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that has become a critical part of CN’s busy route between Chicago and west- ern Canada. CN ore traffic through the port of Es- canaba, Mich., received a blow in late April when Cliffs Natural Resources announced it will temporally shutter is Empire Mine beginning at the end of June and remaining in effect through October. Empire has been targeted for permanent shutdown at the end of 2016 and Cliffs says that timeline is still in place. A majority of this plant’s produc- tion is routed through Escanaba. There was similar news in Minnesota

where Steel Dynamics announced that it will extend the hot idle status of its Hoyt Lakes iron nugget operation until pig iron prices rise back above produc- tion costs. The facility was idled in Feb- ruary to reduce company-wide iron nug- get inventory and install equipment. CN handles finished iron nuggets from this plant in gondolas.

Magentation Bankruptcy

Weakening demand for iron ore and fall- ing prices for the commodity have put pressure on mining firm Magentation, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 5. Magnetation re- covers iron ore from old tailings dumps along the western end of the Mesabi Range in Minnesota and has developed into a major shipper for BNSF. In April AK Steel, Magnetation’s part-

ner and largest customer, said it may have to limit its relationship with Mag- netation and even look elsewhere for its iron ore. AK formed a partnership with Magentation to supply the steel compa- ny with around three million tons of pel-

Lehigh Valley Survivor Transformed

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of New Jersey’s Black River & Western, Pennsy Railcar Restorations painted its Lehigh Valley EMD SW1 No. 112 to honor one of BR&W’s fi rst diesels. The real BR&W No. 400 served the line for several years before it was sold to a Midwest grain elevator in the 1980s. The former Lehigh Valley SW1 will be painted into its as-delivered colors after the tourist season, so the green is only temporary. Pennsy Railcar also owns a Pennsylvania Railroad SW1, which is also being restored. “BR&W No. 400” is seen at Flemington, N.J., on its fi rst day of service in this scheme on May 23, 2015.


lets each year. BNSF handles trains of raw ore concentrate from Minnesota to Chicago where CSX takes over for move- ment to a new pelletizing plant located at Reynolds, Ind. From there the iron ore pellets are moved east to various AK mills.

Northshore Mining

During the first week of May CN de- livered two blue and white CIT SD- 9043MACs, 130 and 133, for use on mainline ore trains between NSM’s mine at Babbitt, Minn., and their processing plant located along the north shore of Lake Superior at Silver Bay. NSM will use the pair to replace three older SD40- 2/SD40-3 units now used on standard 156-car trains. The lease is reported to be for two years. NSM also received per- mission from regulatory agencies to ex- tend its Peter Mitchell taconite mine on the far eastern end of the Mesabi Range.


Homestake Pass Route Inspection

Montana Rail Link and BNSF Railway officials rode MRL’s six-car business train from Missoula to Butte on May 4 before boarding hi-rail trucks to inspect the long-closed Homestake Pass line. The former Northern Pacific line over Homestake Pass is still owned by BNSF and was last used in the early 1980s. The inspection trip quickly fueled ru- mors that the two railroads are planning on reopening it. However, BNSF officials were quick to dispel rumors, saying it

frequently inspects active and inactive rail lines and that there are no plans to reopen the line at this time. While railroad officials inspected the inactive route, the business train, powered by two SD70ACes, returned to Missoula.

Finale For SD45-2s

At the end of April the final six MRL SD45-2s that were leased to BNSF were returned to Livingston after having a final inspection in Glendive, Mont. Locomotives 319, 328, 330, 331, 332, and 355 were quickly put into storage upon arrival.

Outshopped Caboose

In late-April, MRL caboose No. 1005 (ex- Fort Worth & Denver) was moved from Laurel to Missoula, Mont., on the rear of the LM road freight. The caboose was given MRL’s newest logo and some fresh paint before being released back into ser- vice in early May. MRL still occasionally uses cabooses for locals and work trains.


Boot Hill & Western Boot Hill & Western Railway Holding

Co., Inc., has filed for acquisition and op- eration of the remaining approximately 10.2 miles of the Boot Hill & Western Railway (BHWR) in Ford County, Kan., and acquisition of the right to reactivate approximately 15.8 miles of contiguous rail line previously railbanked by BHWR


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