Augusta, MI - Michigan Central Coaling Facility

MC Augusta Coal Dock

This was the Michigan Central's major coal fueling facility, located approximately mid way on its double track main line between Detroit and Chicago.  Locomotives on MCRR's high speed passenger trains picked up water for steam at several high speed track pans, and then stopped for coal at Augusta.  The train would usually stay on the main line, pull under the tower, and then spill coal into the tender through chutes. Though this doesn't show them, this bunker likely had chutes for both main tracks as well as side tracks on either side.

Photo info: Top, the abandoned facility in 1983.  [Charlie Whipp], 2nd photo, the same location in 2002. Note the road is now single track and the siding has been removed.  [Dale Berry]

MCRR Coaling Tower At Augusta


The small drive through structure on the right (north) side was to unload coal.  A yard switcher would bring a coal car under the structure, dump the coal into a bin below, and then a conveyer system would be used to haul it up to the top and into the main holding area.  Coal towers like this one also had storage for sand (also used by a locomotive for traction), and sometimes had multiple bins for different grades of coal.

Time Line

1923. July. The Michigan Central railroad plans to spend about $150,000 in the construction of a coaling and watering station to be located one mile west of Augusta, between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The latest machinery devices will be installed making it possible for four trains to take coal and water at the same time, it was announced. [LSJ-1923-0728]



The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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