LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

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LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:39 pm

So for my first post on here I am going to as about something close to home. Anybody got any pictures of trains on the old LS&MS line that ran between Grand Rapids and Otsego, the portion that is abandoned and part of the Kent Trails? I am particularly looking for anything from Allegan north to Grand Rapids. I have lived close to it for nearly 10 years and cannot seem to find any pictures of when the line was in service. Particularly looking for pictures of the line from when steam was starting to disappear to up to the line's abandonment in the 70's.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:32 pm

Good luck. Photos of that line are pretty scarce. I'd love to see a shot of a train on the swing bridge over the Grand River near Indian Mounds Rd, but I'm afraid no old timer has a pic of that. And seeing how easy that shoreline was to access from Indian Mounds Rd, and that bridge runs north-south, photos should have been plenty in great sunlight on both sides. I'd also love to see shots of a train running through downtown Hopkins, but I doubt anyone has something like that in their collection. Oh, and crossing 28th Street in Wyoming...yeah, right.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby Saturnalia » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:30 pm

I think I have seen a picture of a train on that bridge...
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:03 am

Does anyone know if a small rural station or stop used to exist by 44th street? I have a whistle post that I saved from the woods behind the wedgewood apartments. It was pulled out of the ground and broke in half. I saved the top portion and restored it, but it was located roughly a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from 44th street. The way the post is set up it has room above the W for a stenciled marking. Problem is the paint on the post was gone when I saved it from the woods. An LS&MS expert that I know said that it is configured in a way that the post is to also show an approach to a location to stop at along the line. That's why I want to see if any photographs exist also. The post was facing south on the north side of 44th street and is of a typical concrete LS&MS design.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:37 am

MQT3001 wrote:I think I have seen a picture of a train on that bridge...

Thanks for the link. :P
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:45 am

MQT1223 wrote:Does anyone know if a small rural station or stop used to exist by 44th street? I have a whistle post that I saved from the woods behind the wedgewood apartments. It was pulled out of the ground and broke in half. I saved the top portion and restored it, but it was located roughly a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from 44th street. The way the post is set up it has room above the W for a stenciled marking. Problem is the paint on the post was gone when I saved it from the woods. An LS&MS expert that I know said that it is configured in a way that the post is to also show an approach to a location to stop at along the line. That's why I want to see if any photographs exist also. The post was facing south on the north side of 44th street and is of a typical concrete LS&MS design.

Facing south, a 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of 44th? Did you find it between 44th and Pine Creek? I would guess that would indicate a whistle for a NB train for the Wentworth crossing, which would be a little over half mile north of where you found the post.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:34 am

J T wrote:
MQT1223 wrote:Does anyone know if a small rural station or stop used to exist by 44th street? I have a whistle post that I saved from the woods behind the wedgewood apartments. It was pulled out of the ground and broke in half. I saved the top portion and restored it, but it was located roughly a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from 44th street. The way the post is set up it has room above the W for a stenciled marking. Problem is the paint on the post was gone when I saved it from the woods. An LS&MS expert that I know said that it is configured in a way that the post is to also show an approach to a location to stop at along the line. That's why I want to see if any photographs exist also. The post was facing south on the north side of 44th street and is of a typical concrete LS&MS design.

Facing south, a 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of 44th? Did you find it between 44th and Pine Creek? I would guess that would indicate a whistle for a NB train for the Wentworth crossing, which would be a little over half mile north of where you found the post.

Yeah I found it in the general area of the northern edge of the building with the white roof. That is a longer distance then one might think from 44th. Its more like two miles from the Wentworth crossing. I don't think that Wentworth or 36th street existed before those housing developments came in. Maybe the post was installed later on in the NYC days when things were slowing down. But It has to be for 44th street. It is just two far away from Wentworth. Now another thing I did find was an old concrete and iron signal base that was torched just south of Prairie St on the side of the Kent Trail. It was probably associated with the old yard that was north of Prairie and South of 28th street. Not to get off topic. :)
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:37 am

J T wrote:
MQT1223 wrote:Does anyone know if a small rural station or stop used to exist by 44th street? I have a whistle post that I saved from the woods behind the wedgewood apartments. It was pulled out of the ground and broke in half. I saved the top portion and restored it, but it was located roughly a 1/4 to 1/2 mile away from 44th street. The way the post is set up it has room above the W for a stenciled marking. Problem is the paint on the post was gone when I saved it from the woods. An LS&MS expert that I know said that it is configured in a way that the post is to also show an approach to a location to stop at along the line. That's why I want to see if any photographs exist also. The post was facing south on the north side of 44th street and is of a typical concrete LS&MS design.

