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Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Old Road Dinner Train 5/13/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I pulled into the parking lot of the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Old Road Dinner Train.

The sign for this railroad.

A view of the Blissfield Yard. We would have a look around before boarding the train.

Baggage Car and Central Vermont Caboose ADBF 4043.

CP 15412 Riding Mountain Park, VIA 15512.

There is another Baggage Car.

An Amtrak Material Handling Car.

Another Caboose.

CN Caboose 79619.

Adrian & Blissfield GP9R 1755.

I walked back to board the train. At our table we ate our sandwiches as we waited for the 6 PM departure.

A Brief History

The Adrian & Blissfield operates a part of the original Lake Shore & Michigan Southern "Old Road" route. This route was the original Toledo-Elkhart route, replaced by the New York Central route across northern Ohio and Indiana. Today, this improved route is the Norfolk Southern's mainline between Chicago and Cleveland and is used by Amtrak's Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

The route of the Adrian & Blissfield started as the Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad in 1833. It was the first railroad to reach into Michigan Territory and reportedly first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains. The first rail trip between Adrian and Port Lawrence {Toledo} was made on November 2, 1836. Horse-drawn passenger and freight cars were used initially, with the first steam engine beginning service in 1837. The E&K became part of the Michigan Southern Railroad in 1846, which then was consolidated with the Northern Indiana Railroad in 1855. The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern was formed in 1869 by consolidating the two railroads with several others. All became part of the New York Central System in 1915, operating as the Old Road Subdivision of the Toledo Division.

As the line became less important the tracks west of Adrian and east of Riga were abandoned. The line from Adrian to Riga was sold by Conrail to the State of Michigan. For more than a decade, the line was operated by the Lenawee County Railroad {1977-1990}. After traffic had dropped to only 300 cars a year, the LCRC ran its last train on September 30, 1990. In 1991, the Adrian And Blissfield purchased the line, the only intact part of the former LS&MS in Southern Michigan.

Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Company

The Adrian And Blissfield {ADBF} is a short line railroad as well as a holding company operating a total of five short-line railroads in southeastern Michigan. The ADBF's operation began in 1991, with a 20-mile line between Adrian and Riga, Michigan. The Adrian And Blissfield line currently runs freight as well as the famous weekend Old Road Dinner Train, claimed to be the longest continuously operating dinner train in North America. In addition to the Lenawee County line, the ADBF operates the Charlotte Southern Railroad {CHS}, the Detroit Connecting Railroad {DCON}, the Jackson & Lansing Railroad {JAIL} and the Lapeer Industrial Railroad {LIRR}. Today, about 4,000 carloads per year are handled by the railroad.

The Train

Our train waits for the 6 PM departure time this evening.

Adrian & Blissfield GP9R 1751 would pulled our train this early evening.

Watts Creek Power Car.

Hudson River Dining Car.

Columbia River Table Car.

The Raisin River Table Car would be the car we would all be riding in.

The Trip aboard the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Old Road Dinner Train.

We headed northwest by the Central Vermont Caboose ADBF 4043. The plan was we would go out for 45 minutes and then return to Blissfield.

Then by the CP 15412 Riding Mountain Park, VIA 15512 Dome-Observation Car.

We went by that baggage car as we left the Blissfield Yard.

This LS & MS depot was built in 1875 at Deerfield and was moved to this location in Blissfield.

Two views as we crossed the River Raisin.

Inside of our Raisin River Table Car.

A Michigan barn.

A tree in bloom in this yard. I went to the rear of the train for the rest of our westbound trip finding Bart Jennings there.

Our route is straight for most of the way.

More trees in bloom.

Michigan farmlands. /P>

A siding took off to the south.

Views from the rear end.

The B 322 Milepost marker.

The train took a curve on this railroad.

The old siding switch for Palmyra.

The train went by the Palmyra station sign. This is where the Dinner Train stops. We would continue west.

The B 323 Milepost.

Looking back as we neared Lenawee Junction.

The east switch at Lenawee Junction.

The east leg of the Lenawee Junction wye.

Lenawee Junction.

The west switch at Lenawee Junction.

The switch for the siding at Lenawee Junction.

This picture marks our most west travel aboard the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Old Road Dinner Train. A crew would come to the rear end to protect the shove back to Blissfield. On the way back we were given a tour of the train.

The inside of the Columbia River Table Car.

The inside of the Hudson River Dining Car.

Looking into the Watts Creek Power Car. I returned to the rear end.

The Blissfield West station stop for short trips.

The Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad sign.

We crossed the River Raisin also known in French as the Riviere des Raisin or the River of Grapes. The bridge was built 1907 by the American Bridge Company, is a single span Baltimore through truss.

The front building was the station of the Toledo & Western Railway, an interurban railway that served Blissfield at one time.

We went by the Blissfield Station one last time.

Our train has returned us to Blissfield and this was Elizabeth's last train ride of the trip. From here we had one more set of pictures to take in Blissfield.

Toledo & Western Railway Station in Blissfield. From here we drove up to Romulus where we both checked into the Red Roof Inn there. After checking in we said our goodbyes and I had an excellent trip with Elizabeth who would fly home tomorrow leaving me solo to do the rest of this trip starting with the drive to Jefferson, Ohio in the morning.

Click here for Part 2 of this story