What's New at MichiganRailroads.com...
2020-0401 - Added about 500 photos to various pages in the stations section. Still have about 500 to add. Working on it.
2020-0101 - Added forts & major military installations in Michigan in the More Menu. Though not usually served by railroads, these provide historical information on the establishment of commerce in the Michigan territory and state. Click here.
2019-1220 - Links repaired to ICC accident reports in the Wrecks and Wreck Outfits Section. Click here.
2019-1120 - Cleaning up typos on many articles. Added about 200 photos, mostly to station pages. Added articles [Stories section] about Jay Gould ad the Wabash railroad in 1881.
2018-1208 - Michigan Railroad History Conference. The date for the 2019 History Conference has been selected. It will take place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor. Click here for information.
2018-1130 - Mine information. Individual pages for Iron and Copper mines have been moved to the Stations | Locations sections. Details (type of ore, mining method, railroad and dock service, ownership, etc. have been added from information received from the summary provided by the Lake Superior Iron Ore assocation (1950). To view the mines, go to the Station list, select the county, and the mining menu's are at the bottom of the page.
2018-1116. The upper peninsula mines have been removed from the individual coiunty station lists, and added to their own list at the bottom. Many additional mines have been identified in all ranges.
2018-0515 - An article about the Ford Rouge Industrial Railroad, and a newspaper account of the E&LS in the upper peninsula.
2018-0409 - Updated Research Section 4 (Serials) and Cross Reference. My thanks to Don Meints for keeping this current. Click Here.
2018-0408 - Added article about the beginning of the Detroit, Bay City & Alpena railroad.
2018-0224 - Bridges. Cleaned up the bridge pages and menu. Added many new significant railroad bridges.
2018-0217 - Link Fixes. Many of the County Maps did not display correctly. These have been fixed.
2018-0105 - Research. The Research Section, which Don Meints maintains, has received its annual update. Also added is a cross reference section. My thanks to Don for keeping this curfrent.
2017-0901 - Maritime. A new "Maritime in Michigan" page has been added to the "More" Menu with links to Marine Traffic Ship Finder and the BoatNerd.com website.
2017-0815 - Historical Markers. The list of railroad related historical markers has been updated with about six additional markers added to the list. Access via the Railroad History menu.
2017-0809 - News Feeds. RSS News Feeds have been added to the bottom of "Today's Railroads" and to the bottom of most railroad webpages. See the latest news articles about the railroad industry.
Instructions for Posting Photos on Discussion Boards. Instructions for posting photos on the discussion boards has been added to the Discussion page.
Recently added or edited articles are listed below. ↓
Story: Operation of the Union Belt of Detroit - 1924 to 1927
According to a 1933 edition of Moody's Steam Railroads, the Union Belt of Detroit did not exist as an official railroad. Likely, it was an operating division under The Fort Street Union Depot Company (FSUD) or perhaps the Pere Marquette. The FSUD was established in 1889 for the purpose of constructing and operating passenger and freight terminals at Detroit. The road was originally owned by the Pere Marquette (majority owner) and the Wabash. In 1921, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was admitted as an additional tenant. As of the end of 1931, the FSUD has 218 employees.
Newspapers described the Union Belt as a "joint operating agreement" of the three railroads.
The original, primary purpose of the FSUD was to provide passenger facilities in downtown Detroit for the participating roads. The approach to this station was the busy line 2-track main line from Delray to downtown which was 2.39 miles long. The FSUD owned the track from the downtown station west to 18½ street. From 18½ street west to Delray, the track was under the operation of the Union Belt of Detroit (UBD).
The Union Belt was governed by a Board of Managers, made up of representatives of the Pere Marquette, Wabash and Pennsylvania. Day to day operation was managed by the "Operating Committee", which would meet as often as several times each week. The Operating Committee meetings were typically attended by the Assistant General Agent of the PRR, the local superintendents of the Wabash and the PM, and the train master and Secretary of the Union Belt. Others were invited to attend as necessary. Every four months, a new chairperson of the Operating Committee was elected. This Chair was rotated between the three member roads.
This story covers the actions of the Union Belt Operating Committee between 1924 and 1929, as taken from the minutes of their meetings. On August 1, 1924, management of the Belt was transferred from the Superintendent to the Operating Committee. Mr. B. A. Frazier, Belt Trainmaster, was given direct charge of the physical operation. It was the hope of the principals that the Operating Committee would bring about closer co-operation between the Belt and its member lines. The Union Belt actually covered the following segments of track:
- Main Line - from FSUD to Delray
- The PM Main Line from Delray to Oak
- The old PM West Detroit Branch
- The Union Belt (belt line) from the PM main line to Highland Park
- Pennsylvania Belt (in north east Dearborn) - District 3
These four years of minutes are a fascinating look at how the Union Belt operated and the problems faced by urban railroads in the 1920's as well as politics and differing opinions of these lines.
As you read these minutes, keep in mind that this was prior to the current Delray tower, which was replaced in 1945. The original Union Belt was two-track and not signaled. During this period, the road was 4-tracked (2 faster passenger tracks, with side by side freight mains), and signaled. The Clark Street tower was changed from a line side tower to an overhead tower to make room for the extra main tracks.
Keep in mind that the economy was good during this period, just prior to the great depression.
Delray Interlocking. There was a discussion about the delays in getting rail traffic through Delray and the need for additional levermen. The Board of Managers had previously approved two lead levermen for this purpose some time ago, but these had been released recently in order to reduce expenses. Train delays are now occurring and are "quite expensive". It was felt that replacing the levermen would be cost effective, saving the member roads from costly train delays. No action was taken.
Police Protection. The Committee noted that there had been pilfering of railroad cars placed on the Solvay Lead and on the Pennsylvania Belt. The Police Captains from the roads met on August 13th. They recommended that each road furnish one patrolman for a period of two weeks to police the Solvay Lead and "to endeavor to get enough convictions to break up the [crime] practice". This plan was approved and implemented. The actions reduced theft to a reasonable level.
Engine Issues for the Pennsylvania. The Trainmaster was instructed to investigate the advisability of tying up the Pennsylvania engine which works one trick in District 3 somewhere in the district. The engine now returns back to the PRR engine house and has been incurring a great deal of overtime trying to get to and from the district. The Trainmaster recommended having the PRR place an engine watchman for 16 hours each day to watch the engine and to coal and water the unit. The PRR will pay for this cost, which allows the engine to stay five days per week in the district.
Glendale Wye. The Committee approved a recommendation to the Board of Managers to install a new wye at Glendale Avenue at a cost of $12,000.
Oakman Branch Passing Track. The Committee voted to recommend the installation of a passing siding on the Oakman Branch to the Board of Managers. A water standpipe was also added to the branch at an unknown location.
DSR Crossing on West Jefferson. The DSR has requested removal of their crossing.
Poor Flagging and Collisions. A 10 day suspension of Flagman Agnew was approved for his failure to properly protect the rear of a train, which caused PM Passenger Train No. 115 to make a sudden stop near Campbell Avenue. No collision occurred. An actual collision occurred on September 8th where a train struck a street car at Michigan Avenue. This was blamed on carelessness on the part of the DSR crossing watchman.
Signage on Locomotives. The Operating Committee required that member roads display a Union Belt sign on loaned engines. During this time period, the Belt did not own any engines of their own.
Oakman Branch Increased Activity. Activity on the Oakman Branch (District 3) has increased to the point that the PRR engine is staffed for two, eight hour shifts. The watchman hours were reduced to 8 per day. The watchman was paid equal to a fireman's rate of $5.20 per day for eight hours of service.
PRR Trackage Rights on Grand Trunk. It was reported that the PRR had acquired the right to use the Grand Trunk Railway tracks between West Detroit and Beaubien Street with the understanding that PRR and Wabash cars would be handled by Belt engines. The Belt was called upon to make a monthly report to the GT superintendent giving the number of engines, loads and empty cars moving over this track for each company.
Delray Tower Staffing. A study of the traffic conditions were made because of numerous complaints of train delays. The study indicated, conclusively, that the replacing of the second Lead Leverman position was fully justified and an additional man was put on on November 1st. In addition to the three regular Levermen, the tower now will have two Lead Levermen directing traffic from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, there being one Leverman in the tower from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during which time the traffic is not so heavy.
Proposed Crossover in Rougemere Yard. A crossover from the Foreman Street Wye of the Pennsylvania to the Pere Marquette main line east of the crossover leading form the main line to the west No. 2 track, would permit Union Belt drags from the Wabash and the Pennsylvania to cross over on to West No. 2 track and at the same time facility movement of runs in the opposite direction. Cost estimates were received at $1,650 for track work and $2,360 for signal and interlocking connections.
Switch Tender Pay.The Operating Committee received a petition from six men who are switch tenders at 21st Street and at West End Avenue. The men are now paid $4.64 per day and wish to be raised to $6.16 per day which is the normal switchman's rate. The Committee voted to ask the Board of Managers to raise their pay to $4.72 per day which is the standard rate for switch tenders.
Rademacher Avenue Crossing Protection. The Detroit Safety Council for the Board of Commerce recommended some protection at this crossing due to increased automobile traffic. After inspection, the Committee decided to install an alarm bell which will be operated by the watchmen at Waterman Avenue. The costs of this installation are $250 for materials and $50 for labor.
Fired Watchman. The Committee approved the firing of Switch Tender Man for fighting on November 8th with Wabash Conductor Blanks. Blanks will be disciplined by the Wabash.
Cabins for West Detroit Branch Drags. Trainmen have asked for either cabins or old box cars equipped with stoves for the two West Detroit drag runs which the Pere Marquette will endeavor to furnish.
Damage to Town Line Standpipe. The standpipe at Town Line Road (Greenfield Road) was recently broken and will have to be replaced by a new one if it is decided to continue taking water from this 4" line. There is a 10" plus line at Plymouth Road which could be used by engines working in that district, possibly in less time than it takes to get water from the 4" plug at Town Line Road.
Delray Interlocking Problems. A check of train movements through the Delray Interlocker between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from December 4th through 10th indicates that delays during that period do not warrant the employment of a Lead Leverman on the third trick. Nevertheless, the difficulties frequently encountered at night in the operation of this old plant due to mechanical troubles warrant more adequate means of obtaining the Maintainer who resides a few blocks away from the plant. There is a yard telephone but no City telephone service in the Tower and no telephone service in the Maintainer's residence. It is therefore necessary to send someone for him whenever needed at night. The Operating Committee feels that City telephone service should be provided in the Tower and also in the home of the Maintainer (who is employed by the Pere Marquette). PM will be asked to arrange for installation of City telephones in both places. The following trains were logged on the midnight shift at Delray during the 7-day test period:
|Date||No. of Trains||Total Delay||Maximum Delay|
|12/4||77||2' 04"||58 minutes|
|12/5||85||1' 43"||30 minutes|
|12/6||78||2' 45"||44 minutes|
|12/7||60||1' 47"||14 minutes|
|12/8||76||1' 55"||15 minutes|
|12/9||73||2' 58"||38 minutes|
|12/10||89||2' 53"||45 minutes|
|Daily Average||77 (about 13/hour)||2' 18"||35 minutes|
Use of Oak Yard. To improve service on the West Detroit Branch, it was proposed that all cars for south of Tireman Avenue be moved to and from member line yards via the Wabash Old Main Line. Cars for north of Tireman Avenue will be moved via the West Belt.
Employees Stealing Coal. At 4:45 a.m. on December 11th, Conductor Horace Aiken, in charge of the Ford truck accompanied by Yardmaster Nolan and Switchmen Agnew and Phelan were caught by Wabash police officers leaving West End Avenue with a half a ton of coal covered with burlap in the truck. Aiken claimed that he alone was responsible and was therefore placed under arrest and later pled guilty to a charge of Simple Larceny and was fined $25 and costs. He immediately resigned. The other men are not considered desirable employees and will be relieved from the service. The men discharged have requested a hearing which was granted. At the hearing the Operating Committee members satisfied themselves that these men were not implicated in the theft of coal and therefore allowed them to resume duty.
