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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Trains no longer rumble through here
Date: 01/09/03 09:04
Trains no longer rumble through here
by LARRY SOBCZAK
Observer Staff Writer
Romeo area residents no longer awaken to the rumble of box cars, the "ding-ding" of crossing signals or the sound of the train whistle.
No one ever spots the puff of smoke and steam or the flickering headlight on the horizon in the Romeo area.
Long gone are the nostalgic railroad depots in Romeo, Washington and Armada.
Gatherings of relatives or friends at the station to send-off or pick-up travelers from a far-away journey is an unknown ritual to most area residents.
While the weeds creep into the abandoned right-of-way, Romeo\'s railroads fade into the past.
Armada Township resident Ed Irish recalls the comfort of hearing the train horn as it passed his farm.
"It used to come by around five in the afternoon. You could hear the engineer sound the horn when he crossed Powell and again at Romeo Plank," he said.
Directly adjacent to Irish\'s farm is a 270-foot-long trestle towering more than 30 feet above the Clinton River. It is the largest remaining relic of the local railroad era.
Irish remembers the last special shipments of gas pipeline on the railroad in 1996 while a section of a cross-state pipeline was under construction locally.
"The train would move along at walking speed. The crew would cross the bridge ahead of the train and then the engineer would pull the train across. I guess they did not trust that old bridge," he said.
While some residents may only remember the old Grand Trunk, it was only one of two railroads that connected Romeo to the outside world.
Now defunct for more than 70 years, was the electric powered interurban Detroit United Railways (D.U.R) that ran from Detroit, Royal Oak and Rochester on its way to Almont and Imlay City.
An interurban rail car resembles a larger trolley car.
"Romeo was an attractive destination for potential railroads," said Tim Bachurst, President of the Michigan Transit Museum in Mount Clemens.
Bachurst can often be found Saturday and Sunday afternoons stitching together facts of local railroad history with other rail fans at the historic 1859 depot in Mount Clemens which has been converted into a museum.
"I don\'t know how long the orchards have been there but farmers grew things and needed access to markets to sell their products," he said.
The earliest attempt to build a railroad to Romeo began in 1833, just three years after the village was founded and four years before Michigan became a state.
The Romeo and Mount Clemens Railroad Company was chartered on April 16, 1833 according to Graydon Meints in his 1992 book "Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies."
Meints had spent nearly 15 years collecting information about Michigan railroads and sifting through state records of charters and incorporations.
The Romeo and Mount Clemens Railroad Company was founded with the intention of raising $150,000 in capital to build a 15 mile railroad connecting two of the most populous areas in the county at the time.
The charter eventually lapsed and the railroad apparently was never built.
On March 26, 1836, a second railroad was chartered by the Michigan Territorial Legislature to link Romeo to present day St. Clair.
The St. Clair and Romeo Rail-road Company had proposed building a 26 mile long railroad with $100,000 in capital.
According to William Jenks in his book, "History of St. Clair County," several miles of the railroad right-of-way were cleared and graded.
Work ceased on the railroad in 1837 when the Michigan legislature reneged on its promise to provide additional funding for the railroad through its $5 million internal improvement projects, in part because of the Panic of 1837 which made it nearly impossible to sell bonds in the United States.
The state government had approved the sale of bonds to build three railroads across the state as well as two canal projects.
A northern railroad route was initially proposed from St. Clair through Romeo to Lake Michigan along part of the right-of-way that was under construction.
According to Meintz, planners eventually chose Port Huron over St. Clair as the starting point for the northern cross-state railroad.
Despite the snub, the St. Clair and Romeo Rail-road Company amended its charter in 1840 to extend its completion date; however, the railroad was never built and the charter eventually lapsed.
It took another 30 years before railroads looked at Romeo as a possible east-west route for railroads.
Meanwhile, the 1830s brought a few more proposals for railroads in the Romeo area in the north-south direction including the Macomb and Saginaw Railroad which was chartered on Aug. 24, 1835 to build 90 miles of railroad from Mount Clemens to Saginaw City.
No details about this proposal were uncovered by this writer, however, a straight line drawn from downtown Mount Clemens to downtown Saginaw would traverse Washington Township.
