Railroads gain momentum, short lines are born...

Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum


1990 - 1999


  • 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
























  • Early 1990's:  CSX completes switchover from remote control defect detectors to audible radio defect detectors.  [MRF-5/90]
  • November 14:   After being torn out for about two years, the crossing diamonds for the GTW and the TSBY at Durand are back in place. [AATHA-W/1990]

  • January:  The takeover of the Soo Line by the Canadian Pacific is virtually complete, with CP now owning 96% of Soo Line stock.  [MRC-3/90]

  • February:  CSX Grand Rapids Dispatcher and Saginaw West Dispatchers are transferred to Jacksonville, FL  [MRF-5/90]

  • April 16-17:  The CSX Potter Street Station burns.  [COHS-6/1991]

  • July 4:  The Coopersville & Marne makes its first revenue passenger run between its namesake cities.  [MRC-9/1990]

  • Summer: The Norfolk & Western replaces jointed rail with welded rail between Adrian and the Boat Yard in downtown Detroit.  [MRC-9/1990]

  • September 29:  Detroit & Mackinac makes it's last move between Gaylord and Cheboygan.  [MRC-12/1990]

  • September:  Strike by mine workers at the Tilden and Empire mine close ore operations in the UP.  [MRC-12/1990]

  • Fall:  Proctor & Gamble announces that it will close its paper mill in Cheboygan, eliminating the Detroit & Mackinac's only significant customer in their northern terminal.  Without the mill, there is little reason for the D&M to run north of Gaylord.  [MRC-3/90]

  • November 30:  CN ceases operation in their riverfront yard in Windsor, Ontario.  [MRC-2/1991]

  • December 12:  Michigan Shore Railroad purchases trackage in Muskegon from the Central Michigan Railroad.  [MRRC]

  • Christmas:  The Durand Depot is officially designated by the state as the Michigan State Railroad History Museum and Information Center.  [MRC-3/1991]

  • Conrail closes West Detroit interlocking tower - [JH]

  • Soo Line removes former DSS&A track East of Bergland to Sidnaw.  [SOO-S/1994]

  • January 23:  Huron & Eastern Ry. takes over operation of the original 54 miles of TSBY operation near Vasser.   [AATHA-Sp/1991]

  • April:  Work crews remove rail and ties of the former MCRR/NYC/D&M line between Cheboygan and Mackinaw City.  [MRC-8/1991]

  • April:  Railroads begin blowing their horns at all road grade crossing in cities where it was formerly prohibited by local ordinance.  This follows a study from the FRA indicating that grade crossing accidents increase 195% when the horn is not used.  The FRA also ruled that local ordinances are superceded by federal law.  [MRC-12/1991]

  • June 1:  CSX closes Plaster Creek (JG) Tower in Grand Rapids, transferring operations to Jacksonville, Florida.  Plaster Creek controlled trains entering or leaving Wyoming yard,  and the entire main line from the old Pleasant Street Tower to just past the East Tower at Lamar.  As of this writing the following towers remained on the CSX in Michigan and the region:  Alexis, Carleton, Delray, Rougemere, Fostoria, Hallet, Plymouth, Ironville (Presque Isle), Manhattan Blvd., Millard, RX in Toledo, Walbridge WR, and Walbridge Stanley.  [C&OHS-4/1991]

  • August 11:  Milan Tower closes.  [MRC-9/1991]

  • September 21:  Amtrak completes a $1.7 million renovation of the former CSX Holland Depot.  [MRC-12/1991]

  • The Wisconsin Central awards contracts to strengthen the international railroad bridge at Sault Ste. Marie.  [MRC-9/1991]

  • Detroit & Mackinac removes all rail between Hawks and Cheboygan.  [NK]

  • The N&W files to abandon its Delta District from Delmont Jct. (Maumee, Ohio) west to Montpelier, Ohio, about 48 miles.  There has been no through train on the lince since December, 1990.  [MRC-8/1991]

  • The former GR&I/PRR/Northern Michigan track from Reed City north to Cadillac has been pulled up.  [MRC-8/1991]

  • February:  The Lake State Railway Company (LSRC) is created, following the lease of the Detroit & Mackinac Railway to management officials.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • June:  The Union Belt of Detroit is dissolved.  [EMR4]

  • November:  Work starts on enlarging one tube of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.  It is completed on April 17, 1994.  [SOO-Su/1994]



  • Summer:  The diamonds of the Holly Sub over the GTW Mt. Clemens Sub at Milwaukee Junction were removed.  [MRC-12/1993]

  • September 20:  GTW removes the diamonds of the Holly Subdivision crossing the Conrail line at Milwaukee Junction.   [MRC-12/1993]

  • December 13:  CSX Toledo Terminal Dispatching function is transferred to Jacksonville, Florida.  [MRF-3/94]

  • December:  Wisconsin Central takes over the Algoma Central.  [MRF-11/1994]

