StationBerrien Center, MI

Berrien Center was a hamlet located 2 1/4 miles southwest of Eue Claire, MI in Berrien County.  The town was served by the Big Four railway. The townsite was at the intersection of Route 140 and Dean's Hill Road.


From the Michigan Public Utilitirs Commission in 1924:

MICHIGAN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.

In the Matter of the Application of Certain Citizens of Berrien Township for an Order Requiring the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company to Construct a New Depot at Berrien Center, and to Stop Two Passenger Trains a Day at Said Station. Application Filed December 24, 1921.

In the Matter of the Application of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company for Permission to Abandon Its Station at Berrien Center, Michigan. Application Filed November 26, 1921. D-1675. March 18, 1924.

On November 26, 1921, The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company filed an application with this Commission to be per mitted to abandon its station at Berrien Center, Michigan. On December 24, 1921, a number of citizens of Berrien Township filed an application with this Commission asking for an order requiring the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company to construct a new depot at Berrien Center in place of the one which had recently burned, and to require two passenger trains to stop at the station daily. The cases were consolidated and a hearing was held in this matter on the 4th day of January, 1922, at which time considerable testimony was taken and at which time the railroad company and the public were fully represented.

After the first hearing and before an order was made some of the citizens of Berrien Center claimed that the railroad company had moved away a greater portion of the side track at this point, which made the receiving and shipping of carload freight almost impossible. It was also claimed by the citizens of this community that when the depot was orig inally built and the railroad constructed, the public made donations to the railroad, with the understanding that a depot should be primarily established there.

A further hearing was had on February 24, 1924, at which time addi tional testimony was offered. It is the claim of the railroad company that the business done at Berrien Center is very small and that the revenues derived therefrom do not warrant the building of a new station or the continuance of the station as a full agency station, and that it should be permitted to main tain its present station facilities as a non-agency station. It is the claim of the public that the railroad company should erect a new station at Berrien Center and perpetually maintain it as a full agency station, because one or more persons had made donations to the railroad company upon condition that the road should be built and the station built in its present location and be permanently maintained.

The record in these cases shows that on August 5, 1881, J. B. Erall gave his promissory note to the Elkhart, Niles & Lake Michigan Railroad Company, predecessor to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company, for $75.00 payable upon condition that the road be built and a permanent or abiding depot be built at which trains should regularly stop. The note was paid and we assume the depot was built as provided for. As the railroad company is not asking to discontinue the station but only to change the service thereat, it does not become nec essary for us to pass upon the effect of the conditional donation.

The only questions for this Commission to determine at this time are:

  • (a) Should the Berrien Center station be changed from a full agency to a prepay station?
  • (b) Should the side track which was removed be replaced?

Berrien Center is a very small community and is located about one and one-half miles south of Eau Claire, a regular agency station. The records show that there were only twenty-three outbound and one hun dred and sixty-three inbound L. C. L. shipments from this point in 1923. The record also shows that there were only six carloads of freight in car load lots shipped and eighteen carloads received at this point during the year 1923. The record also shows that the passenger business at this station is very small.

The only difference between the service which the company desires to render and the service now being rendered is that passengers would pay on the train, without any additional expense, rather than purchase tickets from the agent. All inbound freight must be prepaid and all freight in carload lots moving from this station should be billed from Eau Claire instead of Berrien Center, and all L. C. L. shipments be taken by the train crew or some employe of the railroad company and receipts given for the same. In other words, it means that the service now being rendered by an agent would be rendered by the train crew or some employe of the company, except shipments in carload lots, which the shipper would have to arrange for by billing through the Eau Claire station.

The Commission feels that the Railroad Company should provide a caretaker to have charge of L. C. L. shipments, and should provide a suitable room for housing said shipments.

It is the opinion of the Commission that the business done at Berrien Center does not warrant the expenditure of the amount of money neces sary to maintain an agent there at all times. It appears from the record that up until recently, the said railroad company maintained a siding several hundred feet long at Berrien Cen ter, some of which has since been removed.

Judging from the amount of business done at this point, it would seem that the side track now remaining is ample to take care of the needs of Berrien Center for car load shipments.

We feel, however, that the railroad company should provide a driveway from the public highway along the side of the side track suitable for hauling of freight by teams or other vehicles at all times of the year. It is

THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE MICHIGAN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMSSION

  1. (1) That the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company be and it is hereby authorized to discontinue the Berrien Center station as a full agency station and to hereafter and until the further order of this Commission maintain the same as a non-agency or prepay station;
  2. (2) That all passenger trains now stopping at Berrien Center as a regular or flag stop shall continue to stop to let off and take on passen gers until the further order of this Commission;
  3. (3) That all persons making L. C. L. shipments from Berrien Cen ter shall deliver the same to the platform at said depot, where the same shall be received and loaded on cars by the railroad employes;
  4. (4) That all L. C. L. freight received at Berrien Center shall be by the employes of the railroad company, unloaded from the train into the station for the consignees; -
  5. (5) That all freight shipped from Berrien Center in carload lots shall be billed by the shipper from the Eau Claire station;
  6. (6) That all freight received in carload lots shall be by the company, placed on the side track, to be maintained by said company, at its present location:
  7. (7) That this railway company shall improve the driveway from the public highway to the siding as now located, so that it will be suit able for hauling freight by all kinds of vehicles at all times of the year.

It is FURTHER ordered, that this order shall not become effective unless and until the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company shall file with this Commission, its plans for carrying out the provisions of this order and receiving the approval of the Commission thereof.