Story - Physical Condition - Pere Marquette Railroad - 1909

This property was inspected August 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 [1909]. The inspection shows that the main line from Detroit to Benton Harbor is laid with 65, 70, 75, and 85 pound steel rail and the same is generally in good condition, with the exception of the 65 pound rail, which is considerably worn.  The company is replacing all of the light rail with a heavier section.  Tie renewals have been extensive, a large number of tie plates being used on same. Considerable ballasting has been done at several points along the line. The general condition of the track, road bed, ties and rails is much better between Detroit and Grand Rapids than between Grand Rapids and Benton Harbor.  The general condition of the right-of-way fence is poor, more especially on the division from Grand Rapids to Benton Harbor.  However, it was noted that there are miles of new fence constructed, and miles of fence that is in good repair. The weeds on right-of-way have not been cut for the entire distance. However, it was noted that the weeds had been cut on several of the sections. The cattle guards are generally poor, a number of the highway crossings not being provided and at others the cattle guards are too narrow for the opening between the wing fences. However, it was noted that a large number of new cattle guards have been installed.  The switch stands are provided with single, double and semaphore targets, switch lights and locks; the semaphore targets being used generally on the division between Detroit and Grand Rapids.  We are informed by the Superintendent that the company has adopted a semaphore target as their standard, and all renewals will be made along the line of the semaphore target. The company is giving special attention to the equipping of side tracks with derails that work in connection with the main line switch.  The blocking of frogs and switches is fair. A large number of the blocks are badly worn and are of little use for which they were intended.  The highway crossing signs are generally in good repair.  However, it was noted that a number of them are weather beaten and should be repainted.  In their present condition they are of little use for which they were intended.  New crossing signs should be placed at the third crossing west of Hudsonville and the second crossing from Hartford.  The stations are generally fairly well maintained.  However, it was noted that several of them show that very little attention is given to sanitary conditions.  It was also noted that the maintaining of passenger train bulletin boards at all stations do not receive the attention as required by law, a number of the bulletin boards being improperly marked.  It was also noted that in many instances the closets were unsanitary.  The station platforms are generally of cinder or crushed stone. In a number of instances the platforms were uneven, allowing water and mud to accumulate, thereby making it disagreeable for passengers leaving and taking trains.   The bridge structures have received necessary repairs.  A large number of wooden trestles have been filled with earth or replaced with modern steel structures.  Very few of the bridges are provided with inside guard rails. It was noted that the gateman's shanty at South I.yons is located too near the tracks.  A full interlocking and derailing switch and signal system should be installed at the crossing of the Grand Trunk Railroad at South Lyons.  Interlockers at the several crossings in good repair.  The electric locking to the interlockers at Annpere at the crossing of the Ann Arbor Railroad is in place and same is working satisfactorily.  The diamond crossing of Second Avenue in Grand Rapids is in poor condition and should be renewed at once.  Crossing alarm bells at the several highway crossings working satisfactorily.  It was noted that there was no order board at Bravo station.  The agent informed us that he is not supposed to get train orders but in emergencies he does get orders.  We consider it necessary if orders are received at this station, to have an order board.  The passenger train service seems to meet all the requirements of the public and all passenger cars are equipped  as required by Law.

The Benton Harbor and Buchanan Branch extends from Benton Harbor to Buchanan, a junction point of the Chicago Division of the Michigan Central Railroad Company.  The rail on this branch is 67 pound steel and in fair condition and fairly well maintained.  The tie renewals have been light.  Ties are in fair condition;  This track is in need of ballast.  The surface and alignment of track is fair.  Weeds have not been cut on right-of-way.  Right-of-way fences that are built, generally in good repair.  The surface and alignment of track is fair.  Switch stands provided with single and double targets.  Wing fences and cattle guards in poor condition. The bridge structures are receiving general repairs.  A new deck and additional stringers are being placed on the bridge over the St. Joe River.  No inside guard rails on bridges.  No stations on this line of any importance, except at Berrien Springs.  This is a small station with one waiting room and is fairly well maintained. The traffic on this division is light, there being but two trains a day. The length of the branch is 26 miles and the schedule time of trains is one hour twenty minutes.  From the general condition of the track, I would say that the speed of trains should not exceed 20 miles per hour. 