The Macomb and Saginaw Railroad Company amended its charter in 1840 to replace "railroad" in its name to "turnpike road." The charter is now listed as lapsed.
Another major attempt to link Romeo with the rail began on May 4, 1846 when the Shelby and Detroit Railroad Company amended its charter to include Romeo and Port Huron as destinations.
The Shelby and Detroit was originally chartered in 1834 with $100,000 in capital to link Utica to Detroit.
According to Volume 2 of "When Eastern Michigan Rode the Rails" written by local rail history buffs Jack Schramm and William Henning, the railroad was in operation between Utica and few miles shy of Gratiot Road by September 1839.
Passengers and freight were transferred at the end of the rails to stagecoach to make the rest of the journey into Detroit.
Operation of the Shelby and Utica reportedly ceased sometime in 1844 or 1845.
Dreams of a working railroad persisted into 1850s after the railroad\'s name was changed to Detroit, Romeo and Port Huron Railroad in 1848.
The right-of-way was sold to James Joy and the charter for the railroad lapsed.
Joy revived that railroad project in 1871.
Romeo was out of the picture for this railroad when it was decided to curve the railroad west into Rochester and call the new railroad the Detroit and Bay City Railroad.
A portion of the old Shelby and Detroit right-of-way is still in use today as a railroad serving auto companies between Mound and Van Dyke in Sterling Heights and Warren.
After the end of the Civil War, Romeo became the part of the dreams of several entrepreneurs to build railroad empires across the state and across the country.
Romeo was mentioned in the names of incorporations plans of six railroads between 1868 and 1883, according to a search of "Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies."
"One of the things the great railroad speculators would do is put as many names as possible in their incorporations papers to attract as much local capital as possible," said Bachurst.
The Rochester and Romeo Railroad Company as well as the Romeo and Almont Rail Road Company appear to have been proposed only to connect Romeo to neighboring communities.
Shaping the other railroad proposals in the late 1860s and 1870s was a battle between railroad empires to build a connection from the east coast to booming Chicago by way of Canada and Michigan.
Grand Trunk Railroad of Canada had established a connection through Ontario to Chicago in 1859 after it had built the railroad that still parallels Gratiot from Port Huron to Detroit. Railroad cars were ferried across the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Sarnia.
After reaching Detroit, Grand Trunk had track rights to Chicago on the Michigan Central Railroad until Commodore Vanderbilt gained control of the company and terminated Grand Trunk\'s rights.
"That threat appears to be the catalyst for Grand Trunk to build a new railroad," Bachurst said.
Spotting the opportunity to become a player in the ensuing battle, two separate groups of investors formed railroad companies.
A group of southwestern Michigan investors formed the Chicago and Michigan Grand Trunk in 1865 to build a railroad from Ridgeway (present-day Richmond) through Romeo, Jackson, Niles to Indiana.
In January 1868, a group of Jackson investors formed the Grand Trunk Rail Road of Michigan to build a railroad from Richmond to Indiana via Romeo and Lansing.
Meints writes that "it appears that the Grand Trunk of Canada had no direct involvement with any of these Michigan efforts in the 1860s." It is likely the investors chose the name of their companies to attract the attention of Grand Trunk for a future sale of their railroads.
Nothing came out of the Chicago and Michigan Grand Trunk Proposal, according to Meints.
The Jackson investors changed their tactic in July of 1868 and renamed their railroad to the Michigan Air Line Railroad. The company also absorbed two Indiana companies at that time.
Approximately 36 years after the first Romeo railroad proposal, the Michigan Air Line Railroad finally reached Romeo in 1869. Regular train service began in Romeo on Dec. 9, 1869, from Ridgeway.
Tough economic times and competition between railroad barons slowed construction of the Michigan Air Line and it did not reach Jackson until Jan. 1, 1884.
While the Michigan-based investors pursued building a Chicago route for Grand Trunk to purchase, competing East Coast investors began their efforts for a Chicago route in earnest.
Within a few months of the opening of the Michigan Air Line, Romeo almost had a second railroad through it.
In 1870, the Michigan Midland Railroad company was incorporated with $3 million to build a railroad from St. Clair to Lansing via Romeo, part of the efforts of the Canada Southern Railroad to link the East Coast to Chicago.
