|Grand Trunk Western Station in Durand, MI. Beautifully restored into a top notch railroad museum|
Michigan Railroad Museum....by Don Janes
While I was in Arizona this past winter I got talking to a fellow from our park who was from Durand, Mi. He mentioned that the old GTW station had been renovated and turned into a museum and was well worth a visit. Since we go right past Durand on the way home I decided it would be a good rime to drop into Durand and check it out. I had seen many photos of the station back in its busier times but had never been there. What a pleasant surprise I had when I pulled into the parking lot. There stood a beautifully renovated station surrounded by well kept grounds. The platform along the tracks had an iron fence but it was low and there were all kinds of place to get photographs. I met a fellow railfan who told me there was an eastbound CN freight due in about five minutes so I held off checking out the museum until after it passed. It turns out there are a couple of TV monitors showing a dispatchers panel view of the entire Flint Sub so you could always see were the trains were. Once the first train passed I went inside to look around. There is no charge but donations are welcome. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos inside for some reason. Checking the screen I could see there would be another eastbound coming along in about twenty minutes.
|The first eastbound was a solid train of auto racks.|
The museum is very well laid out with many glass cases with artifacts such as steam engine number plates, a bell and whistle. There are also all kinds of other items, all labelled giving their background. They also have a beautiful collection of old photos of Durand and surrounding locations showing the station, 360 degree roundhouse and other railroad related structures as well as a great collection of GTW steam locomotive photos. The upstairs has museum offices and there is a large banquet room at the front (north end) of the station.
This shot was taken from the second story banquet room. The double track is the east/west Flint sub to Port Huron and Chicago. The single track in the foreground and curved track to the left is the Holly Sub from Detroit.
There are several lines running by the station. The east/west track is the CN Flint sub running between Port Huron and Chicago. The north/south track that crosses at the diamond is the Holly Sub to Detroit. Off that there are connecting track in both directions to join the Flint Sub. There is a yard on the north side of the Flint sub which I believe is now operated by a short line. From that yard lines run to Petoskey, MI and up to Saginaw, MI. The Ann Arbor RR once had a diamond on the East side of the station but it is now gone. In the distance there was a large concrete coal tower but I couldn't find a way to it. Durand was a very busy railroad center back in the day.
|This was the second eastbound, a mixed freight with four locomotives|
|This view is of the north end of the station. The twin turrets really give the station a nice look.|
|Here are several other views of the station looking east. It is very easy to get pictures at different angles around the station.|
|This little section shed was sitting beside the road leading to the station. It is very typical of many CN/GTW lineside shanties. Hopefully it will be restored in the near future.|
Besides the station museum there is a little park on the north side of the tracks where there is an old GTW 4-6-2 # 5632, a GTW express car and an old crossing tower. There is a also an old GTW steel caboose. It is one of a bunch the GTW bought off the Santa Fe RR back in the 1960's or 1970's.
I am really glad I took the time to stop in Durand and check out the station museum and the steam engine and other items on display. It was well worth the time spent and I would recommend it to anyone travelling in that area.
|Here are several shots of the 5632. Aside form some surface rust and fading she is in pretty good shape considering being exposed to the elements year round.|
|There is a GTW express car and crossing tower in the park also.|
|This GTW (ex Santa Fe) caboose is located in another small park across from the depot|