Lori Qualls, Midland Daily News
With a crew of 35, 40 miles of track and 1,000 cars, Dow Chemical Co.’s Michigan Division was well into the railroad business in 1988.
Dow’s Rail Services Department served 75 Michigan Division plants. The 500 million pounds of product, or 4,000 carloads, shipped out by rail in 1987 represented 38 percent of the Michigan Division output.
The only thing that kept Dow from being a full railroad company was it didn’t own engines. CSX Transportation operated the engines and did track switches for the 1,900-acre site.
Every week for over 10 years, the Dow Chemical-CSX 75-unit train carried chlorine from Dow’s Texas Division plants in Freeport, Texas, to Dow’s Michigan Division. The unit train was operated by CSX with Dow maintaining the cars and supervising the transportation procedures.
In April 1989, 11 of the cars derailed on a railroad track near Milford in Oakland County. Just less than a gallon of butylene oxide leaked from one of the train cars. Dow officials said safety valves prevented any significant loss of containment.