Article: C&NW has a new ore yard

Special to the Detroit News March 9, 1969

ESCANABA - The Chicago & Northwestern Railway, in its 104th year of iron ore loading at Escanaba, has begun sustained operation of a new $17.7 million ore yard facility.

O. W. Brookes, the Northwestern's ore superintendent, said trial runs have been successful and the only remaining problem is to collect and control the dust arising from the handling of the iron ore pellets.

Escanaba is the only iron port on Lake Michigan.  Most of the tonnage loaded here goes to smelters at Gary and South Chicago and River Rouge.

About 6 million tons of iron ore are shipped out annually from Escanaba.  The ore is transported here by the Northwestern from mines in the Upper Peninsula's Menominee and Marquette iron ranges.

The new ore handling facility provides for stockpiling pellet ore and its loading with a more efficient conveyor belt dock.  The old wooden dock has been razed to make way for the new operation.

Pellet ore is growing in volume, rising to more than 55 percent of the total moved through Escanaba last year.  Pellets will be moved to Escanaba by rail throughout the winter for stockpiling up to 2 million tons of ore.  The new dock has a loading capacity of 5,000 long tons an hour, said Brookes.

The first ore boat is expected to arrive about April 1 for loading at the new dock.

Escanaba cooperated in the project by sponsoring $16 million in industrial revenue bonds which are underwritten by the railway company.  The Northwestern later expanded its financing to $17.7 million.