2001: An ACR Odyssey!

In July of 2001 I was able to spend a couple of weeks in Upper Michigan and Northern Ontario to get the last of the ACR and WC before the CNR takeover this fall. I also had a really good day on the Lake Superior & Ishpeming, and Bryon Hill was another high point, with a lot of traffic and my first time there since it was double-tracked.

I also rode the Algoma Central twice (of course!), once to Canyon and back (on the regular passenger train, not the tour train), and then the next day went all the way to Hearst, the end of the ACR line where it joins with the Ontario Northland. The next morning it was back to the Soo. The branch line from Hawk Jct. to Wawa is gone, having been pulled up about a month ago. The rail is supposed to be welded together and then re-laid on the north end, between Mead and Oba. North of Mead it is already welded rail, again from older jointed rail welded together.

Frater Station, where I lived and worked for 2 years in the late '70's is now gone, nothing but a hole in the ground and some bricks scattered around. Hawk Station is closed and only used a couple of hours a day to sell passenger tickets. Searchmont Station is for sale, but it would have to be moved away from the tracks.

And then it was off to St. Louis for the National Train Show the weekend of July 13th. Too many toys and goodies there....:). At least I got a couple of new railroads on film around St. Louis. The last day of the trip was at Effingham, IL. at the IC/CSX diamond. Not too many trains that day though. 

A really nice trip all in all, and it certainly was fun to see some of the people I worked with 18 years ago (!) on the ACR and to be back in the Soo area.

Would you like prints of most any of these slides? Go to Desert-Rails.com for details!

acro1.jpg (73764 bytes) After an early morning start from Menominee, we arrived at Eagle Mills around 8am, and after signing releases, proceeded to get some shots of the U30C's and C30-7's that were switching some cars. Here is a U30C/C30-7 set at the east end of the yard. June 30, 2001.
acro2.jpg (62980 bytes) Here is a view of some of the ex Detroit Edison units bought for parts. They got 5 used U30C's for less than one new engine block would have cost! June 30, 2001.
acro3.jpg (57350 bytes) Late in the afternoon of June 30, another drag of taconite pellets is pushed up the hill to the ore dock.
acro4.jpg (80451 bytes) The next day it was off to Bryon Hill to get some Wisconsin Central photos. Here is a southbound train just arriving at Green Bay, and the second unit is an ex ACR GP38-2. July 1, 2001.
acro5.jpg (70260 bytes) Another southbound freight at N. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. July 1, 2001.
acro6.jpg (109160 bytes) And here we are at Byron Hill! The last time I was here was 5 years ago when it was still single track. This is a northbound coal train early in the afternoon of July 1, 2001.
acro7.jpg (104889 bytes) The great weather and lots of trains made this a good day to shoot a bunch of film, and here is a nice set of WC power southbound. July 1, 2001.
acro8.jpg (116880 bytes) Just after the train above passed by, this northbound came along, and again an interesting consist. Byron Hill, Wis. July 1, 2001.
acro9.jpg (90048 bytes) A southbound "all-rail" ore train just a little ways north of Byron Hill. July 1, 2001.
acro10.jpg (87741 bytes) Another ex ACR unit is spotted in helper service for the above train.....
acro11.jpg (88568 bytes) Another northbound with still another interesting consist! July 1, 2001 on Byron Hill, Wis.
acro12.jpg (82419 bytes) After a crew change at N. Fond du Lac, this northbound coal train is near Van Dyne, Wis. late in the afternoon of July 1, 2001.
acro13.jpg (84269 bytes) Monday, July 2 was a travel day to the Soo. Here is everything getting ready for the trip. Sure is a long way from sleeping in the back of a pickup truck :).
acro14.jpg (64575 bytes) And finally back to the ACR and God's Country after a 5 year absence! Here is the tour train (No. 4) at Searchmont on July 3, 2001.
acro15.jpg (106506 bytes) A little further south along the Searchmont Highway the sun is out for this "shoot from the car" scene....
acro16.jpg (98998 bytes) Then burn down the road to "Cattail Curve" for another shot of No. 4 on July 3, 2001.
acro17.jpg (80272 bytes) That evening the SOFD (Soo-Fond-du-Lac) is crossing the St. Mary's River with a "Jurassic Park" consist (nothing newer than the SD45 on the point!).
acro18.jpg (68914 bytes) A quick run across the bridge to the American side and we got the train at the Soo, Mich yard near the west end at the new yard office. July 3, 2001.
acro19.jpg (60093 bytes) At least it is an ACR boat! During the high sun time this day we watched the boats at the Sault Locks. July 4, 2001.
acro20.jpg (63875 bytes) Then we went back across to the Canadian side to get more shots of No. 4. Here it has 2 dome cars just south of Heyden, Ont. on July 4, 2001.
acro21.jpg (62366 bytes) Next day we got No. 2 at Searchmont.
acro22.jpg (107488 bytes) Later that evening the sun came out and I got my first shots of the Huron Central Ry., a shortline that took over the former Canadian Pacific branch between Sudbury and the Sault. July 5, 2001.
acro23.jpg (82529 bytes) The SOFD crossing south towards Soo, Mich. about an hour before sunset on July 5, 2001.
acro24.jpg (83839 bytes) Looking from the Canadian Locks towards the American side shows the SOFD stopped at the Lift Bridge for a downbound 1000 ft boat. July 5, 2001.
acro25.jpg (71841 bytes) Waiting its turn to head across the bridges to Sault, Ontario is the GBSO, here with the unit with the flags of the different provinces and states the WC operates in. July 5, 2001 at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
acro26.jpg (86666 bytes) Here is No. 3, the northbound Agawa Canyon Tour Train at Heyden on a nice bright sunny morning of July 6, 2001.
acro27.jpg (75392 bytes) Modelers take note! Here in the Huron Central yard at the Sault is this rack filled with old tires for recycling. This certainly is a different way to ship these tires! July 6, 2001.
acro28.jpg (90763 bytes) This is the power for Train 912, the eastbound that usually leaves the Sault around 9-10am. These SD45's are ex SP. July 6, 2001.
acro29.jpg (92666 bytes) Just east of the Sault is this steel bridge over the Root River, and 912 is on its way east towards Sudbury. July 6, 2001.
acro30.jpg (133384 bytes) We chased the train east as far as Thessalon, and got this photo from the Highway 17 overpass there. Thanks to Photoshop and its clone stamp tool I got rid of a big phone cable that was across the top of the photo just below the tree line..  :). July 6, 2001.

For the rest of the photos, click on the 2nd Section link below.

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This Web Page and all Photos on it are Copyright 2001 by Ted Ellis. All rights reserved.