City of Midland 41

City of Midland 41 – Pere Marquette 41

1941-Present

Articulated Barge, Self-Unloading Open Deck Barge; Paired with Tugboat Undaunted

Pere Marquette 41 / Undaunted at Grand Haven, Michigan, April 1, 2020. Photo by Sam Hankinson

Specs

Build Information

Year Built: 1941

Builder: Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI

Hull #311

Registry: US 240326

IMO #5073894

Laid Down: March 21, 1940

Launch Date: September 18, 1940

Commissioned: March 12, 1941

Paired Tugboats:

Construction

The City of Midland 41 was constructed in 1941 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as a railroad carferry for the Pere Marquette Railway to operate out of Ludington, Michigan. The design team at Manitowoc Shipbuilding drew up plans for the largest railroad carferry at the time, with very streamlined lines, and featuring luxurious passenger accommodations.

The 41 was cut down to an open deck barge in 1997, and equipped with excavators and a custom-built Caterpillar mobile unloading boom. She was paired with the tugboat Undaunted in 1998, and the pair entered service tailoring to niche shipping markets.

Modifications

  • Converted into a self-unloading open deck barge, Melching Demolition, Muskegon, Michigan, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 1997.
  • Bow thruster installed, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

General Stats

As Constructed as a self-propelled railroad carferry

Length Overall: 407′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 388’02”

Breadth: 58’06”

Depth: 23’06”

Loaded Draft: 18′

Capacity: 34 Rail cars / 50 automobiles or 110 automobiles; 609 passengers max.

Vessel Type: Railroad Car Ferry

Number of Cargo Holds: Single Car Deck; 4 Tracks

Primary Operations: Lake Michigan Railroad Ferry Operations

Propellers: 2

Rudders: 1

After conversion to a barge, 1997.

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 494′

Length Overall [Barge]: 403′

Breadth: 58’06”

Depth: 23’06”

Loaded Draft: 19′

Capacity: 5,750 Tons

Vessel Type: Mobile Self-Unloader; Open Deck Barge

Self-Unloading Boom Length: 80′

Number of Cargo Holds: Open Deck

Primary Operations: Stone, Pig Iron, Scrap, Slag, Bulk Cargo Trades


Engineering Equipment [Removed, 1997]

Original

Engine

Engine Type: Reciprocating Steam Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Skinner Engine Co., Erie, PA

Engine Model: 25” dia. x 30” stroke

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 6000 IHP


Boiler

Boiler Type: Coal-Fired Water Tube Boilers

Boiler Manufacturer: Foster-Wheeler, Carteret, NJ

Boiler Size: —

Number of Boilers: 4


History

Lineage

City of Midland 41 – 1941-1947

Owner: Pere Marquette Railway, Detroit, MI

Operator: Pere Marquette Railway, Marine Division, Ludington, MI

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


City of Midland 41 – 1947-1983

Owner: Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Detroit, MI

Operator: Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Marine Division, Ludington, MI [Later Chessie System]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


City of Midland 41 – 1983-1991

Owner: Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Co., Ludington, MI

Operator: Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


City of Midland 41 – 1991-1997

Owner: Lake Michigan Carferry Service, Ludington, MI

Operator: Lake Michigan Carferry Service

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


Pere Marquette 41 – 1997-2020

Owner: Pere Marquette Shipping Co., Ludington, MI [Lake Michigan Carferry]

Operator: Pere Marquette Shipping Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


Pere Marquette 41 – 2020-Present

Owner: Interlake Maritime Services, Middleburg Heights, OH

Operator: Interlake Logistics Solutions, Middleburg Heights, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Ludington, MI


Her Story

In November of 1939, Pere Marquette Railway signed a contract with Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to design and construct a railroad carferry for Pere Marquette’s carferry fleet. The Manitowoc Shipbuilding design team drew up plans for the largest railroad ferry at the time, featuring luxurious passenger accommodations and a streamlined profile. The keel for the new ferry was laid on March 21, 1940, being christened City of Midland 41 on September 18, 1940, by Miss Helen Dow, daughter of Willard H. Dow, president of Dow Chemical of Midland, Michigan. She was launched into the waters of the Manitowoc River shortly after the christening. The 41 sailed on sea trials on Lake Michigan near Manitowoc on March 8, 1941, and sailed on her maiden voyage on March 12, 1941, heading to Ludington, Michigan, to load her first load of railcars.

