Timetable: MCRR - Air Line Branch - Jackson Junction to Niles Terminal

This was the Michigan Central's Air Line Branch. Originally envisioned as a cross state route to Chicago, the line was split upon completion with the part east of Jackson going to the Grand Trunk and the part west of Jackson to Niles and South Bend falling under MC control. In the late 1800's before the MC main line was double-tracked, this line served as a eastbound freight main line from Niles to Jackson. After the MC double-tracked their main line, the Air Line became an minor branch line serving towns and industries along it. During the depression, it was abandoned between Niles and Three Rivers. In the 1950's, the NYC upgraded the section from Jackson to Junction Switch (near Three Rivers) with Centrallized Traffic Control and controlled passing sidings (with the same capabilities on their Kalamazoo line from Three Rivers to B Tower in Elkhart. When this upgrade was completed, the Niles terminal was downgraded and the hump classification yard in Elkhart upgraded. This station listing is a hybrid, with station hours from 1897 but with the CTC controlled sidings added. Passing sidings in 44' cars.

Station MP from Jackson Notes
Jackson Junction 0.0  DN C W RH T
OD Tower 1.1  DN 
Haires 5.1  DN P5 J
Snyder's 8.2  DN P40 P40 
Spring Arbor 10.3   
CP 2 11.0  I
CP 3 13.0  I P217
Concord 14.5  DN P27 
Pulaski 18.7  P37
Homer xLS xDTM  23.7  DN I P52
Clarendon  26.8  C W TP P22
CP-4  27.0 
CP-5  29.0  I P226 
Tekonsha  33.4  DN P40
Burlington  37.4  D P17
Union City  41.6  DN P53
Sherwood  48.5  D P48
CP-6  45.2 
CP-7  47.2  I P221 
Colon  53.7  DN P52
Fairfax xMC (Colon Jct) 55.7  D I P22
Wasepi xPRR  60.7  DB I TP Y P48
CP-8  60.7 
CP-9  62.7  I P223 
Centreville  64.3  D P51
Junction Switch     
Three Rivers xLS 69.5  DN P233 
Fabius  74.2  DN P45
Corey's  76.8  D P18
Jones  78.8 D P65 
Newburg  80.3   
Vandalia  84.8  DN TP PP51
Sandy Beach  87.4   
Forest Hall  88.9   
AP Tower xGTW  ~89.9  DN 
Cassapolis  90.0  DN P67
Dailey 94.2 DN P55
Barron Lake 99.4 P34
Cutoff to Niles Yard    
Niles 103.5 DN P40


The Fort Wayne branch had its own line from Jackson Junction to Haires which was parallel and north of the Air Line. At Haires, it crossed over the Air Line at an interlocking and then headed south. For many years, the Fort Wayne and Air Line branches were operated as double track from Jackson Junction to Haires.

Note that the controlled sidings were numbered from Jackson west, which was unusual for the railroad which normally identified its control points based on milepost. CP-1 was likely OD Tower. The CTC board was located at Jackson depot. (The dispatchers moved from Jackson Junction to Jackson depot when the CTC installation was completed.)

According to sources, the Air Line had track pans at Clarendon, Wasepi and Vandaiia for taking on tender water on the move. There was also a large coaling tower at Clarendon which straddled the main line. Even though this branch is gone today, the coaling tower still exists in the woods near Clarendon, reportedly on private property.

Note Key: BB=Bascule Bridge | C=Coal | CS=Car Shop | D=Open > Day | DN=Open Day and night | DS=Dispatcher | DT=Double Main Track | EH=Enginehouse | F=Diesel Fuel | HI=Half Interlocked Crossing | I=Interlocked Crossing | J=Junction | LB=Liftbridge | N=Open at night | P=Passing Track w/40' car capacity | Q=Quarry | RH=Roundhouse # stalls | RT=Railroad Resort | S=Scales | SB=Swingbridge | T=Turntable | TC=Telegraph call | TP=Track Pan | W=Water | X=Crossing | Y=Wye | Yard=Yard

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