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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan


Date: 10/15/20 21:10
Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

The regular Marquette Rail southbound manifest freight to Grand Rapids crosses the Muskegon River at Newaygo, Michigan on a perfect autumn day this past Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 11:09 AM ET.  This is ex-C&O nee-Pere Marquette trackage leased by CSX to Genessee & Wyoming subsidiary Marquette Rail (MQT).

It has been an extraordinarily beautiful fall color season in western Michigan.  After a long stretch of pandemic-related time at home, I greatly enjoyed this day of socially-distanced railfanning with a retired railroader friend of many years acquaintance. Please enjoy our day trackside for yourself, complete with the splendid color of both the train and the fall foliage on a truly picture-perfect day.

MC
Muskegon Michigan




Date: 10/15/20 21:13
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

2) Not often these days do you get a string of graffiti-free freight cars, much less in a beautiful setting like this.

As for the outlet pipe  and cascading water at the center right edge of the frame, it is is NOT a sewer outlet. It is the outlet into the Muskegon River of Penoyer Creek, a lovely clear-running brook located north of Newaygo.  The creek is named for the Penoyer brothers, both from Chicago, who were prominent early lumbermen in the Newaygo area.

The site later became the Rowe Manufacturing Co., and  the building's lower section was built into a massive, poured-concrete structure (almost like a military bunker), with an internal control works and several concrete outlet channels into the river, one of which is the outlet currently being used. The concrete structure and its control works and outlet channels still stand, vacant and unused, back in the woods on the river's north bank. Rowe was a major supplier of wooden accessories, such as furniture handles, wood turnings, and wood decoration and details. Much of its production went to the numerous wood furniture factories in the Grand Rapids area, known in the past as "Furniture City".

The Muskegon River here at Newaygo is sparkling and  gin clear, with a moderate flow as it courses to its outlet into Lake Michigan about 30 land miles southwest at Muskegon. It is a well-regarded stream for fishing for rainbow and brown trout, steelhead, chinook salmon, walleye and smallmouth bass.  The fall steelhead spawning run up from Lake Michigan will start soon.

The water is low enough right now to expose gravel bars as seen in this image, and even to wade all the way to midsteam at some points. A couple of days before this image on the preceding Sunday, fly fishermen were casting (and catching fish) standing midstream on the other side of the railroad bridge. I was hoping that I could include them in this image on Tuesday (there was no train on Sunday). But alas, no one was fishing this day. Go figure -- the fish were jumping!! I was "fishing" for a train, but I sure wish I also had my rod and reel with me on this perfect day.

And by the way, what appears to be a canoe paddle, hanging from the bridge at left center, is just that. It's painted with "Newaygo" in bright red letters with an arrow pointing to a longtime canoe livery on the south bank of the river up the hill behind me. The river is not only excellent for fishing, but popular for canoeing, kayaking and tubing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/20 21:18 by ironmtn.




Date: 10/15/20 21:15
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

3) About 7 miles south, the train passes the old feed mill and depot at Grant, Michigan at 11:41 AM ET. The blue-painted former station building at the right is now The Depot Restaurant. There is also an old water tank at Grant, but it is set off some distance from the track to the east (the right in this view), close to Michigan state highway 37 (or M-37, as we say). It is difficult to include in the shot in any case, and the area around it is currently cluttered with construction equipment as a new parking lot is being built for the town park (with its caboose in Chessie System paint). The water tank, believed to be the last original wood tank in the state, was moved off CSX property near the track and closer to the highway in 2008.

This train probably originated to the north at a wye junction with several setout tracks at Walhalla, Michigan. The tracks there are located just south of US 10 on Walhalla Rd. at the tiny crossroads of Walhalla (don't blink or you'll miss it ), located about midway between Baldwin and Ludington. There the line from Manistee (location of the MQT's shop) meets the branch from Ludington. The route continues east to Baldwin, and another wye junction there (complete with an old one-track concrete coaling tower). At Baldwin, the line continues south to White Cloud, Newaygo, Grant, Bailey, Casnovia, Kent City, Sparta, and on to Grand Rapids. The former route continuing east from Baldwin to Reed City, Clare and on to Bay City is gone, and much of it is a trail today. Friends who have ridden that trail say that it is a good ride, especially with fall color.

My understanding is that an MQT train from Grand Rapids or Sparta heads north to Walhalla and/or Baldwin on weekdays, setting out and picking up blocks from Manistee and Ludington at those junctions before heading back south to Grand Rapids. I have also seen it previously coming into Grand Rapids southbound midday on a Saturday, but I do not know if that is a regular movement that day. My understanding is that there normally is no Sunday operation.

This southbound train (with a hefty consist of 74 cars, mostly loads)  will terminate as usual at CSX's Wyoming Yard at Grand Rapids, where traffic will be interchanged to head east to Detroit or west to Chicago on CSX's ex-C&O nee-Pere Marquette track.

Marquette Rail / G&W corporate website with map: https://www.gwrr.com/railroads/north_america/marquette_rail#m_tab-one-panel

Marquette Rail railfan site, including links to a map and roster. Note: I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the operations schedule information on this site. Current operations appear to be similar in pattern, but different timewise. Comments welcome. Site link: http://railroadfan.com/wiki/index.php/Marquette_Rail

Power on this train for roster lookups: MQT 3408 (SD40-2), MQT 2042 (GP38-2) in UP Armour yellow, MQT 3391 (SD40-2), MQT 3389 (SD40-2).  

