Lake State Railway
|Lake State Railway|
|Dates of operation||1992–|
|Predecessor||Detroit and Mackinac Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
Lake State Railway is a railroad operating in the Saginaw Valley and northeast quadrant of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The railroad moves large quantities of aggregate and limestone, as well as coal, grain, and chemical products. Some of the company's largest customers include Dow Chemical Company, S. C. Johnson & Son, Lafarge, ConAgra Foods, Archer Daniels Midland, Conrad Yelvington, and Consumers Energy.
Lake State began operations in 1992 when it acquired all the lines operated by the Detroit and Mackinac Railway. One of the lines acquired was originally Michigan Central from Bay City to Cheboygan. Another line, original D&M trackage, branched off in Pinconning and followed Michigan's eastern shore to Rogers City. The track north of Gaylord to Cheboygan was abandoned shortly thereafter. While a few minor spurs were abandoned, no other mainline was until 2001, when its line past Alpena to Rogers City was removed.
In late 2011, it was announced that the SBS will be merged with Lake State, with LSRC being the surviving company. The merger was strictly for railway accounting purposes, LSRC functions today as an Interline Settlement System (ISS) carrier, while SBS functioned as a Junction Settlement (JS) carrier through CSX. Lake State will convert the former SBS lines to ISS. Following the news of the merger, Lake State has stopped painting the Saginaw Bay Southern logo on its locomotives.
Motive Power Lake State utilized the Detroit and Mackinaw Railway's all ALCO roster repainting a handful of Alco RS3, and ALCO Century Series locomotives in the Lake State blue scheme. Lake State's first acquisition was in November 1995. The unit was a former Norfolk and Western Railway ALCO RS-11. Keeping with the D&M tradition of numbering engines after the month and year of purchase the unit was given the number 1195. Starting in 1998 eight units of Canadian National Railway heritage were added to the roster. Seven of these units were MLW M-420's and a single HR412W #698.
Lake State Railroad named several of its locomotives after cities located on its line such as #181 City of Bay City, MI, #798 City of Alpena, MI, #3564 City of Tawas MI, #1280 City of Grayling, MI, #1195 City of East Tawas, MI, #976 City of West Branch, MI. In a similar fashion the #975, #3563 and #371 were named after Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Erie. The most unusual nicknaming was of the #3571 which was christened 'For the Gipper 2004' after the late 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan.
Since the accusation of the Saginaw Bay Southern lines north of Flint, MI the railroad has added around 20 used Electro Motive Diesel units and gradually retired their Alco roster. The first of these units included 3 GP38m's (modified GP35's of mixed heritages) from Western Rail (WRIX) in Washington State. An SD40 #5921 of Grand Trunk Western heritage was purchased from Larry's Truck Electric (LTEX). This unit is unique in that it doesn't operate north of Bay City, MI. The majority of the EMD units (10) are GP40M-3's and were acquired from First Union Railroad (FURX). All 10 share mixed Chessie System/Seaboard System heritage and were upgraded from GP40's to GP40M-3's by the Texas Mexican Railway. The next group of locomotives included 5 EMD GP40's of mixed heritage and one unique former Southern Pacific EMD GP40X all 6 were acquired from Helm Financial Corporation (HATX). In early June 2013 two EMD SD40-2's were purchased from CIT Rail Resources (CITX). Both units were built as EMD SD40's and were later converted to Dash 2 standards. The 3062 was originally built for Union Pacific Railroad and the 3100 is of Southern Pacific Railroad heritage.
Run through power can be spotted on the LSRC at points between Mount Morris, MI and Essexville, Michigan as coal trains often utilize CSX (Eastern Coal) and BNSF (western coal) units to power trains to Consumers Energy's Karn/Weadock Generating Complex on Saginaw Bay. This is especially prevalent in winter months when the Saginaw River freezes making coal deliveries by Great Lake freighters difficult. GE ES44AC's GE AC4400CW's as well as rare sightings of GE AC6000CW's and GE Dash 9 Series locomotives can be had. EMD SD70MAC's and SD70ACe's are often used on coal trains as well.
Rail Fanning Lake State Railway's Flint to Saginaw line (former SBS) is shadowed by several parks and walking trails. North of Saginaw, MI the line passes through the Crow Island State Game Area. In Bay county the main line splits into two branches, the west line extending north through the Ogemaw Hills and Jack Pine forests to Otsego County, Michigan and the city of Gaylord, Michigan. The east line shadows the west coast of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. This line runs along old US 23 servicing the Gypsum quarries in Iosco County, MI eventually street running through East Tawas, MI. Several miles of track are situated in the Huron National Forest and through Harrisville, Michigan and Harrisville State Park. Near Alpena, MI the line passes over the scenic Thunder Bay River. At the north end of the east line is Lafarge's cement plant and Lake freighter loading dock in Alpena, MI.
- Media related to Lake State Railway at Wikimedia Commons