Rademacher Crossing Protection. A record was kept of the traffic of all kinds over this crossing between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on December 16-18. The 3-day period included:
In view of the heavy traffic over this crossing and the insistent attitude of both the Detroit Safety Council and the Department of Public Works, the Operating Committee instructed the Secretary to make a full report to the Board of Managers and ask for authority to establish continuous watchman service.
Relief Towermen. At Clark and Warren Avenues and Delray Tower, whenever any of the regular men are absent for any reason, it is the practice to double the other men involving punitive rates of pay. It was decided to select a capable trackman at each point to learn the work in these Towers so they can serve whenever any of the regular men are absent and thus avoid payment of punitive rates. The Train Master and Supervisor were instructed to arrange for this.
Steam Derrick Wreck Train. The Union Belt member lines have no derrick train stationed at Detroit, the nearest one being the Pere Marquette outfit kept at Plymouth. There is frequent need for a steam derrick wreck train on the tracks of member lines in the Detroit district and on Union Belt territory, and the Operating Committee recommends that consideration be given at once to the question of having a wreck train maintained by one of these roads for joint use on the Union Belt and also for use on member line tracks outside the Belt territory in the Detroit district.
Crossing Protection at Rademacher Avenue. The Belt Road Master will be instructed to move the extra watch house at Dragoon Avenue to the Rademacher Avenue Crossing and if the Pere Marquette carpenter force cannot putt it in shape for service without delay, we will call upon the Wabash force to make the necessary repairs.
Proposed Interchange with Pennsylvania at Summit Street. The position taken by the Pennsylvania is that when the agreement was made between the Executives it was understood that each road would provide or set aside tracks for the interchange of cars with the Belt, and that they constructed two tracks therefore at Fort Street at cost of $28,000, whereas the other roads did not provide tracks for that purpose. The Pennsylvania feels that it has fully complied with the agreement and that all of its interchange with the Belt should be made at Ecorse Junction on these tracks as at present. It was decided to refer this to the Board of Managers.
Town Line Road Standpipe. The special committee appointed to study water requirements at this point recommended abandoning water plug at Town Line Road and the installation of a water plug at Grand River Avenue, approximately 2000 feet north of the Pennsylvania Wye where there is a sixteen inch City water main. It is vitally important to have water facilities for economical operation in this territory and the Operating Committee feels that the Pennsylvania should be requested to provide such facilities.
Accident on West Detroit Branch. Pere Marquette engine 503 in Belt service was badly damaged on January 3, 1925 when it collided with a cut of cars on the main track just west of the Pennsylvania Wye at Glendale Avenue. The Operating Committee approved the recommendation to suspend Engine Maxwell for thirty days on account of this accident.
Request of Saginaw & Bay City Steamship Company Denied. There appears to be no good reason for providing a side track for the accommodation of the Steamship Company at the foot of West Grand Blvd. and the Operating Committee therefore feels that the request should be declined. The degree of curvature would be such as to make it impracticable to operate over.
Current Interchange. The present arrangement is for the Pere Marquette and Wabash to make deliveries to the Belt at 21st Street for industries east of Clark Avenue and at Delray and Rougemere East Yard for industries west of Clark Avenue, and at Oakwood and Rougemere Yards for other industries on the Best.
Union Belt Automobile. The Ford Runabout used by the Union Belt messenger is in need of extensive repairs and it is estimated that to keep it in service will cost $125 within the next three months. For an additional $95 it can be traded for a new car and we would save approximately $10 by trading it before being compelled, the latter part of this month, to purchase a License which could not be transferred to another car purchased later in the year, so that it would cost $85 more for a new car than the cost of repairs within the next three months to the old one, which is in such shape that it cannot be expected to last throughout the year. This would be a replacement without any charge to the road and Equipment, and it is referred to the Board of Managers for immediate action.
Discipline. The Committee approved the Train Master's recommendations to suspend Pennsylvania Trainmen as follows: Conductor Byrne one week for damaging cars at Ocon Avenue January 19th; Brakeman Howard one week for running through a switch on the West Belt on January 19th; and Brakeman Gaffney one week for damaging engine cab at Warren Avenue on January 14th; Conductor B. Miller overhead suspension of one week for damage to building in Mack Coal Company Yard, December 13th; and conductor Agnew and Brakeman Parker and McDonald one week each for an accident in the Grand Trunk Yard on February 3rd.
Coal for Watch Houses and Interlocking Towers. Coal furnished this winter for use at watch houses and interlocking towers between Delray and 21st Street costs an average of $7.45 per ton by the carload and $9.91 per ton in small lots, and briquettes recently furnished to Delray $16,90 per ton including engine service and labor unloading. Run of mine coal can be purchased from local dealers for $6.50 per ton delivered into the bins and as it would cost less and would avoid train interference such as now occurs by being unloaded from the main track, the Committee recommends that authority be granted to purchase coal at the best price obtainable from local dealers on our tracks.
Wreck in Grand Trunk yard February 3rd. While Wabash Engine 2002 in Belt Service was shoving a cut of thirty cars from the West Detroit Branch into No. 2 track Grand Trunk Yard to pull out on to the Old Main Line the cabin car and the car next to it in this cut side-swiped a Grand Trunk train pulling out of the lead, destroying the cabin and slightly damaging the car next to it. There was no damage to the Grand Trunk train. The Grand Trunk wrecking outfit was used to re-track the cars. Since this accident did not occur on any Belt zone and the agreement provides that such expense shall be charged to the zone in which accident occurs, there is a question as to how the Belt shall dispose of an expense of this nature. It might be charged to the zone for which the service was being performed or to the district to which engine service was charged or to the Union Belt as a whole.
21st Street Engine Terminal. The supervision of the 21st Street engine terminal was assumed by the Union Belt of Detroit on February 16th. The engine house Foreman and Storekeeper were called in and notified of the change and at the same time instructions were issued to them with regard to carrying on the work and what is expected of them. Union Belt will also arrange to perform switching service in this engine terminal heretofore performed by the Pere Marquette. Coal will be supplied by member roads in proportion to the amount used by them. There is one City telephone with an extension in the engine house Foreman's office. It was decided to discontinue this service and install two telephones connected with the Private Branch Exchange of the Union Belt.
Clark Avenue Interlocking Operation. There have been several delays to trains recently at Clark Avenue due to the practice of keeping the plant set for street cars, although after midnight the street cars run at infrequent intervals. The Train Master was instructed to make a thorough investigation and report at the next meeting of the Operating Committee. Arrangements will be made to keep the plant set for trains instead of street cars after midnight.
Repairs to Pennsylvania Engine 2164. The engine was damaged December 22, 1924 due to low water while tied up on the Oakman Spur in charge of Watchman employed by the Union Belt.The Pennsylvania has rendered a bill against the Belt for $513.47 covering the cost of repairs made necessary on that account.
Track Maintenance. A great many of the industrial tracks east of Delray, maintained by the Union Belt, are in need of extensive repairs. Several derailments have occurred recently and with the view to adopting a program of general repairs, the Track Supervisor was instructed to make a complete inspection and submit detailed reports of his recommendations. This report was received and forwarded to the Division Engineers for consideration of maintenance work this summer.
Belt Engine Watchmen. All engine watchmen on Belt payroll are now assigned to oversee engines on the Oakman Branch and at Russell Street.
Police Protection. There is considerable stealing of freight and car parts at West Detroit resulting in serious expense to member lines, and the Operating Committee recommends the employment of two Patrolmen, one for service during the daytime and one at night on the West Detroit Branch and West Belt, comprising what is known as District #4, the expense to be charged to that District and divided among the roads on wheelage basis, the same as district engine expense, the men so employed to report to the Belt Train Master.
Track Gangs. The three section gangs between Backus Line and Delray will now have a foreman and eight men each, which is usual for the summer.
Water Facilities. On account of the excessive delay to engines procuring water from the 4" line at the south end of Zone 12, resulting in the practice of getting water from the Grand Trunk plug nearby, consideration will be given to the advisability of providing a standpipe at or near Michigan Avenue.
Use Of Pennsylvania Summit Street Yard. It was proposed to use track 4, and tracks 6 to 12 inclusive in the Summit Yard of the Pennsylvania for switching and storage purposes, owing to a lack of room elsewhere for handling cars on the Belt in this territory. This was declined because the interest rental value of these tracks makes their use prohibitive, considering the layout and location.
Yard Facilities. It was proposed some time ago to lease the DT&I yard at West End Avenue, and although no advice has been received from the Board of Managers as to the result of their negotiations, it is learned from the DT&I officials that they have no intention of leasing this yard at the present time, and that it will not be available for some time to come. In lieu thereof it is now proposed to lease that portion of the Wabash Delray yard south of the main tracks with the exception of the stock track, and this will be given further consideration upon receipt of plan and a definite proposition from the Wabash. Later in the month, the Belt was advised by the Wabash that they are not ready to lease any portion of their Delray yard.
Injury to Engineman O. A. Tice. On December 27, 1923, this man sustained injury to his left eye resulting in loss of sight in that eye caused by the bursting of water glass and shield on Pere Marquette engine 464 while in Belt service on the West Detroit Branch. The Pere Marquette made a settlement with him by the payment of $1,400 and rendered the bill for that amount against the Belt for reimbursement. It was submitted to the Board of Managers for review. The claim was paid on November 17, 1925.
Yard Office, West Detroit Branch. In lieu of yard offices at Michigan Avenue and Federal Avenue, it is proposed to provide an office consisting of two box car bodies equipped for the purpose at the southerly end of West Detroit Branch near the junction with the Grand Trunk, one for Trainmen's lockers and one for use as an office for Yard Masters and the Clerks now located at both Michigan Avenue and Federal Avenue at a total estimated cost of $500. The combining of these offices would increase efficiency and save approximately $175 per month. The proposed standpipe for Michigan Avenue will be changed and placed 150' north of Otis Street, connecting with a 10" City main at that point in lieu of the 4" line at the south end of Zone 12, which would be abandoned.
Crossing Protection at Tireman and Livernois Avenues. The Traffic Division of the City Police Department has called to the Belt's attention of the unprotected railroad crossings at Tireman and Livernois on the West Detroit branch. They are suggesting electric signals or a warning device. A study of the intersection of made which shows an hourly average of two trains, 76 pedestrians, 799 vehicles at Tireman, and 1 train, 39 pedestrians and 679 vehicles at Livernois, indicating the need for a modern warning device at both crossings.
Rougemere Operators. On June 22nd, Rougemere operators were moved from the yard office to the west end of the yard where they are used exclusively for blocking trains and yard engine movements between Michigan Avenue and Rougemere. The Belt will therefore be charged with their entire wages effective June 22nd instead of 90% as before when they performed some clerical work for the Pere Marquette. According to the April 12, 1926 minutes, the PM share remained at 10% because these operators are copying train orders for outbound PM trains.
Dispatchers and Clerk At the Union Depot. Heretofore the Union Belt has assumed 50% of the wages for dispatchers, operators and clerk at Fort Street Union Depot. It was considered excessive in view of the amount of work performed by these men for the Belt, and on the account suggested that the expense be divided one-third Belt and two-thirds Depot. The Fort Street Union Depot Company has changed the basis for division of this expense to 40% Belt and 60% Depot, effective July 1st and the Operating Committee has approved this pending further investigation.
West Detroit Branch Telephone Line. A short line telephone is badly needed on the West Detroit Branch, with ten telephones located at various points. The Bell service we now have which could be dispensed with would result in a savings of $60 per month, and the additional Bell service now required if short line telephone is not provided would cost approximately $40 per month, so there would be a savings of $100 per month or $1,200 per annum, or 17% on investment of $7,000 which is the estimated cost of pole and wire line with necessary telephones and equipment. The Operating Committee recommended that authority be granted for pole and wire line the entire length of the West Detroit Branch.
