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Coopersville & Marne Railway 5/12/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I met at my room and we stopped at MacDonalds for breakfast before we went out to explore Grand Haven on this very cold and windy morning.

The Pere Marquette Grand Haven Station. Next we went over to the railroad display in Grand Haven.

The Railroad Display in Grand Haven.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1223.

Pere Marquette Box Car 72222.

Pere Marquette Caboose A986.

Grand Trunk Western Caboose 77915.

The Grand Haven Coaling Tower.

Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1223 waits for a green signal that will never come. Next we drove down towards the harbor but had to make another stop.

The former Michigan Central Station also still stands in Grand Haven. From here we drove to the harbor walk and parked.

The waves were crashing against the rocks at the Grand Haven Lighthouse.

You could have ridden a surfboard on the waves coming into the Grand Haven Harbor this cold and windy morning. From here we drove down to Holland to shoot the Pere Marquette station there.

Pere Marquette Station in Holland, Michigan is also used by Amtrak by the Pere Marquette trains. From here we drove to the east of Zeeland to wait for the westbound Pere Marquette Train 371. Our wait was not long.

Pere Marquette, Amtrak 371, sped its way towards its first station stop of the morning at Holland. From here we drove north to Coopersville, where our trip for today would be starting from. We first went to see another station.

The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon Interurban Car 8, the Merlin is on display here.

The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon station in Coopersville. We drove over to the train's station parking lot and parked. We checked in with Sarah Jennings like you do on all of the rare mileage trips Bart does.

Coopersville & Marne Railway

Before we look around the railroad let us first look back in history.

The History

The route of the Coopersville & Marne Railway began as the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad Company on April 3, 1848. The charter of the company was to build a railroad from "Oakland via Fentonville to Lake Michigan in Ottawa County". The company stayed independent for only seven years and was merged with the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad Company in 1855, forming the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad. The track through Marne and Coopersville was completed during summer 1858, with the first train west into Grand Haven arriving there in September 1858.

The Detroit and Pontiac Railroad was the sixth railroad to receive a charter from Michigan and second to actually operate trains. The railroad actually traces its history back to the first chartered railroad in Michigan, the Pontiac and Detroit Railroad. Nothing came of the Pontiac and Detroit Railroad so in 1834 the state granted a new charter to the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad. Four years later, the D&P began operations over the twelve miles of track. The railroad finally reached Pontiac in 1843, thirteen years after the state first granted it a charter.

In 1860, the Great Western Railway, a Canadian company, took financial control of the D&M after it defaulted on debt payments. The Detroit and Michigan entered receivership in 1875 and was consolidated into the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee Railway in 1878 when it was purchased by the Great Western. The railroad now owned a 189 mile line stretching from Detroit to Grand Haven on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

By 1882, the road was under the ownership of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada when the GTP acquired the Great Western. Eventually, in May of 1928, the railroad became part of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company. During the 1980's, the Grand Trunk Western began to abandon or sell off branch lines in Michigan and sold off this line as a part of a package of lines that became the Detroit & Mackinac and the Central Michigan shortline.

In 1987, the Central Michigan was created and after a few years of operations, abandoned most of the Grand Rapids to Muskegon route. To try to save part of this route, the Coopersville & Marne Railway Company was incorporated on July 13, 1989 and the line between Marne and Coopersville was sold on December 14, 1989. The Coopersville and Marne was seen as a more fitting moniker. Run by volunteers using several former commuter coaches on its train, with heritages of Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and Canadian National. The coaches are restroom equipped for passenger convenience. The normal diesel power is the former Grand Trunk Western Railway SW9 7014. The railroad also handles limited freight service, interchanging cars at the old St Mary's Cement siding, just west of the Ann Street Yard.

The Railroad Yard

Now we will look around the rail yard in Coopersville.

Canadian National 4-6-0 1395.

TSBY RS-1 2394.

The line of engines in Coopersville.

SBA Railroad Caboose.

N&W Caboose 55784.

Chessie System Caboose 3583.

C&O Wooden Caboose 90845.

The line of engines in Coopersville.

CPMY SW9 7014 ex GTW.

CPMY 50Tonner 3049 ex Dupont.

C&O Baggage Car 4345.

New York Central Auto Box Car 279341.

Coopersville Freight Office (moved from Spring Lake) GRGH&M - 1990~.

Southern Caboose 910804.

CPMY MG34 20 Tonner 20.

C&O 94066 MW Crane.

Wabash Flat Car 543.

Western Maryland Flat Car 2673.

CSXT Box Car 130159.

Coopersville scene.

The Train Timetable Board in Coopersville.

Coopersville & Marne Station in Coopersville.

This switch tower came from Greenville, Michigan.

CMRY 703.

Coopersville scenes.

Our train is ready for our trip today.

Our Train for this trip

CMRY SW-9 7014.

Wabash 1803.

DLW 4974.

DLW 4445.

DLW 4345.

Caboose 75009.

Click here for Part 2 of this story