The Canada Southern was under the control of railroad baron Daniel Drew.
"Ownership of the railroads can be confusing during this time period," Bachurst said.
Nearly following the route of an earlier proposal in the 1830s, the Michigan Midland Railroad proposal was expanded in 1871 to reach the mouth of Black Lake in Holland Township and the capital was increased to $6 million. The length of the proposed railroad increased from 102 miles to 200 miles.
There is evidence that the Michigan Midland Railroad was a very serious effort.
The first 15 miles of the railroad was built from St. Clair to Richmond and operated until 1932. The old right-of-way is still somewhat visible now as fence row between fields in St. Clair County.
Other evidence include the 1875 Oakland County plat maps, which were compiled from property title information and show the Michigan Midland on it.
The 1875 Michigan Railroad Map produced by the Michigan Railroad Commissioner was another map showing the proposed route of the Michigan Midland on it.
Several university libraries have copies of stock certificates issued for the Michigan Midland in their rare document collections.
Local lore also reports that there is an old railroad grade built in the Romeo area, however, no one has been able to prove the sections were actually a railroad grade or if it is just a forgotten fence row.
The interest to build another railroad through Romeo to link to Chicago faded by the early 1880s.
The Grand Trunk was able to link existing railroads between Port Huron and Chicago by the 1880s.
Vanderbilt looked south to complete his connection.
The Michigan Air Line was purchased by Grand Trunk in 1875 to lock out competitors from using that route.
After the early 1880s, the only recorded account of a steam powered railroad interested in building towards Romeo was the Pere Marquette Railroad.
The Romeo Observer reported in 1903 that a survey crew was in the area looking for potential routes to extend the spur that ran from Port Huron to Almont via Memphis.
The invention of the light interurban railroad which was powered by electricity rather than coal and steam spawned a new interest in railroad building in Romeo around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
Unlike the heavy steam railroads, the interurban could stop and pick-up passengers and freight at almost any place along its route.
Interurbans were limited by the availability of power generating plants along the route and were used mostly by commuters for day trips to Detroit or other nearby towns.
The Detroit, Rochester, Romeo and Lake Orion Railway Company began service to Romeo on Nov. 18, 1899.
The company was eventually merged into Detroit United Railways which had a virtual monopoly on light rail service in Southeast Michigan from 1899 to 1931.
Remnants of the D.U.R. right-of-way are still visible along Van Dyke near Kidder Road, in Stony Creek Metropark and along Orion Road in Oakland Township.
Rails from the D.U.R. are still buried underneath Main Street in Romeo as well as Rochester. The rails underneath West St. Clair were removed in the late 1990s when the road was completely rebuilt.
Another interurban railroad, Rochester and St. Clair Railway Company, proposed building an electric railroad in 1900, however it appears the proposal died.
The D.U.R. was dissolved in 1931 after years of competition from automobiles, tax subsidies favoring roads and the politics of fare regulation took its toll.
The D.U.R. ceased operation on July 5, 1931. Service through Romeo ended on an earlier date.
Railroad passenger service continued in Romeo until 1954 when Grand Trunk decided to get out of the passenger business.
Grand Trunk freight trains continued to regularly run through Romeo until a train derailed at 30 Mile in April 1989.
With few customers along the line, service was scaled back to shipments from Pontiac to the Washington Elevator Company through the 1990s.
Grand Trunk\'s successor corporation, Canadian National, petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the railroad in 1998.
The rails were ripped out by a salvage crew in the fall of 1999 and the railroad was officially abandoned.
After the railroad through Romeo was abandoned, efforts began locally to purchase the right-of-way and convert it into a recreation trail.
The state of Michigan has converted a section of the old Michigan Air Line into a recreation trail near Pickney as has West Bloomfield Township.
A consortium of local governments is planning on converting the Air Line into a recreation trail in western Oakland County.
A similar consortium, called the Macomb Orchard Trail Commission, is under way in northern Macomb County to develop the abandoned right-of-way into a trail.
The cities of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills are already working on efforts to convert the railroad into a recreation trail.
While smoke, soot and trains\' whistles are just a memory in Romeo, local rail-to-trail advocate Lee Sorenson says that projects like Macomb Orchard Trail preserve history and give area residents a nostalgic look into the past.
