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The Huckleberry Railroad 7/24/2009

by Chris Guenzler

After my 10:00 AM ride behind the Little River Railroad Steam Engine 110 at TrainFestival 2009, I drove back over to Flint and found the Huckleberry Berry Railroad located in the Historical Park that is operated by Genesee County. We got our tickets with less than five minutes to go until the trip left and boarded the caboose for our trip on the Huckleberry Railroad for our trip

Brief History

The Huckleberry Railroad was named because the train ran so slow, that a passenger could step off the train, pick some huckleberries and then jump back aboard the train. The Huckleberry Railroad began in 1857 as part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad. The line was builr from Flint to Otter Lake then later onto Fostoria. The Pere Marquette Railroad was absorbed by first the C&O and later the Chessie System then the CSX Railroad.

The Engines

Huckleberry Railroad 4-6-0 2 formally known as the 152. It was built in June of 1920 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia for the Alaska Engineering Commission. It was used in the building of the Alaska Railroad by the Tanana Valley Railroad. At that point the Alaska Railroad was a narrow gauge railroad from Fairbanks to the coal mines at Nenana and the gold rush town of Chantanika. Once the Alaska Railroad was converted to standard gauge in 1943 the 152 was sent to the US War Department in Seattle. Later the 152 was sold to Davison Scrap Company in Stockton. It was then purchased by Hal Wilmunder and relocated to the Antelope & Western in Roseville. In 1963 went to the Camino, Cable & Northern until it shut down in 1974. Hal Wilmunder then sold the locomotive to the Keystone Locomotive Works. In 1975 the Genesee County Park and Recreation Commission purchased the Number 2 and began restoration of it. It is the only locomotive that has operated from the start of the Huckleberry Railroad to the present.

The Huckleberry Railroad's other operating steam engine is the Rio Grande "Mudhen" 2-8-2 464 also built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1903. The engine ran on the both the Rio Grande and Rio Grande Southern in Colorado in the 1940's before it ran on the famous Silverton Train in the 1950's. In 1973 Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California purchased the 464 and was used for just one year due to low clearances of the counter weights and the declining mechanical state, Knotts sidelined the engine. In 1981 the 464 was acquired by the Huckleberry Railroad and started restoring the locomotive. Today either of these two engines will pull the trains on the Huckleberry Railroad.

The Trip

Our train leaves the Crossroad Station.

A Pere Marquette Railroad Caboose.

Extra cars if they are needed for a longer train.

The view looking back at the water tower.

View into the park.

The tracks to the Huckleberry Railroad Shop.

Steam engine number 4 is a display log train.

Mott Lake.

Running through the forest.

Crossing a small trestle.

Matt enjoying his trip in the caboose on the Huckleberry Railroad.

Me in the Caboose.

Our route took us along this road.

Another caboose on display along our route.

The train took this curve.

The unspoiled forest.

The train runs through the forest.

The train crossed a trestle over a creek.

The switch at the eastern loop.

The Rio Grande 464 takes the train around the eastern loop.

The train heads towards the switch.

The eastern loop switch.


Our route took us back through the trees.

The Huckleberry Railroad Water Tower.

The train passed the passenger cars again.

Passing the Crossroad Station.

Passing the station switch on the west end.

The bridge that takes water from Mott Lake and Mill Pond.

The west loop switch.


The Rio Grande 464 took our train around the west loop.

The west loop.

The first track we were on when we started around the west loop.

The west loop switch.

The bridge right before the west loop switch. The train returned to the Crossroad Station. I walked to the front end for a picture.

Rio Grande Mudhen 464.

The steam engine being prepared for its next trip.

An interesting view of a steam railroad.

The caboose Matt and I rode in during our trip on the Huckleberry Railroad.

The train ready for its next trip at 1:00 PM. With both of us being hungry we decided to get something to eat. The Crossroad Cafe and the Mill Street Warehouse had limited menus so we walked over to Lake Mott and finally ordered at the Lake Side Grill.

The Genesee Belle which can take you on a cruise of Mott Lake. Plenty of time passed and they called order 57. Problem we had order 40. They then got our order to us really fast as the guy had misplaced our order slip. After a good meal, we started back to the car.

The 1:00 PM Train returned to the Crossroad Station. Matt and I then left for the Saginaw Railroad Museum.