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Don's Rail Photos

Grand Trunk Western

Milwaukee Car Ferry Terminal

I received an email note from Sam Berliner regarding his Box Cab Diesel site and the C&NW box cabs I have under the UP Predecessors. I was reminded that there was another box cab running around the old home town for quite a few years. So I decided to cover a little known and somewhat forgotten rail operation which was the furthest west terminal of the Grand Trunk Western. As far back as I could remember (1947), the GTW had their own locomotive to switch cars off the car ferries which connected to Muskegon, Michigan. The Pere Marquette (later C&O) also had a car ferry operation, but it was switched by the Milwaukee Road until later years.

When I started to take photos and follow railroads with in earnest, the first power I found was usually an 0-6-0.

7483, Class O-18-b, was built by Lima in November 1920, #6027, as Grand Trunk RR 1808, Class F13.  It became GTW 7483, Class O-18-b, in 1923 and scrapped in July 1957.

7491, Class O-18-b, was built by Lima in November 1920, #6035, as GT 1816, Class F13.  It became GTW 7491, Class O-18-b, in 1923 and scrapped in January 1955.

Occasionally a diesel would show up to spell the steamers. Here is the 7800 which was a Winton powered SC built by Electro Motive in April, 1938, #756. It was Class Q-4-a but was renumbered 78, Class GS-6-a, in 1950. It was scrapped in 1962.

In 1949, we saw the end of steam when the 7730 arrived. It was built by Brill in 1926, #22315, as Long Island RR 402. In 1934 it became GTW 7730, Class Q-2-a. In 1950, it became 73, Class LS-5-a, and in 1960 it was scrapped. Note that the coal loader is still in place in the photo of the 7730. I took the picture when I was working as Milwaukee Road yard clerk at Stowell and handled the interchange between the GTW and the Milwaukee Road. This fascinating machine was still around when I got home from the Army.

One of the replacements while the 73 was being shopped was the sister engine to the 7800. The week before I left for the Army, I found the 79, another SC built by Electro-Motive in April, 1938, #757. It had been the 7801, Class Q-4-a, until 1950 when it became the 79, Class GS-6-a. It was scrapped in 1958.

Next on the scene were the Alco S4s. Here is 8089, Class MS-10-k, built by Alco, October, 1955, #81440.

After I moved from Milwaukee to Peoria, I got a chance to come back from time to time. By now the GTW was using SW900s like these built by Electro-Motive in 1958 as Class GS-9-e. Note the engine house in the photo of the 7267. Needless to say, the coal loader was long gone.

After leaving Peoria for Dallas, I seldom got back to Milwaukee. Now the ferries no longer operate, and there is no need for the GTW to have its terminal.

John Hanks visited the area in 1999. He reports that he found the C&O slip and the counterweights for the ramp even though they were rusted in place. The GTW had only the inlet and retaining walls as evidence of it ever being there. The whole area was covered with brush and young saplings. And only the memories and pictures remain.


The Grand Haven was built by Craig Shipbuilding Company of Toledo, Michigan in 1903. She was retired in 1931 and sold to West India Fruit & Steamship Co in 1946.  She was retired in 1960.


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