Pennsylvania R. R. Will Extend Lines to Detroit

Project Now Under Way Includes 20-Mile Cut-Off and 

Large Terminals - Gravity Yard and Double-Deck Freighthouses

Reprinted from the Engineering News-Record, June 29, 1922


RENEWAL of active construction work on the Detroit extension of the Pennsylvania R. R. including a new line and extensive terminal facilities, is an important feature in railway development which was authorized in May and will cost about $16,000,000. This new extension of the Pennsylvania R. R. System has been proposed for some years, since its Toledo terminal is within sixty miles of a great manufacturing and shipping center at Detroit. Work was commenced shortly before the World War and was resumed when the railways had been returned to private ownership after the war, but owing to unsettled and unfavorable conditions little progress has been made until the recent order for the completion of the work.  The line is being built under the name of the Pennsylvania-Detroit R. R.

Since the general route is already traversed by several existing lines it was found economical to utilize these as far as possible by obtaining trackage rights; but a new line will be built for about one-third of the distance. For the past two or three years the Pennsylvania R. R. has been operating passenger trains between Toledo and Detroit over the Pere Marquette R. R. and Wabash R. R. by way of Romulus, Michigan.

Toledo-Detroit Line - Starting in Toledo at the junction of the Pennsylvania Lines with the Ann Arbor r. R. near Galena St., this latter road will be used to Alexis Junction, 4.37 miles, and will be double-tracked by and at the expense of the former road.  From Alexis Junction the Pennsylvania Lines have secured joint trackage and industrial rights on the double-track line of the Pere Marquette R. R. to Carleton, a distance of 25.33 miles.

A new 20-mile line now under construction will extend from Carleton to a junction with the double-track line of the Wabash R. R. just west of its bridge over the Rouge River.  Ultimately this will be double-track but only a single track will be built this year. The new line will reduce the distance by about 4 1/2 miles as compared with the present route through Romulus, Mich.  From this new junction trackage rights have been secured from the Wabash R. R. for about one mile to Delray. Beyond this point both trackage and industrial rights have been obtained from the Wabash and Pere Marquette railroads as lessee of the Detroit Union R. R. and the Fort Street Union Depot Co. Thus the Pennsylvania R. R. will have joint use of the passenger terminal at Fort and Third Sts. which is within a half-mile of the city hall.

The Carleton cut-off or new 20-mile line will branch from the Pere Marquette R. R. with a light curve and continue as a long tangent to the west end of the Ecorse yard, where a slight angle will be made and the two main tracks will encircle the yard. The one track now being built passes on the north side of the yard. Between Toledo and the Ecorse yard the maximum grade will be 0.3 per cent. On the passenger tracks there will be grades of 1 per cent around the yard and on the approach to the viaduct leading to the Fort St. Union station. Grading for the new line and for that part of the Ecorse yard to be built this year will amount to about 360,000 cu. yd. The only important bridges are a double-track reinforced concrete arch bridge having four 40-ft. spans and the steel bridges over the Ecorse freight yard. The former bridge was partly built in 1918-1919 at which time the substructures for the other bridges were built. All main line junctions and grade crossings will be equipped with interlocking switch and signal plants.

Terminals and Yards. A large terminal freight yard with gravity switching will be built at Ecorse and the east end of the new line, about 300 acres having been obtained for the site. There will be two hump yards for northbound and southbound service, together with an engine terminal for freight locomotives. The combined capacity of these yards will be about 12,000 cars and the partial development carried out this year will provide for about 1,100 cars. At present only t4emporary engine facilities will be provided as it is intended to have the freight engines make round trips from Toledo.

An extensive city freight station will be build, the Pennsylvania lines having purchased all the property between Congress, Larned and Third Sts. and Brooklyn Ave. The tracks will branch from the viaduct of the Union Depot line and will enter the second floor level of the freight station. An inbound freight house 80 x 1,050 ft. fronting on Congress St. will have three storage floors about the track floor.  An outbound freight house 60 x 700 ft. will front on Larned Street. Between these two buildings and at the upper or trade level will be four team tracks with standing capacity for 95 cars, this yard having two driveways reached by an inclined approach from Second St. with a bridge over Third St.  This year only the outbound house will be built and will serve temporarily for both inbound and outbound business. It will be a steel frame structure with brick walls.

A city team-track yard within 2 1/2 miles of the city hall has been provided for by the purchase of ten acres fronting on Fort St. between Summit and McKinstry Sts. extending about 1,000 ft. to the joint tracks. This yard will have a capacity eventually for about 250 cars and it is proposed to build trackage for about 90 cars this year.  Passenger equipment will be provided for by a new engine house and coach yard to be built between 12th and 21st Sts. Part of the property to be improved is occupied by the roundhouse and coach yard of the Pere Marquette R. R. but the old building will make way for a larger structure for the joint use of the two railroads.

Important industrial connections are included in the project. In addition to those connections along the present racks from Delray to the passenger terminal the Pennsylvania Lines have secured trackage and industrial rights over all tracks of the Pere Marquette and Wabash railroads east of the River Rouge, as indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 2. The Pennsylvania Lines have also constructed the industrial branches shown in solid lines. It is proposed to construct this year the wye connection between the Pere Marquette and Wabash railroads just east of the River Rouge and also the extension from the present end of the line around Detroit to Highland Park, thus completing an industrial belt line. Other extensions to be built in the future by and at the expense of the Pennsylvania Lines are required by its agreement with the other two lines and will be subject to joint use by the latter at their option to an extend equal to half the values placed on their respective terminals in Detroit.  

Engineers and Contractors. B. V. Somerville is chief engineer of the Pennsylvania-Detroit R. R. (Pennsylvania Lines). Grading on the new line form Carleton is being done by Cliff Brothers, London, Ohio and the Ferguson & Edmund Son Co., Pittsburgh. The former firm will also complete the concrete arch bridge and the steel bridges will be built by the American Bridge Co.