DETROIT'S PASSENGER TRAINS

OF THE PAST

Intercity passenger trains serving Detroit in 1942, 1956, and 1971 immediately prior to the creation of Amtrak.


THE STATIONS

The major stations serving Detroit, during the golden age of passenger trains.

Michigan Central Station
2405 W. Vernor Hwy.
Opened 1913, replacing Third Street Station built in 1850

Number of station tracks: 11 through
Interlocked switches controlled as follows:
Fifteenth Street Tower: controlled the east end of the station
Twentieth Street Tower: controlled the west end of the station

Fort Street Union Depot
Fort St. and 3rd St.
Opened 1893

Number of station tracks: 6 stub
Interlocked switches controlled from Sixth Street Tower

Brush Street Station
Brush St. and Atwater Dr. (now occupied by Renaissance Center)
Opened 1882

Number of station tracks: 4 stub
Non interlocked switches controlled by switchtender


NEW YORK CENTRAL

(Michigan Central Station)

Departures-Westbound



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

227                        Toledo         12:05
  7  Motor City Special    Chicago        12:30  315  11:59  351  11:30 pm
 39  North Shore Limited   Chicago         3:10        3:20
 17  Wolverine             Chicago         7:45        6:35        8:25 am
301                        Toledo          8:00
203                        Bay City        8:30  633   8:15
 33  New Eng. Wolverine    Chicago         8:35
 41  Michigan              Chicago         8:40  355  12:01 pm    12:10 pm
303  Ponce De Leon         Cincinnati     11:25       11:00 am
 75  Mercury               Chicago         1:00  375   8:30 am
305                        Toledo          1:10        1:10
 23  Western Express       Chicago         2:50
 31  Twilight Limited      Chicago         4:45        4:45
 76  Mercury               Cleveland       5:30        5:15
109  (Motor Train)         Jackson         5:35  627   5:35  357   5:15 pm
361  Gr. Lakes Aerotrain   Chicago                     6:30
 45  Number Forty-Five     Chicago        10:30
207  Northerner            Mackinaw City  11:00  337  10:35
307  Indianapolis Express  Indianapolis   11:30       10:40
309  Royal Palm            Cincinnati     11:45       11:35


Arrivals-Westbound



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 39  North Shore Limited   New York        2:54        2:40
 17  Wolverine             New York        7:30        6:05        7:45 am
 33  New Eng. Wolverine    Boston          8:00
 47  Detroiter             New York        8:15        8:00
 35  Fast Mail             New York       12:45  335  12:30
  5  (Motor Train)         Buffalo         8:30
 51  Empire State Express  New York        9:55        9:35  351  10:05 pm


Departures-Eastbound



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 58  Niagara               Albany          2:55  358   3:20
 40  North Shore Limited   New York        4:35
  2  (Motor Train)         Buffalo         5:25
 50  Empire State Express  New York        8:30        8:30   52   8:30 am
 44  New York Special      New York        5:03        5:15
 48  Detroiter             New York        7:00        7:00
  8  Wolverine             New York        7:50        8:25   14   8:30 pm
 10  Water Level Limited   New York        8:50  364   9:35


Arrivals-Eastbound



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 58  Niagara               Chicago         2:35  358   2:45  374   7:40 am
106                        Grand Rapids    4:15
 40  North Shore Limited   Chicago         4:20
222                        Toledo          5:10
302  Michigan Special      Cincinnati      6:40        6:50
202  Northerner            Mackinaw City   6:50  338   6:40
 42  Detroit Night Exp.    Chicago         7:10
304  Toledo-Detroit Exp.   Indianapolis    7:30        7:40
 16  Motor City Special    Chicago         7:55  316   7:45   52   5:30 am
 75  Mercury               Cleveland      10:40       10:15
 46  Mail                  Chicago        11:00
360  Gr. Lakes Aerotrain   Chicago                    12:20
 76  Mercury               Chicago         3:15  376   2:45
312  Ponce De Leon         Cincinnati      3:50        4:05
208                        Bay City        4:35  634   4:25
 44  New York Special      Chicago         4:50        4:50
  8  Wolverine             Chicago         7:35        8:00   14   8:00 pm
306                        Toledo          8:00        7:00
228                        Toledo          9:40
 30  Twilight Limited      Chicago        10:30       10:20  356  10:55 pm


Passenger service retained by Amtrak in 1971.

Service from Detroit to Ann Arbor and Jackson was of a commuter nature, which continued until 1975 independent of Amtrak. Between 1975 and 1984, the state of Michigan sponsored Amtrak service over that segment.


CANADIAN PACIFIC

(Michigan Central Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 20  Canadian              Montreal        3:05 am     3:10 am
630                        Toronto                     5:00 am
 38  Royal York            Montreal        9:15 am     9:00 am
 22  Overseas              Montreal        5:00 pm     4:20 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 19  Canadian              Montreal        3:00 am     3:00 am
635  Michigan              Toronto         6:55 am     8:10 am
 21  Chicago Express       Montreal        2:35 pm     2:15 pm
629                        Toronto                     8:20 pm
 37  Royal York            Montreal       11:15 pm    11:25 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1967.


