Getting to Chicago - the more routes the merrier...

Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum




  • Railroad event or related event in Michigan

  • Important non-railroad event in Michigan or outside.

  • Improvement in Technology         Mining.

  • Railroad built or extended

  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed

  • Economic panic or depression        Car ferries.


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1860-1889 Menu


  • Depression continues.

  • January 22:  A new depot is built by the DL&N at Portland, replacing the depot which burned down last year.  The depot is constructed of wood, 22 x 55 feet and one story high.  It has a stone foundation. [I&L]

  • Spring:  Russell A. Alger and Company of Detroit completes 13 miles of railroad in Alcona County, which utilizes 3 locomotives and 51 cars to transport timber.  Three other logging roads were constructed out of Greenbush, one each way.  [HI]

  • April 2:  The Flint & Pere Marquette secures trackage rights in perpetuity on the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad between Paines and Mershon (Saginaw), a distance of six miles, in exchange for a flat payment of $40,000.  PM does not participate in maintenance or operting expense of this section.  [PM45]

  • May:  Rail line completed between Toledo and Ann Arbor  [MDOT]

  • June 24:  Vanderbilt acquires control of the Michigan Central Railroad.  [IT-10/1972]

  • June:  Toledo & Ann Arbor opens line from Toledo to Ann Arbor.  [MRRC]

  • June:  The Detroit, Lansing & Northern works to reduce the grade on the "Big Hill" west of Ionia.  A temporary track is built to one side of the old grade, which was then reduced by 8 feet.  Forty men were hired from the Ionia House of Correction at 60 cents per day.  Working under the guard of men armed with Spencer rifles, they provided cheap labor for the railroad.  Civilians would have cost as much as $1.25 per day.  One prisoner escaped but was recaptured.  [I&L]

  • June 17:  Begin to lay track of the Lake Huron and Southwestern Railway, west from Tawas City to Whittemore/Prescott.  It is financed half by logger C. D. Hale and half by the citizens of Tawas City.  It was 3' 2" in gauge.  Originally the line used narrow strap iron screwed to 2x4's and laid on timber flattened on top, the rounded bottom lying in notched cross-ties some five or six feet apart.   [HI/GW]

  • October 21:  A fire destroys the Michigan Central Railroad's fuel supply and seven railroad cars in Dearborn.  [MRC-10/1987]

  • December 28:  Muskegon River and Rose Lake Ry. opens 7.5 mile long, 3' gauge line.  Abandoned in 1881.  [MRRC]

  • Charles D. Hale operates a 3 1/2 mile railway to the AuGres River, called the Lake Huron & Southwestern Railway.  The Hale family financed half of the cost with the citizens of Tawas City provided the balance.  The road was 3' 2" in gauge.  It was later extended to near Prescott to timber holdings near the Village whichw ere owed cy C. H. Prescott & Sons.  The original rails were narrow strap iron, screwed to 2x4's and laid on timber flattened on top, the rounded bottom lying in notched cross-ties which were 5-6 feet apart.  The road to Prescott operated some 28 miles of line and had two locomotives and 100 log cars, whichconsisted of 4-wheel trucks with bunks to support the load.  They were known as Russell cars.  The cars were coupled to each other by long square timbers about 20' in length.   [MRRC/HI/GW]

  • Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette RR incorporated to construct Marquette-St. Ignace line - 9/3/1878 - [MDOT]

  • Grand Trunk builds depot at Perry.  Depot continues to exist as of 1974.    [IT-12/1974]

  • Toledo & South Haven RR is extended from Paw Paw to Lawrence.   [PMHS]

  • William Addis builds private logging railroad in Manistee County.  [MRRC]

  • Alleyton & Big lake Railroad builds 3' gauge road in Newaygo County (T13N R12 & 13W).  [MRRC]

  • Beardand Co. builds a 10 mile long private logging road from Alcona westward.  [MRRC]

  • The Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad builds from Stanton to Edmore.  Later becomes a part of the Pere Marquette.  [PM45]

  • The Wright & Ketchum Lumber Company builds a 3' gauge railroad running northerly out of Averill, in Midland County for 22 miles.  This later becomes the Tittabawassee & Hope Railroad.  It is abandoned in 1888.  [NK]