The Paw Paw Lake Branch extends from Coloma to Paw Paw Lake.  The rail in this track is 35 and 60 pound and in fair condition, the 60 pound being laid on curves.  The ties generally in good condition. Surface and alignment of track is fair.  Track should be reballasted.  This branch is used almost exclusively for Summer resort travel for a period of 60 days, no stations on this branch.  A number of highway crossing signs need repainting.  Very little right-of-way fence.  From a general condition of the road bed, ties, surface and alignment of track, I would say that trains should not exceed 15 miles per hour on this branch. 

From Waverly to Ottawa Beach the rail in the track is 60 pound and fairly well maintained. Tie renewals have been liberal and the general condition of same is satisfactory.  The track is ballasted with a light grade of ballast and the surface and alignment of track is fair.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut. This branch  is not fenced for the entire distance.  Right-of-way fences where constructed are in fair condition.  Cattle guards at a number of highway crossings in poor condition.  Wing fences poor at several of the highway crossings.  Crossing signs satisfactory.  Switch stands provided with double targets, switch lights and locks.  Bridge structures satisfactory, excepting not provided with inside guard rails. No stations except at Waverly and Ottawa Beach.  These stations are satisfactory for the traffic presented.  This branch is used almost exclusively for the transportation of passengers during the summer season for resort traffic at Ottawa Beach, for 90 days.

From Waverly to Muskegon.  Wing fences are in good repair and whitewashed.  Track is ballasted with a light grade of ballast. Tie renewals have been liberal.  The rail is light, being but 56 and 60 pound, but is well maintained.  The surface and alignment of track and general condition of same, is equal to the traffic presented. Weeds on the right-of-way have not been cut for the entire distance.  A number of the cattle guards should be renewed.  Switch stands provided with double targets, switch lights and locks. The stations are generally small but seem to meet the requirements of the public.  The station at Muskegon is neat and convenient for the traveling public, and is well maintained.  Interlocker at Grand Haven, at the crossing of the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon electric line is in good repair.  Bridge structures receive all necessary repairs, but are not provided with inside guard rails.  Bulletin boards and closets in fair condition.

From Muskegon to Mears the rail is generally 60 pound and in good condition and well maintained.  Surface and alignment of track is good.  Ties well maintained.  Right-of-way fence satisfactory.  Right-of-way cleared of weeds. Tracks ballasted with a light grade of ballast.  Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Cattle guards generally satisfactory.  However, it is noted that several of them had become filled with sand and weeds, making them of little use for which they were intended.  The station at Berry is satisfactorily maintained except the bulletin board, same was not properly marked.  Stations at Whitehall, Montague, New Erie and Shelby all neat and clean and bulletin boards properly marked, with the exception of New Era.  Highway crossings and signs satisfactory.  Bridge structures in good repair.  Bridges not generally provided with inside guard rails.  Switch stands provided with double targets, light and locks. 

From, Berry to White Cloud:   the rail is in fair condition and satisfactory for the traffic presented.  Right-of-way fence fair.  Weeds not cut for the entire distance.  Track ballasted with a light grade of ballast.  Surface and alignment of the track fair.  Holton and Brunswick stations are small but seem to meet the requirements of the public.  Brunswick station should be repainted.  Bulletin boards not marked at either station.  Fremont station has two waiting rooms and they are neat and clean.  Station should be repainted.  Highway crossings and signs satisfactory.  Frogs and switches fairly well blocked. Tie renewals have been liberal.  Ties are satisfactory.  Cattle guards satisfactory. 

