Story: Physical Condition - Ann Arbor Railroad - 1909

The property of this Company was inspected July 21 and 22nd [1909] and extends from the State line in Monroe county to Frankfort in Benzie County. The rail in the track from the State line to Owosso is 70 pound steel and in good condition. From Owosso to Frankfort the rail is 60-70 and 85 pound. The 60 pound rail is considerably worn and is being replaced with 70 and 85 pound steel. All of the 60 pound rail will be taken out this season. The tie renewals have been quite extensive. An extra number of ties have been distributed for use this year.  On all straight track cedar ties are being used, provided with tie plates and on curves oak ties are generally used.

In many places right of way fences were found to be in an unsatisfactory condition. Numerous complaints have been made to the department of poor fences at different points along the line. These complaints were taken up on the annual inspection and orders issued for the renewal of fences. Surface cattle guards are of various types. Several of them were found to be in poor condition and should be renewed. A great many of them were found to be too narrow to fill up between wing fences.

The weeds on the right of way were being cut by the section men at most points along the line. Wing fences were not whitewashed.  Considerable ballast was being distributed and where track has been reballasted it is in good condition. A number of the wooden trestles have been replaced by cement abutments and steel girders of a modern type.  A few of the larger bridges are provided with inside guard rails. Switch stands were found to be provided with several types of targets, all supplied with locks and lights. A number of farm crossing gates were found open. Bridge safety guards were found in many places to be in poor condition.

The stations at Lakeland and Cadillac are in a dilapidated condition and should be replaced by more modern structures. Considerable attention is being given to the painting of stations and to the better maintenance of same. In a few places new cement station platforms have been constructed and there is still an opportunity for considerable improvement along this line. In many places crossing plank need renewing. The interlocker at Annpere shows that the conditions in the way of electric locks, as ordered by this Commission, were in place and working satisfactorily. Interlocker at Clare at crossing with the Pere Marquette was found to be in good repair. It was found that a great number of bulletin boards were improperly marked and in many cases very little attention had been given to the marking up of bulletin boards. This matter was taken up directly with the agents. A number of (water) closets (bathrooms) were found to be in an unsanitary condition, but the general condition of same were much improved since last inspection.

Equipment, both freight and passenger, is as required by law. Nine new freight engines, one passenger engine, one parlor car and two coaches have been added to the equipment, which is first class in every respect. A decided improvement has been made in this property since the last inspection.

[From the 1909 Annual Report of the Michigan Railroad Commission, State Library of Michigan.]