PM in Lyons

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PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:36 pm

So upon following the old PM Grade from Portland to Ionia I noticed Google maps that there appears to be a switch off the Grade as the line turns West away from Lyons. The ROW crosses Riverside Drive and then seems to end in the middle of nowhere. Anyone have an idea of what this was for?
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby BDG » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:55 pm

I think it was a spur to the factory along the river in Lyons.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby AARR » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:19 am

I think this went to a Chrysler plant
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby Michael » Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:10 am

Topographic map from 1978. The spur also shows up in a 1945 topo
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:57 pm

That must've been a small factory to be in Lyons.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby Doktor No » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:08 pm

Major Chrysler Trim plant that closed in the late 70's, early 80's.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:12 pm

Doktor No wrote:Major Chrysler Trim plant that closed in the late 70's, early 80's.


I'm guessing that's why the big auto parts cars would come down this line. That the primary reason Ionia to Grand Ledge was removed when this closed?
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby XGB » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:35 pm

The branch into Lyons long predates the automotive plant. The branch ended at a Pere Marquette freight house and a mill where the forlorn plant now sits. During WWII there was a munitions plant where the automotive factory is. Chrysler acquired the plant from American Auto Felt Corporation in 1965 and closed the Lyons Trim Plant in 1979 laying off 700. At the end they were manufacturing vinyl tops and interior trim pieces. Historically they would have received raw materials by box, tank cars later and coal for the power plant. I'm not sure how much there were shipping out by rail at the end as they had a number of truck docks and the warehouse (oval to north of plant on current air photos) was set up to ship only by truck.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:35 am

Sounds like when that factory closed it laid the entire town off.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby aghudley » Tue Oct 18, 2016 6:18 pm

I was in college at CMU and was teaching a survey class in computers at Montcalm Community College. In 1980, after the trim plant closed, there was a significant influx of middle aged former employees in my classes.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby wyrickj » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:05 am

They just need to bring back the bizness :D
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby Doktor No » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:22 pm

PM 1223, the lines MAJOR customers were in Ionia. General Tire, A.O.Smith etc. The reason you saw the high cube parts cars were for them. One of them manufactured the fibreglass tops for the large Ford Bronco back in the day. The IC orange cars were used for this...along with everyone else. Me thinks they went to the Ford plant in Claycomo, Mo or mayhaps KC.
All the Ford Shelby Mustangs from the mid/late 60's were finished in Ionia. Mustangs from Metuchen, NJ went in and Shelby GT350 and GT500 for the market went out. All auto racks. THATS what the yard in Grand Ledge was for. Two road switchers worked out of there in the late 60's.
All changed when the plants closed and then CSX traded Ionia to the GT for Greenville. We left Ionia and they left Greenville. They got the parts, what was left, and we got Fidgidaire, or White Consolidated or whatever it was called then.
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Oh yeah, in the early 60's they also made bodies for the small GM station wagons in Ionia. Let GOOGLE be your guide. Lots of stuff on the net. Come to think of it...before I sign off...before they got into the Shelby Mustang the same plant made bodies for the mid 60's Corvette. Almost all rail out.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby jrgerber » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:30 pm

Doc, this is trackboss. What customers did PM? C&O have in Eagle or Portland?

Also the map in this thread shows the line on the other side of Riverside Dr. did it cross Riverside Dr. again before it entered Ionia? My wife and I have walked the original Rail trail on the old PM that stops by a gravel pit about a mile and half out of Ionia. You can still see the grade in the city limits of Ionia. I was always surprised how the two lines were right next to each other as they crossed M-66 and by the General Tire plant.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby jrgerber » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:33 pm

Also I thought the "diamond" in Ionia was interesting on how the tracks crossed the GT, there was a building apparently between the two roads right by the diamond with a siding, don't know what the building was used for.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby Doktor No » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:05 am

HELLO TRACKBOSS!!
I will assume that C&O serviced the elevators in both towns. Other then that...I never made it up the branch in train service. Out of my baliwick for the most part, Lansing peeples did it.
There is a remaining DL&N shop building left in Ionia. And I remember the 'interlocker' was an affair on a platform that worked the derails and the signals.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:15 am

jrgerber wrote:Doc, this is trackboss. What customers did PM? C&O have in Eagle or Portland?

Also the map in this thread shows the line on the other side of Riverside Dr. did it cross Riverside Dr. again before it entered Ionia? My wife and I have walked the original Rail trail on the old PM that stops by a gravel pit about a mile and half out of Ionia. You can still see the grade in the city limits of Ionia. I was always surprised how the two lines were right next to each other as they crossed M-66 and by the General Tire plant.


Yes it crosses further down again.
Doktor No wrote:HELLO TRACKBOSS!!
I will assume that C&O serviced the elevators in both towns. Other then that...I never made it up the branch in train service. Out of my baliwick for the most part, Lansing peeples did it.
There is a remaining DL&N shop building left in Ionia. And I remember the 'interlocker' was an affair on a platform that worked the derails and the signals.


The foundations for the roundhouse, paint shop, erecting shop and car shop can be spotted in the brush under piles of discarded bricks and vegetation. Most of the area where the shops were is heavily overgrown. We didn't get in, but talking to a local all the ashpits that were in each stall are still in the ground. The building that stands was a storage building of some kind, not sure what it served the shops for.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby jrgerber » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:45 am

Thanks for the replies gentlemen, that explains the platform between the PM and GT by where they crossed over, really not alot of evidence of PM line between Ionia and Lyons. Collected alot of date nails on the old GT before they tore it up. One by the M-66 crossing is 1934.
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Re: PM in Lyons

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:12 am

jrgerber wrote:Thanks for the replies gentlemen, that explains the platform between the PM and GT by where they crossed over, really not alot of evidence of PM line between Ionia and Lyons. Collected alot of date nails on the old GT before they tore it up. One by the M-66 crossing is 1934.

Plenty of date nails can be found still on the OOS segment between Grand River and the County Line.
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