Railroad: Pennsylvania Railroad Company, The

The Pennsylvania Railroad was established in 1846 and was one of the major railroad corporations in the eastern United States. It became known as "The Standard Railroad of the World" though by its end it was rather behind the standard both operationally and financially.

Various → Pennsylvania Railroad  Penn Central

Operated in Michigan: 100 years.

Incorporated: 1847

Control: 1868 - Grand Rapids & Indiana

Operated in Michigan for 100 years, including as the GR&I which it controlled.

Control: 1917 - Pennsylvania-Detroit railroad.

Merged: 1968 - into Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company. ( Penn Central)

Reference: [MRRC]


Pennsylvania Red Arrow passenger train approaches Detroit, passing Delray Tower and on to the Union Belt and Fort Street Union Depot, in the 1940's. [E.L. Novack photo, Charlie Whipp collection].


By 1868, the railroad controlled the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad from Fort Wayne, Indiana into Michigan and ultimately to Mackinaw City. Around 1900, it began operating into Michigan through trackage rights and then in 1922 built its own line from Carleton to Detroit, and using Pere Marquette trackage rights between Alexis (OH) to Carleton. The railroad was also a partner in the Union Belt of Detroit, a joint terminal venture/railroad. The Pennsylvania joined Penn Central in 1968 which went bankrupt in 1970. It later became part of Conrail, and was broken up into segments into Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Time Line

1925. An injunction formerly brought by the Detroit Terminal railroad was dissolved allowing the PRR to complete construction of its new line from Toledo into Detroit. [HPAL-1925-0310]

1945. The Pennsylvania begins using two-unit diesels for the "Red Arrow" in Detroit. [MRF-1945-10]