Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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kd_1014
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Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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How was the track arranged in downtown Rockford? Were there any customers near the end of the Michigan Northern days?
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AARR
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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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I think Wolverine received a few tank cars of chemicals.

The paper mill south of town (in Childsdale) was still shipping when MIGN pulled out
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Doktor No
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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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Michigan Northern had at least one double door boxcar dedicated to pig hide loading for Wolverine. The paper mill received tank cars of Kaolin from Georgia. After the rails were removed the transloaded that product from Wyoming Yard up to their plant. Used to park them at the end of Freeman Street at the old C&O Pig Ramp.
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AARR
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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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Paul B (former MIGN employee) told a story how a couple of coal cars were lost on the IC that were destined for the paper plant (south of Rockford / Childsdale). He (or someone from MIGN) called over there and got Dok's favorite railroader, E Hunter Harrison, who was a yard master (or something like that) at the time on IC. Much to the surprise of Paul, EHH said he would get right on looking for the two coal cars and to his further surprise called back saying he had found them and would be sending them on their way that day. The cars arrived in a few days or so and MIGN promptly delivered them to the paper mill.
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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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Tidying up a bit of historical trivia, I called the IC's general switchboard and said something along the lines of, "I'm trying to find two lost cars of coal, who should I talk to?" The operator paused and said, "I'll put you through to Mr. Harrison." He turned out to be VP-Operations for the IC. I said I was VP-Operations for Michigan Northern. He mentioned his budget, I told him mine was less. I gave him the car numbers and that I thought they were in Carbondale (or Centralia, its been awhile). He said, "I'll have my Superintendent call you." He did, saying that his Chief Clerk was out looking for the cars. In hindsight, I imagine the Chief Clerk delegated a couple of yard clerks to go out and walk tracks. In any case, the Superintendent called back, said the cars were found and were being switched into the next northbound train. The following day I got a rather anguished call from a young Conrail assistant trainmaster. He wanted me to know that two hot cars had come off the IC and wanted a commitment from me that we would have an engine and crew at Fuller Junction (north side of Grand Rapids where we interchanged) the following day. I assured him we would. Apparently the VP-Op for the IC had called his opposite number at Conrail. I imagine they had a chuckle or two about a young shortline VP-Op being in such a sweat over two cars. By the time the CR VP called his GM, who called his Superintendent, who called his Trainmaster, those two cars were taken seriously. Fortuitously, the cars were delivered on either M-W-F, the three days we normally interchanged at the time. Not all the time but it was fairly routine for the MIGN crew to meet the CR switch crew that came out of Hughart yard in southern Grand Rapids as we swapped trains. I don't recall whether that happened that particular day or whether the two coal hoppers had a chance to cool their wheels before MIGN pulled them. Our crew did spot the paper recycling plant on their way north. I had kept the plant manager informed of the cars progress as he was really just about out of coal. The manager may not have been impressed at the transit time through Chicago. I was.
Alex Huff

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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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EHH joined IC in 1989.

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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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Thank you for clearing up some of the details Alex and Pat
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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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It's a good story. If it was EHH it would have been BN. They did have a line into the southern Illinois coal fields. BN being a big interchange partner with Conrail would have more influence than the humble IC.

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Re: Michigan Northern presence in Rockford, MI

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Alex Huff wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:42 pm
Tidying up a bit of historical trivia, I called the IC's general switchboard and said something along the lines of, "I'm trying to find two lost cars of coal, who should I talk to?" The operator paused and said, "I'll put you through to Mr. Harrison." I obviously, from the posts that followed, did not speak to Hunter Harrison. I did speak to the VP-Operations.
Alex Huff, doing more correcting the record

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