Railroad: Lake Superior and Ishpeming railroad
Built → LS&I → Cliffs Natural Resources
Became: Cliffs Natural Resources
Reference: [MRRC] [LSI1]
The Iron Cliffs Company fell under control of the Cleveland Iron Mining Company in 1890, and the Cleveland Cliffs Mining Company was formed in 1891. This gave the mining company the size and scale to control more of its costs. Rates for hauling ore on the DSS&A, in particular, were thought to be too expensive and the railroad had difficulty providing cars in sufficient volume in the right place and the right time.
CCI decided to build their own line from mines to port and joined with the Pittsbug & Lake Angeline Iron Company (minority owner) to do so The LS&I was surveyed, built and opened from Presque Isle to Negaunee and Ishpeming in August, 1896. They primarily served the CCI and P&LAI mines in all parts of the region. Branches were built to Humboldt and Republic, and south to the New Volunteer (later Empire) and the old Tilden Mine (via the C&NW).
In 1900, CCI purchased the Munising Company, which owned vast tracts of forest in the central upper peninsula as well as a railroad which extended west from Munising to Little Lake and a connection with the C&NW. CCI wanted access to these forests for charcoal and cribbing in the mines it owned. In the same year, the LS&I also formed the Maarquette & Southeastern Railway to connect its two lines from Marquette to Larson (15 miles east of Little Lake). In 1911 the Munising Ry. and the M&SE were combined (Munising, Marquette & Southeastern) and in 1924 all railroad holdings were consolidated as the Lake Superior & Ishpeming railroad.
In 1906, the Munising Railway built a branch from Little Lake to the CCI mine at Princeton, via Gwinn.
It should be noted that the LS&I built one of the latest logging railroads east into the forests of Alger County from Cusino to Sunrise Landing in 1957.
The LS&I had two major main line changes during its life. In 19xx, a new main line was constructed from the north side of Negaunee to the south side of Ishpeming (crossing the DSS&A and CNW on an overhead bridge 300 yards west of downtown Negaunee. This allowed truncation of the old main line which extended from near Queens Mine to Ishpeming along the Jackson Mine, to be truncated to allow other mines in the area to operate.
The second major main line change occurred in 1965 and was a consolidation of the LS&I, DSS&A and C&NW lines along US-41, from near Eagle Mills west to Euclid Yard in Ishpeming. This allows abandonment of the 2nd LS&I main line in Negaunee, as well as the C&NW and DSS&A main lines through the middle of downtown Ishpeming.
- 1940s - Williams Crossing to Camp 15
- 1958 - Big Bay branch (sold to Marquette & Huron Mountain in 1963)
- 1962 - Princeton to Gwinn
- 1965 - Gwinn to Little Lake
- 1965 - Hartho to Sunrise Landing plus Myren to Williams Crossing and Youngs