Timeline - 1956

  • January 1: The GTW PO&N branch discontinues mixed trains, becoming a freight-only line. [HB-Sum-1993]

  • January 3: The NYC consigned to scrap the lat two steam locomotives which were used on their Detroit-Mackinaw City run. [MRF-/1981]

  • January 5: The NYC tests their Aerotrain, composed of 10 coaches and a single 1,200 hp diesel locomotive makes a non-stop test runs between Chicago and Detroit. It consumes only $18 in fuel during the 283 mile run. After the run, it is put on display at the MCRR Detroit passenger terminal. [MRF-3/1981]

  • January 9: The New York Central roundhouse in Jackson informs the Big Four that they will no longer service steam locomotives after 12:01 a.m.  Big Four trains into Jackson were powered by Alco 1,500 hp diesel locomotives or other diesel power after this time. [HCN]

  • April 7: Detroit's last street car makes final run. [DWS/MRF-4/90]

  • April 8, 1956: The once-great Detroit Street Railway system comes to a close, as the Woodward Line is abandoned. Detroit Common Council has voted to sell 140 of the DSR cars to Mexico City for $4,000 each. The original cost of 183 cars, purchased in 1947 to 1949 was $22,000 to $30,000 each. [MRF-3/1981]

  • April 29: New York Central's high-speed experimental passenger train, "Aerotrain," enters Detroit-Chicago service. [MDOT]

  • Summer: C&O builds their Tunnel Yard yardmaster's tower, south of Rougemere Yard. A small engine facility is also built there for Windsor-bound trains. [COHS-2/02]

  • November 19: Last regularly-scheduled passenger train on "The Old Road" through Coldwater, Hillsdale and Adrian to Toledo. [MDOT]

  • December: Railroad managers are pleased when Walt Disney announces that current annual passes held by all railroad employees are honored on his Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad, a narrow gauge amusement pike that operates around the edge of Disneyland Park near Los Angeles. [RMK]


  • Interstate highway act signed into federal law.  [DWS]

  • The C&O discontinues car ferry service on the Detroit River. Chessie freight trans now use the MCRR Detroit River Tunnel to Canada. Car ferry #10 is transferred to Sarnia and #14 is leased to the Wabash and will remain on the Detroit River. C&O Boat Yard operations are transferred to Rougemere Yard where3 the C&O is building a new three-story yard office and yard master’s tower. Improvements are also being made in their diesel facility and their icing facilities at Rougemere. [MRF-3/1981]

  • Escanaba and Lake Superior discontinues passenger service.  It had a combined total passenger revenue of $17.22 in its last year. [MSL]

  • Railroads (34.8%), busses (31%) and airlines (31.5%) each transport about 1/3 of the nation's intercity passengers. [STOV]

  • C&O 1601, one of the largest steam locomotives in history, is moved to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. The size of the locomotive required raising the door of the museum (similar to Henry Ford's problem when he tried to drive his first automobile out of its garage). [DRK]

  • Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton discontinues building diesel locomotives. [SAM]

  • The Interstate Commerce Commission mandates the use of headlights during the day time. [SAM]

  • The DSS&A institutes new trains #18 and #19 between Duluth/Superior and Sault Ste. Marie/Mackinaw City to provide better, faster service. [RO]

  • Two-way radios are installed in some DSS&A locomotives and cabooses with good results.  "Radio equipped for safety and service", is the Soo motto. [RO]

  • Celotex Corporation announces plans to build a new plant in L'Anse.  The plant continues to exist today (2004) [RO]

  • Open pit mining is established at Republic. [IOHT]
  • The first pellets are shipped from the Marquette iron range from a plant at Eagle Mills near Negaunee. [IOHT]

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