Michigan Northern (MIGN) started service in 1984 on the ex-MIGN/PC/PENN/???? from Comstock Park Jct. to Ashton (71 miles). In 1989 they acquired the line from Baldwin to Evart (32 miles). In the early 90's the line was cut back from Ashton to Reed City (lost customer in Ashton). In the late 90's the line was cut back from Baldwin to Reed City (interchange with CSX moved from Baldwin to Grand Rapids). At this time total track mileage is 77 miles. Interchanges are with CSX (via trackage rights in Wyoming Yard) and GDLK (via the sand transload yard north of Fuller Jct.) in Grand Rapids.
Engine Roster History:
- Started out in 1984 with a pair of ex-MIGN/AC GP-7's
- Added an ex-Chessie GP-9's in 1997
- Retired both GP-7's and the GP-9 around 2000 and acquired a pair of ex-CR SD38's and a pair of ex-CR GP38's. Units rebuilt to -3 standards.
Engine house is in Reed City
- Initially serviced handful of customers from Rockford to Ashton including Rockford Paperboard (inbound chemicals, paper scrap and outbound cardboard), Martin Marietta in Cedar Springs (inbound agricultural Lime), Howard City Paper (outbound scrap paper bales), Yoplait Yogurt in Reed City (inbound feedstock) and Lake States Lumber in Ashton (outbound pulpwood logs). There were a handful of other small customers.
- On the Baldwin-Evart line initially serviced Evart Products in Evart (inbound plastic pellets).
Current Customer List:
- Display Pak in Cedar Springs opened in 2015 and receives about 3 cars of plastic pellets per week.
- Truss Technologies in Cedar Springs opened in 1992 and receives 1-4 cars a month of lumber.
- MAC in Howard City opened in 1997 receives some fertilizer and ships out 1,000-1,400 cars a year in small car lots up to 90 car units.
- Sietsema Farm Feeds in Howard City (shares a siding with MAC) opened in 2001 and receives 13-18 cars per week of feed ingredients.
- Ice Mountain in Stanwood opened in 2011 and receives 3-5 cars of plastic pellets per week.
- Yoplait Yogurt in Reed City has been a customer from the beginning and still receives 5-7 cars of week a various sweeteners.
- Lake States Lumber in Reed City has been a customer from the beginning but moved it's loading from Ashton to Reed City in the early 90's when carloads dropped from 5-9 cars per week to 1-2. However, they wait until they can load 4-6 cars then they ship so service is usually about once a month.
- Michigan Pot Ash (formerly Kalium/IMC Pot Ash) opened in 1997 in Hersey. Shipped 720 cars of pot ash the first year and have grown substantially since. Currently they ship 85-113 cars a week. They are projected to possibly double again in the next 5-10 years. Most of the cars go to CSX in unit trains for export (China is a major destination). However, many cars got out in smaller blocks up to 50-75 car units to fertilizer terminals around the country.
- Ventra Evart (formerly Evart Products, Collins Aikman and Textron) has been a customer from the beginning. They still receive around 2 cars of plastic pellets a week.
Operations consists of the crew going on duty M-F at 7am and running where ever needed. They average 2-3 round trips between Grand Rapids and Hersey and once a week go to Evart.
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