A Short History of the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad

This is a short chronological history of the LS&I.  There are many more details within the references listed below.

1892

The Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railway Company was organized. This is the basis for the name of the current railroad as well as the majority of the current operation.  The line was completed in 1896 and ran from Presque Isle (north side of Marquette) to Ishpeming.

1895

The Munising Railway Company was organized with lines from Princeton to Munising and Stillman to Cusino.

1896

Construction begins on a wooden ore dock in Presque Isle harbor.  It was completed in 1897.  The dock was 54 feet in height, 1200 feet long, and had 200 pockets 160 ton capacity each.  By 1910 it became obsolete.

1900

The Marquette and South Eastern Railway Company with a line from Big Bay to Lawson.

1910

Purchase of 8 Class C-5 steam lomotives from Alco-Pittsburgh at a cost of $14,335. They were renumbered in 1924 to 18 through 25.

1911

Construction begins on a new concrete ore dock and was completed in 1912.  This new dock was 75 feet high, 1250 feet long, 60 feet wide, and had 200 pockets of 250 tons each.  The Munising Railway Company and the Marquette and South Eastern Railway Company were consolidated to form the Munising, Marquette and South Eastern Railway Company.

1916

The Dead River bridge was rebuilt. It has a height of 104 feet above the Dead River and a length of 565 feet.  It has a Cooper's Rating of E-60 and a grade of 1.63%. Purchase of SC-1 steam locomotive number 35.

1923

The Munising, Marquette and South Eastern Railway Company merged with the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railway Company and the name Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company was created. The LS&I contributed 33 miles of the total of 173 miles of mainline of the new company.

1929

End of passenger traffic on the LS&I.

1939

Construction completed on breakwater in Presque Isle harbor to protect ships at the dock. The completed length is 2816 feet long.

1949

The name was changed from Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company to Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad Company. Also this year, the LS&I acquired one-half interest in the C&NW Michegamme Branch.  Construction of a new line from Duncan to Humboldt Mine and Republic Mine and was completed in 1952.

1950

Purchase of Alco RS-3 number 1604.

1954

Construction of a new line to the Eagle Mills Pellet Plant which was completed the next year.  This was the first large volume production of pellets on the Marquette Range. Purchase of Alco RS-3 number 1608.

1956

Purchase of Alco RSD-12 number 1801.

1957

Purchase of Alco RSD-12 number 1802.  Purchase of 200 taper side ore cars.

1958

The line to Big Bay was abandoned, which consisted of 24 miles of mainline.

1959

Purchase of Alco RSD-12 number 1803.

1961

Construction of a line to Empire Mine began.

1963

The Big Bay Branch was sold to the Marquette & Huron Mountain Railroad Company.  Purchase of Alco RSD-12 number 1804.

1964

Purchase of 2 GE U25C numbers 2500 and 2501.  Purchase of 100 hopper style ore cars.

1968

Purchase of 2 GE U23C numbers 2300 and 2301.

1969

Purchase of GE U23C number 2502.

1970

Purchase of 2 GE U23C numbers 2303 and 2304.

1972

Further construction on the Empire Mine tracks, which completed in 1974.  Purchase of 4 Alco RSD-12 numbers 1850, 1851, 1852, and 1853, from the Baltimore & Ohio.

1975

Purchase of 6 Alco RSD-15 numbers 2400, 2401, 2402, 2403, 2404, and 2405 from the Santa Fe.

1985

Purchase of 8 GE U30C locomotives, numbered 3000 - 3013.
 

References

Sandy Burton, Alligators in the North Woods, Railfan & Railroad, pp. 48-55, July 1985.
Iron Country Steam 83, U.P. Shortlines Model Railroad Club, 1983.
Mark Simonson, Lake Superior & Ishpeming, CTC Board, pp. 24-37, January 1990.
Patrick C. Dorin, The Lake Superior Iron Ore Railroads, Bonanza Books, New York, 1969.
 
 
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