Ann Arbor Railroad

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Ann Arbor Railroad logo until 1963
Map of the Ann Arbor Railroad

The Ann Arbor Railroad (AA) is an American Class 3 railroad company in Michigan . The Watco Companies owned company is based in Toledo. The company operates a 86 km route between Ann Arbor and Toledo, Ohio . 5 locomotives of the EMD GP38 and GP 39-2 series are in use . The main hub is Toledo, with connections to the Canadian National Railway , the CSX , the Norfolk Southern and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad . There are also connections to the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway and the Indiana & Ohio Rail System .


The history of the railway company goes back to the beginning of the 1870s when two railway companies began to build a railway line between Ann Arbor and Toledo. Over the next twenty years, various railway companies followed each other to further expand and operate the line, which was extended to Frankfort on Lake Michigan . From Frankfort, railroad projects to Manitowoc , Kewaunee , Menominee and Manistique were set up.

On September 21, 1895, the Ann Arbor Railroad was founded from the reorganization of a predecessor company. From 1905 to 1910 the company was owned by the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad (DT&I). In 1911 the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad (M&LS) was purchased. This railway company operated a route from Manistique north to Shingleton .

From 1925, the Wabash Railway, later controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad , took control of Ann Arbor and owned 97% of the shares in 1930. From December 4, 1931 to January 1, 1943, the company was in bankruptcy proceedings. The last passenger train ran in 1950 and from 1951 the locomotive park was completely converted to diesel locomotives.

1963 the shares of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the Ann Arbor are sold to the "Detroit, Toledo and Ironton". In 1968 the M&LS and the associated ferry line were shut down, and the ferry route to Menominee followed two years later. On October 16, 1973, the company had to file for bankruptcy again. On April 1, 1976, the company ceased operations and was taken over by Conrail . The state of Michigan acquired the railway company and commissioned the newly founded Michigan Interstate Railway to operate the line from October 1, 1977 . With that, the name Ann Arbor Railroad disappeared. The last two existing ferry connections were discontinued in April 1982. 1983 the operation of the route between Toledo and Frankfort on three companies (Michigan Interstate (MI): Toledo – Ann Arbor, Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway (TSB): Ann Arbor – Alma , Michigan Northern (MIGN): Alma – Frankfort) was divided , whereby the TSB took over the part of Michigan Northern in 1984.

In 1988, the Ann Arbor Acquisition Corporation re-established the Ann Arbor Railroad by taking over the Michigan Interstate to continue operations on the Ann Arbor – Toledo route.

In 2013 the Watco Companies acquired the company.


  • George H. Drury: The Historical Guide to North American Railroads 2nd Ed. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, WI 2000, ISBN 0-89024-356-5
  • Edward A. Lewis: American Shortline Railway Guide 5th Ed. Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, WI 1996, ISBN 0-89024-290-9

Web links

Commons : Ann Arbor Railroad (1895-1976)  - collection of images, videos, and audio files