Rougemere Accident. Pere Marquette engines 1406 and 468 in charge of Belt Hostler and Pilot enroute from 21st Street Engine house to Rougemere ran into open crossover switch south of Baugee Creek and side swiped a train being handled by Rip track engines. The Block Operator at the west end of Rougemere Yard gave Delray permission to run these relief engines to Rougemere on the main line although Pere Marquette train No. 52 was occupying the main track at Fort Street and had shoved a cut of cars through this crossover to the Icehouse leaving no one in charge of the open switch. The Hostler crew in charge of relief engines had rights through the Interlocking Plant only and failed to observe that the crossover switch stood against them. Investigation develops that the Block Operator, Hostler and Flagman on No. 52 are all responsible, and it was decided to dismiss the Operator and Hostler and leave to the discretion of the Pere Marquette the discipline to be imposed on the Head brakeman.
Water Facilities Near Michigan Avenue. The Pere Marquette advises on account of the possibility of grade separation at Michigan Avenue that their Division engineer has been requested to prepare a plan and estimate for stand pipe at suitable point north of Michigan Avenue. This was finally placed in service April 1, 1926.
Oak Yard. The Pere Marquette Railway wishes to utilize for its own exclusive use, that part of Oak yard, consisting of three tracks on the south side of the present main line, and suggests that in view of the industrial spurs leading from the outside of northerly track, requiring it to be kept clear, that track to be used for main line purposes and devote the present main line to Yard service. The Operating Committee recommends that this be done in view of the anticipation of early construction of additional tracks near the Pennsylvania wye on the West Belt. The matter is therefore referred to the Board of Managers for approval.
DT&I Interchange. Effective August 1st, all interchange between the DT&I and connecting lines is to be done in Fordson Yard. The interchange of the three member lines is handled by their own power, through zone 11.
Yard Facilities. The operation of the Union Belt is constantly hampered by reason of having no yard facilities whatever for receiving, classifying and holding cars. On Sunday and Labor Day of this week, the Belt delivered cars to the full capacity of industrial tracks and utilized all available industrial track room for storage purposes and there was still an accumulation of one thousand cars which could not be placed by the Belt. The industrial work on the Belt has been increasing steadily and is not approximately double that of a year ago, and consequently the need for a Belt yard is more important than ever, and it is the urgent recommendation of the Operating Committee that steps be taken at once to provide yard facilities for Belt use. The Operating Committee will make a ground inspection to develop the possibility of locating a site for a temporary yard east of Delray.
Second Track Through Rougemere. The density of traffic through the Rougemere district is now so great that it is costing the Belt in excess of 200 engine hours per month by reason of delay to Belt engines getting through that territory. To avoid this excessive delay to trains, it is the recommendation of the Operating Committee that immediate consideration be given to the building of a second track on Pere Marquette right-of-way from the end of the second track south of the bridge to the end of the second track north of Miller Road, with gauntlet over the bridge until such time as it is necessary to replace the bridge with a double track structure.
Depot Use of Belt Tracks at 21st Street. It was suggested that the Depot be charges a 20 cent per car assessment for use of Belt tracks near the Depot. A check revealed that there are approximately 1,800 cars per month that use these tracks. The Secretary was authorized to render a bill for use of the tracks that are maintained by the Belt at this point.
Additional Crossover to Fordson Yard. The DT&I has discontinued all except industrial switching operations at their south yard and all of their interchange with member lines is handled at Fordson Yard. The present one-way crossover is wholly inadequate to permit handling this interchange without greatly interfering with the main line as well as yard operations. It is therefore proposed to construct an additional crossover. The DT&I should construct their end, and the Pere Marquette its end of the new crossover. The expense incurred by the Pere Marquette will be added to the valuation of facilities used jointly in Zone 11. The Ford Motor Company is to obtain permission from the Pennsylvania to cross its property. This crossover was placed in service on December 3, 1925.
Yard Facilities. It is estimated that it will cost $20,000 to extend the Sugar House Lead to West End Avenue, a distance of 4,700 feet, exclusive of the cost of either moving the telegraph line to the north right-of-way line or placing it in conduit. This will be given further consideration upon receipt of estimates for both propositions.
Manual Block System Between Depot and Member Line Yards. The operation of trains in this territory has been given some consideration and study by the train masters and it is their recommendation that it be protected by manually controlled clock system, which would require telephones at all crossovers, block offices at 21st Street, Clark Avenue, West End Avenue and Delray, with a set of dispatchers located at the later point. This will be given further consideration before preparing estimate of the cost of facilities required for Manual Block System and the expense of handing it.
Delray Interlocker. This plant is worn out and the Operating Committee feels that it should be rebuilt as soon as possible, notwithstanding the possibility of grade separation at tome future time. This is respectfully brought to the attention of the Board of Managers.
West Detroit Yard Offices. The Operating Committee reconsidered its plan to put two box cars at West Detroit for Yard Offices. They decided that due to questionable appearance, they should put small offices, "similar in construction to standard tool houses". This will be submitted to the Board of Managers. Finally built and occupied around May 1, 1926.
Police Protection Problems.The pilfering of cars in Belt territory is increasing constantly. There is no systematic policing of the properties or definite assignment of Patrolmen. At the present time, the Wabash is policing day and night the Old Joint including Solvay and Edison leads, the Old Main Line, Russell Street and West Detroit Branch in the vicinity of Michigan Avenue. The Pere Marquette is policing the West Detroit branch during the day time only, and the Pennsylvania, the West Belt periodically during the day and night. It is the opinion of the Operating Committee that the following police protection should be provided day and night by the member lines at the expense of the Union Belt and to be divided by the member lines on industrial car basis:
|Between Grand Truck Junction and Michigan Avenue:||One man each by the Wabash and Pennsylvania, chargeable to Zone 12a.|
|Between Michigan Avenue and the West Belt:||Two men by Pere Marquette chargeable to Zone 12a|
|On the West Belt:||Two men by Pennsylvania, chargeable to Zones 14a and 18a.|
|Russell Street and Old Main Line:||One man each by Wabash and Pennsylvania, chargeable to District 2|
|Old Joint:||One man each by Wabash, Pere Marquette and Pennsylvania, chargeable to District 1.|
|1 Day and 1 Night||1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, & 10|
|1 Day||11, 14, 15, 16, & 17|
|1 Night||12 & 13|
|1 Day||13 & 18|
It is clear from reading the minutes of the Union Belt Operating Committee, that this group was much closer to the day to day operations of the Belt, and wanted the Belt to succeed. The Operating Group was constantly worried about yard space, storage and crime on their property and constantly made recommendations to the Board of Managers about ways these problems could be solved. Unfortunately, the Board of Managers was unable to justify much of the price of these improvements, or individual road politics and business strategies limited a desire to participate in these improvements. We continue on with the minutes of these meetings, as they tell such an interesting story in the building of the Union Belt.
Crossovers in Old Joint Territory. After careful study of traffic, the Operating Committee has recommended two additional crossovers, one between the main tracks at Junction Avenue and one between the westbound main and Sugar House Lead at Morrell Street, and the reversing of the crossover near Summit Street at a total estimated cost of $3,422. This was submitted to the Board of Managers.
Yard Facilities. Rather that approve the proposed yard between the Sugar House Lead and West end Avenue, the Board of Managers directed the Operating Committee to ascertain what use the Belt could make of any portion of the Pere Marquette Rougemere yard. It is contemplated that the yard could be used for delivery by member lines to the Belt of cars for Districts 3 and 4, consisting of the Rougemere, Holden, Oakman, West Belt and West Detroit territory. The Operating Committee also noted that the DT&I West End Avenue Yard can be leased on a reasonable basis and recommends that it be acquired and used for delivery by member lines to the Belt for all cars for industries east of Delray.
Yard Facilities. The Operating Committee reviewed the blueprints of Rougemere Yard. The Pere Marquette member stated that they have under consideration the question of giving up ten tracks in this yard for Belt use, which would be tracks 6 to 15 inclusive, which would give the Belt approximately 500 car lengths of room in this yard. It was the opinion of the Operating Committee that this would give the Belt adequate yard facilities in that territory for the interchange of cars from member lines to the Belt for Districts 3 and 4. They recommended to the Board of Managers that the Belt take over these tracks when the Pere Marquette decides to release them.
Fatal Accident to Crossing Watchman. The Claim Department has arranged for settlement by payment of $225 and voucher for that amount is being held in this office awaiting authority for approval by the Secretary. The Operating Committee could not agree as to responsibility for this accident, which caused the death of Gottfred Daus, Crossing Watchman at the Cavalry Avenue crossing on September 19, 1925. The Wabash member's position is that the Pere Marquette is liable for the accident. The Pennsylvania member states that on account of the absence of positive evidence as to which train struck the man, that the expense should be assumed 50% by the Pere Marquette and 50% by the Belt. The Pere Marquette member's position is that the entire amount should be assumed by the Union Belt. Therefore, the mater is referred to the Board of Managers for decision. The Managers approved the payment by the Belt.
Company Surgeon. Authority was received to increase the compensation of the Surgeon from $100 to $400 per annum, effective March 1, 1926, with instructions to make a deduction of $1 for each physical examination of all applicants, except track laborers and clerks. This will include engine house men and train service employees.
Proposed Wye at Glendale Avenue. In lieu of providing this wye, it was decided that three tracks at Coon Avenue for salvage and storage purposes would be of more benefit. These tracks, with a total capacity of 93 cars, were placed in service November 13, 1925.
Passing Siding On Oakman Branch. This track was placed in service in January, 1925, as approved on August 26, 1924 by the Board of Managers.
Removal of DSR Crossings in West Jefferson Avenue. The Wabash and Pere Marquette own the diamond in Jefferson Avenue formally used to serve the American Car & Foundry company. It's angle is such that it cannot be used to serve the Detroit Railway & Harbor Terminals Company or any other industry in that vicinity. The diamond is also in bad shape. The Operating Committee recommends it's removal.
Crossing Protection. It is proposed to gradually install flash light signals at some of the less important crossings now protected by Gatemen and dispense with the men at a saving of $236.64 per month for each crossing. The least important crossing now protected by Gatemen is Crawford Avenue where flash signals could be operated by gatemen at adjoining streets (Artillery and Rademacher) and it is recommended that this be authorized so that it can be taken up with the Utilities Commission for approval.
Manual Block System. After due consideration the Operating Committee is recommending a private telephone line with telephones for present switch tenders and others located conveniently for Conductors and employment of a set of dispatchers to regulate traffic between Depot and member line yards. It is estimated that the telephone facilities will cost $4,337 and the rate of $225 recommended for three dispatchers to be relieved one day each week.
Western Union Time Service. Notice was received from the Western Union Telegraph Company of an advance of 25 cents per month commencing July 1, 1926 in the rental charge for synchronized self-winding clocks in the engine house office, train master's office and Delray Tower, for which we now pay respectively $1, $1.50 and $1.75 per month.
Water Facilities. Water facilities were discussed as they related to valuation of properties. According to the discussion, Belt water facilities are located at Otis Street (on the West Detroit branch near Michigan Avenue), Russell Street, Plymouth and Glendale Avenue. The Pennsylvania had a water facility at Lonyo Road. These are not the total of water facilities on the Belt.
Gas House Lead Near Depot. Discussions are taking place on using the tracks of the Gas Company for switching of the Fort Street Union Depot. This is the first mention of a planned 4-track main line.
Improvements to the West Detroit Branch. The following improvements are recommended for the West Detroit Branch: 1) 90# rail [already done]; 2) 2nd track from Plymouth Road to Livernois at a cost of $11,200; 3) a passing or drilling track, Warren Avenue to approximately Livernois at a cost of $20,900; 4) a passing or drilling track between Schoolcraft Blvd., and Town Line (Greenfield) Road at a cost of $12,173 and 4) relocation of the crossover east of Michigan Avenue leading from the main track to the old scale track at a cost of $250.
