Timeline - 1888

  • January 1: Tracks of the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Ry (later "Soo Line")  reached Sault Ste. Marie. [MDOT]

  • January 17: The Bay View, Little Traverse and Mackinac Railroad line, from Bay View to Harbor Springs, is sold in bankruptcy, to the Grand Rapids & Indiana.  [NK]

  • January 27: The Lowell & Hastings begins running scheduled trains between Freeport and Segwum (near Lowell). The road installs a turntable at Freeport on January 16th for turning locomotives. [L&H]

  • January: Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Co. opens line from named city to Canada. Owned 25% by the DSS&A, 25% by the Soo Line, and 50% by the Canadian Pacific. [MRRC]

  • April: Wooden car ferry "St. Ignace" entered St. Ignace-Mackinaw City service, the first ship to provide a rail link between Michigan's two peninsulas.  First boat to be equipped with a bow propeller.   It burned in 1916. [MDOT]

  • May 5: The DSS&A roundhouse in St. Ignace  burns down. It is replaced in November  with a new 8-stall house as well as new iron turntable, ash pits and an incline coal dock. [DSS]

  • June 11: Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic and three other roads merged to form the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Ry., familiarly known as the "Soo Line". [MDOT]

  • June 23: A new interlocking is proposed for the Iron Mountain and Southeastern and the M&N Railway near Champion, Michigan. [MSAI]

  • July 27: The Michigan Central Railroad opens a new depot in Battle Creek.  It was designed by Rogers and McFarlane of Detroit, one of several Richardsonian Romanesque-style stations between Detroit and Chicago in the late nineteenth century. Thomas Edison as well as Presidents William Howard Taft and Gerald Ford visited here. [MHM]

  • July: The DL&N begins passenger train service on their branch line from Kiddville to Belding.  The horse car, which was used on this line since 1875, was retired. [I&L]

  • August 1: The Michigan Fish Commission's car "Attikumaig" (Whitefish) is placed in service. [MT]

  • August 1: Grand Trunk Ry. of Canada (Toledo, Saginaw and Muskegon Ry.) completes line from Carson City to Muskegon. [MRRC]

  • August 10: C&NW builds line from Ishpeming to Republic. [MRRC]

  • August 24: A wye is installed between the DL&N and the L&H at Elmdale. [L&H]

  • August: Detroit, Lansing & Northern completes line from Grand Ledge to Grand Rapids. [MRRC]

  • September 1: St. Joseph Valley opens 3' gauge line from Buchanan to Berrien Springs. [MRRC]

  • October 23: Toledo, Saginaw and Mackinaw Railroad opens line from Durand to Flushing. [MRRC]

  • November 20: Manistee and Northeastern opens line from Manistee to Nessen City. [MRRC]


  • Alpena & Hubbard Lake builds 3' gauge logging road 18 miles from Alpena to Hubbard Lake. Abandoned in 1892. [MRRC]

  • The Milwaukee and Northern builds north from Green Bay to Iron Mountain, and extends to a junction with the DSS&A at Champion. [MSL]

  • Canada and St. Louis Railway opens line from Sturgis to Goshen, Ind. [MRRC]

  • DSS&A completes line from Nestoria to Iron River, WI. Running rights are negotiated from Iron River WI to Duluth, MN via the Northern Pacific. [SSJB]

  • The railroad grade crossing at Beaubien Street, Detroit is installed. The tower was built around 1916. [MRC-6/1996]

  • The Lowell and Hastings Railroad builds from Elmdale to Lowell. Later becomes the Pere Marquette. [PM45]

  • The CK&S reaches Hastings from Kalamazoo. [NYC-2/1989]

  • The Detroit & Bay City Belt Line, known as the "Belt Line", was built across the GTW Mt. Clemens Subdivision west of Chene St., running 4.35 miles under lease by the MCRR until it was sold to them and reincorporated on May 3, 1909 as the "Detroit Belt Line Railroad". The line connected with the Detroit Manufacturers Railroad and most DMR business was shipped over the Belt Line. [EMR4]

  • The highest railroad bridge in Michigan, was built over the Manistee River between Baldwin and Kaleva by the Chicago & West Michigan Ry Co. [MDOT]

  • Depot in Flushing, MI is built - (burned in 1980). [IT-4/80]

  • Michigan Central opens new brick depot in Battle Creek. Still exists as of 2001 as a restaurant. [IT-12/1974]

  • The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern opens a new depot in Hudson, Michigan on the "Old Road". The depot is designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston in a Richardson Romanesque style. It replaced the original depot, which was built in 1856. The original depot was moved down the road to Cadmus. The move was paid for by the residents of that town. [NYC-Q1/1996]

  • Pere Marquette builds depot in Muskegon. Continues to exist into 1974. [IT-12/1974]

  • Michigan Central opens new stone depot in Standish. Still exists as of 2020. [IT-12/1974]

  • Detroit businessman James McMillan, co-founder of the Michigan Car Co. and developer of the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad is elected to the U.S. Senate. [DWS]

  • Lake Erie, Essex, and Detroit River Railway (owned by whiskey magnate Hiram Walker) opens, connecting Detroit/Windsor with rich agricultural fields of Ontario's interior. [DWS]

  • The MCRR builds a new wooden depot in Dexter. It is used today in 2001 by the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club. [MRT-I]

  • The narrow gauge Tittabawassee & Hope Railroad is abandoned between Averill and its end point. [NK]

  • Grand Trunk builds depot in Carson City.  Still in existence as of 1974. [IT-12/1974]

  • The state legislature requires that passenger cars must be heated from the outside or by an enclosed heater in the car. [AAD]

  • Mecosta Railroad abandons 3' line from Muskegon River to Horsehead Lake. [MRRC]

  • Peak year for Michigan lumber;  state produces more than 4 million board feet. [DWS]

  • The Pontiac and Frontenac are the first steel ore freighters used on the Great Lakes. [IOHT]

Timeline Key:

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