Jackson to Niles

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Map submitted by Mike Fromholt.

This abandoned line was built in 1871 as the Air Line branch of the Michigan Air-Line Railroad, and ran between Niles and Jackson, Michigan. The portion between Niles and Three Rivers was abandoned in 1937 by the New York Central; the rest was abandoned later by Conrail.

Part of the eastern portion of the abandoned grade serves as the Falling Waters Trail, in Jackson.

See also Niles, Michigan.

I spent many a Saturday as a kid in the 1960's along this route near Concord. My mother's cousin owned many acres up to the northern side of the ROW at Wheeler Road. My father told me years ago that that when the NYC did the CTC and roadbed upgrades in 1958, the NYC paid my mom's cousin hundreds of dollars for soil and gravel that were on his property. The Air Line was good for at least 10-15 trains per day (from my memory), all high speed auto parts and completed autos.

Mark Rhodes
Allen Park, MI
2/9/2013

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As a kid, I lived only a few blocks away from this busy line. The railroad would park long trains between Fourth St and Park Rd in Jackson, they would sit there for hours. I watched many Penn Central and Conrail freights. Today I still live nearby, it is now a beautiful trail, but man I miss those trains!

Mark Karle
Jackson, MI
1/25/2014

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I live by the railroad. There is a couple of stone arch bridges one is all cut field stone is a sight to see.

Ted
Sherwood, MI
6/29/2015

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That railroad totally defined my early life (1958 - 76) rabbit/pheasant hunting. Hiking to the coal shutes/St Joe river to the west, seven hills/Kalamazoo river to the east. Camping out "66/67" at 7 hills with my good friend Tom Morris & my cocker spaniel. Always seemed to be a major derailment every couple of yrs. Remember pigs running all over the place from derailed stock cars (clarendon,22 1/2 mi rd),evacuation of Homer when derailment ignited gas storage tanks alongside tracks. Think there was hazmat in some tank cars involved. Also many cars derailed & mangled at Tekonsha. Now I know who was consuming the contents of all the empty whiskey bottles along the tracks! Those were the days.

Jerry lathrop
Homer, Mi
2/28/2016

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