Aug 09-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: August: Aug 09-05
Wisconsin Central Ltd.    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Misty Bond

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:28 am:

Seeing how far you can walk while balancing on the rail, placing coins to be run over and flattened by a speeding train, walk along stepping only on the wooden timbers…there are just so many things to do along a railroad track, but of course the number one thing is to stay out of the way of any oncoming trains! Misty Bond reminds us that there are still trains around, even if they aren't as abundant as they were in the mining days here in the U.P. Tracks used to run all over the Keweenaw Peninsula, but today, all of them north of Houghton have been removed. A little beyond Baraga is the furthest north they reach now, where this Wisconsin Central Ltd. Train looks to be coming or going. Choo, choo!!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:34 am:

Don't we miss the old time things today. Glad to hear you on board, Mary,

By Randall Ollila (Rwolli) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:46 am:

Morning All,
Riding along with our parents on the Seney Hwy. used to try and get the engineers to blow the train whistle as we went by. Thanks for shaking the memory tree Misty. Enjoy the day.

By Brad of Canton (Bradofcanton1) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:56 am:

Any word on the fire out at Rice Lake/ Big Traverse area? We spent last week camping out on the north end of Rice Lake at my sisters place.


By Marc Slis (Marc) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 08:04 am:

I've heard that at least 700 hundred acres have burned and as of this morning it is still burning but under control. No one injured or killed, no homes lost.

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 08:13 am:

Mary, Hope you are feeling better and able to move around a little more. ;)
Yep...yep...yep...remember doing all those things as a kid, along the railroad tracks. :)

By Debra J McCumber (Debrajean) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 08:33 am:

Mary's thoughts about the RR tracks today really made me smile, as I remember doing all of those things as a kid and still do them from time to time today! : )
Have a great day everyone!

By PAUL M CHRISTENSEN (Pungvait) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 08:46 am:

don't forget--there is an operating steam railroad in Lake Linden.

By Brian R. Juntikka (Polkatime) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 09:22 am:

Great picture that brings back vivid memories of the Copper Range Railroad. Those familiar red and grey Baldwin diesels they had and the sounds they made were as welcome and as comfortable as a good old shoe. When I lived on Frenchtown Road in Atlantic Mine as a toddler, the track was right behind our house. Moved to South Range at the age of five and guess what - the track was only a block away. Trips to the farm in Obenhoff meant crossing the track by Riipi's sawmill and a ride to Freda often gave you a good view of the train crossing bridge 41 - the Beacon Hill Trestle. In 1962, my Mother and Dad bought a summer cottage at Twin Lakes and the Copper Range Railroad was there, too.

Barney Niemitalo drove a milk truck for the Copper Country Dairy for many years and he lived right next to the track on Third Street in South Range. Day and night - year after year - the trains passed his house with four toots of the horn and a lot of rumble. A year after the trains quit running, Barney said he was still having trouble falling asleep at night. He said the silence was deafening.

By JoAnne, Washington State (Davejostef) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 10:35 am:

In the 70's, I lived for a number of years on Tenth St. in Calumet. The trains still came and went then, using the depot on Ninth St. I LOVED to hear them coming and going.

Every time we visit, of course I go and check out the old homestead and drive by that old depot. Never understood why someone didn't buy that thing and refurish it into a store, museum, restaurant, SOMETHING. Could be such a distinguished looking building. Sigh....

By Charles in Adrian (Charlesinadrian) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 11:58 am:

When it comes to railroads, I have always been mystified by the
apparent prosperity of the old Soo Line. I don't think it ever
hauled ore, and it stuck to mostly small places rather than going
into any big town. Yet when my wife and I drove thru Gladstone
last week, the Soo Line yards were just packed with freight cars.
Clearly, they seem to be doing lots of business. But where and
how do they do it? Anyone know?

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 12:28 pm:

The Copper Country Limited was a boon to local folks who had to travel to Chicago or Milwaukee for meetings. They could get on the evening train, ride all night, attend their meeting the next day, and return that night. The road beds were bumpy and we called the train the Square Wheeler. I used to take the Soo line across Wisconsin to college. My folks drove me up to Hermansville to catch the 11 pm train. We'd rent pillows for 25 cents, arrive in St. Paul at 7:30 am. I'd grab a streetcar and ride down to the corner of Snelling and Grand, run to the dorm and then to my 8 am class. The Soo line had a L-O-N-G stayover at Pembine in order to make contacts and
trade baggage with the Copper Country Limited. The Soo Line also stopped at every cow on its way across Wisconsin, but it served absolutely heavenly French Toast.

By Happy to be in da UP (Lahelo) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 12:55 pm:

I remember as a kid balancing from one foot to the other trying to walk down the rail on the railroad tracks. Which I was able to do then. I tried it a year or so ago. I still can balance myself, pretty good yet! I also remember walking the tracks walking on the wood beams, counting them as you go. Ahhhhhhhhhhh..........brings back memories!!

By George P. Larson (Gplarson1) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 01:45 pm:

Two messages caught my eye about trains in the UP. One about living on 10th Street in Calumet in the 70's and another about the Copper Country Limited. I used to ride the Copper Country Limited to Calumet from the Chicago area in the 50's to visit my Grandfather, Pat Brennan, who lived on Eighth Street in Calumet. I can't understand how they could let the Calumet depot deteriorate as they did. As a child, I was always impressed by that building. I remember riding the train with my Grandfather as they backed it out of the station onto a siding to turn it around for the return to Chicago. Ahh, those were the days!

