SOUTH LYON, MI
East End/Grand Trunk Side; South Lyon, MI Depot
|South Lyon is about 30 miles NW of Detroit. The Detroit
Lansing and Lake Michigan completed tracks through South Lyon, and on to
Lansing, Ionia, and Howard City in 1871. In 1876, this railroad was
reorganized as the Detroit, Lansing and Northern.
(DL&N timetable) Late in 1899, it
became part of the Pere Marquette Railroad. Under PM ownership, the line
became part of a heavy-duty main line between Detroit and Chicago.
The Grand Trunk built its tracks through South Lyon in the
early 1880's. This route was started as the Michigan Air Line. Organizers
hoped to build a line from Port Huron to Chicago, and lease or sell it to
the Grand Trunk of Canada. Rails were laid from Richmond to Romeo in 1869,
and another section was started, building west from Jackson. But before this
scheme got too far, the New York Central bought out the local owners. Effective
February 1871, the Michigan Air Line was leased for 999 years to the Michigan
Central. The part of the Air Line between Jackson and Niles was completed
in 1871, but was NOT to become competition for the NYC line to Chicago. It
was just another branch line of the Michigan Central.
The route east of Jackson had not been built, leaving the
tracks between Richmond and Romeo an isolated, dead-end branch line. Michigan
Central had little interest in the route. It was spun-off as a separate railroad,
allowed to go bankrupt, and sold at foreclosure in 1875. It was bought by
the Michigan Airline Railway, which was controlled by the Grand Trunk.
The line was extended slowly, finally reaching
Jackson in 1884.
Waiting Room Interior, Now the Museum
|In 1909 the old South Lyon
depot, from the early 1870's, burned. A new Union station was built at
the junction of the Grand Trunk and Pere Marquette tracks. The design was
a "Witch's Hat" style depot , also used a few years earlier for the
depot in Saranac, MI.
It appears that South Lyon was not a very busy depot. By
1940, only two Pere Marquette trians per day were stopping there. A Grand
Trunk timetable from 1906 shows only 4
trains a day. From 1925 to 1953, GT passengers
could travel between Jackson and Richmond on a one-car, self-propelled
Doodlebug". The last passenger train to serve
it, a GTW mixed train, stopped there in 1955.
In 1976, the City of South Lyon purchased the depot and
moved it to McHattie Park, south of downtown South Lyon. It now serves as
the home and museum of the South Lyon Historical Society. The "freight house"
at the back of the depot was built in 1984 to provide additional room for
the museum. Both buildings have basements used for archive storage. There
is also an ex-C&O wooden caboose on the museum grounds.
C&O/PM side and East End
Depot under construction, 1909