From Ludington to Baldwin:  weeds not generally cut on right-of-way.  Track ballasted with a light grade of ballast.  Right-of-way fence generally satisfactory.  Track is being reballasted at several points along the line.  Surface and alignment of track fair.  Switch stands are generally provided with single targets, lights and locks.  A new station has been provided at Custer, which is ample for the requirements of the public.  Cattle guards generally in fair condition, however, it was noted that new cattle guards should be supplied at a number of the crossings.  Highway crossings fairly well maintained.  Highway crossing signs in fair condition.  A number of them should be repainted.  Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Station at Scottville in fair condition.  Frogs and switches fairly well blocked.  A number of the blocks are badly worn and of little use for which they were intended. 

From Baldwin to Traverse City:  New cattle guards should be provided at several of the highway crossings.  Switch stands generally provided with double targets, switch lights and locks.  The tie renewals have been quite extensive.  A large number are distributed for further renewals.  Right-of-way fence is in fair condition, however, right-of-way fence should be renewed at several places.  Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Track is generally ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  The surface and alignment of track is good.  Weeds not generally cut.  However, it was noted that section men were cutting weeds on a number of the sections.  New stations have been provided at Wellston and Brethren and are satisfactory for the accommodation of the traveling public.  Bridge structures receive careful attention; inside bridge guards provided on the Manistee River Bridge; others not provided with inside guards.  Interlockers at Peacock, Kaleva, Henry, Thompsonville and Interlochen in good repair.  Stations are generally satisfactory.  Frogs and switches well blocked. 

White Cloud to Big Rapids: no stations of any importance.  Right-of-way fence that is built, in fair condition.  Highway crossing signs in fair condition, however, a number of signs should be repainted.  The rail is 56 and 60 pound and in fair condition.  The track is ballasted with a light grade of ballast.  Ties in fair condition. Track fairly well surfaced.  Switch stands provided with double targets, switch lights and locks.  Cattle guards in fair condition.  Bridge structures receive careful attention.  Bridges not provided with inside bridge guards.  The traffic on this division is light. 

From Big Rapids to Edmore:  the rail is 60 and 65 pound, in good condition and well maintained. The track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  Surface and alignment of track is good.  Track is well tied. Right-of-way fences in fair condition. Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Cattle guards generally in fair condition.  New cattle guards should be provided at several of the highway crossings.  A number of farm crossing gates were found open.  Highway crossings satisfactory.  A number of the highway crossing signs should be repainted.  Switch stands provided with double targets, switch lights and locks.  Weeds not generally cut. Bridge structures receive careful attention.  No inside bridge guards.  Stations generally satisfactory.  Frogs and switches generally fairly well blocked. 

The Mecosta Branch extends from Mecosta to Barryton, a distance of 12 miles.  The rail is 56 and 60 pound and in fair condition.  The road bed is fair.  Surface and alignment of track fair.  Track well tied. Right-of-way not generally fenced. No stations except at Barryton.  This station is satisfactory for the traffic presented. The traffic on this branch is light, but two trains a day over same.   The track is equal for the traffic presented. 

From Edmore to Kidd:   the rail, ties, ballast and surface and alignment of track is good, this being a portion of the main line from Saginaw to Grand Rapids.  A number of the crossing signs need repainting.  The right-of-way fence is generally in good repair; considerable new fence having been built this year.  Wing fences are in good repair and whitewashed.  Cattle guards are generally satisfactory.  Stations generally satisfactory with the exception of bulletin boards not marked at McBrides and no bulletin board provided at Greenville.   At Greenville the company has provided a new station, which is neat and well maintained.  Frogs and switches blocked.  Bridge structures in good repair.  Same are not provided with inside guard rails.

From Kid to Ionia:  the rail is 56 and 60 pound and is fairly well maintained.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  The fence is generally in fair condition.  The track is ballasted with a fair grade of ballast.  Track is fairly well tied. and a large number of ties being distributed for renewals. Surface and alignment of track is fairly new station has been provided it Orleans which is satisfactory for the traveling public. No bulletin board provided for this station.  The company expects to erect a new freight house at Ionia. 

From Honor to Stanton:  the rail is 56 pound and fairly well maintained.  The track is well tied.  Fence generally in fair condition.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  Cattle guards generally fair.  Surface and alignment of track fair.  Wing fences whitewashed.  Crossing signs in fair condition; however, a number of them should be repainted.  The stations on this line are generally small and fairly well maintained.  About two miles of new fence has been built this year.  A number of farm crossing gates were found open.  The traffic on this branch is light and I would say that the track is satisfactory for same. 

