MichiganRailroads.com - Upper Peninsula Railroads
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Re: shark units
If you are looking for action on active lines you will eventually yield results on the Trout Lake to Newberry and maybe Munising if you do a lot of chasing. Same goes with Baraga sub west of Marquette. At Marquette there's lots of ore car action there at the dock and mines. Not too familiar with traffic tween trout Lake and Escanaba since I've not spent much time there since early 90's but the rails that cross US 2 are in great shape indicating lots of movement. Western UP/ELS is Greg Bunce country and he will know schedules there including recent talk of car storage movement on the abandoned tracks tween Covington and Sidnaw. That leaves White Pine sub which is idle.
Trout Lake is great in that there is the convergence of 3 lines with lots of tracks and when a train comes through it is cool cause they slow way down and you can almost walk along side but:
Disclaimer alert: DON'T CAUSE IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO WALK NEAR A TRAIN!
As for historical fanning, get yourself a Michigan Gazeteer mapbook as there are tons of history to find. If you are into old trestles this alone could keep you busy as any old grade crossing a river will probably have one. Don't be afraid of turning down a two track if you think there's something there. Up there rule is if it isn't posted it's fair game. At least not during hunting season.