Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby J T » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:46 pm

Michael wrote:The USGS Topograpic maps of that area also have an incredible amount of detail of all the rail lines and road names and can be downloaded:


North Lansing
http://www.dnr.state.mi.us/spatialdatalibrary/PDF_maps/topomaps/Lansing_North.pdf

South Lansing
http://www.dnr.state.mi.us/spatialdatalibrary/PDF_maps/topomaps/Lansing_South.pdf


Thanks for the links. I always wanted to see a train on the connector between the GTW and C&O lines. It came off the GTW near Potter Park, crossed Pennsylvania and went north along Hosmer St. and eventually connected with the C&O at Kalamazoo St. Does anyone know what they ever used that for? I realize there is a business on the west side of Pennsylvania that used to get serviced, but was that connector ever actually used for trains to go from the GTW to the C&O?

I remember seeing the tracks in the 70s, but they always looked overgrown to me, so I doubt they ever got used much at all in my lifetime (born in '67).
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Larry G » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:42 pm

J T wrote:Thanks for the links. I always wanted to see a train on the connector between the GTW and C&O lines. It came off the GTW near Potter Park, crossed Pennsylvania and went north along Hosmer St. and eventually connected with the C&O at Kalamazoo St. Does anyone know what they ever used that for? I realize there is a business on the west side of Pennsylvania that used to get serviced, but was that connector ever actually used for trains to go from the GTW to the C&O?

I remember seeing the tracks in the 70s, but they always looked overgrown to me, so I doubt they ever got used much at all in my lifetime (born in '67).


A few boxcars and gons were shuttled through this connection in the 1960's. I can remember Pennsylvania Ave being Flagged a few times for this service. Tracks were pulled up when BWL took over the west of side business lands for their operations. Do not recall if GTW or NYC ran the service through here. I suspect GTW since they always kept a SW unit down at their depot on South Washington and did switching movement on the tracks adjacent to the still standing coal tower at Potter Park Zoo.....I recall the noise of the night switching from my Aunt's home in the area as a child when staying over.......distant memories here. :?
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby AARR » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:55 pm

I'm told once upon a time there were many intercity movements between the plants by rail. I'm also told during the same time many of these intercity movements involved box cars loaded with parts and stored in the train yards until the plants needed them...much like compnaies do with chemicals and plastics today.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby astrofunk76 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:37 pm

Wow! Awesome pictures in this thread...especially the snowplow and MA tower. I live a few blocks from Old Town and have always wondered what that structure was. Very nice to hear we're going to be getting some traffic on that old line again!
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby J T » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:27 am

astrofunk76 wrote:Wow! Awesome pictures in this thread...especially the snowplow and MA tower. I live a few blocks from Old Town and have always wondered what that structure was. Very nice to hear we're going to be getting some traffic on that old line again!

We have a spotter! Make sure to give us an update if you see any activity on that spur. :D
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby railroadchoad » Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:37 pm

The Choad is really enjoying all of the pictures and info on the subject of the many spurs and industrial lines around Lansing's North and East sides. He also noticed that there appeared to be a wye which connected the still-intact Michigan Central with the Grand Trunk in the Norteast quadrant of the diamond of the two as well as the on which exists (at least I think it exists) on the southeast quadrant.

He has also been long-interested in the piece of trackage mentioned a few posts above which came off of the long passing siding by Potter Park and went through what is now BWL property and eventually went up to Kalamazoo St. The old cold storage building next to the MC was actually served by the GTW as well, if the Choad's memory serves him.

An expert on this subject matter would probably be one Jerry Pinkepank who grew up a few blocks south of the REO plant in the post-WWII years but now lives in Seattle (maybe?). If anyone knows how to get a hold of him (Don Simon, the Choad's looking in your direction) they may want to drop him a polite line about what he could recollect about some of Lansing's more "out-of-the-way" railroading scene. Let him know in advance that you would be sharing it with others.

The Choad is also wondering if any one has easy access to the Sanborn Maps of the area. There are some at the Library of Michigan but the Choad works ALL day is unable to drop-by on his own to check them out himself.

