GTW - Pinckney Question

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GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Thu May 30, 2019 6:27 pm

I have lived in Pinckney for over 30 years and I kow the GTW used to run from MAL Jct (Pontiac) to Jackson through Pinckney.

I was doing some research on a different line and found something interesting.

It appears that the Mile markers on the tracks started at MAL Jct (Jct with Holly Subdivision), mile mark 35.3 and increase until the tracks terminate in Jackson at Milemark 105.9.

What I find interesting is the mile marks in an around Pinckney. Per the timetable I found, the Pearl St (Pinckney Rd / D19 crossing) was located at milemark 74.9. Crews were required to stop and protect crossings of this road.

What confuses me is the timetable lists a siding in Pinckney at milemarker 74.8. If I am looking at this correctly, the siding would be EAST of Pearl Street, not west. The siding is listed at 680 feet in length.

The confusion comes in from the fact the freight house is located on the west of the roadway. Having traveled the ROW hundreds of times, I don't see how the siding could have been on the east side of Pearl Street a significant distance. I could see the switch for the siding being on the east side of the road and the the siding crossing the road and running next to the freight house, but the timetable seems to indicate the switch points were on the west end. Based on what I've seen this would not seem to make sense for the layout of Pinckney. Does anyone have any additional information regarding the tracks in Pinckney?
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby DaveO » Thu May 30, 2019 7:04 pm

The Michigan Air Line started at Richmond.
Based on the 1965 Pinckney Topo about 1/3 of the siding was east of Pearl St and 2/3 west of Pearl St.
And the Sanborn Maps show the siding extending east and west of Pearl St.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Thu May 30, 2019 8:38 pm

DaveO wrote:The Michigan Air Line started at Richmond.
Based on the 1965 Pinckney Topo about 1/3 of the siding was east of Pearl St and 2/3 west of Pearl St.
And the Sanborn Maps show the siding extending east and west of Pearl St.



Based on those maps, does it show which end the siding had a switch on? The timetable is from 1974, so prior to that I wonder if it had a switch at each end? That could make sense and result in an error in the timetable. The east switch could have been east of Pearl St (74.8) while a west switch would have been west of Pearl St. By 1974, the east switch would have been gone, (but formerly located at 74.8, which is the designation mark for the siding in the timetable.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby DaveO » Fri May 31, 2019 8:30 am

At the time of the 1965 topo it appears to be a typical freight house siding with switches at both ends.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Fri May 31, 2019 1:42 pm

Another question.

One the maps you've seen does it show the freight house on the north side of the tracks (current location) or does it show it on the south side of the tracks, which is the location I've seen it on maps from decades before your maps. The passenger depot used to be slightly to the west and on the south side of the tracks, with the freight depot located farther to the west of the passenger depot, both on the same side.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby DaveO » Fri May 31, 2019 8:26 pm

Many of the Sanborn maps are now available online through the Library of Congress.
In your case this map would confirm your information
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114pm.g041531930/?sp=2&r=-0.57,-0.052,2.141,1.315,0

Take note that to save paper, Sanborn used insets and one near the station is confusing until you think about it.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Fri May 31, 2019 11:47 pm

DaveO wrote:Many of the Sanborn maps are now available online through the Library of Congress.
In your case this map would confirm your information
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114pm.g041531930/?sp=2&r=-0.57,-0.052,2.141,1.315,0

Take note that to save paper, Sanborn used insets and one near the station is confusing until you think about it.



This was the map I was looking at. That's why I was wondering where the freight house was in your 1960's maps. It has been on the north side of the ROW since I moved to Pinckney in 1985, but it either moved or was replaced sometime between 1930 and 1985.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby SW » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:50 am

My family camped at Pinckney State Park once in the early 70's (maybe 1973?). The building you refer to as the freight depot I believe was on the south side of the track at that time (I thought it was the actual train station), next to the road. It was much lower the ground; they must have elevated it when it was moved to the north side. What I really remember clearly on the south side of the track was the old grain elevator, one of the those old square wooden ones.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:17 pm

SW wrote:My family camped at Pinckney State Park once in the early 70's (maybe 1973?). The building you refer to as the freight depot I believe was on the south side of the track at that time (I thought it was the actual train station), next to the road. It was much lower the ground; they must have elevated it when it was moved to the north side. What I really remember clearly on the south side of the track was the old grain elevator, one of the those old square wooden ones.


So this seems to narrow a few things down. 1) The freight house has been moved. 2) There were two tracks through Pinckney at one time. We don't know the actual length. 3) The town used to have much more extensive rail service than it did when the line was pulled up. 4) A lot changed between the 1970's and 1985 when I moved to Pinckney.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:03 am

chapmaja wrote:So this seems to narrow a few things down. 1) The freight house has been moved. 2) There were two tracks through Pinckney at one time. We don't know the actual length. 3) The town used to have much more extensive rail service than it did when the line was pulled up. 4) A lot changed between the 1970's and 1985 when I moved to Pinckney.


I have enjoyed this investigation of Pinckney’s past. I never knew much about the place.

Your statement above could apply to almost any smaller city/town in the Midwest.
1) The freight house may have “moved” for a number of reasons. A lot of buildings burned back in the day. Changes to infrastructure or adjacent businesses may have required a move. The original freight house may have become too small or dilapidated.

2) Most stations had a passing track nearby to facilitate switching and station work.

3) The entire nation had more extensive (and intensive) rail service.

4) Yes, a lot changed in the railroad world between 1970 and 1985. Not all for the better.

A great example of the changes is Petoskey. In 1919 the city boasted three stations, the PRR was four tracks near the intercity station, there two engine houses, coaling stations and water points. In 2019 nothing is left but two repurposed stations and freight houses.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby Steve B » Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:05 pm

Pinckney 1936.png
Pinckney 1976.png
Here are 1936 and 1976 maps from a GTW map book (reprinted by GTWHS). The line was already abandoned by 1976. Car capacity refers to a 43 foot car. Once the freight house was sold and/or disused by the railroad, it vanished from the map.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:02 pm

Steve B wrote:
Pinckney 1936.png
Pinckney 1976.png
Here are 1936 and 1976 maps from a GTW map book (reprinted by GTWHS). The line was already abandoned by 1976. Car capacity refers to a 43 foot car. Once the freight house was sold and/or disused by the railroad, it vanished from the map.


Thanks for the confirmation that the freight house did indeed move. I wonder why it would have been moved from the south side to the north side of the ROW. I wonder if at some time between 1976 and 1985 when we moved to town there were "big plans" for the lot that the freight house and depot sat on.

One thing I have not been able to find pictures of was the elevator that used to be located in Pinckney.
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Re: GTW - Pinckney Question

Unread postby Steve B » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:57 pm

Here are excerpts from USGS aerials of 1956, 1964 and 1967 (available for free at earthexplorer.usgs.gov). I put arrows by the grain elevator and freight house. The freight house was moved sometime before the 1956 photo. That photo's scale is small so it's hard to tell for sure, but it appears the passenger depot might still be standing then.

A meeting minutes mentioned in a 1968 Livingston County Daily Press and Argus mentions the "dilapidated appearance and probably fire hazard of the abandoned grain elevator and sheds of the Farmer's Feed Co." No photo. And indeed, on 8/16/75 the elevator was destroyed in a "spectacular" fire, suspected arson. The elevator had been there for around 80 years. No photo in that article either. The last mention in that newspaper I found of Farmer's Feed as a going concern was April 1963, with an ad for corn and oats.
Pinckney 8-10-1956.png
Pinckney 3-24-1964.png
Pinckney 4-3-1967.png
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