Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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AARR
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Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by AARR »

In 1983 TSBY was awarded the contract to operate MIGN's lines north of Cadillac. TSBY declined a 24 mile segment between Pellston and Charlevoix due to poor track conditions and a washout west of Petoskey. There were three active shippers and two potential shippers affected.

In Pellston, Algoma Steel, and another company, wanted to build a plant that would coat steel pipe with a plastic coating that can be used in various commercial industries. All due-diligence was completed and the building was set to commence. The plan was for steel pipe from Algoma Steel to be shipped on SOO to St. Ignace, ferried across to Mackinaw City, then delivered by MIGN to the Pellston plant. Once coated, MIGN would ship the finished products out. Even though the ferry service was no longer an option, because it was shut down permanently, Algoma Steel could truck the pipe to the Pellston plant for processing. Without rail service, though, Algoma Steel was going to back out of the deal. They were projecting 60-80 outbound cars per month.

In Petoskey, Petoskey Gas was an active customer receiving up to 120 car loads a year of propane. They were already seeking alternatives to receive rail service and moving to the south side of town where TSBY would still be operating was one option.

West of Petoskey, near Lamson, Petoskey Plastics also was an active customer receiving 1-2 cars per week. They wanted to grow the business but without rail service was seeking other locations. One of those options was building a siding south of Petoskey on the TSBY segment and transload plastic pellets onto trucks.

Between Petoskey and Charlevoix was Big Rock Nuclear plant. Although they rarely used rail service (mostly the occasional high and wide load) their contract required them to have a rail spur onto their property.

South of Charlevoix was the huge Medusa Southdown cement plant, the largest in the state of MI. They did not use rail service but had a spur into their plant and were open to using it.

A group of former MIGN principals saw the opportunity and with their established connections in banking, government and politics decided to take a chance. They acquired the money to purchase the line outright and make the necessary repairs to make it operable.

To start they retained two of the three ex-AC GP7's, number 1605 and 1606.
Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 1605
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 160 (GP7)
Serial Number: A267 Order No: C119
Frame Number: Built: 12/1951
Notes: Retained with purchase of ROW in 1984
Other locos with this serial: MIGN 1605(GP7) AC 160(GP7)
Image

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 1606
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 164 (GP7)
Serial Number: A271 Order No: C119
Frame Number: Built: 12/1951
Notes: Retained with purchase of ROW in 1984
Other locos with this serial: MIGN 1606(GP7) AC 164(GP7)
Image

More to come.....
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AARR
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by AARR »

Including three one-mile industrial spurs (Southdown, Big Rock and Algoma Steel) CP&P operates on 27 miles of ROW. By mid 1984 the wash out had been fixed and CP&P was ready for operations.

The Algoma Steel joint operation in Pellston began construction and anticipated starting operations in late 1985. In the meantime, CP&P brought in some construction materials and high and wide equipment.

Petoskey Gas, under pressure from the city to move outside of town, relocated south of town (about 1 mile) on TSBY at a location called Foreman.

Petoskey Plastics began service immediately receiving 1-2 cars of plastic pellets a week.

Southdown began shipping immediately. They shipped nearly 3,600 cars in the last six months of 1984. They did not receive any inbound raw materials by rail.

An interchange track was laid next to the new Petoskey Gas location where CP&P and TSBY could exchange cars. Due to cement traffic CP&P's operations was six days a week during Southdown's busy season. They interchanged cars with TSBY six days per week as well. An ex-Chessie caboose was acquired for the backup move from Bay View (where the Chessie and MIGN northern lines met north of Petoskey) and Foremans. It took every bit of the GP7's 1500 hp and tractive effort to pull the daily cut of up to 33 car loads of cement from the plant and six miles to Bay View. Backing them the three miles through Petoskey to Foreman was not so bad because it was downhill.

By January 1986, the Algoma Steel pipe treatment plant in Pellston was open for business. They received 3-4 cars a month of plastic pellets and shipped 53-80 cars a month of outbound plastic-coated steel pipe for various commercial uses. The pipe was loaded in a combination of bulkhead flat cars and gondolas. Typically, CP&P would switch Algoma twice a week.

The former Chessie engine house in Petoskey was renovated and both CP&P GP7's could be stored inside and minor maintenance tasks performed.

Due to the heavy traffic from Southdown and additional heavy traffic from Algoma Steel CP&P considered getting ex-MIGN GP7 1603 back into action. It was currently stored out of service at the end of the line in Pellston.
Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 1603
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 153 (GP7)
Serial Number: A173 Order No: C110
Frame Number: Built: 2/1951
Notes: Retained with purchase of ROW in 1984. Stored Out of Service in Pellston.
Other locos with this serial: MIGN 1603(GP7) AC 153(GP7)
Image
It would take some work to revive 1603 and it was decided for the moment to hold off.

In 1987 there was a change in tariffs, and it was no longer economical for Algoma to operate the plant in Pellston. Also, there was pressure on them to move the pipe coating operation to Canada. It looked as though CP&P might lose this customer and over 1,000 carloads annually of business.

