TrainWeb.org Facebook Page
THE TOLEDO, SAGINAW AND MUSKEGON RAILWAY.

THE TOLEDO, SAGINAW AND MUSKEGON RAILWAY

Info compiled by Jack Simmons aka "Trail Nut" and others and was posted on 'Michigan Railroad History web site' and Henry F. Burger

The Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon was organized in the interest of the Toledo, Ann Arbor & North Michigan Railway.  The railroad was started by a group of Toledo Ohio investors headed by David Robinson Jr. and James Ashley, Jr. who at the time was also building the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railroad, which connected Ashley with Owosso, Michigan.  The investors spent about $1,560,000 to build the line.

The Toledo, Saginaw and Muskegon Railway Company was organized December, 1886, with the following stockholders :J. M. Ashley, Toledo, Ohio;  Win. Baker, Toledo, Ohio, Secretary and Treasurer; Jno. Cummings, Toledo, Ohio ; D. Robinson, Jr., Toledo, Ohio was elected President; E. Middleton, Greenville, Michigan ; L. G. Mason, Muskegon, Michigan.

The railroad was incorporated and filed articles of construction under the laws of Michigan on January 25, 1886 and bonds were issued on July 1, 1888 with a traffic guarantee from the Grand Trunk Railway Co. of Canada.  The Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railroad, line was to run from Muskegon to Saginaw, proposed length 140 miles, with capital stock of $2,800,000.

The general offices of the Company are located at Muskegon, and the following are its present officers : David Robison, Jr., President ; W. V. McCracken, Vice President and General Manager; J. F. Pennington, Secretary; B. F. Reed, Superintendent; J. K. McCracken, Auditor and G. F. and P. Agent.

Construction started in the spring of 1887 building bridges and grading.  Trackwork was started in August 1887 from Ashley westward. The track crews reached Carson City, Michigan on September 24.  In October another crew started laying rail from Egelston and Moorland Townships in Muskegon County eastward.  The first freight train to Greenville over the new line was on November 12 when eleven cars of wheat from Carson City was delivered to E. Middleton & Sons flour mills.  The two track crews met at a location just west of Cedar Springs on Christmas day 1887, finishing the main track the entire 96 miles. The next day a mixed train (carrying freight and passengers) worked the line each way out of Muskegon and Ashley.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT By Hon. C. C. Ellisworth Aug. 4, 1887

The Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railway, a line extending nearly a hundred miles west from Ashley in the county of Gratiot, by way of Carson City, Sheridan, Greenville, Cedar Springs and Sparta to Muskegon city on the lake.  This road is to be completed, and cars running the distance from Ashley to Muskegon, before the first day of January, 1888.  This road is to be laid the whole distance with steel rails, and will be completed from Ashley to Greenville by the middle of September next, and will be a first class railway in all respects.  This gentleman engaged in this enterprise, with David Robinson Jr., of Toledo, Ohio, as president, is a sufficient guarantee that it will be thoroughly constructed and amply equipped.  This road runs through as fine a section of farming country, nearly the whole distance as can be found on any county on the globe.  And it passes through and near large tracts of most excellent timber, such as yellow and white oak, hard and soft maple, beech and basswood, ash and butternut, and some hickory, Birdseye maple and black walnut.  The timber is east and west of our city, within the distance of twenty-five miles, as yet untouched by the woodsman's axe.  With these two roads Toledo, Saginaw and Muskegon (TS&M) and Detroit. Lansing and Detroit (DL&N) in operation alone, with the timber accessible to them, large manufacturing interests will constantly spring into existence in our city.

MAPLE RAPIDS DISPATCH Perrinton, April 25, 1887 - The R.R. engineer is here and will lay out the sidetrack and depot grounds, so the contractors can go on and finish their jobs.

June 1, 1887 - The railroad bridge is almost done.  The railroad grade from Pine Creek to Ashley is ready for ties.  The paymaster is expected today and there are lots of men with fingers itching to get hold of the filthy lucre.  Mr. McMorment, employed on the R.R. bridge was seriously hurt yesterday.  The scaffolding on which the men were working gave way and fell to the ground.  This has happened before and it seems a little risky using that kind of scaffolding.  Mr. Putts, formerly station agent at Bannister, has been appointed agent here.  He has purchased a lot, and Phinney & Bullock are to have his dwelling finished by August 1st.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT, June 2, 1887 - Steel rails, 3000 tons, have been ordered for the Ashley, Greenville and Muskegon railroad.

