Railroads tough it out during the depression...

Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum


1930 - 1939


  • Railroad event or related event in Michigan

  • Important non-railroad event in Michigan or outside.

  • Improvement in Technology         Mining.

  • Railroad built or extended

  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed

  • Economic panic or depression        Car ferries.


Info Sources
























  • The PRR and the GTW reach an agreement to exchange privileges at passenger stations in the Muskegon area.  [PRTHS-W/2000]
  • Late:  Escanaba & Lake Superior discontinues telegraph operators at stations in Turner, Ralph, Northland, Watson, Hendricks, Woodlawn and Salva (a station near Cornell), due to cutbacks in rail traffic, specifically the rerouting of MILW ore trains to the C&NW.  [EDP-12/27/1950]
  • More copper and brass products are consumer in a one hundred mile radius from Detroit than any other district in the world.  [HWC]

  • Depression begins.

  • January 2:  The New York Central System acquires a 99-year lease of both the Michigan Central Railroad and the "Big Four" (Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati & St. Louis RR's) lines.   [MDOT]

  • January 13: The Rapid Railway line from Detroit to Port Huron via Mt. Clemens is abandoned. the DSR operates to Mt. Clemens until January 11, 1931, after which a single car ran daily to protect the franchise.  [EMR4]

  • February 1: The New York Central Railroad leases the Michigan Central for 999 years.  [MT]

  • February 24:  The CK&S acquires 12.5 miles of the former Michigan (interurban) Railroad from Richland to Hooper.  [NYC-2/1989]

  • Early:  DSS&A trains from St. Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie continue using their line between St. Ignace (via Troute Lake) to Soo Jct. and then to  Sault Ste. Marie.  But westbound trains begin using the Soo Line (M.St.P.&P.) via Trout Lake, cutting 18 miles and one full hour from their journey.  [MRC-3/90]

  • March:  Detroit & Mackinac Railway abandons the Rose City branch (31 miles).   [MDY33]

  • March:  Detroit & Mackinac Railway abandons line from Smith Jct. to South Branch.    [MDY33]

  • March:  Hocking Valley Railway merged into the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad.  [COHS 06/01]

  • March:  South Adrian interlocking tower is replaced by a cabin interlocker.  Leverman relieved from duty.  Interlocker crosses the Wabash with the DT&I Tecumseh branch.  [MSAI]

  • May 22:  Pere Marquette puts car ferry City of Flint 32 into Lake Michigan service, its 7th all-steel car ferry.  The PM is now the largest operator of car ferries in the world.  [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • December 31:  Onaway & North Michigan Railway. is dissolved.  [NK/MRRC]

  • December 31:  Michigan Railroad Mileage Totaled 8,072 miles.   [MDOT]

  • The Manistee & Northeastern was leased to the Pere Marquette system.

  • DT&I discontinues using electric power.   [MDOT]

  • The Hocking Valley Railroad is absorbed into the Chesapeake & Ohio.  C&O's primary yard in Toledo is Waldbridge Yard, located south of Toledo, approximately seven miles south of the Port of Presque Isle.  [COHS-10/98]

  •  Two Industrial Brownhoist coal dumpers and three Hulett ore unloaders are completed this year.   [COHS-10/98]

  • The New York Central closes the South Tecumseh depot.  It was built by the DT&M in 1893.  The closed depot will be moved to a downtown location.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • Pere Marquette builds a new 300 ton capacity coal station in New Buffalo. The primary purpose of this coal tower is to refuel locomotives going to and from Chicago so that they won't need to take on coal out-of-state.   [PM45]

  • Pere Marquette abandons line from Harrison to Leota.  [IT-2/1974] (Note: Differs from COHS-1922)

  • The Detroit-Windsor automobile tunnel is completed.  [BOM]

  • Depression continues.

  • April 25:  The DUR Pontiac and Flint divisions are abandoned.  City operations in both cities continue.  [EMR4]

  • May 7:  Ontonagon Railroad is abandoned.  (6.6 mile branch off the Milwaukee Road to Halfway Creek).  [MRRC]

  • Summer:  GTW begins commuter passenger service between brush Street and Royal Oak Birmingham and Pontiac.  [MRC-6/1973]

  • Summer:  GTW opens a new Birmingham Station with high-level platforms.  [MRC-6/1973]

  • December 22:  Pere Marquette RR acquires control of the Manistee & North Eastern Railroad.   [PMHS][PM45]

  • Car ferry City of Milwaukee is built for the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company.  It is 347 feet and holds 30 railcars on four tracks.  It is later utilized by the Ann Arbor Railroad. - [MRC-09/88]

  • Rochester Jct. interlocking tower is closed and the crossing is remoted from the Rochester depot. 1931 or 1932.  [CW]

  • The New York Central discontinues passenger service on the Monroe Branch, from Monroe to Adrian.  [MRC-5/1973]

  • Depression continues.

