I'm originally from Republic, so the E&LS branch with rails still running in to downtown Republic puzzles me. I know they've been doing car storage up to the Michigamme River bridge (with less now that the new siding is open).
What I don't understand is why they haven't abandoned the segment north of the river. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see trains run on it again, but I can't imagine there'll be an industry that's capable of filling a railcar economically, especially given the state of the track.
I stopped by the segment crossing the Fence River Road a few years back, and was surprised that they had brushed out the line back to the Michigamme River. However, whoever did it appeared to be somewhat off their game, as they broke the railhead in several places (I think I took photographs on the phone I had at the time, and I'll see if I can dig them up). Also, less than 1/4 of the ties were *not* rotten, and a buckled section of track was still there from when I used to play in the area 20 years ago.
Why would E&LS abandon the Ontanogon line to recover the rails, but not the Republic line?