RRHX - Michigan Railroad History
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Re: Conrail 80s and 90s opps in lower Michigan
The crew for WDGR1 (previously would have been WMGR before the Michigan Division was combined with the Detroit Division) was based out of Hughart but as far as I know they cabbed to Plainwell. They would work north to Wayland, not sure if they went farther than that. In the early 80s, out of Kalamazoo there was the east/west local WMKA1/2, later WDKZ1/2, which ran west to Niles Tue/Thurs and east to Albion M/W/F. WDKZ would often have a good sized train of covered hoppers that would be dropped on the North Pass (north side of the main at Botsford) before being picked up later to head south. Going back farther there was JK/KJ between Kalamazoo and Jackson, not sure if that handled local switching or not. One of the Conrail schedules notes that KJ handled trailvans to connect with an eastbound road train at Jackson. There was also WMKA3 based out of Botsford which ran south to Three Rivers. I would guess this local was annulled and the work combined with WMST (WDST), which was apparently originally based out of Sturgis. In the mid 90s it was based at Three Rivers and would occasionally come up to Botsford, otherwise it would come as far north as Centre St in Portage to serve the lumber company there. At this point it would have been based out of Three Rivers, but it was still symbol WDST. Later I understand the symbol was changed to WDTR. The power was often kept on what was called "the GM siding" behind the old GM plant. That was where GREL made their pickup, and I presume ELGR made their setout there too.
Interesting sidenote is that traffic at Elkhart for Sturgis was classified for train 696 at Conrail's beginning, which is the only numbeic train designation I've noticed on the Conrail freight schedules. Under Penn Central I believe it was 692/693 that ran between Elkhart and Hillsdale.
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