Station: Wasepi, MI

Wasepi MI Depot and Interlocking Tower Wasepi MI Depot and Interlocking Tower Wasepi MI Depot and Interlocking TowerWasepi was settled about 1874 in central St. Joseph County. [MPN]

Wasepi was the crossing of the Michigan Central Air Line branch which ran between Jackson and Niles via Three Rivers, and the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad which ran from Fort Wayne and Mackinaw City. Wasepi had a union depot and an interlocking tower.

Photo Info: Top, the Wasepi depot and interlocking tower in 1905. We believe the depot parallels the PRR (former GR&I, southbound to the left, northbound to the right). Beyond the interlocking tower is the Michigan Central railroad Airline Branch towards Three Rivers and Niles. Trains travelling towards the camera are traveling eastbound towards Jackson. There appears to be a coaling tower on the MC in the background. The tower has a unique "message" box sticking out from the side which reads "N69" (top) and "225" (below). The message box appears to have a chimney sticking out from above, probably to vent an oil lamp for illumination at night. [M&G Worrall collection][CMUL]. 2nd photo, another view of the PRR depot at Wasepi. The tower is to the right behind the tree. In 1905. [M&G Worrall collection]. 3rd photo, Michigan Central 7707 with a work train pauses for a photo at Wasepi in 1915. [Charles Milliken photo, Doug Leffler collection].


Time Line

1920. On the Michigan Central Air Line, this is a passenger, freight and express agency joint with the American Railway Express Company. Interline tickets are issued. O. Hamilton is the agent. The telegraph call sign is "SI". [MCOAS]

1939. The public utilities commission allows the Pennsylvania Railroad to close its station at Wasepi. [BCE-1939-0218]

1950. A collision of two freight trains at a railroad intersection caused damage estimated unofficially today at $300,000. The trains collided late yesterday at a crossing of Pennsylvania and New York Central tracks in Wasepi. Three crewmen were injured, non seriously.  Service on both lines was restored. A PRR train of 35 to 40 cars plowed into the side of a NYC train made up of four cars and a caboose. The engine of the PRR train hit the next to last car of the NYC train. The entire NYC train was derailed along with about eight cars of the PRR train. Three men riding in the cab of the PRR locomotive jumped just before the crash. The fireman turned an ankle and hit his head against a guard rail along the right of way. He was released from Sturgis hospital after being given first aid. The NYC train was westbound from Jackson to Three Rivers. The PRR train was southbound from Kalamazoo to Fort Wayne. [HPAL-1950-0805]

Note by G. M. Meints on 1/18/2005:  In outstate Michigan, I know of only one tower that was manned by employees from more than one railroad:  Wasepi tower was manned for a short time after the NYC Air Line was rebuilt in 1958, but only for as long as the tower was staffed after the line's reopening and change to TCS.  PRR had the day shift, MC had the other two shifts.  I don't know who provided relief for the PRR operator's days off.

Note by G. M. Meints on 1/20/2005:  The [Wasepi] tower was in the northwest quadrant and had a relatively small "armstrong" plant.  I seem to recall that in the 1950's, it had only semaphores on both roads, no derails or such.  Whenever an Air Line train ran (down to two round-trips a week by the early 1950's) the agent from Centerville drove over to Wasepi and moved trains through the interlocker.  Normal position was lined for the Pennsylvania Railroad movements.  When the Air Line TCS (Traffic Control System) signaling was finished in the summer of 1958,the tower was closed and the interlocking was integrated into the TCS system.  This was unusual since the Pennsy usually insisted that interlockings be either manned or automatic - not remote controlled by another railroad.  The depot was long gone by the 1950's but I don't know the date.


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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