Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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AARR
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Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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In 1983 TSBY was awarded the contract to operate MIGN's lines north of Cadillac. TSBY declined a segment of former PENN between Pellston (milepost 443.7) and Bay View (milepost 425.7) and former PM between Bay View (milepost 226.0) and Charlevoix (milepost 205.8) 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 was also an active customer, receiving one to two 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 the 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 with they retained two of the three ex-AC GP7's, number 1605 and 1606.
Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 160 (GP7)
Serial Number: A267
Order No: C119
Frame Number: Built: 12/1951
Notes: ex-AC 160
Other locos with this serial: CPP 1605(GP7) MIGN 1605(GP7) AC 160(GP7)
Image

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 164 (GP7)
Serial Number: A271
Order No: C119
Frame Number: Built: 12/1951
Notes: ex-AC 164
Other locos with this serial: CPP 1605(GP7) MIGN 1606(GP7) AC 164(GP7)
Image
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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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 exchanged 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 carloads 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 three to four 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
Model: EMD GP7 Built As: AC 153 (GP7)
Serial Number: A173
Order No: C110
Frame Number: Built: 2/1951
Notes: ex-AC 153
Other locos with this serial: CPP 1603(GP7) MIGN 1606(GP7) AC 153(GP7)
Image

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.
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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 one to three cars per week.

Michigan Seamless Tube in Pellston continued to receive three to four 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 four to six cars a week.

Big Rock Nuclear was decommissioned in 1997 but was left intact until around 2003. As part of the final cleanup 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.

In 2006 TSBY was acquired by Federated Railways who named their new railroad Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC). There were no changes in operations. The interchange point would continue to be at a siding south of Petoskey called Foreman’s.

CP&P original line from Charlevoix to Pellston was rated for 263,000 lbs cars and 10 mph. It was only 24 miles from the mainline, so they didn't need to go any faster than that. The line, at least between Charlevoix and Bay View, would need to be upgraded to 286,000-pound standards.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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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). There were no changes in operations. The interchange point would continue to be at a siding south of Petoskey called Foreman’s.

CP&P original line from Charlevoix to Pellston was rated for 263,000 lbs cars and 10 mph. It was only 24 miles from the mainline, so they didn't need to go any faster than that. The line would need to be upgraded to 286,000 lbs standards.
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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, Cemex. Cemex 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 the best solution. 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 Foreman’s and CP&P deliver it to Cemex in Charlevoix. The proposal was accepted and by early 2012 24-32 cars a week of fly ash were being delivered. They would usually arrive in three blocks of 8-11 cars that matched CP&P/GLC schedule perfectly.

Now, CP&P had to address 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 (10 mph). There was enough revenue that CP&P could invest in the upgrades. This would include an overhaul of the draw bridge in Charlevoix over the connection between Lake Michigan and Round Lake.

CP&P were still operating three GP7’s and they were good enough for the short line’s needs. It was decided they would be overhauled and remain in service.
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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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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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

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In 2009 Michigan Seamless Tube closed its plant in Pellston due to the recession. For several years CP&P tried to generate new business here but could not secure a stable customer. In 2012 the Petoskey to Mackinaw Group sued for the ROW from Bay View to Pellston and won. The track was removed by 2014. The new end of line for CP&P is 226.0 giving them a mainline run of 20 miles and 3.5 miles of industrial track inside the St. Mary’s/Cemex plant.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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Operations is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. When cement loads are heavy, they will use all three 7’s. Because they do not have a run-around track at Bay View, CP&P pushes the interchange cars for GLC three miles to Foreman’s. After the exchange, they must back the pick-ups from Bay View one mile to the passing siding in Petoskey (they also have a reverse move to get into and out of the St. Mary’s industrial spur).

The Steam Railroading Institute runs an occasional excursion as far as Charlevoix. Please see their schedule for dates and times.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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Effective January 1st, 2023, CP&P will be acquired by GLC. GLC will assign a job in Charlevoix who three times a week will make a turn to between Kalkaska and Elmira where it will meet the Cadillac North Turn, exchange trains, then go back to their respective terminals.

With its alliance with WATCO, GLC has more than resources to invest and maintain the infrastructure from Cadillac all the way to Charlevoix. GLC will also probably change the track work around Bay View to avoid the long back-up moves.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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In a surprise move GLC backed out of the deal to acquire CP&P. They cited not wanting to be involved in the politics of Petoskey especially since the locals were unhappy with the slow back-up moves in the Bay View/Foreman area.

CP&P operates it bundling it with its F&SE line (Cadillac to Homestead). St. Mary’s is expected to ship 1,745-2,618 carloads of outbound cement, receive 969-1,454 inbound loads of fly ash and Petoskey plastics will receive 94-126 carloads of plastic pellets. During the construction season, all three GP7’s are used. An engine is placed at each end of the train due to the two reverse moves (one at St. Mary’s spur and the other at Bay View.

