Today's Railroads in Michigan...

 

Railroads in Michigan are almost 200 years old, beginning in 1836 and reaching their peak in trackage about 1916. Since that time, each year has seen abandonments and reduced passenger and freight traffic, all coinciding with the deindustialization of Michigan's major cities and a move of passenger to airlines and automobiles.  A majority of Michigan railroad lines have disappeared in the last 100 years.

CNTunnelYardAtSunrise101103[DanMeinhard].jpg
Amtrak040Train350ApproachingAnnArborStation020209[NathanNietering].jpg
Quincy&TorchLakeCogRyOverlookingPortageBridge2003[JimLindholm].jpg
ELSCrewWaitsForMotorCars072801.jpg
DurandUnionStationFacade031703[DaleBerry].jpg
NS9629atVickersJct041005-1[DaleBerry].jpg
_FURX3048EBatPlymouth081404[DaleBerry].jpg
IC6072-CSX8113atDelray051405[DaleBerry].jpg
AA2368NBatOsmer101305-9[DaleBerry].jpg
BNSF9412CoalTrainAtDelray12003-1[DaleBerry].jpg
Amtrak31NightShotAtPortHuron011406[DanMeinhard].jpg
LS&I-7TildenJobWithLeaseUnitAtEagleMillsJct100708[MarkAnderson].jpg
CSX7877WBatAnnPereMI120906[RichardWolinski].jpg
CM8903SBatFlintRiver081204-1[DaleBerry].jpg
MSO-907Hauls10CarsDownFormerOldRoadAtUS-12CrossingEofWhitePigeonMP413-050807[NathanNietering].jpg
CMGN5175-2002atWenona[JimMilnor].jpg
CNCutsWeldedRailNearTappan2003[DanMeinhard].jpg
CN2691SBatConrailRougeBridge100804-1[DaleBerry].jpg
LS&I3072atDeadRiverTrestle042202[TomCarello].jpg
NS9567WBEastOfMilan052406-1[DaleBerry].jpg
NS9566atEcorseJct040602a[DaleBerry].jpg
FURX7937WestAtTwelveMileRdSouthLyon031006-1[DaleBerry].jpg
LittleRiverNo110ArrivesInHillsdaleWithExcursionTrainFromColdwater071308-1[MarkAndersen].jpg
CN-WBTrainAt10thStSchoolcraftInSunset111304[ZackSegur].jpg
GTW4906NearAllenPark021103[MichaelKoprowicz].jpg
A&B1752WBNearAdrianMI112204-01[DaleBerry].jpg - copy
TSBYPlowDecendingElmiraHill012494[MarkAndersen].jpg
DetConnRR4SwitchingTankCars012104[RobertBarry].jpg
GTW4906NearAllenPark021103[MichaelKoprowicz].jpg
CNSignalsAtBattleCreek062103[DaleBerry].jpg
CN5640-Sore4LeavingPartridgeYardWithOreLoadsFromEmpireMine100508[MarkAnderson].jpg
LSRC281isSBatRosscommon MI100600[JimSlater].jpg
AA2373atTraverRoad091603[ChelseaWhite].jpg
NS5224atVictoriaAve012002[DaleBerry].jpg
A&B1752WBNearAdrianMI112204-01[DaleBerry].jpg
GTWLocomotivesOnDT&INearKingRoad9-2004[MichaelKoprowicz].jpg
UP4274WBatNSRougeBridge052006-2[DaleBerry].jpg
CP8633atBeckRoad033003-2[DaleBerry].jpg
WCSD45-7523withOreTrainNearGooseLakeFall2002[MarkAndersen].jpg
CP5985ComesOutOfTunnelDetroit122003[DaleBerry].jpg
LittleRiverRailroadEBonOldRoadWithHillsdaleFlyer2007[JackWatts].jpg
NS9742EBatBrittonMI-2017-0817[DaleBerry].jpg
CM2014andConsistAtDurandDuringRRDays2004[DanMeinhard].jpg
NS9802SBonJctYardBranchAtGreenfieldRdDearborn060604-1[DaleBerry].jpg
Amtrak28WBatDurand031703-3[DaleBerry].jpg
INER2185atBankers061303[DaleBerry].jpg
PM1225AtSeelyRoadEastOfCadillac052205-2[MarkAndersen].jpg
PM1225onTheAARRSouthOfRosebush062202[J.H.Harlow].jpg
FURX3000atDelray111403-1[DaleBerry].jpg
CSX-MorningSwitchLeavingMortonSaltPlantAtManisteeMI7-2005[CharlesShowalter].jpg
DetroitSaltMine060604[DaleBerry].jpg
DelrayConnecting03[MichaelKoprowicz].jpg
Conrail8426EBatDelray122003-1[DaleBerry].jpg
NS-48E-EBatCPWestDetroit122301[JonBoehl].jpg
AA7802SBOverHuronRiverBridgeAnnArbor101305-1[DaleBerry].jpg
NS3068atJackson032703-5[DaleBerry].jpg
AmtrakAtEndOfLinePontiacMI09-2004[MichaelKoprowicz].jpg
WitchesHatDepot.jpg
NKP765SouthboundAtIthicaPhotoRunBy072509[DaleBerry].jpg
CSX388atFostoriaOH021702b[DaleBerry].jpg
UnionStationMuskegon110803[AlanLoftis].jpg
LSRC4304NBatAlpenaJct-20170812[DaleBerry].jpg
CSX8810NBatSevenMileRd031303[DaleBerry].jpg
CN2435atDurand08-2002[MarkDobronski].jpg
NS9285atCP-YD121302[DaleBerry].jpg
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Today, the railroad operations which are left generally fit into one of these six categories:

  • Overhead freight/intermodal traffic from Sarnia to the Chicago area via the Port Huron tunnel and Battle Creek on the CN
  • Overhead freight/intermodal traffic from Windsor through the tunnel and on NS trackage rights towards Chicago by the CP
  • Automobile and auto parts traffic from the Detroit area to points southeast, south and west on the NS, CSX and CN
  • Iron ore taconite transport from the Marquette iron range to docks and all-rail shipments to a few steel mills
  • Unit trains of coal, grain and sugar beets to power plants, agri-businesses and sugar processing plants near Bay City
  • Amtrak passenger trains to and from Chicago, Detroit, Port Huron and Grand Rapids
  • The remainding branch lines throughout the state carry only 1-2 freight trains per day each way mostly on shortline railroads

This website is divided into two sections. Today's Railroads features current railroad operation including links to Michigan's operating railroads. The RRHX Railroad History section features almost 200 years of past railroads, from the establishment of the Erie & Kalamazoo railroad in 1836 to today.

Photo info/credit: Canadian National track maintenance crews weld a rail repair at Tappan, near Port Huron. [Dan Meinhard]


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