Tuesday, July 26, 2016

St. Clair Sub Diagrams

A lot of you guys have been asking for a trackplan of the MCIS St. Clair Sub and unfortunately I do not have one. Needless to say it is on my list of things to do, but in the interim we can look at each of the diagrams for each station. These diagrams will give you an idea of the industries, tracks, and general setup.

  Current timetable for MCIS St. Clair Sub

Keeping consistent with the direction of travel document in my "Run Over the Clair" post you can compare the photos to diagrams at your leisure. As we move from diagram you can keep yourself orientated to our location based on the line map of stations at the bottom of each diagram. Wherever we are the station box will be green. These diagrams are mounted on the fascia for operator refernence.

East staging is the origin/end location for trains coming from Port Huron, Detroit, and Sarnia. Each track can hold two locomotives and 11-12 cars for ops sessions.

Heading west from staging we come on-layout at Gerhard. At Gerhard the east siding switch (ESS) allows a train to use the long passing sidig between Gerhard and Grays Lake. From a customer perspective Huron Malting is the sole business with two tracks holding around six to seven covered hoppers serviced by the R-GEGL "Grays Lake Local". Additionally the upper continuous loop which also is the "long lead" begins here and connects Gerhard to Upper Huron to allow continuous train run. 

At the western terminus of the passing siding that begin at Gerhard is the town of Grays Lake. The R-GEGL is based here serving local customers 3M and Cooperative Elevator. Switching here can be a challenge at times with a trailing and facing point switch customers. Cars that are to be setout or picked up from the R-GEGL are left on the "local track".

Leaving Grays Lake we cross the Quincassee Creek bridge and enter the station of Upper Huron. Michigan Sugar , the largest customer on the west end of the "Clair" is located here. This station is unique in that it has a large wye where the Port Belle Sub branch leaves the St. Clair Sub mainline. The Port Belle Sub main that heads into staging is the same track that connects at Gerhard to form the upper level continuous loop. The L-BAPB local out of Bay Yard services Michigan Sugar and Saginaw Valley Power Cooperative on its east/north bound transit to Port Belle. Eventually the plant will have a trackmobile to move cars around internally. From Upper Huron the line heads slight down grade towards Bay City.

Both towns of Edsel and Weiss are unmodeled on the helix to provide distance. Eventual the second turn of the helix will be sceniced beyond the MDF board. At Edsel will be a defect / dragging equipment detector.

As we enter Bay City we see that there are four different diagrams for the trackage / customers. This is done to help simplify and break up the customers into zones for the local Y-BA04 "Bay Local" to handle. Some days only certain zones get switched since there are five customers not including interchange to the Lake State Railway or Huron Eastern. The east zone has one customer which handles inbound building materials adjacent to the east yard lead for Bay Yard.

Continuing into Bay City we encounter Bay Yard which is a hive of activity on the "Clair". This yard has three locals based here along with work events for theough trains and as the terminus / origin point for two manifest train pairs. The DSF here handles basic running repairs, fuel, sand, and scheduled inspections. Any heavy work is done at the Mount Pleasant or contract shops.

Located behind Bay Yard and the mainline is the Central Zone. This zone hosts Michigan Agricultural Commodities large terminal elevator that handles singles, blocks, and unit trains for agricultural products. Normally the east and central zones are paired together when switched.

Sandwiched beyond the Bay Yard west lead and foot of the Saginaw River swing bridge is the East Zone. Switching all three customers here will keep the Y-BA04 busy most of a normal session. A couple months ago the tracks were realigned to provide a decent run around for serving trailing and facing point customers at the same time. GEM Bakeries receives flour, sugar, and sweeteners while Fort Mackinac Corrugated receives paper for making corrugated boxes. The newest customers to locate at Bay City is Interstate Asphalt which receives liquid asphalt-bitumen products.

Passing over the Saginaw River Swing Bridge, the mainline heads off-layout towards west staging which represents Mackinac City, Grand Rapids, Mount Pleasant, and HESR interchange. Prior to descending to the staging yard a hidden switch connects to the LSRC interchange track found on the Bay Yard diagram allowing for lower level continuous run. West staging with its four track and descending lead allows for five trains to be sequenced for operation sessions.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the St. Clair Sub from a different perspective and when paired with the photos from the recent post you will have a greater understanding on how the railroad is setup. Please feel free to ask questions about of the diagrams.

Coming Up Next Month
With just a few days left in the month of July I will not be posting a late month update. However my Product Review - Install series is in the works for a first week of August publishing date. Check back next week as I start a multipart series showcasing the St. Clair Sub Signalling Project. During this series we will go into the planning, install, operation and product review of components used. The goal after reading this series is the confidence and ability for you the reader to add the same sort of system to your pike.

Have a safe week.



  1. These are nice. I like how you include the sequence and "you are here" green box at the bottom. Good ideas! Question - I assume you used software to produce these, maybe Excel for the timetable, and what for the diagrams? Just curious to see how you went about it.

  2. Thanks for the great feedback Mike!

    Diagrams were created in word using a base template which just changed the content at each station. Once each diagram I "grouped" all of the text boxes, shapes, and lines which allows you to copy to PowerPoint or save as pdf within word.

    The timetable was made using a very intensive grid. I have both available if you would like to customize for your use. Will send you a pm on Facebook.