Story: Physical Condition - Au Sable & Northwestern Railroad - 1909

This road was inspected November 4 [1909], is a narrow gauge railroad and extends from Au Sable to Hardy, a distance of forty miles, with branches from Hardy to Commins and Curran. The rail is from 30 to 45 pound and considerably worn. Joints are poorly maintained with the exception of the branch from Hardy to Curran. This branch has 45 pound rail and is in good condition, well tied. A great many ties have been renewed during the past year and there is still a necessity for some tie renewals along this line. Very little ballasting has been done and the surface and alignment of track is poor in many places. Side tracks are provided with stub switches, solid frogs, switch stands with single targets and locks. No lights. Frogs and switches were not blocked. Fences only built where requested. Highway crossing signs need repainting. A number of highway crossings without signs, also a number of highway crossings without planking. 

A great many wire crossings were found not in accordance with specifications of the Commission. Engines in use are not equipped with automatic couplers as required by law. Both passenger and freight equipment are of a second class character. Passenger cars heated with stoves with no fire protection, but are equipped with axe and saw, drinking water and toilet facilities. Engines are equipped with jack screws. Russell logging cars equipped with link and pin couplers and are handled in same train with freight and passenger cars on mixed trains.

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

[Editors Note:  By 1909, the state had determined that stub switches needed to be replaced by point switches like those currently in use by railroad.  Switch stands were supposed to be lighted, but it appears that the MRC allowed railroads to forgo this requirement if they did not operate at night.  Automatic couplers were required by law and link-pin cars were no longer supposed to be used on passenger trains.]