  • December:  Morris Leasing buys Conrail Quincy Secondary, 15 miles from White Pigeon to Sturgis, and 4 mile former GR&I branch from Sturgis to the Indiana state line.  [MRF-3/1994]

  • December:  Most CSX trains now operate with two-man crews, as a result of a new labor agreement.  Brakemen have been eliminated on most trains, leaving a conductor and engineer.  [MRC-12/1993]

  • Greenfield Village completes construction of a new 39,000 gallon water tower.  The old tower is torn down.  The new tower was built from a kit from the Rosenwach Tank Co. of Long Island, NY.  The tank was placed on the original foundation.   [DRK]


  • April 17:  The north tube of the Detroit River railroad tunnel is re-opened after a $27.5 million clearance project.  The new dimensions of the tunnel allow 19' 6"double-stack railroad cars to use the tunnel.  [MT/SOO-S/1994]

  • May 5:  Amtrak begins running passenger trains to Pontiac from Detroit and Chicago.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • May:  The CP Rail station in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is damaged by fire.  It is demolished on August 24, 1994.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • Summer:  The Leelanau Scenic Railroad is no more, as a truck hits one of the line bridges and the railroad folded.  The right of ways are turned into bike trails.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • October 1:  The former Detroit & Mackinac depot in Alpena is heavily damaged by fire.  The depot will be razed on December 19, 1996.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • October 27:  The Fourth Street interlocking at Three Rivers is removed.  This was the crossing of the Air Line Division (to Niles) and the Kalamazoo branch.

  • October:  The Huron & Eastern Ry. has rail-banked approximately 11 miles of the line between Ruth and Harbor Beach, MI (formally part of the Pere Marquette's Harbor Beach Subdivision).  [C&OHS-10/94]

  • December 8:  Crews from both sides break through to create the new Port Huron-Sarnia international railroad tunnel.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • December 9:  NS ceases car float operations in Detroit, as the tug R. G. Cassidy departs the dock at the NS Board Yard for the last time.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • CSX car float operation at Port Huron ties up for the last time.  The car float operation began in 1902.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • NS shuts down its steam program.  N&W 611 is placed in a museum in Roanoke, Virginia.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • Lake States Railway vacates the former D&M Tawas City shops, moving maintenance operations to the roundhouse at Alpena.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • The Alanson & Petosky (former GR&I/PRR) closes.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • Lake State Railway abandons the Paxton Branch.  The route, which went from Alpena to an open pit rock quarry at Paxton formally went west to Hillman.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • February 1:  Wisconsin Central takes over control and operations of the Algoma Central Railroad in Ontario.  [MRC-4/1995]

  • April 2:  Amtrak discontinues daily passenger service between Toledo and Detroit.  [MRC- 6/1995]

  • April 5:  CN opens new $200 million, 6130-foot tunnel between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.  Old tunnel is closed.

  • April:  NS upgrades the old Union Belt "PX" Yard, which is located between Harbough Avenue and West End Avenue in Detroit.  The yard, which formerly served the GM Fleetwood plant, will serve a new NS container facility.  It is called West End Yard.  [MRC-2/1995]

  • Spring:  CSX ceases operating railfan excursions.  [MRC-6/1995]

  • May:  The Kalamazoo, Lake Shore and Chicago ceases operation on their line from Hartford to Paw Paw.  [MRC-9/1996]

  • Summer:  The LS&I completes a rehabilitation of their Republic Branch in preparation for hauling aggregate remains from the local pelletizing proces to the ore dock.  [SSDiv-10/1994]

  • October:  The West Michigan Railroad, a Pioneer Rail Corporation unit, begins operation on the former KLS&C between Hartford and Paw Paw.  [MRC-9/1996]

  • Chicago & Northwestern is merged into the Union Pacific Railroad (UP).  UP now serves the Marquette iron range in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  [STOV]

  • The last semaphore signal on the ex-C&O Michigan lines is removed from the home signal at Porter, Indiana where the CSX Grand Rapids Sub joins the Conrail Chicago-Elkhart line. (Editors Note: As of 2001, a fixed, but lighted semaphore continues to exist on the approach to the Manistee River bridge in Manistee on the CSX.)  [MRC-4/1995]

  • There are 3,829 miles of railroad in Michigan.  [STOV]

  • March 31:  Conrail closes Beaubien Street interlocking tower.  The tower was built around 1916 and protected a crossing of Conrail and the Grand Trunk Western.  Operations of the interlocker were transferred to the Conrail Dearborn dispatcher.  [MRC-8/1996]

  • May 11:  The ribbon is cut for the new Grand Traverse Dinner Train, which runs from Traverse City to Walton Jct and Williamsburg.  [MRC-6/1996]

  • June:  Norfolk Southern opens a web site at www.nscorp.com.  [MRC-6/1995]

