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Timetable: Detroit & Mackinac Ry. - Hillman Branch - Hillman Junction to Hillman

The Detroit & Mackinac Hillman branch was built in 1908 and 1909 between Hillman Junction (in what is now the City of Alpena, near M-32 and the DM main line) west to the Village of Hillman, just inside of Montmorency County. By 1908, the pine lumber era in the region was finished. During the pine era, logs were floated down the Thunder Bay River to Alpena. Timber was also transported by rail on the Alpena & Northern (later D&M) Valentine Lake branch and the A&N main line into Alpena's north side.

The Hillman branch was likely built for several purposes. The town of Hillman was prospering by serving logging interests in the area, which was being logged for hardwoods. A two-track road likely existed at this time between Alpena and Hillman but it was not conducive to travel and likely not plowed at all times during the winter. There were about 400 residents in Hillman when the branch was built. [Wiki]

The railroad brought people and supplies out to Hillman and likely people and some hardwood was transported back at Alpena and Bay City. Second, the cement plant in Alpena was in need of gravel and limestone, which was located on the Hillman branch at a location called Paxton (the Paxton Quarry). At Emerson (near the crossing of M-32), a livestock auction also prospered.

The Hillman branch only served Hillman for 20 years, a victim of automobiles and trucks and the end of hardwood logging. This short time frame would suggest that the west end of the branch was never profitable and probably an overreach. The Hillman branch was cutback to Emerson in 1929, and to Paxton in 1967. When the Paxton quarry was closed in 1998, the branch was completely pulled up. [MRL]

Other notable information: The Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena built their main line west from Alpena towards Altanta around 1918. The line crossed the Hillman Branch at a place named Kerston. It was likely a "stop and proceed" crossing with no interlocking noted in the records of either road. The BCG&A was pulled up in 1935 and the crossing eliminated.

In the 1980's, the Paxton quarry was switched by the D&M once a day. There was a passing track along the main line just east of the quarry switch. A D&M RS-2 engine would bring out a string of hoppers, run around them on the passing track, and then push them down into the quarry. The locomotive and crew would grab a set of loads on an adjacent track and head for the yard at Alpena Junction.


Open stations as of 1922.  Single track branch line.

Station MP from Alpena Notes
Hillman Junction 0.6 J
Kerston  6.1  X (BCG&A)
Paxton  8.7  Q P
Emerson  11.0   
Lachine  14.3   
Selina  16.2   
Hillman  23.3   
     

Note Key:  BB=Bascule Bridge | C=Coal | CS=Car Shop | D=Open during the day | DN=Day and night | DT=Double Track | EH=Enginehouse | H=Half Interlocked | I=Interlocker | J=Junction | LB=Lift Bridge | N=Open at night | P=Passing Track w/40' car capacity | Q=Quarry | RH=Roundhouse #stalls | S=Scales | SB=Swing Bridge | T=Turntable | TC=Telegraph call | W=Water | X=Crossing | Y=Wye | Yard=Yard

[REF] = DM employee timetables plus additions.