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Railroad: Boyne City, Gaylord and Alpena Railroad Company


BC&SEBoyne City, Gaylord & Alpena RRBCRR

Built: 1905 from Boyne City (on BC&SE which was built in 1893) eventually to Alpena, plus forest branches.

Became: Boyne City Railroad in 1935, cut back to Boyne City to GR&I near Boyne Falls connection.

Reference: [MRRC]


The Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena railroad was built to log northern Michigan's forests. The railroad was owned by the White family, which owned a large saw mill facility on the southeast edge of Lake Charlevoix. (Lake Charlevoix boats had access to Lake Michigan via the Round Lake canal at Charlevoix.)

The initial Boyne City line was laid in 1893 during the pine era. The railroad eventually reached Gaylord in 1905. According to Sanborn maps, the BCG&A had two wye tracks north and south to the Michigan Central, and they likely used the MC depot which was north of the BCG&A. No BCG&A stations appear on these maps.

In 1914, the railroad was extended across the MC and it headed towards Atlanta and Alpena. The White family had numerous timber holdings in Otsego and Montmorency counties and likely harvested pine as well as hardwoods. The railroad reached Alpena in 1918 and there is some evidence that construction west actually started in Alpena and headed west to meet the construction gangs from the west.

Even though the BCG&A was in and out of bankruptcy, construction techniques were ample and substantial. Much of this main line had major cuts and built up grades. Some of this grade can still be observed 100 years later. As an example, the raised grade of the main line which is built through Fletcher's Floodwaters in Alpena County still exists underr water, and fishermen find success fishing near it.

Concrete bridge peers exist 100 years later at the BCGA's overhead crossing of the GR&I railroad north of Elmira. Though the railroad ran mixed trains with passengers stopping at logging camps and hamlets between Gaylord and Alpena, the only depot built along this stretch was in Atlanta, near what is currently Freddie's IGA market.

During US Railroad Administration discussion about railroad consolidation after World War I, there was some talk of combining the BCG&A with the Michigan Central, bringing some significant railroad competition to Alpena. But this never happened.

There is also evidence in the Michigan State Archives that the BCG&A proposed branch lines north and northeast of the Alpena Portland Cement Plant for the purpose of bringing limestone into the plant. However, it appears that the plant went with the Detroit & Mackinac railway instead.

The BCG&A was pulled up in 1935 from Alpena west to Moore (Boyne Falls). This abandonment was started because hardwood logging had dried up and the railroad and mill stuggling. This might also have been hastened by the flooding which created Fletcher's Flood Waters, completely covering up the line for several miles.

Operated as the Boyne City and later the Boyne Valley Railroad, the road was completely abandoned in 1976 [MRRC].