Michigan-Central Railroad, 1845
Chief among the transportation systems serving Albion is the Michigan Central railroad, the main line of which passes through from Detroit to Chicago. The railroad reached Albion, July 4, 1845, having been extended westward from Detroit. Six months later the road reached Marshall.In the first years of the railroad’s existence as far as Albion is concernedrail transportation was unusually slow. The trip between Albion and Marshallrequired 40 minutes, which was later reduced to half that time.
The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad was a north-south line which served the communities of Hillsdale, Jonesville, Litchfield, Homer, Albion, Devereaux, Springport, Eaton Rapids, Dimondale, and Lansing. It was constructed in the early 1870s, and handled much passenger and freight services, as the line passed through rich agricultural land. Pictured above is the depot which sood on N. Superior St. just north of the present-day post office, where the Chemical Bank now stands. IT was dismantled in the 1930s.
Steam engines passed through Albion well into the 1950s. In this 1950 photo looking west from N. Superior St. crossing, we see the guard house just to the right of the steam engine. Manned 24 hours a day, a guard would come out with a stopsign to halt traffic when trains approached. This practice continued until the 1960s when automatic crossing gates were installed. To the right of the guard house is the city “comfort station” (public restrooms), a familiar fixture in Albion for many years. The comfort station was built in 1924, a gift of industrialist Warren S. Kessler, and served as a rest stop for travelers on the busy U.S. 12 highway. It was closed in July 1960 and remodeled into the Albion Chamber of Commerce headquarters, which opened at the site in September of the same year.
Source: Miriam Krenerick. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932.