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|
|Haires||5.1||DN P5 J|
|Snyder's||8.2||DN P40 P40|
|CP 3||13.0||I P217|
|Homer xLS xDTM||23.7||DN I P52|
|Clarendon||26.8||C W TP P22|
|Union City||41.6||DN P53|
|Fairfax xMC (Colon Jct)||55.7||D I P22|
|Wasepi xPRR||60.7||DB I TP Y P48|
|Three Rivers xLS||69.5||DN P233|
|Vandalia||84.8||DN TP PP51|
|AP Tower xGTW||~89.9||DN|
|Cutoff to Niles Yard|
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