• Michigan Central Station

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by UpNorthBob
OK, I don't know how this is going to work, because it is so much different from before, but let's try to get our Michigan Central group going again. I sure wish we could have been alerted to what was going to happen, so we could have done something to archive what we already had. But, on the other hand, now we get to repeat our old stories again as if they were brand new.

  by CNWfan5525
Hi bob it's nice to find some other Michigainins
  by MC8000
:roll: Here we go again. We sure had some great information and stories posted on the MC thread over the past couple of years. It is really too bad to see it all go pffffftt. It just goes to show you that the computer age leaves alot to be desired. By the way Bob, someone grabbed my old posting handle. This is Charlie from Lapeer, along the Detroit and Bay City Branch of the Michigan Central. KC8JBK for the Hams out there.
  by jdcoolbear
Hello! With great interest I have been reviewing the Michigan Central board for the last three months and was about to enter the discussion about the Mackinaw City Branch. My father moved the family to Rochester in 12/67 where I was able to witnees the last 2 months of the NYC in person. The south switch for the siding behind Halbach Field was right behind the house. My father and I would run down to the track when we heard a northbound and tried to guess if the motive power was Alco or EMD from the smoke. There are two industrial spurs still in the ground that were never used while track was still in use. The first was a short spur that curved behind the Rochester Elevator and ended at track bumper that overlooked Western Knitting and the other was a spur located between Elizabeth St. and Rochester Jct. that curved sharply to a small cement platform located at the back of the Parke Davis property. The head blocks were still in place until the end but the switch pulled sometime before the summer of 1968. Whose spurs were they?

  by UpNorthBob
Although you arrived a bit too late for the glory days in Rochester, I must admit that I always wished that I could have lived at the end of Albertson or Giggs Streets. It would, for me, have been the perfect place. Near Halbach Field for playing ball, near Avon Park for picnics and swimming, the Avon Dairy for ice cream, and of course the Michigan Central. Concerning that spur behind Parke Davis, I believe that at one time this was an interchange track with the GTW. I have a photo of what I believe is the building where the platform stood. But my files are in such shambles that I have no idea where to start looking for it - if I find it, I'll scan it. I grew up near the top of south hill. So whenever we heard a whistle, the best we could do was run out to Rochester Rd. and watch the train cross Main St. a half mile away.
  by jdcoolbear
BOB! I lived on Albertson with my parents until Reaganomic's forced me to find fame and fortune elsewhere in '82. The track was removed in July 1978 with the last boxcars spotted at the elevator summer '76. A coal dealer rec'd hoppers in Lake Orion the same year. GTW operated a segment in Oxford into the late '80's only to remove their track as well. While I'm not a "rail" like Charlie, I am an engineer on a tourist railroad where I operate both steam and diesel. Have a question for Charlie. What kind of cars did they load with gravel in Oxford? I was lucky in that my father was a railfan in that I got to see things that other kids wouldn't have. Dad packed up the family 5/68 to Yates to see the derailment, watched PC rerail boxcars on the Halbach siding after a night train pushed them over the derail, and I always wanted to know why a GP-35 was named Alice? Also, Walt Dernier was a custodian at RHS when I graduated. Was there and didn't know anybody else cared! Thanks for the info. JDCoolbear

  by MC8000
Hello JD. To answer your question about Oxford gravel cars. I can recall seeing the NYC loading hopper cars and gondolas. As I recall, the hopper cars outnumbered the gons about 5 to 1. In the sixties I had a cousin that worked at National Twist Drill on the north side of town and I used to ride into Rochester from lapeer and hang out there for the day occasionally. That used to be a lot of fun as I would walk down to the GTW depot and talk to the agent for a while, and then head uptown to Knapps for a hamburger for lunch.
Rochester was a vastly different place then than it is now, with the big yuppie population that has moved in, and the railroads moving out. You mentioned Walt Dernier. I have several of his pictures taken around Rochester of the Beeliner and a few of the inside of the MC depot. He was a very accomplished photographer. My favorite picture of his is a shot of a woman with a late fifties style big hat on, waiting in front of the Oxford MC depot for the Northbound Northerner near midinght. Its very dark and moody.
  by jdcoolbear
Like a lot of railfans, I am also going to model in HO what I saw in person. In this case it will be the Mackinaw City Branch from Rochester to Pinconning. This has led me to the field to record on slide and film what is left. One of the areas of interst is the town of Bach on the Caro Branch. Not much is out there today except some RR bridge pilings and a small red brick building hiding in over grown weeds aong the r-o-w. What sustained this portion of the RR beyond Colling until PC times? The track between Bach and Owendale was removed in the early "40's. Also, what sustained the Gladwin Branch until the early '60's? The only thing I have been able to determine was the "usual" collection of small town indutries. I am aware of a stockyard early in the early 1900's but didn't notice any evidence of this on my visit in 10/01. Will be in the area in mid July to investigate further. JDCOOLBEAR
  by jdcoolbear
GENTLEMEN! Didn't know silence could be so deafening. Sorry to stump you. When my parents were dating in the mid '50s, dad would often drive north on M-24 thru Lake Orion. Parked near the south end of town would be a NYC 2-8-2 with its fires banked for the night. Was this the Oxford switcher or helper for the hard grade across Clarkston Rd.? My uncle, Duane Thompson, says it was usually a USRA H-6. If you go into Lipuma's in Rochester today, you can read an article about the place saying the PC crews in the '70s had whistle signal for when they were going to stop for lunch. It was one of these occasions when I saw the PC GP-35 named "Alice" behind the house while the crew had lunch. Also, what year did the track wash out just south of Rochester Jct., was it '74 or '75?