The reason for GLC backing out of the deal is questionable but CP&P ownership is happy to continue operating the line as it is profitable.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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Operations is three times per week with a start time between 7-8am. The crew reports to the engines (at each end of the train) which are stored inside the St. Mary’s Cement property. They pick up cement loads and fly ash empties, proceed to the mainline (facing south) until the last car is clear of the southward facing switch. Then reversing their move, they head toward Petoskey/Bay View working Petoskey Plastics as needed (on average once a week). Once they clear the switch at Bay View, they reverse their direction and proceed on GLC’s rails for 2.7 miles, at five mph because it goes through the center of town to Foremans where they exchange cars with a GLC that came up from Cadillac. The passing siding at Foremans is 2,580’ long. Most of the cars being exchanged are 40’ long with six to ten 60’ fly ash cars and about two cars a week of 63’ plastic pellets cars. Most of the time the siding is long enough to accommodate the car exchange. Very infrequently, like if due to bad weather they are limited to two trips in a week, there will be more cars than Foremans siding can handle so the crews must shunt the cars back and forth to make the exchange. After the exchange, the crew proceeds to Bay View where after clearing the switch reverse their move and go west stopping at Petoskey Plastics (about once a week) to drop of loads, then heading to the end of the line south of Charlevoix where after clearing the St. Mary’s Cement switch they reverse move and go into the plant. They leave the empties in the yard and stage the fly ash loads on the unloading shed track. It usually takes the crew four to five hours to complete their day.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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2023 was a very good year with road construction going strong. St. Mary’s received 1,524 carloads of fly ash and shipped out 2,618 cars of cement while they operated at maximum capacity. Petoskey Plastics received 117 carloads of plastic pellets.

The three GP7’s are 70 years old. They were completely rebuilt in the late 1970’s which was over 40 years ago. They were overhauled in the early 2000’s. CP&P is starting to have reliability issues with them. Management is deciding whether to rebuild them again or look for new locomotives. Due to several curves and some weight restrictions four axle power is more desirable than engines with six axles although the latter is not out of the question.

The bridges and track are in good shape and will receive routine maintenance this year although there is a stretch of track just to the west of Petoskey that will need some shoring up with riprap. Last time the riprap was shipped in by rail from Florida amounting to 17 carloads.

St. Mary’s uses a lease fleet of two bay covered hoppers for cement (lettered for the original plant’s owner, Southdown) as well as three bay covered hoppers for the fly ash. The cement cars are rated at 110 ton load limit while the fly ash cars are rated at 105 ton load limit.
Image
Image

Operations remains at three days per week.

The GP7’s are two switch back moves that make CP&P popular with railfans. The management is railfan friendly.

There are no plans for SRI to operate north of Petoskey in 2024.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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CP&P has acquired three GP38-2’s from Norfolk Southern as follows:
Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey and Pellston
Model: EMD GP38-2 Built As: PC 8119 (GP38-2)
Serial Number: 72627-80 Order No: 72627
Frame Number: 72627-80 Built: 2/1973
Notes: Acq 2024
Other locos with this serial: CPP 5304(GP38-2) NS 5304(GP38-2) CR 8119(GP38-2) PC 8119(GP38-2)
Image

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey and Pellston
Model: Rebuilt EMD GP38-2 Built As: SOU 2828 (GP38AC)
Serial Number: 37300 Order No: 7307
Frame Number: 7307-6 Built: 4/1971
Notes: Acq 2024
Other locos with this serial: CPP 5615(GP38-2) NS 5615(GP38-2) NS 2828(GP38AC) SOU 2828(GP38AC)
Image

Owner: Charlevoix, Petoskey and Pellston
Model: Rebuilt EMD GP38-2 Built As: SOU 2736 (GP38)
Serial Number: 35266 Order No: 5744
Frame Number: 5744-9 Built: 9/1969
Notes: Acq 2024
Other locos with this serial: CPP 5616(GP38-2) NS 5616(GP38-2) NS 2736(GP38) SOU 2736(GP38)
Image

It has been over 20 years since 5315 and 5316 were rebuilt and 5304 is still operating as built. All three will be rebuilt by Turner Locomotive and Components in Des Moines, IA.

Two of the three GP7’s will be sold to Progressive Rail Services and enter their PR20B rebuild program. They have already been claimed by PONW. Pictures will be posted at the PONW thread. The third will be sold to LETX.
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Re: Charlevoix, Petoskey & Pellston (CP&P)

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GP38-2 5304 is rebuilt and in service. GP7 1603 has been retired and sold to Larry’s Truck and Electric (LTEX). The other two GP38-2’s, 5315 and 5316, are at Turner Locomotive and Components (TL&C) for rebuilding. The other two GP7’s, 1605 and 1606, will be sold Progress Rail, after the other GP38-2’s arrive, will be rebuilt into PR20B’s and sold to PONW.

Track and bridges are rated for 286,000 lbs. and are receiving routine maintenance in 2024.

The CP&P crew also operate the F&SE twice a week job.

GLC has a new GM and the three times per week local from Cadillac arrives and departs on time nearly every time.

Each train operates with an engine (or two) at each end because there are two switch backs. The first is when they exit the St. Mary’s Cement spur (southbound facing point) and the second is at Bay View where the exit their home track (eastbound facing point) and go on GLC for about three miles to Foreman where they interchange.
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