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Railfan & Railroad Classics - March 1984

Railfan Classics

The Rutland would never recognize its former 402, as the chop-nosed RS-1. The unit threw a rod and is presently out of service. Photo by Bob Wise

The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay

This Michigan short line serves its customers
with personal service and creative marketing

By Bob Wise/Photos as noted

Railfan & Railroad - March 1984Spring has arrived in Michigan. In the agricultural lands of the Thumb, the tractors are out in force tilling the soil for new crops of corn wheat and beans. While driving on Route 46 east of Saginaw, you suddenly realize you have been unknowingly pacing a short train far out across the fields. At first, the train is so far away that it is hardly noticeable against the flat horizon, but it gradually grows larger as the tracks come closer to the highway Far down the road, a crossing flasher blinks into action.

At the same time, a melodious horn emits a stern warning. Satisfied that all highway traffic has stopped, the engineer pulls out the throttle, and the engine emits a belch of black smoke in response. Note the cars that follow: a trio of tanks, a flat loaded with farm machinery and two boxcars. Bringing up the rear are four big covered hoppers boldly advertising the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway as their owner. The crossing clears and traffic starts moving again, but you continue to look out across the farmland at the train until it finally blends into the horizon and is lost to sight. While the fields are still full of farming activity you remain intrigued by the short train and would like to know more about the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Company.

Some history

The original T&SB system operated 54 miles of trackage through its three namesake counties in eastern-central Michigan. Since commencing operations in the fall of 1977, this short line has been expanding its services to online grain elevators and other industries. A century ago, when the railroad was originally built, the idea was to help develop and serve the lumber industry.

In 1883, the Detroit & Bay City Railroad was incorporated as a subsidiary of the Vanderbilt-controlled Michigan Central Railroad for the purpose of obtaining a share of the heavy lumber traffic moving to the Lake Huron port of Bay City from northern and central Michigan. Upon completion, the D&BC, was absorbed by the Michigan Central. The MC kept putting down track to the north of Bay City until the line was completed to Mackinaw City and the carferry connections from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The entire line prospered for many years from both the local lumber traffic and the overhead bridge traffic moving from Mackinaw City and through Bay City to Detroit and points south. The MC was leased by the New York Central at the turn of the century, though it maintained a degree of autonomy as a division of the parent road until the Penn Central merger. As the forests to the south and east of Bay City were depleted, agriculture replaced lumber as the prime industry between Bay City and Detroit.

A considerable amount of local passenger traffic was handled in the early years, and during the summer extra trains of vacationers rode from Detroit north to the Mackinaw City resorts. Traffic peaked at five passenger and seven freight trains in each direction during the 1920s, then declined as the highways were improved and the Depression tightened its grip on the economy World War II provided a break in the downturn, but after 1945 traffic began dropping away again. The last run of any passenger train was the Beeliner (Budd RDC) in March 1964. With passenger traffic gone and bridge traffic from Mackinaw City down, local agricultural interests remained the only steady customers of the New York Central on the line below Bay City.

The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay

The Vassar depot saw New York Central F3 1875 leading a pair of Geeps south on BD-2 on January 10, 1959. The engineer was waving grandly to the photographer atop the first car of northbound TB-10 in the siding. Photo by Ernest L. Novak, Bob Wise Collection

The Penn Central merger of 1968 did nothing to improve the sagging health of the line, and service began to deteriorate badly After the Penn Central bankruptcy in 1970, the line continued to limp along on what agricultural and other freight traffic there was to be had. When it became clear that PC, along with other Northeastern carriers, would not be able to come out of bankruptcy on their own, the United States Railway Administration was created by Congress to oversee the transition of the bankrupts into one unified -- and hopefully viable -- rail system that would be free of the money-losing branch lines of the predecessor railroads. It soon became obvious that the PC trackage from Bay City to Detroit was in danger of being completely eliminated from use by any future carrier. What agricultural and light industrial traffic remained was not considered substantial enough to warrant the continued existence of the railroad.

On April 1, 1976, the USRA transferred the ownership and operation of most of the remaining viable PC trackage in the vicinity of Bay City to the Grand Trunk Western or the Detroit & Mackinac. The GTW was also offered 21 miles of track from Munger through Vassar and into Millington, a 22-mile branch from Vassar to Colling and a nine-mile branch from Harger (near Saginaw) to a connection with the Munger-Vassar line at Denmark Junction (north of Vassar). While the USRA felt these lines had some economic potential if operated by a solvent rail carrier, the GTW refused the offer because they were anticipating financial losses if they took over.