  • December:  Conrail transfers control of the "YD" interlocker at Pleasant Street in River Rouge from Bridge Tower to the Conrail Dearborn dispatcher.  The Mill Street interlocker in Ecorse (also controlled by the Bridge) was transferred at the same time.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • January:  The NS rehabs its Rouge River drawbridge.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • January:  The LS&I and Wisconsin Central begin an all-rail movement of taconite ore from Tilden Mine near Negaunee to Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  LS&I moves the ore from Tilden to the WC at Eagle Mills, when then takes it via Escanaba, Gladstone, Trout Lake and the Soo over the International Bridge.  [SOO-Sp/1996]

  • February:  The NS acquires the Forman Wye, near Delray in southwest Detroit.  This track was originally built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and starts just east of the NS draw bridge over the Rouge Rivere, curving around and connecting with the CSXT just north of the Fort Street overpass.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • Early 1997:  The Marquette to Munising Jct. portion of the old Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic has been taken out of service by the Wisconsin Central.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • May:  America's newest passenger cog railway opened in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  The Quincy & Torch Lake Cog Railway carries passengers from Hancock, MI to historic mining sites on the hill above town.  The line is a half mile long and passengers are transported in a modern steel car with a capacity of 28 passengers.  The car travels at a constant 5 m.p.h. speed on a grade as high as 35%. [MRC-11/98]

  • October 18:  Wisconsin Central tears down former Soo Line roundhouse at Sault Ste. Marie.  [MRC-2/1998]

  • October 29:  Railtex removes 6.6 miles of track between Elmdale, north to Malta (the former PM/GTW junction).  The diamond at Malta has also been removed and a new connection track has been installed in the northwest quadrant of the Malta junction.  [COHS-1/1998]

  • October:  The approach to the former Soo Line ore dock in Marquette is dismantled.  [MRC-2/1998]

  • Late:  Lake State Railway abandons the Paxton Branch, from Alpena west to the quarry at Paxton.  [MRC-2/1998]

  • December:  Rouge Steel takes over its own railroad switching from the Ford Motor Co. railroad.  75 men at Ford lost their jobs as a result.  [MRC-2/1998]

  • The Lake State Railway announces it will pay about #10 million to buy locomotives, cars and rail lines of the Detroit & Mackinac Railway.  The transaction should take place around April 15th.  Equipment will now be repainted to reflect LSRC ownership.  The line had been leased by LSRC since 2/1992.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • Conrail donates the 100 foot turntable from the former MCRR shops at Jackson, Michigan to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum at North Judson, Indiana.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • The UP (former Soo Line) abandons trackage between North Escanaba and Hermansville.  The connection track at Hermansville is upgraded for 40 mph.  A new connection track is also installed between the UP line and the former Soo Line near the old ore yard on the west side of Escanaba.  [MRC-4/1997]

  • January:  CSX spends $2.5 million to replace the electrical and mechanical systems in its troubled St. Joseph bridge at St. Joseph.  The bridge was built in 1905.  [COHS-2/1998]

  • April 30:  CSXT sells 51-mile Port Huron Subdivision to RailAmerica, Inc. which will operate it as the Saginaw Valley Railway Co. (SGVY).  The line runs from just east of Saginaw (Paines) to Brown City, MI.  [C&OHS7-1998]

  • Mid:  GTW abandons portion of the Romeo subdivision from Richmond to washington.  The rails are to be removed this winter.  This section has not seen rail service in a number of years.  GTW has also applied to abandon the section from Washington to Pontiac.   [MRC-11/98]

  • August 10:  Manhattan Jct. and the Cherry Street branch (of the Norfolk Southern) come under the control of the Yardmaster at Homestead Yard.  [MRC-11/98]

  • Summer:  The City of Marquette purchases the old ore dock approach trestle right-of-way that bisects their downtown area for $200,000.  The Front St. portion of the trestle, which carries a "Welcome to Marquette" message will remain.  [MRC-11/98]

  • Fall:  CSX and NS have begun upgrading the Lincoln Branch, between Carleton and Detroit.  CSX trains will now be able to get on the Lincoln Branch at Schaefer Road and head south.  [MRC-11/98]

  • Fall:  The Ann Arbor Railroad completes relocation of their Ottawa Yard in Toledo to make room for the new Chrysler Jeep plant.  [AATHA-SS/1997]

  • Fall:  CSX, now the owner of the line from MA (Michigan Avenue) to North Lansing, removes one section of double track to make the line single track.  CTC signaling is also installed, controlled from Jacksonville.  One track in the Ensel Yard (Lansing) is modified to be used as a passing track.  [MRC-11/98]

  • Fall:  The remaining GTW Jackson subdivision from M.A.L. Junction in Pontiac to Heego Harbor is placed out of service and is up for abandonment.  [MRC-11/98]

  • Saginaw Valley RR takes over operation of the former 52-mile CSX line from Saginaw to Brown City - 4/27/1998 - [MRC-6/00]

  • June 1:  Conrail is taken over by the CSX and Norfolk Southern.  [MT]

  •  GTW completes new fueling station in Battle Creek - 1999 - [GTWHS-5/99]