Central Michigan Railroad







Central Michigan Railroad
working with Michigan Law Enforcement Agencies through Operation Lifesaver
Look.......Listen.......and Live.









"To some it's just a train rolling along a track. To others it is a moment worthy of a photograph. An image of a Corporation, headed towards its future, leaving behind a history that won't be forgotten." - Chris Klemm

Central Michigan Railroad runs on the former Grand Trunk Western mainline from Durand to Bay City, Michigan. Through the late 60's and early 70's Penn Central engines and cabooses where a common site in Bay City using the former Meredith Jtc. to then cross the river on the north east side of Saginaw (now owned by CSX), then proceed north. By the late 1980's railroad traffic on the GTW line was minimal and one of the two sets of tracks where removed through Bay City. The Straits Corporation then purchased the line from GTW and established the Central Michigan Railway.  The Straits Corporation purchased and sold the former Detroit & Mackinaw (now Lake State Railway) prior to it's ownership of the Central Michigan Railway. Today we find the line in constant use, servicing a wealth of customers throughout Mid-Michigan.

Central Michigan Railroad
Train Wreck
Zilwaukee, Michigan

Photo Note: Notice the white semi tractor lying on it's side.

On (insert date here) the Saginaw local headed out of Bay City, Michigan on what was to be just another day. Hauling a mixed freight load of (insert number of cars here) cars, which included empty hoppers, tank and box cars 8801 headed south at best speed. What the crew didn't know is just before the village of Zilwaukee a truck driver had parked his rig with the trailer right in the middle of the railroad right of way. When the crew rounded the curve and saw the vehicle parked across the tracks the engineer applied full emergency braking, but to no avail, as the train was carrying good speed through the zone (as they normally do). When nothing else could be done and seeing that the impact was imminent the Engineer and Conductor both laid down on the floor. The force of the impact spun the GP-38 180 degrees, puncturing both fuel tanks, and peeling the semi trailer open like a tin can. The semi trailer pieces were rapped around the nose of the engine. The content of the trailer strewn across the ground, hood and cat walk of 8801.

At impact, the first car rode up over the top of the engine removing the top portion of the engine from the back to the midpoint. Had the locomotive been reversed both occupants would surely have been killed. The only thing that stopped the car from completely riding up and over was the bulk of the motor.

Photo Note: Notice the piston from one of the motors
sticking through the top of the cylinder head.

After the engine had stopped moving the Engineer stood up and looked out the windshield to see covered hoppers speeding past him as the wreck was still in progress.

He thought it would be best to lay back down and wait for the thunderous noise to stop before moving again. Behind him cars were stacking up as the energy from the moving train slowly dissipated.

Fortunately everyone survived this tragedy. Unfortunately Central Michigan Railroad Engine 8801 was permanently removed from active service.

Photo Note: Notice the semi trailers axle underneath the grain car.

One Good Thing

During the crash a covered hopper missed a high tension power line tower by only a few feet.

8801 Returns Home
One Last Time

Central Michigan Railroad - Main Office
1424 Straits Dr.
Bay City, Michigan 48706

Phone: (989) 684-5088

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