Station:  Lansing, Michigan

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Lansing Railroad Time Line:

  • 1861:  The Amboy, Lansing & Traverse Bay Railroad arrives in Lansing from the north via Bath & Owosso.

  • 1866:  The Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw builds north from Mason and Jackson.

  • 1869:  The Lansing & Ionia builds west from Lansing to Ionia.

  • 1869:  The Peninsular Railway builds a 180 foot Howe Truss bridge in Lansing, wood construction.

  • 1870:  The Peninsular Railway builds southwest from Lansing to Battle Creek, via Charlotte.  This later becomes the GTW.

  • 1871:  The Detroit, Howell and Lansing arrives in Lansing from Detroit via Howell.  Later becomes the Pere Marquette.

  • 1873:  The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern arrives in Lansing from Albion via Eaton Rapids.  Later becomes the NYC.

  • 1877:  The Grand Trunk Western completes its cross-state line arriving in Lansing from Port Huron (via Flint and Durand)

  • 1886:  The Lansing Transit Railway was built to serve industry near downtown Lansing.

  • 1904:  The Lansing Manufacturers Railroad was built as a belt line around north and west Lansing to serve the auto industry.



     Lansing was first settled in the last 1830's and the township was formed in 1841.  It was named after Lansing, New York, the home of one of its founders.  In 1847, the Michigan legislature voted to locate the state capitol in this township and to name the site "Michigan".  From 1847 to 1848, the name of the town and post office was actually "Michigan, Michigan".  In 1848, the Village was renamed Lansing and incorporated as a city in 1859.  [MPN]


      From 1847 when Lansing became the state's capital, to the start of the Civil War, elected officials and constituents came to Lansing by horseback, carriage or stage.  Even though railroads had been in existence since the late 1830's, no rail line reached Lansing until the early 1860's.  Then they came all at once, from seven directions, over a period of 16 years.


     Railroads entered Lansing first in 1861 when the Amboy, Lansing & Traverse Bay Railroad arrived from Owosso via Bath.  (This line, now removed, was later the former MCRR Saginaw Branch).  For five years, Detroiter's wishing to visit the capital by rail booked passage on the Detroit & Milwaukee (later GTW) line from Detroit's Brush Street station, and switched onto this line at Owosso.  In 1866, a second railroad reached Lansing from the south when the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw built north into town from Jackson.  This would become the other "leg" of the MCRR Saginaw Branch.  This line gave good access from the southern two tiers of counties where most of Michigan's population lived at the time.  Other roads arrived over the next 11 years from all directions.  The Detroit, Howell & Lansing built directly from Detroit in 1871 making this the fastest connection for visitors from Michigan's largest city.  The last line to arrive was the through connection of the Grand Trunk Western from Flint and Port Huron.  Ironically, this is the busiest of all rail lines remaining in Lansing today.  [MRRC/MRL]