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 02:47 pm:

Ahh how times change...
"Those familiar red and grey Baldwin diesels they had and the sounds they made were as welcome and as comfortable as a good old shoe."
"I LOVED to hear them coming and going."

Ditto that!

I was fortunate to have ridden the ol' CC Limited to and from da Tech in the early 60's, one trip in each direction - even splurged on a private compartment ("roomette") on one trip -- such luxury! ... That and for the other extreme of "luxury", several trips on the ol' DSS&A (Dust, Sand, Soot & Ashes) and the railroad ferries in the late 40's and early 50's.

I fear that if they'd try to bring trains back today, all you'd hear would be:
"Smelly, noisy trains? Not in my backyard!"

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 03:15 pm:

You know it's a good day when three posts in a row have the word, "Ahh. . ."! And JAD's very interesting post should have, in speaking of the french toast.

By derek tuoriniemi (Derek) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 03:32 pm:

Just a bit of railroad info. The old Soo line was bought out years ago and is now a part the Canadian Pacific RR. These Wisconsin Central locos in the picture are really Canadian National locomotives since CN bought out the WC a few years back. The yard in Gladstone is a Canadian National Yard which handles freight going between Green Bay and the Soo, Ontario, and to wherever it goes beyond there. The yard in Gladstone also handles taconite from the Empire and Tilden mines going to Algoma Steel in the Soo, Ont.

By Richard Wieber (Dickingrayling) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 03:33 pm:

The Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic was known by my family back in the 30-40s as "Darn slow service and abuse". This is the second time I've written this. The first time the site didn't like the real first word.

By Downstatedon (Downstatedon) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 04:55 pm:

I would take the train from Calumet to L'Anse
years ago. It would go under the Houghton lift
bridge. It was a memorable ride in the Winter.
Too bad they couldn't do something with the old
train station in Calumet.

By Alex J. Tiensivu (Ajtiensivu) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 05:56 pm:

I wonder if that old Steam Train still runs through Mohawk... Or if that old track that runs along Union Street is even used anymore!

By Jon Maninga (Yooper1963) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 06:31 pm:


Not the steam train does NOT run through Mohawk any more,

I kind of remember that train, but that goes back to the early 70's. I know when I entered high school it was not running and that was 78... Maybe someone else can narrow it down more...

By dan belo (Djbelo) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 06:33 pm:

I can only guess that the U.S. mail kept the R.R. going untill they changed to truck, plus the closing of C&H copper industry ,scrap copper hauled in, cutting the traffic, profit, to very little,finished the train service.--?I sure think it was a tradgedy to lose train service which made the country prosper!

By Erica - Florida Keys (Erica) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 06:58 pm:

I love trains. As a youngster I would travel by train from my aunt's home in Detroit to my grandparent's home in Traverse cool. And watching trains at night and wondering where they were going well,that really fired up the old imagination.

By maija (Maijami) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:09 pm:

I've been reading my mothers journals and have come across 2 times when she set off from Detroit by train to arrive in Calumet. (or somewhere where her Dad picked her up.) Long hard journey. She took me as a baby. WOW!

By Lulubelle/Hancock (Lulubelle) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 07:55 pm:

I took my children for the last ride in the early 70's on the train from Calumet to Hancock. A group of us mothers decided it would be memorable for the children after it had been advertised in the Gazette.

By Therese Carson (Therese) on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - 09:33 pm:

I miss traveling the Amtrak from Dearborn to Chicago. I really miss seeing England through the window of those funky old local milk runs that are disappearing from the countryside. Rails to trails is a second-best option: I miss the trains. We were shortsighted to subsidize automotive travel by building the highway system at public expense while allowing rail travel to collapse by expecting it to be self-supporting. Now we are fighting wars to guard our pipelines to foreign oil because our cars suck up more petroleum than our country can supply.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 12:25 am:

Our shift away from rails was Government subsidized via support of the Interstate system and airports. Sometimes, most notably in Los Angeles and New Orleans, members of the auto and oil industries bought up the Interurban systems and operated them with the intent to fail. Thus, Los Angeles has smog, clogged freeways, and no Pacific Electric Interuban. New Orleans has just a short remenent of its streetcar system. In the Copper Country, the old DSS&A/Soo Line was railbanked through to Lake Linden. The powers that were in Houghton ignored the state and encroached and, in some places, blocked the right of way, MTU, I believe, also ignored the rail bank rules. When there was the possibility of an operator reopening the line, the line was blocked and the possible legal expenses killed the chance. Instead of loading logs in Lake Linden, the logs are trucked over the bridge and through Houghton. Later attempts to open the line to the Isle Royale sands met with very strong NIMBY oposition from home and cottage owners along the right of way - one or two trains a week would be be too noisy and dangerous. ATV's and Snowmobiles are much quieter and safer.
The Soo Line was controlled by the Canadian Pacific for most of its history as was the DSS&A. The Soo did haul iron ore on the Gogebic and Cuyuna (MN) ranges. The DSS&A hauled iron ore on the Marquette Range. DSS&A cousin, the Mineral Range was owned by Cananian Pacific and C&H and was heavily involved in serving the Copper mines up until the 1923 C&H consolidation.

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