Upper Peninsula Railroad Operations Thread

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Re: Upper Peninsula Railroad Operations Thread

Unread postby railrod1949 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:06 pm

Saturnalia wrote:Since there hasn't been anything such as this in a LONG time, if ever, I'm gonna make this thread all about current operations around the Iron Range of the UP, for general reference. Included thus far is everything on the CN north and west of Escanaba, plus all of the LS&I and Mineral Range Railroad.

To go with this, I've made this map which will eventually cover all of the UP, but does have all the details to go with this post. There are a lot of junctions, so it is probably a helpful reference:
https://www.google.com/maps/@46.6694441 ... SmcPRMInTY

Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad
Owned by: Cliffs Natural Resources
Main Yard: Eagle Mills - Dispatching, Engine/Car Maintenance, Switching

The LS&I operates their trains in three daily shifts. Their trains are named according to their duties and the hour at which they were called. Jobs can start at 0700, 1500 and 2300, applied as "7", "3" and "11" in the train nomenclature. Job titles include Tilden, Yard-Hill, Dock, and Weighter. Thus a 0700 call for a Tilden Job would be referred to as "7 Tilden". A 1500 call for a Yard-Hill Job would be "3 Yard-Hill". These names are used in train-to-train and train-to-dispatcher conversations and are the official "symbols" if you will.

The calling of trains on the LS&I are entirely dependent on the boat schedule. Usually, you'll get at least a 7 Weighter to take care of the all-rail ore for the CN, taking the empties from Eagle Mills to Tilden, and then to Partridge when loaded. The rest are fairly regular, but if there aren't many boats, it isn't totally uncommon to have a dead shift on the LS&I, especially in winter, when the railroad pretty much hibernates except for the 7 Weighter.

Aside from the previously discussed Weighter Job, Tilden Jobs work between Eagle Mills and the Tilden Mine, moving ore jennies 60 at a time from the mine to Eagle Mills. Empties are hauled back to the mine in 120 car cuts. They don't run full trains from the mine due to the gradients present. This is probably the most common job on the railroad, besides the Weighter.

The Yard-Hill Job works primarily the Hill run from Eagle Mills to Marquette and return. They run 120-car trains in both directions on the hill. The crew might also make a run to Tilden to pickup a set of loads, or bring in a set of empties, as needed. They also work the yard as needed.

The Dock Jobs work the dock - shocker I know. These are most common just before and just after boats arrive and depart, and their job is simply to keep loaded cars on the dock, and shift them around as necessary. OOS pockets on the dock often make their job a bit more interesting.

Dispatcher Control
The LS&I Dispatcher at Eagle Mills basically controls the entire railroad with the exception of the mines (and dock?) and is called the "LS&I Operator" in official parlance. They also control the CN Yard at Partridge, all of the joint CN/LS&I trackage between Palmer Line Jct and Eagle Mills Jct, LS&I Jct and Landing Jct, plus all of the CN trackage between Diamond Jct and West Wye, along with Eagle Mills Jct and West Wye.

Basically, the LS&I Operator directs all movements between Landing Junction (west end of Ishpeming) and the Yard Limit Boards on the CN at Partridge. This consolidation is purely functional, as it is highly practical to have one person controlling everything in the Iron Range, despite the spaghetti bowl of ownership.

The LS&I varies, generally living up to the nickname of "Lazy, Slow and Independent", at least when it comes to train speeds. Some is 20-30, most is less, depends on the spot and slow orders.

Canadian National Railroad
Main Yards: Wells Ore Yard & Gladstone [Escanaba], Partridge, Trout Lake and Elucid Yard [Joint with LS&I]

The CN holdings northwest of Escanaba are former Wisconsin Central territories. The line from Escanaba to Partridge, and Ishpeming to Baraga is known as the Marquette Range Subdivision. The line from Wisconsin to Sault Ste Marie is the Manistique Subdivision. From Powers to Quinnesec is the Iron Mountain Sub? and from Trout Lake to Munising is the Munising Sub?

Everything they control in the UP is dispatched out of Homewood (except what is controlled by the LS&I operator), and they use Central Time.

U741 (Now cancelled): Iron Ore Jennies, run as an Escanaba-LS&I-Escanaba Turn with one crew. Typically two units and 100-120 DM&IR ore jennies, called in the wee hours of the morning. While this train is not currently running, they previously would operate up to the Empire Mine via Partridge and Empire Junctions, over the LS&I to Empire Mine. Symbol also used in winter to run Tilden trains when Marquette is closed due to the SOO Locks. Typically 2500 tons empty, 9900 tons loaded, when running in 100-car configuration, with a length of 2550'.

U743 (Now cancelled): Same concept as U743, but is the second train of the day, typically called around 1500 CT. Typically followed U745 from Escanaba to the Iron Range using radio blocking, operating only 10-20 minutes behind U745. Also currently not running, with the closure of the Empire Mine.