MAPLE RAPIDS DISPATCH, Middleton July 8, 1887 - Pres. Robinson, Chief Engineer Smith and Supt. of Construction were in Middleton Wednesday and delivered the conditional notes, and located our depot.  Mr. Robinson expressed himself well pleased with our elevator.

MAPLE RAPIDS DISPATCH - Middleton Sept. 2, 1887

A. Tuttle, Webber, Thomas Newton and J. B. Ressequie visited Ashley Wednesday to look at the iron gang.  Ten more car loads of iron were received at Ashley last Sunday for the T.S. & M. Ry.

The MIRADOR - Perrinton Sept. 3, 1887

The rails are laid on the TS&M five miles out from Ashley and have on hand steel for three miles, and more is coming. With fair weather we may expect the track to be laid to Perrinton by September 15.

IONIA STANDARD - Sept. 29, 1887

The construction on the Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon railroad reached Carson City last Saturday (Sept. 24) at 12 noon. The rails were laid across the street, between the two elevators, 11:30.  The first locomotive to pass was the Geo. A. Evans, No. 1.   A large concourse of people assembled early in the morning to witness the event, and this number was continually augmented during the day, people coming from long distances to aid in the celebrating the day.  In the evening a banquet was prepared, and the entire railroad force was treated to a feast of good things the Carson ladies so well and bountifully provided. It was a great day for all the people of Carson, and everybody seamed thankful that a means escape had been opened up for the surplus productions of the surrounding country.  Plug hats will now be in order, together with other metropolitan airs. These who bet cigars by the box that the road would never be built can now step forward and pay up.  Some of these will, however, come slowly, as it will take months to convince a few hard heads that the road has been ironed beyond a "Y" at Ashley.

October 17, 1887
Work on the Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railroad is progressing rapidly now, and under the supervision of officers and contractors is being pushed at every available point, the intention being to have finished and in running order by December. Ties have been purchased and delivered in Egelston and Moorland Townships for twenty five miles of road.  This end is graded and ready for ties, except a little deep cutting between Cedar Springs and Slocum's Grove, all the light work of grading being completed. It will be done in fifteen days.  The rails are laid from Ashley to Sheridan, thirty-six miles, the entire length of the road from Ashley to Muskegon being ninety-six and one half miles.  They will begin the laying of rails at this end unless rain interferes.  Fifty men are now at work on the track-laying gangs, and are putting down the steel rapidly.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Nov. 3, 1887

The TS&M R.R. has reached Greenville and the track-laying gang has gone on toward Cedar Springs. It reached the corporation on Saturday (Oct. 29), and many people went to see it on Sunday.  On Monday it crossed the D.L& N. at the state road and pushed on west of J.S. Crosby's lumber yards, making quite a curve west of the state road to reach again the Rockford road bed.  The railroad builders had swarms of visitors all day from all parts of the city and many from the country.  The question of the station does not seem to be settled.   For the benefit of the traveling community in general and the citizens of Greenville in particular, most certainly the depot should be at the junction of the two railroads near the state road on the east or west side.  It will be of great inconvenience if it be located elsewhere.

The railroad contractors discharge employees frequently because the men get drunk and brawl and fight.  The other day one hand with a shovel cut the bridge of the nose of another in a drunken fight.  When paid off the men spend a great part of their money in saloons.  Paid Saturday, Sunday is used as a day of drunken debauch by many.  Saloonism is ever a curse.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Nov. 17, 1887
The first freight to reach Greenville via our new railroad was a train of eleven cars of wheat for E.Middleton & Sons on Saturday.  The wheat was shipped at Carson City and probably collected from Bloomer Township.  This new road will furnish a great deal of wheat to Greenville flouring mills.
E. Middleton was re-elected a director of the TS&M road at the annual meeting held at Detroit Monday.  The ninty-six miles between Ashley and Muskegon are to be in condition for passenger and freight business by the middle of December.  The track-layers from east and west may meet at or near Cedar Springs.

The Road as now built extends from Ashley, on the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railway, to Muskegon, on Lake Michigan--a distance of 95.8 miles.

Nov. 24, 1887 B.F. Reed is superintendent of the TS&M RR with present headquarters in Greenville.  A temporary station has been established next west of the juction with the DL&N RR in north Greenville.  Under temporary arrrangements a train leaves Greenville each morning at 4:45am and reaches Ashley at 8am: returning it leaves Ashley at 3:15pm and reaches Greenville at 8pm.

CEDAR SPRINGS CLIPPER Dec. 1, 1887
It is expected that regular trains will begin running on the TS&M Monday next (Dec. 26).

