Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 27, 2008, pg. 6
The reconstruction of N. Clark St. began last week, one of several local roadway improvements this summer. Did you know that the railroad tracks which now end at Guardian Industries on N. Clark St. once continued on to Springport, and then to Lansing? This was originally the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad, built in 1872. It ran from Hillsdale to Lansing. In its heyday, the line shipped numerous agricultural products and offered passenger service. In addition, wheel hubs from the Hayes Wheel Company (now the site of Patriot Satellite) were shipped to Lansing for auto production there at the Reo plant. The tracks from Springport to Lansing were abandoned and torn up in 1940, but the stretch from Albion to Springport was allowed to remain to service the Springport Elevator and any other businesses.
When U.S.-12 by-pass (now Interstate-94) was built north of Albion during 1958-60, a blacktop grade crossing (instead of concrete) was made sloping down to the point where the roadway crossed the tracks. Railroad crossing signals were installed. The signals were not automatic. Whenever a train passed by, the crew had to turn on the signals by hand on one side, and turn them off on the other.
The stretch of tracks from Albion to Springport was abandoned on August 31, 1968, and the tracks were torn up to a point just east of McGraw Edison east of N. Clark St. During the subsequent highway reconstruction, the highway roadbed was raised and poured with concrete to match the rest of the highway, and the westbound exit ramp was lengthened. One person was killed in an auto accident in the construction area.
Owing to a reversion clause in the deed, the farmer north of I-94 had the all evidences of the railroad removed, tearing out the roadbed and the adjacent tree line, and returning the land to cornfield. You canít tell a railroad was ever there today except in the far distance north of Comdon Road where the tree line resumes. The roadbed on the south side of I-94 however is still there, but is now overgrown and is hard to detect. Two years ago the tracks across N. Clark St. were removed.
From our Historical Notebook this we present at 1959 construction photo looking east towards the M-99 bridge, showing where the New York Central Railroad tracks crossed the highway, just inside Jackson County. How many of our readers remember this crossing?
1959 picture of I-94 rail road crossing
All text copyright, 2019 © all rights reserved Frank Passic