RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

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RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby PM1946 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:38 am

Anyone have any idea of the line that ran on the immediate west bank of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids?
Note the southbound streamliner in the photo. It looks like it's where the Ford Presidential Museum is today. I would imagine these tracks were removed when the expressways came in. Interesting bit of history.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/conford4/ ... istoricgr/
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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:57 pm

A few of us on the board have seen that picture before. The consensus reached was that there were never tracks in that spot and the train was simply an "added artistic touch".
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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby CSX_CO » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:22 pm

SD80MAC wrote:A few of us on the board have seen that picture before. The consensus reached was that there were never tracks in that spot and the train was simply an "added artistic touch".


The Rexall Train was a very real tour:

http://www.themetrains.com/rexall-train-timeline.htm

Caption says it is parked in the former Interurban Yard. Was there interurban tracks there? With all the traffic on the bridge, and the fan fare that the Rexall train brought, I'm not so sure it is 'artistic touch'? Could they have perhaps laid temporary tracks to bring the train to that location for the tour, and then removed them?

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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby SD80MAC » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:12 pm

Not saying that train didn't exist, but the guys very knowledgeable on the rail history around GR have said they cannot find anything on tracks in that specific spot. That's not to say there weren't. There were interurban tracks on that side of the river at one time, but to my knowledge they were east-west, crossing the Grand to reach the station on the east bank. Anyone care to add their 2 cents?
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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby kenN » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:22 pm

The tracks are indeed former Interurban yard tracks. The Michigan RY interurban paralleled the Grand River from about Fulton St to their own river bridge (pictured, north of the Pearl St bridge) to their station located where the Welsh Civic Auditorium is now. Thus, it's a logical place for the interurban's yard.

These tracks were bought by the NYC after the demise of the interurban in about 1929-30 (along with much of their ROW to the south past Burton St). BTW, the locomotive on the Rexall Train is a dressed-up NYC 4-8-2. Google "Rexall Train" for more details.
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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby PM1946 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:27 pm

Thanks all for clearing up this mystery. This link should take you to images of the Rexall train.
https://www.google.com/search?q=rexall+ ... B450%3B330
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Re: RR Line on the west bank of the Grand River

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:20 pm

When the interurban tracks initially came off the bridge where that train sits in the photo was a small elevated Wye that would allow the cars to go every which way. If anyone was at the Grand Rapids interurban presentation a few months back they can confirm this.
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