Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Ry.
DMIR's Steelton Switch heads back north near Oliver WI. The Switch interchanges cars with the Wisconsin Central and Union Pacific at South Itasca (South Superior). It normally runs twice a week and mainly consist of loaded gondola cars full of grinding balls and grinding rods bound for the mines on the Minnesota Iron Range.
(New) The 412 leads a set of empties north out of Waldo on the Iron Range Division.
(New) 414 heads downgrade to Waldo with a loaded train from the Minntac Mine.
The DM&IR's Proctor Roadswitch drifts downgrade near 40th Ave. West in Duluth with empty side dump cars bound for the Lakehead Storage Facility (next to the ore docks) to be loaded with limestone and dolomite that will be added to the taconite pellets during processing. Photo by Scott Carney.
Back in the 1980's the DM&IR directly interchanged with the Soo Line at their Superior WI. yard. Here we see a short transfer getting ready to depart Stinson Yard south back to the DM&IR connection at Ambridge on the Interstate Branch. Photo by Dan Mackey.
Power awaits the next call of duty at DMIR's Proctor Yard. All three remaining types of units left on the roster are represented. SDM's( rebuilt SD9/18's) SD38's and SD40-3's. June 2001.
Power descends Steelton Hill out in Gary/New Duluth in the Fall of 1991. Photo by Paul Enenbach.
A loaded ore train arrives Collingwood at the base of Proctor Hill on the approach to DMIR ore dock #6. Summer 1991. Photo by Paul Enenbach.
A loaded train departs Keenan Yard on the Iron Range for points north. Summer 1991. Photo by Paul Enenbach.
SD38 #217 climbs up Proctor Hill under the brilliant display of fall colors in the Northland. Sometime called the Maple Belt, this is the separation between the softwoods found commonly along the shores of Lake Superior and the hardwoods found farther in land. Photo by Dave Schauer. Sept 2000.
DMIR's Steelton Switch pulls cars upgrade out of the St, Louis river basin toward Proctor. This location is off the Becks Rd. north of Gary/ New Duluth. July 2001.
SD38 #221 leads an empty ore train up Proctor Hill near Sprit Mountain in April 2001. As you can see winter does not leave quickly up in the northwoods.
An loaded crude ore train passes through Iron Jct. MN on its way back to the Thunderbird South Mine near Virginia MN. These crude ore trains are easy to photograph on the Range due to the regular schedule they operate on. The crews will go one duty at Keenan Yd. and make two to three round trips per shift each day depending on demand for ore at the Evtac plant near Forbes MN.
Two sets of power prepare to depart DMIR's Keenan Yd on different jobs. This yard is the main yard for the Missabe on the Range and can be a hot bed of activity with the MRF (Miscellaneous Road Freight) picking up and dropping off cars, the crude ore trains going on and off duty and the BNSF interchanging cars between the two roads. Feb. 1996.
The 410 leads a SDM rebuild and a former B&LE SD38 #861 on a Steelton bound All-Rail ore train as they prepare to depart the Evtac pellet plant near Forbes MN. Feb 1996.
SD40-3 #414 leads two other SD40-3's on the southbound MRF (Miscellaneous Road Freight). near the Hwy. 33 overpass at Saginaw MN. These trains operate out of Two Harbors on one day and then out of Proctor the next setting out and picking up cars for the remaining customers on line. Feb 1996.
SD40-3 #402 leads a Minorca (Ispat) Mine to Proctor yard taconite train at Coons Siding just south of Saginaw MN. Coons Siding is the first siding encountered by DMIR trains going north and is frequently the site of meets between loaded and empty trains. Aug. 2000
SD38 #205 smokes up Two Harbors MN on it's downhill (3% grade) run. The DMIR has two lines out of Two Harbors MN. This line is primarily used for loaded southbound trains (but will occasionally see empties go north) with the other more gradual (1.5%) northbound climb favored for empty trains.
SD40-3 #412 and sister pull a empty train up the 3% grade of the DMIR's southbound main at Waldo MN, north of Two Harbors. As you can see the tracks literally fall off the face of the earth behind the train. To the right is the 1.5% northbound grade that is normally favored for empty trains. Photo by Dave Schauer.
SD40-3 #407 leads a WC/DMIR All-Rail Fairfield train on the DMIR's Spirit Lake Branch just south of Proctor MN at the North Cloquet Rd. crossing. The Missabe cooperates with the WC and the UP on a number of All-Rail moves through out the year, with the majority of All-Rail movement occurring during the winter months when Lake Superior is frozen over and the lake vessel traffic is laid up. Sept 1999.
A northbound DMIR limestone train departs Proctor Yd. and is about to pass under the St. Louis River Rd. north of Proctor. This location is a favorite among railfans as you can observe the operation of the yard from a public road and get some decent high angle shots of trains departing in the afternoon. Aug. 2000. Photo by Christopher Tully.
The DMIR backhauls limestone to two of the plants on the range it serves. Here is a Minorca Mine bound train leaving Proctor MN with limestone loads on the head end. The stone will be added to the taconite pellets during processing, which in turn saves a step at the steel mill and allows for more pellet storage at the mill dock on account they no longer have to store the limestone. Photo by Dave Schauer, Sept. 2000
High hoods on the hill. The DMIR was famous for their locomotive roster both steam and diesel. Here we see three high hood SD's pulling an empty dock train past another famous photo location, Spirit Mountain Curve on the famed Proctor Hill. Spring 1987.
With the close association to other US Steel roads, some DMIR units have found themselves sent down to Alabama and out to Ohio. The 302 herself was transferred to the EJ&E in Chicago in April 1997 but not before leaving the DMIR shops in Proctor MN without a fresh coat of orange paint and silver trucks.
A Two Harbors bound pellet train passes through Allen Jct. (on the DMIR's Iron Range Division) on its southbound journey. Allen Jct. was a busy place, with the mainline from Ely MN joining here from the Vermillion Iron Range. Today only part of the Old Ely Main exists to serve as a outside connection to LTV in Hoyt Lakes. Aug 1997.
SD40-3 #405 leads another southbound pellet train through Skibo MN. Chasing train on the DMIR's Iron Range Division is not difficult as long as you plan ahead and carry a copy of the Minnesota Atlas and Gazetteer, which is also usefully in chasing trains on LTV and Northshore Mining. June 2000
The #405 passes a relic of the past in the form of a old bridge abutment (to the right of the 405) from the General Logging Company rail line at Fairbanks MN. In the early 1900's logging was as much a way of life as iron mining. A number of logging railroads followed the North Shore of Lake Superior hauling cut white pine to market. You can still find signs of these lines today, for after they were abandon a number of them became dirt roads. June 2000
A night shot of SD38 #201 idling away on the service tracks in Proctor. Proctor is DMIR's major facility and on any given day (morning being the best time to shoot pictures here) units can be found awaiting their next assignment.
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