Timeline - 1908

  • January 5: The car ferry Manistique was damaged in the Manistique port. The boat made it back to port but sank at the dock off the Chicago Lumber Company. She was raised four days later and taken to dry dock at South Chicago. Ann Arbor No. 1 was chartered by the MM&N as her replacement. [AATHA-F/1990]

  • January: The New York Central announces that the color of the freight and passenger stations on all of its lines would be standardized. At the time, there was no uniform color and it was said there were about 10 colors in use on various lines. [LS]

  • February 28: First trip through the St. Clair Tunnel with electric locomotives takes place with a 700-ton train. Steam operation through the bore ended on May 17, 1908. [MDOT]

  • February: The PM depot at Greenville burns and everything is destroyed. The depot was locked after the last train leaves at 7:55 p.m. There is a night telegraph operator but he is located at night some distance north in the freight depot.  The fire is believed to have been started in the north room where a fire was burning in a stove. The railroad placed a passenger coach at the foot of Grove Street for a temporary passenger station. [I&L]

  • April 27: A sleet and snow storm plays havoc with the telegraph and telephone companies in the Houghton area, to say nothing of the Street Railway company and steam railroads. Communication with points outside Houghton County were almost completely at a standstill. Both Western Union and Postal wires leading out of Calumet are out of commission, though the Paine, Webber & Company wire to Milwaukee is working part of the time. [CCEN]

  • May 17: The last steam engine pulls through the GT Port Huron to Sarnia tunnel. Motive power is now fully switched to electric locomotives. [MT]

  • June 8: The big Wallace-Hagenbeck circus pulls into the local railroad yards at Calument. [CCEN]

  • June: Pere Marquette's depot at South Lyon is destroyed by fire. [MHM/CB]

  • July 3:The Grand Trunk depot in Ionia MI catches fire, destroying several freight cars, the Presbyterian Church (which caught fire during Friday services) and damaging several homes. [MT]

  • August 3: James MacNaughton, General Manager of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, at a company picnic, states that copper mining in the Calumet district started sixty-three years ago and the production of copper has grown one hundred and sixty fold in the first ten years. "Now the mines of Michigan are producing more copper in three weeks than they produced in the first ten years of the history of copper mining". [CCEN]

  • September: Manistque & Northern sells MM&N Car Ferry #1 to the Grand Trunk for service between Grand Haven and Milwaukee.  It was renamed the Milwaukee..  The M&N contracted with the Ann Arbor Railroad for car ferry service.  [AATHA-W/1990]; Also reported as a 10/5/08 transaction date. [HH/MIRX8]

  • October 14: Tragic forest fire kills 13 women and children in Metz. D&M is credited with trying to save the lives ot villagers. [HI][GW] lists this date as October 18th.

  • SNAPSHOT: December 13: Michigan Central record of movement of trains on the Air Line Division, Sunday December 13, 1908: 11 eastbound freights and 2 westbound moves. (Note... the MCRR ran the Air Line as an eastbound freight main between Niles and Jackson  Westbound moves used the regular main line via Kalamazoo.)  There were two eastbound and two westbound LS&MS trains between Jackson and Haires, apparently passenger trains. One arrived in Jackson in the morning and left with the same power in the evening, the other departed in the morning and the power returned in the evening.

  •  

    December. The Michigan Central is preparing to replace 14 miles of disc signals between West Detroit and Wayne Junction with semaphore signals. Lower quadrant, single arm signals will be installed on the hoe and distant plant. [TSE-12/1908]
  • Houghton County Traction Co. reaches Mohawk, the full extent of its route. [SSJB]

  • Garden Bay Railroad begins operation as a private logging road in the Garden Peninsula. Becomes a common carrier route in 1914. [MSL]

  • The W&M build their own track between Quinnesec and Iron Mountain. [MW]

  • Grand Trunk builds a 42-stall roundhouse at Durand, at the time the state's largest and one of the few completely circular roundhouses in the nation. [MDOT]

  • The Calumet & Hecla Railroad begins standard gauging its line. [MOD-6/1985]

  • New York Central operated a "uniform train", which made semi-annual trips over the line. It stoped at all stations to measure the station agents, conductors and all other employees who wanted to obtain new uniforms. The uniforms were then made up in New York and sent out to the employees. [LS]

  • The Pigeon depot was constructed and served two railroad lines. the Pontiac, Oxford and Port Austin Railroad and the Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron Railroad. [MHM]

  • Detroit Terminal Railroad may have been built or begun this year.

  • The Pere Marquette depot at Carleton is destroyed by fire.  It is replaced with a new L-shaped structure which survived into the early 1970's. [MRC-3/1981]

  • The Pere Marquette builds a new, 7-stall roundhouse at Boardman Yard in Traverse City.  The turntable is 65 feet long. [PM45]

  • The Michigan Central reports thay brine drippings from refridgerator cars is seriously affecting the operation of signals i wet weather. Heavy suimmer showers give certai relief because of their tendency to flush the rail and rail fastenings. The MC was havig so much trouble that they resorted to the use of oil on the rails. While this eliinated the signal failures, it was not a satisfactory solution of the problem from a financial standpoint, as the cost of oiling one mile of trac per annum was about $100. [TSE-3/1909]
  • The Michigan Central has for a great many years used only telephones for handling trains on what they term their logging branches, off the Mackinaw Division. They are now, however, constructing telephone circuits for train dispatching on all three dispatching divisions out of Detroit, which they expect to have in service by September 15th. [TSE-9/1908]

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