A new railroad

Noting the early success the Hillsdale County Railroad was having in southern Michigan at maintaining local rail service in the post-Conrail world, several industries and grain elevators on the affected lines assembled in the fall of 1976 and organized the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Company The businesses which organized T&SB (reporting marks TSBY} put up the necessary cash to purchase stock in the new company which would be operated by its shipper-owners on trackage leased from the Penn Central estate. The Michigan State Transportation Commission agreed to subsidize anticipated losses to assure the funds required for regular and reliable service.

The new owners originally planned to have the T&SB in operation by the fall of 1976, in time for the grain harvests, but several transitional hurdles delayed the start-up for a full year. Conrail was retained under subsidy by the State of Michigan as designated operator until the T&SB was ready to take over in its own right. To their credit, Conrail provided a reasonable degree of service during this transitional time before the local owners could start running trains, although maintenance on track, grade crossings, and the interlocking with the Chesapeake & Ohio at Vassar was ignored.

The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay
Map by Mike Merusi (Click for larger image)

The fate of the seven mile line from Vassar to Millington hung in doubt for a long time because Millington Elevator & Supply Company, the only sizable shipper in Millington, was skeptical of getting involved with the T&SB or any other railroad. Their distaste for rail transportation stemmed from an incident in the early 1970s when they committed themselves to fulfill a contract covering the supply and delivery of approximately 100 cars of edible beans, based on assurances from Penn Central that car supply would be no problem. When it came to ship the beans, the cars were nowhere to be found, and Millington Elevator incurred a substantial loss when trucks were called in to move the beans. Repeated overtures from other shippers -- who knew every possible source of traffic must be tapped if the new T&SB was to be a success -- finally convinced a dubious Millington Elevator management to try shipping by rail again.

On Saturday, October 1, 1977, the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway officially took over the responsibility for operations from Conrail on the lines from Munger to Vassar and Millington, plus the branch from Vassar to Colling. The line from Denmark Junction to Harger was transferred to the GTW, with Denmark Junction being established as the freight interchange point with the Grand Trunk, thus providing the T&SB with a second railroad connection. On Monday, October 3, after dedication ceremonies at Vassar, the first train for Caro and Colling departed behind leased GTW GP9 4900. The T&SB was a reality at last.

The first years

The new railroad wasted no time in facing the challenges for which it was created. On October 1, the T&SB already had some of its fleet of covered hoppers on line for use by elevators ready to begin shipping corn, beans, wheat and soybeans. The first of the covered hoppers, numbered 3000, was painted golden yellow with the name spelled out to advertise the new railroad. Track maintenance was undertaken as time, weather and finances permitted. The T&SB established headquarters in Vassar and chose the 1890 Michigan Central passenger station there for the main office. Considerable work was required to clean and renovate the depot for use by the new line.

The various GP9s rented from the GTW were used until the engines on order could be delivered. First to arrive on the property in December 1977 was NW2 1977, named Big Chief. This EMD switcher, formerly Union Pacific 1034, was rebuilt and upgraded to 1200 horsepower at Rock Island's Silvis shop. It was originally planned that 1977 would arrive in November, but the unit was derailed in the Silvis yards while undergoing tests and sustained enough damage to have its delivery pushed back six weeks. The second engine, Alco RS1 2394, was named Corkpine Express and arrived in January 1978. The 2394, originally built in 1951 as Rutland 402, was rebuilt and chopnosed by Southern Rails Inc. The 1977 was numbered, logically, for the year the T&SB commenced operations, but 2394 has a unique and interesting story behind the selection of its number. A close friend of then Vice President Operations P.J. DeWolf (now president of the T&SB) was Santa Fe engineer Greg Luiz, and one of Greg's most dreaded assignments was for a yard drill or local with their RS1 2394. DeWolf took advantage of the fact that numerical conflicts on a two-engine roster would be highly unlikely, and "randomly" selected 2394 as the number for the T&SB's RS1 as a tribute to his friend's memories on the ATSF! The engine names were chosen by Tuscola County officials. The 1977 was considered the regular engine, with 2394 acting as a back-up unit.