Facing south, a 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of 44th? Did you find it between 44th and Pine Creek? I would guess that would indicate a whistle for a NB train for the Wentworth crossing, which would be a little over half mile north of where you found the post.

I will post some pics of the right of way where I found the post and of the post itself. The post sits in the garden up front, and always attracts attention from people that drive by. 8)
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:49 am

J T wrote:Good luck. Photos of that line are pretty scarce. I'd love to see a shot of a train on the swing bridge over the Grand River near Indian Mounds Rd, but I'm afraid no old timer has a pic of that. And seeing how easy that shoreline was to access from Indian Mounds Rd, and that bridge runs north-south, photos should have been plenty in great sunlight on both sides. I'd also love to see shots of a train running through downtown Hopkins, but I doubt anyone has something like that in their collection. Oh, and crossing 28th Street in Wyoming...yeah, right.

From a source I have apparently the GTW almost purchased this line after they sold off their connection. The GTW would shove a boxcar ahead in order to test the track to make sure the track would hold and flag for crossings. They never made it to Wyoming Yard because 28th street was paved over, and thus never purchased the line. :lol: I don't know how long the track survived after the PC last used it for anything, but this happened after the PC left the rails to rot before removal. Just an interesting little piece of info.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:20 pm

MQT1223 wrote:Yeah I found it in the general area of the northern edge of the building with the white roof. That is a longer distance then one might think from 44th. Its more like two miles from the Wentworth crossing.

Incorrect. From the spot you are saying you found it along the ROW to where the Wentworth crossing would exist is just over a half mile. Even if Wentworth didn't exist, it's roughly 3/4 mile from the north end of the building with the white roof to the 36th St. crossing, which I'm sure did exist back then.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:43 pm

J T wrote:
MQT1223 wrote:Yeah I found it in the general area of the northern edge of the building with the white roof. That is a longer distance then one might think from 44th. Its more like two miles from the Wentworth crossing.

Incorrect. From the spot you are saying you found it along the ROW to where the Wentworth crossing would exist is just over a half mile. Even if Wentworth didn't exist, it's roughly 3/4 mile from the north end of the building with the white roof to the 36th St. crossing, which I'm sure did exist back then.

Dang it sure seems longer then that when you walk from the building with the white roof to 44th. Guess I never really understood how long of a distance that was. Makes sense if you are traveling at 50 mph with a passenger train back in 1910. Do you think a small station of some kind was in the area if my whistle post was set up like it is? With room for a stenciled marking above the "W"? Or maybe it was something to notify the engineer to lower his speed.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby C&O6084 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:01 pm

GTW wanted to take the line? Highly unlikely. Are you sure your story teller isn't referring to the PRR Muskegon line? 50 MPH? Never happened.

LSMS and MC feuded viciously until the Vanderbilts cross-leased them (and their many sub-companies) in 1914, which made the LSMS "Gardner Line" worthless; While the MC main got lots of improvements (Lawton Cutoff, etc.), LSMS got absolutely nothing. It originated or terminated some gypsum, plaster and lumber, that's it. LSMS had no control or precedence at any of its crossings: Air Line, GT/Schoolcraft, MC/Kalamazoo, PRR/Otsego, and PM/Lamar. Connections in Grand Rapids with MC were undesirable (over PRR at Union) until the interurban folded and MC bought the section that paralleled the PRR Plaster Creek Branch and crossed the river. Very late 1920's.