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Feb. 16, 1888
The TS&M new depot is being built 12 rods west of the junction.  A railway shop meeting will be held at Phelps oprea house this afternoon at 2pm.  It is for the purpose of considering a proposition from the TS&M to build shops at Greenville.  As to be expected, they want a bonus.

CEDAR SPRINGS CLIPPER Feb.22, 1888
The new TS&M depot is a dandy.  Mr. Wm Black received the first shipment of goods over the TS&M.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Feb. 23, 1888
During the past week Greenville has been in a great state of excitement, but the one topic of interest was under discussion- will this community secure pledges of $28,000 to insure the location of the TS&M car shops in Greenville? ... the company would expend $150,000 if the shops were located here; 75 men would be employed at first, then 100 more, until 200 were employed receiving from $5000 to be expended amoung our merchants: the location of the shops here would increase the population of Greenville by 1,000 or more within a year.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT March 1, 1888
The Star mail route between Griswold (later Harvard) and Cedar Springs and the Star route between Fenwick and Vickeryville will be suspended after March 11.  After this date the TS&M will supply Griswold and Vickeyville.  The TS&M has been established as a mail route.  Commencing March 12, Greenville will be in direct mail communication by this route with Ashley, Carson City, Vickeryville, and Sheridan on the east, and Griswold, Cedar Springs and Muskegon on the west.
 In the spring of 1888 the TS&M began running a full passenger train from Muskegon to Ashley and back.  

March 8, 1888
E. Middletons & Sons sent Tuesday on the TS&M a special train of seventeen cars laden with flour for England and Scotland.

CEDAR SPRINGS CLIPPER March 14, 1888
Mail service went into effect on the TS&M Monday and Cedar Springs is enjoying 8 mails a day and in a short time will have 10.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT
March 22, 1888
It is thought that the TS&M will be extended this year from Ashley to Saginaw, a distance of 40 miles. It depends on local aid. Surveys are now being made.

March 29, 1888
The TS&M now has three ballast trains at work on different sections of the road, two of them being supplied with gravel from Greenville and one from Sparta. The road has also fifty men employed here for the past three weeks ballasting the track, putting in two sidings, and filling in around the new depot, which will be completed next week.

April 19, 1888
The new TS&M depot is in use.

April 26, 1888
Vagrants and "dead beats" in general are one of the results of the boom in Greenville. They came in with the working crews of the TS&M and they seem to be here to stay... The Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon trains from Muskegon are to be run into Owosso over the T.A.A.& N.M. from Ashley.

May 17, 1888
The TS&M RR new time card went into force Monday. Heretofore two mixed trains have been running. Now, in addition to these, a passenger train is run over the road each way. The passenger train east leaves Greenville at 10:30 and reaches Sheridan at 10:45, Carson City at 11:18, and Ashley at 12:15. The passengertrain going west reaches Greenville at 3:04, Cedar Springs at 3:47, Muskegon at 5:37.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT May 31, 1888
The TS&M employees are surveying a road from Ashley to Flint. A few buckets of water extinguished a fire in the TS&M office yesterday. S.A. Booth will build a watch tower (at the DL&N diamond) and depot at Sheridan for the TS&M; also a depot at Pompei and a watch tower at Greenville. Rurmored that the TS&M railroad will soon be sold to the Grand Trunk railroad. The rumor comes from Muskegon.

June 14, 1888
WANTED-150 LABORERS AT $1.50 PER DAY. APPLY TO AGENT OF TS&M RR.
The TS&M is rapidly pushing work on the line, building, etc., as to turn the line over to the Grand Trunk.  The wages are $1.50 a day and the company adverties for more men.  It is quietly predicted that the recent sale of the Ashley & Muskegon railroad to the Grand Trunk means eventual extension of the road from Ashley to Flint, where it should connect ot the main line, thus making Muskegon the principal point on the lake instead of Grand Haven.  The latter is a treacherous harbor in the stormy weather, while Muskegon boasts of one of the safest ones on the entire lakes.  In the event of this change the Muskegon branch would become the main line, while the D.G.H.& M. road would be used for local business exclusively.  Until the extension is made from Ashley, the trains will be run direct from Muskegon to Durand, passing over the TAA&NM track from Ashley to Owosso by an arrangement with the latter company.

GRENVILLE INDEPENDENT June 21, 1888
The TS&M has arranged to run their track around a sink hole on the farm of J. Williams.

July 12, 1888
Butternut is the name of a new post office and station on the TS&M half way between Vickeyville and Carson City.

