Timeline - 1854

  • January 17: The Great Western Railway of Canada, reaches Windsor from Niagara Falls. It is Detroit's first rail connection with the eastern United States. GW passengers were transported between Windsor and Detroit via ferries, notably the "Union", a 163-foot sidewheeler of 1,190 tons, which was built at Detroit in 1857. [MRC-6/1973]

  • Over the next 11 years, intense opposition to railroads results in arson destruction of various Detroit railroad buildings. [DWS]

  • The Lake Shore's branch from Lenawee Jct. through Tecumseh, now reaches Jackson. [LS]

  • Use of coal as a locomotive fuel becomes practical. [STOV]

  • The Michigan Southern adopts the "Dr. George F. Foote" ventilating system, a primitive form of air conditioning that permitted air to circulate from the chambers at the sides of a passenger car up through grates on the floor. [AAD]

  • George B. Russell founds the Robinson, Russell & Company to build railroad cars. [HWC]

  • The Michigan Central completes a Howe Truss bridge, 575 feet in length, in Niles. [MCR/72]


Timeline Key:

  • Railroad event in Michigan
  • Event relating to mining
  • Event related to car ferries
  • Event outside of Michigan
  • Improvement in Technology
  • Railroad built or extended
  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed
  • Economic panic or depression