Keep up the great contributions, board-dwellers! We can learn much from each other.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Larry G » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:10 pm

railroadchoad wrote:Keep up the great contributions, board-dwellers! We can learn much from each other.


I too have been enjoying this thread since my intial posting to the reactivation of the spur in North Lansing. Brings back many childhood memories....too bad the only camera is the 'mind's eye' for most of it thought. :D

Here are a couple more historic views...

As the old LS&MS ROW crossed north of the GTW at the Old Reo Plant it crossed the Red Cedar River on a pile trestle just south of Elm Street and was visible from the Cedar Street Bridge. Below is a great historical view of this trestle and the railroad's plan to keep it from being washed away in a flood:

Image
Photograph of flooding on South Cedar Street in March, 1904, Lansing. Looking at railroad bridge with box cars of pig iron to hold it down.

Here is another view of the LS&MS ROW from what I think is Kalamazoo Street Bridge. I can remember the Tell-Tell to the south side of the bridge alongside the Grand River.....today part of the river trail.

Image
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Larry G » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:47 pm

Image

Here is another view looking north circa 1932 of the LS&MS ROW in Lansing. Baker Street runs along the bottom of the photo as the railroad goes through the old REO plant site to cross the GTW double tracks and then to the Red Cedar Trestle of the above post. It snakes alongside the Grand River as it heads for Old Town and the C&O connection there.

Today the REO plant is gone and a few individual businesses are on the site. The tracks still cross Baker Street and head SW towards Pleasant Grove Road to where they end. The old Wig Wag Maple Street Crossing was just out of sight in this photo south of Baker St.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby J T » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:01 pm

Larry G wrote:Here are a couple more historic views...

As the old LS&MS ROW crossed north of the GTW at the Old Reo Plant it crossed the Red Cedar River on a pile trestle just south of Elm Street and was visible from the Cedar Street Bridge. Below is a great historical view of this trestle and the railroad's plan to keep it from being washed away in a flood:

Image
Photograph of flooding on South Cedar Street in March, 1904, Lansing. Looking at railroad bridge with box cars of pig iron to hold it down.

Wow! That's quite a photo (and explanation to along with it). The footings for that bridge still exist on each side of the river. While I never got to see it in existence, I still find it interesting to see the remnants of it as it makes the imagination flow. Too bad they didn't keep the trestle and use it for a pedestrian bridge. :)
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby railroadchoad » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:18 am

Larry G, you have some great old photos!

The Choad thinks, however, that the first picture (with the boxcars on the bridge) was actually taken along South Street looking TOWARD Cedar St. The bend of the river is just to the north of South St. at the point at which the Red Cedar went under the LS&MS. Just one man's opinion, though.

If the Choad had to guess on the last one he'd probably have to disagree with the caption on that one, as well. The only reason for that is because the building in the distance on the left side of the photo that pokes up over the roofs of the sheds/livery stable buildings, appears to be the brick building that was a cold storage warehouse and more recently a State of Michigan warehouse of some sort. Also, the bay windows of the building on the immediate left in the foreground of the photo would appear to be of a more commercial nature like what would be found on Michigan Avenue tight against the RR ROW at the bridge.

Just a few observations, though. Nothing to say that they are right!

The great thing about old pictures is sometimes the detective work needed to put the scene into modern context!
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Larry G » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:38 pm

The Making of Modern Michigan Collection...
http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/index.cfm Use this link to find these and other pictures. Just type in "Lansing" and many come up. The captions I used came from the notes with each photograph here.

There are also historic RR pics from other locations around Michigan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Here is another neat one in North Lansing where the rails divided for Grand Rapids and Bay City many years ago. Left to GR and right to BC.
Image

Photograph of Pere Marquette & Michigan Central depot, North Lansing. Lansing Spoke Works is in background circa 1898

I can remember a little 'lime green depot' here in the 1950's on the left like the photo..... :?
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby J T » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:10 pm

Larry G wrote:The Making of Modern Michigan Collection...
http://mmm.lib.msu.edu/search/index.cfm Use this link to find these and other pictures. Just type in "Lansing" and many come up. The captions I used came from the notes with each photograph here.

