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Michigan Rail Conference Participants Visit U.P. Rail Sites

TrainThe Michigan Rail Conference is an event designed to gather stakeholders in rail transportation to discuss facets of the industry.

The 4th annual conference, held in the Upper Peninsula, gave participants a first hand look at local rail sites.

One of those sites was the Eagle Mine’s Humboldt Mill, where just outside, the unique railroad company that serves the mill was on display.


“We are really blessed to have the Mineral Range, which is a fairly new railroad, and that’s pretty unique,” said Pasi Lautala, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech.

“Mineral Range is a small family startup short line railroad,” said Clint Jones, President of the Mineral Range Railroad. “We ran our first train on October 1st of 2014 and we’ve been hard at it ever since.”

Jones said that the conference provided the small company a chance to familiarize other players in the rail industry with its presence while also allowing for networking opportunities.

Lautala says the conference and subsequent tours also served to drive home the importance of rail transportation.

“Even though we are a somewhat remote area in the Upper Peninsula, the rail transportation is a really important part of our economy and our transportation network up here,” Lautala added.

Jones believes the rail industry still plays a big part in the nation’s economy.

“Railroads still do handle a little over forty percent of all the ton-miles in commercial freight that moves in the United States,” said Jones. “We can move freight for one fourth to one sixth of the fuel consumed per ton-mile on our trucking friends. It’s the most environmentally friendly form of transportation there is.”

For the original story and video from ABC-10’s Andy Kulie, visit http://abc10up.com/michigan-rail-conference-takes-a-closer-look-at-local-rails-2/

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