Above: Lake State Railway’s attitude toward preserving heritage is most evident in Saginaw Yard, with the company still utilizing the Pere Marquette turntable and roundhouse for maintaining locomotives on the property.
This year, one of Michigan’s most important and most-loved shortlines has reached a milestone: 25 years of serving the great lakes region in transportation. That’s right – Lake State Railway turns 25 this year and is celebrating their anniversary in a big way. Rolling out earlier this year was Lake State Railway #4325, an EMD GP40-3 that now sports a commemorative paint scheme for the company’s anniversary.
Lake State Railway was founded in 1992, when the late railroad businessman Jim George purchased the former Detroit & Mackinac lines in northern Michigan. The former D&M was famous for their use of ALCO locomotives. Now a completely EMD railroad, the Lake State has grown from a small shortline to a regional player in the area. In 2005, LSRC acquired rail property from CSX in the Saginaw, Michigan area. These lines were operated under the name Saginaw Bay Southern Railway (SBS) until January 2012, when LSRC merged these two companies together under the name Lake State Railway Company. In April 2012, SBS interchanges and railroad accounting practices were converted to LSRC, completing the consolidation.
Below: Lake State Railway #4325, an EMD GP40-3, now sports the company’s 25th Anniversary paint scheme. Photo by Kevin Burkholder.
Grain, fertilizer, coal, chemicals, aggregates, cement, steel, and scrap metal are just a few of the commodities that are transported along the Lake State’s lines. The railroad continues to be consistently profitable and shows a high priority to maintaining and improving the company’s rail infrastructure. Earlier this year, we had the honor of being part of the company’s celebration by producing a 25th Anniversary promotional video for the Lake State. In our video, we showcased an array of the company’s unique infrastructure, including their many bridges, dispatching tower, the roundhouse, and their new road-slugs in service at Bay City, Michigan.
Below Right: Lake State Railway Company was created by the vision of the late Jim George in 1992, when he acquired the railroad lines previously operated by Detroit & Mackinac Railway Company (D&M). His passion for expanding the railroad and providing exceptional freight transportation services is what brought these lines from being nearly abandoned, to being a successful railroad.
In the company’s March of 2017 newsletter, Lake State Railway President and CEO John Rickof states, “I want to talk about the importance of 2017. Lake State Railway Company began operating in 1992 making this our 25th anniversary. We are proud to have thrived for a quarter of a century and are looking at an even brighter future. Expect to hear and see from us throughout this year as we celebrate and grow towards new milestones. LSRC intends and expects to be ever striving to provide safe, reliable Excellence in Transportation!”
The newsletter continues, “In celebration of 25 years of service, LSRC would like to take this opportunity to give a special thank you to all our dedicated and hard-working employees who have helped make Lake State Railway the thriving company it is today. Also, a special thank you to all of our loyal customers who put their trust in us everyday. We are proud to have you all on our team and look forward to many more years together as LSRC continues to grow and prosper. ”
It’s obvious from the outside looking in, this company takes great pride in serving the many Michigan communities its rails run through. We were honored to take part in the company’s 25th Anniversary and we hope you enjoy our video, showcasing just a brief look into the company’s incredible operation. Stay tuned for upcoming project related to the Lake State Railway. You can watch our official promotional video below.