"There are a lot of the trails that are using old depots as rest stops and museums," he said.
"You get on these rails-trails and see a lot of railroad history, sometimes even if it\'s just a mile marker kept to remind us of the past."
HISTORIC BRIDGE. Armada Township resident Ed Irish examines the ties across the deck of the old railroad trestle adjacent to his farm. The trestle is the largest relic of the Michigan Air Line railroad that once served Romeo. Staff writer Larry Sobczak takes a look at local railroad history on page B-1 which included more than a dozen attempts to bring the railroad to Romeo.
(Observer photo by Larry Sobczak)
The Michigan Midland and Canada Railroad was a serious attempt to build a railroad through Romeo from St. Clair to Chicago. Only 15 miles of the railroad was built between Richmond and St. Clair. A blank stock certificate is the only evidence left of the effort. Image provided by the University of Rochester.
Proposed railroads never built or completed
Canada, Michigan and Chicago Railway Company
Incorporated Dec. 6, 1871 with $4 million to build and own 110 miles of railroad from Lansing to St. Clair. The Romeo area lies in a direct line between these cities. Another incantation of the Michigan Midland Railroad name.
Capac and Northern Railway
Incorporated Nov. 23, 1879 with $300,000 to build and own 30 miles of railroad from Capac to Marlette. Corporation lapsed and line never built.
Detroit, Lexington, and Lake Huron Railway
Incorporated May 25, 1900 with $25,000 to build and own an electric interurban railroad from Detroit to Lexington via Hamtramck, Utica, Washington, Romeo, Almont, Imlay City, Capac, Yale and Croswell. Corporation lapsed and the line was never built.
Detroit, Mt. Clemens, Romeo and Armada Electric Railway Company
Incorporated Dec. 22, 1900 with $25,000 to build and own 25 miles of electric interurban railroad from Mt. Clemens to Armada and Romeo. Corporation lapsed and line never built.
Detroit, Romeo and Port Huron Railroad Company
Incorporated March 18, 1848 with $100,000 to build and own a railroad from Detroit to Port Huron via Romeo. The companys\' charter expired but a portion of the track bed from Detroit to Utica was built and used later in the construction of the Detroit and Bay City railroad.
Detroit, Utica and Romeo Railway Company
Incorporated on Aug. 10, 1898 to build and own 30 miles of electric railroad from Detroit to Romeo. A portion of this line was completed in present-day Detroit but it never went through Utica or the Utica area.
Grand Trunk Railroad of Michigan
Incorporated on May 26, 1868 to build and own 240 miles of railroad from Richmond (Ridgeway) via Romeo and Lansing to St. Joseph then via Niles to the Indiana state line then to Chicago. The corporation lapsed, however, it appears some interests were sold to the Michigan Air Line Railroad. This corporation was not owned by Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada.
Lexington and Utica Railroad Company
Incorporated on Dec. 17, 1883 with $520,000 to build and own 60 miles of railroad from Utica to Lexington. Route could have taken it near Romeo, however, no documentation supports this speculation. The corporation lapsed and the railroad was never built.
Macomb and Saginaw Railroad Company
Chartered Aug. 24, 1835 with $1,000,0000 to build 90 miles of railroad from Mt. Clemens to Saginaw City which would have passed through northern Macomb County. On March 30, 1840, the charter was amended to allow the substitution of a turnpike road for a railroad. The charter lapsed.
Michigan Air Line Extension Rail Road Company
Incorporated on Nov. 13, 1869 to build and own a railroad from St. Clair to New Baltimore and to own a section of track that ran from Ridgeway (Richmond) to St. Clair.
The corporation lapsed and the tracks from St. Clair to New Baltimore were not completed.
