Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Muskegon Railway (Images of Rail)
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The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon (GRGH&M) Railway was part of a network of electric railroads that spread across southern Michigan in the early part of the 20th century. For nearly 30 years, the railway connected Grand Rapids with Muskegon and Grand Haven on the Lake Michigan shore. The fast and frequent service it offered transformed life in Coopersville, Nunica, Berlin (now Marne), Fruitport, and other smaller communities along the way. In addition, the railway and the boats of the Goodrich and Crosby steamship lines provided an overnight connection with Chicago and Milwaukee. Moving both people and freight, this interurban had an important impact on both local and regional economies. Images of Rail: The Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon Railway traces the history of the electric interurban in West Michigan, telling the story of the growth, operation, and eventual demise of an important electric railway in the region.
the tracks in front of the carbarn at Fruitport. Both cars are outfitted with banners promoting the Food Show, an annual trade event held by the Grand Rapids Retail Grocer’s Association. The interurban often used its cars to help promote events, and sometimes transported attendees to and from these affairs. Car No. 102 was typical of the freight cars operated by the line. It was one of the three original freight cars built by the Barney and Smith Car Company, and each car was self-propelled.
Wilmington, Delaware. The Jackson and Sharp cars were almost identical to the original Barney and Smith cars, differing mainly in the number of windows and the door details. The newer cars were also three feet longer than the original cars. Additional cars were needed by 1906, and the Wasson Company built cars No. 107 through 109. Car No. 107 is shown here at the Fruitport carbarn in 1908. The distinctive flat front set the cars off from the others in the fleet. The freight cars were scheduled
as extra trains, which meant they had to keep clear of the passenger trains on the line, making sure they pulled into a passing siding well before a passenger car was due to pass by. 75 By 1917, the company was purchasing cars made of steel rather than wood. Car No. 116 was manufactured by the G.C. Kuhlman Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Shown here at the factory, the car is sitting on a set of factory trucks used to move it during construction. The operating trucks, as well as the motors and
Haven. Pinkerton guards were brought from Chicago to enforce the restrictions. 90 Conductor Guy Burdsall poses for the camera. When a car was on the line, the conductor was in charge of the car and responsible for its safe operation. 91 From left to right, conductors Roy Kinney and Apolis “Polly” Griswald stand on the fender of Car No. 13 next to Louis Christopher and William Smith. Christopher and Smith were office employees for the company. From left to right, Michigan senator Vincent A.
freight room. High-voltage AC power entered through the tower on the left. 23 The substation equipment was located at the rear of the building. The device in the foreground is a rotary converter, which used the AC power from the powerhouse to create DC power for the cars. The control panel along the wall operated the converters and sent power to the tracks. Over the years, as more cars were added to the operation, additional substations were built in Spring Lake and Muskegon Heights to keep up