U745: Iron Ore All-Rail Movement between Sault Ste Marie [Algoma Iron Works] and the Tilden Mine. Typcially on duty at 15:00 ET, daily. While the cars move on the main mixed freight between Gladstone and the SOO, they run as a Gladstone-Eagle Mills-Partridge-Gladstone Turn daily, with one crew. They assemble their train in Galdstone, take the long way around Escanaba on the Manistique Sub, turning west at Wells and then north, entering the Marquette Range Sub at Algoma Jct. When they arrive in the Iron Range, they go directly to Eagle Mills on the LS&I, where they drop the empties, and any freight for the LS&I that they brought with - they bring in Sodium Hydroxide and Bentonite Clay for the Pellet Plant. They then run lite power back to Partridge where they grab their outbound train, as setout by the LS&I's 7 Weighter earlier in the day. They then take off for Gladstone. Typically 45 ore cars plus whatever CHs or Tanks for the LS&I. Generally about 1800 tons empty, 6300 tons loaded, taping out to 2400'.

L539: Champion-Baraga-Champion Road Switcher Turn. Typically on duty at 07:00 ET at Ishpeming WED and FRI ONLY, the crew taxies to Van Riper State Park just west of Champion for their train. Typically two units and a dozen or so cars for the L'Anse Area. They make the turn to L'Anse and back daily, tying down again in Champion. Usually a short train, but always has at least two units, often even stuff as big as SD70M-2s and Dash9s, for the hill between L'Anse and Herman.

L540: Champion-Partridge-Champion Road Switcher Turn. Typcially on duty at 17:00 ET at Ishpeming TUE, THU, SAT ONLY, taxi to Champion for their train. The sister to L539, this train is similarly operated, bringing L539's traffic to the yard at Partridge for forwarding to L549. They also stop in Ishpeming to interchange with the Mineral Range Railroad. Between Humboldt Jct and Landing Jct, they're on Mineral Range Rails.

L541: Newberry-Munising Road Switcher. Typical on duty time of 10:00 ET out of Newberry, working west to Munising, switching customers enroute. Note: L541, L542 and L545 work a 6-day-on, 2-day-off schedule. Days 1 & 4 as L541, Day 2 & 5 as L542, Day 3 & 6 as L545. Crew then receives days 7 & 8 as rest. L541 and L545 both called at 09:00. L542 is called once the L541 crew has reached their rest time.

L542: Munising-Newberry Road Switcher. Crew called based on crew rest at Munising, working east to Newberry, switching customers enroute. Note: L541, L542 and L545 work a 6-day-on, 2-day-off schedule. Days 1 & 4 as L541, Day 2 & 5 as L542, Day 3 & 6 as L545. L541 and L545 both called at 09:00. Crew then receives days 7 & 8 as rest. L542 is called once the L541 crew has reached their rest time.

L543: Gladstone-Sault Ste Marie Road Switcher. Typically on duty for 00:59 ET, daily. Handles all online switching duties between their origin and termination, which includes a few pulpwood loadouts, the Gas Facility at Gulliver, and the Port Inland Railroad interchange. Departs Gladstone in the early morning, generally meeting L550 somewhere on the west end of their run.

L544: Sault Ste Marie-Gladstone Road Switcher. Typically on duty for 12:00 ET, daily. Same idea as L543, but in the opposite direction. They typically depart Trout Lake around 3-5pm and meet the L551 either at Trout Lake or Gilchrist.

L545: Newberry-Trout Lake Road Switcher Turn. Typically on duty for 10:00 ET. Works east to Trout Lake to drop off cars from the west end of the subdivision and return. Note: L541, L542 and L545 work a 6-day-on, 2-day-off schedule. Days 1 & 4 as L541, Day 2 & 5 as L542, Day 3 & 6 as L545. Crew then receives days 7 & 8 as rest. L541 and L545 both called at 09:00. L542 is called once the L541 crew has reached their rest time.

L546: Powers-Green Bay Turn. Typically on duty for 19:05 ET, daily. Works to Green Bay and return, working online customers and picking up traffic for Powers in Green Bay. Shares power with the L547.

L547: Powers-Goodman Turn. Typically on duty for 07:05 ET, Sunday-Friday. Works westward from Powers to Hermansville, and then down the Pembine Sub to Goodman, where the track is thence out-of-service to Rhinelander. Shares power with the L546.

L549: Escanaba-Partridge-Escanaba Local freight, operated as a turn on one crew. Typically on duty in Gladstone at 04:00 ET, and arrives at Partridge around 0800-1000 ET, departs an hour or two later. They utilize the same power as U745, as they both operate out of Gladstone on opposite shifts. When they arrive at Partridge, they setout cars for the locals further up the line, then head up the LS&I to Queens Siding (between Eagle Mills Jct and Eagle Mills) to collect the interchange traffic from the LS&I. They then return to Partridge, collect whatever came in from farther up the line, then takes off for Gladstone. Length varies, usually a dozen or two worth of cars.

