A Michigan Shore Railroad train crosses Jackson Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan
We were driving to Grand Haven, Michigan, during a vacation trip to the Lake Michigan shore of Western Michigan.
Railfanning was not on my agenda on this day, but I did notice there was a railroad track running parallel to U.S. 31.
Somewhere along the way I noticed the headlight a train stopped at a rural grade crossing, so I swung over there and photographed a short manifest freight of the Michigan Shore Railroad, a Genesee & Wyoming property.
Some quick research found that this is a former Pere Marquette line. The railroad’s website showed that the MS operates between Fremont and Port Sheldon, Michigan, via Muskegon and Grand Haven. It interchanges with CSX in Holland.
The railroad’s website said that its primary commodities handled include sand and chemicals.
The train I saw turned out to be the Z627 and there was a G&W pickup truck parked trackside. It is driven by the conductor so that he can get ahead of the train as it leaves Muskegon and open the swing bridge at Grand Haven.
The train then parks at Fillmore Road, which is near the end of the MSR property, and waits for CSX to give the crew clearance to come into Waverly Yard in Holland to interchange traffic. I was able to get a few images and continued on to Grand Haven.
It turned out I was not yet done with the Michigan Shore Railroad. After spending some time at a beach in Grand Haven and photographing a pair of lighthouses, I then sought to find the former Pere Marquette passenger station, which is now a professional office building.
As I was photographing the depot, Mary Ann said she heard a train horn in the distance.
A few minutes later the same set of motive power I had seen earlier in the day showed up with the same GP38 leading. The train turns on a wye in Holland while on CSX so that the engineer doesn’t have to trade locomotives.
I am guessing that this train interchanged with CSX. The consist of my second sighting of the Michigan Shore train is similar to the first with tank cars and boxcars although fewer of them.
After recording the train going away, we left and this time I was done with railfanning for the day.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
The next three images were all made at Fillmore Street along U.S. 31 south of Grand Haven.
Approaching Jackson Avenue and the former Pere Marquette station in Grand Haven.