Charging Industries for Engine Rentals. It was determined that industries be charged for use of engines and train crews including fuel, supplies, etc. furnished for any purpose at the following rates per hour:
- Tractive force under 20,000 lbs - $10.00
- Tractive force 25,000 to 50,000 lbs. - $12.50
- Tractive force 50,000 lbs. and over. - $15.00
Vandalism At West Detroit Yard Office. Two box car bodies were set off the trucks at West Detroit on December 1, 1925. On January 11th the siding was torn from one of the cars. On January 31st one of the cars was damaged by fire. The carpenter work on these cars was completed February 20th but no light or water was provided. On February 23rd the cars were completely stripped of all window sash by some unknown person. The sash was replaced and telephones were installed on April 28th. On May 29th, one window was broken, both telephones and telephone boxes were stolen. Cars were wired for electric lights sometime during May. On June 10th every sash in both cars were damaged beyond repair and considerable destruction to the inside of the cars was done. On June 14th arrangements were made with Lowrie & Robinson to replace the sash as Pere Marquette Bridge & Building gang was busy elsewhere. On June 23rd both cars were entirely destroyed by fire evidently started by boys in the neighborhood. The Operating Committee urges the Pere Marquette to proceed at once to replace the office and to provide constant police protection from the time the car bodies are set off until ready for occupancy.
Interchange with Pere Marquette. Commencing July 1st, effective with the use by the Pere Marquette of their new yard at Oak, the interchange of cars to and from the West Detroit Branch and West Belt is made at Oak. The interchange of cars for the Rougemere territory, Oakman Branch and Holden Spur as well as the joint territory east of Delray will continue to be made at Rougemere Yard for the present.
Engine house Labor Force. The following men are now being carried on the payroll as laborers at the Engine House:
|7 men||Coal Dock laborer|
|6 men||Fire knocker|
|6 men||Fire builder|
|8 men||Engine Wiper|
|3 men||Hostler helpers|
Proposed Wye At Glendale Avenue. The wye track in the southwest angle of the junction of the West Detroit branch and the West Belt is again recommended now that the Pere Marquette is interchanging with the Belt at Oak and contemplates deliveries there of considerable sand and gravel for industries in the Rougemere district. There will be still greater need for it beginning with the construction of several large industrial plants on the West Belt particularly the Electrical Refrigerating Corporation and Peoples Outfitting Company. This was approved and work started on the wye on August 16th and it was placed into service on September 8th.
Interchange with Detroit Railway & Harbor Terminals Company. The Harbor Terminals Company has completed the first of several contemplated warehouses on property formerly occupied by the American Car and Foundry Company, with a network of tracks connected with the lead between the main line and Jefferson Avenue. They have purchased a 40 ton oil burning locomotive to perform their own switching and the member lines have filed tariffs for plant switching allowance. In order to efficiently handle the business it is the intention to have the alley closed and construct two additional tracks parallel with the existing track for interchange purposes and until such time as these tracks are provided the tariff above referred to will not be operative as under the present conditions the Belt is required to perform the switching service in the plant and consequently no allowance is being made.
Yard Problems Continue. The Pere Marquette cannot now spare any portion of the Rougemere yard and it is the opinion of the trainmasters and also the Operating Committee that their East Yard could not be used to advantage by the Belt for the reason that the classifying of cars in that yard with interlocking plants at Fort Street and Delray would be seriously retarded.
Third and Fourth Main Tracks. In connection with the meeting of the Chief Engineers on August 24th, the Operating Committee has reviewed the plan for the third and fourth main tracks now proposed beginning at 21st Street and terminating at Harbaugh Avenue with the expectation that ultimately arrangements will be made to extend these tracks to Delray Interlocking, and recommends a full set of crossovers in the vicinity of 21st Street, Studebaker Plant, Summit Street and West End Avenue, eliminating all other main line connections. The plan has been returned to the Engineers. The Committee urges that the engineering force recommended by the Chief Engineers be employed at once to take charge of the main track renewal work now in progress and instructed the Secretary to submit Form 30 for this force.
Collision Near West Grand Blvd. A serious rear-end collision occurred on the Boulevard Lead due to the failure of the Engineer of Wabash Train No. 2 to stop at the signal, and failure of Flagman with Pere Marquette Boat Yard train to protect train that had not cleared the derail on the Boulevard Lead and the switch therefore could not be closed. The Wabash Engineer was suspended 45 days and the Pere Marquette flagman was dismissed from the service.
Yard Supervision. Industrial switching on the Union Belt has shown a steady increase as reflected by statement of industrial cars handled during the first eight months of this year compared with the same period of last year shown below, and a still greater increase is expected due to additional industries locating on the Belt:
Old Joint & Old Main Line
West Detroit Branch
Rougemere District & West Belt
There was an increase of 5,503 cars or 72% in Zone 18 of the West Belt not reflected in totals for the third item due to Ford Blast traffic handled by the Belt during the early part of 1925 since interchanged with the Wabash at Oakwood Junction. Some of the larger plants now under construction are:
Electric Refridgerator Corporation
Detroit City Gas Company
Ernst Builder Supply Company
People's Outfitting Company
Mark R. Hanna Construction Company
Service Coal Company
United Fuel & Supply Company
Lithographed maps of the Union Belt have been colored to show the territory of present Yard Masters and territory of proposed additional Yard Masters. The Operating Committee is convinced that more supervision is essential for economical operation of the Belt and that with the present business there should be an Assistant Train Master in charge at night and an additional Yard Master during the day time to be located at Glendale Junction and recommends rates of $315 and $254.28 respectfully for those additional positions.
Dispatcher's Telephone Circuit. Now that the third and fourth main tracks have been authorized by the Board of Managers, in lieu of dispatchers with telephone facilities it is felt that consideration should be given to the installation of automatic signals on the high speed tracks and that the Signal Engineers should be called upon for recommendations regarding this signal system.
Designations for Certain Points. The following names have been decided upon for points indicated:
- "West Belt Junction" - the junction of the Pere Marquette main line (Zone 11) and Pennsylvania West Belt (Zone 14).
- "Oakman Junction" - the junction of the Pere Marquette main line (Zone 11) and Pennsylvania Oakman Branch (Zone 15).
- "Glendale Wye" - crossing of the Pere Marquette West Detroit Branch (Zones 12 and 13) and the Pennsylvania West Belt (Zones 14 and 18).
Yard Supervision. Yard supervision costs will be divided up into the following zones:
|1 Day and 1 Night||1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, & 10|
|1 Day||11, 14, 15, 16, & 17|
|1 Night||12 & 13|
|1 Day||13 & 18|
Lamp Tender. The pay of the Lamp Tender is divided among the main line zones (1, 2 & 3) according to the number of lamps in each zone. This has the approval of the Operating Committee.
Automatic Signals On High Speed Tracks. The Signal Engineers met with the Operating Committee for discussion of proposed signal protection between 21st Street and Delray in conjunction with the construction of third and fourth main tracks. After careful consideration of their original report recommending an independent machine in Delray Tower for handling crossovers at the West end of the additional mains, replacement overhead of interlocker at Clark Avenue and additional interlockers at West End and Junction Avenues at a total estimated cost of $303,000. The Committee still feels that these improvements should be ultimately provided and that the first portion to be constructed as soon as possible should consist of the two interlockers at Clark Avenue and 21st Street, and automatic signals located on the bridge at the Studebaker Plant, Junction Avenue, Crawford Avenue, Solvay Avenue and Harbaugh Avenue, besides those at Clark and 21st Street interlockers at an estimated cost of $145,000.
Plymouth Road Team Track. The Board of Managers has authorized discontinuing this as a team track as the Pennsylvania has withdrawn its objection. The Meyers Road team track was also abandoned on March 31, 1927.
Coach Yard Facilities. Considerable damage to passenger equipment and extra switching are caused by lack of steam on the repair tracks in the Coach Yard at 21st Street. The Operating Committee recommends extending the steam line to these tracks at estimated cost of $400 to be borne by the Pennsylvania and added to the valuation of coach yard facilities.
West Detroit Branch Telephone Line. Service has been established at Michigan Avenue, Warren Avenue, Meyers Road and Oak, and the balance of the telephones will be installed. This telephone service will enable Yardmasters to keep in touch with crews along the line, permit car checkers to communicate with the office and greatly improve operations.
Union Belt Automobile. The rental of garage for the automobile used in messenger service now costs $84 per year. A metal garage 9x16 without flooring can be erected for $150 and there is a suitable location adjacent to the driveway near the coal dock. It is recommended.
Very little activity. Some discussions about wheelage costs and interchange.
Depot use of Belt Tracks at 21st Street. Most of the Coach Yard switching is done at the west end and it causes some interference to main line operations. Investigation early last year led to the conclusion that if the Coach Yard switching operations were confined entirely to tracks assigned thereto, it would necessitate performing the service at the east end of the yard with use of the approach to the viaduct and by reason of the grade the expense would be considerably increased. It was therefore decided to rebuild and extend the Gas House Lead to accommodate the switching at the west end of the Coach Yard and thus avoid the use of the main track. The Gas House Lead has since been extended and is now a part of the Westward No., 2 track. The Wabash feels that either the Belt should charge for the use of tracks by Depot engines in switching service at the same rate per car assessed by the Depot Company for the use of its tracks as a means of getting to and from the Jefferson Avenue industrial tracks, or the Depot Company should discontinue its charges, allowing the use of its tracks to be offset by its use of Belt tracks at 21st Street, and the Operating Committee will give it further consideration.
Third and Fourth Tracks. In view of the excessive expense for building changes at Timken-Detroit Axle Company Plant No. 1 and the Detroit Chemical Company to permit relocation of the turnouts in the new mains, some consideration has been given to continuing them in the present mains with crossing diamonds in the new mains. In lieu thereof, after further consideration, the Operating Committee recommends installation of slip switches and plans accompanied by the estimate of cost will be submitted to the Board of Managers.
15th Street Switchtenders. These men are employed by the Fort Street Union Depot Company to handle switches at the foot of the viaduct. In view of the service they perform throwing switches for engines to enter and leave the 21st Street ending terminal, it is the opinion of the Operating Committee that the Union Belt should bear one half of their wages and divide it among three roads on basis of the number of engines dispatched for each during the calendar month.
Clark Avenue Interlocker. For construction of the fourth track across Clark Avenue, where there is insufficient right of way for interlocking tower on the ground, the Committee recommends a twenty lever electrically operated machine located on a bridge at approximate cost compared with a new plant with tower on the ground, to be purchased for that purpose as follows:
|Tower on Bridge||Tower on Ground|
|Land to be purchased||$2,500|
|20 lever machine - complete||$28,500||$28,500|
|Tower on bridge||$1,500|
|Signal bridges - 2||$6,000||$6,000|
|Bridge for tower||$3,600|
|Relocation of telephone lines||$400|
In event of any change in the street car traffic, not now contemplated, the bridge will be in the right location for the automatic signal system.
Zone Limits. On account of track changes due to construction of the third and fourth main lines between Delray and 21st Street, necessitating removal of some fixed locations used as the dividing points between certain zones, it is recommended that the limits of zones be changes as follows. The Terminus of Zones 1 and 2 established at the heel of the frog in the Boat Yard lead, station 595-89, to the east line of West Grand Boulevard, Station 594-53, now that the Boat Yard lead has been extended across the Boulevard and is a part of the Westward No. 2 track. Zone 9, as described in the proposed operating agreement extends from the heel of the grog in eastbound main line between Solvay and Green Avenue, Station 495-50. this track was likewise extended to become a part of Eastward No. 2 and the turnout in it for connection with the DT&I at West End Avenue, and with the Solvay tracks, is now located between Solvay and West End Avenue with the heel of the frog at Station 491-50.
Accident Expense. On May 11, 1927, while Trackman John Figluizzi was assisting Signal Maintainer change out insulated joints at 23rd Street, he stepped out of the way of a Wabash drag approaching on the eastward main, backed into and was struck and fatally injured by Pere Marquette engine 503 moving in the same direction on the Boat Yard lead. His hospital and funeral expenses cost $345.55. The Operating Committee is unable to agree as to the responsibility for this expense. The Wabash representative is of the opinion that the Pere Marquette is entirely responsible and should assume all liability as Trackman was killed by one of their engines in exclusive Pere Marquette service. The Pere Marquette representative feels that the Belt should assume it in view of the contributory negligence of the Trackman who was employed by the Belt. The Pennsylvania representative contends that it is the obligation of the road involved in the accident to bear the expense. The case is therefore referred to the Board of Managers for a decision.
