Imlay City Northern (ICN) started service in 1984 on the ex-GTW Cass City Sub from Imlay City to Pigeon (61 miles). In 1989 the line from Imlay City to Oxford Gravel Pit was reopened (18 miles). Interchanges are with CN (GTW) at Pigeon, HESR (SGV, CSX/Chessie) at Clifford and HESR (CSX/Chessie) at Pigeon.
Engine Roster History:
- Started out in 1984 with a pair of ex-DT&S GP-7's
- Added a pair of ex-Chessie GP-9's in 1989
- Retired both GP-7's and GP-9's around 2000 and acquired a pair of ex-GTW/DT&I SD38's and a pair of ex-GTW/DT&I GP38's
Engine house is in Imlay City
- Initially serviced a hand full of elevators that all shipped around 75-100 cars annually. Most stopped shipping by rail during the 90's.
- Pigeon Coop (later renamed Cooperative Elevator) in Pigeon expanded to ship 1,500-2,000 cars annually in 1984. Initially most cars were handled by Chessie/CSX (with ICN doing the in-plant switching). When the CSX sold the Sebewaing line to HESR ICN got the traffic back but most was interchanged to CSX in Clifford. When HESR/SGV acquired the Port Huron line most of the traffic shifted back to the Pigeon interchange. ICN continues to handle the in-plant switching.
- Initially serviced a handful of small fertilizer dealers
- Vlassic Pickles in Imlay City which shipped about 250 cars annually. Around 2006 CN built a spur direct from their mainline (including a bridge over ICN) and all business dried-up for ICN.
- Shipments of limestone from Wallace (about 3 miles west of Pigeon) started in the late 1980's (after HESR took over the Sebewaing Sub from CSX). They are unloaded at Oxford Pits where a transload was established. Carloads started at at about 2,250 a year but have grown to 3,375 annually.
- Shipments of gravel from Oxford Pits started after 1997 (after HESR/SGV took over CSX's Port Huron Sub) and are interchanged at Clifford. HESR forward the cars to an old sand plant east of Vassar that is now used for stone distribution. Initially about 1,400 carloads were shipped but now it's over 2,800.
- There were a handful of non-ag shippers that were small volume customers such as Cass City Wire that received 2-3 cars a month.
Current Customer List:
- Edward C. Levy now operates the gravel pit in Oxford, the limestone pit in Wallace and the gravel yard east of Vassar. They ship 60-90 carloads a week of gravel to Vassar during their busy season and about half that when it's slower. They receive 65-100 cars per week of limestone when busy and about half that when slow.
- Cooperative Elevator operates the former J & J Farm Services elevators and Royster-Clark fertilizer dealer in North Branch. From the beginning in 2007 CO has used this location to stage corn for the ethanol plant in Caro. After trying different arrangements (including trucks) the current system is to load a 25 car block per month. Since the sidings are short it takes several days/switches to load all the cars. The block is then interchanged with HESR at Clifford who shuttles it to Caro. CO also receives a dozen or so fertilizer cars annually.
- Star of the West operates a bulk bean plant south of Cass City (Rawson Road) that opened in 1984. It was expanded in 1997 and usually ships 2-4 covered hoppers a week. In 1997 they also added a small fertilizer plant that gets about a dozen cars a year.
- Millenium Steering in Cass City took over the Cass City Wire plant around 2000 and has steadily received 1-2 cars every week or two of plastic pellets since.
- Very recently Star of the West took over the former Wrubel/Merchant Grain elevator in Cass City and is using it as a bagged bean plant. They ship 1-3 boxcars a week.
- Cooperative Elevator operates a small fertilizer dealer in Gagetown that receives about a dozen cars annually
- Cooperative Pigeon operates a massive 1,500-2,000 car per year elevator in Pigeon. Most years the majority of the cars are interchanged in Pigeon with HESR (although ICN handles in-plant loading). However, in 2020, CN experimented shipping massive 100 car blocks south to the ports in Louisiana. Since the interchange in Imlay City between CN/ICN can only handle about 25 cars ICN has to use the CN mainline/passing siding to exchange these grain blocks.
- Cooperative Elevators main dry fertilizer plant is in Pigeon north of the elevator receiving 40-50 car loads annually. They also receive about a dozen or so liquid fertilizer tank cars too.
- Cooperative Elevator also operates a bean plant north of the main elevator. They ship primarily bagged beans in box cars usually averaging 4-6 cars per week.
Operations consists of the crew going on duty M-F at 7am and running where ever needed. When limestone is busy usually there are three round trips between Oxford Pits and Pigeon. When gravel is busy there are usually 3-5 trips to Clifford. Weekend service is common when aggregates are busy or if a large unit grain train needs loading.
New business: Prospects a thin. There are a few small elevators/feed mills in Gagetown and Owendale and a small fertilizer dealer in Owendale. Vlassic is still in Imlay City and has expanded but they haven't shipped by rail in over 10 years. CN disconnected their spur to the plant while ICN's is still in place. Due to the cost of CN reconnecting the spur if Vlassic ever decided to resume rail service they might go with ICN. Vlassic could ship 300-400 car loads annually.
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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...