  • Railroads collectively operate at a financial deficit.  [STOV]

  • Early:  DSS&A builds new ore dock at Marquette.  [SOO-Fall/1994]

  • May 21:  Houghton County Street Railway Co. ceases operations.  [SSJB]

  • June 11:  Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukee RR is abandoned between Dundee and a junction with the Battle Creek & Sturgis Ry. at Morgan Park (Emmet Township).  [MDY33]

  • August 5:  Pere Marquette RR suspends river ferry service in Port Huron (resumes in 1950's).  [PMHS]

  • August 26:  The I.C.C. approves the abandonment of the Detroit and Charlevoix Railroad. [MDOT]

  • September 17:  The DT&I discontinues all passenger service in Michigan, leaving only passenger service between Springfield and Jackson, Ohio  [EMR4]

    September 23:  Canada Southern Ry. abandons the St. Clair & Western Railroad between St. Clair and Ridgeway.  [MRRC]

    October 5:  The last car is operated on the Detroit to Toledo interurban line.  [EMR4]

    November 2:  A bitter and contentious strike ends streetcar service in Kalamazoo.  [MT]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line between White Cloud to Big Rapids.  [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line between Fostoria and Otter Lake. 5.15 miles.   [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • Manistee & North Eastern begins operations over portions of PM track, abandoning its own parallel tracks from Kaleva to Traverse City.   [PMHS][PM45]

  • Pere Marquette abandons line from Grindstone City to Port Austin, 5.2 miles.    [COHS-8/1997]

  • The Rochester MC/DUR crossing tower is closed.  Also known as Main Street, 3 MC and 3 DUR tracks crossed directly over the roadway of Main Street.  [CW]

  • Operation of the LS&MS Lansing Branch is transferred to the MCRR Michigan Division for operating purposes.  Service between Lansing and Jonesville is provided by mixed trains #64 and #65.  [MRC-5/1981]

  • Most PM main line wooden passenger coaches are replaced by all-steel equipment.  [COHS-2/1998]

  • Depression continues.

  • Railroads collectively operate at a financial deficit.  [STOV]

  • January 8:  Arrangements are made with the Mineral Range Railroad (DSS&A) to operate jointly between Hancock and Calumet, with a joint agency in Calumet. This continues a short time until May 15, 1934 when the roads resume using separate lines. [CRH]

  • April 2:  The Pennsylvania and Wabash RR's inaugurate fast through passenger trains between Detroit and Chicago via Fort Wayne with running time of four hours, 45 minutes.   [MDOT]

  • July 1:  The T&W ends passenger service to Pioneer, Ohio.  [EMR4]

  • July 17:  Grand Trunk moves car ferry operations from Grand Haven to Muskegon, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Railroad.   Until this time, a carferry had not called Muskegon home since the Pere Marquette left in 1906.   [GTWHS-5/1997/MDOT]  Note:  MDOT shows date as September.

  • August 4:  The DT&I removes their eastbound diamond at Carelton, leaving one track to cross the PM at that location.  [MSAI]

  • September 1:  T&W ends passenger service to Adrian.  (Note:  The Blissfield newspaper suggests an earlier date).  [EMR4]

    September 17:  The Grand Trunk Western moves their Lake Michigan railroad car ferry terminal from Grand Haven to Muskegon.  [MT]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Mears to Pentwater, 7.37 miles.   [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Otter Lake to Otisville, 4.23 miles.   [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Port Austin to Grindstone City.   [PMHS]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Haynor to Stanton, 19.46 miles.   [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • The former DT&M, between Marshall and Dundee is abandoned.  [Adrian Daily Telegram, 6/26/1975]

  • Pere Marquette ferry service between Port Huron and Sarnia ends.  [AB]

  • Depression continues.

  • Railroads collectively operate at a financial deficit.  [STOV]

  • February 1:  CK&S discontinues passenger service.  [NYC-2/1989/AAD]

  • March 26:  The Soo Line and C&NW agree to pool Gogebic Range ore operations.  This step was taken to cut costs.  The split was 69% for the C&NW and 31% for the Soo Line.  All Soo Line trackage from the Hoyt, WI yard to Bessemer was made a part of the pool, and all operations were under the direction of the superintendent of the C&NW.   [SOO-Su/1996]

  • May 15:  The joint operating agreement with the Mineral Range Railroad between Houghton and Calumet was discontinued. [CRH]

  • May 31:  Last interurban in Michigan to run in regularly scheduled service departs from Niles for a trip to South Bend- Northern Indiana Railways.  [IT-12/80]

  • May:  The Budd Company builds the Zephyr for the Burlington Railroad.  It is displayed at the Chicago World's Fair.  One of the first stainless streamliner trains pulled by diesel power.  [STOV]

  • Diesel locomotives are first used in passenger service.  [STOV]

  • Pere Marquette abandons line from Stanton to Haynor (north of Ionia).  [IT-2/1974] Note: Differs from COHS-8/1997 which shows line abandoned in 1933.