BALTIMORE & OHIO

(Fort Street Union Depot)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 53  Great Lakes Limited   Cincinnati      3:20 pm     3:05   40   9:30 am
 20  Ambassador            Baltimore       5:45 pm     6:20 pm
 57                        Louisville     11:45 pm    11:40 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 58                        Louisville      7:30 am     7:20 am
 19  Ambassador            Baltimore       8:05 am     7:50 am
 54  Great Lakes Limited   Cincinnati      7:10 pm     6:45   39   4:50 pm



Passenger service discontinued in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak.

Baltimore & Ohio trains operated via Pere Marquette, later Chesapeake & Ohio, between Detroit and Toledo. Between 1946 and 1964, Baltimore & Ohio trains instead used Michigan Central Depot, operating via New York Central between Detroit and Toledo.


CHESAPEAKE & OHIO/PERE MARQUETTE

(Fort Street Union Depot)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

101                        Bay City       12:10
  3                        Grand Rapids    8:35   11   8:30 am     8:15 am
103                        Bay City        8:50
 46  Sportsman             Phoebus VA      5:05        6:10 pm     1:30 pm
  7                        Grand Rapids    5:10   15   5:05 pm     5:40 pm
  9  Resort Special        Petoskey        9:00


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 10  Resort Special        Petoskey        7:30
 47  Sportsman             Phoebus VA      7:45        7:55 am    11:59 am
  4                        Grand Rapids    4:00   14  10:40 am    11:05 am
104                        Bay City        4:05
  6                        Grand Rapids    8:20   12   8:05 pm     6:10 pm
106                        Bay City        9:15


Passenger service discontinued in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak.


PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD

(Fort Street Union Depot)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

452                        Mansfield      12:45 pm
 68  Red Arrow             New York        5:50 pm     4:50
106                        Pittsburgh     11:55   64  10:30


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

105                        Pittsburgh      7:25   65   7:40
 69  Red Arrow             New York        8:15 am     8:40
117                        Pittsburgh      7:55 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1959.


WABASH

(Fort Street Union Depot)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

201  Mid City Express      Fort Wayne     12:15
  1  St. Louis Special     St. Louis       8:25        7:50  301   7:15 am
  7  Red Bird              Chicago         5:00
  3  St. Louis Limited     St. Louis       8:30        8:20


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 44  Mid City Express      Chicago         7:35
  2  Detroit Limited       St. Louis       8:10        8:00
  8  Red Bird              Chicago         3:00
  4  Detroit Special       St. Louis      10:00        8:30  304   8:35 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak, last train was the Wabash Cannonball.

In later years, trains 1 and 4, later trains 301 and 304, carried their more famous name, the Wabash Cannonball. Trains between Detroit and Chicago operated via Pennsylvania Railroad west of Fort Wayne.


GRAND TRUNK WESTERN

(Brush Street Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 19                        Durand          9:20 am     4:45  169  12:08 pm
 21                        Muskegon        1:40 pm     1:40 pm
 34                        Port Huron      3:15 pm
165  Mohawk                Chicago                                 4:30 pm
 75                        Birmingham MI   4:30 pm     5:05  995   5:00 pm
 77                        Pontiac         5:20 pm     5:25  997   5:30 pm
 79                        Pontiac         6:10 pm     6:10  999   6:00 pm
 57                        Muskegon       11:15 pm    11:15 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 76                        Birmingham MI   5:50 pm 70  7:35  994   7:30 am
 22                        Muskegon        7:35 am     7:45 am
 72                        Pontiac         8:00 am     8:10  996   8:00 am
 74                        Pontiac         8:40 am     8:40  998   8:30 am
 54                        Durand          8:50 am     9:30  168   4:53 pm
 56                        Muskegon        5:45 pm     6:00 pm
 35                        Port Huron      9:30 pm
164  Mohawk                Chicago                                11:00 pm


Intercity passenger service discontinued in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak.

Commuter rail service between Detroit and Pontiac discontinued in 1983, after losing its support from the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA).


Until 1923, also operating into Detroit was Detroit Toledo & Ironton, using its own separate Jefferson Avenue Station. In 1923, Detroit Toledo & Ironton opened its new line to Dearborn Michigan to serve the Ford auto plant, and instead served Dearborn until the end of passenger service in 1931.


STATIONS TODAY

Amtrak continued to use the Michigan Central Station until 1988, when it moved to a temporary station immediately west, at 2601 Rose St. In 1996, Amtrak moved to the modest new station at Woodward Ave. and Baltimore Ave. Many Amtrak passengers also use the station in suburban Dearborn.

Michigan Central Depot
The urban decline of Detroit has resulted in many abandoned buildings. The Michigan Central Station has emerged as possibly the most symbolic of the abandoned buildings, as this Web site shows.

The Fabulous Ruins Of Detroit
Link to another fascinating Web site, about the decline of a great city, which hopefully can find a way to reemerge as one of America's great cities.

Michigan Central Station (Wikipedia)
Michigan Railroads

Links to some interesting Web sites containing further historical information on Detroit's stations and railroads.

The Michigan Central Station remains standing, abandoned.

Fort Street Union Depot was closed in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak, and was demolished in 1974.

Brush Street Station was demolished during the 1970's to make way for the Renaissance Center, which now occupies that location. A modest station was built to the east, at the southeast corner of St. Antoine St. and Franklin St. That station served the SEMTA commuter trains until their discontinuance in 1983.


MAPPING THE STATIONS AND RAILROADS

Links to locations of past and present stations and railroads, using Google Maps. Satellite views are also available.


Information is from various actual railroad timetables and "The Official Guide of the Railways".