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Eastern Railroad Discussion > An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk


Date: 04/20/17 19:43
An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: z-trains

The Grand Elk Railroad is only the latest in a series of operators of the old Pennsylvania Railway route between Kalamazoo Michigan, and Grand Rapids Michigan. Originally built by the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, the line was picked up by the Pensy in 1918, which was then transferred to Penn Central ownership in the merger between it and arch-rival New York Central in 1968. In 1976 Conrail was formed to operate the remnants of the now-bankrupt PC as well as a number of anthracite roads and the Erie Lackawanna, and in 1999 Conrail was split between Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. The former gained control of Conrail's Grand Rapids line as a gateway into its namesake city to compete with CSX's traditional traffic base out of the city, but after a decade the railroad pulled out and leased the line to Watco, who now operates under the Grand Elk guise. The line is still busy enough to warrant a daily road train in each direction, and this afternoon I managed to happen upon their southbound road train and caught it at a number of locations along the line between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Without further ado, here are the photos!

1) South of Byron Center, Michigan, a former BN SD40-2 with a former CP engine of the same model head Grand Elk's southbound road train past a flooded field, with the engines reflected perfectly in the muddy water.
2) In Moline, Michigan, the road train pulls to a stop at the north end of town, where the power would detach from the train...
3) And pull back towards a facility down the spur track.

There's more...








Date: 04/20/17 19:52
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: z-trains

4) After about ten minutes, the train pulls up and out of the spur, the RS3K on the lead SD40-2 blaring
5) Just north of Wayland, Michigan, the road train continues its southbound journey...
6) ...And again just north of Gun Lake, MIchigan

There's more...








Date: 04/20/17 19:58
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: z-trains

7) In Shelbyville, Michigan, the line twists and turns though several hills as the tracks climb and descend over a series of hogbacks. The road train is now on the 'descending' part of one of said hills, and coasts downgrade on approach to a grade crossing.
8) Between Shelbyville and Martin, Michigan, the train continues along with a beautiful Spring sky in the background
9) Now in Martin, Michigan, the train coasts down another hill on approach to the Kalamazoo River Valley.

There's more...








Date: 04/20/17 20:02
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: z-trains

10) In Kalamazoo proper, now, the road train bangs across the Amtrak diamonds as BO tower, now abandoned, sits forlornly in the background, waiting for the wrecking ball to claim it.

That's it for now! Have a great weekend!!

Cheers,

Zach
http://www.z-trains.com




Date: 04/21/17 02:40
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: NSSpike

Great series of photos and narrative. How many track miles are we talking about from start to last photo?

Phil Maton
Villa Rica, GA



Date: 04/21/17 04:58
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: bobk

Great shots!



Date: 04/21/17 06:04
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: refarkas

Great chase. My favorite is image nine at Martin, Michigan.
Bob



Date: 04/21/17 06:31
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: z-trains

NSSpike Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great series of photos and narrative. How many
> track miles are we talking about from start to
> last photo?

About 50 miles by rail. Track speed is low and there's a lot of hills to climb so it was a relatively easy chase to make.

Zach
http://www.z-trains.com



Date: 04/21/17 07:59
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: EMDSW-1

refarkas Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great chase. My favorite is image nine at Martin,
> Michigan.
> Bob


I'll second that...shortline railroading at its best...GREAT composure!

Dick Samuels



Date: 04/21/17 12:58
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: ns1000

Nice shots!!



Date: 04/21/17 21:23
Re: An Afternoon Chasing the Grand Elk
Author: Ron

z-trains Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> BO tower, now abandoned, sits forlornly in the background, waiting for the wrecking ball to claim it.

I keep hearing that it's going to go to Greenfield Village.

I guess we won't really know until we go through Kalamazoo one day and find that it's gone.

My understanding is everything that was inside has been saved and was moved to Greenfield Village within a day or so of its closing.

Ron



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