More to come.....
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AARR
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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A Michigan based company, Michigan Seamless Tube, who was the partner with Algoma Steel at this plant, acquired Algoma's share and owned it outright. For the time being MST would continue to have steel pipe trucked from Algoma Steel in Ste. St. Marie. However, they could purchase pipe from other mills and have it shipped in by rail.

By the early 1990's Southdown was acquired by St. Mary's Cement and shifted a lot of rail traffic to trucks. This was a substantial loss for CP&P but at just under 3,000 cars a year of outbound cement was still their biggest and most profitable customer. At the same time St. Mary's started using fly ash instead of shale as an ingredient and CP&P made a pitch to bring it directly to the plant by rail. However, St. Mary's sourced its fly ash from local power plants and had it trucked in. Service to St. Mary's was reduced to three days per week (as was the interchange with TSBY who had just been acquired by Jim Shepherd). The typical consist was 17-27 cars per trip during the busy season. During the slower seasons service was reduced to once or twice a week.

Big Rock Nuclear still received a carload or two a year of high and wide equipment. Their spur had to be maintained as part of a contract they have with the State of MI.

Petoskey Plastics had expanded and was now receiving 1-3 cars per week.

Michigan Seamless Tube in Pellston continued to receive 3-4 cars or plastic pellets per month and ship out 55-80 carloads per month of plastic-coated pipes. They were also receiving steel pipe by rail now receiving 4-6 cars a week.

CP&P felt that what traffic remained was stable and decided to evaluate whether the GP7's should be replaced.

More to come.....
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AARR
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by AARR »

In the early 90's CP&P acquired a pair of GP38's.

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 2922
Model: EMD GP38 Built As: PC 7746 (GP38)
Serial Number: 35375 Order No: 7191
Frame Number: 7191-72 Built: 8/1969
Notes: Acquired from NS in early 1990's
Other locos with this serial: NS 2922(GP38) CR 7746(GP38) PC 7746(GP38)
Image

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 2948
Model: EMD GP38 Built As: PC 7909 (GP38)
Serial Number: 36964 Order No: 7291
Frame Number: 7291-38 Built: 2/1971
Notes: Acquired from NS in early 1990's
Other locos with this serial: NS 2948(GP38) CR 7909(GP38) PC 7909(GP38)
Image

They are retained as straight 38's and receive minor servicing before placed in service. GP7 1606 is placed in the Stored Serviceable line while 1605 is used as a backup.

Traffic from St. Mary's and Petoskey Plastics remained stable. Unfortunately, Michigan Seamless Tube was shipping a lot less out by rail down to 5-8 cars per week because many of their orders were smaller batches. However, inbound steel pipe was growing to around 5-8 cars per week and inbound plastic pellets had grown to 1-2 cars per week. So, their net loss was just over 100 cars per year. Operations was three times per week when the cement plant was busy and twice a week when it was slow.

Big Rock Nuclear was decommissioned in 1997 but was left intact until around 2003. As part of the final clean up CP&P hauled away the reactor vessel on a super-sized depressed flat car and contaminated concrete and dirt in multiple intermodal containers. The one mile spur was removed by 2006.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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In 2006 TSBY was acquired by Federated Railways who named their new railroad Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC). Initially there were no changes in operations. The early years were not friendly for the new GLC. They lost most of their customers north of Cadillac (as well as a lot of other business). With dwindling carloads out of Cadillac they approached CP&P with an offer to help pay for the line north of Kalkaska. That was a distance of 51.5 miles with GLC only customer being the interchange with CP&P. CP&P saw some opportunities on the line and, with permission from the state of MI, in 2010, bought it outright. The new interchange point with GLC was Kalkaska.

CP&P original line from Charlevoix to Pellston was rated for 263,000 lbs cars and 10 mph. It was only 24 miles of mainline so they didn't need to go any faster than that. The line they acquired from GLC was rated for 263,000 lbs and 25 mph. The writing was on the wall that the line from Kalkaska to Bay View and southwest to Charlevoix would need to be upgraded to 286,000 lbs standards, a distance of 57.5 miles and several marginal wood bridges.

There were three spurs on this segment not currently being used that needed to be addressed. The first was in Mancelona next to Ellsworth Farmers Exchange that had last been used as a transload track for East Jordan Plastics. The next was the old Dundee Cement Terminal north of Yuma. Finally at Foreman was AmeriGas.

More to come.....
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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St. Mary's in Charlevoix had just been acquired by a new company. The new company was going to continue shipping cement out by rail (most of their product was transported on ships and trucks). However, there was a new law that prevented them from receiving fly ash from MI based power plants such as DTE's Monroe and St. Clair locations. Fly ash was an important ingredient making up 5% of the mixture. They found a power plant in WI that would produce enough material for them to single source. The distance was much further and shipping it by rail was an option, but the Charlevoix plant was set up for truck deliveries and it would be very expensive to convert it for rail. CP&P proposed that they use the ex-Dundee Cement Terminal to receive the fly ash by rail then truck it the rest of the way to their Charlevoix plant. UP would handle to fly ash from the WI power plant to Chicago. CN would handle the fly ash from Chicago to Durand where GLC would take it to Kalkaska and CP&P deliver it to Elmira. The proposal was accepted and by early 2012 24-32 cars a week of fly ash were being delivered to the ex-Dundee Cement terminal north of Elmira. They would usually arrive in three blocks of 8-11 cars. This matched CP&P's schedule perfectly.

