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Station:  Rives Junction, Michigan

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The Michigan Central depot at Rives Junction, Michigan in northern Jackson County.  Rives Jct. was the junction between the MC's lines to Saginaw and Grand Rapids.  [Alan Loftis Collection]  Below, another photo of Rives Jct.  A short westbound freight steams past the depot, headed for Grand Rapids, after receiving orders.  The route to the right goes north to Mason and Lansing.  [Doug Leffler Collection]

A Michigan Central train from Grand Rapids bound for Jackson stops at the Rives Jct. Depot for a photograph in 1915.  The electric interurban bridge is in the background.  [Milliken photograph, Doug Leffler Collection]

Comments from RRHX Bulletin Board ("Graydon Meints") 8/16/2005:  Sorry, I was in the depot at Rives Jct., but I never worked there. The operators handled train orders for both the Grand Rapids and Saginaw Branches, also for reverse moves on the Grand Rapids Branch toward Jackson.  Until the Bay City dispatchers were ended in the late 1950s, the Saginaw Branch was dispatched from Bay City and all of the Grand Rapids Branch from Jackson. That meant the Rives operator had to relay from one dispatcher to the other the crews, crew hours of service, engine numbers, and train make up for every train that moved north onto the Saginaw or south off the Saginaw.   There was some switching of GM cars at Rives. I remember that RJ-4 out of Grand Rapids (about 2 a.m.) would bring Fisher Body cars to Rives, set them out on the Middle Siding, and TL-2 would pick them to take to the Lansing Belt. The reverse move of empties was handled through Jackson yard.  Not much evidence of any of this left any more.

Rives Jct., to my knowledge, and certainly not in the 1940s and after, had no clerk. The agent and the operators did it all. But again it was a small potatoes town for freight traffic. I'm not aware of any message relay work since the message phone lines went through from Jackson for the length of the Saginaw Branch. All the relay work was at XN at Jackson and DI at Bay City.

Message work on the Grand Rapids Branch was different. There were dispatcher and block phone lines, no message line, and only a single morse line for message work. Grand Rapids did have a teletype on a line from XN, and I can remember sending a teletype tape of JR-3's consist to Grand Rapids early every morning. I don't remember it being used for anything else. Grand Rapids offices did have a message phone line but it came down the Air Line and up the Kalamazoo Branch. Written messages were, believe it or not, telephoned from Grand Rapids to the agent at Caledonia, Victor G. Lett, who then relayed them by morse. He also received messages over the wire and telephoned them to the Grand Rapids offices.

My old employee timetables tell me Rives Jct. was an interlocking station, but I can't recall if only the signals were interlocked or all of the crossover switches as well. Maybe someone with a better memory than mine can refresh me.