Track Side; Galien Depot; Sept. 2003
Track Side, Galien, MI; September 2003

Galien is a very small town in far southwest Michigan. Tracks through Galien were built by the Michigan Central, in 1848 or 1849.

The charter of the Michigan Central specified that it had to be built to a port on Lake Michigan. When the charter was written, in 1846, steamboats were the prefered means of transportation. The Michigan Central was planned as connection between Lake Erie at Detroit and Lake Michigan. The line was originally planned to run to St Joseph, but the builders realized that the railroad's real future depended on an all rail route to Chicago. So west of Kalamazoo, the route turned south, on a more direct route toward Chicago. Tracks were built through Galien, and then another 10 miles west to the port of New Buffalo, meeting the legal requirements of the charter. Construction continued toward Chicago and the first MC train ran into Chicago in May of 1852.

And the route did carry a lot of traffic. The 1902 Michigan Central timetable lists 17 passenger trains daily through Galien, but only 6 of them stopped there.

Amtrak took over passenger service in 1971, and bought the old MC tracks from Kalamazoo to Porter, IN in the early 1970's. So tracks through Galien remain in service as part of  Amtrak's Detroit-Chicago route.

No Amtrak trains stop in Galien but there are TWO depots still there! The "new" brick depot, built in 1913/1914, with brick walls and a slate roof still stands, but in very bad shape. The older depot from the 1870's which is on the other side of the street and across the tracks, was heavily damaged by a fire in 1999 or 2000, but is still standing as of late 2003.

Trackside Bay Window, Galien MI Depot
Trackside Bay Window

East End/Track Side, Galien Depot
Track Side/East End

Street Side/East End, Galien "New" Depot
Street Side, Galien, MI; October 1998

Old postcard view of Galien's brick depot
Old Postcard View of the "new" Galien Depot

Galien's 1870's Depot, Street Side
East End /Street Side of Galien's 1870's Depot

Galien's 1870's Depot, Track side
Track Side/East End

Old postcard view of Galien's wood depot
Postcard View of the "old" Galien Depot

May 1998, Updated December 2003
Louis Van Winkle
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