Michigan Midland Railroad Company
Incorporated May 19, 1870 with $3 million to build and own a 102 mile railroad from St. Clair to Lansing via Romeo and Lake Orion. The corporation papers were amended on Dec. 28, 1871 with the purpose of extending the line beyond Lansing to the mouth of Black Lake in Holland township. Total capital was increased to $6,000,000 at that time. The railroad was sold to Michigan, Midland and Canada Railroad on Nov. 12, 1873 at a value of $400,000. On Dec. 7, 1873, 15 miles of track were completed between St. Clair and Ridgeway (modern-day Richmond.) Canada Southern gained control of the 15 mile track in 1882. On Sept. 24, 1906, the railroad was foreclosed upon and ownership shifted to the St. Clair and Western Railroad. The tracks were abandoned on Sept. 23, 1932, one of the earliest railroad abandonments in the area. The company was dissolved on Dec. 27, 1949.
Northern Michigan Railway Company
Incorporated on May 26, 1869 with $2 million in capital to build and own 100 miles of track from Bay City to Detroit via Utica, Romeo, Almont, Lapeer, Columbiaville and Vassar. The corporation lapsed and no tracks were ever built.
Rochester, Almont and Northern Railroad Company
Incorporated on June 5, 1879 with $100,000 to build and own 20 miles of railroad from Rochester to Almont via Lakeville. The corporation lapsed and no tracks were ever built.
Rochester and Romeo Railroad Company
Incorporated on Aug. 9, 1869 with $50,000 to build and own six miles of railroad between Rochester and Romeo. The corporation lapsed and no tracks were ever built.
Rochester and St. Clair Railway Company
Incorporated on Jan. 9, 1900 with $150,000 to build and operate 18 miles of electric railway from Rochester to Lenox Township. The route would have likely traversed Washington and Ray Townships although it is unknown if a survey has ever been completed. The corporation lapsed and the railroad was never built.
Romeo and Almont Rail Road Company
Incorporated Jan. 28, 1870 with $100,000 in capital to build and own nine miles of railroad from Romeo to Almont. The corporation lapsed and no tracks were ever built.
Romeo and Mount Clemens Railroad Company
Chartered on April 16, 1833 with $150,000 in capital to own and build 15 miles of track between Mount Clemens and Romeo. It is the fourth charter of a railroad in the State of Michigan. No tracks were ever built.
Romeo and Western Railroad Company
Incorporated on July 11, 1870 with $200,000 to build and own 14 miles of railroad from Romeo to Oxford. The corporation was amended on July 11, 1871 to increase the capital to $2 million and to modify the route to 95 miles to Jackson via Lakeville, Oxford and Clarkston. Besides the Michigan Midland, early construction of this railroad could have been responsible for structures resembling rail bed structures in Bald Mountain State Recreation Area in Oakland Township. The corporation has since lapsed.
St. Clair and Romeo Rail-road Company
Chartered on March 26, 1837 to own and build 26 miles of railroad from Palmer in St. Clair County to Romeo. On March 6, 1840, the charter was amended to extend the completion date. It is unclear if any track was ever laid for this railroad. The charter lapsed without a railroad reaching Romeo.
St. Clair and Western Railroad Company
Incorporated on Sept. 24, 1906 to reorganize the Michigan, Midland and Canada Railroad. This corporation was owned by Canadian Southern Railway. For more information, read about the Michigan Midland railroad.
St. Clair River, Pontiac, and Jackson Railroad Company
Incorporated on April 5, 1872 with $1.2 million to own 120 miles of railroad from the St. Clair River Pontiac and Jackson. An entity that attempted to build a competing route to the Michigan Air Line Railroad and would have gone through Romeo. One week after its incorporation, it leased interest already acquired in perpetuity part of the Michigan Air Line Railroad. It was renamed the St. Clair and Chicago Air Line on July 20, 1872.
Shelby and Belle River Rail-road Company
Chartered on March 26, 1836 with $100,000 in capital to build and own 25 miles of railroad from Shelby Township to the Belle River in Macomb County. It is unknown if a route was ever surveyed but it is logical to conclude it would have taken it through the Romeo area. The charter lapsed and no tracks were built.
Utica and Lexington Railroad Company
Incorporated on Dec. 10, 1883 with $520,000 to build and own 60 miles of railroad from Utica to Lexington. The route could have possibly passed through the Romeo area. The corporation lapsed.
Source: Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies, by Greydon M. Meints, Michigan State University Press, 1992.
Date: 01/09/03 19:06
Re: Trains no longer rumble through here
> In 1870, the Michigan Midland Railroad company was
> incorporated with $3 million to build a railroad from St. Clair
> to Lansing via Romeo, part of the efforts of the Canada
> Southern Railroad to link the East Coast to Chicago.
