Map: Detroit Terminal Railroad 1916

DetroitTerminalRRCoMap1916

This map is from the New York Central Railroad Annual Report in 1916.

Detroit, like many major cities, had terminal (belt line) railroads to accommodate business. The Detroit Terminal Railroad (DTRR) was started in 1905 by local business owners in order to allow for expansion and access to rail. At the time (1905) all the good business locations were taken up along the major railroads. The construction of the railroad allowed for the continued expansion of industry into more “rural” areas.

Michigan Central Railroad, Grant Trunk, and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway jointed purchased the DTRR after it was built. By 1914, the DTRR needed to add a second track to be able to handle the high level of industrial activity. The Chalmers Motor Company, Hudson Motor Company, Continential Motor Company, and the Ford Motor Company were the main industries on the rail line. Ford’s Highland Park plant was the largest user shipping out 100 freight cars with new automobiles every day.

The DTRR switched ownership many times and was operated by Conrail until 1981. Many of the vacant industrial areas of Detroit today would not have existed without the DTRR. Now the majority of the DTRR is being envisioned as an extension greenway loop that connects with the Dequindre Cut.

One thought on “Map: Detroit Terminal Railroad 1916

  1. I’ve always found it interesting that you can map Detroit’s industrial districts by where the RRs went. Look at a zoning map today, and those heavy industrial districts will almost always been near a RR track. Very cool map.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s