Timeline - 1861

  • January 5: Amboy, Lansing and Traverse Bay RR completed 20 miles of railroad (location unknown) and received 1st land grant. [MDOT]

  • February 3: Thomas Edison becomes the first newspaper publisher to distribute his paper on a train.  He sold his one-page Weekly Herald on a run between Port Huron and Detroit. [MT]

  • April 12: Civil war begins.

  • May 13: First movement of troops by rail on the Amboy, Lansing and Traverse City from Lansing to Bath.  [MDOT]

  • September 4: The Amboy, Lansing & Traverse Bay Railroad reaches North Lansing from Bath. [MCR-75]

  • October 24: First U.S. transcontinental telegraph line put into operation.  Pony Express ends two days later. [DWS]

  • Railroads begin setting aside one car for smokers. It was normally placed at the rear of the train. [AAD]

  • The Michigan Central, a pioneer in the development of sleeping cars, constructs its first sleeper car in its Detroit shops. The car has seats that can be converted into beds. They also make two "drover's sleeping cars". [AAD]

  • SNAPSHOT: The Michigan Central Railroad reached Chicago nine years ago. Today, the road runs 3 passenger trains each way between Detroit and Chicago. They include a "Day Express", a "Night Express" and a westbound 2nd Class Emigrant and Express Freight train. In addition to the day and night express eastbound, the MCRR runs a 2nd Class "Stock Express" between the Stock Yards at Chicago and the Stock Yards at Detroit, with local stops in between. The road also operates a local bidirectional passenger train between Detroit and Jackson, and a "Cincinnati Express" between Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana. Finally, the schedule includes two 3rd class "way freights" between Detroit and Michigan City. In addition to Detroit and Chicago, the road shows two major terminals at Marshall and Michigan City. (Jackson and Niles are merely stops). The timetable says "All trains whether regular or "wild", will keep a sharp look-out for Grand Trunk trains and at Cattle Yard tracks.


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