Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MC: NYC's Michigan Central

We first encountered Michigan Central as one of the four players in the "crossing war" of 1852.

In addition to the mainline that joined Illinois Central to access Chicago, they built the "Joliet cutoff" that went from Indiana to Joliet.

Peter Dudley posted
A map excerpt, retrieved from Joseph Tuch Santucci‎'s copy of the September 1945 Michigan Central Railroad Employee Timetable, shows M.C.R.R.'s Michigan Line mainline, between Marshall MI and Chicago IL.
The M.C.R.R. - owned mainline actually ended at Kensington IL. Access to Chicago's Central Station was via a trackage-rights agreement with Illinois Central Railroad (IC), in force since M.C.R.R.'s 1852 arrival in Chicago. M.C.R.R.'s parent, New York Central System (NYC), moved its remaining trains at Central Station to NYC's LaSalle Street Station in 1956.
Note that a segment of M.C.R.R.'s Air Line Branch (right), between Niles and Three Rivers, had already been abandoned by 1945. Through freight trains had previously used the relatively-underpopulated, former - Michigan Air Line Railroad (MAL) diagonal route as a shortcut.
I believe M.C.R.R.'s Joliet Branch enabled western through shippers to avoid congestion at Chicago, in much the same way that the "Niagara Falls Route" provided a fast freight route to New England, avoiding Buffalo.
Today's westbound Amtrak WOLVERINE passenger trains follow the former M.C.R.R. mainline as far as Porter IN, the west end of the Amtrak-owned Porter / Kalamazoo 110-mph territory. West of the junction with the former - NYC east / west mainline at Porter, the WOLVERINE follows Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) track to Chicago's Union Station. This segment is often slow, but Amtrak and the State of Indiana are working on it.
This map excerpt was originally posted in Michigan Central Railroad Group ( on September 20, 2014.
Like the Illinois Central and Wisconsin Central, Michigan Central was a land grant railroad.


Barry Sell posted
This system index map pertains to the Michigan Central Railroad
Bill Molony posted
The 54-mile long Joliet & Northern Indiana Railroad was constructed in 1854 and 1855 to connect Joliet with Lake Station (AKA East Gary) and the Michigan Central Railroad. The MC acquired control of the J&NI in 1855, before it was even completed. The Joliet Cutoff, as it was commonly known, became an important part of the MC, as it provided interchange with connecting southern and western railroads while avoiding the congestion and delays associated with Chicago.

Bill posted again
The Joliet & Northern Indiana Railroad was built in 1854-1855 by a group of Joliet businessmen, but it was acquired by the Michigan Central before it was even completed. 
While the J&NI was operated as the Joliet Branch of the Michigan Central and later the New York Central, the J&NI continued to exist on paper for well over 100 years.

BRHS posted
Map of the New York Central's Joliet Cut-Off - circa 1955.
Bill Molony posted
Randall Wiegel posted
Joe Dockrill how much is left?
Michigan Central Railroad (red) and New York Central system (ogrange) as of 1918

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