Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Railroad History Conference’

Michigan Conference Set For Sept. 18

August 24, 2021

The Michigan Railroad History Conference will be held online on Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The conference is free but attendees must register. The link to registration is

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Two presenters will be discussing Michigan railroad history during the conference.

Paul Trap will describe where Michigan’s earliest railroads were located, who built them and for what purposes. He will illustrate his presentation with numerous maps and illustrations.

Mark Worrall will explore logging railroads, high speed interurbans, Class 1 lines, and short lines.

The conference is being held in an abbreviated online format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans are being made to resume the traditional all day format next year on Sept. 17 in Ludington.

Michigan Rail History Conference Delayed Until 2022

February 18, 2021

The annual Michigan Railroad History Conference has been postponed until Fall 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event, which would have been its 16th, will be held in Ludington, Michigan.

Organizers of the event said they elected to cancel the 2021 conference out of a fear that COVID-19 will still be a concern this September. 

The 2021 conference also was slated to be held in Ludington.

In lieu of a live conference, the conference organizers might hold a limited virtual event in Fall 2021 on a date to be determined.

Michigan Rail History Conference Set for 2021

November 20, 2020

Although it was canceled this year the annual Michigan Railroad History Conference has announced plans to meet on Sept. 18, 2021, in Ludington, Michigan.

An announcement said all plans are tentative, but organizers are optimistic the 16th conference will be able to be held as scheduled.

The conference is set to be held at the Ludington Methodist Church.

A call for presenters will go out in early January and be accepted through Feb. 10.

Registration information will be available in March.

Lunch will be provided to conference attendees but may be limited by health and safety protocols.

Other events being planned are an early evening reception and a tour of the Great Lakes boat the Badger.

On Friday, Sept, 17, a bus fieldtrip is being planned focusing on Ludington railroad sites including those of the Pere Marquette, Epworth League Railway and the Ludington & Northern Railway. 

A notebook with information about the railroads and sites will be provided to those making the tour.

Michigan History Conference to be in Ann Arbor

August 5, 2019

The 15th Michigan Railroad History Conference will be held on Sept. 20-22 in Ann Arbor at Washtenaw Community College.

The registration fee is $65 if paid before Sept. 1 and $75 after that date.

Headlining the conference on Sept. 21 will be featured speaker Kevin Keefe, former editor of Trains magazine and the author of the Mileposts column published on the Classic Trains website.

Keefe’s presentation is titled: How the Michigan Central got to Chicago and Personal and Professional Reflections on a Life with Trains.

Other presenters and their programs include: Mark Hildebrandt, Electric Trolleys of Washtenaw County; Nick Korstange, Wood, Water and Wheels–Logging by Rail and Water; Jefferson Seaver,  A Peculiar Lumber Tramway; E. Ray Lichty, History and Sale of the Pere Marquette/C&O/CSX Carferry Services; Ford Cotton, Rail Service Through Ewen from the DSS&A to the Soo Line and into History; Rahn Stokes, Jackson Yard: Viewpoint of the Second Shift Yardmaster in the Early Seventies; and Dean Pyers, Train Robberies in Michigan.

There will be two field trips, both of which have additional charges.

On Sept. 20 there will be a tour of railroad operations at Greenfield Village and the Michigan Central Depot in Detroit that is limited to 25 people.

It will begin at The Henry Ford where the curator of transportation will discuss the role of railroad history at Greenfield Village.

There will be a walk through the DT&M roundhouse moved from Marshall, Michigan, where an active shop performs collection maintenance and restoration.

Additional structures that tour attendees will see include the coaling tower, water tower, manually-operated turntable and ash dump.

Lunch will be at the Cork and Gabel Restaurant in Detroit (included in the field trip fee of $75) where the construction manager for the Michigan Central Station project will describe plans for rehabilitation of Michigan Central Station.

The depot is now owned by Ford Motor Company and is the focus of its facilities devoted to development of autonomous vehicles.

There will be a brief walk through parts of the station with the points to be seen dependent on construction work underway.

On Sunday, another field trip will be held to view the remains of the Jackson-Ann Arbor electric railways.

Two companies (Hawks–Angus and Boland–Foote syndicates) competed to provide interurban service between Ann Arbor and Jackson

Their tracks were never more than three miles apart and crossed each other in five places.

This tour, led by Norm Krentel and Doug Johnson, will follow one line from Ann Arbor to Jackson and the other back to Ann Arbor.

There will be a stop at the Lost Railway Museum in Grass Lake.

The fee for this bus tour is $30 and it will depart from the Washtenaw Community College parking lot at 8:30 a.m.

For more information visit or contact

Sanders Presents at Michigan Conference

September 29, 2017

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders gave a presentation at the 14th Michigan Railroad History Conference titled Michigan’s Bootstrap Campaign: Passenger Rail Development in the Amtrak Era.

The conference was held on Sept. 23 at the Maas Conference Center of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Sanders described how the now-named Michigan Department of Transportation sought to improve rail passenger in the state following the inauguration of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

Michigan’s intercity rail service in the early Amtrak years was limited to two daily roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit.

Since then service in the state has expanded to three routes linking Chicago with Detroit, Grand Rapids and Port Huron. The Detroit corridor also reaches north to suburban Pontiac.

The state has purchased much of the Chicago-Detroit corridor within Michigan, buying from Norfolk Southern 135 miles between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, and landing $511 million in federal funding to upgrade the line for higher speed service.

The state and communities served by Amtrak have also invested in station rehabilitation and many cities not served by Amtrak are linked to it by connecting bus service.

Despite these successes, the state has also had some misses. It stopped funding an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter operation after ridership fell substantially, and a Detroit-New York train funded in part with the state of New York ended in 1979, in part due to lower ridership between Detroit and Buffalo, New York.

Several proposals to establish service between Detroit and Grand Rapids have failed to come to fruition.

The Michigan Railroad History Conference began 30 years ago at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn as an educational outreach program of the Bluewater Michigan chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

The conference features a full day of presentations on Michigan’s railroad history and is rotated among various cities in the state.