Timeline - 1980

  • Conrail lines posted for sale  - [IT-4/1980]

  • Early SNAPSHOT: The Milwaukee Road provides tri-weekly rail service between Channing and Ontonagan, and between Channing and Green Bay. [R&R-3/1980]

  • January 4: Townline (Dearborn) Interlocker closes. [IT-12/1979]

  • January 23: Toledo, Angola & Western closes. [IT-2/80]

  • February: Amtrak begins using the Durand Depot once again, leaving a trailer which was parked in the Depot's parking lot. [IT-12/1980]

  • February: The former Pere Marquette freight house in Ionia is removed. [IT-4/1980]

  • March 10: Milwaukee Road ceases to operate in Michigan, as Escanaba and Lake Superior takes over their 208-mile Green Bay, WI to Channing and Ontonogan line. [IT-4/1980]

  • Spring: With the sale of the DT&I to the grand Trunk Western, an agreement has been made for the GTW to sell its 50% ownership of the D&TSL to the Norfolk & Western. [IT-5/80]

  • Spring: Almost all of Conrail's Alco locomotives have been sidelined.  With the sale of RS-32's to the C&NW, almost all CR's Alcos are out of service. [IT-5/80]

  • April: The Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad assumes the operation of the former Milwaukee Road routes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  [IT-5/80]  They take over their line from Ontonagon to green Bay, Wisconsin, a total of 278 miles. [ELSW]

  • April: The former PO&N Cass City depot is razed by local contractors. The depot was built in 1907, a replacement for a wooden depot of almost identical design. The new depot is made of cement block. [IT-5/80]

  • April 20: Former GTW depot in Flushing is destroyed by fire. [IT-4/1980]

  • May 14: The Lenawee County Railroad dedicates a new 2-bay engine house in Adrian. [IT-5/80]

  • Early Summer: Conrail closes most activity at Airline Junction Yard.  Most activity has been transferred to Stanley Yard. [IT-5/80]

  • June 2: The Grand Trunk Western acquires the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad. [MT]

  • Mid-June: Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. announces the indefinate closing of the Republic mine (at Republic) and the Empire mine (near Palmer). The Empire is later reopened. [IT-5/80]

  • June 24: Grand Trunk Western acquires the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton railroad, to build a gateway to Cincinnati. [MDOT][TR-082020]

  • June 21: Fire reduces the Grass Lake depot to a stone shell. It was rebuilt by the Whistlestop Park Association, which purchased the depot and and restored it. It was reopened in September
    1992. [MHM/IT-5/80]

  • July: N&W Russell St. Branch between Beaubien Tower and Lake Shore Jct. is sold to Conrail. [IT-10/1981]

  • July: Gould Tower, southwest of Toledo is closed. The tower guarded the crossing of the N&W and the Toledo Terminal. [IT-4/1980]

  • Summer: Conrail goes through difficult times. In Detroit, train crews with ten years seniority have been laid off and the Livernois roundhouse force has been cut to two employees who work the day shift. Nearly all locomotive work previously done there is now performed at Stanley Yard in Toledo. The car repair shop in Detroit is also undergoing decline, open only during the day and doing minor running repairs only. Bad order cars with heavy repair work is now being sent to Ashtabula, Ohio. Several satellite yards have also experienced a cutback. Lincoln Yard, River Rouge Yard, North Yard and the "belt" yards are all closed during the third shift. [IT-5/80]

  • Summer: The former Pennsylvania Railroad bridge across the Maumee River in Toledo is permanently closed to rail traffic and left in the open position. There are no immediate plans to remove the bridge. [IT-5/80]

  • Mid: The Detroit Marine Historian reports that the Sraits of Mackinac car ferry "Chief Wawatam" is operating six to seven days per week because of increased lumber shipments from the west coast. She is making two round trips daily. [MRF-7/1981]

  • Summer: The Ann Arbor Railroad installs three new remote control radio base stations, at Diann, Chilson and Owosso), which are added to four other towers on west of Owosso.  All towers are controlled by the dispatcher in Owosso. [IT-5/80]

  • August 3: Amtrak begins Turboliner service between Chicago-Detroit and Toledo. [IT-5/80]

  • October 4: The Chessie System (formerly Chesapeake & Ohio Ry) drops the car ferry route between Ludington and Milwaukee. [MDOT]

  • October 14: President Carter signs the Staggers Rail Act.  The act loosened ICC regulation on mergers, abandonments, marketing and rate making. [STOV]

  • November 1: Chessie System (and Seaboard) become CSX Corporation. [MRRC]

  • November 18: Conrail and GTW operations through downtown Battle Creek are consolidated onto the GTW tracks. The Conrail (former MCRR) main line through downtown and past the NYC depot is abandoned. [MT]

  • December 31: Michigan Railroad Mileage Totaled 5,370 miles. [MDOT]

  • December: Conrail's Transit RR, the freight-only line on Detroit's lower east side, operations through the Parke-Davis plant and west along Guion Street have been terminated, leaving only the line down Wight Street still in use. [IT-12/1980]

  • December: Conrail DD&D branch is cut back to Prospect Street in Melvindale when MichCon ripped out the tracks at their Allen Road storehouse. [IT-12/1980]

  • December: C&O Fort Street Tower is closed. [IT-12/1980]

  • December: Former LS&MS Depot in Deerfield has been relocated on highway M-52 2 miles south of its junction with M-50. [IT-12/1980]

  • Late: Conrail abandons the Benton Harbor branch, north from Niles. [BH]


  • PO&N Depot at Dryden is moved to town and preserved. [IT-12/80]

  • Soo Line announces abandonment of Nestoria to Bergland line. [IT-12/80]

  • GTW sells its Denmark Spur to TSBY.  The 14.1 mile track between Meredith Jct. and Denmark Jct. was built as the "Saginaw Connection" to the old Detroit, Bay City & Western, and until the mid-1960's was still served by one of NYC's "Beeliner" RDC runs. [IT-4/80]

  • The Escanaba & Lake Superior purchases three non-operating Baldwin RS-12 diesel locomotives from the Michigan Northern. [IT-5/80]

  • Congress ends authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission over Amtrak on-board service and other passenger-related matters. (the ICC never had control over Amtrak fares, routes, etc.). [IT-5/80]

  • SNAPSHOT: The Milwaukee Road uses covered wagons extensively on its Upper Michigan lines. [R&R-3-1980]

  • The cities of Detroit and Highland Park condemn property northeast of Milwaukee Jct. for use as a large General Motors automobile manufacturing plant (Poletown). [BOM]

  • Dodge Main in Hamtramck is demolished in 1980 and 1981.  It was built in 1910-1914. [BOM]

  • The FRA requires safety plate glass ("missile glazing") on all glass used on locomotives, and cars which carry passengers. Some roads chose to plate over windows not required for operation (as an example, caboose side windows and small windows on GE units). [SAM]

  • The Staggers Rail Act reduces the Interstate Commerce Commission's regulatory function. [SAM}


 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