but it looked like they had one GDLK and one WSOR SD40-2 for power. I didn't end up getting the main photo I wanted at Vicksburg, but it was still an interesting day of scouting out new locations, old haunts, and some pieces of GTW history. I look forward to getting back to Vicksburg and visiting the depot.
Bluebird in Wayland.
Bluebird in Wayland.

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AARR
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Re: CN South Bend Sub and other GTW finds

Unread post by AARR »

Well done, GP30. Thanks for posting.
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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