Bluewater Michigan NRHS Chapter Disbanding

A crew member rides the rear of Global Star IV, a former Seaboard Air Line lounge-observation car that was on the rear of an Oct. 16, 2005, excursion in Michigan behind Pere Marquette 2-8-4 No. 1225.

A high-profile railroad group is calling it quits.

The Bluewater Michigan Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society said it will disband after holding a final banquet in November and conducting its last meeting in December.

The chapter, based in Royal Oak, Michigan, was formed in 1982 and at its peak had more than 900 members.

It was known for operating a fleet of passenger cars in excursion service throughout Michigan behind steam and diesel locomotives.

Some of its fleet operated throughout the United States and Canada.

But Bluewater hasn’t sponsored any excursions for several years and its membership has dwindled to 30.

Chapter President John C. Moore Jr. traced the start of the group’s troubles to the end of the end of the Norfolk Southern steam program in late 1994.

He also cited changes in railroad ownership that created a hostile environment for excursion trains and changes in insurance practices.

At one time Bluewater stored and maintained its fleet in a CSX yard in Sagniaw, Michigan, but it lost access to that and has since faced limited availability of storage space.

Most of the Bluewater fleet has since been disposed of with the chapter still owning two cars, a former Grand Trunk Western buffet-club and a former Seaboard Air Line round-end tavern-observation car.

Both of those cars are leased to outside parties and will be sole along with three boxcars of passenger car parts in Saginaw.

In a statement, Moore said any money remaining after the sale will be divided between the car owners and the NRHS Rail Camp program.

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One Response to “Bluewater Michigan NRHS Chapter Disbanding”

  1. pwwoodring Says:

    Up until the end of the original SR/NS steam program, Blue Water Michigan and DC Chapters see-sawed back and forth being the largest chapters in the NRHS, both topping over 500 members each at one time. A number of NRHS chapters have folded in recent years that had formed because of the original Southern Ry./Norfolk Southern steam excursions.

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