Crossing Protection. At the hearing before the Common Council on July 15th, that body approved the plan to install flashing light signals in place of alarm bells at Minnie Street, Swain Avenue, Pelham (formally Pleasant), Summit Street and Post Avenue. Also approved in lieu of bells, gates and watchmen at Junction, Cavalry, Military, Crawford, Rademacher and Solvay Avenues. At Artillery Avenue, where the gates were recently removed to permit construction of third and fourth main tracks, the watchmen will be retained at this crossing. The wages of 16 crossing watchmen will be saved amounting to $15,145 per annum.
Third and Fourth Tracks. These tracks will be used quite extensively for through movements, and the Operating Committee therefore recommends that 6,600 rail anchors be applied at an estimated cost of $1,500 for labor and material.
Clark Avenue Interlocker. It is estimated that the replacement of this plant incident to the construction of the fourth track across Clark Avenue will cost $29,850 and as the agreement of December 20, 1904 provides that the Electric Company bear one-half the expense of maintenance, the Operating Committee will, through the Signal Engineer of the Pere Marquette, negotiate with the Department of Street Railways to assume one-half the cost of rebuilding the plant.
Service From Detroit Edison, Delray Plant. The Detroit Edison Company plant located on the Delray Terminal Railroad owned by the Edison Company is reached by the Delray Connecting Railroad owned by the Solvay Process Company. When deliveries are made by the Union Belt its member lines make a switching allowance of $1.02 per car to the Delray Terminal for spotting service and pay the Belt for the delivery also for return movement of the empty cars. No charge has been assessed for use of the Delray Connecting track to reach the Delray Terminal, but it is expected that a trackage charge will be established, as under the Price Trusteeship the track can be used by any connecting road at cost of interest and maintenance expense. When deliveries are made by the roads to the Delray Connecting Railroad for intermediate switch movement to the Delray Terminal Railroad, the switching charge assessed by the D.C.R.R. is $3.60 per car and empties are returned free. Prior to May 28, 1926 the switching for all member lines to and from this plant was performed by the Union Belt. Commencing that date the Pennsylvania traffic was diverted to the Delray Connecting Railroad and commencing May 10, 1927 the Wabash and Pere Marquette similarly diverted their traffic for the Delray Plant of Detroit Edison. Cars for that plant were again given to the Belt by Pennsylvania commencing September 3, 1927 and by the Pere Marquette commencing September 7, 1927.
Care of Passenger Equipment at Detroit. For some time, efforts have been made by the member lines to reach an agreement for the care of their passenger equipment cars at Detroit by the Union Belt. It was proposed effective with the transfer of this work from the Union Depot Company to the Union Belt to create the position of Master Mechanic to have supervision over both the engine terminal and passenger car work. The Wabash and Pennsylvania desire the Belt to perform the work of inspecting, repairing, cleaning, icing, watering and charging their passenger cars at the Depot as well as in the Coach Yard. The Pere Marquette objected to this scheme as a whole, preferring to confine the Belt supervision to the mechanical operation of the Coach Yard and continue such work as is done at the Depot under the supervision of the Depot forces. It is now proposed by the Pere Marquette that the present General Foreman at 21st Street Enginehouse be promoted to Master Mechanic and his supervision extended over the mechanical operations of the Depot Company including the Coach yard, reporting to both the Operating Committee of the Union Belt and the Superintendent of the Depot Company. This proposition is urged by the Pere Marquette at this time as a means of at once securing the benefit in economy and efficiency to be had from such joint or unified supervision, rather than to defer action toward that end until agreement is reached on the proposition to place the Coach Yard mechanical operation under the jurisdiction of the officers of the Union Belt. The Wabash is not agreeable to making any change until a decision is reached as to the future care of passenger cars at Detroit. The Pennsylvania objects to extending the supervision of the General Foreman, preferring to make no change in the handling of passenger car work until completion of the present negotiations. It is their opinion that this work is not a function of the Depot Company and that the roads can have it performed as they choose. This is referred to the Board of Managers.
City Garbage Plant Switching. The switching at the City Garage Disposal Plant, an industry on the Union Belt at 24th Street, is performed by the Wabash crew that hauls the loads to French Landing and the empties back to this plant. That service was established shortly after the beginning of Belt operation to overcome complaints that were made on account of the offensive odor from these cars when allowed to stand around after being switched out waiting for Wabash to haul them to the reduction plant at French Landing [near Belleville]. It is the most practical and economical arrangement for movement of this traffic. The Wabash makes no bills against the Belt for engine service or crew wages, the cars are not interchanged but are included in the Wabash main line wheel reports, hence no dummy interchange reports are prepared and the cars are only counted in the main line wheelage of the Wabash.
Proposed Extension of Jefferson Avenue Track West End. The extension of the West Jefferson Avenue track to connect with the main line west of West Grand Blvd. would not only expedite the switching service in Jefferson Avenue but would avoid considerable interference to main line traffic between the Boulevard and 21st Street. This extension would cost $10,500 exclusive of the right of way, and it is conservatively estimated that it would save two hours of engine service per week day which at $10 per hour would exceed $6,000 a year. It could be used for a connection to serve the balance of the triangular piece of property owned by the City now being considered as a site for an additional garbage loading plant. The Operating Committee has approved of the plan and feels that in event the City decides to so develop the property, it would be an ideal opportunity to obtain a right of way across City property and permission to extend the Jefferson Avenue track to the main line, and the plan will be submitted to the Board of Managers for consideration.
Third and Fourth Main Tracks Update. This program has been completed with the exception of the following. 1) Nothing done east of Barrett switch in Pere Marquette Boat Yard Lead. PM is not in position to turn this track over to the Belt for use as fourth main line. 2) New connection with the Timken Detroit Axle Company across the third main east of Clark Avenue is awaiting PM authority to proceed with the work. 3) The 3rd track across Clark Avenue cannot be completed until interlocker is rebuilt in new location (overhead) to provide room for this track. Awaiting PM authority to proceed with the work. 4) New connection with the Detroit Chemical across fourth main east of Junction Avenue. Awaiting PM authority to proceed with the work. 5) The system of crossovers authorized by the Board of Managers has been completed except the installation of the scissors at 21st Street and West End Avenue for which material has not been received, and the crossover at Junction Avenue is awaiting PM approval of a new connection with the Chemical Works. The Wabash has rebuilt its tracks on the joint right of way between West End Avenue and Harbaugh Avenue where the Belt has constructed turnouts from Nos. 1 and 2 main tracks. The Wabash is prepared to turn these tracks over to the Belt for joint use and maintenance.
Equalization of Power. On November 1st, 1927, the Wabash was 819 hours behind its quota of engine service to be supplied to the Union Belt, and the Pere Marquette and Pennsylvania respectively 419 hours and 400 hours ahead of their quotas. The Pere Marquette is not agreeable to displacing its engine and crew in District #1 to allow the Wabash to equalize.
Automatic Signals on High Speed Tracks. Instructions received to confer with two signal companies to develop the feasibility of centralized control of signals and switches for operation of trains between Third Street and Delray. The Signal Engineers suggested signal protection to be provided ultimately for the four track system, and recommended that the first portion to be constructed as soon as possible should consist of the two interlocking plants at Clark Avenue and 21st Street, with automatic signals on bridges where needed. Upon completion of the studies by the Signal Companies it is the intention of the Operating Committee to recommend that a signal system be installed next year that will conform to the ultimate plan of signals and interlocking plants.
Negotiations With City To Replace Clark Road Interlocker. After discussions with the City, it is felt that the steam roads should assume the entire cost of signals on the additional track and the steel sub-structure to support the interlocking tower, and that the balance of the expense of rebuilding of the plant should be treated as maintenance, estimated at $30,000 and on basis of the unit distribution table, it would be divided as follows: Electric Line 37.5% ($11,250), Steam Roads 62.5% ($18,750, chargeable as maintenance in Zone 2).
Police Protection Discussion. The Wabash reports that it is furnishing all the police protection in Zones 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 as well as having a regular man assigned to Zone 12 between Michigan Avenue and the Grand Trunk connection, and feel the Belt should either have its own police organization or some division should be made of the expense of the present protection. The Pere Marquette has no desire to depart from its present practice, which affords service of this nature found to be ample for its needs, and it is not their understanding that service performed by the Wabash is for other than exclusive Wabash benefit. The Pennsylvania favors a separate police force for all Union Belt territory. The matter was revisited in March where it was determined that the member roads have the equivalent of nine men policing Belt territory; the Wabash six, the Pere Marquette two and the Pennsylvania one. The suggestion was offered to procure from the member Roads nine patrolmen to be carried on the Union Belt payrolls and divide the expense on basis of the wheelage according to territorial assignments. The Pere Marquette declined to join in such a recommendation.
Residence Telephone. At the beginning of operations the Superintendent authorized the installation of a telephone at Belt expense in the residence of the Trainmaster. The Board of Managers is asked to reaffirm this authority. It was reaffirmed in March.
Clark Road Interlocker. In the ongoing discussions with the City, the Department of Street Railways is agreeable to the replacement of the present plant with a small electric plant handled from a table-lever machine, the expense to be divided on the unit basis. It is proposed to install derails in the two freight mains, operative derails in the facing direction on the electric line, and spring derails protecting against reverse movements, the steam roads to assume the entire cost of signaling on the fourth track and the cost of the steel substructure for the tower, estimated at 25% of the total cost $30,000, or $7,500; the balance, $22,500, to be treated as maintenance and divided equally between the electric line and the steam roads. This conflicts with the information shown in minutes which erroneously stated that the maintenance proportion was estimated at $30,000. It is recommended that authority be granted to proceed with this work without delay.
Proposed Extension of Jefferson Avenue Track at West End. There is no likelihood of the garbage loading station by the City for some time, if at all. In view of the advantages to be gained from the extension it is recommended that a petition be filed with the Common Council to extend the track to connect with the main line east of West Grand Boulevard and thus avoid any possible objection to another track across the Boulevard. This will necessitate use of some City property for the turnout.
Proposed Contracts for Employee Insurance. The Benefit Association of Railway Employees is a mutual legal reserve health and accident association for railway employees. They promote, for social and relief purposes, lodges which are non-sectarian, non-political and prohibit discussion of labor matters, having 221 of these lodges now with one in Detroit installed on the 20th of this month. It is claimed their low rate protection with liberal claim payment practice is second to none. They issue monthly a "Railway Employees Journal" and numerous safety bulletins. The Association has contracts with the Wabash and Pere Marquette for soliciting among their employees, payroll deduction of premiums and allowance office percent as commission for collections. It is recommended that permission be granted to extend their operations to cover the Union Belt under the terms of present contracts and that notice of discontinuance be given the Continental Casualty Company, which now has but nine of our employees insured. Besides the Continental Company, solicitation is authorized and payroll deductions made for the Central West Casualty Company and the Railway Men's Relief Association. No commission is allowed by the latter for handling premium deductions on the payrolls and it has but fourteen employees insured at the present time.
Crossing Protection. By reason of a serious automobile accident at Junction Avenue crossing on January 30, 1928, the only one that has occurred at any of the streets where flashing light signals were placed in service last December, there has been considerable agitation in the Common Council for restoring the gates at all of these crossings and on that account Inspector Hughes of the Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent Murphy of the City Department of Public Works made an inspection of all crossings between the Boulevard and West End Avenue, accompanied by members of the Operating Committee on April 17th. The Inspector recommended that the flashers at nine principal crossings be equipped to warn street traffic in both directions; the flashers on the south side of Artillery Avenue be moved to the center of the street and the one on the south side at Junction Avenue be moved nearer the track. To equip the flashing signals to operate on the track side will cost approximately $65 per signal or $130 per crossing, or a total of $1,170 for the nine crossings.
Automatic Signals on High Speed Tracks. A plan has been prepared for proposed installation of the dwarf type of automatic block signals between Sixth Street and Delray Interlocking Plants, at an estimated cost of $26,000 and early approval is recommended in order to complete the work under favorable weather conditions.