  by MC8000
Hello JD. That is an interesting story about the Mike being seen at Oxford. I have heard that that was the standard power for switching the gravel pits, the cars were very heavy and the extra power was needed for this reason. The coal ejector was located near the south end of the yard, but all of the buildings were located at the other end, go figure. This may have been the reason that the engine was stored there to work the yard. Oxford was a very busy place by small town standards during this time. I have many messages that were handed to the train crews on SD4 or BD2 about the P/U at Oxford, they averaged 40-50 cars per night. The road trains could handle this as they were going downgrade all the way to Detroit.
Trains handling more than 30 cars of gravel were restricted to 30 MPH from Oxford to Detroit because of the grade. Good luck on your trip along the old MC looking for remnants, this is a good time of year to be doing it. Some time we will all have to get together and compare notes. I have about 400 pictures that E.L. Novak (MC Engine man) took over the years along the Bay City Branch showing the trains and facilities.

  by Otto Vondrak
Just a note- we didnt get any warning that our site was going to be taken down either. Now- let's keep this MC discussion going! :)


  by MC8000
I was nice meeting you and your friend from FLA at the old GTW depot in Lapeer. As it turns out, I was able to find the photos from Bach on the Caro Branch that you were interested in seeing and scanned them for you. You should have them in your inbox on aol, however, if for some reason you didn't get them let me know and I'll resend them.
I also have a map showing the origional facillities in Lapeer and the junction for the Five Lakes RR (owned by the MC) which ran northwest out of Lapeer to the logging town of Stephens Mills. They had a turntable and an enginehouse at Lapeer and used a wye at Stephens Mills to turn the engine. I will get that to you to assist you in your research on the MC Mackinaw Branch.
Best Wishes,

  by jdcoolbear
Charlie, The pictures came thru just fine, THANK YOU! It was a pleasure talking with you at Lapeer and most inforamative. My research on the Gladwin Branch revealed that the last passenger train ran in 1937 with freight service continuing two or three times a week until just after WW11.
The freight business dropped off to a once-a-week Gladwin Turn that ran on Mondays from Pinconning until the last customer, a lumber yard that was receiving two boxcars a week closed its doors in 11/61. By that time NYC said it was losing $ 40,000/year to operate the Branch. NYC filed for abandonment 1/2/62 with the rails being removed about 1965. Some people we talked to said the rail was in the street until 1970 or so. Among the commodites shipped from Gladwin were grain, lumber, hay, potatoes, cattle and express. Inbound traffic consisted of coal, oil to a bulk dealer and the usual small town traffic of the day. Facilties at one time consisted of a passenger station, freight station, two granaries, stockyard, oil and coal dealer, potato warehouse, lumber yard and a two stall engine house w/turntable, water tank inside the wye. JDCOOLBEAR 7/24/04
  by DonPevsner
I recall reading last year that the Detroit Police Department had
bought MCS, and planned to make it the City of Detroit Police HQ.
Any updates on this continuing saga? As many of you know, the
last two remaining giant, historic stations that have fallen totally into
disrepair are MCS and Buffalo Central Terminal, NY State.
  by NJTRailfan
I was told that the project to restore the structure and convert it to the Detriot PD headquarters or the Michigan State Police HQ was killed off. How and why? Is there anything else in the works to help save this piece of history before it's gone?

Thanks in advance
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