With a good reception from shippers, the T&SB was able to develop a steady increase in traffic volume. In a very short time the original roster of covered hoppers was inadequate for the amount of available business, and the T&SB began investigating financing for additional cars. When the spring of 1978 arrived and the peak shipping season for the elevators had passed, the line was able to offset this slackening with increased shipments of inbound agricultural chemicals. The biggest customer for the T&SB on an annual basis is the Michigan Sugar Company plant at Carol Locally grown sugar beets are processed at Michigan Sugar, and the resulting products of molasses, sugar and beet pulp (for cattle feed) are shipped out by rail. The sugar plant also requires a steady supply of coal, and a regular movement of Kentucky bituminous that originates on the L&N helps provide the T&SB with necessary revenues.

When track rehabilitation was completed, the T&SB was able to raise the speed limit on the entire system to 50 miles per hour. The new speed limit allowed trains to safely move over the entire system and provide service to customers on all three lines on the same day This was a welcome and necessary improvement as business continued to spiral upward

The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay

Detroit & Mackinac RS2 466 was purchased in March 1982, and was photographed placing cars at Reese Farmers Elevator at Reese, still wearing D&M gray and maroon paint. Photo by Bob Wise

In the summer of 1979, the T&SB took delivery of the distinctive group of 50 ACF covered hoppers, painted with the same light yellow and black block style lettering that was used on engine 1977. Another batch of covered hoppers was built by Richmond Tank Car in Houston, Texas, and delivered to the T&SB in 1980. These last 50 cars are painted gray and lack the big lettering of the ACF cars. Rounding out the freight car fleet are an insulated boxcar of Reading ancestry and eleven refrigerator cars that originally belonged to American Refrigerator Transit. The boxcar and reefers were purchased to protect traffic from Dykhouse Pickle Co. of Vassar and can also be used to handle packaged grain products on occasion. Non-revenue equipment includes wooden caboose number 3, formerly a Pere Marquette car and now the personal property of T&SB director Fred Steck -- as the T&SB operates with only a two-man crew, there are not many practical occasions for the caboose to be used. Also on hand and used for promotional purposes is open platform business car number 1. The obs was purchased from the GTW, repainted yellow and further modified by having the letters TSB welded on the end railings. Number 1 is used for occasional "shipper's specials" or when the board of directors desires a meeting place with a railroad atmosphere.

New challenges

The year 1981 offered new challenges for both traffic and survival. The GTW had announced its intent to abandon the line from Harger over to the T&SB interchange at Denmark Junction. The Grand Trunk could no longer justify the expense of running a full crew over nine miles of track to switch a lumber mill and a grain elevator that were within sight of the T&SB! Wishing to retain the advantage of two connecting carriers, and desirous of obtaining additional traffic, the T&SB agreed to take over the lease of the line from the Penn Central estate. On May 4, 1981, the transfer became official, and the GTW interchange was moved from Denmark Junction to Harger. Until a passing siding was constructed at Harger, the only way the trains could move on the branch was to pull in one direction and push in the opposite. For safety purposes, the brakeman rode the lead car on the back-up move to radio the engineer when grade crossings were clear. Nine miles is a long distance for a brakeman to ride the "hobo corner" of a covered hopper, so caboose 3 saw regular service as a lookout car.

With the economy softening and traffic down somewhat, it was decided that having two engines on line at all times was a luxury. The 1977 was leased to the Kent-Barry-Eaton Connecting Railway in Dutton, Michigan, replacing their original Alco S1 switcher number 6, which had been retired in need of heavy repair. The 2394 then became the only engine on the T&SB. On the few occasions that 2394 was unavailable for service, an engine would be rented on a daily basis from the C&O or the GTW.

New traffic was developed in 1981 as various petrochemical firms began exploiting previously abandoned oil and gas pockets located in Otter Lake, five miles south of the present end of track at Millington. The increase in oil prices had made it economically feasible for this marginal oilfield to be put back in production. Unfortunately, the Penn Central estate had torn up the former NYC trackage south of Millington in 1980, and direct rail shipments were now out of the question. The T&SB's answer was the Banksand team track. Located three miles north of Vassar on the Colling Branch, Banksand offered tank trucks driving from Otter Lake the ability to transfer their loads to railroad tank car for more economical shipment by rail. Negotiations are in progress to have the track from Millington to Otter Lake replaced so that direct rail service may be provided once again.

