Station: Annpere, MI
Annpere was created in the farmland east of Howell around 1888, when the Ann Arbor Railroad pushed its way northwest from Toledo to Frankfort. When they reached the Detroit, Lansing & Northern Railroad, Howell Junction was established as the point of this crossing. On October 29, 1895, the Ann Arbor Railroad petitioned the Michigan Railroad Commission to cross the DL&N and the location was designated as Annpere (the first use of this name). The name may not have been publically adopted until 1906. The name was derived by using the first names of the crossing railroads. In early days, the location had aninterlocking tower and a depot which straddled the main lines of both railroads. It appears that the purpose of the depot was solely to interchange passengers between the two roads, as there was no supporting town at the site.
The Michigan Railroad Commission approved the crossing of the DL&N with the following conditions:
- the crossing would be made "at grade" (or level, not with an overpass)
- The Ann Arbor Railroad would install, at its own cost, a "first class" interlocking with derails and signals as approved by the Commission
- the cost of maintaining the interlocking would be divided by the two railroads according to the number of levers use in the tower by each railroad
The mechanical interlocker was installed around 1896 and was a Saxby & Farmer vertical machine with a 12-lever frame (8 working and 4 spare).
Sometime around 1907, the tower was destroyed by fire and the interlocker was rebuilt. A new track was added for the Pere Marquette and the Commission approved a 50/50 sharing of the maintenance costs. Passenger trains were limited to 30 m.p.h. when passing through the interlocking. Freight trains were limited to 20 m.p.h.
In October, 1908, the railroads added electrically locked distant signals to the interlocking at this time, and a wye track had been added along with a siding on the Pere Marquette.
In 1940, the Commission allowed the railroads to remove the derails in an effort to reduce costs. The approach signals (signals located about 1/2 mile back from the interlocking on both roads) were moved further back. This would allow for greater speeds when approaching the crossing. In 1951, track circuitry was added to the passing siding on the Pere Marquette.
In 1959, the state approved the replacement of the manual mechanical interlocking with an automatic interlocking. Automatic interlockings required to signal operator and a permissive signal was automatically given to the first approaching train. The tower was closed around this time. The railroads also upgraded the semaphore signals to color light signals, and the C&O dispatcher in Grand Rapids was given supervisory control of the interlocker.
Annpere continues to exist today as an automatic interlocking for the CSX and Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railroads, as well as the end of a controlled passing siding for the CSX. Both railroads interchange cars at this location on a daily basis. Neither the tower nor station remain.