RRHX - Michigan Railroad History
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Re: Where was
Posted by jimnorthwood
on 2/19/2015, 6:41 pm, in reply to "Where was
Sure, Alex. First, my uncle's business, Maintenance Engineers, Inc. was located on the "new" C&O main (Flint Belt Line), on Dort Hwy near Richfield Road. He moved the business into that building from its former location, partially on account it had a rail siding out back. Maintenance Engineers, Inc. specialized in the installation of large industrial boilers. Many of his contracts were with (federal and state) government and included Kincheloe and Wurtsmith AFB's, as well as the former Lapeer State Hospital. C&O story: one day one of his employees was on the back of their property looking for something, when he noticed that one section of rail that led from their switch to their siding, had been removed. He told my uncle, who called the local C&O field agent. The field agent told my uncle that C&O was only interested in customers that were shipping or receiving "x" number of cars per year (if my uncle told me what the value of "x" was I've forgotten). C&O customers that did not make the minimums faced having their sidings disconnected. He also told my uncle that if he didn't like the new policy, that he should sue. My uncle felt he didn't do enough business with C&O (he received carloads of pipe, not a lot, as well as the occasional oversize shipment) to make a lawsuit a worthwhile financial proposition. So he switched to truck for the pipe, and GTW for the oversized. GTW story: my uncle had a contract to replace a boiler at the former Lapeer State Hospital. GTW delivered the boiler to Lapeer, and my uncle's crew unloaded and installed it. A month later my uncle got a huge demurrage bill from GTW. This time he called the GTW field agent to complain. This guy was very congenial, and encouraged my uncle to sue GTW, so he did. He won, and after the hearing my uncle, his lawyer, and the GTW lawyer all went out for lunch and had a grand time. Here is what I wish I knew, that I don't, and I will never know on account my uncle is no longer with us: did he have an oversized shipment delivered to Kincheloe via the Soo Line? Did he have an oversized shipment delivered to Wurtsmith via the D&M (or somewhere on the parallel NYC/PC and then trucked to Oscoda?) I sure wish I could ask him! My uncle took Maintenance Engineers, Inc. through more than one recession, and what he saw in the late 1970's scared him. So he sold Maintenance Engineers, Inc. in 1981 and retired. The guy who bought the business was not successful with it, and it went under a few years later. End of story!