Timeline - 1909

  • February: In what was one of the original examples of "wireless train communications", the Lake Shore transmitted a telegraph message between a train and the stations at Cleveland, Toledo, Elkhart and Chicago. In Elkhart, a line was installed between the station and an antenna on the  Standard Hotel in Elkhart.  On the train, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company installed receiving equipment in the  buffet car of a special train.  The first message was received when the train was 12 miles from Elkhart. [LS]

  • Early: The Soo Line cuts back passenger service on the Gogebic branch between Bessemer, MI and Mellon, WI from three round trips to two. [SOO-Sp/1996]

  • May 21: The Houghton County Traction Co. opens Electric Park, its outing resort south of Calumet. The formal opening is attended by a concert by the full Calumet & Hecla band. The band will also play every Sunday during the season, and for the free dances on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. [CCEN]

  • May 29: "Ann Arbor Carferry No. 4" capsizes on its side at Manistique while being improperly loaded with 24 cars of iron ore. There was no loss of life. It was righted and sent to Milwaukee for drydocking and repairs. It would not return until September 27. [MDOT/AATHA-F/1990]

  • June 3: Police in Alpena arrest a twelve year old boy who had climbed aboard an idle Detroit & Mackinac locomotive in the yard here, pulled back on the throttle, sending the locomotive onto a tannery spur and crashing into several freight cars. The locomotive was demolished and the cars "reduced to splinters". The boy jumped before the collision and had only minor injuries. He was part of a gang of youthful tramps who had been convicted of looting D&M freight cars in same yard three months before, receiving a suspended sentence. He was sent by the Alpena County Probate Court to Detroit for further oversight. [PHTH-1809-0603]

  • June 10: State Game Warden Pierce announces that his deputies will examine spark arresters on all railway engines running through districts in which forest fires are liable to occur, to make sure they comply with the law. Right-of-ways will also be inspected so they are kept clear of combustible material. "More fires are caused from engine sparks than in any other way," says Pierce. [GREP]

  • July 25. The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern (NYC) changes from "left hand" to "right hand" operation between Elkhart and 61st Street, Chicago (its Western Division). Plans continue to change the remainder of the LS&MS to the same type of operation. [TSE-11/1909]
  • August. The Michigan Central will shortly install two dispatchers' circuits, one on the main line between Jackson and Niles, and one between Niles and Kensington, Illinois. There will be about 40 offices on the two circuits which will total 200 miles in length. The Dispatcher for the Jackson to Niles line is to be located at Jackson, and the Dispatcher for the Niles to Kinsington Line will be stationed at Michigan City, Indiana. The circuits will be used exclusively for telephone train dispatching purposes. Work will be commenced on the installation about the middle of August. The MC has 3 telephone train dispatching circuits in use at the present time. One extends from Detroit to Jackson, a distance of 76 miles, one from Detroit to Bay City and Saginaw, 120 iles, and one from Detroit to Toledo, a distance of 60 miles. The selectors in use on these circuits are the "Cummings-Wray" type. [TSE-8/1909]
  • Fall: Keweenaw Central builds a new station at Copper City. [MCR/09]

  • December 1:  Mason and Oceana Railroad abandons 3' gauge lines from Maple to Crystal Valley, via Buttersville. [MRRC]

  • December 31: High point of Michigan steam railroad mileage reaches 9,059 road miles in operation at the end of the year;  employment of steam lines was 81,695.  [MDOT]


  • Pere Marquette's principal resort train to northwestern Michigan "The Resort Special," is inaugurated. [MDOT]

  • Manistee & North Eastern builds line from Kaleva to Grayling. [PMHS]

  • The Manistique & Lake Superior builds a branch from Shingleton to Evelyn (Doty) for a connection with the Munising Railroad (part of the LS&I). [AATHA-W/1990]

  • Following sale to the MCRR, the Detroit Belt Line Railroad builds an additional 2 miles of track on the east side of Detroit. [EMR4]

  • The E&LS extends its Woodlawn Branch and lays branches off the main line at Ralph. [EDP-12/27/1950]

  • The Copper Range builds a branch line to Senter, near dollar Bay, where the E. I. DuPont De Nemours Powder Co. had constructed a plant to manufacture explosives on a large scale.[CRH]

  • Construction begins on Ford Motor's Highland Park Plant on Woodward Avenue. Operation starts in 1910; 30 acre site built out by 1920. [DWS]

  • Fourteen passenger and two "fast mail" trains served Adrian each day on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. In the same town, the Wabash approached the Lake Shore in volume of passenger traffic and exceeded it in freight tonnage. [AAD]

  • Grand Trunk builds depot at Ionia. Depot continues to exist into 1974. [IT-12/1974]

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

  • New union depot, built by the GTW, opens in South Lyon to replace previous building destroyed by fire. The depot has a notable conical roof, and serves the Pere Marquette and Grand Trunk Railroads. [DJB]

  • Small forest fires plague the Upper Peninsula. Railroads pitch in to put out the fire. (Year might be 1910 instead.)  [SOO-10/1991]

  • SNAPSHOT: The Boyne City, Gaylord and Alpena Railroad carries 46,300 passengers and 441,282 tons of freight between Boyne City and Gaylord this year. 82% of the freight is in forest products. [AAD]

  • COPR switches from the U.S. Express Company to the Wells, Fargo and Company. [CRH]

 


 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