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Date: 06/12/18 11:30
The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

June 10, 2018 marked the end of operations for CN local train L524. Known as the HR job, or the Paper Spur Run to local railfans in Port Huron, MI, this train served the last three customers on the north end of the original main line of the Chicago, Detroit & Canada Grand Trunk Railroad which was opened up for service on November 21, 1859 and was the first railroad in the city of Port Huron. This later became the famed Mt. Clemens Subdivision that Thomas Edison worked on.

Photos 1-3: Myself and my friend William Rauli chased the final train as it traveled down the entire length of the line and back. The locomotive pulling the train was GTW GPR9 #4626, formerly GTW #4437, with five boxcars in tow. The train crossed Lapeer Ave. and past two former customers, Mortimer Lumber and Mueller Brass. The spur for Mortimer is still in place but the switch has been removed. Mueller used to have its own yard and local job that served it; until CN came in and scared a bunch of customers away.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/18 12:02 by SD80MACfan.








Date: 06/12/18 11:32
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 4-6: After passing through Mueller the train arrives at the Black River Bridge. The 1929 Milwaukee Bascule Bridge remains open during boating season, which is usually April to October, and remains closed the rest of the year. The conductor lowers the bridge and then walks across it to inspect it with the train following behind.








Date: 06/12/18 11:36
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 7-9: Once across the river, the crew pulls into the yard at Domtar Paper and begins to switch the industry. They first swap out two tank cars on the Chicory Spur with two that were sitting in the yard. Then they pick up a covered hopper and drop off two boxcars inside Domtar, crossing the intersection of Washington and 12th Ave multiple times in the process. There used to be another siding that crossed the Domtar Spur and headed north for Acheson Colloids but it has since been removed.








Date: 06/12/18 11:39
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 10-12: More switching shots.








Date: 06/12/18 11:43
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 13-15: Once switching was done, the crew heads up to the Edison run around track, passing the Eggairy drive-through convenience store and Chicken in the Rough, a common place for the crew to go “Out to Beans” in the past, before crossing the intersection of Pine Grove Ave, Elk St. and Whipple St. A local driver happened to park his Model T right next to the tracks for an almost historic-like photo, adding to the atmosphere of the run. Once in the siding the crew will run around the train and shove them up the line to Dunn Paper to drop off two more boxcars.








Date: 06/12/18 11:48
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 16-18: This section of the line is the most photogenic as it travels alongside the St. Clair River Boardwalk, past the Thomas Edison Depot, the original Ft. Gratiot station, the CD&CGT wood combine on display, and under the Blue Water Bridge. The site of Dunn Paper is the former site of the original Grand Trunk Car Shops and the original ferry slip.








Date: 06/12/18 11:52
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 19-21: More boardwalk shots.








Date: 06/12/18 11:54
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 22-24: Once the drop is made the crew returns south and switches out CDW Consulting, a cold storage and transload facility across the tracks from Domtar, dropping off the last of its original five boxcars and picking up three more. With that done the train travels over the Black River Bridge one final time.








Date: 06/12/18 12:00
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 25-27: More return shots.








Date: 06/12/18 12:02
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

Photos 28 & 29; The crew pulls up to the wye track at Grizwold Rd. past the old west leg of the wye, also the old mainline, and into the yard where they will drop off their cars and then tie down the engine in the yard where it will wait for its next assignment. However, that may only be switching jobs from this point on. We talked with the conductor and he informed us that the other Mt. Clemens local out of Port Huron, L529, was also abolished as CN shut down the last three customers on the line. It has also officially abolished the Flint Subdivision locals, making the only local that runs out of Port Huron L533, the intermodal train that runs into Sarnia, ON and down to Moterm in Ferndale. He even admitted that he is loosing his job, either by forced resignation or transfer, but he doesn’t know when that could be.

Photo 30: From this point on, the Paper Spur will be operated by Lake State Railway which will be leasing the line for CN effective June 11, 2018. They already have their MP15AC #1502 sitting in the yard waiting for its first assignment. In an ironic twist of fate, the heritage of the MP15 is Milwaukee Road #436, later Soo Line #1502 and then Union Pacific #1404. I say “ironic twist of fate” because the Grand Trunk had wanted to, and almost did, purchase the Milwaukee Road. Despite that not happening, I guess some things still work themselves out for the better.








Date: 06/12/18 12:45
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: refarkas

A fantastic tribute to this line.
Bob



Date: 06/12/18 13:03
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: P

So, Lake States is taking over operations?



Date: 06/12/18 13:08
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: jbohdan2

Very nice series. Thanks for sharing. The Geep had a heritage "Burdakin Blue" door at least.



Date: 06/12/18 13:13
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the pics.



Date: 06/12/18 13:16
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

P Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So, Lake States is taking over operations?


Yes it is. There is some talk that this might be LSRC's first step to taking over CSX's Saginaw Subdivision from Flint to Plymouth, which would include the Port Huron Subdivision, the old Port Huron & Detroit from Port Huron to St. Clair, and trackage rights over CN between Flint and Port Huron. What I don't know is what this would mean for the Sarnia Subdivision across the river in Ontario. However this is only speculation at this time. But it is the first time that a non-class I railroad has operated in Port Huron since 1984 when the PH&D was folded into C&O.



Date: 06/12/18 14:32
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: Theowhitey

Great photo essay. Thanks for sharing it.
-Ted



Date: 06/12/18 15:22
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: GRNDMND

Very nice coverage of a neat operation. I have wondered in the past how often this job has worked the line. I was fortunate to catch them leaving Dunn Paper when I was through Port Huron last time, a couple of years ago. Any clue to what LSRC's schedule will be on the branch?

KC



Date: 06/12/18 16:42
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: SD80MACfan

GRNDMND Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Very nice coverage of a neat operation. I have
> wondered in the past how often this job has worked
> the line. I was fortunate to catch them leaving
> Dunn Paper when I was through Port Huron last
> time, a couple of years ago. Any clue to what
> LSRC's schedule will be on the branch?
>
> KC


Not sure. We did notice that the past couple weeks the trains were running on Sunday, usually in the afternoon around 1:30-2:00. However, I have seen the trains run at different times throughout the day and night, on every day of the week and sometimes even twice in the same day. I guess it was back when the customers got service when they needed it. I would assume that LSRC would operate similar to this, but there has been no word yet.



Date: 06/13/18 05:14
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: bridgeportsub

Interesting post. Great pictures and very good narrative.

Randy



Date: 06/13/18 14:53
Re: The End of 159 Years of History
Author: calumet

Sorry to hear of CN's departure but glad the line will still be in service. A few years ago by chance caught this GT unit returning light from the paper mill.




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