March 2019 - Michigan Trains

Give us a run down of what you saw, post pictures if you'd like...any info is welcome.

March 2019 - Michigan Trains

Unread postby SD80MAC » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:36 pm

March proved to be a decent month, train-wise. I also made a trip to the Durand area which I’ll include here as well. Click on the title of each folder for a high res version!

ImageLate Q328 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The recent weather has definitely created its share of problems for the railroads in the area, and CSX has been no exception. Here a late Q328 heads east from Grand Rapids at 36th St in Kentwood. CW44AC #15 is pulling hard as it is lugging the weight of 2 dead ES40DCs in addition to the 70 cars behind it. This train normally leaves town well before sunrise, so it was a neat catch!

ImagePotash Loads by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A pair of AC4400s lead G010 east across the Thornapple River. The train around 80 hoppers loaded with potash from Canada for The Anderson's facility in Webberville, MI. The Anderson's gets about 10 of these trains a year, so catching one can be pretty rare!

ImageOut of the Valley by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The roar of GE FDLs echoes through the woods as G010 climbs out of the Thornapple River valley with 80 loads of potash for Webberville.

ImageElmdale by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The once busy junction of Elmdale now sees just a few trains per day. The old depot and dispatcher's office still stands here for now, the dispatchers all having been moved to Grand Rapids by the late 1970s. Behind the depot was the switch for the Elmdale sub, which Pere Marquette and C&O trains heading for Saginaw would take and swing north. Here we see G010-02 heading east past the depot with a loaded potash train in tow on an overcast day in early March.

ImageCN in Clarksville by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Q329 today had an unusual leader in the form of a Canadian National C40-8W. With a CSX ES44AH and an SD40-3, the trio of engines are seen here rolling along the undulating Plymouth Subdivision east of Elmdale. Having purchased these old Santa Fe GEs secondhand from BNSF, CN has certainly gotten a lot of use out of them.

ImageSucker Hole by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The sun finally managed to punch through the clouds as Q329 rounded the curve at Snow Road. The red nose on the CN 2199 really pops against the snow!

ImageLake Effect by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Q328 emerges from a lake effect snow squall on what was otherwise a fairly uneventful day, weather-wise. Engineer Mike is crawling along with his 2 ES44AHs as the crew discusses with the RN dispatcher where the best place to meet Q329 will be, as both trains were very long on this day.

ImageCan't Think of a Good Title by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

I for one, am ready for spring. Here a pair of Union Pacific AC4400s lead a CSX GP40-3 and the rest of Q329 into Grand Rapids on a thoroughly cold and windy day in early March.
ImageOnward to Lowell by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

After swapping a pair of loads for a pair of empties at Precision Poly, the crew of Grand Rapids Eastern #2104 is on their way east again, with 10 hoppers of wheat for King Milling in Lowell.

ImageTrunk Memories by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Grand Rapids Eastern #2104 rolls eastbound into Ada, approaching the crossing at Kulross Ave. At left is a Grand Trunk Western "No Trespassing" sign, still standing some 32 years after the GTW sold off their Grand Rapids subdivision.

ImageSame Old by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

I have a lot of shots of the GRE passing by this farm, but it's a shot I never really tire of. GR #2104 rolls east on the old GTW through the countryside with a dozen covered hoppers for Lowell.

ImageRolling Along by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Grand Rapids Eastern 2104 is rolling along at the maximum 30 mph on the old GTW as it nears Lowell.

ImageDC Duo by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

A pair of ES40DCs muscles Q329 up the hill at Fox. The evening sun was a bit filtered by some high clouds, but I figured shooting a westbound near sunset (a rarity here, these days) was worth going out for.

ImageBig 'Ole Q328 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Three Gevos and a GP38-3 lead a 160+ car Q328 up and out of Grand Rapids, approaching Shaffer Ave. The head 70 cars will be set out in the siding at Howell for the Great Lakes Central.

ImageGLLX #1512 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

West Michigan (GLLX) SW1200 #1512 sits on the main in Hartford before being fired up to do some work on a mild March evening. The 1960 built EMD has proven to be a reliable workhorse for the WMI.

