The Mineral Range Railroad depot at Culumet, MI, circa 1910.

(F.N. Oliver, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)



The Mineral Range Railroad (reporting mark MRA) is a shortline railroad in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It began operations in 2002. It is related in name only to the original Mineral Range Railroad (1872-1949).

In 2012, it acquired an ex-Lake Superior and Ishpeming line between Humboldt Mill and Ishpeming.

The Humboldt Mill was reopened in 2014 and is operated by Eagle Mine, owned by Lundin Mining. It was originally opened in 1954 by Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, who operated it until 1979. Between 1985 and 1990, Callahan Mining Company used it to process gold from the Ropes Gold Mine in Ishpeming, Michigan. After several changes in ownership, Eagle Mine started to use it for nickel and copper extraction in 2014.

Traffic on the Mineral Range Railroad primarily consists of nickel and copper ore.



The Original Mineral Range Railroad

The original Mineral Range Railroad began in 1872 as a narrow gauge line that started in Hancock, Michigan and arrived in Calumet, Michigan (via the Franklin Mine) in 1873. The line operated for 54 years. A connection to Houghton over the Portage Canal was built in 1886, and the road was placed under the control of the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway in 1892. Routes from the Keweenaw Central were purchased in 1918. It was totally absorbed by the DSS&A in 1949.


Mineral Range Railroad Overview

Headquarters: Ishpeming, Michigan
Reporting mark: MRA
Locale: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Dates of operation: 2002–present
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 17 miles


See Also:

Railroads A-Z