L550: Sault Ste Marie-Green Bay Road Freight. Typically on duty at 23:00 ET at SSM and later recrewed in Gladstone at 07:00 ET. Handles all overhead traffic between the SOO and Gladstone and then Gladstone and Green Bay, making no intermediate stops except for meeting L543 as needed and the recrew and block swap at Gladstone. Their consist is loaded down with steel from the mill at the Sault, empty ore hoppers from the mill for the Tilden Mine (via U745), empty covered gons for the Mineral Range (via L549 and L540), and other miscellaneous traffic from the old Algoma Central, and west of Gladstone, other local traffic. Typically run with a DPU east of Gladstone, since the bridge at Sault Ste Marie has a tonnage limitation which precludes running two locomotives next to each other. Typically meets L543 somewhere. Departs SSM around 9pm-12am ET.

L551: Green Bay-Sault Ste Marie Road Freight. Same idea as L550 but in the opposite direction. On duty at Green Bay at 02:00 CT and later recrewed around 12:00 ET in Gladstone. Generally meets L544 at Trout Lake or Gilchrist.

L552: Gladstone-Quinnesec-Gladstone Road Switcher. Typically on duty at Gladstone at 12:00 ET. Runs to Powers via the Manistique Sub, where they work the yard in Powers before continuing on to the mill at Quinnesec via the Iron Mountain Sub. They work the reverse on the way back, including a setoff at Powers, before returning to Gladstone. Typically loaded down with boxes and tanks for the mill, and plenty of pulpwood to go along with it.

Iron Mountain: Powers to Iron Mountain, via Hermansville.
Manistique: Green Bay, WI to Sault Ste Marie, via Powers, Algoma Jct and Trout Lake.
Marquette Range: Algoma Jct (Escanaba) to End-of-Track (Baraga). Does not include the LS&I Joint Trackage from WE Partridge to Landing Jct (Ishpeming) and trackage rights over the Mineral Range, from Landing Jct to Humboldt Jct.
Newberry: Trout Lake to End-of-Track in Munising, running via Munising Jct.
Pembine: Hermansville to Goodman, WI. Track still in place but out of service to Rhinelander.

Dispatcher Control
All the CN dispatching in the region is handled by a desk in Homewood. It's all track warrants. In the greater Marqeuette Region, they're under the command of the LS&I Operator, as described in the LS&I section above.

In general, the Marquette Range Sub is 40 mph from Escanaba to Gladstone, and 10 mph from Humboldt Jct to Baraga. The Manistique Sub is 40 mph west of Escanaba at least as far as Powers, 25 mph dominates from Gladstone to SSM with a few faster places. The line from Powers to Quinnesec is 10-25mph, as is the Munising Branch.

Mineral Range Railroad
Owner: Independent Shortline, Private Ownership
Main Yard: Owns two tracks in Ishpeming's Elucid Yard for interchange with the CN.

The MRA's primary train is the Humboldt Turn (official name or not, I don't know), running from Ishpeming to Humboldt to service the Nickel and Copper Mill there. They typically get an early start around 0700 from their engine house southeast of Landing Junction, grab their train from the yard in Ishpeming, and take off for Humboldt. The cars for the mill are gons covered in white lids, as the ore concentrates are mild hazmats for heavy metals. Generally, the trains are 12-24 cars. Their power is a GP9 and a GP7, one high nose, one chopped, one in a fashionable Maroon scheme, the other in BN-style Green and White. After exchanging cuts in the Humboldt Mill, they make the return run in the opposite fashion. They run 3-4 weekdays each week, sometimes more, all depending on the mill.

They also operate the branch from Winthrop Jct to Pluto south of Ishpeming, where they service the explosives transload that supplies the explosives for the Tilden (and formally Empire) mines. They run with their SW unit from Pluto to Winthrop (maybe all the way to Ishpeming now, the arrangement may have changed) and return as needed.

All of the Mineral Range is 10 mph.

Great info!! Thanks!
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Re: Upper Peninsula Railroad Operations Thread

Unread postby CAT345C » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:08 pm

540/ 539 run out of Ishpeming now and are off on Saturdays. Power is tied up at Euclid yard. They have been running to Nestoria lately and parking there for the night on the way to L'Anse.
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Re: Upper Peninsula Railroad Operations Thread

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:55 pm

Is this information still up to date?

Does the LSI run on the weekends?
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Re: Upper Peninsula Railroad Operations Thread

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:16 pm

ConrailDetr​oit wrote:Is this information still up to date?

Does the LSI run on the weekends?

Yes, all LS&I info is up to date. There has been some flux in the CN Ishpeming-area locals as of late that I haven't fully nailed back down.

Also note you'll want 151.490 (not a typo) in your scanner for the LS&I, it covers the Tilden Mine and Dock area in Marquette, as I recently found out. Yeah, not in railroad band but the mine holds the FCC license for it :wink:

And yes they do run weekends, when they run is all dependent on the boats.
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