From Edmore to Paines:   cattle guards are generally in fair condition but it is noted that a number of them are too narrow for the opening between the wing fences.  Fence needs renewing at several places.  Surface and alignment of track good.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut. Track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  Considerable ballast is distributed for reballasting.  Wing fences in good repair and the same are whitewashed.  Switch stands provided with single and double targets, switch lights and locks. A number of farm crossing gates found open.  Bridge structures receive careful attention; same are not provided with bridge guards.  Quite a number of ties distributed for renewals.  Upon examination of the stations they were found to be satisfactorily maintained.  A number of new concrete culverts are being constructed.  Frogs and switches fairly well blocked; a number of the blocks being badly worn so that they are of little use for which they were intended. 

From Saginaw to Coleman:  bridge structures in good repair, same are not provided with inside guard rails.  Interlocker at Mershon out of service, same receiving general repairs.  Switch stands provided with single and double targets, switch lights and locks.  The rail on this division is from 70 to 75 pound and is well maintained.  The track is 'ballasted with a superior grade of ballast, and the surface and alignment of track is good.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  Crossing signs generally in good repair.  Right-of-way fence was found to be generally in good repair, however, it was noted that fence should be renewed at several points. The cattle guards are generally in fair condition but a number of them are too narrow for the opening between the wing fences. The stations on this line are generally in good repair and satisfactory for the requirements of the public.  Frogs and switches generally well blocked. 

Mt. Pleasant Branch extends from Coleman to Mt. Pleasant.  The weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  Right-of-way fence generally in fair condition.  The rail is 50, 56 and 67 pound and fairly well maintained.  The surface and alignment of track is fair.  Track is ballasted with a light grade of ballast.  Cattle guards are generally satisfactory, however, it was noted that a number of them had become filled with weeds.  A number of the highway crossing signs need repainting.  Bridge structures receive all necessary attention.  Bridges not provided with inside guard rails.  Considerable new fence has been built on this line this year.  Frogs and switches fairly well blocked.  The stations are small but no complaints having been made of same, it would seem that they are satisfactory for the traffic presented. 

From Saginaw to Bad Axe.  A number of the highway crossing signs are poor and should be renewed.  Track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast and the surface and alignment is good.  Right-of-way fence is generally in good repair.  Weeds not cut on right-of- way. A number of farm crossing gates found open.  Wing fences in good repair.  Switch stands provided with single targets, switch lights and locks.  Cattle guards generally in fair condition.  Rail, ties, road bed, surface and alignment of track is equal for the traffic presented. Frogs and switches fairly well blocked. 

From Bad Axe to Palms.  The rail is 56 pound and generally fairly .well maintained. The track is well tied.  Surface and alignment of track is satisfactory for ,the traffic presented.  Weeds on right-of-way not cut.  Right-of-way fence is fair; should be renewed at several points along the line.  Wing fences in good epair and whitewashed. Crossing signs satisfactory.  Cattle guards generally in good repair.  Switch stands provided with single targets, switch lights and locks. 

Palms to Harbor Beach.  The station at Palms is small; one waiting room.  Closets unsanitary;  bulletin board not dated. The rail is 56 and 60 pound, with the exception of five miles which is 45 pound. Considerable of the rail is surface bent.  Switch stands provided with single targets, lights and locks. Ruth Station small, one waiting room.  Bulletin board not marked.  The track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  The surface and alignment of track is fair.  Weeds 011 right-of way not cut.  Quite a number of ties distributed for renewals.  A number of farm crossing gates found open.  Cattle guards are generally in fair condition, however, it is noted that a number of them are too narrow for the opening between the wing fences.  Bridge structures receive all necessary attention in the way of repairs, but same are not provided with inside bridge guards.  Harbor Beach station was receiving repairs. The bulletin board not marked. This branch is generally in satisfactory condition for the traffic presented. 

