Railroad: University of Michigan (E)
Built:→ University of Michigan RR → Abandoned
Changed: 1949 from electric to gasoline powered locomotive.
Operations Ended: Around 1980.
The UM railroad was a short industrial branch line which brought loaded coal hoppers from the Michigan Central main line (east of the depot) to the UM ;power plant. It was originally powered by electric locomotives (using an overhead wire), and for a short time by diesel power. It was closed when the plant was converted to natural gas.
The line handled coal into, and ashes out of the plant. The line was also used by UM engineering students for various tests. In 1930's, the President's Conference Committee designed a car type, known as the PCC, and it was tested here by the university. Trestles carried the line over East Washington and Glen Drive.
The steeple cab had two trolleys to exchange electric power, instead of the common plan which used one pole with discharge through the grounded rails. To avoid arcing on curves, a third rail was used. In 1949, the line was de-electrified and a Plymouth gasoline powered locomotive was used. [CERA]