The Fayette Branch
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The Grosvernor-Morenci segment was operated by the Lenawee County Railroad from 1977 onward (accessed by trackage rights from Lenawee Junction to Grosvenor). A torrential storm in late 1981 caused several severe washouts along the Morenci Branch, especially near Grosvenor and Jasper. As a result, LCRC was forced to abandon the track between Grosvenor and Weston. In order to maintain a connection to the remaining Weston-Morenci trackage, the LCRC purchased part of the DT&I's "Tecumseh Branch" between Leaf and Bimo, and obtained (locomotive-only) trackage rights between Leaf and Adrian over the N&W main line.
The Fayette Branch and most of the Montpelier to Chicago line had its roots in a much grander scheme. I believe the Fayette Branch was the only portion to go beyond grading and actually receive rail, but the Fayette Branch and the Montpelier line westward was graded, not for the Wabash, but for the Canada Southern (CSR)! Too bad the CSR ran into panics and recessions. It was one of the Canada Southern's failed attempts to reach Chicago, the other being the Branch in Michigan from St. Clair to Richmond. The Michigan Air Line (MAL) just happened to be built from Richmond to Niles, so one can see how close the Canada Southern actually came with it's two failed attempts.
That is correct David. I have an old 1874 Williams County plat book that shows the route of CSR going through the County. It shows that it runs North East from Montpelier Ohio, almost parallel to where the NS now runs. Not quite the same as the NS(Wabash)line, as the angle drops a few degrees the further North it goes from Montpelier. And yes, if you think about it, if they were to have finished building the CRS, there may never have been a Wabash line(NS)into Montpelier as there is now.
This line originally ran all the way to Grosse Isle, connecting by carferry with the Canada Southern Amherstburg line. The line crossed the LS&MS Monroe Branch at Corbus, just west of Dundee, then skirted the north side of Deerfield. Grosvenor to Corbus was abandoned ca. 1893. I can't remember when Corbus to Dundee was abandoned. That area has a complicated history.
The Detroit River ferry quit running in 1883. The DT&I's predecessor eventually bought from the LS&MS the portion from the Detroit River to Dundee.
If anyone can provide definitive information on the date the metal truss bridge on this line over the River Raisin was erected, that would be of great interest. I am not a railroad expert, but know a lot about railroad bridges, and this bridge has details that suggest it may be extremely old (ie 1870s or 1880s) in terms of its age. You can see my photos of the bridge here http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=michigan/grosvenor/