The T&SB entered 1982 with mixed prospects for a successful year, considering the possibility of the line extension to Otter Lake and the worsening economic picture. In early March, the situation became more complicated when the 2394 threw a rod and was forced out of service. As 1977 was still on lease to the Kent-Barry-Eaton Connecting, a replacement for 2394 had to be located. On March 25, the T&SB purchased Alco RS2 466 from the Detroit & Mackinac Railway for $25,000. The 466 is a historically significant locomotive, being the first RS2 ever built -- in his September 1969 Trains article on the D&M, diesel authority Jerry Pinkepank even makes a significant case that the 466 shares the distinction along with Columbus & Greenville Baldwin DRS6-4-15 601 and Milwaukee RSC2 490 the honor of being the first true road-switcher (this assumes the Alco RS1 was just a stretched switcher and not designed "from scratch" as a road unit as was the RS2 of October 1946).

The T&SB selected 466 because it was readily available at a reasonable price and was found to be in excellent working condition (this is attributable to the high mechanical standards set and maintained by the D&MI). The 466 was pressed into service immediately on receipt and continued working in its D&M garb, minus all lettering.

In May 1982 the T&SB undertook a whole new aspect of customer service when it began operating unit trains for grain products. While the various elevators on the railroad would frequently ship more than one car of grain at a time, they usually moved under single car rates, which are higher on a per-car basis than multi-car or unit train rates. The rail-served elevators were at a disadvantage to compete with the waterfront elevators located in nearby Saginaw when shipping in multi-car lots, because the barge rates were lower than rail rates. The rail elevators could not provide enough volume to justify establishment of a unit train rate, but the T&SB developed an innovative solution. While the individual elevators could not ship the 65-car minimum required at one time to utilize a lower unit train rate, they could tender enough loads to qualify if they cooperated by shipping at the same time. This unique arrangement was agreed to by all concerned parties, and on May 25, 1982, the C&O delivered 65 empty covered hoppers at Vassar. The 466 and crew left immediately afterward with 15 cars for the Agri-Sales elevator at Colling. After placing the Colling cars, they returned to Vassar and gathered the remaining empties into a 50-car train destined for Reese Farmers elevator at Reese and Star of the West elevator at Denmark Junction (Richville). The 466 performed its regular work the next day, and on May 27 the crew collected 65 loads of corn from Colling, Reese and Richville. The train was turned back to the C&O at Vassar for Chessie to forward to the Port of Baltimore. Five additional unit trains were operated during the first year the service was offered.

Ann Arbor expansion

On October 1, 1982, the T&SB signed a one year contract with the Michigan State Transportation Commission and began operating 124 miles of the Ann Arbor Railroad. Trackage covered by the contract is the former main line from Osmer (Ann Arbor) to Alma, and the former Penn Central branch from Owosso to Swan Creek, near Saginaw.

The Michigan Northern operates from Alma north to Frankfort, and the Michigan Interstate retains operations from Osmer south to Toledo. The old Ann Arbor's GP35s, RSls and S3s are all at Owosso, and the T&SB uses one or two of the GP35s to handle the activity on these lines. During the spring of 1983, another Ann Arbor GP35 was assigned to the original T&SB line, allowing the 466 to be placed in the Owosso shop for a thorough rebuilding and paint job. To handle increased grain loading on the "new" T&SB, more covered hoppers were leased from Chicago Refrigerator Dispatch and renumbered in the 8700 series.

Two crews are normally called at Owosso, Monday through Friday. The early morning train does interchange work with the GTW at Durand and the Chessie at Annpere, then travels further south to switch Hoover Universal's plant at Whitmore Lake and interchange with the Ann Arbor (Michigan Interestate) at Osmer. The mid-morning crew relieves the first crew on the return (northbound) trip. Upon arriving at Owosso, the crew then proceeds up the main line to Alma to interchange with the Michigan Northern, or they cover the branch to Swan Creek to work the elevators and other on-line customers. All of the activity on the "Ann Arbor Division" of the T&SB is subject to shipper demand, and schedules are often altered to meet their needs.

