On the map to the left, the Dearborn Industrial Track (DIT) is the short, curved line on the bottom left.
To the right is a closer view using Google Maps satellite imagery. The route begins with a switch off the Conrail Michigan line, called CP Lou. For reference, the wye at the northern end of the Junction Yard Secondary (covered in the last post) is a couple miles to the west of here, diverging off the same rails. The switch at CP Lou provides a connection to the CSX Detroit Subdivision which Conrail uses - via trackage rights - to access the DIT. A few miles north, another switch provides access to the DIT proper. Dearborn Steel is just after the right-of-way curves eastward, and Kenwal Steel is at the end of the line.
Everything north of the switch off the CSX Detroit Sub was once the main line of the original Detroit Terminal Railroad. North of Kenwal Steel, the line continued directly north until it reached Lyndon St./Livernois Ave., where it veered northeast toward Highland Park.
Where the DIT joins CSX rails today, there used to be crossing at grade and the DTRR continued south to Rougemere yard. In the image below, the red line represents the DTRR's abandoned right-of-way:
This rail line was torn up after Conrail purchased the DTRR, and from a modeling perspective, I can easily live without it. There aren't any industries off this portion of the DTRR, and while the interchange with CSX at Rougemere Yard would be interesting to model, it would also take a lot of space.
This is CP Lou, the Conrail interchange with CSX. The switch near the top right of the photo is what provides access to CSX rails via the curved spur. Twin truss bridges carry the CSX right-of-way over the Conrail Michigan Line, and immediately west of them is a plate girder bridge which used to carry the DTRR. I have seen this area firsthand driving along Southern Street, and those bridges are a favored target for graffiti taggers:
The Google camera vehicle is between the CSX bridges on the left and the abandoned DTRR bridge on the right. We're looking south here.
Here we have XCEL Steel Processing, the first industry served by the DIT. A web search produces a website, but not much info. Judging from the photos on their site and the satellite images from Bing and Google, it's pretty clear that they ship steel coils, and that's just about all we need to know.
A closeup of the rail spur reveals empty gondolas and coil cars being loaded by a traveling crane. Litter some steel coils around, throw an image of the XCEL building onto the backdrop, and I think we have a model!
Here's where the Conrail spur joins the CSX Detroit Sub on a bridge over I-94. The bridge just to the south used to carry the original DTRR.
In the picture to the right, I've rotated the image so that we're looking east along Michigan Ave. I-94 is to the south, off-picture to the right. That's CSX running from top right to bottom left, and you can see the switch where the DIT begins in the top right corner. You can also see the old, abandoned DTRR right-of-way and the bridge where it used to pass over Michigan Ave. before crossing the CSX line.
Here's a picture courtesy of Google Streetview, taken from between the abandoned DTRR bridge on the left and the CSX bridge on the right.
Just north of Michigan Ave. is this old tank farm. You can see the switch on the left side of the photo, and the spur that goes a full 180 degrees to serve some long-gone industry. This spur may very well have served the tank farm.
For modeling purposes, I think this could be an interesting scene to model as an abandoned industry, especially since the switch still exists in real life. It would be great backdrop fodder, if nothing else.
There's not much more of interest until the right-of-way curves 90 degrees due east and we get to Dearborn Steel on Wyoming Avenue. The company's LinkedIn profile indicates they specialize in steel coils, break bulk metals, aluminum and packaging.
What you see here is a runaround track and two storage tracks along the DIT right-of-way. The Bing Maps images show coil cars exclusively, but Google Maps shows some 50' boxcars:
Conrail crews shuffle cars here before switching the in-plant trackage which you can see in the photos above. I would only plan to model the small yard, using the tall grass just to the north to hide the spur going behind the backdrop.
This was once the Chrysler Brant Street plant. It hasn't been rail served for many, many years, but might be interesting backdrop fodder. The DIT is actually double-track past here, or more accurately, one big runaround track.
Just east of the Chrysler Brant Street plant - just across Lonyo St. as a matter of fact - is Kenwal Steel. The plant occupies the area where the DTRR's Lonyo Yard used to be. That yard was used to serve Chrysler's West Warren Plant. That building still stands today, and in fact you can just see it in the top left corner of the image at right.
I once parked just south of the DIT track at the Lonyo Ave. crossing, hoping to get some photos of Kenwal Steel. Imagine my delight when I suddenly heard a telltale diesel thrum and then air horns! Lo and behold, a Conrail train emerged from Kenwal Steel with a CSX and a Norfolk Southern locomotive on point. Those engines proceeded to pull an alarmingly long train out of the Kenwal Steel plant - those tracks must run the entire length of the building!
The Kenwal Steel spur diverges off the runaround track, which merges with the main line immediately after the Kenwal Steel switch. A few hundred yards north, the tracks end.
Modeling Kenwal Steel could present a challenge since it sits a relatively long way from the main right-of-way, and there's a lot of vacant real estate in between. Some selective compression could shrink that distance, however, and otherwise this is a very straightforward scene.
In the next post, we'll take a look at the Conrail Union Branch. Now that the majority of the DTRR's west end has been abandoned and pulled up, the Union Branch effectively serves as the new west end of my modern-day DTRR.