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Railroad Car Ferry Menu

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Michigan Railroad car ferries served the Great Lakes for over 100 years, acting as a moveable bridge between Michigan railroad terminals and their counterpart in other states and Canada.  The only railroad car ferry boat still in operation is the Badger from Ludington but it no longer carries railroad cars, must passengers and their motor vehicles.

Cross Lake Michigan.  The majority of railroad car ferry operations criss-crossed Lake Michigan between the ports of Elberta, Ludington, Muskegon and Grand Haven, and were operated by the Pere Marquette, Grand Trunk Western and the Ann Arbor Railroad.

To The Upper Penninsula.  Two main routes were used to move railroad cars back and forth between Michigan's penninsula's.  The most prominent route was the short distance between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, delivering cars between the NYC and PRR to the DSS&A to the north.  The other UP route was between Elberta (and Northport) to Manistique for delivery to the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad.

Detroit to Canada.  The third area of railroad car ferry traffic was the crossings between Michigan and Canada.  These crossings started in Grosse Isle, Detroit, Marine City or Port Huron.  Much of the international traffic was diverted with the building of both the St. Clair River Tunnel and the Detroit-Windsor railroad tunnel, but high loads and dangerous chemicals continued to travel by car ferry or barge well into the 1990's.  

Michigan Railroad Car Ferry Ports...


Port of Detroit:

  • Grand Trunk Western

  • Michigan Central

  • Pere Marquette

  • Wabash

Port of Elberta (Frankfort):

  • Ann Arbor

Port of Grand Haven:

  • Grand Trunk Western

Port of Grosse Isle:

  • Michigan Central/Canada Southern

Port of Ludington:

  • Pere Marquette

Port of Mackinaw City:

  • Mackinac Transportation Company

Port of Manistique:

  • Manistique and Lake Superior

Port of Marine City:

  • Michigan Central/Canada Southern

Port of Muskegon:

  • Grand Trunk Western

  • Pere Marquette

Port of Northport:

  • Manistique and Lake Superior

Port of Port Huron:

  • CSX/C&O

  • Grand Trunk

  • Pere Marquette

Port of St. Ignace:

  • Mackinac Transportation Company

Dale J. Berry, all rights reserved.