The imagination shown in creating multi-shipper unit-train rates and the ability to step in and improve service on lines that larger roads deem marginal, emphasizes the role of short lines in the future, says President DeWolf. While the Class I railroads have the multimillion dollar accounts as shippers, it is the short line that has the ability to regularly contact local customers about improving or expanding service. The T&SB is willing to talk to a shipper about a unit-train rate, but it is also ready to work for the establishment of single car rates on sugar beet byproducts destined for Port Huron, only 80 miles away "We have to solicit new traffic wherever we can," says DeWolf. "The big roads gain and lose traffic all the time, but if the short line obtains a new steady shipper, we could very well be looking at a prosperous future. If a big shipper is dissatisfied with us and turns to trucks, we could find ourselves struggling just to survive." Providing customer service quickly and efficiently, with a willingness to try new ideas to meet customer needs, is what the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway is all about.

The T&SB has even managed to become involved with a steam engine by providing an indoor home for Pere Marquette 2-8-4 1225. The Lima-built Berkshire is being restored to serviceable condition by the Project 1225 group of the Michigan State University Railroad Club and was placed in the Ann Arbor backshop building in Owosso in February 1983. The backshop is separate from the main shop buildings and affords the railroad club with a secure place to work without getting in the way of the T&SB operations.

View from the cab

A few puddles are all that remain of last night's thunderstorm as John Prior and Dave Hopkins walk from the station at Vassar to the engine storage shed on a sunny June 1982 morning They take turns between running and braking, and this morning Dave turns the 466-over while John lines the switches out to the yard. Once in the yard, they quickly put together their train: three loaded coal hoppers and an empty molasses tank car for Michigan Sugar at Carol They are ready to leave Vassar when the eastbound C&O local rattles over the diamond at the south end of the yard. The local sets out a covered hopper of potash for Sohigro at Caro and two empty T&SB "yellowbellies" that are returning home. A few minutes later the 466 has one more car as it clears Vassar yard for Carol.

The Tuscola & Saginaw Bay

Kids on bikes barely notice as NW2 1977 places an empty at the Millington Elevator & Supply in August 1978. Photo by Bob Wise

The 13 miles to Caro are covered in 30 minutes. The line to Caro runs in and out of the woods, and the train is continuously slowing at grade crossings to be certain no automobiles get in the way About half way to Caro the train darts out of the woodlands and runs across an open field in a gentle arc known locally as Siberia Curve; unfortunately, no one seems to be able to determine why such an unusual name was applied to the place. Between Vassar and Caro, the railroad cuts diagonally across all the main roads, and only one mile of track at Wahjamega is parallel to Route 81.

On arrival at Michigan Sugar, the coal hoppers are dropped where the plant's trackmobile can maneuver them for final placement, and the molasses tanker is placed nearby From Michigan Sugar, the 466 drifts over to Sohigro, placing the potash hopper that was on the C&O just an hour ago! An empty covered hopper is pulled from Sohigro and left for the return trip to Vassar, because the 466 is running light to the end of the branch at Colling. North of Caro, the railroad is parallel to Colling Road, and the tracks are easily followed across the open fields.

The Agri-Sales elevator at Colling looms into view in the distance, and upon arrival the elevator foreman releases two covered hoppers of corn that are destined for Richford, Vermont (where up until mid-1983 they would have been spotted at their destination by another RS2; unfortunately the U.S.-built Canadian Pacific RS2s have since been replaced by RS18m's). During the ride back to Caro, Dave explains that prior to the unit trains the majority of grain products shipped were destined to points in New York and New England, because Michigan is the nearest growing center for the cattle and poultry feeds required in these Northeastern states.

Another large consumer of Michigan grain products is Mexico; during the fall months numerous boxcars of beans are shipped to various points in that country. Once back in Caro, John points out the location where the Detroit, Caro & Sandusky Railway, the Thumb's short line of another era, had an interchange with the New York Central. The concrete slab of the tower base is all that remains as testimony to the DC&S, which was abandoned in 1953.

In a matter of minutes, the empty hopper from Sohigro is coupled up, and the three-car train clears Caro for the ride back to Vassar. As all three are to be delivered to the C&O, the switching in the Vassar yard is minimal. The 466 runs around its train and the cars are pushed down to the interchange for the next Chessie local to pick up.