Now, CP&P had to address to issues, engines and track.

The track was rated for 263,000 lbs cars and that would need to be upgraded to 286,000 lbs cars to remain competitive. The overall track speeds were fine (25 mph from Kalkaska to Foreman and 10 mph from Foreman to Charlevoix/Pellston). There was enough revenue that CP&P could invest something toward the project, but they would need assistance. GLC was willing but not able to contribute much because they had lost a lot of business and had not yet replaced it. So as usual CP&P had to turn to banks and government for the funds. They started the upgrades in 2014 but it would take three years to complete. Included in the upgrades were bridge replacements on both GLC and CP&P.

CP&P were still operating a pair of straight GP38's and one GP7. The GP38's were fine but would need upgrading but the GP7 would be retired.

More to come.....
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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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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At the same time CP&P was looking to acquire another engine, GLC was at the end of their lease of two GP38-2's. CP&P agreed to lease one of them and add it to their fleet.
Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston 2663
Model: Rebuilt EMD GP38-2 Built As: BO 4817 (GP38)
Serial Number: 36693 Order No: 7274
Frame Number: 7274-28 Built: 12/1970
Notes: Picked up after lease ended with GLC in 2011
Other locos with this serial: GMTX 2663(GP38-2) LLPX 2039(GP38) CSX 2117(GP38) BO 4817 (GP38)
Image

The tractive effort of 2663 was a little higher than the other two, so it was often used on the turn between Petoskey and Kalkaska where there were a few steep grades.

It was decided that GP38's 2922 and 2948 would be rebuilt and upgraded to 38-2 standards. One would be done in 2012 (2922) and the other in 2013 (2948).
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by cfriedri »

I enjoyed your inclusion of the Big Rock Point Plant :)
Connor

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AARR
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by AARR »

Thank you. Unfortunately, as you know, it closed in 1997. However, they did not do the final clean up of the site until about 2003. That is when they loaded contaminated concrete into intermodal containers and shipped them away on TSBY. I forgot that part and will have to edit the post. Thank you for the reminder.
cfriedri wrote:
Thu Jun 23, 2022 6:52 pm
I enjoyed your inclusion of the Big Rock Point Plant :)
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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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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In 2015 East Jordan Plastics moved their plastic pellet transload from Clare back to Mancelona. It was a more convenient location for them. They average two to four carloads per month.

In 2020 the AmeriGas facilities south of Petoskey in Foreman was acquired by Holton's and resumed rail service. There are three unloading docks on their double ended siding. During the cold season they average three to six cars a week. When it is warmer, they average one to two cars a week. Holton's will total 120-150 cars per year.

More to come.....
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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AARR
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

Unread post by AARR »

In 2022 CP&P is forecasting between 4,340-6,090 cars as follows:
- Mancelona: East Jordan Plastics is expecting to receive 30-40 cars of plastic pellets
- Elmira: CEMEX is expecting to receive 1,066-1,600 cars of fly ash
- Petoskey: Holton's is expecting to receive 120-150 cars of propane
- Charlevoix: CEMEX is expecting to ship 1,920-2,880 cars of cement
- Lamson (Petoskey): Petoskey Plastics is expecting to receive 94-126 cars of plastic pellets
- Pellston: Michigan Seamless Tube is expecting to receive 36-48 cars of plastic pellets, 192-288 cars of steel pipe and ship out 640-960 cars of coated pipe.

Operations is Monday through Friday starting around 7am. The crew will use two of the three GP38-2's and go where ever service is needed. When CEMEX is busy they usually get switched three times per week (only twice a week when they are slow). MST gets switched usually twice a week. The CEMEX fly ash transload usually is switched three times a week. Holton's is switched twice a week when busy and once a week when slow. All other customers average once week service or as needed.

The interchange at Kalkaska is made two to three times a week.

The Steam Railroading Institute runs an occasional excursion as far as Charlevoix. Please see their schedule for dates and times.

CP&P is a marginally profitable railroad. They meet their expenses and make a small profit. To be honest, if it were not for government grants they would not have been able to upgrade their track to 286,000 lbs standards. Also, GLC has added a significant amount of business around and north of Cadillac since 2015. GLC contributes some financing to the maintenance of the line between Kalkaska and Petoskey.

There are very limited opportunities to grow carloads at this time. CEMEX ships the equivalent of 4,320 railcars a year out by truck and due to MI's high load limits for trucks that will not change any time soon. MST receives only 30% of the inbound steel pipe by rail and because most of it comes from Indiana or Ste. St. Marie that will not change in the near future either.

CP&P has to wisely manage its costs to stay in business. Despite the challenges, the employees care about their railroad and enjoy what they do.
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