July 26, 1888
The Bapist TS&M excursion to Muskegon yesterday took 153 people from Greenville, and there were some aboard before the train reached Greenville.  We have not learned how many were taken aboard west of Greenville.
The TS&M depot was burglarized Friday night.  But little was secured, about $10 in cash and one ticket.  Other tickets were left on the platform on the west end.  Small return for which to risk a trip to the state prison.

On August 1, 1888 the Grand Trunk Railway took control of the TS&M and the trains began using the Toledo, Ann Arbor, & Northern Michigan between Ashley and Owosso Junction.  Operations consisted of mail and express trains #1 and 2 and mixed trains #5 and 6. Trains #1 and 5 were eastbound and trains #2 and 4 were westbound.  Later these trains were given Grand Trunk numbers 31 and 32 for the mail and express and 71 and 72 for the mixed trains.

August 2, 1888
The TS&M was transfered to the Grand Trunk system on Monday.  We hope the new management may give Greenville a later train from the east.

Oct. 18, 1888
The DL&N will not permit passengers on freight trains.  This is a great inconveniece for people who wish to go west before the noon train from Detroit; and entirely prevents making connections at Howard City with the Saginaw forenoon train for Grand Rapids.  As a result many people have been taking the TS&M freight for Cedar Springs and going to Grand Rapids by that route.
Note: at this time the TS&M was running two "Express" trains (#1 and 2) and two mixed trains (#5 and #6) between Muskegon and Owosso Juction. The westbound Express would come through Greenville at 7:38am and the mixed would leave at 9:45am.

When the Grand Trunk took control of the TS&M in 1888 they renumbered all the locomotives, passenger cars, and some of the freight cars.  The boxcars (180) and caboose (2) remained in their original numbers until about 1900.  The ORER from June 1900 noted: "All cars marked C & GT, DGH&M, TS&M, CS&M are being relettered Grand Trunk."

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Nov.29, 1888
Competition on the DL&N and the TS&M for freights landed at Greenville is of great advantage to Greenville merchants and hence of great advantage to Greenville as a community.

Dec.6, 1888
J.K. Rassmussen has opened a store at Miller's Station six miles east of Greenville on the TS&M RR.  Probably a post office will be established at that point.

Dec.12, 1888
The Greenville and Oakfield mail route has been discontinued.  Oakfield now has a daily mail from Lorenzo (later known as Lincoln Lake), a post office next west of Greenville on the TS&M.

In 1889, the line was leased to the Grand Trunk, then later sold to the Grand Trunk.  Jim Ashley, Jr. and David Robinson, Jr. (president), William Baker, and John Cummings making a profit on the construction but losing control of the road.

By 1914 the mail and express trains numbers had changed again to 41 and 42 and the mixed trains to 471 and 472. These trains would continue to operate under these numbers for the next forty years.  In 1914 the Grand Trunk experimented with a steam powered motor car between Ashley and Muskegon.  The motorcar, numbered 112, started running as trains 43 and 44 from Ashley to Muskegon and back in January 1914. The motorcar broke down frequently and had to be replaced with a regular steam train.  After about a year the motorcar was discontinued.

GREENVILLE INDEPENDENT Jan.21, 1914
The new motorcar service between Ashley and Muskegon on the TS&M railroad went into operation last Monday and is proving to be a great success.  On the first trip the car was crowded, and if this is an indication of travel to be anticipated, larger or more cars will have to be put into operation.

Jan.28, 1914
The Grand Trunk railroad is still having considerable trouble with its motor car service, being forced at times to run regular trains so as to comply with its motor car schedule, due to the breaking down of the motor car.

Feb.25, 1914
The Grand Trunk train which was due here at 3:25pm was stalled in the snow Saturday evening and did not get to Greenville until Sunday about noon.  The Grand Trunk motor car Saturday morning caught fire under the motor, when a few miles east of Sheridan and the train crew not being able to put it out and wired ahead for the Greenville fire department which promply responded and soon had the blaze extinguished.  No great damage was done

The eastbound TS&M passenger train, #42 in 1915 came through Greenville at 10:25am and train #41 came westward through Greenville at 5:44pm.

Jan.13, 1915
TS&M Train Service - A petition is being circulated addressed to the Grand Trunk railroad officals, protesting against the discontinuance of the motor car service on the TS&M railroad.  Those trains have been a great convenience to the peple in the eastern part of the county, where they have been able to come to Greenville or go to Grand Rapids and return the same day.  This road has been famous for its changes in the timetables.