It was reported that in her first year of operation, the Midland made 1200 crossings over Lake Michigan. She normally operated ferrying railcars between Ludington, Michigan and Milwaukee, Manitowoc, or Kewaunee, Wisconsin. The ferries operated year-round, and the Midland was designed with icebreaking capabilities.

In 1947, the Pere Marquette Railway and their marine operations were acquired by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Fleet colors were slightly changed, and the Midland‘s large white horizontal band was thinned, and the stack changed from white with a red circle to blue with a yellow circle and the C & O logo in the center.

While inbound in heavy weather on November 27, 1966, the 41 was intentionally grounded in the breakwall at Ludington’s harbor entrance. She was grounded due to the inability to pass through the channel into Pere Marquette lake safely in the weather. She was pulled off of the sand bar on November 30 by the tugboat John Purves.

As demand for cross-lake rail services declined during the late 1970’s and 1980’s, C & O, recognized at this point as Chessie System, was looking to cease ferry services. In 1983, the State of Michigan finally allowed them to terminate service.

That same year, several Ludington businessmen formed Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company, in order to purchase the carferries and continue to operate them in cross-lake service. M-W purchased the Midland, Badger, and Spartan in 1983. The City of Midland remained in usual operation with the Badger coming out as needed.

By 1987, the 41‘s boiler mounts were severely deteriorated and in need of replacement. She was given a 1-year extension on her 5-year survey, during which M-W executives decided to refit the Badger to replace the Midland due to the boiler mount repair costs being so expensive. The City of Midland 41 was laid up at Ludington for the final time as a powered vessel in November 1988.

City of Midland 41, along with her Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation fleetmates Badger and Spartan, were purchased by Charles Conrad through his newly-formed business, Lake Michigan Carferry Service in 1991. The Badger was refurbished for seasonal passenger and automobile service, while the Midland and the Spartan continued their long layup at Ludington.

In late 1997, Lake Michigan Carferry announced intentions to convert the City of Midland into an open-deck barge, to operate in niche river class bulk cargo trades. She was towed out of Ludington on October 1, 1997, to Muskegon, Michigan, where her upper decks were cut down to her car deck by Melching Demolition. After her accommodations were cut down and engines removed, she was towed to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on April 21, for the installation of the notch for the tug. The notch was prefabricated at the shipyard and added to the barge while in drydock. A wall around her open deck was also installed to contain the cargo. A pair of excavators were placed on the former car deck to handle cargo. She was paired with the tugboat Undaunted in mid-June 1998, and was christened Pere Marquette 41 in ceremonies at Ludington on June 18, 1998. The new Articulated Tug-Barge pair entered service on July 21, 1998, departing Ludington to load rip-rap at Manitowoc.

One October 8, 2000, the Pere Marquette 41 / Undaunted experienced heavy weather on Lake Michigan. While taking on 15′ seas, the wall around the car deck was broken, and the cargo and equipment on deck were washed off. The tug had to do an emergency separation from the barge, pulling her pins, and holing herself at the waterline in the process. The barge was set adrift while the tug made a run for shore, where she was grounded near Wilmette Harbor. A man was placed on the barge via a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, and lowered her anchors near South Chicago, Illinois. The pair were reunited at South Chicago and headed for Bay Shipbuilding for repairs. Pere Marquette 41 / Undaunted sat out for the 2001 season undergoing improvements, as well as receiving a custom Caterpillar mobile unloading conveyor, capable of reaching out 80′ over the side of the barge.

In December 2020, Lake Michigan Carferry, Pere Marquette Shipping, and the vessels Pere Marquette 41 / Undaunted, Badger, and Spartan were sold to Interlake Steamship Company. Pere Marquette Shipping was renamed Interlake Logistics Solutions, and the ATB pair are to be repainted in Interlake fleet colors over the winter in early 2021. Pere Marquette 41 / Undaunted continued normal trade patterns.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on January 13, 2021



Sources

Berry, Sterling P. “City of Midland 41”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 13 January 2021. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/c/city-of-midland-41>

Chavez, Art. S.S. City of Midland 41. Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Ferguson, Brian. “Pere Marquette 41”. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, N.d. Accessed 13 January 2021. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/peremarquette41.htm>

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 7.5.

Hanley, M. “City of Midland 41”. The Carferries of the Great Lakes, January 5, 2004. Accessed 13 January 2021. <http://www.carferries.com/pm/41/>