While most of the major copper producers had been established and operating for years by the turn of the century, there was one area that had just gotten started. Before 1898 the only copper producing mine south of Houghton was the Atlantic Mine, which used its own short line railroad (the Atlantic and Lake Superior) to transport ore to its mill at Redridge. This all changed when in 1897 the Baltic Amygdaloid lode was discovered, prompting a second copper rush to the peninsula. Within a few years a collection of mines along the lode had been rushed into production. The DSS&A line ran too far east to be any good to these mines, but the newly formed Copper Range Railroad was poised to move in.
The Copper Range Railroad was formed in March of 1899, and by December of that same year had completed over 41 miles of track between it’s yard in Houghton and the line’s terminus in Mass City. The opening of Baltic, Trimountain and Champion mines just a few dozen miles east of the current main line prompted the railroad to build a branch to service those mines and beat DSS&A to the punch.”