Toledo, Ypsilanti and Saginaw Air Line Railroad was typical of many
speculative railroad ventures in the second half of the 19th
Century. A group of investors had chartered the line, which
was to be an "Air Line" (or straight line) between Toledo
reading the 1870 prospectus (which is copied to the left), the
intentions of the investors becomes clearer. First, it is
apparent that this company was created in an attempt to secure all
of the Flint and Pere Marquette's southbound traffic to Toledo from
Holly. This is perhaps the reason why the road was called an
"Air Line". But reading the prospectus further, the
only "air line" points that were fixed were Bedford
Township (a then-rural township just north of the Ohio line,
Ypsilanti (in 1869 a major city on the Michigan Central Railroad)
and Holly. The prospectus goes on to say "The rest of the
line is open to competition, and will be located and built in the
interest of those towns and villaes, near a north and south line
from Bedford to Holly, which, in the judgement of the Directors,
offer the largest inducements for the location. The
inducements will be considered and acted upon in the order
largest amount of donated township bonds.
alrgest amount of donated right of way.
largest amount of good stock subscriptions.
character of the route, under advice of the engineers of the
was necessary for funding sources to provide $350,000 from towns
along the route (a practice which was later declared
unconstitutional by the courts).
proposed road was in competition with the Toledo and Northern R. R.
Company, which was incorporated a year earlier. It was also in
competition with the Flint and Pere Marquette itself, which
ultimately built a line from Holly, south through Milford, Wixom,
Northville, Plymouth, Wayne and on to Toledo (paralleling the
to the book Michigan Railroads & Railroad Companies, the Toledo,
Ypsilanti & Saginaw Air Line road lapsed into non-existence,
never building a mile of track.
Brian Thom collection).