I saw a NYC Geep crossing 28th street (flagmen & working lights/bell) when I was being kidnapped and forcibly taken downtown to get my shots for kindergarten; that was late Summer of 1964. 28th wasn't as built up then. My Mom, now 88, talks of seeing a NYC loco on the Interurban bridge only once in the 50's; I started believing her right about the time she saw the PM passenger train with a mix of HiLiner and Superliner and told me quite accurately which cars were like the ones she rode on when she took the El Capitan in the late '50's. Abouts 1972, PC parked a long line of obsolete auto racks and flexi-van flatcars on the LSMS (now Kent Trails) bridge in an attempt to keep party-ers off. In good weather, there were many hundreds of barely-legal kids drinking there on weekends. I have notes soewhere listing what was there, mostly NYC-painted equipment in green/cigarband.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:45 pm

C&O6084 wrote:GTW wanted to take the line? Highly unlikely. Are you sure your story teller isn't referring to the PRR Muskegon line? 50 MPH? Never happened.

LSMS and MC feuded viciously until the Vanderbilts cross-leased them (and their many sub-companies) in 1914, which made the LSMS "Gardner Line" worthless; While the MC main got lots of improvements (Lawton Cutoff, etc.), LSMS got absolutely nothing. It originated or terminated some gypsum, plaster and lumber, that's it. LSMS had no control or precedence at any of its crossings: Air Line, GT/Schoolcraft, MC/Kalamazoo, PRR/Otsego, and PM/Lamar. Connections in Grand Rapids with MC were undesirable (over PRR at Union) until the interurban folded and MC bought the section that paralleled the PRR Plaster Creek Branch and crossed the river. Very late 1920's.

I saw a NYC Geep crossing 28th street (flagmen & working lights/bell) when I was being kidnapped and forcibly taken downtown to get my shots for kindergarten; that was late Summer of 1964. 28th wasn't as built up then. My Mom, now 88, talks of seeing a NYC loco on the Interurban bridge only once in the 50's; I started believing her right about the time she saw the PM passenger train with a mix of HiLiner and Superliner and told me quite accurately which cars were like the ones she rode on when she took the El Capitan in the late '50's. Abouts 1972, PC parked a long line of obsolete auto racks and flexi-van flatcars on the LSMS (now Kent Trails) bridge in an attempt to keep party-ers off. In good weather, there were many hundreds of barely-legal kids drinking there on weekends. I have notes soewhere listing what was there, mostly NYC-painted equipment in green/cigarband.

No apparently it was the old LS&MS line. I didn't think so at first either because by the 70's this line was in a total state of disrepair. They would've have the connection down at Kzoo and come straight up to Grand Rapids. It didn't pan out obviously, but I sure wish there was some photographs of the line in service. I would love to see an NYC Geep crossing a signalized 28th street.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:47 pm

C&O6084 wrote:GTW wanted to take the line? Highly unlikely. Are you sure your story teller isn't referring to the PRR Muskegon line? 50 MPH? Never happened.

LSMS and MC feuded viciously until the Vanderbilts cross-leased them (and their many sub-companies) in 1914, which made the LSMS "Gardner Line" worthless; While the MC main got lots of improvements (Lawton Cutoff, etc.), LSMS got absolutely nothing. It originated or terminated some gypsum, plaster and lumber, that's it. LSMS had no control or precedence at any of its crossings: Air Line, GT/Schoolcraft, MC/Kalamazoo, PRR/Otsego, and PM/Lamar. Connections in Grand Rapids with MC were undesirable (over PRR at Union) until the interurban folded and MC bought the section that paralleled the PRR Plaster Creek Branch and crossed the river. Very late 1920's.

I saw a NYC Geep crossing 28th street (flagmen & working lights/bell) when I was being kidnapped and forcibly taken downtown to get my shots for kindergarten; that was late Summer of 1964. 28th wasn't as built up then. My Mom, now 88, talks of seeing a NYC loco on the Interurban bridge only once in the 50's; I started believing her right about the time she saw the PM passenger train with a mix of HiLiner and Superliner and told me quite accurately which cars were like the ones she rode on when she took the El Capitan in the late '50's. Abouts 1972, PC parked a long line of obsolete auto racks and flexi-van flatcars on the LSMS (now Kent Trails) bridge in an attempt to keep party-ers off. In good weather, there were many hundreds of barely-legal kids drinking there on weekends. I have notes soewhere listing what was there, mostly NYC-painted equipment in green/cigarband.

