Timeline - 1891

  • January 7: The Lowell & Hastings completes their line from Lowell, across the river to Elmdale.  The first passenger train runs from Lowell to Grand Rapids. [L&H]

  • January 9: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Street Railway opens line from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti. [MRRC]

  • April 21: Streetcar employees strike for 3 days against Detroit Street Railway.  Agree to return to work while demands are being arbitrated.  Agreement reached May 12. [DWS]

  • May 15: C&NW opens line from North Escanaba to Loop Line Jct. (branch to Iron River). [MRRC]

  • July 15: Potts Logging Railway is sold to the Au Sable & Northwestern Railroad. [MRRC]

  • July 17: Chicago and North Michigan Railroad completes line from Traverse City to Bay View (Petosky). [MRRC]

  • July 19: The Flint & Pere Marquette abandones its narrow-gauge line from Zion to Yale (12 miles). [AB]

  • September 19: World's first international submarine tunnel, the St. Clair Tunnel, was opened between Port Huron and Sarnia by the Grand Trunk system, forming a continuous rail route between eastern Canada and Chicago, the longest route in the world under single management. The tunnel is 6,025 feet long and with approaches is 11,553 feet long. [MDOT]

  • October: Tracks are first laid for an electric railway between Negaunee and Ishpeming, with 125 at work on the project. The route will not cross any railroad tracks in Negaunee and will leave for Ishpeming by way of Cyr Street. It will run north of Union Park and cross the railroad going north to the Detroit Mine. It will enter Ishpeming on the south side of the bluff of the New York Mine property and come down High street past the high school building to First Street. It will turn on to Canada, and then go south on Main to Division, west to Pine and out Pine to the Lake Angeline Location. Street cars eventually run on part of the route as early as February, 1892. The line is finished between the two towns on July 23, 1892. The route was planned to end at Winthrop Location, but progress was stopped when the State of Michigan determined that the electric railway would need to build an overpass across the DSS&A. [EHMT]

  • November: Chicago & West Michigan completes extension north of Traverse City to Elk Rapids, 18 miles. This includes about nine miles of a branch line from Williamsburg to Elk Rapids. North of Williamsburg, the line has been graded for the greater part of the distance to Charlevoix and Petoskey. The rails are now being laid.  [COHS-11/1991]


  • The Chicago & West Michigan opens a new depot at Grant. Cost was $3,000. In 1980, the depot was converted to a restaurant. A water tower still stood next to the depot in 1980. [IT-5/80]

  • Detroit Street Railway becomes Detroit Citizens Street Railway. [DWS]

  • The DL&N builds a new depot at Grand Ledge. [I&L]

  • C&NW completes line from Crystal Falls to Hemlock Mine. [MRRC]

  • Iron Range & Huron Bay RR began construction of a 40-mile line. Completed 4 years later, only one locomotive was ever run on the line which was soon abandoned as a total loss!  [MDOT]

  • Four of the largest steam locomotives ever built in the U.S. up to that time were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in the St. Clair Tunnel.

  • Michigan Central builds depot at Saginaw on West Genesee. Depot continues to exist into 1974. [IT-12/1974]

  • Work begins on the Fort Street Union Depot viaduct. It is completed on January 21, 1893. [PM45]

  • Michigan Central builds depot at Wyandotte. Depot continues to exist into 1974. [IT-12/1974]

  • The C&NW depot in Ishpeming unloads about 25 cars of freight each day for businesses and private individuals. [EHMT]

  • Michigan Central builds a Spier and Rohns stone depot in Niles. It continues to be used as an Amtrak passenger station in 2020. [MRT-I]

  • Saginaw, Tuscola & Huron RR converts to standard gauge to eliminate the costs associated with transshipping loads of fish and quarry materials at Saginaw. [PMHS]

  • It is noted through a photograph of the Elkhart station on the LS&MS Air Line, that the main line signal wires poles behind the station carried at least 64-wires. [LS]

  • The Flint & Pere Marquette discontinue using trackage rights on the MCRR between Wayne Jct. and Detroit, in favor of using the Detroit, Lansing & Northern line from Plymouth (the current line). [PM45]

  • The DL&N builds a depot in Belding, on their branch line from Kiddville.The depot sits in the shadows of the four story Belding Silk Mills. [I&L]

  • The C&NW begins to put gas lights (kerosene?) in its passenger cars. [EHMT] 


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