The TAA&GT Line to South Lyon

By James Hannum

AARR Map To South LyonOne goal of the people behind the Ann Arbor Railroad was to build their line as a wide, rural belt line around Detroit from Toledo north to Ann Arbor, and then northeast to Pontiac to  connect with the Grand Trunk.

[Map at left:This is a drawing on a 1901-1902 Survey Map of the Ann Arbor Quadrangle from the Michigan State Board of Geological Survey.  The red line is the Toledo, Ann Arbor and Northeastern original line. The dotted line north of South Lyon was the planned route to Pontiac. This line was ultimately used by the Grand Trunk to reach South Lyon as a part of its Jackson Subdivision. In the summer of 1890, the new Ann Arbor line (in dark green) was run north and northwest from a location known as Leland, which was in the area south of Dhu Varren Road west of Nixon Road.  [MBGS - James Hannum]

Poor's Manual of Railroads, by Henry Varnum Poor, Edition of 1881, details the early history of the railroad and its line which was eventually operated between Ann Arbor and South Lyon:

"In 1881, the company was called the Toledo and Ann Arbor Railroad Company, from Toledo to Ann Arbor, 46 miles.  It was completed on August 1, 1880.  The Toledo, Ann Arbor and North-eastern Railroad Company was organized to extend the former line 38 miles to Pontiac to reach the Grand Trunk Railway, and to bring that line into direct connection with the lines entering Toledo.

"At South Lyons [sic], on this extension, 15 miles north of Ann Arbor, and to which the line is now opened, a connection is now made with the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad, with which a traffic contract for southern connections has been made.

"The rest of the extension is now ready for iron, which is being laid, to be completed to Pontiac by September 1, 1881."

A map from the Railroad Maps of the United States: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Original 19th-century Maps in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, compiled by Andrew M. Modelski, Washington, Library of Congress, 1975, (below) shows the entire projected route of the Toledo, Ann Arbor and Grand Trunk Railway in 1881.  The latter portion, north of South Lyon, was never put into service by the TAA&GT and was soon sold to the Grand Trunk Railway which used it as part of its line to Jackson.

The segment of railroad from Ann Arbor to South Lyon remained in use until at least 11 August, 1890.  On that date, the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan.

[2nd map below: The original planned route from Toledo to Pontiac. [RMLC]