Decline in Michigan railroads begins...

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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1890 - 1919 Menu


  • April 28:  The Michigan Traction Company is bought by the Michigan Central Railroad to keep the company out of the hands of the Pere Marquette and Grand Trunk Railroads.  The MCRR continues operation of the interurban system for the time being.  [MT]

  • April:  Detroit & Mackinac Ry abandons the Rockport branch (13 miles).   [MDY33]

  • April:  Detroit & Mackinac Ry abandons thw west end of the Hillman Branch, from Hillman to Emerson (14  miles).   [MDY33]  Note:  [GW] suggests that this took place on May 10.

  • April:  Service on the Detroit & Huron Railroad, between Cass City and Bad Axe is reduced to a three day a week way freight.  [MRC-7/87]

  • June 1:  The Detroit Union Produce Terminal is opened, built in only 100 days by the Pennsylvania Railroad.   [MDOT]

  • June 1:  Interurban railroad operations in Kalamazoo County cease as the last car runs between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.  [MT]

  • June 27:  The DT&I is sold by the Ford family to the Pennroad Corporation, owned by the PRR.   [IT-2/80]

  • July 1:  The Pennsylvania Railroad's Detroit Union Produce Terminal opens. It was constructed in 100 days.  [MT]

  • August:  The GTW RR begins regular commuter service from Detroit's northern suburbs downtown.  [MDOT]

  • August:  Detroit Union Produce Terminal completed by the Wabash, Pere Marquette and the Pennsylvania Railroads, at a cost of $5 million.  [DWS/EMR4]

  • September 4:  The Detroit, Jackson and Chicago Railway abandons passenger operations.  [EMR4]

  • September 16:  The Michigan Central completes construction of a new coaling tower and associated buildings just east of Clarendon, on the Air Line Branch.  [MA Blueprint]

  • September 24:  Copper Range President William A. Paine dies at his home near Boston.  Paine was also president of Paine Webber.  [CRH]

  • October 22:  Grand Trunk car ferry "Milwaukee" was lost in a violent storm on Lake Michigan without survivors, making this the Lake's worst carferry disaster, with a total of 42 dead.  - [MDOT]

  • October 24:  Black Friday.  Depression begins.  [DWS]

  • November 24:  Car ferry City of Saginaw 31 placed into Lake Michigan service by Pere Marquette, their sixth steel car ferry.  [PMHS/COHS-8/1997]

    November:  Passenger service is ended by the Pere Marquette north of Bad Axe and Harbor Beach.  [AB]

  • Jackson and Northern Railway (24" gauge) is removed by this date. [MASI]

  • DSS&A removes part of branch between Riddle Jct. and the Firesteel River (this is on their branch line between Keweenaw Bay and Maas.  [SSP]

  • Henry Ford Museum opens.  [DWS]

  • Detroit & Mackinac RR removes branch from Alpena to Kelly Island Quarry.   [NK]

  • Chesapeake & Ohio RR acquires controlling interest in the Pere Marquette Railroad.  [PMHS]

  • Mills served by the Pere Marquette in Grindstone City are closed.  [AB]

  • There was a major crude oil development in Michigan.  The production this year was more than seven times as great as it was in the preceding year.  The principal new development was in the area around Mt. Pleasant.  [PM45]

  • SNAPSHOT:  Between 1931 and 1939 the Pere Marquette handled more than 100,000 tank cars of oil from the so-called "Mt. Pleasant pool".  As of 1945, almost all oil goes by pipeline.  [PM45]

  • GTW builds 2-story brick office building at Milwaukee Jct.  It is vacated on July 3, 1987. [MRC-12/87]

  • Buses transport 15% of all intercity commercial passenger traffic.  Trucks transport only 3% of intercity freight traffic.  [STOV]

  • 1929 is a peak year for the Soo Line Gogebic Range ore operations.  The Soo uses as many as 11 switch engines on the Range.  During this time, Ironwood had operators aroudn the clock and there were agents at Hurley, Ironwood and Bessemer.  Three clerks were employed at Ironwood to assist the agent.  [SOO-Sp/1996]

  • Railroads begin many years of operating passenger trains at a loss, with the exception of the war years between 1942 through 1945.  [STOV]

  • Greyhound bus service begins.  [STOV]

  • A grade separation viaduct of built on the Pere Marquette over Fort Street in Detroit.  [PM45]

  • The United States has 20,000 passenger trains in operation nationally.  [STOV]

  • The Detroit-Windsor Ambassador bridge is completed.  [BOM]

  • ALCO builds its first successful road diesel electric for the New York Central, #1550.  [SAM]

  • The American Railway Express Company is purchased by 86 railroads and reorganized as the Railway Express Agency.  [SAM]

  • The Pere Marquette completes grade separation projects on Chase Road in Detroit (Dearborn?) and Dort Highway in Flint.  [RA-1/5/1929]

  • The Wabash Railway completes grade separation projects at West Fort Street, Russell Avenue, and Hastings Street in Detroit.  [RA-1/5/1929]