Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company

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The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, sometimes referred to as the Lake Shore, was a major part of the New York Central Railroad's Water Level Route from Buffalo, New York to Chicago, primarily along the south shore of Lake Erie and across northern Indiana. The line is still a major corridor, split at Cleveland by CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1998, and hosts Amtrak passenger trains.

Early History 1835 - 1869

On April 22, 1833 the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad was chartered in the Territory of Michigan to run from Toledo on Lake Erie northwest to Adrian on the River Raisin. The Toledo War soon gave about 1/3 of the route to Ohio. Trains commenced operating, pulled by horses, on November 2, 1836, the horses being replaced by a steam locomotive, Adrian No. 1, in August 1837.

The Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad was chartered in Indiana on February 6, 1835 to run from Buffalo, New York to the Mississippi River. The name was changed February 6, 1837 to the Northern Indiana Railroad, which would run from the eastern border of Indiana west to Michigan City on Lake Michigan. Some grading between Michigan City and La Porte was done in 1838, but money ran out.

Around 1838 the state of Michigan started to build the Southern Railroad, running from Monroe on Lake Erie west to New Buffalo on Lake Michigan. The first section, from Monroe west to Petersburg, opened in 1839. Extensions opened in 1840 to Adrian and 1843 to Hillsdale. On May 9, 1846 the partially completed line was sold to the Michigan Southern Rail Road, which changed the planned western terminal to Chicago using the charter of the Northern Indiana Railroad. The grading that had been done was not used, as the grade was too steep, and instead the original Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad charter was used west of La Porte. The Michigan Southern leased the Erie and Kalamazoo on August 1, 1849, giving it a branch to Toledo, Ohio and a connection to planned railroads east from Toledo.

Due to lobbying by the Michigan Central Railroad, a competitor of the Michigan Southern, the latter's charter prevented it from going within two miles of the Indiana state line east of Constantine. However the most practical route went closer than two miles west of White Pigeon. To allow for this, Judge Stanfield of South Bend, Indiana bought the right-of-way from White Pigeon to the line, and leased it to the railroad company for about 10 years until the charter was modified to allow the company to own it.

In Illinois, the Northern Indiana and Chicago Railroad was chartered November 30, 1850. The line opened from Michigan west to South Bend, Indiana on October 4, 1851, and the full line to Chicago opened on February 20, 1852 (running to the predecessor of today's LaSalle Street Station, together with the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad north of Englewood). A more direct line was soon planned from Elkhart, Indiana east to Toledo, and the Northern Indiana Railroad was chartered in Ohio on March 3, 1851. On July 8, 1853 the Ohio and Indiana companies merged, and on February 7, 1855 the Northern Indiana and Chicago Railroad and Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad were merged into the Northern Indiana Railroad. On April 25, 1855 that company merged with the Michigan Southern Rail Road to form the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad. In 1858 the new alignment (Northern Indiana Air Line) from Elkhart, Indiana east to Air Line Junction in Toledo, Ohio was completed. The company now owned a main line from Chicago to Toledo, with an alternate route through southern Michigan east of Elkhart, and a branch off that alternate to Monroe, Michigan. Also included was the Detroit, Monroe and Toledo Railroad, leased July 1, 1856, and providing a branch from Toledo past Monroe to Detroit, Michigan.

Erie to Cleveland

The Franklin Canal Company was chartered May 21, 1844, and built a railroad from Erie, Pennsylvania southwest to the Ohio border. The Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad was incorporated February 18, 1848 to build northeast from Cleveland, Ohio to join the Canal Company's railroad at the state line, and the full line from Erie to Cleveland opened November 20, 1852. The Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula bought the Franklin Canal Company on June 20, 1854.

Buffalo to Erie

The Buffalo and State Line Railroad was incorporated October 13, 1849 and opened January 1, 1852 from Dunkirk, New York west to Pennsylvania. The rest of the line from Dunkirk to Buffalo opened on February 22. The Erie and North East Railroad was chartered April 12, 1842 to build the part from the state line west to Erie, Pennsylvania, and opened on January 19, 1852. On November 16, 1853, an agreement was made between the two railroads, which had been built at 6 foot broad gauge, to relay the rails at standard gauge to match the Franklin Canal Company's railroad (see below) on the other side of Erie, and for the Buffalo and State Line to operate the Erie and Northeast. This would result in through passengers no longer having to change trains at Erie, and on December 7, 1853, the Erie Gauge War began between the railroads and the townspeople. On February 1, 1854 the relaying was finished and the first train passed through Erie. On May 15, 1867 the two companies between Buffalo and Erie merged to form the Buffalo and Erie Railroad.

Cleveland to Toledo

The Junction Railroad was chartered March 2, 1846 to build from Cleveland west to Toledo. The Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad was chartered March 7, 1850 to build from Toledo east to Grafton on the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. The latter company opened on January 24, 1853, finally forming a continuous Buffalo-Chicago line. On September 1 the two companies merged to form the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad, the Junction Railroad becoming the Northern Division and the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland the Southern Division. The Northern Division opened from Cleveland west to Sandusky on October 24, 1853, and the rest of the way to Toledo on April 24, 1855. The Northern Division was abandoned west of Sandusky due to lack of business, but the track was relaid in 1872, merging with the Southern Division at Millbury, east of Toledo. In 1866 the Southern Division east of Oberlin was abandoned and a new line was built to Elyria on the Northern Division, ending the use of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad.

Consolidations

In October 1867 the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad leased the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad. The CP&A; changed its name to the Lake Shore Railway on March 31, 1868, and on February 11, 1869 the Lake Shore absorbed the Cleveland and Toledo. On April 6 the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad and Lake Shore merged to form the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, which absorbed the Buffalo and Erie Railroad on June 22, giving one company the whole route from Buffalo to Chicago. The main route passed through Dunkirk, New York, Erie, Pennsylvania, Ashtabula, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, Waterloo, Indiana and South Bend, Indiana. An alternate route (the Sandusky Division) in Ohio ran north of the main line between Elyria and Millbury (not all track was laid until 1872). From Toledo to Elkhart, Indiana, the Old Road ran to the north, through southern Michigan, and the through route was called the Air Line Division or Northern Indiana Air Line. Along with various branches that had been acquired (see below), the Monroe Branch ran east from Adrian, Michigan to Monroe, where it intersected the leased Detroit, Monroe and Toledo Railroad. At some point the original line to Toledo was abandoned west of the branch to Jackson (Palmyra and Jacksonburgh Railroad), with the new connection at Lenawee Junction, the crossing between that branch and the line to Monroe.

Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway 1869 - 1914

Around 1877 Cornelius Vanderbilt and his New York Central and Hudson River Railroad gained a majority of stock of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. The line provided an ideal extension of the New York Central main line from Buffalo west to Chicago, along with the route across southern Ontario (Canada Southern Railway and Michigan Central Railroad). On December 22, 1914 the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad merged with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway to form a new New York Central Railroad. While the original main line was to the south between Toledo and Elyria, the northern alignment (the Sandusky Division) eventually became the main line.

    � from Wikipedia



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