Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today's Train of Thought- The Lake Show, June 29th, 2013

Today's train of thought takes us to Michigan's lower peninsula and gives us a glimpse of one of the few remaining independent regionals in the state.

Operating some 400 miles of track entirely within the state of Michigan, the Great Lakes Central is a fairly recent addition to the shortlines that operate within the wolverine state. In 2006, the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay railway- which was a cluster of former Ann Arbor, New York Central, Grand Trunk Western and Chesapeake & Ohio lines from Ann Arbor, MI to Petoskey, MI- was purchased by Federated Railways, Inc and renamed the Great Lakes Central. While the line has ambitions to operate a commuter rail service in the Ann Arbor area, like most regionals and shortlines, the focus remains on freight.

Traffic for the Great Lakes Central includes plastics, chemicals, coke, lumber, sand, fertilizer, cement and grain and the line interchanges with the Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, CSX, Mid Michigan Rail, Genesee and Wyoming's Huron and Eastern and WATCO's Ann Arbor. Motive power for the Great Lakes Central includes a half dozen former Conrail GP38-2s as well as ten former Tuscola and Saginaw Bay (nee Ann Arbor) GP35s- some of them with ALCo trucks.

Here, contributor Kyle Korionek caught GP38-2s #396 and #397 racing past a venerable grain elevator in downtown Cohoctah, MI on a sunny August 2012 afternoon with an Ann Arbor-bound mixed freight. The train has just finished up doing some interchange work with the Huron & Eastern at Owosso and Canadian National at Durand.

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