MichiganRailroads.com - Lower Peninsula Railroads
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Posted by Elba Steve on 2/23/2017, 9:04 pm, in reply to "Question about D710/711"
CSX #D-710/711 is the daily except Sunday Flint to Port Huron and return train. It runs east as #711, and returns back to Flint the next day as #710. Tuesdays-Thursdays-Saturdays are always eastbound, Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays are always westbound back to Flint McGrew. Most of the time, Flint departure will be between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., but can vary at times. Returns to Flint is usually after 2 p.m. (into Flint) but again, can vary. There are a few times per year that they will run on Sunday, and usually that train will be #D-910 west and/or #D-911 east. Most of these D symbol trains consist of at least 95 percent propane tankers. Strange as it seems, they go east to Port Huron loaded, and come back empty. There are some plastic hoppers, and box cars that move with this train also, but not very many. Once is a blue moon, there will be a stray gon, or coil steel car. Trains average 25-40 cars, but I've seen them as much as 90 cars, and short trains can be as little as 8-12 cars. CN management smiles when CSX uses 2 units as power, but sometimes they will run with only 1 six axle unit. This makes CN management nervous, as engine failures a few years ago on the long grade east out of Davison caused some major headaches, and backed up a few CN trains for hours. One thing that CSX crews love about that 136# welded rail on the CN is the fact that they can run 60 mph most of the way...something they can't do in most other parts of their rail system in Michigan. Now a little extra history about these trains. Up 'till about 3 years ago, these trains would run over to Port Huron and back all in the same day, seven days a week. But CSX moved most local switching crews to Toledo, and eliminated Flint as a layover town for operating crews. When that happened, that's when the D-710-711 trains went to the over one day back the next schedule. Crews that run these two trains now bunk at either Port Huron, or Birch Run. I've heard many times on the scanner where a Flint to Port Huron crew calls for a taxi to pick them up in Port Huron and return them to Birch Run. Other times, they bunk at PH. There are occasional lite engine moves back and forth also, and these trains can be billed out as just about anything, with an X in front of the number. Hope this gives you an little insight as to what these trains do.
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