From Palms to Port Huron.  The rail is 50 and 56 pound and in fair condition, and well tied.  T'he track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  The surface and alignment of track is equal for the traffic presented.  The station at Deckerville is fairly well maintained.  Bulletin board not marked.  Station should be repainted.  Station at McGregor in satisfactory condition.  Croswell station is satisfactory, having been recently repainted, inside and out.  Bulletin board not marked.  Atkin station is satisfactory.  Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Right-of-way fence generally in fair condition.  A number of farm crossing gates were found open.  Weeds not generally cut on right-of-way.  Cattle guards generally in fair condition.  Considerable ballast has been distributed for reballasting.  Frogs and switches fairly well blocked, although a number of them are worn and of little use for which they were intended. 

From Port Huron to Saginaw. The rail is 67 pound and in good condition. Fences generally satisfactory.  A number of poor crossing signs.  Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  Surface and alignment of track good.  Wing fences in good repair and same are white-washed.  Track is well tied, and ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  A number of farm crossing gates were found open.  Bridge structures in good repair.  Same not provided with inside guard rails.  Yale station has been repainted, inside and out.  Bulletin board not dated.  A number of new concrete culverts have been constructed.  Brown City station is fairly well maintained.  Marlette station recently painted, inside and out.  Bulletin board not marked.  Clifford station in poor condition and should be replaced by a more modern structure.  Station at Vassar is neat and well maintained. crossing alarm bells at the several crossings in good working order.  The general condition of the road bed and track is good.  Frogs and switches generally blocked. 

From Saginaw to Monroe:   From Saginaw to Plymouth the rail is 70 and 75 pound and well maintained.  The surface and alignment of track is good.  Track is well tied.  General condition of ties good.  'Track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast..  Wing fences in good repair and whitewashed.  Right-of-way fence generally fair.  A number of the highway crossing signs need repainting.  Weeds not cut on right-of-way for the entire distance.  Switch stands provided with single targets, switch lights and locks.  Cattle guards are generally in good repair, however, a number of them are too narrow for the opening between the wing fences. The station at Birch Run has one waiting room;  the same is neat and clean. Bulletin board not marked.  Clio station is satisfactorily maintained.  Station at Mt. Morris satisfactorily maintained.  Considerable attention has been given to the beautifying of the station grounds.  The station at Flint was found to be in a rather unsanitary condition.  Station should be cleaned up.  Station at Rose City is small but well maintained. Milford station satisfactory except bulletin board which was not marked.  Wixom station small but is satisfactorily maintained.  It would seem to be necessary for the amount of travel at this point that a larger station should be provided, it being the joint station between the Pere Marquette and Grand Trunk Companies. A full interlocking and derailing switch and signal system should be installed at the crossing of the Air Line Division of the Grand Trunk at Wixom.  The company is building new yards and a new freight station at Flint.  The crossing alarm bells at the several crossings in good working order.  Weeds have not been cut on the entire right-of-way.  New bridge has been constructed near Novi.  From Plymouth to Monroe the rail is 67 and 70 pound.  Track is ballasted with a good grade of ballast.  Ties are satisfactory . Surface and alignment of track fair.  Cattle guards narrow at a numher of the highway crossings.  The rail from Plymouth to Wayne is considerably worn.  A number of the crossing signs should be repainted. Weeds on right-of-way have not been cut.  A number of cattle guards should be renewed.  The station at Carleton has been destroyed by fire and a box car is now being used for the accommodation of the public.  The Detroit, Toledo & Ironton and the Pere Marquette Railroad Companies have under advisement the building of a more modern structure at this point. The station at Monroe is satisfactory.  Station at New Boston is small but well maintained.  Interlocker at the crossing of the Michigan Central Railroad at Wayne Junction is in good repair.  The diamond crossing at Wayne Junction with the Michigan Central was found to be loose and in need of repair.  Bridge structures in good repair, same not provided with inside guards.  Frogs and switches generally blocked, however, a number of the blocks are badly worn and are of little use for which they were intended.
 

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