MICHIGAN CENTRAL RR – DETROITER TO NEW YORK
“Underground Facility” ??? I thought this was going to say buried cable or something… what kind of underground facility would be here ?
THE DETROITER, Michigan Central Railroad’s crack overnight Pullman (sleeper) train to Buffalo and New York City, made its inaugural run on September 30, 1923. It’s likely that the old sign over westbound Warren Avenue was painted then – certainly no later than 1936, when the NEW YORK CENTRAL LINES oval herald was replaced by the NEW YORK CENTRAL SYSTEM herald. This sign might be the longest-surviving outdoor ad for a passenger train anywhere.
As of 1926, the eastbound DETROITER held the record as the fastest middle-distance passenger train in North America. The fastest part of the trip was through Southern Ontario, over Michigan Central’s Canada Division – built during the 1870s as the Canada Southern Railway (CASO). Known by railroaders as “the speedway”, this mostly ruler-straight, double-track route enabled THE DETROITER to average 60 MPH between the east portal of the Detroit River Tunnel and Fort Erie, including stops at Windsor and St. Thomas. Highway speeds were much slower at that time.
Railroad and Pullman conductors complained that there wasn’t enough time to punch all of the passengers’ tickets during the run from Windsor to St. Thomas.
The reason for all that speed: THE DETROITER was scheduled to connect with another more-famous train, the eastbound-from-Chicago 20th CENTURY LIMITED, at Buffalo. The latter followed New York Central’s “Water Level Route” along the southern shore of Lake Erie. Eastbound Pullman sleeping cars from THE DETROITER were quietly coupled onto the CENTURY, and then continued east to Grand Central Terminal, in time for a full business day in New York City.
The last Amtrak passenger went through the Michigan Central Railroad Detroit River Tunnel on January 31, 1979, when the NIAGARA RAINBOW (ex-EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS) made its last run.
Michigan Central’s double-track Chicago – Detroit – Buffalo route (aka “The Niagara Falls Route”) was actually SHORTER than the route south of Lake Erie. Sadly, nearly all of the old Canada Southern “speedway” has been scrapped. Canadian Pacific freight trains still use the 1910 rail tunnel, but they head for Toronto and Montreal, rather than Buffalo or Niagara Falls.
Great stuff Dfunk, like you said everyone loves trains. As tough as the 1930′s were a lot of stuff got accomplished during that period. Look at all the Post Offices and Court Houses with 1930′s dates on them. Not to mention projects like the dams out west and structures like the Golden Gate bridge. Where are the infrastructure projects now that can put the country to work?
Great post dfunk!
Oops – I forgot to add a few photos with the actual train in them – haha! I put those up today.
Fat thanks to Old Skool for the heads up on the MCRR ghost sign still being on that bridge, I thought it was gone but was looking at the wrong side of the bridge !
I thought that too about the 1933 dates on several of the concrete bridges. Perhaps WPA projects ? I included the concrete walkways that were built along the roads to get people up the graded inclines, they are all over in some areas toward the west side. I imagine thats because there used to be houses standing along side the tracks. I followed the tracks from Milwaukee Junction (Milwaukee and Woodward) to Jefferson on the west side.
Seeing that year 1933 on that one bridge, just shows you how booming the railroads were at that time. This was at the height of the great depression and I’m pretty sure you don’t see too many things with a 1930′s marking. And just to think, my grandparents were teenagers or in their early 20′s at that time! BTW, love that Michigan Central Detroiter to New York bridge pic, great photos Dfunk!
“underground facility” means just that–a buried cable. in the phone company they refer to their physical plant (ie, cables, terminals, crossboxes, etc) as “facilities”.
there is a such thing however as a “CEV”, or Controlled Environmental Vault, which is basically a weatherproof underground room supplied with its own electricity where multiple “facilities” come together and can be worked on or replaced. these are kinda rare though.
love the old MCRR stuff btw
love these photos .. days long gone. lt must be tunnels, a switch station?
really great stuff.
thanks for the post.