  • The Detroit & Huron Railroad, between Cass City and Bad Axe is taken over by the Grand Trunk Western.  [MRC-7/87]

  • Fewer than 20 passenger trains chuff their way daily across the Upper Peninsula.  [IT-5/80]

  • The Michigan Central discontinues mixed train service on the Lansing Branch, between Jonesville and Lansing.  [MRC-5/1981]

  • Most of C&NW's line from Hurley to Pence (west of Michigan border) was abandoned after consolidation of Gogebic Range operations with Soo Line.  [SOO-Su/1996]

  • Depression continues.

  • January 1:  Hancock & Calumet is acquired by the Mineral Range Railroad.  [MRRC]

  • April 15:  The Marquette City and Presque Isle Street Ry. abandons operations in Marquette.  [SOO-S/1994]

  • Winter:  The conditions of ice floes covered Lake Michigan from shore to shore and stady winds packed the drifting cakes into solid masses and windrows, the worst winter on record.  Pere Marquette boats continue to cross the Lake.  [COHS-8/1997]

  • Pere Marquette RR abandons line from Elmdale to Freeport, 6.19 miles.   [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

  • DSS&A abandons line between Marengo Jct. and Superior, WI.  Uses running rights over Wisconsin Central/Northern Pacific to reach Duluth.  [SSJB]

  • The E&LS removes a portion of the Mashek branch, out as far as the Escanaba River.  [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • D&M's Prescott branch gains traffic from the transport of  crude oil from the Prescott area.  [GW]

  • Depression continues.

  • July 15:  Michigan's first streamlined train, "The Mercury," begins Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland run over the New York Central lines.  [MDOT]

  • LSMS Jackson to Manchester line removed.   [IT-4/80]

  • The DSS&A and Soo Line make full use of the Trout Lake connection for passenger service.  The South Shore line from Soo Jct. to the Sault is relegated to mixed train branch line service.  [MRC-3/90]

  • Passenger service is ended on the Pere Marquette between Saginaw and Port Huron, as well as the Almont Branch.  [AB]

  • Depression continues.

  • June:  The "Chippewa," a new, completely air conditioned train, began service over The Milwaukee Road from Chicago to Iron Mountain.   [MDOT]

  • July 1:  Passenger service discontinued on the MCRR Kalamazoo to South Haven branch.  [MHM/MT]

  • July 18:  CK&S discontinues operation and removes track from Richland to Woodbury.  [NYC-2/1989]

  • October 5:  The Michigan Railroad Club is formed.  It remains the state's oldest railfan organization.  [MRC-12/87]

  • Chrysler builds its Dodge truck plant at the northeast corner of Eight Mile and Mound Roads on the Michigan Central railroad line in Warren. [BOM]

  • The balance of the E&LS Mashek Branch is removed (see 1935).  [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • Railroads collectively operate at a financial deficit.  [STOV]

  • April:  Grand Trunk Western receives two diesel-electric switching locomotives, the first in their system.   [MDOT]

  • September 1:  Scheduled service discontinued on LSMS Fayette Branch between Old Road and Fayette via Weston.   [IT-4/80]

  • November:  New York Central "Mercury" service is expanded to the Detroit-Chicago route via Jackson   [MDOT]  Note: At variance from 1939 report.

  • Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn consists of two dozen manufacturing buildings, and over 24 miles of railroads.  [DWS]

  • The W&M gives up trackage rights on the Milwaukee Road, between Bagley Jct., MI and Marinette/Menominee.  [MW]

  • The W&M abandons its line from Bagley Jct. WI to Faithorn, MI.  [MW]

  • The Milwaukee Road abandons its former W&M line between Faithorn to Aragon Jct.  [MW]

  • The last regularly scheduled passenger train passes through Tecumseh on the NYC Jackson Branch.  [Tecumseh Visitors Guide]

  • The DC-3 airliner is proven very successful, but airline passenger traffic is only 2% of all commercial passenger traffic.  [STOV]

  • The Blue Water Bridge is opened between Port Huron and Sarnia for vehicle traffic.  [BOM]

  • August 10:  A westbound freight trains derails and rearranges the features of the MCRR Ypsilanti station.  It is rebuilt, no longer with bay windows and the tower disappears.  -  [MRC-09/88]

  • November 12:  New York Central's "The Mercury", perhaps the most luxurious passenger train to serve Michigan, begins service between Chicago and Detroit.  [MT]  Note: At variance from 1938 report.

  • Pere Marquette RR receives first diesel switcher, a SW-1 #10.   [PMHS]

  • SNAPSHOT:  The Ludington & Northern delivers 2,515 cars of sand to the Pere Marquette for distribution.  [PM45]

  • The Copper Range abandons the Greenland Branch, 2.3 miles long. [CRH]