Copper Range Railroad

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.”

Copper Range Railroad

Railroads of the Copper Country (CRRR)

a Copper Range engine The collection of Copper Country railroads which eventually became the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic connected…
Copper Range Railroad

Up the Hill Behind Mason…

When Quincy was forced to move its stamp mill from the Portage to Torch Lake, it had to move an…
Copper Range Railroad

The Coal Spur

Mine railroads served three primary functions. The first – and foremost – was to transport copper rock from the mine…
Copper Range Railroad

Railroad Crossings (p1)

When the Copper Range Railroad decided to make a branch line to Calumet, it no doubt ran into an avalanche…
Copper Range Railroad

Railroad Crossings (p2)

There were a total of three major obstacles in the Copper Range’s way as it attempted to drive its line…
Copper Range Railroad

Crossing the Gorge (p2)

We continue our look at the crossings over the Hungarian Gorge with the only bridge still standing across that gap…
Copper Range Railroad

Bridges at Woodside

Looking down the Mineral Range towards Woodside After such a long (and exhausting) long form exploration at Baltic and the…
Copper Range Railroad

Laurium Coal

Between the twin cities of Calumet and Laurium, its Calumet that’s generally considered to be the more industrious of the…
Copper Range Railroad

Old Mill Hill Trestle

It would be the short lived South Pewabic Mine that first laid claim to this steep ridge line that rises…
Copper Range Railroad

Mill Mine Junction (p1)

When the Copper Range Railroad first blazed its trail through the southern range the region was still a wild and…
Copper Range Railroad

Mill Mine Junction (p2)

The Copper Range Railroad’s main facilities were located along the Houghton waterfront, along an area of land now taken up…
Copper Range Railroad

Mill Mine Junction (p3)

While the Copper Range’s main yard was located down along the Houghton waterfront, one of the most active areas along…
Copper Range Railroad

The Firesteel Trestles

The Copper Range Railroad began its journey to the Keweenaw from the small town of McKeever, at an intersection with…
Copper Range Railroad

Anatomy of a Trestle (p1)

The three Firesteel Trestles found along the old Copper Range line north of Lake Mine are messages in a bottle,…
Copper Range Railroad

Anatomy of a Trestle (p2)

While all the action on a train trestle may have occurred atop the rail deck and attached girders (the trestles…
Atlantic and Lake Superior RR

Hidden in Plain Site

There was a time when the Copper Country was criss crossed with railways, transportation corridors that moved freight, people, and…
Copper Range Railroad

Down By the Docks (p3) – The Copper Range Rail Yard

The Copper Range railroad was relatively late to the party, having been preceded by three other railroads by the time…
Copper Range Railroad

The Copper Range Depot

When the Copper Range reached its northern terminus at Houghton it built itself a sprawling lakeside rail yard just west…
Copper Range Railroad

Down by the Docks (p4)

A century ago the east end of the Copper Range rail yard was a center of activity, home to not…
Copper Range Railroad

A Copper Range Crossing

Taking a trip up Lake Linden Hill a traveler will find themselves passing under a squat viaduct crossing the highway,…
Champion Mine

The Champion Trestle

When the Copper Range railroad first blazed its right-of-way through the southern range its route was far to the west…
Copper Range Railroad

Bridging the Gap (p1)

The rugged spine of the Keweenaw drops precariously and quickly from its heights atop the Calumet Plateau down to the…
Copper Range Railroad

A Ride on the Keweenaw Central Railroad

The late 1960s was a time of great change for the Copper Country. After nearly a century of rule the great…