After breaking for lunch, the 466's crew collects three more yellowbellies and heads south for Millington. John points out the handicraft of the local beaver population in a particularly swampy woodland; the backwaters from the beaver dams come right up to the ballast. The Millington branch is seven miles of arrow-straight tangent, and the last two miles are parallel to Route 15. The 466 coasts to a stop on a short grade next to Millington Elevator & Supply and leaves the three empties on the main. After pulling out a single yellowbelly of corn billed to Belfast, Maine, the three empties are placed for loading. Because of their anticipated participation in the unit train program, Millington Elevator is arranging to have their siding capacity increased so that ten cars can be loaded at the same time.

Upon arrival in Vassar yard, two more empty hoppers, an empty Grand Trunk flat and the load for Belfast are assembled into a train, and for the third time today the 466 leaves Vassar. After crossing the Cass River, the short train begins its assault on "The Hill." The grade does not come close to being a Sand Patch or a Cajon, but the short climb out of the Cass River Valley is enough to drastically slow a longer train. Once over the crest there is a slight downgrade, and then the terrain flattens out again, allowing the railroad another tangent which runs diagonally across open fields and back road grade crossings to Denmark Junction.

You won't find Denmark Junction on a highway map, because there is no town or post office by that name. Located in a field one-half mile north of Route 46 and one mile east of Richville, the Junction is the point where the trackage divides, with the Saginaw District branching off to the west and the Munger District going to the northwest. The car for Maine and the Grand Trunk flat are left on the wye, and the 466 heads out across more open fields. A few minutes later, the train arrives in Reese and slows to make its crossing of busy Route 81. As John is now engineer, Dave gets off and walks ahead to clear the target signal guarding the diamond where the C&O's Bad Axe Subdivision is crossed. The interchange track with the C&O is still in place but is not in service, as all interchange with Chessie takes place in Vassar. The 466 crosses the diamond and places the two empties at the Reese Farmers Elevator. They are about to leave when the radio comes to life; Vassar base advised the crew that Reese Farmers has just phoned in billing instructions on the covered hopper that was placed at the elevator yesterday. The new load, a yellowbelly of oats for Agway in Voorheesville, N.Y., is pulled out, and the one car train heads northwest into Saginaw County.

The next stop is the Sohigro facility, where another empty potash hopper is pulled out. Still cutting a diagonal across the fields and highways, the 466 enters Bay County while traversing the last five miles to Munger. After picking up an empty L&N boxcar that had carried in a load of bricks, the 466 runs around the three cars and begins the return journey. The target signal at the C&O diamond in Reese is still clear for the T&SB, so there is no need to stop at the crossing again. Before clearing Reese for the last time, a stop is made at the Reese Farmers South Plant, where a Railbox car loaded with sacks of navy beans for Mexico is picked up. Back at Denmark Junction, the 466 drops the car for New York which has been routed via C&O. The two cars already at the Junction for the Grand Trunk are switched back into the train, and the 466 heads west for Harger. The train runs right by the Star of the West Elevator at Richville, because none of the four empties placed there has been released as a load. The nine-mile run to Harger is covered in 30 minutes. The Saginaw District runs parallel to Route 46 while crossing open farmland and occasionally running through small clumps of trees.

Railfan & Railroad Archive

The interchange at Harger is a passing track located in the fields north of the intersection of Airport Road and Route 46. A small bill box on a pole -- one half painted yellow and the other half GTW blue -- serves as the "station." The Grand Trunk local has already been at Harger today, and three loaded coal hoppers, four empty yellowbellies and an empty tank car for Banksand are sitting on the passing track. The 466 pulls its five-car train past the interchange and then shoves in against the cars that will be taken back to Vassar. Dave places the waybills for the cars they are leaving in the box and gathers the papers for the eight cars left by the Grand Trunk. After running around to the east end of the passing track, the 466 couples on to its train, pumps up the air and leaves for Denmark Junction. Minimal time is required at Denmark to switch the hopper of oats back into the train, and the 466 returns to Vassar for the last time with four loads and five empties. In Vassar yard, the train is dropped, the car of oats is placed on the C&O interchange, the engine is put away and another day of railroading on the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay is done.

In March 2006 the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay was purchased and changed its name to Great Lakes Central Railroad, which is now the largest regional in the state of Michigan, operating 424 miles of track. —O.M.V.

This article originally appeared in the March 1984 issue of Railfan & Railroad.