Passing Track Oakman Branch. The extension of the second track on the Oakman Branch across Miller Road and as far as the lead to the Detroit Seamless Steel Tube Company Plant is needed now for efficient and economical switching. The increased traffic of the Graham Paige Motor Car company and the business of other industries now located in that territory make it necessary during switching operations to place cars on all private tracks to the extend that it interferes with the business of the industries and has caused numerous complaints and it also causes excessive switching expense. There is prospect of several additional industries locating there and the Operating Committee recommends extending the Passing Track at once at an estimated cost of $5,708. Authorized in August, 1928.
Car Inspections. At present the car inspectors of all three roads visit the Detroit Railway & Harbor Terminals Plant daily, with unsatisfactory results and duplication of work. It is proposed to establish joint inspection for 16 hours per day and divide the expense among the three roads on the basis of the number of cars handled for each to and from the Harbor Terminals. Authority received in June.
Smoke Abatement (at Roundhouse). Notice 4274 received from the Bureau of Smoke Inspection and Abatement calls for installation of a breaching with suitable connections over all smoke stacks under which engines are fired, connected with an approved smoke washing system and then to a single stack large enough to accommodate the gasses resulting from the firing up of engines in the roundhouse. The Operating Committee feels that concerted action should be taken by all the roads to the end that uniform practice will be obtained and suggests that the Board of Managers arrange for a meeting of the Mechanical and other interested representatives of all steam roads in Detroit for the purpose of thoroughly analyzing the situation and deciding upon uniform action, as the cost of complying with orders such as this would be very expensive. In July, the minutes reported that other roads in Detroit have equipped their locomotives with ring and combustion tube blowers and can clear dense smoke within ten seconds from the time blowers are put in operation. They are, however, receiving violation notices almost daily and all contend that the Inspectors are too strict in their judgment of smoke with the use of an unbrascope (or quadruple smoked lenses) which makes thin gray smoke appear dense.
Third and Fourth Main Track Update. New connection with the Detroit Chemical Works has been installed and second eastward main completed without the cantilever signal originally proposed at Cavalry Avenue, which has been deferred for further consideration of the dwarf type automatic signals in this territory.
West Belt Extension. The West Belt is being extended across the Detroit Terminal Railroad at Livernois Avenue to the vicinity of Hamilton Avenue and the following industries have been connected with this extension: Sterling Coal Co., Schiewe Coal Co., Lowrie & Robinson Lumber Co., Detroit Motor Bus Company, Davy Fuel & Supply Co., Rex Clay Products Co., and Anchor Pipe & Supply.
Switching Lead. To facilitate switching operations by avoiding use of the Pere Marquette main track, the Operating Committee recommends and urges the prompt construction of a track on the Pere Marquette right of way north of Zone 11 between the Oakman Spur and the West Belt.
Warren Avenue Interlocker. The Department of Street Railways is willing to join in application to the Public Utilities Commission to discontinue the derails in the Pere Marquette (West Detroit Branch) tracks at Warren Avenue.
Equalization of Power. On December 1st, the Wabash and Pere Marquette were 4,586 and 1,949 engine hours below their quota and the Pennsylvania was 6,535 hours over its quota. The Wabash proposed to place some of its engines in charge of Pennsylvania crews in the latter's territory in order to reduce its shortage, but this was not agreeable to the Pennsylvania. The Pere Marquette requests that its engines be used in District 1 in proportion to ownership so as to enable them to furnish power in proportion to its quota, but the Wabash was not agreeable to this, as it would mean the withdrawal of Wabash engine assignments to the extend that Pere Marquette engines are substituted and the Wabash would fall farther behind the quota than at present. This subject is therefore referred to the Board of Managers.
Car Inspection. The joint car inspection at the Detroit Railway and Harbor Terminals Company was discontinued December 19th at the close of navigation and for this season it is intended - unless otherwise instructed - to re-establish it on a slightly different basis at much less expense. Last year, two inspectors were employed for 16 hour service and it was frequently necessary to work them overtime when boat cargoes were transferred to cars at night and the cars pulled from the plant interchange track before the regular inspection service the next day. The inspectors were not kept busy at all times and shortly after the service was established they were assigned to inspect cars at other nearby plants, namely, American Brass, Timken, Graham-Paige and the Detroit Chemical. For this year it is proposed to assign to all of these plants a Wabash inspector for six hours during the day and Pere Marquette Board Yard inspectors two or three hours, as necessary, on the second and third tricks, the expense to be billed against the Union Belt and apportioned among the roads on basis of the card handled for each road at these plants.
Claim of Michigan Bell Telephone Company. This claim, amounting to $67, covers damage to fence and gate at their Plymouth Road yard on January 5th, by crew in charge of engine 9079. While shoving 12 cars from Fullerton Avenue Yard into Coon Avenue passing track the cars headed into the Telephone Company siding on account of switch being open and damaged the fence and gate before cars could be stopped. Switchman Delevern was disciplined by five days actual suspension for his responsibility in connection with the accident. This claim is referred to the Board of Managers with recommendation that the Belt assume the responsibility. Payment was authorized by the Board of Managers.
Company Surgeon. The Operating Committee recommends that compensation of Dr. George W. Ridenour be increased from $400 to $600 per annum.
Claim of Detroit Edison Company. This claim, amounting to $99.81 covers the cost of replacing a pole destroyed February 8th, when struck by car derailed by ice and snow in the Chope-Stevens track which we maintain at railroad expense. The section gang was cleaning other tracks, having ascertained that the conductor had no cars for Chope-Stevens that morning, but during switching operations it was necessary to shove some cars in their. The Operating Committee recommends that the claim be paid.
Story: How Wagon Works Junction Got It's Name
The name "Wagon Works Junction" has always been intriguing. This location has been a staple in New York Central timetables for over one hundred years, and it is still used today by the Norfolk Southern railroad as a staging area in Toledo, Ohio.
So, when did this become Wagon Works and why? First, some history.
The first railroad built between Toledo and Detroit was the Detroit, Monroe & Toledo railroad, a construction railroad which immediately became part of the Michigan Southern & Northern Indiana (later LSMS) in 1856, and a direct competitor with Detroit's Michigan Central. This road gave access by the Lake Shore to Detroit, which was theortically prohibited by the original MC charter when the "Southern" line was sold by the state. The LSMS later ran at least one through train per day between Chicago and Detroit via Monroe using this line, in competition with the MC and others.
The second, competing railroad between the two towns was built in 1873 north and south from Grosse Isle, by the Canada Southern railroad which had started a car ferry between Amherstburg, Ontario and Trenton (via Grosse Isle) to give them an ill-fated line west towards Chicago (via Petersburg and Fayette, OH), as well as north and south connections to Detroit and Toledo. Originally owned, in part, by stockholders of the Toledo, Wabash and St. Louis Railroad, they envisioned the CS as a connection by Wabash in Toledo to Canada to Buffalo. This is apparently why the CS was built to a point south of Toledo on the Maumee River, rather than into downtown Toledo. But financial conditions put the line into receivership and stock was purchased by Vanderbilt interests in 1882.
These two lines between Toledo and Detroit were close to each other, sometimes adjacent but much of the line was as much as 1/4 mile apart.
The Canadian Southern came under control of the Michigan Central around 1876 as part of the Vanderbilt stock purchase, and the Lake Shore and the Michigan Central also came under the control of New York Vanderbilt interests. Though they were operated as separate railroads until 1916, they collaborated as early as 1900 on the Detroit to Toledo section by operating both sements as a double-track main line. The CS line was the northbound segment, and the Lake Shore line was the southbound segment. Even though the lines were as much as 1/4 mile apart, longer-than-normal crossovers were installed at several locations along the way such as LaSalle (south of Monroe) and Warner (north of Monroe).
As these two lines came into Toledo (in 1856 and 1873), Wagon Works Junction was not a named place. But it was the place where these two tracks diverged farther away from each other. The Lake Shore line continued in a tangent southwest to Airline Yard. The Canadian Southern line diverged directtly south to C.S. Junction (named for the "Canadian Southern") and a connection with the Wabash and later the Clover Leaf railroads. This was to accomodate the early connections for the Wabash affiliation.
Early Sanborn maps show that there was no "junction" at what would become Wagon Works Junction. The lines simply diverged here.
That all changed about 1873. The Milburn Wagon Works Company of Mishawaka, Indiana purchased the property north of Monroe Street, between these two railroads and built a huge wagon manufacturing facility. Within a few years, Milburn became America's largest wagon company, producing as many as 4,000 wagons each year for both personal and commercial use. Sidings were installed to the plant from both railroad lines and a connection was also made between the two competing railroads. At least one passenger station was built at the site on the Lake Shore, as well as freight stations on both lines. To provide for the thousands of workers at the Milburn works, the City of Toledo expanded out to this area and a street car line was constructed. The Milburn plant became one of the largest manufacturing sites in America. This was before the automobile, and horse drawn carriages and wagons were important for transportation in this era. The two railroads brought in raw product (wood, iron) and took out finished carriages which were transported throughout the United States.
The railroads named the location of this plant on their lines as "Wagon Works Junction". Even though the two railroads were now under Vanderbilt control, they continued to operate separately. As an example, the Lake Shore line to Detroit used the GTW Brush Street station (via D&M Junction and what is now the "Dequindre Cut"), while the old Canada Southern line (MC) used the Michigan Central's Third Street station via a connection at Grand Juntion/West Detroit.
Wagon Works Junction thrived during the Milburn Works era. Even though significant parts of the plant were destroyed by a tornado, and it burned several times over the years (usually starting in the paint shop) the plant was rebuilt each time. As the automobile began to take over from horse-drawn carriages in the early 1900's, Milburn adapted by building electric-powered cars and bodies for other automobile companies into the 1920's - particularly for Ford and then Oldsmobile.
In 1923, Milburn was purchased by General Motors. Though it was speculated that the main Milburn plant would be converted to a Fisher Body plant, it was closed down within two years. Electric vehicle production was transferred to another Milburn factory. Milburn subsidiary Dana Corporation was spun off and continued to serve the auto industry for many years.
Wagon Works Junction continues to be a location along the double tracked Norfolk Southern railroad and is used today as a small staging area for unit coal trains and auto rack cars.
Story: Jay Gould Passes Through Detroit
Jay Gould Visits the Detroit, Butler & St. Louis
A Special Train of Directors Meets Him at Butler [Indiana]
Adrian Becomes Intensely Hospitable and Enthusiastic
The Wabash, Its Last Purchase, and What Effect it Will Have Upon Detroit
The Union Depot and How It Interests the Wabash People
Intimate Relations Between the Wabash and the Great Western Railway
The Jay Gould Visit
On Thursday evening [around June 11, 1881]at 5 o'clock a train consisting of Engine No. 24, of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railroad, drawing a smoking coach and the directors' car of the same road, steamed out of the depot at the foot of Brush street, having on board James F. Joy, James McMillan, John S. Newberry, R. A. Alger, Allan Sheldon, George W. Balch, Directors of the Butler; C. Sheaby, Northern Passenger Agent of the Wabash; H. C. Bell, Superintendent for the Construction Company of the Butler, and C. H. Ellis, Chief Engineer of the same road. William A. Underwood, of Adrian, was also an invited guest, as were also representatives of the Detroit daily papers. This party had been hastily summoned to go to Butler and receive Jay Gould, who was about to take his first look at what will soon be an important portion of his favorite road.
From Detroit to Adrian
The trip was expected to be a quick one, as the track was ballasted the entire distance, and except in one or two spots was in excellent order. At Belleville a stop was made, and a comparison of watches showed that the run had been made at the rate of thirty-eight miles an hour. D. L. Quirk, one of the most ardent friends and efficient workers for the Butler Road joined the party at this point. At 6:48 Milan was reached but the excessive rains of the proceding day or two had interfered with the track a short distance beyond this point, resulting in an exasperating delay which prevented the arrival of the train at Adrian until 9:30.
