Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, July 21, 1996, pg. 12
The recent announcement of the City Council news about acquiring the abandoned railroad trestle just west of N. Albion St. in McClure Park nostalgically reminds us of the days when this trestle was part of the Lansing branch of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad. The line was built in 1872 and ran from Hillsdale through Jonesville, Litchfield, Homer, Condit, Albion, Devereaux, Springport, Eaton Rapids, Dimondale, through Lansing.
The tracks between Springport and Lansing were abandoned in 1940, and the tracks between Litchfield and Albion were abandoned in 1943. The part of the line which remained in Albion consisted of the spur to Springport and the small section left to service the Gale Manufacturing Company, including the trestle over the Kalamazoo River.
On March 31, 1976, the Penn-Central System entered into contract with a construction firm to dismantle its branch line tracks in Albion. This was an unannounced operation, without consulting the Albion city officials. On April 1, 1976, the Penn Central became part of the Federal Conrail system, and Conrail officials were unaware of the contract that Penn Central had made the day before Conrail had taken over.
In May 1976, workers began tearing up sections of track in town, especially the tracks over the trestle which went to the former Gale plant. It was several days before city officials realized what was going on. By that time the damage was done. The city could not order the railroad to put back the tracks over the trestle. The sad part of the situation was that the city had at that time obtained a buyer for the Gale property that would make generous use of the tracks: it was a manufacturer of railroad ties! Upon discovering the removal of the rails, the company withdrew its offer, and hence the rails were never restored.
A paving project in 1979 on N. Albion Street removed the railís crossing headed towards the trestle, but left the rails buried that had headed towards the Union Steel plant. Notice the small blacktop curbing at that point--thatís because rails are buried underneath. Apparently some legal problems prevented their removal at that time.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of the depot of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad which once stood where the Chemical Bank office now sits next to the Post Office on N. Superior St.
The Depot of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic