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Pink Lady Ballast

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Pink Lady Ballast
Posted by Bruce Frierdich on Saturday, July 3, 2021 10:18 PM

The CNW used to mine their ballast near Devil's Lake in west central Wisconsin. I am curious where UP gets its ballast. Does WSOR still run a train to that site? Thanks. Bruno

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, July 4, 2021 9:20 PM

Bruce Frierdich
The CNW used to mine their ballast near Devil's Lake in west central Wisconsin. I am curious where UP gets its ballast. Does WSOR still run a train to that site? Thanks. Bruno

Well all I have is heresay but what I have read from other internet sources is that contract for the Pink Quartzite Ballast has ended and UP no longer buys it.   Slowly but surely the ex-C&NW lines ballast is changing over to white or offwhite limestone coloration.   WSOR I don't think ever bought it.   So my guess is the ballast train runs to that specific quary are finished as well.

In all the youtube videos of the WSOR Devils Lake Line,  the consist is mostly boxcars ballast cars are very rare if they appear at all.   I have no idea what is in the boxcars (maybe rolls of paper?).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJlsMGOv0WQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdfXIluCs-Y

Devils Lake railroad crossing with wig wags:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwZU8a_vMFY

One of the locals demonstrating his adept observation skills:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLDNXHAjE34

 

For those not from Wisconsin, this is the unique ness of Devils Lake geology, you have basically a tall series of 800 ton boulder piles surrounding a glacial lake.   It is unique because the topography around that area is generally flat......

https://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/learning-center/did-glaciers-make-devils-lake/

The ex-C&NW tracks, in a series of curves, enters the park and hill topography and snake their way around the hills and past the lake (the water is very clear).    The railroad crossing at Devils Lake used to use wig-wag signals as well.   Not sure if it still does.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 6:11 PM

The pink quartz ballast has been gone from the UP West line in west suburban Chicago for years, though I can't say exactly how long. 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 8:31 PM

     I'm not sure if this is related. Every day one or two unit trains of pink Sioux Quartzite rock of all sizes ships on the Dakota & Iowa Railroad from the LG Everist quarry at Dell Rapids S.D. to a site in Sioux City Iowa. From there, it ships out on BNSF, UP or CN trains. In the past I've seen some of those trains powered by UP locomotives. I can't say specifically that UP uses this rock for ballast. I can say that the D&I sure does.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 9:22 PM

The cardinal rules for ballast is to source it as cheaply and as close to the intended use area as possible.

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Posted by Gramp on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 9:44 PM

Interesting that D&I is owned by Everist, which took over "bits and pieces" of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road. Take a look at the website. Makes ya wonder if thousands of miles of abandoned railroad could've been rekindled with local ownership interest that the distant, faceless bureaucracy didn't have the chops for.  

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Posted by rvos1979 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 10:53 PM

While the quarry at Rock Springs, WI, is still active, it no longer ships by rail, the loaders have been dismantled for several years. WSOR has switched to a quarry near Waterloo, WI, for their ballast, which is also a source for CP and Metra..........

Randy Vos

"Ever have one of those days where you couldn't hit the ground with your hat??" - Waylon Jennings

"May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up, real good" - SCTV

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Posted by krugcpa on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 1:36 AM

The WSOR used pink lady for ballast when it rebuilt the Janesville-Monroe line in the early 2000's.  The Union Pacific was building Global 3 at Rochelle at the same time and also used pink lady.

Jerry CP MP 90.65
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Posted by alcors350 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 7:07 PM

My dad and I toured the Rock Springs quarry in 1995 as part of the annual CNW Historical Society convention. The employee directing the tour said there was about 20 years worth of pink lady quartz remaining. There's more information on the quarry at this website:

http://towns-and-nature.blogspot.com/2016/01/rock-springs-wi-stone-including-ballast.html

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Posted by Legoboy3998 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 7:18 PM

UP owned the ballast pit in Rock Springs, WI.  That is the main reason they retained ownership of the Reedsburg Sub and only leased it to the State/WSOR.  For whatever reason (possibly in part due to the age and condition of the bridge in Merrimac), the UP sold the quarry to Michaels Materials, who still use the "Pink Lady" rock for road construction projects.  I believe when they re did Highway 12 between Baraboo and Wisconsin Dells, the shoulder is "Pink Lady" gravel.  CSX and I believe some other railroads in the Chicago area, and possibly Indiana also used "pink Lady" ballast on occasion as well.

While in operation, the WSOR did use "Pink Lady" ballast in some area.  Now WSOR, and CP use the ballast pit (also operated by Michales Materials) in Waterloo for ballast.

Sal
WFB, WI

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 7:35 PM

Murphy Siding

     I'm not sure if this is related. Every day one or two unit trains of pink Sioux Quartzite rock of all sizes ships on the Dakota & Iowa Railroad from the LG Everist quarry at Dell Rapids S.D. to a site in Sioux City Iowa. From there, it ships out on BNSF, UP or CN trains. In the past I've seen some of those trains powered by UP locomotives. I can't say specifically that UP uses this rock for ballast. I can say that the D&I sure does.

 

Mostly I've seen the LG Everist ballast used in western Iowa for spot projects, like around a switch or crossing replacement.  They use the Georgetown Dump train DumpTrain® | Deliver Ballast Accurately & Efficiently | GREX (georgetownrail.com) to spot piles of rock.  As MOW needs rock for spot projects they use a dump truck to retrieve and transport it to where it's needed.

Most of the ballast for large track projects seems to come from either Wyoming or Missouri.  I see train symbols out of Cheyenne WY and Iron Mountain MO.

Jeff

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 8:42 PM

jeffhergert
Most of the ballast for large track projects seems to come from either Wyoming or Missouri.  I see train symbols out of Cheyenne WY and Iron Mountain MO.

The large rail served Granite Canyon Quarry is just west of Cheyenne.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cheyenne,+WY/@41.1027185,-105.1751812,1037m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x876f38762e73ef93:0xb10a30418f972d2b!8m2!3d41.1399814!4d-104.8202462?hl=en

The Iron Mountain mines appear to produce trap rock.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Iron+Mountain,+MO+63650/@37.6857618,-90.655115,4358m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x87d9b458b4e2b57d:0x2bfde2e06c418dac!8m2!3d37.6953277!4d-90.6404024?hl=en

There is a second rail served mine to the south of this. 

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