And apparently back in the LS&MS days, according to an old report I saw on an inspection of the entire line LS&MS inspectors said the line was maintained to a very high standard. Whatever that means in 1910 I am not sure, but I bet some LS&MS 4-4-2's were highballing up and down this line competing for passengers from the GR&I.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:20 pm

C&O6084 wrote:
I saw a NYC Geep crossing 28th street (flagmen & working lights/bell) when I was being kidnapped and forcibly taken downtown to get my shots for kindergarten; that was late Summer of 1964. 28th wasn't as built up then.

Any memory of what Kent Door & Specialty was back then? The existing building obviously got rail service way back when, as it's angled to match the ROW and has loading dock doors consistent with rail service. I drive by that building every day and try to imagine what it would have been like to have tracks passing by and crossing 28th.

Edit: I'm reading the "About Us" section on Kent Door's website and it appears they moved in there in 1982. No mention of what it was prior to that.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby SD80MAC » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:01 pm

Does anyone know how this line crossed the PM/C&O at Lamar? Was it interlocked or just have stop boards? I can't imagine there being a signal on all the leads in that spot.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby J T » Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:43 am

SD80MAC wrote:Does anyone know how this line crossed the PM/C&O at Lamar? Was it interlocked or just have stop boards? I can't imagine there being a signal on all the leads in that spot.

No pics hanging in the yard tower, eh?
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby kenN » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:56 am

Lamar Tower was in the southeast quadrant of the diamond. It came down sometime after 1960, since I visited the tower that summer and talked with the operator. At that time, he still had to throw the "armstrong" levers to activate signals even though the lever movement no longer were connected to the turnouts; that was very near to its closing, and he complained about being out of a job. So there must have been signals as well, but I don't remember seeing any. I have seen a B&W picture of the tower itself, a good-sized brick building. The diamond itself survived until at least 4-5-71, which is when I took this shot. The LSMS tracks appeared intact then, but the tracks and the diamond were gone on a similar shot I took in 1975. KJN

LSMS Xng Lamar 4-5-71.JPG
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby MQT1223 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:15 pm

kenN wrote:Lamar Tower was in the southeast quadrant of the diamond. It came down sometime after 1960, since I visited the tower that summer and talked with the operator. At that time, he still had to throw the "armstrong" levers to activate signals even though the lever movement no longer were connected to the turnouts; that was very near to its closing, and he complained about being out of a job. So there must have been signals as well, but I don't remember seeing any. I have seen a B&W picture of the tower itself, a good-sized brick building. The diamond itself survived until at least 4-5-71, which is when I took this shot. The LSMS tracks appeared intact then, but the tracks and the diamond were gone on a similar shot I took in 1975. KJN

LSMS Xng Lamar 4-5-71.JPG

That had to have been quite the pickle when it came to putting trains in Wyoming yard back in the day dealing with a main that cut right through the western half of the yard.
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Re: LS&MS Grand Rapids Division Pics

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:36 am

J T wrote:
C&O6084 wrote:
I saw a NYC Geep crossing 28th street (flagmen & working lights/bell) when I was being kidnapped and forcibly taken downtown to get my shots for kindergarten; that was late Summer of 1964. 28th wasn't as built up then.

Any memory of what Kent Door & Specialty was back then? The existing building obviously got rail service way back when, as it's angled to match the ROW and has loading dock doors consistent with rail service. I drive by that building every day and try to imagine what it would have been like to have tracks passing by and crossing 28th.

Edit: I'm reading the "About Us" section on Kent Door's website and it appears they moved in there in 1982. No mention of what it was prior to that.


There was no building there in 1956 when 28th St went from a 2 lane road to the present 5. The crossing did have signals prior to the widening. (based on the construction plans) I believe the current building is on part of the ROW. The ROW was 100 feet wide in 1956 - labeled NYC. I haven't had time to get into the old aerials.

I donated all the Road Commission crossing records for the line to the West Michigan RR Historical Society a few years ago. (Wyoming was a township until 1959 and the Road Commission maintained their streets for a number of years after that.)
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