Diesel Era Extra Board

LS&I’s Cascade Green Machines

LS&I’s U30C all-time roster started at 3000 and continued to 3016 (17 units) with 3000-3011 coming from BN and 3012-3016 coming from Detroit Edison, in addition to another unit from that roster (DE 007) obtained and used for parts. LS&I’s U30C numbering picked up again with 3050-3053 (four units acquired in July 1989). — Ryan Drake photo

LS&I’s Cascade Green Machines

By Ryan Drake/photos by the author

Hearing about Lake Superior & Ishpeming’s (LS&I) operation alone piqued my interest and that of several fellow Midwest railfan friends. Add in the possibility of seeing General Electric (GE) U30C and C30-7 diesel locomotives in action, and my friends and I began planning a road trip about a year ago — all via text messages. We are all in our 20s, so U30C and C30-7 power is something we didn’t get to enjoy in its heyday.


ABOVE: LS&I 3009 is eastbound headed toward Eagle Mills viewed from the top of a rock cut that is a popular railfan location. The adjacent track is CN’s line to Ishpeming.

In late May 2021, I, along with Darius Bell (Kansas City area), Jonah Hemingway (Springfield, Mo., area), and Sam Brodersen (another Omaha guy like me), journeyed up to Minneapolis and did some railfanning there; we then went over to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to see how our luck would be in catching the few remaining former Burlington Northern (BN) units serving on LS&I trains. We found the scenery was great, and finding the hoped-for near-antique GEs in operation became a reality.


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