There are also historic RR pics from other locations around Michigan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the link. In this photo, are those RR cars in the left foreground next to the brick building from off the old LS&MS line?

Image


I'm guessing that's a spur, as the tracks are actually on the other side of the street that slopes down from Michigan Ave, as more evident in this photo (you can see the underpass structure near the bottom right side of the photo):

Image







Ok, here's a good challenge. Caption only identifies this as "Photograph of river looking toward railroad bridge, Lansing. Water tower is visible next to track."

Image
Last edited by J T on Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby J T » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:12 pm

Larry G wrote:Here is another neat one in North Lansing where the rails divided for Grand Rapids and Bay City many years ago. Left to GR and right to BC.
Image

Photograph of Pere Marquette & Michigan Central depot, North Lansing. Lansing Spoke Works is in background circa 1898

I can remember a little 'lime green depot' here in the 1950's on the left like the photo..... :?


Any idea what year the Spoke Works buildng was replaced with Motorwheel?

Here's a shot I took of that location back in the late 90s.

Image

By the way, the telephone pole in my shot looks an awful like the one in the similar spot in the old photo. :)
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby PAT.C » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:39 pm

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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Michael » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:16 pm

Someone asked about Sanborn maps of the area. All the Sanborn maps across the US are now available online at http://sanborn.umi.com/ but require an account to login. I am told that online account access is available through all the State University library's and possibly most local libraries too. If I can get more information I will post.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby Michael » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:49 pm

I finally got access to all the Sanborn maps through EMU
Here is one of the area in question from 1938 with later revisions:

http://railroadfan.com/gallery/albums/userpics/11339/Lansing2B1913-Feb_2B19512Bvol_2B12C2B1913-Jan_2B19512C2BSheet2B54.pdf

I can post others if anyone is interested.
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby rustbeltrailroad » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:44 pm

VERY COOL! This portion has been down for only about 10 years or less. I used to see the boxcars at the recycling place and about 15 to 20 years ago there is a fuel place a few more yards down which was serviced with tankers. Nonetheless, I wanted to point out that the south end of this line is still operating, serving Quality Dairy by Mt. Hope at Washington and also Reid off MLK (this place gets huge depressed flats, i might post). This is why the streets in Diamondale are at 45 degrees, it lines up with these tracks...
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Re: Lansing's Old Town railroad spur to be reactivated

Unread postby AARR » Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:50 pm

rustbeltrailroad wrote:Nonetheless, I wanted to point out that the south end of this line is still operating, serving Quality Dairy by Mt. Hope at Washington and also Reid off MLK (this place gets huge depressed flats, i might post). This is why the streets in Diamondale are at 45 degrees, it lines up with these tracks...

Thanks for the post rbrr. Last I heard QD gets a couple cars every couple weeks and Reid gets a few cars per year.

From what I've read Frieldand will ship a 3-car block every week or two so it seems they'll be around 100 cars per year if my math is correct.
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Jam. 6, 2011 Update

Unread postby Larry G » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:15 pm

Was in Lansing today on a snowy day and took these photos of the former LS&MS spurs in Lansing.

Views of the north end in Old Town, Looking North across Grand River Ave, MA Tower looking North, End of the spur at Oakland Ave looking South. Tracks once continued south crossing the CN (GTW) at the old Reo Plant with a spur across the Grand River to serve the BWL power plant on west bank. Steel Trestle is all that remains of the power plant spur today and is used as a part of the river walkway.

Image

Image

Image
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SW Lansing LS&MS spur views

Unread postby Larry G » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:19 pm

While in town drove down to the SW side for these two views of the remaining tracks south of the REO factory site and CN at the intersection of Maplewood and Isbell Streets....Remains of the old Wig-Wag signal stands guard at this crossing. Signal worked at least into the mid 1960's to my knowledge. This track was once part of the LS&MS route that went to Diamondale,Eaton Rapids, and further south.

Other view is looking off to the SW towards Washington Ave on the ROW beside the Wig-Wag Pole.

Image

Image
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