The 3408 leading the train is designated by the MQT on the side of the cab as an SD40-2, even though the trucks do not have the center axle snubbers, a common "-2" spotting feature. The other two "Forties" have all of the usual SD40-2 spotting features.




Date: 10/15/20 21:17
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

4) Another 14 miles, and the train passes the local elevator at Sparta, Michigan, where there is also a small MQT yard office, at 12:32 PM ET.

Sparta sits on the Fruit Ridge, a low, gently rolling ridge system extending northwest of Grand Rapids. With rich, loamy glacial soil, the micro-climate of the Ridge (near the temperature-moderating waters of Lake Michigan to the west) make it an outstanding fruit growing area. Mostly for apples (60-65% of Michigan's famous apples are grown here), but also for other fruits and vegetables. The apple trees are heavy with fruit right now, the harvest is in full swing, and the country stores, farm stands and cider mills are busy with visitors out on autumn leaf-peeping drives.

Folks out for a fall color drive...like me!  (Except I went looking for a colorful train, as well as colorful leaves!)
 
Thanks for coming along on this visit to western Michigan during this glorious autumn season.

MC



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/20 21:39 by ironmtn.




Date: 10/15/20 21:27
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: wabash2800

Thanks for the wonderful photos and detailed captions. Fall is such a wondeful season with the beauty and crisp air, but too short.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com



Date: 10/15/20 21:32
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: kevink

Very nice! The G&W colors go nicely with the fall foliage.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/16/20 03:33
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: bob01566

Terrific photos of a beautiful location - especially in the Fall.

The attached is from a glass plate negative in my collection and the station signage is "NEWAYGO".

I've always wondered where this image was from - might this be the same Newaygo?

Bob




Date: 10/16/20 05:29
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: refarkas

First-rate photos and excellent captions.
Bob



Date: 10/16/20 05:53
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: jbohdan2

Super post with great narrative and photos.  I haven't been up that way since the early 90's when CSX still operated to Ludington.  This series makes me want to go back.



Date: 10/16/20 08:22
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: dschlegel

Very neat!
Dan

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/16/20 08:53
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: RDG630

Simply beautiful!

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/16/20 11:10
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: bobk

Great shots!



Date: 10/16/20 19:46
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

bob01566 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Terrific photos of a beautiful location -
> especially in the Fall.
>
> The attached is from a glass plate negative in my
> collection and the station signage is "NEWAYGO".
>
> I've always wondered where this image was from -
> might this be the same Newaygo?
>
> Bob

Yes, that is the former depot in Newaygo, Michigan. Regrettably, it no longer stands. There are several photos which make it pretty easy to identify and match up on the michiganrailroads.com website, which has very good coverage for depots all around the state. Link to page with photos: http://michiganrailroads.com/stations-locations/126-newaygo-county-62/1587-newaygo-mi

From the third photo on the above page, it looks like the depot was situated right next to state highway 37 ("M-37" to us in Michigan) just southwest of the business district. This would be about one-half mile south of the river bridge.

Also, it appears from some searches that Newaygo, Michigan is the only community in the United States or Canada with that name. I checked several place name indexes, and there are no other "Newaygo's" listed. Our good friend Uncle Google also brings up no other towns named Newaygo (unless they are farther back than about page 10 in the search results, which is where I stopped reading).

Nice image of the depot. Thanks for posting it, a nice addition to the thread.

MC



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/20 19:48 by ironmtn.



Date: 10/17/20 11:23
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: 3rdswitch

Those are some great shots. Number one, tops.
JB



Date: 10/18/20 18:57
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: kenN

   Here is my one and only picture of the C&O depot at Newaygo, Michigan.  It's a shot of train #25, the northbound local from Grand Rapids to Traverse City.  I rode the train up and back after hearing it was up for discontinuance.  In fact, it was discontinued only a week or two after my trip.  Others can help with the exact date of its demise.
   The depot was located in a triangle created by the tracks on the northwest, highway M-37 on the south and Bridge St to the east.  Today, coming down the hill into town on M-37 it's hard to believe that the depot fit into the seemingly small spot.  Perhaps it appeared larger than life to me when I took the picture. 
   The train consisted of passenger GP-7 5886, Pere Marquette baggage 61, (one of two built for the original "Pere Marquette" post-WWII streamliner), and coach 828.
Ken Nagel
Grand Rapids, MI




Date: 10/19/20 03:25
Re: Colorful Train, Colorful Fall Foliage in Western Michigan
Author: ironmtn

Thank you, Ken, for the image of C&O #25 at Newaygo. A really interesting and historically useful image of the depot at Newaygo and the train. Also appreciate the consist information on the train. From what you said, it sounds like the depot was exactly where I thought it was in the "flat spot" on M-37 as you come down the hill traveling northward and briefly come right next to the tracks. I agree -- it's hard to imagine that the building was squeezed into that small triangle of land.

Like that Ford Econoline van in the image, too. I had reason to drive one of those with the open bed on occasion years ago, This image brought back some memories of those times.

Thanks much for a nice addition to the thread, and an enjoyable image. Much appreciated.

MC



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/19/20 03:29 by ironmtn.



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