RRHX - Michigan Railroad History
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Re: North End Saginaw Sub Autoracks and Trains?
Here's some help. I worked at Buick for 39.5 years. During my time there, auto production ran between 1967 and 1998. There was always at least one assembly plant running, and quite a bit of that time there was two. Production varied between the plants, but, when they were running two plants full tilt, there were times that daily production totaled around 2000 cars per day. About 55% of that production went out of Flint by rail. The remaining by truck. That means that 1100 auto's would go by rail. So a quick calculation at 15 autos per autorack would mean that each day, C&O/Chessie/CSX would ship about 74/75 loaded autoracks daily. As time went on, in the mid 80's, Buick refurbished both assembly plants into one, and that is when the term Buick City came about. After that, production was never over 60 cars per hour, or a total for 2 shifts of 960 per day (in good times). Sometimes the plant would drop to one shift as was the situation during the mid to late 90's before it's closure in July on 1998. So, using the same formula as above, 55% of 960 divided by 15 would give the daily outflow of autoracks a total of about 35/36. Now, during the early to mid 90's, CSX and GTW entered into an agreement for autoracks to be shipped into and out of Flint with GTW going into CSX McGrew yard with empty racks, and taking loaded ones out and over to Torry yard for transporting on GTW lines. During this time, Chevy Truck and Bus, also sent some loaded racks via GTW into CSX McGrew yard, for CSX to ship out. So it was a short period of interesting movements around the Flint area. Now, lets get into what happened after Buick shut down. For a while, Chevy Truck and Bus set up a small loading ramp near Coldwater Road overpass, and actually drove some trucks over there for loading onto CSX trains. Not a lot went that way, but, I was told for the sake of fleet sales, those trucks went that way. None of that has taken place to my knowledge in the last ten years. However, empty autoracks still show up once in a while in McGrew yard and some were stored out at Atwood Junction/Maple road yard as late as last month. No auto production was ever done in Saginaw, but, it is possible that sometimes if McGrew was filled up, trains would go to Saginaw and drop off the racks until needed in Flint. I hope this helps. Steve