From Adrian to Butler
At Adrian the train was boarded by Mayor Navin and other citizens, Mr. Blanchard, Dan Casement, the contractor, and representatives of the Adrian press, who brought with them a supper for the paty. The stop was a short one and when the train again started Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Casement and the representative of the Adrian Record remained on board. For twelve miles southwest of Adrian the track had not been ballasted, the engineer had never been over the road, there was no connection to make, and the run was made with praiseworthy deliberation, stops being made at every water tank and site for a station, so that it was after 3 a.m. when the train came to a stand still alongside of the special car which had brought Mr. Gould and party. and which was side-tracked at Butler.
Is a village of apparently about 500 inhabitants, and has sprung into prominence since the construction of the road which has made it more widely known than many a larger place. The hotel at the depot, which sets a good table, is small, and consequently being nearly filled, only a portion of the party could obtain beds. There being sleeping accommodations for but four of the rest on the cars, the remaining four or five walked about the place in the early morning, and in other ways, until breakfast time, tried to forget sleep and hunger.
At 6:49 the lever was pulled for the return trip and here is the time and place to say something of the three men who constituted the crew of that locomotive. O. F. Holmes, the engineer, and John Riggs, the fireman, had been continuously on duty since 5:30 the previous morning, but they were wide-awake and ready for any duty while with them was H. C. Bell, Superintendent, who had not left the engine since the start, and who througout the entire trip was indefatigable in his efforts to make everone individually happy, and at the same time to attend to the safe running of the train, which from this point was enlarged by the addition of Mr. Gould's own car, the Convoy, his part consisting of himself, A. L. Hopkins, First Vice-President of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad; Col. R. S. Hayes, President of the Internatinal & Great Northern Railroad; Col. R. Andrews, General Superintendent of the Wabash east of the Mississippi, was also with Mr. Gould, and A. W. Quackenbush, Master Mechanic of the Eel River Division, was on the train.
From Butler, or rather from the end of the Eel River track to the Ohio State line, is pecularily situated. The right of way was procured and the track laid, until the crossing of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, three-quarters of a mile from the station, was resisted by that company and the matter taken ito the courts. On examining title, it was found that the latter road under a lease, was occcupying the right of way of the original franchise of the Eel River Railroad, granted under another name, and that the right to run a parallel road and to make a crossing in the direction of Detroit had been expressly reserved, so that there would have been no necessity of procuring a new right of way if the terrms of this old frnchise had been understood. The line runs alongside the Air Line of the Lake Shore for three quarters of a mile, then crosses it, runs nearly five miles in Indiana, then crosses the northwestern corner of Ohio for a distance of thirty miles, passes through Montpelier, running three miles on the abandoned grade of the Canada Southern, and then coming into Michigan. Most of the track to Adrian (except the twelve miles noted) was in tolerable order, and but for the rain would ha5ve been quite smooth. The run lasted until 11 o'clock, when Adrian was reached and was devoid of any noteworthy incident.
The Reception at Adrian...
Was an unexpected ovation. On the platform was a band and a concourse of people, numbering several hundreds; while from want could be seen from the cars, it appeared as if half of the teams in Lenawee County had been concentrated at that point. The Mayor and a small reception committee stepped aboard the train, greeted the visitors, escorted the entire party to open barouches which had been provided for them, and then, accompanied by a procession of several hundred vehicles of various kinds, made a tour of the most attracive portions of the city, stopping at the Lawrence House, where a number of leading icitizens were assembled to meet the guests. An elaborate and elegently-served luncheon had been provided which was rendered all the more pleasant by the total omission of any speaking or formaility, the only approach to such thing being a toast - "The Prosperity of Adirian" proposed by Mr. Gould and drank in bumbers, standing. The visit was short but very delightful, and the size, beauty and business aspect of Adrian caused much surprise ad favorable comment. The reception was entirely impromptu and was not thought of until after a telegram had been received from Tom Applegate, who had joined the party at Butler and had notified the Mayor that Mr. Gould would be able to make a short stop. The credit for the affair is largely due to the Mayor, T. J. Navin; City Marshall W. A. Todd; Alderman W. S. Gardner, Maj. Howe, of the Peninsula Car Works, and Messrs. T. J. Tobey, S. E.. Hart, W. S. Wilcox, W. T. Lawremce. amd Dwight A. Witney, Manager of the Lawrence House.
From Adrian to Detroit
The ride was particularly pleasant. The party was enlarged by the presence of W. T. Lawrence and Dwight A. Whitney and after the reception and ride a feeling of better acquaintence appeared to prevail all round, and much of the conversation was of a character which would hae been exceedingly interesting to the public had it been thought best to allow the reporters the privilege of printing all that was said. Mr. Gould talked freely on various topics, observing, however, some reticence as regards those important business matters having a direct bearing upon the interests and future of Detroit. Still, from what he said persoally, and what was said by the gentlemen in his confidence, the following may be given as under the approving seal of authority;
Mr. Gould looks upon the Wabash as his favorite property. The Wabash, in spite of all that has been said in reference to its debt, etc., has only $23,000 of outstanding bonds to the mile, and of stock $7,000 each of common and preferred to the mile. The Wabash Railroad, in all its branches, is in splendid order, and as to the Butler, the country through which it runs especially pleased Mr. Gould. He was delighted with the easy grade over which sixty cars would only be a load for a locomotive, and he sees in the near future a large and growing local trade along its entire length. He also proposes to utilize it as an outlet for some very fine coal mines he controls, about seventy mles from Logansport near the Illinois line.
The Butler Will Be The Main Line...
Of the Wabash without any doubt, and on account of recent changes has become of greater importance than has hitherto been anticipated. Within three days the Indianapolis, Peru & Chicago Railroad has been purchased by the Wabash, and this line affords the necessary connections to place Detroit on the shortest and best line (almost an air line) to St. Louis, to the Pacific roads and to the South. The fast trains will all run by way of the Butler, and Detroit will stand in its proper place as sentinel of the gateway between the East and the South and West. The road will come into the possession of the Wabash on the 1st of July, but the through passenger trains will not be run before the 1st of August.
On The River
The train arrived at the station foot of Brush street at 3:30, and almost all who had shared in the ride accepted a courteous invitation from Messrs. Newberry and McMillan to accompany them on their yacht Truant. Mr. Newberry himself took the wheel, and the run was made, first up nearly to the Water Works and then nearly down to the Fort, keeping close in to the shore so as to give a comprehensive idea of the magnitude and importance of the river front, and to show...
The Union Station Grounds...
Which can be seen to better advantage form the river than from any other point of view. They extend from the Michigan Central Railroad property, to a point 2,750 feet below, have an average depth of 500 feet, and the Wabash track entering from below will come in without a curve, until within the yard. This however is a subject of too much magniture for trreatment in this article; suffice to say the effect upon the visitors of seeing the property was all that could be desired.
Who Went East.
The moment Mr. Gould stepped from the car in the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Depot, he was met by Mr. Broughton, and with Mr. Joy and one or two others withdrew for a few minutes before going on the river. what was the result of that conference has not been officially amnnounced but it is well understood that the connection between the Great Western and the Wabash will be close and intimate, and that Detroit wil be on the great through route from New York to the City of Mexico. Last night the following officers of the Great Western went East with Mr. Gould: Col. Gray, President; J. Bald, Talford McNeil, F. Boughton, General Manager; G. B. Springgs and A. H. B. Spiers.
[Editor's Note: This story is from the Detroit Free Press, June 11, 1881. The construction railroad which would later be known as the Wabash between Detroit and Butler, Indiana had just been built and would be purchased by Gould's Wabash line within the month. It appears that the part of the line from Delray to Fort Street Union Station had yet to be built, however the Wabash connection from Delray to near Beaubien was in place allowing access to Brush Street Station. The interlocking at Delray was probably not yet in place. It is interesting to note that many railroad officials retained use of their wartime titles, even though this is sixteen years after the civil war].
Story: Disaster in Toledo's railroad tunnel...
What tunnel? You have probably never heard of it.
But on December 3, 1891, it happened. The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern did indeed have a short tunnel under the Miami & Erie canal and the parallel Clover Leaf railroad in downtown Toledo. The tunnel was 75 feet long, and located 3/4 of a mile west of the current Amtrak station. Today, Anthony Wayne Trail crosses over the railroad at this point on a bridge.
The disaster was a rear-end collision around 4:45 p.m. A Lake Shore train, No. 6 known as the Boston and Chicago Special, travelling eastbound, passed a restricting target signal 300 feet before the tunnel. The engineer applied the brakes and slacked up because another train was ahead.
Following closely behind, a Flint & Pere Marquette passenger train headed for Toledo's Union depot (from Air Line Junction) came through the same tunnel and plunged into the rear coach of the Lake Shore train.
The Lake Shore train was vestibuled, but an "ordinary" day coach for the accommodation of way passengers, was attached to the rear, and it was destroyed.
The F&PM engine plowed its way through the car until the pilot was more than midway of the coach. The seats and floor were torn up and the unfortunate passengers bruised and maimed. Some were badly scalded by the escaping steam from broken pipes. The crash was described by those who heard it as terrific, and was followed by screams of agony from the wounded.
The times between these two trains were only two minutes apart. The Lake Shore train was running a bit behind. When the train stopped for the signal, the brakeman was sent back. He discovered that the tunnel was full of smoke and steam and heard the oncoming F&PM train, consisting of an engine and three cars. Fearful that he would be killed if he went into the tunnel, he held back and an instant later the F&PM train went by at a speed sufficient to prevent its stopping and struck the preceding train.
The tunnel was full of smoke, but the engineer of the F&PM train, which was already in the tunnel, saw the signal, and also the rear lights of the doomed car. He shut off steam and he and his fireman threw themselves flat on the floor of the cab, so as to be protected by the boiler. Both escaped unhurt, except for a severe shaking up. This engineer was a "new man" and this was his first run over the Lake Shore to Toledo union depot.
In the Lake Shore coach, 6 passengers died and dozens were injured. Most were treated at St. Vincent hospital, which continues to serve Toledo today.
[DFP-1891-1130} The Daily Times from New Philadelphia, Ohio was widely quoted in this story.
Additional background: The Miami & Erie canal was completed about 1845. It ran from Toledo to Cincinnati, creating a water route between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. It was in place at least 10 years before the existing Lake Shore right-of-way was routed underneatj it. The "tunnel" was 75 feet long, which included the overhead crossing of the canal and Clover Leaf railroad line into downtown from the south.
It is interesting to consider that the canal was well above the level of the Lake Shore railroad and required the railroad to tunnel underneath it. According to historical maps of this area, the canal also was raised overtop of nearby Swan Creek, which it crossed just north of this location.
Today, the canal is gone at this location, as is the Clover Leaf. The current bridge at this location is for Anthony Wayne Trail, a boulevard divided highway. The current bridge over the NS (former Lake Shore), is now 155 feet in length.
Story: Erie and Kalamazoo's Original Route in Toledo
Most railroad historians are aware that Michigan's first railroad track was laid from Toledo northwest to Adrian in 1836, even before Michigan achieved statehood. The Erie and Kalamazoo as it was called, was originally pulled by horsepower and then converted to steam propulsion.
The E&K began in Toledo with an odd 4' 10" gauge. The line changed ownership in 1848 and was converted to standard 4' 8 1/2" gauge to be compatile with other U.S. railroads. The E&K was then leased in 1849 to the Michigan Southern railroad, which had purchased Michigan's "Southern Line", a state owned line beginning at Monroe and going west to Adrian and beyond. The E&K connected with the southern line in Adrian. The E&K then became the Michigan Southern's entrance (or origin) from Toledo going as far west at the time to Hillsdale. It ultimately became part of the "Old Road" between Toledo and Chicago, via Adrian, Hillsdale, Coldwater, White Pigeon, Elkhart and South Bend. This was the first railroad from the east to reach Chicago.
Modern maps suggest that the Old Road route began at Toledo's Union Station, coming northwest via Airline Yard, and later crossing the Toledo Terminal at Vulcan Tower. But when the E&K was built, there was no "Union Station", Airline Yard, or Toledo Terminal railroad, nor were there any other railroads in Toledo yet.
