Horn Hometown Tours: Huron Eastern Railroad and Sargent Docks

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn last week joined Huron Eastern Railroad staff for a tour of their operations and a trip down the rails to one of their common stops, Sargent Docks.

Beginning in Buena Vista, Horn met with representatives from the railroad as they prepared for their trip along Saginaw’s railways to the docks.

“The tour was fantastic from the start,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “The folks at Huron Eastern Railroad were kind enough to pick me up in Buena Vista and give me a ride to the docks on one of their train engines. It was a really neat experience coming into the docks via railway.”

As Horn made his way through Saginaw toward the docks, the Huron Eastern crew made sure he had a chance to experience every aspect of the train, from how the train is started and the process to get it moving to lessons on the various gauges, dials and levers inside the engine.

“I didn’t quite know what to expect when we first planned this,” Horn said. “But after I climbed up the ladder and into the engine, I knew I was getting into something that would be an incredibly fascinating and educational experience.”

Horn and the crew continued down the tracks and eventually reached their final stop at Sargent Docks in Zilwaukee. Upon arrival, Horn was kindly greeted by staff and promptly began a thorough tour of the facilities.

“The tour was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Horn said. “The massive silos at Sargent Docks are filled with salt, potash and various other minerals. We walked from silo to silo and the staff were able to tell us what was in each one, when they got it and where it was going. They are incredibly on top of their operations.

“They also shared various stories of their experiences over the years. One that specifically struck me was a shipment they had gotten from Canada; it was so cold out that the product arriving on the train was negative 20 degrees. It is hard to imagine being out there and working in such a harsh environment, but these guys are making it happen.”

Lastly, the group made their way back toward the tracks and watched as loads of potash, which is commonly used in fertilizers, were unloaded from railroad cars onto the conveyer belt and up into the silo.

“The sheer volume of product that they deal with is astonishing,” Horn said. “They use salt to make brine for our roads, potash and aspire, which staff explained is potash mixed with Boron and is designed to optimize plant health. They even keep limestone for Consumer’s Energy to use as a foundation for their poles.”

Horn said he considered the tour to be a great success and a perfect way to continue the series.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and courteous staff on the railroad and at the docks,” Horn said. “What really impressed me was how intertwined the operations of the railroad and the docks are with all of the local businesses in the area.

“Sargent Docks uses a company out of Bridgeport to build their silos, and both the railroad and the docks work with local farmers and companies in my district. It is a textbook example of what I want people to see in these tours.”

To view a video of Horn’s tour, click here.

Horn’s Hometown Tours feature various communities in the 32nd District. If you are interested in having Horn visit, please contact his office at (517) 373-1760, toll-free at (855) 347-8032 or by email at SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality copy of each photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

 

PHOTO 1 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, gives the crew on the ground a “thumbs up” as the engine approaches the yard at Sargent Docks.

PHOTO 2 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Bill Webber, owner of Sargent Docks, in front of a mound of salt as they discuss how the salt is converted into brine, which keeps our roads safe in the winter.

 

PHOTO 3 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Bill Webber and Dock Operations Manager Jim Cnudde as the silo behind them is being filled with potash.