On March 24, 1904 the Delray Connecting Railroad was incorporated in the State of Michigan and began operation on July 1, 1904. At that time it was 2.33 miles long. The original owner was the Solvay Process Company. The railroad also served other customer on or near Zug Island such as the Chicago Equipment Company, Detroit City Gas Company and Detroit Edison Company. In December 1948 it acquired 5 diesel locomotives. These were among the first in the state of Michigan to be used in railroad operations. On June 27, 1968 National Steel Corporation purchased the Delray from Allied Chemical Corporation (Solvay). When United States Steel purchased certain National Steel facilities the Delray Connecting became part of U.S. Steel. Currently, the Delray is part of the Transtar Companies, the U.S. Steel subsidiary group of rail and water carriers, which grew up over the years to meet the needs of the steel making facilities.
Today the Delray supplies the Great Lakes Works with many and varied services to the Iron making and Steel making groups. The railroad interchanges with the Canadian National (CN), Norfolk Southern (NS), CSX and Conrail. Coke is delivered by CSX and CN to the Delray for transportation to the blast furnaces. In 2007 coke made on Zug Island will be used at the blast furnaces with the Delray providing the switching services. The railroad operates on 15.46 miles of track using 5 Diesel locomotives. Two of the units are conventional locomotives that are used by 2-man crews and three are used by remote control, one-man crews in hot metal service. On October 1, 2006 the Delray began performing the hot metal shuttle move from Zug Island to the BOP Shop. In 2006 the Delray handled a total of 36,453 revenue carloads.
In addition to providing Great Lakes Works with a full service railroad switching operation, the Delray weighs cars, dumps cars at a rotary dumper, makes track repairs and repairs railroad cars at its facilities. The Delray also provides some raw materials processing services to Great Lakes Works. The raw materials group operates two power screeners, two stackers and one fixed plant processing furnace coke, nut coke, and breeze. They process b-scrap and mill scale for sale by GLW. In 2006 this group processed 253,412 tons of material.
The Delray Connecting is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the three moveable bridges that allow movement of rail cars and vehicle traffic onto Zug Island. The bridges are movable to permit lake vessels to travel under and around the bridges traveling between the Rouge and Detroit Rivers.
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