Timeline - 1889

  • January 3: Detroit City Railway receives grant for new trackage. [DWS]

  • January 6: The first passenger train was run on the Manistee & Northeastern. [MDOT]

  • January 11: The Toledo, Saginaw & Mackinaw Railroad builds north from Saginaw to Bay City, reaching Oa-at-ka Beach, north of Bay City.  It was sold later that year to the Cincinnati, Saginaw & mackinaw, which in turn was leased in 1901 to the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. [NK]

  • January 28: Michigan's Lt. Governor and a business acquaintance are killed when their railroad car on the rear of a C&NW passenger train "mounted" the rail, overturned, and was dragged over stumps near Elmwood, about 18 miles west of Iron River in Iron County. Read details. [FFTF-IR]

  • January: St. Louis, Sturgis and Battle Creek Railroad completes line from Battle Creek to Sturgis. [MRRC]

  • March 4: Grand Trunk Car ferry "Transit I" was totally destroyed by fire at GTW's wharf in Windsor.  [MDOT]

  • April 1: Flint & Pere Marquette purchases the Port Huron & Northwestern Railway. [PMHS]

  • April 24: The Lowell Journal reports that the Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit Railroad installs an interlocker and derail switches at Elmdale.  Derail switches are installed on each side of the diamond. L&H crews must stop at the junction, and close the derails before proceeding. A connecting track is installed in the southeast quadrant of the crossing. A depot is also built east of the L&H on the north side of the GRL&D. [L&H]

  • June 1: Soo Line began running luxury trains across the Upper Peninsula between Minneapolis and Montreal via Sault Ste. Marie. [MDOT]

  • September 1: Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw - CK&S - completes Hastings to Woodbury line.  [IT-12/79][NYC-2/1989]

  • September 17-27: Detroit hosts International Exposition and Fair on Detroit River, on 14 acres between Fort Wayne and the Rouge River, near what is now Zug Island.  Railroads bring attendees in from all parts of the nation.  Tracks laid directly into the middle of the fairgrounds. [D18]

  • October 14. The conductor and two crew members of a wrecking train were killed in Lansing when the hoisting bream of their steam wrecker broke and fell upon a group of over a dozen workers on the Lansing Transit railway. [Evening Republican, Meadville, PA-10-14-1889]

  • November 8: The Flint & Pere Marquette, using the Detroit, Lansing & Northern tracks from Plymouth, signed agreements with the Wabash to share the new Fort Street Depot Company depot in Detroit. The depot company built an elevated connecting track from 18th and West Jefferson to the new terminal at Third and Fort Street.  The new Fort Street Union Depot opened its doors to trains of the Wabash and F&PM on January 21, 1893. [EMR4]

  • November 15: The Flint & Pere Marquette line between Yale and East Saginaw (former PH&NW) is widened to standard gauge. [AB]

  • November 15: The Flint & Pere Marquette builds a new standard-gauge line between Yale and port Huron, and between Brown City and Deanville (their Quarry spur). [AB]

  • November 17: Toledo, Ann Arbor and Lake Michigan Ry. opens line from Cadillac to Beecher. [MRRC]

  • November 25: Frankfort and Southeastern Railroad completes 3' gauge line from Frankfort to Beecher. [MRRC]

  • November 25: Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan RR (later named Ann Arbor RR) began service from Toledo to Frankfort. [MDOT]

  • December: Bay City and Battle Creek Railway completes line from B.C. & B.C. Jct. to Midland.  It is leased to the Michigan Central in 1890. [MRRC][NK]


  • Allegan and Lake Shore Railroad abandons 5 mile long line from Allegan west. [MRRC]

  • June:  Buckley and Douglas Rail Road abandons 8 mile line fro Manistee River to T22N R13-14W to T23N R13-14W in Manistee County.  Built in 1881. [MRRC]

  • Fort Street Union Depot in Detroit was constructed. [MDOT/AAD]

  • Ann Arbor Railroad builds depot in its namesake city. It continues to exist today as a day care center. [IT-12/1974]

  • The Pere Marquette builds a fancy stone and brick depot in Muskegon. It continues to exist in 2001. [MRP-I]

  • Thomas Edison passes through Ishemping on the way to the Sampson Mine in Humboldt to build his iron concentrating plant, using magnets. [EHMT]

  • Flint & Pere Marquette constructs a new standard gauge line form Yale to a junction with the Grand Trunk west of Port Huron. [PMHS]

  • Adrian City Electric Belt Railway opens line in Adrian - 5 miles long. [MRRC]

  • Saginaw & Mt. Pleasant RR is merged into the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad. [PMHS]

  • CN&W builds 1-story brick and wood depot and baggage house in Hermansville on their Iron Mountain to Escanaba line. [SOO-10/1991]

  • The depot at Hoyt, in the Gogebic & Montreal River line, was moved to the promising community of Iron Belt.  A smaller structure took its place at Hoyt. [SOO-W/1996].

  • The Grand Trunk builds a new brick depot in Flushing. The depot, in 1999, belongs to the Flushing Historical Society. [MRP-I]

  • Grand Trunk builds new depot at Lennon and Flushing. Both continue to exist as of 1974.  [IT-12/1974]

  • All Flint & Pere Marquette trackage north of Port Huron is converted to standard gauge leaving the Almont Branch as the only remaining narrow gauge route. [PMHS]

  • St. Joseph Valley Railroad is converted to standard gauge. [PMHS]

  • Paris & Pere Marquette River Railroad abandons 16 mile line west from Upper Paris west. [MRRC]

  • Plant No. 1 of the Michigan Alkali Company is established near what is now Zug Island to produce soda ash. [HWC]

  • Michigan is leading copper and iron ore producer. [DWS]

  • The Dow Chemical Company begins operations in Midland. [PM45]

  • The IXL Lumber Company builds a plant at Hermansville and begins shipping tongue-and-groove maple flooring. [SOO-S/2006] 


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