> Nearly following the route of an earlier proposal in the
> 1830s, the Michigan Midland Railroad proposal was expanded in
> 1871 to reach the mouth of Black Lake in Holland Township and
> the capital was increased to $6 million. The length of the
> proposed railroad increased from 102 miles to 200 miles.
> There is evidence that the Michigan Midland Railroad was a
> very serious effort.
> The first 15 miles of the railroad was built from St. Clair
> to Richmond and operated until 1932. The old right-of-way is
> still somewhat visible now as fence row between fields in St.
> Clair County.
ACTUALLY, BETWEEN ST. CLAIR AND ADAIR, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO TRACE OF THIS LINE. I HAVE OLD EASEMENT MAPS FROM DETROIT EDISON WHICH GO TOWNSHIP-BY-TOWNSHIP. IT SHOWS THIS LINE (AS ABANDONED, OF COURSE) IN CHINA TOWNSHIP, BUT UNFORTUNATELY NOT IN EAST CHINA OR CASCO TOWNSHIPS. I HAVE TRIED WITH GREAT PAINS TO FIND ANY EVIDENCE OF THIS LINE IN CHINA TOWNSHIP AND THERE IS NOTHING. IT GOES THROUGH FARMER\'S FIELDS, ABOUT 200 FEET FROM ST. CLAIR HWY, AND ALL THE FIELDS HAVE BEEN PLOWED UNDER DOZENS UPON DOZENS OF TIMES SINCE THE TRACKS HAVE BEEN PULLED. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WILD TO SEE A TRAIN STEAM UP THROUGH THE DOT-ON-THE-MAP OF ADAIR! I TRIED TO FIND EXACTLY WHERE THROUGH ADAIR THE LINE WENT, TRYING TO DETERMINE IF ONE OF THE HOMES ON PALMS ROAD WAS POSSIBLY A STATION STOP AT ONE TIME OR NOT, BUT ALL I CAN BE SURE OF IS THE LINE WAS JUST NORTH OF CHAPIN ST. AND SOUTH OF ADAIR ROAD. WEST OF ADAIR, I REALLY DON\'T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHERE THE LINE TURNED NW TOWARDS RICHMOND OR EVEN TO WHERE IT CONNECTED WITH GTW.
> Rails from the D.U.R. are still buried underneath Main Street
> in Romeo as well as Rochester. The rails underneath West St.
> Clair were removed in the late 1990s when the road was
> completely rebuilt.
AN INTERESTING ASIDE, THE DUR HAD ANOTHER LINE WHICH RAN FROM PORT HURON (AND POINTS NORTH) SOUTH TO MARINE CITY AND CHERRY BEACH, THEN WESTWARD TO NEW BALTIMORE AND MT. CLEMENS. ABANDONED MANY YEARS AGO ALSO, THE RAILS WERE STILL UNDERNEATH RATTY OLD WATER STREET IN DOWNTOWN MARINE CITY WHEN THEY FINALLY TORE UP THE OLD ROAD AND REDID FOR SEWER WORK AND SUCH. THE LINE RAN EXACTLY DOWN THE CENTER OF THE ROAD AND THE TIES WERE STILL UNDERNEATH 5 OR 6 LAYERS OF PAVEMENT! I COULDN\'T TELL THOUGH, IF THE RAILS WERE STILL THERE. THEY TORE UP ONE HALF AT A TIME SO TRAFFIC COULD STILL PASS THROUGH FOR THE FERRY, AND WHILE PASSING THE CONSTRUCTION, THE WOODEN TIES WERE CHOPPED OFF BY THE EXCAVATORS AT CENTER STREET! I DIDN\'T SEE ANY OF THE OLD RAILS LAYING AROUND ANYWHERE THOUGH, SO I WOULD ASSUME THEY WERE TORN OUT EARLIER. UNFORTUNATLY, I DIDN\'T GET ANY PICTURES. FOR AS LONG AS WATER STREET LAYED POTHOLE RIDDEN AND PATCH INFESTED, THEY SURE GOT IT FIXED IN RECORD TIME! WITH WATER AND SEWER LINES TO BOOT! IF YOU\'RE EVER IN THE AREA, STOP IN MARINE CITY MIDDLE SCHOOL. RIGHT NEXT TO THE ENTRANCE OF THE GYM IS A GIANT PAINTING OF THE INTERURBAN RUNNING THROUGH DOWNTOWN MC BACK IN THE DAY.
