Timeline - 1855

  • STATISTIC: Miles of railroads in operations in Michigan this year: 474. [MRC/72]

  • February 12: State passes law requiring crews on passenger trains and depot personnel to wear a badge on their hat or cap indicating their job title or office. [MDOT]

  • February 13: Michigan Southern Railroad receives state approval to consolidate with the Northern Indiana Railroad forming the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad. [DWS]

  • February 22: First common  carrier railroad in Upper Peninsula, the Iron Mountain RR was charted. [MDOT]

  • April 25: Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana Railroad incorporated. [DWS]

  • July: The Toledo and Illinois (later Wabash) runs its first train into Toledo from Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is merged into the Toledo, Wabash and Western in June, 1856. They locate their roundhouse and car shops about a mile south of the Middle Grounds in an area that became known as the "Lumber District". [AATHS-Spr/2002]

  • August: First steam powered locomotive in UP, the "Sebastopol" arrives by boat at Marquette for Iron Mountain RR. [MDOT]

  • August: Cleveland Iron Mining Company sends first iron "ore" shipment form Marquette to Cleveland for processing out of state. [MSL]

  • October 2: The Detroit & Milwaukee reaches Fentonville from Pontiac. [MCR-75/AAD]

  • December: The Detroit, Monroe & Toledo opens its line between Detroit and Monroe. [AAD]


  • The general railroad incorporation act was passed by the Michigan Legislature and signed into law.  New railroads begin building. [AAD]

  • The Cleveland and Toledo Railroad bridges the Maumee River in Toledo (later the Lake Shore). [AATHS-Spr/2002]

  • St. Joseph Valley Railroad opens line from Constantine to Three Rivers. [MCR-75/MRRC]

  • The Iron Mountain Railroad begins building a line from Marquette to the Jackson and Cleveland iron mines, fourteen miles away. They used a route surveyed by the Green Bay and Lake Superior Rail-Road in 1852.  [MHM] This road also reached the Lake Superior Mine.  [EHMT]

  • A railroad is built from Constantine to Three Rivers by the St. Joseph Valley Railroad Co. [AAD]

  • Airline Yard in Toledo begins service in car switching. [IT-5/80]

  • The Michigan Southern Railroad opens additional branch line from Tecumseh to Manchester. [MCR-75]

  • Michigan Central begins using the telegraph to control train operations, the first railroad in the nation to make widespread us of this technology. [MDOT]

  • Soo Canal opens, allowing shipping of raw materials from Lake Superior. [DWS/MSL]

  • Bessemer steel process invented. [DWS]

  • The horse powered railway in Sault Ste. Marie, begun in 1839, was discontinued as a result of the completion of the Soo Canal and Locks.  [MIRX8] 


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