So... how did the E&K track begin west from the small hamlet of Toledo (population in 1840 of 1,222) on the west side of the Maumee River?
A 1852 map of Toledo (on the left) gives us our answer. This map was surveyed and published by Henry Hart, a civil engineer and architect, from New York City. By the 1852 survey, two other railroads - the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland, and the Toledo & St. Louis - had reached Toledo in addition to the E&K between Toledo and Adrian.
The TN&C was the forrunner of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, which ended up leasng the E&K and dozens of other lines as part of the Vanderbilt-owned railroad system. The Toledo & St. Louis became part of the Wabash system.
As what you would expect, the E&K actuallt began in what was then downtown hamlet of Toledo, along the Maumee River. From there it travelled due west near what is Indiana Street through farm land to the north side of what would later become the LS&MS Airline Yard.
This downtown location along the Maumee River was likely the origin point, allowing travellers from Lake Erie and products from the east be loaded onto railroad cars from boats.
At some point between the E&K's founding in1836 and 1852, the E&K also constructed a spur line to the "Middlegrounds" (noted on the map). The Middlegrounds was an island in the Maumee River which quickly became a focus of early railroads and shipping. By 1852, all three railroad interchanged at Middlegrounds. Even today, the "Middlegrounds" has rail service just north of Amtrak's union station.
Joining the three railroads at Toledo by 1852 was the Wabash & Erie Canal, which began in 1843 down river and crossed through the mddle of downtown Toledo headed to Fort Wayne, Indiana and beyond. At 460 miles, it was the longest man-made canal in U.S. history [Wiki]. (See map in light blue).
Within sixteen years, the E&K line to downtown was gone. An 1868 map published by H.H. Lloyd & Co. for Henry S. Stebbins, shows that the E&K, now under Michigan Southern control, had been relocated from what is now Union Station to Airline Yard, (The Wabash & Erie Canal had also been truncated to Swan Creek at this point and no longer bisected the downtown area.)
The Middlegrounds would go on to become the center of railroad activity in Toledo for many years with interchange between the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Wabash, Clover Leaf and other railroads and lake shipping. Union station was also located nearby.
There is no evidence today of the E&K line from Airline Yard to downtown Toledo.
Story: Funding the Bay City and Alpena Railroad
Detroit industrialist Russel Alger owned significant logging operations in Alcona County and operated logging railroads in that vicinity. One of his lines in the Harrisville area had been moved north to Black River and at some point, Alger decided to become involved with efforts to combine and extend railroad operations which were centered in Tawas with his logging railroads in Alcona. He was a part of an effort called the Bay City & Alpena Railroad Company which had a goal of connecting with the Michigan Central and points south. This would allow a rail connection with the rest of the country.
Alger and his group hoped that the Michigan Central would fund construction of the railroad and he enlisted H. B. Ledyard, President of the Michigan Central and Ashley Pond who was MC's General Counsel to help. They also received commitments from residents and governments along the Huron shore route for land and construction. The Detroit Free Press reported that:
Alger returned on Tuesday night from a trip to New York in the interest of this company, and yesterday was visited by a representative of The Free Press, who, after calling the attention of the General to the article in reference to the proposed line of the road and receiving an assurance of its accuracy, asked the question: "Can you give us anything of interest as of the result of your journey?"
Gen. Alger answered as follows: "My journey has resulted in a decided disappointment. Several weeks ago, you will remember, Mr. Ledyard, Mr. Pond [of the Michigan Central railroad], and I went to New York to consult with Mr. Vanderbilt about this road, and after submitting to him plats, statements of population, resources and other matters, Mr. Vanderbilt said that under certain conditions as to bonus, right of way, etc., the road would probably be built,
I asked him: 'What shall I telegraph to them?' and he answered: 'You may telegraph them that if they fulfill their agreements they will have the road.' Mr. Vanderbilt then directed Mr. Ledyard, who was present, to have an engineer prepare estimates, and Mr. Ellis was selected for the purpose. He performed his duty and last Friday was appointed as the date when a decision would be made which decision I had no doubt would be to build the road.'"On Friday the Executive Committee [of the Vanderbilt interests] decided not to build.
"A meeting in favor of the railroad is to be held in Oscoda to-night and I have sent to that meeting the following telegram:"
But Vanderbilt and his men had second thoughts. The Free Press article continued:
Detroit, March 30, 1881. Geo. L. Maltz, Oscoda, Mich.: Returned from New York last evening. Saw Vanderbilt. He talked exactly opposite from what he did when I wired you before, and says the Michigan Central will not build road this year. We may try other methods, but will of course do nothing unless the full bonus is subscribed by perfectly responsible parties, and full right of way is given over the whole line including lake route through Oscoda and ample terminal facilities at Alpena. (Signed) R. A. Alger.
Reporter-"Will this be a death blow to the road?". Gen. Alger - "No, sir. We have been greatly disappointed, but we will try to accomplish it, and much depends upon the meeting to-night. We mean to have a road from Bay City to the Straits along the shore. Such a line will avoid the deep snows and will be entirely free from heavy grades."
The interview was extended to somewhat greater length Gen. Alger going a little into detail on some points not necessary to dwell upon here. He, however, on being pressed for an explanation of the unexpected change of front by Mr. Vanderbilt, said that he had had a long conversation with Mr. Vanderbilt on that very subject and that the reason was the heavy snows of the past winter had cut down receipts and increased disbursements to such an extent that he did not wish to load down the Michigan Central with any heavy expenses at present.
It is certainly to be hoped, for the sake of Detroit, if not for the lake shore people that Mr. Vanderbilt, as soon as spring is fairly opened, will see good reason to reverse his decision, for no one doubts that the road will be built, and if it is not taken in hand by the Michigan Central, some other corporation will take hold of it - perhaps the Flint & Pere Marquette, in which case Toledo and not Detroit would be the real terminus.
The railroad was ultimately built north to Alpena (and to Alger forest interests in Presque Isle and Montmorency counties) and connected on the south with the Michigan Central at a junction called "Alger" which was in northwest Arenac County just north of Standish in 1883. This turned out to be an undesirable connection with the Michigan Central as they apparently held the successor Detroit, Bay City & Alpena (DBC&A) hostage in rate setting and service. Service to Alger also required use of a high and lengthy bridge wooden trestle bridge over the Rifle River, which must have been expensive to maintain.
Once the line was reorganized as the Detroit & Mackinac in 1896 with funded by Boston interests, a new main line south from Emery Junction (near National City) was constructed along the Huron lake shore to North Bay City and a connection with the Pere Marquette, the Grand Trunk Western and the MC. The connection at Alger was severed and the D&M line truncated at Prescott.
[Excerpts of this article were taken from the March 31, 1881 edition of the Detroit Free Press] Other information from [MRL].
Photo Info/Credit: This is an early photo of a DBC&A train on the Rifle River bridge near Alger, Michigan.
Story: Bridge Collapse Jams Soo Locks
From the Port Huron Times Herals, October 7, 1941.
TRAIN CRASHES IN SHIP CANAL
Downdbound Ore Freighters Halted; Sabotage Ruled Out; Two Trainmen Drowned
Washington, October 7, 1941 - The federal bureau of investigation said today that an army engineer's report of the collapse of the railroad bridge spanning the Soo canal at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., did not indicate any act of sabotage. The FBI therefore does not plan to investigate.
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich, Oct. 7 - AP - Collapse of one arm of a lift bridge - believed to the largest of the bascule type in the world, brought defense-vital iron ore shipping form Lake Superior ports to a temporary halt here today.
The giant span, owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad company, sagged beneath the weight of a loaded freight train. A locomotive and tender shot from the open end of the approach to the St. Mary's Falls canal, carrying two trainmen to their deaths and effectively blocking the two largest of the Sault Ste. Marie locks which link Lakes Superior and Huron.
May Clear Path In 4 Days
A wrecking train was summoned immediately, but Lieut. Col. Jules Houghtaling, intelligence officer for the Sault Ste. Marie military district estimated it would be four days before the locks would be sufficiently cleared to provide passage for fully laden ore carriers, which included some of the largest craft that navigate the lakes.
Two channels remained open to navigation. They were the Poe locks on the American side and the Canadian locks. Military authorities said neither of the open channels, however, provided sufficient draft for fully loaded ore carriers.
An emergency order was issued to vessels now loading to limit their draft to 16 feet 6 inches. The normal draft of ore carriers is 17 to 20 feet, loaded.
By 10-30 a.m. approximately 25 vessels - down bound from Lake Superior with cargoes - were at anchor awaiting passage.
Military authorities said another 50 which took on their loads prior to the bridge's collapse would arrive at the entrance to the canal and locks by midnight and another 50 by midnight Wednesday. Light vessels up bound for cargoes were passing steadily through the smaller locks, which also will accommodate down bound craft loaded after receiving notice of the new cargo restriction.
The north leaf of the railroad bridge collapsed into the north section of the canal under the weight of a freight train coming from the Canadian side, according to an official explanation of the accident by J.B. Chadwell, chief administrative assistant in the war department engineer's office.
Blocks No. 3-4 Locks
Chadwell said the north section of the St. Mary's canal, together with the third and fourth locks, were completely blocked to all traffic ads a result. The south arm of the bridge, he reported, is still intact but is three feet below its normal position.
Chadwell said the cause of the bridge collapse is not known. Col. Fred T. Cruse, commander of the military district, said it appeared to be "purely accidental" and that there seemed to be no reason to suspect sabotage. There had been no similar mishap since the bridge was constructed, about 1914.
Two Carried to death
One of the two great spans in the bridge collapsed as a heavily loaded Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic train started to cross from Canada. The locomotive, dragging two freight cars behind it, dropped into the river.
Four men were riding in the locomotive. Engineer Hazen Willis and Conductor Dave Monroe trapped in the engine cab were drowned. Fireman Carl Zelmer and Brakeman Francis Peller climbed back up the twisted bridge girders to safety.
Railway men and military authorities prepared at once to begin the tremendous task of raising the locomotive and the two cars out of the river so that vessel traffic could resume.
It would first be necessary to cut portions of the broken 165-foot span apart in order to free the other span, of similar size.
Patrolman E. H. Anderson said at police headquarters that there had been "talk" of sabotage but that this had been discredited because the bridge had been "very well guarded."
"I don't think sabotage was possible," Anderson said.
Rain was falling as the freight train - 40 to 50 cars loaded with paper from the mills of Canada, pulpwood, steel rails and miscellaneous freight - proceeded out onto the bridge. Suddenly, said Bridge Tender Albert Penman, the north span started sagging.
"Then it went down, slowly," Penman said. "I stood there watching it. The locomotive went with it. Two of the fellows crawled up the bridge, but the other two, I guess, drowned."
As the morning wore on, boat after boat sailing in from Whitefish bay and Lake Superior dropped anchor.
The St. Mary's canal, one of the world's busiest waterways, connects the upper and lower lakes of the Great Lakes chain and feeds to the steel mills of the East the vast stores of ore from the iron range of the North.
Everything Seemed O.K.
From his tower on the American side of the river, Bridge Tender Penman said he saw the train come onto the bridge. The bridge is of jack-knife design and steel construction.
"All I can tell you," Penman said, "is that the bridge was all set. The signal lights were set and everything was O.K. in the tower when the train came on. I don't know how it could have happened.
"I don't see how I can be found at fault in any way. The same thing would have happened with any other operator."
It was explained that the bridge while American owned, is operated jointly by the Canadian Pacific and Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Railways and the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge company. It consists of a series of sections resting on concrete piers, with a jack-knife drawbridge across the main channel of the canal. It was the latter portion which collapsed.
The International bridge, of which the bascule is a part, is more than a mile long over-all, and is built in sections. It spans a Canadian power canal, an island bisected by Canada's ship canal, approximately half a mile of unnavigable St. Mary's river rapids and the American locks.
Swing bridges over the Poe canal on the America side and the Canadian canal remain in operation.The bascule bridge which collapsed, spanned the two largest American channels - now completely blocked by the drooping north span of the bascule and the south arm, which is sagging approximately three feet below its normal horizontal position.