Major tie replacement and resurfacing is now underway between Richmond and Tappan with work completed (headed north) as far as the Belle River Valley. Old ties marked and new ties staged through Smiths Creek, with the tie gang camped out in the Richmond siding. Several relay houses/bungalows and associated signal equipment remain at Smiths Creek depot. With all rural (read Dirt) crossings in Macomb County now protected with gates and flashers, St. Clair County is now moving in the same direction. Sturdevant Road will receive protection in the near future, while over a dozen other crossings are being rebuilt this summer.
For the first time since 1859 (yeah, you read it right), Mount Clemens is without any railroad customers with the loss of Phoenix Stone aggregate business this year. Also lost was the Great Lakes Paper business in Fraser. This was switched by L524 out of Port Huron in the past, and unless L515 is coming up that far north from Detroit, then they are not currently utilizing the services of CN. Only two customers remain between PH and East Detroit, Carter Lumber and B&D drywall, both in Clinton Twp. That's down from 47 active customers in 1955, and 21 in 1970. Interesting to note, however, that even with the customers dormant, the switches are being left in place and rebuilt with electric locks for the CTC project. Since the customer pays to keep a switch in place, they must not have given up on rail service just yet.
Train counts and symbols remain stable, with 4 manifests (M382, M383, M384, M385), two intermodals (L533S, L533N), one autorack (E271)(running generally 4 days a week), and 3 locals (L524, L515, and 950). Extra sections of manifests are common, as well.
The days of the sleepy old steam era 100lb jointed rail track warrant quiet branch - are over.
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