You are here

OreRail Top 10 of 2013

dmir227's picture

Drum roll please as we count down the top 10 news items on OreRail for 2013.

10. LS&I tested a rebuilt EMD unit (NREX 3600) but it didn’t compare well to their leased GEs. The leased GEs continue to hold down most assignments but a handful of older GEs (ex-BN) are active and have seen regular service in 2013.  

9. Kirkus Street in Proctor opened during July, affording railfans a new elevated vantage point to view ore trains rolling up and down Proctor Hill.

8. During 2013 the elevated GN dock office and maintenance shed was removed at Allouez and the Soo Line ore dock was removed in Ashland.

7. CN’s planned track, dock and signal work on former DM&IR track was partially completed. Signal work near Wolf was underway in December while switch and tie work was completed in the summer. Siding expansions and work around Largo was not done in 2013 although work was completed on existing track as well as dock No. 6 in Duluth.

6. Ferromex locomotives were a common sight operating on Magnetation and Unitac all-rail ore trains, including a few trains with four Mexican units – making for quite an interesting sight.  

5. Large mining operations in Wisconsin (Gogebic Taconite) and Minnesota (Essar and Polymet) moved forward at various paces. Essar will likely produce taconite in 1Q 2015 while Polymet finally is in the EIS approval stage and Gogebic is continuing test boring.

4. Missabe 215 (SD38-2) and 403 (SD40-3) ended 2013 still in service and wearing maroon and gold. It is hoped they can make it to the 10thAnniversary of CN’s purchase in May, 2014.  

3. A portion of a former LS&I ore line in the Upper Peninsula is being rebuilt to serve a copper operation. Shortline Mineral Range will serve the concentrator and has acquired former LTVSMC Also C-420 7222, which was moved from Hoyt Lakes to Michigan. It is highly unusual to see an abandoned rail line that is now a trail reactivated for rail service.

2. The steam-era D&IR roundhouse and shops in Two Harbors were removed in October. Once dominant features of the area, these buildings had become liabilities for the City of Two Harbors and they were removed. The city hopes to turn the property into a light industrial park.

1. Fortunately they don’t happen often but when they do it is a major news story. That describes the runaway ore train CN experienced on December 5 when a Minntac train lost control on the steep descent into Two Harbors and derailed 93 new ore cars (most of which were scrapped on site). Two crew members jumped and were injured while two others rode out the derailment and were not injured. The five locomotives on the train were reportedly not seriously damaged.  

Dave Schauer

Duluth, MN