Escanaba & Lake Superior no longer reaches Lake Superior
Published: May 22, 2012
ONTONAGON, Mich. – Short line Escanaba & Lake Superior is in the process of pulling approximately 12 miles of track between Rockland, Mich., and Ontonagon. E&LS, founded as a logging railroad in 1898, did not reach its namesake Lake Superior until 1980, when it acquired the Milwaukee Road’s lines north of Green Bay, Wis. The primary source of the railroad’s business in Ontonagon was the former Champion Paper mill. It was closed by owner Smurfit-Stone in 2009 and has since been demolished.
The line to Ontonagon was laid with lightweight rail from the 19th century, but a few years after the acquisition of the line, the E&LS installed heavier rail. Now the heavier rail can be used elsewhere, so the railroad is pulling up the line into Ontonagon. For now, the depot and rail in the Ontonagon yard remain intact, and the E&LS is retaining ownership of the right-of-way, in the event new business opportunities develop in the Lake Superior city.
« Back to index