Railroad Passes - General Information

Railroads and other transportation organizations at one time issued passes, which generally entitled the bearer to passenger train passage at no charge. This was often done for employees and their families, or as a courtesy to officials from other railroads who may be passing through the area.

It has been noted through history situations where these passes may have been abused. Also, towards the end o branch line passenger trains, some railroads noted that a large percentage of remaining passengers were on the train as the result of a free pass and the lack of paying customers made operating these trains even more difficult.

Some small railroads, no doubt, used the issuing of passes to their advantage. As an example, the President of the very short Blaney and Southern Railway in the upper peninsula issued passes on his short (which was primarily logging railroad) no doubt to gain a favor of much larger railroads when he requested passes in return.

Photos of passes on this website: We have concentrated our display of passes for roads that operated in Michigan, at least at some point. Not all passes are shown. We have tried to show different styles of passes and artwork. Passes which are essentiall the same as previous years have not been displayed.