ImageChessie Widevision by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

C&O widevision caboose 903106 sits on display at Burley Park in Howard City, MI, on a frosty March morning.

ImageWorking the Yard by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Great Lakes Central's OSTN temporarily blocks M-71 as the crew works to block out their train for Monday's crew to take north. Power on this day consisted of one of each type of road locomotive on the GLC's roster: SD40-2 #382, GP35 #390, and GP38-2 #396.

ImageSwitching Blues by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Great Lakes Central does not normally run on the weekends, but an extra OSTN was called on this Sunday to pick up a large cut of cars from the CSX interchange at Ann Pere in Howell. Now back in Owosso, the crew switches out the train, blocking it out for the next day's northbound. Leading the train is GLC's newest repaint, SD40-2 #382, followed by veteran GP35 #390 and GP38-2 #396.

ImageBlue Devil by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Canadian National is about the only class 1 RR that can conjure up colorful locomotive consists on a semi-regular basis any more. Here we see IC C40-8W #2462 leading an NS SD40-2 (one of the ex BN natural gas conversion units, to boot) and a CN C44-9W on train M371. The train is accelerating westward after stopping briefly to meet an eastbound here at the end of the double track in Bancroft.

ImageMid Michigan Grain by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

The first grain train for the Mid Michigan RR to move via CN arrives in Durand, running as train G889 behind a single GECX ET44AC. The train will be set off in Durand yard and taken north by the Great Lakes Central, who will forward it to the MMRR in Alma. One of the elevators on the MMRR has signed up for a few of these CN grain trains, which historically have come from CSX and or NS.

ImageMadison by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Q329 rolls into Grand Rapids on the GR Terminal Sub, passing the intermediate signals at milepost 149, between Madison and Jefferson Avenues.

ImageJunk Power by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

CSX train Q329 rolls into Grand Rapids on a sunny and relatively warm March evening. This Union Pacific-Southern Pacific engine combo had bounced around between Grand Rapids and Detroit the couple of days prior, so I figured I'd better see them! Behind UP #4568 (which has spent some time in Los Angeles, judging from all the grafitti) is UP #6310, one of the last Southern Pacific painted locomotives, some 24 years after the UP-SP merger. Also, conductor Jeff!

ImageCH 148 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Q329 rolls past milepost CH 148 behind a pair of ES40DCs. The trailing SD40-3 and CN SD75I were picked up at Ensel yard in Lansing. The CN unit is one of several SD70 types that have been receiving overhauls at Peaker Services in Brighton, MI.

ImageTrack Geometry Train by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

Track Geometry Train W001-28 heads west through McCords behind GP40-2 #6025. #6025 has long been one of the assigned Geometry train units, the other being GP40-2WH #9969. The silver baggage car "Florence" is a recent addition to the inspection train's consist.

ImageGLLX SW9 #4 by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

#4 has arrived at the West Michigan RR, seen here on the CSX interchange in Hartford. It might look tired, but it runs like a top! The #4 will eventually be used to supplement SW1200 #1512, and it will be pretty darn cool to have a genuine C&O SW9 working an ex C&O branch line! As one can see, it still wears it's Pere Marquette-inspired paint job from its days on the tourist hauling Leelanau Scenic RR.

ImageSD40-2 Goodness by Jonathon Leese, on Flickr

It's 2019, but CSX still fields a sizable fleet of more-or-less unmolested SD40-2s in addition to their SD40-3s. Here we see a pair of the venerable units, 8064 and 8255 (ex Seaboard Coast Line and Baltimore & Ohio, respectively), leading Detroit-Grand Rapids freight Q329, having just crested the grade at Fox. Also, kudos to CSX for finding a way to mount PTC antennas to standard cab locomotives that doesn't look like total garbage (I'm looking at you, BNSF).
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Re: March 2019 - Michigan Trains

Unread postby Man o' War » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:47 pm

Nice series of photos and commentary, SD80MAC. Thanks for sharing !

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Re: March 2019 - Michigan Trains

Unread postby hoborich » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:31 pm

Enjoyed your pics and the descriptions.
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