Railroad: Canada Southern Railway Company
The Canada Southern ( CASO) began in 1869 and had railroad lines across Ontario, Canada. CASO then built into Michigan in 1872, hoping to be one of the early lines to reach Chicago from the east. They crossed the Detroit River (via ferry) at Grosse Isle and then built west to Fayette, Ohio via Carleton, Dundee, Deerfield, and Morenci. The line then ran out of money. (Their right-of-way west of Fayette, some of which was graded, became part of the Wabash's Toledo to Chicago branch.)
Various → Canada Southern railway → Various (mostly MCRR' also DT&I & LSMS)
Built: Various lines from 1869.
Operated by Michigan Central in 1882 and leased to them in 1904.
For a time, some of the control of the CASO was held by Gould interests who also owned the Wabash. Gould hoped to use this line from Toledo to Grosse Isle and then across Canada. (This is likely why the CASO (and later Michigan Central) had favorable connections with the Wabash in Toledo (via C&S Junction).
The CASO also controlled the Toledo, Canada Southern & Detroit, which had built a line from Peninsular Junction (on the Detroit & Milwaukee line to Brush Street station, through Grand Junction in Detroit, and on to Toledo in 1873.
Both of these lines (to Detroit and Toledo, and west to Fayette) were intended to compete with the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Michigan Central and the Grand Trunk of Canada. In 1882, the CASO also controlled a short line in Michigan which went from the St. Clair River, across from Ontario, west to Lenox in Macomb County. This was called the Michigan, Midland & Canada railroad and also was part of an attempt to cross Michigan towards Chicago.
Around 1875, following the panic of 1873, the CASO came under control of the Vanderbilt family ( New York Central and Hudson River railroad). This began a series of moves to integrate the Canada Southern into the Vanderbilt controlled Michigan Central and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.
This included making the CASO in Canada part of Michigan Central's main line to Buffalo and New York City. The north-south CASO line from Detroit to Toledo became part of the Michigan Central. (The LS&MS had their own parallel route between the two towns).
The line west to Fayette was down graded and parted out. From Slocum Jct. to Dundee was sold to the DT&I in 1897 (allowing the DT&I to reach Detroit). The line west of Dundee to Grosvenor was abandoned and the line from Grosvenor to Fayette became a branch of Vanderbilt's Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. All of these actions took the CASO out of any contention as a east-west route to Chicago.
Ultimately, most of the CASO became managed by the Michigan Central out of Detroit. The ferry crossing at Grosse Isle continued service briefly until car ferried at Detroit became sturdy enough to combat winter ice. The line into Grosse Isle was used for passenger and freight traffic until the late 1920's.
Photo Info: Left, a map of the Canada Southern railroad west of St. Thomas under Michigan Central ownership. 2nd photo, an early view of the depot at Grosse Isle, MI, which was located near the railroad's bridge across the river to the ferry dock at Stony Island. [Alan Loftis collection].
The Canada Southern railway was originally an effort to build a line from southern Ontario to the Chicago area. At least two routes were started, one from St. Clair (in St. Clair County) west-southwest through Richmond (some of which later became part of the MC and GTW, and a line from Amherstberg, ON across the Detroit River to Grosse Isle using a car ferry operation. This line built west from Slocum Junction (near Trenton) southwest through Dundee, Deerfield, Morenci to Fayette, IN. They also built a north-south branch from Slocum Junction to Detroit and Toledo.
1905. June 9. The Canada Southern announces that they are organizing companies with the Michigan Central to construct a Detroit river railroad tunnel. [RG-1905-0609:190] The tunnel was opened in 1908.