14.8.08

THE INEFFICIENCY OF A 100% RESERVE. Earlier this week, the last of the Lake Michigan train ferries, S.S. Badger, was taken out of service account a bearing failure.

Officials with the company that operates the 55-year-old vessel said they hoped the steamship that crosses from Manitowoc to Ludington, Mich., would be fixed by the end of the week.

The 410-foot ship, which can carry 620 passengers and 180 vehicles, had not diverted from its normal service for repairs since 1994. A repair crew discovered the damage Saturday.

The company that operates the ferry, Lake Michigan Carferry, has had to borrow school buses to transport passengers who would normally be making the four-hour lake crossing. Officials have also offered refunds and discounts on future trips for people who had made reservations.

Badger (PM 43) has a twin, Spartan (PM 42), that has been laid up unserviceable in Ludington, Michigan, for some time. The bearing failure marks the first time Badger's operator has had to cancel sailings, which is pretty strong confirmation that keeping a boat in reserve might be excessive.

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