Adrian to Hillside

Point of Interest

This abandonment was part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway's mainline between Buffalo, NY, and Chicago, IL; it became famous as forming the western portion of the New York Central's famed Water Level Route. Most of the Water Level Route is still in use today, mostly by CSX (the eastern half) and Norfolk Southern (the western half); however, there are a few segments that are abandoned, such as this one between Adrian and Hillside, in Michigan.

See also Ottawa Lake to Riga.

This line passed through Hudson, MI where it intersected with the Canadian National. The CN went under the LSM at almost precisely 90°, and although the tracks for both lines have long been removed, the stone structure remains. Of perhaps key interest, the CNRR depot was partially moved and still stands today. Immediately (less than 100 yards) east of the overpass is the LSM stone arch bridge; built in 1871, it is a State Historic Site. Roughly 1/4-mile north of the overpass is a smaller stone bridge dated 1922. All three structures are in remarkable condition, respected enough by locals that they have even escaped graffiti and vandalism even though they're in plain view. Some very good period pictures of both lines can be found here:

Nathan Olson


Been asking people in area if they know when it was pulled and it looks to be by PC in 68-69. Most of the mile markers are still in where there is no track.

Richard Roberts


The section from Hillsdale to Osseso is now a rail-trail, haven't been on it yet, but when I finally do, I'll get some pictures.

Ft Wayne, IN


The "Old Road" portion of the NYC, according the the Railroad History of Michigan website, specifically the Evolution of Michigan Railroads portion by Dale Berry ... shows that the first abandonment was the section west of Hudson in 1962. The next segment was from Clayton/Cadmus to Hudson in 1967, followed by Adrian west to Clayton/Cadmus in 1973. The "Old Road" is still in place from Hillsdale(not Hillside)as part of the Indiana Northeastern Railroad and it goes further west until it meets the Michigan Southern at Sturgis. The Michigan Southern continues on the "Old Road" alignment about 15 miles until White Pigeon, where it exchanges with Grand Elk and eventually with the Norfolk Southern mainline in Elkhart.

Sam Denn
Wauseon, OH


Just a note to correct the first comment by Mr. Olson:

It was not the Canadian National that underpassed the LSMS/NYC Water Level Route at Hudson, MI. It was the Cincinnati Northern (later Big Four [CCCStl], NYC, PC). This line and the overpass on US 12 to the north of Hudson near Cement City were removed before Conrail.

Mark Rhodes
Allen Park, MI


Shortened Link:

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