Greenville Independent newspaper Jan. 13, 1915
TS&M Train Service
A petition is being circulated addressed to the Grand Trunk railroad officials, protesting againest the discontinuance of the motor car service on the TS&M railroad. These trains have been a great convenience to the people in the eastern part of the county, where they have been able to come to Greenville or go to Grand Rapids and return the same day. This road has been famous for its changes in time tables. Large petitions freely signed, have been sent to the general superintendent.


March 17, 1915
TS&M Railroad Puts Up Bluff
The Grand Trunk Railroad Company are making a big bluff that in case the legisiature fails to grant the railroads an increase in the passenger rates they will discontinue all service on the Toledo Saginaw & Muskegon railroad. No one believes they will do any such thing and further than that, no one believes the railroad commision would permit them to do any such thing. Further than this, threatening is no way to accomplish an end. Railrods like ordinary mortals should remember the old adage, "You can catch more flies with sugar than you can with vinegar", or that the legisiature like individuals, can be coaxed farther than they can be driven. While we are in favor of granting this excuse of a railroad the same rates as we would a good road, we do not feel like being driven in to it. This branch of teh Grand Trunk has always complained that it did not pay, but they never have offered any inducement to ride on thier road or maintained a schedule long enough to have people gey aquainted with it. We are reminded many years ago during the winter the train left Greenville going east about 4 o'clock in the morning and came back about 10 o'clock at night, and old Jack Reed delighted the people by telling them they were going to have a change of time and when asked what the change would be, said "The train will leave a little earlier in the morning and come back a little later at night". This is about the kind of service that the TS&M has always given us, so it matters very little what changes they make.

Ownership of the TS&M bonds moved to Canadian National Ry. Co. and the bonds later matured July 1, 1918.  They were carried by CN as a funded debt matured unpaid after that.

After the CN takeover of the Grand Trunk in 1923 changes started happening on the TS&M.  In 1924 the GT built the "Lake Front" track to serve Lakey Foundry and Continental Motors in Muskegon.  The entire line from Ashley to Muskegon was rebuilt with 80 lb rail.  A 50,000 gallon steel water tank and 10" standpipe was built in Greenville replacing the wooden water tower on the west side of the Flat River.  The freight tonnage went from 171,916 tons in 1914 to 376,100 tons in 1924.  Did the CN upgrade the line in order to move the car ferries to Muskegon?  Ten Wheelers started running the wayfreights, Moguls, Consolidations, then Makados started running the nightly manifest trains.

In 1928 the TS&M was merged along with other Michigan Grand Trunk Railway owned rail lines into the Grand Trunk Western Railroad and the TS&M became the Muskegon Subdivision of the GTWRR.

In 1930 the GTW aquired trackage rights on the Pennsylvania Railroad from Shaw to Walker and the freight tonnage went via Grand Rapids.  The boom was over and the TS&M went back to running the mixed trains and the wayfreights.  The car ferries were moved to Muskegon 1933.

Moody's Investment Manual for 1927 shows them for the years ending December 31, 1921 thru 1926.  For 1921, the TS&M had operating revenues of $328,306 and operating expenses of $531,478.  This left a net operating loss of $203,172 for an operating ratio of about 162%.  It looks like they were subsidized by CN for a lot of years.  CN owned all of the Capital Stock and bonds.  Their operating ratio did get better every year thru 1926 (104%) but it was still operating at a loss of $25,700 for that year.

September 17, 1933 Grand Trunk Western carferries move their homeport from Grand Haven to Muskegon.

Like any other railroad the operations changed as passenger traffic decreased and freight increased. By the late 1910's the TS&M started running through freights between Durand and Muskegon and the local operated as a turn out of Muskegon to Ashley and back. This was possible because the Grand Trunk built a wye at Ashley to turn the steam motorcar (they also built an enginehouse for it). By the mid-20's the operations had changed again with the local's (471/472) running from Durand to Greenville and back. This left the passenger trains (41 & 42) to do the freight work between Greenville and Muskegon. The track was rebuilt in 1924 to handle larger locomotives. When the GT strarted running into Muskegon over the PRR in 1930 operations really changed, the through freights were diverted to the GR Sub. and trains 41 & 42 became mixed trains. The wayfreights to Greenville continued. The abandonment of the line west of Greenvile in 1946 changed the operation pattern with 41/42 operating on a tri-weekly schedule out of Durand alternating with the wayfreights. This operation continued contined until diesels took over in 1954 with a single daily turn out of Durand to Greenville and back. On Dec. 31st 1955 the last mixed train was operated to Greenville and on Jan. 1st 1956 the local became trains 541 and 542, freight only.

Web page by Henry F. Burger 4/30/2009, updated 7/1/2009

TrainWeb.org Facebook Page