> Grand Trunk\'s successor corporation, Canadian National,
> petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the
> railroad in 1998.
OF NOTE: I WORKED IN RICHMOND FROM \'92-\'96 AND NEVER ONCE SAW A TRAIN RUN PAST DIVISION. SAW MANY SWITCHING THE GRAIN ELEVATOR THERE AT THE WYE THOUGH. GOT MANY PICS OF GTW CABOOSES WORKING THE LOCAL. IN \'96 I WANT TO SAY, WHENEVER THE CANADIAN RAIL STRIKE HIT ANYWAY, GTW TOOK ENTIRE TRAINS DOWN THE LINE AND HAD CARS STORED FOR MILES! BOXCARS AND HOPPERS AND GONS WERE STORED AT LEAST FROM ARMADA TO ABOUT TWO MILES WEST OF RICHMOND IN ALMOST SOLID CUTS, SAVE FOR CROSSINGS! IT TOOK ABOUT 4 OR 5 DAYS AFTER THE STRIKE ENDED TO CLEAR THE LINE BACK OUT!
> The rails were ripped out by a salvage crew in the fall of
> 1999 and the railroad was officially abandoned.
\'CEPT FROM THE WYE WITH GTW\'S MT. CLEMENS SUB TO DIVISION STREET TO SWITCH THE GRAIN ELEVATOR. TRACKS ARE LITTERALY CUT OFF AT THE SIDEWALK.
> After the railroad through Romeo was abandoned, efforts began
> locally to purchase the right-of-way and convert it into a
> recreation trail.
A similar consortium, called the Macomb Orchard Trail
> Commission, is under way in northern Macomb County to develop
> the abandoned right-of-way into a trail.
>I TAKE IT THE ROMEO FORD ENGINE PLANT IS ALL TRUCK-SERVED NOW TOO, EH?
I WAS WORKING IN RICHMOND YESTERDAY AND ODDLY, PAKED AT THE LITERAL END OF TRACK AT THE INTERSECTION OF DIVISION AND MAIN STREETS, GTW HAD A WORK CRANE/GONDOLA/FLATCAR STATIONED THERE. i WORKED RICHMOND AGAIN THIS MORNING AND SAW THE CREW WORKING ON THE MAIN NORTH OF RICHMOND WHERE THE OLD SIDING USED TO BE. WEIRD HOW THEY HAD THE SIDING THERE, A DERAILMENT TOOK IT OUT, THEY LEFT IT OUT, THEN PUT IT BACK IN, THEN MOVED IT SOUTH OF TOWN. TALK ABOUT NUTS!
I REALLY APPRECIATE THIS ARTICLE! A GREAT PIECE OF HISTORY ABOUT MY STOMPING GROUNDS! MORE THAN I EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE!
NOW, ALL WE NEED ARE SOME PICTURES!...
Take care and God bless,
Location: End of Track, CSXT PH&D Industrial Track.
Date: 01/11/03 19:28
Re: Trains no longer rumble through here
I actually know someone who attempted to purchase this line before the rails were puled out. He had worked on a deal prior to the abandonment petition to move significant amounts of something from Canada to a point on the line. I think it was limestone or something like that. The RR wanted nothing to due with the increased traffic and pretty much told him so when he approached them. When they filed to abandon the line he tried contacting them again, but again was told to buzz off. The rails were then pulled. The material know is shipped by boat and then trucked on site. Too bad, I never go to see this line in action.
I\'ve also heard the Romeo plant was still getting rail service till the day the line was pulled. It appears to be one of the less than ideal choices CN or GT made during the 80\'s and 90\'s.
I\'ve also heard that CN was less than pleased that GT sold the Durand to Bay City/Midland line to CMGN. I don\'t think they\'d have minded losing the Durand Muskegon line though. Now all they get is the majority of interchange traffic with the CMGH, instead of all the traffic.