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
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
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.
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.
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
One Good Thing
During the crash a
covered hopper missed a high tension power line tower by only a few
8801 Returns Home
One Last Time